10+ things every vacation property needs

This is a pretty much a repost from last year.

With the May long weekend just behind us, cottages have been opened up and families are starting to make their summer plans.  Over the long weekend, we spent a couple nights at a cottage in a beach town not far from home.

While the cottage was cute and the location was fantastic, there were three main things that could have been improved upon:

  1.  All the beds were creaky and squeaky with saggy mattresses.   The double was actually a super single and there was only room for one.  It squeaked every time I rolled over.  The twin was a cool looking old fashioned metal bed, but it also had metal springs.  They squeaked every time my son rolled over.  The queen pullout sofa was from the early 80s, the mattress was super thin and sagged in the middle (think: Seinfeld episode).
  2. The windows had no coverings.  Or very little.  The front of the cottage faced East and we were treated with the morning sun at 5am.  I didn’t want to be awake at 5am.  We found some thumbtacks and hung up some sheets, but it wasn’t ideal.
  3. Lastly, the bed linens.  They were old, tired and musty.  If storing linens, make sure they are in a dry location and add some cedar balls or chips to keep them fresh and moth free.

Sleep is such an important part of every day life and it can make or break a vacation – especially with little ones.

So, with that said…

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Do you have a vacation home?  Do you rent it out?  Or maybe you like to have your holiday in a rented cabin or cottage.  We used to own a vacation cottage on a nearby island and since selling it, we frequently rent a cottage/cabin/townhouse when we travel.  Although hotels are great for the pool, room service and air conditioning, the space that you usually get with a cabin usually can’t be beat!

From our experience renting out our own place and from staying at someone else’s, we found some key areas that should always be well taken care of.

Great bathroom towels – it may be cost efficient to take your old towels to the cottage but not everyone wants to exfoliate when they towel off.  Winners, Homesense, and Ikea all have a great selection of towels at reasonable prices.

Soft sheets – the same thing I said for towels goes for sheets.  Rough and tough sheets don’t make for sweet dreams.

Beds – please don’t put the old futon from the basement and the crappy mattress that has been around since you can’t remember when into your cottage or cabin.  Guests will continue to come back if they have had a great sleep and lumpy squeaky mattresses are not what dreams are made of.

Curtains – think about which direction your windows face.  If a bedroom faces the East, then consider putting blinds and curtains in this room so that the rising sun doesn’t wake up your guests at 5am.

Toiletries – just like a hotel, it is nice if there are little bottles of shampoo and soap for your guests to use.  Consider a bowl in the bathroom filled with samples or just large sized shampoo and liquid soap in the shower.  Sometimes, it is the little things that guests will remember.

Coffee/Tea – for coffee drinkers, like my husband and I, we appreciate a good coffee machine and some coffee/sugar/cream in case we don’t have time to pick up supplies before we arrive.  It doesn’t have to be the best or a big supply, but a starter pack is always a good idea.

Fans and Flashlights/Nightlight – these are not must haves, but they sure are nice to have.  The cabin we just stayed in could have used a fan in the bedroom to cool it down as it was the hottest room in the place.  A flashlight/nightlight is always helpful to find your way around in the night should you need a quick trip to the bathroom or to help the kids.

First Aid – a small basket with bandaids, wraps, tweezers and polysporin is so helpful as many families don’t travel with first aid supplies.

Clear instructions and helpful notes – let your guests know the rules of your cottage and/or the complex where they will be staying.  Do they need to clean before leaving?  Where is the electrical panel?  Where does the garbage and recycling go?  Dog friendly?   The more info, the better the experience for both them and you.

Cleaning – if you would like your guests to clean, then please make it easy for them to do so.  Easy to find brooms, cloths and a vacuum will help them to clean any spills and messes and leave the property in good condition.

Tourist info – we love when owners leave maps and brochures of the area suggesting things to do.  If there are some hiking trails, a great park or a restaurant they must eat at, let your guests know – they will appreciate it.

I watched  Sarah’s rental cottage recently and was amazed by the location and how she transformed the outdated property. Your cottage should be a reflection of you and your family, so just make it a place that you like to visit and where guests would like to stay.

Whether you are an cottage owner or renter  this summer, I hope this list helps you have a great holiday experience.   Let me know in the comments if there are any things that make your stay in a vacation property  even better.

 

Pinned & Tried – Beauty

I don’t think I’ve ever posted a beauty pinned and tried, but there’s always a first time, isn’t there?

A few weeks ago, I read this post on South by Northwest and this diy particular beauty hack caught my eye.

I’m blond, with highlights and a few grey hairs.  I try not to wash my hair too many times a week and I’m lucky my hair doesn’t get too oily or greasy.

On days when I don’t have time to wash my hair, I use a few sprays of this Kevin Murphy dry shampoo

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It works well and smells great.  It’s a little expensive, but since I use it infrequently it lasts a long, long time.

 

So, when I read about a diy dry shampoo, I knew I had to give it a try.  There were only 3 ingredients; cornstarch, cinnamon and a few drops of an essential oil (I used lavender).  I used a clean little jar and here’s what it looked like when I mixed it up.

 

I had an extra make up brush (yes, I cleaned it first) to dab on the mixture and I’m happy to say it worked!  It blended quite well, smelled just fine and it worked!  I’m not 100% sure that I will give up the regular dry shampoo just yet, but I’m glad I found a natural solution that I can make at home and use frequently.

All in all, I would call this one successful Pinned & Tried Beauty Hack!

Just 2 things

You know those days when you put on your clothes and you’re feeling blah?  The clothes look fine (or maybe they don’t), but you just aren’t feeling it?

Then there are the days where you feel like you have kicked it up a notch (thanks, Emeril). You know those days, right?

Well, there are two pieces in my wardrobe that make me feel pretty good or even cool when I wear them.  It’s my faux leather jacket and my animal print slip ons.

A couple of years ago, I was shopping with friends and they were hot on buying a leather or faux leather jacket.  I didn’t realize they were back in style. Not surprising as I am usually late to any fashion party😉   When I saw the moto style jacket on them, I thought hmmm, maybe this is a trend I should jump on. So, I jumped and found myself this faux moto style jacket at Winners (the Canadian version of Marshalls).  I honestly wasn’t sure how often I would wear it, so I thought I’d test the waters before I invested the big bucks into a real leather jacket.  It was less than $50, so how could I refuse it?  Here we are two years later and I still have it.  I don’t wear it a lot, but when I do?  I feel pretty darn good in it.

My second feel good item?  The animal print shoes.  They are another purchase from Winners.  Steve Madden has made these easy to wear, comfortable and fashionable shoes and I absolutely love them.  They might just be my favourite pair.

 

It’s hard to believe that just these two pieces can change how I feel.  Do you have something in your closet that you absolutely love?  I’m curious to know what it is.

linking up with:The Pleated PoppyShopping My ClosetReasons to DressThe Blended BlogCurly Crafty MomJersey Girl Texas HeartHappiness at Mid-LifeJaymie AshcroftFashion Should Be FunJo-Lynne ShanePosh Classy MomElegance and MommyoodMore Pieces of MeSincerely Jenna Marie

Getting a Fix

This sounded like my dream come true since I’ve become the reluctant shopper (husband’s nickname for me). Have you heard the commercials and seen the Facebook ads for Stitch Fix?

To break it down, you go online, create a profile, answer some questions regarding your personal style and preferences and hit the save button. You choose a date to receive your “Fix” and then a mystery stylist sends you a box of goodies she has selected for you based on your profile.

The box arrives like this and includes a card with photos and styling tips and a prepaid envelope for returns.

I opened it up, very curious to see what my stylist had chosen. It it were two cami/tank-styled tops, a pair of boyfriend jeans, gray jogger pants and a floral dress.

It was easy to see why she had sent me the pieces she had based on the profile I had created. I live in boyfriend jeans and tanks with sweaters or jackets. That being said, I didn’t need another pair of said jeans so I knew I wasn’t going to keep those. The jogger pants would be easy to style with the suggestions she sent me and I was thisclose to keeping those except they made my butt look a little bigger than I prefer so I added those to the return pile as well.

The grayish/greenish tank had a crocheted panel at the top which was cute but the fabric felt like it would pill after a couple wears so that was a no. Also cute was the black overlay tank. The problem was that in my profile I had specified that I liked things to fit looser around the middle and this was too loose. Almost maternity looking. Out.

Finally there was the dress. I don’t wear a lot of dresses but since I was trying things on…

 

dress

 

It’s a keeper, I think! Kinda cute, lightweight and comfortable. So 1 out of 5 ain’t bad for a first go. The styling card suggested this dress with a denim jacket, which wasn’t in the box. Guess this reluctant shopper needs to go shopping.

linking up with:  The Pleated PoppyShopping My ClosetReasons to DressMummy ChroniclesThe Blended BlogHappiness at MidlifeCurly Crafty MomJaymie AshcraftFashion Should Be FunJo-Lynne Shane,Posh Classy Mom,Garay TreasuresMore Pieces of MeSincerely, Jenna Marie

 

Sorry, girls :(

Nothing better than a great shoe find! I made a quick trip to Nordstrom Rack in search of tees and tanks for my girls yesterday.

Sadly, they still have nothing to wear in this record heat we are experiencing in Seattle right now but I found some great shoes for myself!

I just happened to glance down the shoe aisle on the way to the kid’s section and these practically jumped out at me!


Camo, Stuart Weitzman, half price. Need I say more?

I can always shop for the girls tomorrow…

linking up with: The Pleated PoppyShopping My ClosetJersey Girl, Texan HeartJo-Lynne ShaneJaymie AshcraftFashion Should Be FunMore Pieces of MeSincerely Jenna MarieStyle Nudge Shoe & Tell

Too much denim?!

I never thought I would use this title as a blog post.  Denim on denim reminds me of the 80s and more specifically of my bad denim choices during those years.  Mainly, acid wash jeans and a matching jacket.  But I digress.

Although I have seen other bloggers and fashionistas post pictures of denim on denim, I knew this was a look I couldn’t pull off.   Until just a few weeks ago when I didn’t have a choice.

We arrived on the California coast after a few days in the desert.  The desert was hot and the coast was 20 degrees cooler!!   In my efforts to travel light on this trip, I figured I didn’t need a lot of layers since most of the trip was in Palm Springs. So I  wore a jean jacket on the plane with leggings (#cuteoutfit) and packed a pair of jeans.  One jacket and one pair of jeans – both denim and both not meant to be worn together.

But on the evening of day one on the coast, I was cold.  It was sunny, but cool and windy.  So as we headed out for dinner, I broke my rule of no denim on denim.

Much to my surprise, I think it worked!  The jacket was much darker than the jeans so there was contrast. #thatsagoodthing

I probably won’t do this again in the near future but I think in despite of my packing fail, I think I survived denim on denim.

linking up with: Fashion Should Be FunCurly Crafty MomJaymie AshcroftJo-Lynne ShaneLifestyle by JoulesHappiness at Mid-lifeGaray Treasures

More Graphic Shirts

Is it possible that I keep finding such cute graphic tees?  I really like my sister’s new one.  She wrote about it here.

I found all of these during a trip to the mall with a friend.  She was on the hunt for a dress and I was along for the ride.  So, when I wasn’t helping her, I was finding these.


  
  

This roundup was from Old Navy, Nordstrom, The Bay, and RW & Co.

My two favs are The Happy Camper shirt that I found at Nordstrom (no surprise it’s grey) and the blue shirt with the anchor from Old Navy.  I’m sad to say that I didn’t buy either of them.  Boo!

Which one would you buy?

linking up with: Fashion Should Be FunJaymie AshcraftCurly Crafty MomHappiness at Mid-lifeMore Pieces of MeSincerely Jenna MarieThe Pleated PoppyJersey Girl Texan Heart