My #1 Travel Must Have | Cadence Capsules

My #1 Travel Must Have | Cadence Capsules

Travel. The thing that sets my soul on fire and my anxiety brain spinning. If I don’t have a trip on the calendar to obsess over at all times, am I really living? Over the years I’ve perfected my travel items down to a science. And these Cadence Capsules play a huge part in my obsessively streamlined packing routine.

Instagram ads got me good with this one. About a year ago I kept seeing these capsules pop up on my feed and I caved. And boy am I glad I did. These are a serious game changer.

How They’re Built

They capsules are small but mighty. They hold a surprising amount of product, have rounded edges inside for easy scooping, and have completely spill proof lids. The tops are magnetic so they can click to the side of the capsule to hold it in place. The tiles on top? Magnetic so you can switch them around. The capsules themselves? Also magnetic. So they can click together in whatever formation you need to fit into your bag.

Plus it’s damn pretty to open your toiletry case to see these beautiful babies rather than a mess of bottles and half used samples. Aesthetics can matter when it comes to a relaxing trip.


You’re able to choose the capsule color, the tile color, and what’s printed on the tile of each of your cubes. They even have symbol options as well. And since the tiles are removeable, you can mix and match what you need for a particular trip.

Cadence cubes review

Customer Service

This company by far has the absolute best customer service I’ve ever dealt with. When I first purchased from them, they didn’t have the option to order just the top tiles, but they sent me two for free with the customization I wanted on them anyway. I recently had a cube fracture near the seal. I contacted them and they’re sending a replacement cube AND an extra one while requesting I send them back the broken one so they can make sure this doesn’t happen to other customers. INSANE SERVICE.


Now at first $76 for six capsules was a hard price to get over. But knowing about the customer service and just how amazing these are at reducing the bulk in my toiletries bag so I can pack lighter, I’d buy them again in a heartbeat. I have already purchased another six beyond the first ones I ordered.

I’m not being paid for this post. They don’t even have an affiliate program which is a major bummer. They’re just that damn good that I had to tell you about them.

10 Things to Do Before Leaving for a Vacation

10 Things to Do Before Leaving for a Vacation

I’m less than 24 hours away from a trip to Colorado to go white water rafting for my 30th birthday. So these things are definitely on my mind. I’m notorious for NOT doing these things then coming home to a hot mess of a house. So it felt appropriate to write this blog post today to encourage myself to do these things, and encourage you to do them as well.

1. Change your sheets and make your bed

I am not one of those make-your-bed every day kind of people. Quite possibly the exact opposite. But nothing is better than coming home to clean sheets and a clean bed. I often will change the sheets the night before our trip so it’s easy to remake it in the morning of travel. That way it’s flop-in worthy upon return.

2. Empty the fridge

Throw out the leftover pizza and anything that will expire before you return. No one wants to deal with spoiled milk after extensive travel. Tidy up the fridge so you can easy do a grocery shop upon your return.

3. Water your plants

They’ll die in your absence. If you’re gone for an extended amount of time, enlist a friend to come water them once a week. When Alex and I lived a month in Hawaii, we brought all our plants into one room with a good window. It made it easier for my mom to water them for us.

4. Prepare your pets

If you have pets I’m sure you’re already preparing them for travel. This particular trip we’re going on is for six days, so I’ve set up a friend to come feed our cats once a day and to change the litter box a few times. Shorter, weekend trips I’ll leave out extra food and water for them. Longer trips (like the month-long Hawaii one) I arranged housing for them. Give ’em some extra snuggles while you’re at it.

5. Empty the sink of dishes

This is one that I suck at doing and always, ALWAYS regret when I come home. Even if it’s just putting the dirty dishes into the dishwasher, get them out of your sink. They’ll end up smelling, attracting bugs, and just being a gross welcome home present to yourself.

6. Set your thermostat

Turn your thermostat up or down based on the time of year while you’re away. It’ll save money and you won’t be heating or cooling an empty house.

7. Clean off your counters

Toss out the junk mail pile and put things away. You’ll feel amazing coming home to a nice space.

8. Prepare your mail/lawn maintenance

Depending on the length of your trip you’ll want to hold your mail or have someone collect it for you. If you have a lawn, ask a neighbor or a friend to mow it for you if possible.

9. Get your laundry in a good position

I’m not saying you need to do all of your laundry right before you leave, but get it in a good spot. Meaning don’t leave anything in the wash to rot while you’re gone. I like to make sure everything is in the baskets in the laundry room and nothing in between stages. So if I’ve recently dried something, I’ll make sure it gets folded and put away.

10. Set your out of office alert

The best part of all. Make sure you set an out of office on your email, turn off your computer, and prepare for an awesome work-free vacation.

The Best Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Best Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii

My husband Alex and I are wrapping up our month long stay in Kona, Hawaii. It has been a once-in-a-lifetime trip that has us feeling recharged, inspired, and beautifully tan. Over the past 29 days we’ve explored all over the island and I’ve gathered over 15 of our favorite things in no particular order that you should check out if you are ever on the Big Island.


It’s an insane experience to touch an octopus at Kanaloa Octopus Farm. I didn’t know what to expect when we booked a tour (and the $50 ticket had my Midwest cheap heart aflutter), but this tour did not disappoint. We learned about the breeding efforts of Kanaloa Farm, but got quickly into playing with the various octopuses. It’s something you 100% have to try for yourself. You’re also given the opportunity to feed them! If you take nothing else from this post, do this.


On your way to Hilo for a day trip, don’t forget to stop at Kaumana caves. This massive lava-tube cave formed in 1881 and is an amazing place to explore. Be sure to bring a flashlight if you want to go deeper into the caves as a cell phone light just doesn’t cut it. 


After checking out the Kaumana Caves before heading to ‘Akaka Falls (see further down), be sure to stop at Tetsumen for an amazing bowl of ramen. You can customize it anyway you like and the dining experience is incredibly unique. If you find yourself still hungry afterward, the Manono Street Marketplace the restaurant is in also hosts a cupcake shop and a boba tea shop.


Although this is a bit of a drive from Kona and the airport, it’s one of our favorite beaches on the island. It backs up to a small forest of trees with ample shade to spend hours in. The waters here boast larger fish than other snorkeling spots and there are sometimes turtles. Plus the bathrooms are better than most and the showering area to remove sand is impressive. 


Take the drive to ‘Akaka Falls state park and enjoy the easy-to-walk Loop Trail. You do have to pay to enter this state park and I recommend parking along the road leading into the park for cheaper prices. The entire path is paved and there are countless spots to stop to take photos. If you’re looking for amazing Instagram photos, this is the spot.


We stumbled upon this place when Shaka Tacoz (see below) happened to be closed one day. This has to be some of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. There are awesome views of the ocean from the back patio and service is incredibly quick. Plus they have a lot of local beers to try as well.


We’re saving this for when we come back to the Big Island in a few months with my family, but everyone we talk to says this is a must do. Boats light up the ocean and dozens of manta rays come to feed. It’s apparently an INSANE experience that I’ll definitely update this post about when we do it.


Located next to a lot of the tourist shopping centers, Scandinavian Shave Ice is the cutest little shop with a seriously impressive amount of flavors. If you rather just have a scoop of ice cream, they can deliver. They have recommendations of flavor combinations and their staff is incredibly helpful and friendly.


Let’s face it, we’re all tourists at one point or another. The Kona Inn Shopping Village is a great place to find gifts to bring back home, clothes, and treats. Across the street is free public parking as well as the Kona Farmers Market. There are a number of really great restaurants in this area. Foster’s Kitchen is definitely up there on the list for amazing food and equally impressive views of the ocean. Plus Scandinavian Shave Ice is right nearby.


One of our favorite takeout places on the island has to be Broke Da Mouth Grindz. Prepare yourself for a bit of a wait for your food, or call to order ahead. We didn’t find a single thing we didn’t like on the menu and they have a variety of homemade lemonades to choose from. The staff is incredibly friendly and makes fantastic recommendations if you don’t know what to get. So good we ate here a few times during our stay.


No matter where you’re staying on the Big Island, be sure to take a moment to enjoy the epic sunrises and sunsets. It’s in those simple moments that make travelling to Hawaii such a memorable experience.


I’m all about dive food experiences and Shaka Tacoz is amazing flavor for the value. Order in a cute little building, but pick up your food from the food truck out front. I definitely recommend getting the pork tacos and making a stop on Tuesday for a discount. On Sundays across the street there is an amazing craft and farmer’s market.


Rent a car and spend a day or two just exploring the island. The Big Island has an insane number of different environments from lava fields to dense forests. It feels like you’re exploring the Mars surface on this island.


There are some amazing snorkel spots on the Big Island, but Two Step has got to be my favorite. I’ve never seen coral, drop offs, and fish variety like I have at Two Step. Parking is a bit of a pickle, so get there early. There is very little sandy spaces at Two Step, so keep that in mind with smaller children or if you prefer sun bathing. You walk across a patch of lava rock and get straight into a fairly deep section. It’s basically “two steps” until you’re in the ocean.


While you’re exploring the island, take a pit stop at Punalu’u Beach to see some sea turtles up close. You definitely have to keep your distance, but seeing these beautiful creatures from a couple of meters away is still fantastic. The black sand is gorgeous and there are a ton of awesome places to take photos. This isn’t the best swimming beach, but the views of course are spectacular. 


A highlight of our trip, we booked a table at ULU Ocean Grill and still can’t stop talking about the amazing meal. Let’s not sugar coat it, this place is pricey, but if you want an amazing dining experience right on the ocean, it’s worth it. Book a reservation about 30-45 minutes before the sun sets for the greatest views. I recommend the Mahi Mahi or the Wagyu Strip and you definitely need to order their soufflé for dessert.  


There are amazing Farmers’ markets throughout the island at any time of the week, but the Hilo Farmers’ Market has some of the best selection of produce. If you’re looking for more souvenirs or gifts, hit up the market that’s next to Shaka Tacoz on Sundays.

No matter how long your trip is to the Big Island, you’ll definitely want to return. Try one or all of my recommendations and I’m sure you’ll be sad to leave.

Easy Ways to Memory Journal

Easy Ways to Memory Journal

If you’re anything like me then you have this weird desire to collect brochures, postcards, and bits and bobs during your travels. For so many years I’d just keep them in a box or an end table for a few months, get fed up with the clutter, then chuck them. A vicious cycle of collect, horde, toss, repeat. I had no interest in traditional scrapbooking, but wanted a way to turn these piles of memories into something more than clutter. There have been a few different renditions of my memory journal in the past, but I think I’ve finally found a style that I can stick with.

Erin Condren recently released a new collection of notebooks including a sketchbook option with blank pages. The metaphorically light bulb went off in my head and I scooped a few up in my latest EC order. The perfect blank canvas to document memories. The coils that come on the notebooks are quite small, so I took an old coil I had (I’m that big of a planner addict that I have just random coils) and recoiled it to have more room. 

And the rest is pretty damn simple. Collect things…anything…during a conference or your next trip. Keep them all together and print off sticker photos of your adventure. Sit down and just start adding them into your book. It really is just that simple. I never have any spreads in mind or layout styles. I group like things together and use copious amounts of Tombow Adhesive Tape to paste everything down. If I have any booklets or brochures I’ll add tape to the back of them so you can still open them and view them in the book. One of my favorite parts about this style of memory journaling is being able to open things up and interact with the pages.

Conference lanyards are another clutter annoyance that I found myself holding onto. They’re such important parts to remembering a specific event, but I found that I just wasn’t doing anything with them. So for the last conference I got a lanyard from, I decided to cut it up (*gasp*) and turn it into a paperclip to mark that section in my journal. That way I still have the memory, but without all the unnecessary clutter.

I filmed the entire process of setting up the pages in this post and exactly how I created the lanyard paper clip in the above video. Check it out for ideas and to see just HOW simple this whole thing is. If I have anything left over after finishing up the pages, I feel way better about recycling or trashing what’s left. I feel like I’ve adequately documented the experience and feel fine with letting things go.

How do you document travel or events? Are you a traditional scrapbooker, hoarder of souvenirs, or have another method?

The Womb | Frederik Meijer Gardens

The Womb | Frederik Meijer Gardens

the womb frederik meijer gardens
the womb frederik meijer gardens
the womb frederik meijer gardens
the womb frederik meijer gardens
We finally got around to seeing The Womb by Rebecca Louise Law at Frederik Meijer Gardens before it leaves March 1, 2020. It definitely did not disappoint. Frederik Meijer Gardens is a must-see if you’re ever in Grand Rapids, Michigan and one of the few places we never get tired of visiting.
Photographs by Alexander K. Benda
Travel Essentials

Travel Essentials

Another trip is right around the corner (Houston for PlannerCon Parties) and my brain is already telling me to pack. You’d think after travelling at least once a month for two years straight that nagging voice in my head would go away by now. But we are who we are.
I’ve become a bit of a packing pro over the years and have fine tuned the essentials I take with me every trip. There are a couple new additions to the mix since we started doing personal item only travel (we’re midwest cheap at its best).
Since we’re rocking personal items only, I usually pack a small purse I can pull out later and use while exploring. Just big enough for a wallet and my phone. This brown one gets a lot of questions whenever I post it on Instagram. It’s from a secondhand store and is the perfect little travel companion.
I was gifted these Sudio headphonesearlier this year from the company and they’re a complete game changer. They’re bluetooth, but also still have a headphone cord to plug into the screens on planes. Plus they’re noise cancelling and hella cute. I definitely lucked out with this one.
There’s always a water bottle (this one Oh, Hello Promo made for a client) and my vlogging camera in the mix. I recently added the new Erin Condren Accordion Pouch to the lineup as well to separate out toiletries. My pouch loving ways can’t get over the genius idea to attach separate pouches together. GENIUS.
As far as planning tools go, I’ll sometimes bring my to-do list planner, but more often than not I just bring a pocket traveler’s notebook to write down ideas I have or things I don’t want to forget to do when I get home. I store all my writing tools in my Erin Condren Planny Pack and attach it to the TN or a memory notebook if I’ve brought one.
I started bringing a couple of thank you notes when I travel to leave for housekeeping or people we visit. It’s a nice little gesture that doesn’t take up any packing space but leaves a seriously great impression. How else am I going to get invited back?!
I keep cotton pads in a little jar and makeup wipes for super lazy days in a soap holder. That way they’ll stay damp and I’m not bringing a huge package along with me or unnecessary plastic from a travel pack.
With personal item only travel I had to get super creative with how I pack EVERYTHING. I found these little craft storage jars at the dollar store and use them to decant products into them. I’m super picky about my toothpaste and it doesn’t come in a travel size so this is perfect! Evil genius status achieved.
The next time we travel with actual carry-ons or (heaven forbid) a CHECKED bag I won’t know what to do with myself. You mean I can pack clothing OPTIONS!??! Now that’s just crazy talk…