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…
My Weird Travel Quirks

My Weird Travel Quirks

My Weird Travel Quirks
One of the first things my husband accepted about me were my weird travel habits. I’m a strange, anxiety-filled duck when it comes to most things, but I get even weirder when it comes to travel. I honestly don’t know why I’m still like this after travelling every month for the past two years. Yet here we are.  
I always bring a pillow. Like a full sized one. From our bed. Regardless of how limited we are on space, I somehow always manage to jam my pillow into the suitcase to bring along with me despite Alex’s eye rolling.
I always have to have peanut butter M&Ms. I rarely eat them any other time, but when I’m travelling it’s a must. Anyone else have a weird travel-only snack you just have to have?
Now this one has to be the planner girl in me, but I always pack early. We’re talking a week early on average. I like to pick out the clothes I want to bring with me early so I don’t wear them before we leave. Plus I’m constantly paranoid I’m going to forget something (like a hairbrush I’m constantly forgetting) so in my head packing early means I have more time to think about what I need. Without fail, no matter how often we travel, I still pack like I haven’t traveled in years. 
Now so far these aren’t too crazy, but I also always use Google maps to check what food will be around me. I’m weirdly paranoid that despite living in the 21st century and really only travelling domestically, I won’t be able to find food. Like come on Kayla, there’s a Starbucks around every corner. You’re good. And yet about a week before we leave for a trip I find myself frantically googling food within walking distance of our hotel. Just in case I find myself starving to death.
Regardless of knowing where all the closest food sources are to the hotel, I still bring enough snacks to feed four people for a week. Without fail. Now that TSA requires you to take out snacks I look like I’m emptying a grocery cart every time I go to a security checkpoint. Apparently my fear of hunger knows no bounds.
What are some of your weird travel quirks? Make me feel less insane!

My Top 5 Travel Tips

My Top 5 Travel Tips

We talked about travel anxiety in a recent post, but I wanted to dive into the tricks I’ve learned along the way that has made travel a breeze. I travel about once a month and these tips make it possible.
Join every frequent flyer program you can find. No matter what airline I’m flying on, I make sure I’m part of their program to get points for the flights. That way, one day down the road I’ll have enough points for free travel. It seems silly if you don’t use the same airline that often, but over time it can really pay off. Plus the programs are free so what does it hurt?
Along the same lines of frequent flyers are credit card points. Depending on what card you have, you’ll receive points from purchases. We run our entire business through our credit cards in order to get the most points possible. We use those to pay for flights and hotels for conferences and events. As long as you pay off your credit card balance in full every month, it’s basically like the credit card company is paying for your travel.
Once you’re actually traveling, pack Ziplock bags with you. I usually bring one gallon bag with a few sandwich bags inside. You never know when you’ll need a ziplock bag. It’s great to keep your liquids separate from other things in your bag if they happen to spill. Maybe you went swimming the night before your flight leaves and still have a wet swimsuit. They’re great to have on hand, just in case.
I’ve personally never been very good at documenting a trip while I’m on it, so I recommend keeping daily adventure lists of what you get up to. Nothing too fancy, just a list of places you went, things you saw, and food you ate. That way when you get back home you won’t have to remember all the details when you’re trying to document the trip.
Although I’m a bit biased with this one, film it. Film the entire trip in one capacity or another. Even if it’s just short clips on your phone, you’ll love being able to look back and see better snippets than just posed photos. Phone storage is way better these days so you won’t have to worry about using up your space.
Any other seasoned travelers out there? What are your top tips?
film it
How to Deal with Travel Anxiety

How to Deal with Travel Anxiety

How to Deal with Travel Anxiety
Oh travel anxiety. I swear no matter how often I travel I still get anxious before flights. What’s that about brain?! While I try to figure out a way to trick my brain out of anxiety, here are some things I do that could help you reduce travel apprehension. 
Do your research. A lot of my anxiety stems from a lack of control. I like having information, the more the better. So I always do my research about what’s around the hotel I’m staying at so I know options for food and shopping if I happen to need something. I look into weather forecasts and the distance from the airport to the hotel. I print off schedules if I’m going to a conference. The more information I can find the more at ease I am.
Have a packing list that you can continually update after every travel adventure. For the longest time I kept forgetting my hairbrush. Nothing annoys a planner more than when things don’t go according to plan. So now I stick firmly to a packing list on my laptop that I’ll print out and use for every trip. 
Set a loose schedule of what you want to do at the destination. The key word is loose. I tend to have a problem of over planning which leads to expectations being crushed when we don’t get to everything on my impossibly long schedule. I like to choose two to three main things I want to do every day and leave room for a little planned spontaneous (see what I did there) adventures in between.
Prepare where you can and try to let go of worrying about what you can’t. This is a discussion Alex and I have constantly. I can’t control if our plane is delayed or not, but I can control whether or not I have things to do if it is. Have things in place just in case some of those silly anxieties actually come true, but don’t stress about things you can’t control.
Now plan that next adventure and face that travel anxiety head on. Don’t miss out on amazing memories.