All Posts By

Lauren Cook

How to Maximize Flying in Coach

By | DIY, Home

With the holidays rapidly approaching, it seems like the airline industry would be a pretty lucrative business. As if Christmas weren’t expensive enough – with buying gifts for family and friends (and maybe that cute co-worker) – buying a plane ticket seems inevitable, but usually isn’t something you splurge on. As you search on travel comparison sites trying to find the best deal, you usually end up with a coach ticket. “But I got a good deal!” At least that’s what you tell yourself as you board the back of the airplane and sit in a seat that could afford to be 10 inches wider.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you survive that coach seat and maximize your cost-effective travel experience.


Buy An Organizer

Whether it’s wrangling all your charging cables or trying to shove all your travel necessities into your small carry-on, it can seem impossible to have everything you need at your fingertips. Thankfully, some genius out there created a hanging airplane organizer so we don’t have to suffer. This “High Altitude Flight Bag” includes space for all your electronics, a built-in charging system, magazines and books AND it straps onto the back of the seat in front of you for incredibly easy access to everything you need.

Bring Your Own Snacks

No one likes a “hangry” passenger. It always seems that when I travel, I get on the plane feeling full and content, and about two hours into my flight, I start to wonder when the heck I’m getting some mini pretzels. This might seem like a no-brainer but remember to stuff your carry-on with snacks, so you can eat food you actually enjoy, on your own time. So what if first class is being served grilled chicken with couscous? You’ve got Skinny Pop and a Kind bar.

Invest in a Portable Charger

There is nothing worse than imagining your device dying right in the middle of Pride and Prejudice on your four-hour flight. Okay, there are definitely worse things to imagine, but that device can be a lifeline to entertainment, and without it, you have to resort to reading SkyMall – and wonder if you’d really use that gourmet hot dog roaster. Thankfully, there’s a ton of great portable chargers out there, like this one, that can power up to three devices at the same time with high-speed recharging.

Don’t Wear Bulky Clothing

As Shakira famously sang, “my hips don’t lie,” I am beginning to feel that in my soul every time I sit down in an airplane seat. I’m not sure if I’m getting bigger, or the seats are getting smaller, but it’s become downright uncomfortable to squeeze myself into these tiny coach seats. It can be annoying to constantly fidget, trying desperately not to have any part of your lower body touch the person next to you. In an effort to (somewhat) avoid this inevitable predicament, try wearing yoga pants or a light fabric on your lower half. This will maximize the small amount of wiggle room you have and, as a bonus, you won’t get overheated when you’re seated at the back of the plane next to a window.

Splurge a little

Yes, buy the $12 wine that comes in a plastic bottle! Here’s my philosophy: you’ve already done  a fabulous job of saving money by purchasing your coach seat. If that $12 bottle of wine – although somewhat frivolous – puts you at ease and makes the flight easier for you, then by all means, do it. Thankfully, most flights have a full menu from which to order, with everything from tapas boxes to cheeseburgers.

How to Revamp Your Christmas Decor on a Budget

By | DIY, Home

Christmas time is here! Happiness and fear! Just kidding, the lyrics are actually “happiness and cheer” but I know when the holidays roll around, it seems like stress and fatigue are my primary emotions.

On top of making sure gifts are bought and Christmas cookies are baked, making your place look like a winter wonderland might not be your top priority. But, thankfully, you have me: I love design and decor — and saving money. Read on to get lots of little tips and tricks to help turn your space into a place that would make Santa proud.

Buy After the Season

After the Christmas rush, all the stores put on major sales, sometimes as much as 90% off. You’re definitely going to want to capitalize on these sales because, although it may seem odd to buy after the holiday ended, you’re going to thank your past-self for being frugal and organized.

Repurpose What You Already Own

This can be a really fun activity and all it takes is a little bit of craftiness. One of the best ways to repurpose Christmas decorations is by spray painting old ornaments to the desired colors. You can even use masking tape as a stencil to make stripes or designs on the ornament.

Another great way to update what you already have is by flocking your old tree. Flocking is the fake snow that can be added to a Christmas tree to make it look realistic and snowy. Is there anything better than that? It creates whimsy and makes the tree look brand new. Thankfully, it can be easily done at home and there are plenty DIY articles out there that can help. You can also buy flocking kits like this one, to make that old tree look brand new.

Use Trays to Draw Your Eye In

In the design world, it’s important to have a focal point for your eyes. That’s why centerpieces on tables, or in large areas, are so important. Without them, the pieces used in the decor don’t flow, or draw your eye. A simple tray, like this one, can keep everything tight and together for a perfect centerpiece. When working with these trays, play around with different heights. Maybe you want two Nutcracker figurines anchoring each back corner of the tray, with a long, rectangular sign that says “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” in the middle, and pine cones or holly berry scattering the bottom of tray. Get creative with this one.

Shop at the Dollar Sections/Stores

As much as you might roll your eyes when you think about those discount stores and sections, they will actually become your best friend when you decorate. Don’t discredit the discounts. A lot of times, dollar stores will have cheap, fake flowers that you can use to make fabulous arrangements. You can even spray paint (noticing a trend?) these flowers to your desired colors. And, usually you can find unique little vases or boxes to put the arrangement in. What I love about this tip is you can really get creative and have fun with it. There are no rules, so you can just make them up as you go along.

Pick a Theme and Stick to it

Out of all of the tips I’ve shared, this final tip is a mantra in my life: embrace a theme. Pick  something that anchors the decor and creates cohesion in the space. A theme helps you decide: silver or gold, polka dots or stripes, candy canes or gingerbread. It can honestly be a decorative lifeline. What I love about choosing a theme ahead of time is that you’re essentially creating a plan for the pieces you’re going to buy. Let’s say your Christmas theme is “whimsical winter wonderland” (how fun is it to name your theme?) and you want your primary colors to be silver and white with splashes of pastel colors as accents. It makes it that much easier to buy your ornaments, lights, and decor.If you’re not one to get the creative juices flowing, fear not. Inspiration is everywhere. Follow Pinterest accounts like this one and track what the Instagram bloggers are doing to their homes. You’ll be easily inspired to pick a fabulous Christmas theme that you will look forward to every holiday season.

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