DATE NIGHT: our tradition

When Kit and I first got married, we moved to Columbia to work for a non-profit outreach ministry called Young Life. We realized quickly that even though we were married and worked together, we didn’t get a lot of quality time together, just the two of us.

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Once we realized that we had obligations most nights of the week, we decided to block of Thursday nights to have a date each week. Some weeks that looks like picking up sushi or grilling at home and watching a movie or riding our bikes at Clemson Extension and having a picnic.

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But what we’ve really loved is exploring Columbia and trying new restaurants!  When we first moved here and Kit would meet friends for lunch he would ask them to pick a new local place that he hadn’t been yet.

My husband loves food. Seriously, he’ll try anything (except fruit but that’s another story).

We’ve fallen in love with a lot of the local restaurants in our town. If you have a favorite Columbia spot please let me know so that we can make sure we try it out!

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ORGANIZING: travel for work

Traveling for work is usually a lot of fun! It can also seem stressful when trying to figure out what you should bring and how are you going to make it all fit. Here are some tips that I use when packing for a work trip.

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Tip 1: Think Through the Trip the Week Before.

What city are you going to? What is the weather going to be like? How much free time will you have?  Think through what you’ll need for the work aspect and what you’ll need if you have any down time. If you’ll have free afternoons do you need tennis shoes to go sight seeing? Will you have time to exercise? Are you going to a nice dinner? Next, if you have the space in your home, start folding or stacking items over to the side as you think of things you want to bring throughout the week. (We have a tiny master bedroom so I lay out my suitcase in the guestroom and toss items in my bag throughout the week)

Tip 2: Pack in a Carry On.  

The last thing you want is to land in a new city for a conference and your bag not make it till the day you leave. This will also help you not over pack! I’ve found the less I bring on work trips the easier it is to get ready in the morning because I only have one outfit option for that day.

Tip 3: Minimize What you Bring.

Don’t waste space with items the hotel room and/or conference will have. You don’t need to bring a hair dryer, shampoo, lotion, water bottle, pens, pillow, robe, etc. (I look up the hotel I am staying in to see what amenities are provided) Think strategically about what you have space for in your suitcase. If you can substitute an ipad for your laptop then bring it instead. Your ipad can store movies/music for the plane ride, books, and bring an attachable keyboard to type notes at the conference. Most likely your ipad charger is also the same charger as your phone!

Tip 4: Pack Items with Variety.

When thinking through clothing items, try to bring black or neutral items that you can re-wear throughout the week. (I always bring a pair of my favorite black jeans) Think about shoe options: can you wear them multiple days in a row? Can you dress them up or down? (I usually pack a pair of flats and/or booties that don’t give me blisters and I know I could wear to a nicer dinner or around the conference/meetings all day)

Tip 5: Pack with Strategy.

Start with rolling your clothes tightly and try matching items that are about the same size. Then line the bottom of the suitcase first. I continue to stack and place items in the exact right spot so I use every inch of the suitcase. Use socks to place in the odd gaps between shoes. (I also try to pack as much as I can in my suitcase so my purse doesn’t weigh 1 million pounds)