Keeping in pattern with my summer blog series’ here is my 2nd installment of…
My Thirty-One Life!!!
Have no fear, as previously promised, it will not be a series about sales pitches! I PROMISE! It will instead be a series of blogs about areas in my life and home that I have dramatically transformed with the addition of a few stylish & functional Thirty-One products and a little “Stick To It”! Not every product I highlight is going to necessarily be represented in a current pattern and in some cases it may even include the use of a previously retired product but in those cases, I will provide alternative options that are currently available. Now obviously I AM going to encourage you to implement these ideas in your life, how & where they apply by using Thirty-One products and I am certainly going to link to my Thirty-One website to encourage that you contact me to place those orders BUT I also encourage that you implement these ideas with optimum effectiveness in your little world. I am fully aware that personal taste, budgetary restraints, and specific lifestyle needs may vary and not always accommodate Thirty-One being your perfect solution, and I never want to force feed my love of my products on others, rather simply share that love, and its miraculous function & effect on my home…
This Weeks Problem:
My family of 6 was heading out on a Disney World Vacation at the end of this last August. It would be our 2nd trip as a family, but the 1st trip since my 4th daughter was born. Our 1st Family Disney World Vacation had been just over 5 years previous, at the time my 3 oldest girls were 9 (she turned it on our trip!), 3 1/2, and 15 months. It was a magical trip, one I’m sure to detail in a future post, but we were newbies and some things you just don’t learn without experience. I had done an ENORMOUS amount of researching, planning and preparing for that trip and it went very well, but there were some things I wanted to do differently, prepare better for, and all around execute in an even more magical way for our second trip.
I can say that the second trip was even more magical!!! I’m not sure how much of that was actually thanks to my efforts though! Disney really has a way with the details!!! There were a few things I must thank Thirty-One for enabling! See, I didn’t discover Thirty-One until a few months after we got home from our first trip to Disney World so there were ZERO Thirty-One products in use by my family at that time. For our second trip, I was excited to look at Thirty-One because I was certain it was going to help me be more organized, prepared & effective while traveling so there was a larger chance of spending the whole trip making magical memories again!!! Here are the area’s I had hoped to improve with the help of Thirty-One products:
1.) I didn’t want to have to spend another small fortune on Autograph books, for four now no less. I had done so for our last trip, and I really enjoyed watching my girls venture with their autograph books & matching pen up to the character’s directing them where to sign. We had fantastic moments with the Characters during our first trip and that resulted in amazing photographic documentation thankfully! Those autograph books that I had justified paying a small fortune for the first time were completely lost when our family suffered a small flood just a single year later. The keepsakes I thought I was purchasing were not around anymore to reflect back on so spending another small fortune knowing we were capturing those signature’s on just paper seemed so much less valuable our second trip….
2.) I wanted to find a way to NOT be the one bogged down carrying everything that all 6 of us could possibly need. The first trip I had a diaper bag, a travel cooler and a mom bag crammed under my double stroller, that mom bag was quickly transformed into the “everyone’s everything bag” and this was not going to be the case this trip if I had anything to say about it….
3.) We drove down the first trip and our van was complete chaos. We had a big hard plastic rolling cooler for snacks & drinks to eliminate unnecessary stopping or spending, pillows everywhere, and piles of “entertainment” for the kids everywhere as well. We had everything we needed but it was not a pretty sight and a little crowded. With another child and the older girls taller, I wanted to figure out right off the bat how to entertain them all and somehow take up less space because we had an additional seat full with a body. This was going to present the biggest challenge I felt…..
Because I learned about Thirty-One (and became a consultant) just a few short months after returning from our first trip the two were virtually intertwined in my brain. When paging through a catalog the very first time I couldn’t help but see all the ways these products would have simplified our Disney World trip. I had been planning our product attack to our second trip with every new catalog that came out in those 5 years until we finally booked it! After the dates were set, the trip was booked and we were officially going back to Walt Disney World…
…I took to my most current Thirty-One Catalog…
…and as a consultant, I already had a plan of attack!
1.) Instead of the same approach to the autograph books, I printed some fun pages to put in miniature binders that I purchased for each of my girls to have “line entertainment”. I included a pdf of those Disney Line Game Binders here (I cut each 8 1/2 x 11 printed sheet in half and punched holes in them to fit them in the mini binders I picked up at Office Max to use for this idea and I stuck a plain white shipping label on the front of each one so my girls could each write their own names & decorate the labels).I decided that for the sake of each of the girls getting to have something signed this would suffice (they also became popular to wind down at the resort at night once they were cleaned up for bed each night!). For the sake of the capturing the signature’s for a keepsake factor, I had already decided though that this was going to be our solution!
I ordered an 18×18 sized one (there is a 24×24 Statement Pillow Cover also available) for our family trip and I was sure to personalize it for the months we were going to be there during. I chose the Print vs. Embroidery option of personalization and selected the “Full Circle” print. I used “WDW” in Black for the monogram in the center of the circle and with 20 characters/letter & spaces for each the top and bottom half of the circle, I used capital letters to start each word instead of differentiating words with spaces & wasting letters. With this method, I was able to fit “WhereDreamsComeTrue” in Red on the top row, but based on your family’s name, favorite characters and time of trip it can be switched up like these other sample’s below! Not to be forgotten, at $35.00 for the 18×18 sized cover it is much more affordable than paying the same price for each of your children’s autograph books!
I picked up a multi-colored 24 count set of Sharpie’s for less than $15 to take with us to be sure that we had a variety of shades allowing our autographs to be coordinated to the character themselves. My girl’s LOVED this part, getting to choose a color for most of the characters. Some they opted to let them choose their own color but most of the character’s it was a fun challenge deciding based on their movie, or outfit color, or in some cases fur color lol! The girls also really loved creating a systematic collage of autograph’s, placing princesses together and our toy pals all near each other, and our Disney Jr friends in another patch and so on! The best part is the pillow cover empty fit very nicely folded in four inside a classic Zipper Pouch along with our Sharpies, keeping them from being damaged or messed up (especially when the midday showers began briefly each day) but still close at hand. I just can’t get enough of this embroidery option!
2.) Now that the autograph book problem was solved, I was onto my next solution. I WOULD NOT be the little carry all of the trip (ha, like my pun?!) I was going to solve this problem also thanks to Thirty-One, and again, as a consultant of 5 years by this point, I already had my plan….their Cinch Sacs that I purchased, and to make each one a little extra special for them I had them personalized specifically for our trip to Disney with a quote that fit each one.
I did Road Trip Countdown Gifts for my girls to break up the monotony of the drive. Look for an upcoming blog on this idea and more of my Disney Road Trip Tips!!! Most of the “gifts” were quite inexpensive like mints, lip gloss, mini tissue packs ect. but some of the larger items I had picked up to help with this trip were also included as road gifts. The cinch sacs were the most expensive road gift and they were certainly WELL WORTH the investment and still loved and used daily, almost 10 months later!
3.) The last problem to attack was our van storage problem. Now I am not going to pretend that 6 of us drove in a Dodge Grand Caravan, down to Disney during a 22 hour drive and that our vehicle didn’t look like a nightmare inside, because it still KIND OF did, but that’s a long drive to have that many people & their travel belongings loaded into a minivan, and it honestly did still function even better with the addition of a few more Thirty-One products!
Let’s start with that big bulky plastic rolling cooler that we took last time. When we decided to take that cooler we were convinced that it was a genius idea to save us money by saving us stops for snacks & drinks and we weren’t wrong. However, what we didn’t have at the time was our 4th child. We had the floor space to place a very large bulky cooler because the seat could fold away to make room for it. The addition of my 4th daughter meant there was no way a cooler that bulky would fit. This is where Thirty-One’s collection of Thermals was a life saver the second trip! I knew the moment I first laid eyes on a Thirty-One Thermal Collection page in a catalog that my bulky plastic cooler days were gone unless we were literally camping!
I LOVE Thirty-One’s Thermal Collection to begin with. I literally am always sporting one or more of the thermals, from my Fresh Market Thermal in the back of my van daily for groceries, to my Picnic Thermal that can hang perfectly from the stroller handle thanks to its adjustable strap making it the greatest thermal companion for a day at the zoo, lunch at the park or an a whole bunch of cold water for a long day at an awesome AMUSEMENT PARK like WDW!!! Another few awesome thermals that we use daily are the Go-To Thermal, Lunch Break Thermal, Thermal Tote, Around The Clock Thermal. These are all personal lunch sized or just right for a small supply of beverages &/or snacks for my brood of 6. The one thing I will be adding to my collection for sure this month is something brand new to the catalog!
The addition of the Market Thermal, the Picnic Thermal and one or two of our lunch totes, we were set with storage for the trip when it came to our money-saving snacks & drinks and they took up so much less space than the big bulky rolling plastic cooler allowing us to fit baby girl #4 in our van! A bonus I hadn’t even considered until we were there, was that I could fold up an empty thermal and have it on hand for leftovers. We had the Disney Dining Plan and that allowed us so much food that sadly we were taking leftovers in some case, but thanks to a folded up empty thermal, we had somewhere to put those things until we got back to our resort room & mini fridge!
Side Note Worth Mentioning…
For the entire month of June 2017 Thirty-One’s Thermal Collection is available at discounted rates with every $35 purchase!
Ok sorry, too good a deal to not share, now back on topic! The last golden product that helped keep our van organized was the addition of 4 Chalk-Panel Oh-Snap Pockets to hang on the back of the seat headrests for them to put their books, headphones, and other items they wanted to keep close at hand while we drove so they didn’t wind up everywhere. Between these pockets and their cinch sacs there was so much more order to their “clutter” it made every minute in the van feel more bearable.
I hope these tips and tricks that I shared about our last trip to Walt Disney World with a 14 yr. old, 9 yr. old, 6 yr. old and a 15-month-old have helped you look at your family vacations a little differently. My last piece of advice if you are planning a vacation anywhere this summer with your kids is to invest in a great crossbody purse solution. Something that keeps your hands free but keeps those few valuable must-haves like wallets & cellphones close at hand without sporting a fanny pack! These are a few of my favorite solutions to the crossbody purse quest………
An added perk, if you splurge on one of these crossbody solutions for yourself this summer you would qualify for a thermal under the June 2017 Monthly Special!!! Now off you go to go plan your Summer Vacation or even a Staycation and remember to plan ahead for possible trouble spots of your trip and to look at the keepsakes of the trip through a different lens! Go Forth and Dazzle this summer!
As always, thanks for reading!