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Travel Planning – Websites and Apps

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One of the many things on my bucket list is to travel. Like many others I’m sure. It is so amazing now how easy travel planning has become (I said planning, budgeting is a whole different topic) with things like uh, the internet and iphones. So without further explanation, here is what I discovered and I hope it makes things easier for you.

trip1. Trip Advisorhttp://www.tripadvisor.com/

What I like
It is a great resource for reviews. You can get an idea of where you want to go almost anywhere in the world by reading what other travelers have said about sights, museums, restaurants, etc. Since you can connect it to social media outlets like Facebook you can also read what friends have said about places. All the information you need is provided for each venue (address, phone number, website, price range or cost of admission, etc.)You can also save favorites, add notes, and print out all the places you want to see. There is also an app for that. You can easily pull up your saved trip on your smartphone or device which is very convenient.

What it lacks
This was a great starting point, however, when I plan a trip I like having more of an itinerary.

visitacity

2. Visit a Cityhttp://www.visitacity.com/

What I like
This website provides you with a very detailed itinerary with options to choose an already prepared itinerary or to customize your own. If you choose one that is preplanned you can add your own things to it and even switch up the days. If you have the address to your hotel, you can add it and they will calculate travel time on your itinerary. For each venue on your itinerary it provides a suggested amount of time to spend at each location. Also, for each major location they provide all the information you need (address, phone number, cost of admission, hours of operation, and a map) This website is pretty simple to use and easy to navigate. You don’t need to have an account to use this service unless you want to save your trip and go back to it later. Otherwise, you can make your itinerary, send it to your email, and print it.

What it lacks
I wish there was an app for that, but alas, there is not. Also, there are very few locations available for making an itinerary,  just major cities, and London is one of them.

tripomatic

3. Tripomatichttp://www.tripomatic.com/

What I like
There are a lot of places to choose from and they map it all. There is also an app for that. If you make a change on the computer it will change it on your smartphone and visa versa. If you need a print out, it is available and a very nice layout too. Website is easy to use and navigate. For each place on your itinerary all the needed information is provided (address, phone number, admission, hours of operation, and travel time between locations) You can also add your accommodations to calculate travel time.  Bonus: It counts down the days till your trip (not so necessary, but I love it anyway. It gets you all excited.)
What it lacks
I wish I could combine the detailed time oriented itinerary from Visit a City with the convenient and map oriented tripomatic. That would be stupendous.

I only have 4 days to spend in London (boo hoo, right?) but here is my itinerary if you would like to check it out for inspiration.  Being a little obsessive, I truly used all three websites to create the perfect travel plan…for me.  Hope this helps.

http://www.tripomatic.com/trip-journal/534ea8a3028f8

 

 

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Happy Trails, Going Away Party

I had to quickly put together a going away party for some friends.  Couldn’t let them leave without feeling the love. I think it turned out great with such short notice.

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The centerpieces were yellow roses in mason jars with a couple Texas flags, of course,
and cowboy boots, which were purchased at the thrift store, filled with fake wild flowers. I am sure if we had vases with real wild flowers inside the boots that would have looked amazing too.

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For fun I made ad libs as a way for the guests to write funny goodbye letters, keep people laughing and busy.

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Then like all parties now, I had to do a photo booth. This way I could give my friend fun photos to remember us by.

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If you have a Cricut or Silhouette you can cut most of these shapes on your machine, if not, Google search the lips, mustaches, state shapes, etc. print, trace, and cut. Pinterest would probably have what you are looking for too. I also found some fun props at the party store like the cowboy hat, vest, and bandanas.

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Easter Table Runner Project

There is the most adorable Easter table runner floating around Pinterest. Here is the link giving all the how to’s.
http://eclecticallyvintage.com/2013/03/burlap-bunny-table-runner/

I just had to make one myself. I found the burlap runner at Hobby Lobby and used my 40% coupon. Score! I used the Americana paint color, Raw Umber. This is the result.

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I decided to leave the middle of the runner empty so I could put a center piece there. I felt that making the bunnies face each other was the best way to do that. I am happy with it. Super simple project. You know you wanna make one too.

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Easter Pinterest Projects

I started having Pinterest Parties for friends and their friends as a way to motivate myself to complete projects inspired by my pins on Pinterest. What I love about having these parties, besides completing a project, is seeing how everyone seems to change it up and do their own thing making their projects their very own.

Project #1 Easter Blocks.

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Easter Blocks

Made with a 2×4 cut in 6″, 5″, and 4″ pieces. The letters were made from the Opposites Attract Cricut cartridge but any font you have would probably look amazing too. The paint was purchased at Hobby Lobby but I believe the Americana brand can also be found at Michaels. The cost for this project per individual was $8

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Easter paint colors

Poodleskirt Pink, Banana Cream, Pistachio Mint, Whispering Turquoise, and Purple Cow

Project #2 Bunny Block

Easter Bunny Block

Made with a 2×8 cut into 8″ squares. Love the size of this block! Will have to use it again in the future. The bunny is a Silhouette pattern and the font too. The cost for this project per individual was $3.

I wish I would have taken pictures of everyone’s projects so you could see how different they all were. Mental note; Do that at the next Pinterest Party.

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Pinkalicious

My oldest is as girly as they come and she loves the book Pinkalicious.  She informed me months before her birthday that a Pinkalicious party is what she wanted. I got a lot of my inspiration from Pinterest (duh) here is my board. http://www.pinterest.com/adrianna2301/party-pinkalicious/

This is what we did.  Starting with the invitations.  I made them with the Cricut Sweet Treats cartridge.  They turned out to be so cute.

pinkalicious invites

inside invite

I believe I made the cupcakes 6″.  The light pink frosting was actually glitter paper.  I don’t think you can really tell in the picture, but it added an extra pizazz to the invites.  I should have considered writing down all the dimensions because it was a lot of trial and error to get everything the right size.

Decorating was fun.  Inspired by the book, I made a backdrop.

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The blue and green is that butcher paper you can get from education supply stores, I think JoAnne’s even has some.  The flowers were made from different pink patterned scrapbook paper and cut out with the Sweet Treats cartridge.

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Since cupcakes are the major theme in the book I made aprons for all the girls and we decorated cupcakes.

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I got the dark pink aprons from Hobby Lobby (totally affordable! especially if you catch them on sale or have the 40% off coupon which is always available online)

http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/hot-pink-child-size-apron-391516/

http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/hot-pink-child-size-apron-with-ruffle-trim-383570/

I embellished them with ruffles and such.  They turned out adorable and my sewing skills are very beginner.  In hindsight, it may have been easier to just iron on a big cupcake applique and called it good.

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The girls LOVED decorating their own cupcakes. I totally stole the painting tray idea off Pinterest.  They worked marvelously. Each child had two cupcakes one for now and one to save for later.

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The little cupcake boxes were purchased from Oriental Trading.  They have these in all sorts of colors.

http://www.orientaltrading.com/candy-pink-polka-dot-cupcake-boxes-with-handle-a2-3_6169.fltr?prodCatId=553134

The food basically consisted of pink (strawberries, watermelon, and all sorts of candy) and green; you know, to cure pinkititis (cucumbers, grapes, pickles, celery, and broccoli)

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Fineally the favors.  I went a little nuts, but on a budget of course ;-/

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The wands came from Oriental Trading, I just added tulle and ribbon.  The buckets came from Party City.  Inside is a ton of pink stuff (gum, rock candy, chap stick, etc.) and topped with a cupcake hat.  Thank goodness Grandma knits.  Then without solicitation my daughter exclaimed, “This was the best party ever!”  All that hard work validated and appreciated.

 

 

 

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Arrrgh! A Pirate Party

My youngest is a bit of a tomboy and she wanted a Pirate Party. So that is what the little buccaneer received. Many ideas inspired through Pinterest. Here is my board.

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Pinterest has really ruined me. I can no longer have a normal play in the backyard party with cake and a piñata. Now it has to be a production. Why? Good question.
I was once told the success of a party begins with the invitation’s ability to set a good impression so here is the invitation. I am pretty proud of it. I printed it up on scrapbook paper that kind of looked like a paper bag. Then, I burned the edges… carefully. The paper burns really fast if you aren’t paying attention.

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I purchased those adorable bottles from Oriental Trading. http://www.orientaltrading.com/skull-and-crossbones-invitations-in-a-bottle-a2-25_4949.fltr?Ntt=pirate

They were PERFECT!
Now onto decorations. I made most of the decorations with my cricut and the Life’s A Party cartridge. I purchased some fish netting off of Amazon.com and again from oriental trading treasure map placemats (which I had laminated)love them.
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We celebrated in the pool, or err, I mean the lagoon and went on a hunt for pirate treasure. I made up rhyming clues which lead us to the booty. I had pictures of the clue locations for the really young kids but the bigger kids enjoyed it as well.

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The treasure chest was created with one of those Styrofoam coolers and some spray paint. Super Cheap and looked good too.

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The treasure chest treat boxes inside the cooler also came from oriental trading. Pretty much love that website.

Here are the cupcakes. I did not bake them or frost them. I didn’t need the pressure of baking that many cupcakes and have them taste good. I just went to Walmart. That’s right, no shame. I got the whipped frosting and asked if they could make the frosting look like sand. The wrapper and flags were created from the Life’s A Party Cartridge as well. To get the antique look I took an ink pad and gently rubbed it on the edges. It was time consuming but totally worth it.

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