The E List.

organizing-notes-siri-gone-bad

I’ve always been a handwritten list-making kind of gal (love my organizer!), but I’m kind of digging the notepad feature on the iPhone.  Last month I used it for all my Christmas lists (to-do’s, gift ideas, and packing lists) and it was great.  I plan to have this phone for the long haul so why not venture over to electronic list making?  It’s handy and dandy and better for on-the-go note taking than using a pen and paper – I have way too many illegible notes written on the bus to work that drive me crazy.  So I’m into it.  I wouldn’t mind some bolding, underlining, or checkmark features, but I’m sure Apple’s all over that.  I’ll wait for it in the next update that will come in about a week (why is that?).

And since I recently became an absolute Instagram fanatic, you could just say I embracing technology one step at a time.

Next up?  Learning how to actually communicate with Siri.  Namely getting her to make my lists FOR me in my notepad.  I recently tried to have her jot down a shopping list while driving to Target, since all too often I go there needing to buy just 5 things but once I get in there I completely black out.  And I end up buying only 3 or 4 of the needed items, but about 10 things I did NOT need.  Anyway, my attempt did not work out so well, as you can probably see in the shot above.  That was her interpretation of “Pam Spray, Ziplock Bags, and Dish Soap”.  #thatsirisuchajokester…

I’ll Drink To That.

klean_kanteen

This post is dedicated to one of my favorite Christmas presents from 2 weeks ago.  Side note, I cannot believe I just said that – Christmas has come and gone?  Whaaa?  When did that happen?!

Santa was very generous this year and brought our family many gifts, including a big priceless one – getting to spend a week up in Waterbury Center, Vermont with my family!  It’s our family tradition since my Grandma, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins all live up there, and it rocks.  Seriously there’s nowhere else I’d rather be come then end of December.  So that was really my most cherished gift this holiday season.  Next up though?  A pair of super cute Tory Burch flats that B surprised me with (seriously – complete surprise), a super new dust buster that really sucks (ha!), a winter coat from J.Crew that I’ve been coveting for years, and these really cool water bottles from my younger bro, aka “Uncle C”.

The best part of the gift was that they came in a bag with one for me, one for B, and a baby version for A!  It was so cute – she knew it was for her right away and tried to drink from it, only to get a mouthful of air.  So cute though.

So on to why I’m really digging my Klean Kanteen.  Not only is it really sleek looking, a good size and weight, made of eco-friendly materials, but it is an awesome drink container!  It keeps cold drinks cold for 24 hours and hot drinks hot for 6 hours, and that is no lie.  Seriously, it really works!  And the outside of the bottle always stays room temperature, unlike some other stainless bottles I’ve had that get scalding hot when you use them for warmer liquids.  I love it.  Ours came with two tops, the one you see int he picture above (twist off) and a coffee cup top.  I believe you can also get a drink spout to make it more of a sports bottle.  It’s seriously an awesome water bottle!

And if you don’t believe me, check out the pic below that I took after putting ice and water in my Klean Kanteen THREE hours earlier.  No joke!

I did some googling and looks like they are available on Amazon and at REI, but they do not seem to be cheap.  Hey there big spenda Uncle C!  But if you’re in the market for an awesome new water bottle for work, working out, or just around the house (I actually do that – haven’t used a cup in about a year), I am totally digging this guy.

klean_kanteen_ice_water

Fit & Fresh Flop.

FitFresh Container Closed

I’d like to take some time today to talk about a product that I do NOT love.   I read a lot of blogs and people are always talking about their faaaaaavorite things (well, except this chick, who still cracks me up), and sometimes it just gets old.  Dislike something every once in a while!  I know there is something in your home that you just can’t stand.  Go on, think about it.

Well here is a product that had lots of potential for people who like compartments, and salads: the Fit & Fresh Salad Shaker.  (There must be at least another one of you out there, right?)  In an attempt to inspire healthy lunching I got this thing for B last Christmas.  Oh wait, he gave me a bunch of grief this weekend for bringing him up on the blog so much.  I forgot.  Let me start again.  I bought this thing for a shall-not-be-named-Chick-Fil-A-eating “pal” of mine, in hopes of helping him change his terrible lunch habits.  He did not like the looks of this thing and refused to use it.  So, Happy New Year’s Resolution Time to me!  I didn’t end up using it until a few months ago though.  You may recall that for several weeks into the new year I was still stuck in a just-returned-to-work-and-my-baby-is-still-waking-up-at-3am! fog and just scrambling to get by.  I posted about that plan of attack as a new working mom here.

I gave the Fit & Fresh a whirl a few times this past spring and am finally getting around to posting about it.  This product had so much potential.  I mean, built in dressing dispenser? (Pardon the strangely toned shots below, they were taken with my phone at work):

FitFresh Dressing Open

FitFresh Dressing Closed

Ice pack that snaps into the lid?  (Not shown here, but it nestles right into the lid on the left.)

FitFresh Lids

I was impressed.  I’ve packed a lot of salads for lunch in my day and dressing can be a big problem.  Do it in the morning when you leave the house and risk serious lettuce wilt?  Not everyone has access to a fridge in the office which makes both storing dressing at work and keeping your salad cool a challenge.  This idea seemed to address my two biggest salad-at-lunch concerns, so naturally I thought I’d love it.

Au contraire.  The size of the container is very awkward.  It’s just too big for the average lunch bag/box.  And the lid takes up most of that space since it’s designed to hold the cooler, which yes, I did just seriously talk up, but upon actually using the thing I’m not impressed at all.  The biggest disappointment?  The built in dressing dispenser!  You’re supposed to fill it and then twist it when you’re ready to use it (you can see it opened and then shut in the pics above).  Well mine twisted in my lunch bag on the way to work so my salad was dressed at 7:00am, just as if I had done it before leaving the house.  AKA, it did nothing to solve the afternoon lettuce-wilt problem.  Which was the exact reason I was intrigued by the darn thing.

So really the Fit & Fresh Salad Shaker is no more than a glorified square Tupperware container.  Which is exactly what I am back to using.  I had a great salad today at lunch with only moderately wilted lettuce, but I knew it was coming so it didn’t bother me.  I had average expectations for my rabbit food of a lunch, and it met all of them.

And so there you have it.  A Fit & Fresh Flop.  No love for the Salad Shaker from Keep It Neat.  And the worst part?  My “pal” is all over the “I told you so train”.  God I hate being wrong.

The Thrill of it All: Label Love.

Group Excitement

If you’re doing a double take on the title and image for this post, it’s not you, it’s me.   You’re probably recalling this previous post by the same name, in which I expressed my excitement over my coworker’s organized kitchen pantry re-do.

Well today I’ve got another reason to be excited about spreading the organizational love, which has sparked “The Thrill of it All” to become a new blog segment in which I’ll be sharing these stories and tidbits as they come up.

Normally on daycare days, B does morning drop-off and I do evening pick-up.  There’s much debate in our house over which end is more fun, but that’s beside the point.  Today we had to switch it up because A had an evening doctor’s appointment and I wasn’t going to be able to leave work early enough to take her.

Well.  You know me and my routines (and my perspirational tendencies) so you can imagine how ‘off’ I felt this morning…and just how sweaty I was.  I’ve got pick-up down to a science, but drop-off is a different world.  I took things out of her bag and just stared at them trying to remember where they go (clean pacifier in her crib, bottles and food in her fridge bin, teething toys in her freezer bin, back-pack on her hook – oh, and baby on the mat with toys!).  It’s a lot to remember at 7:15am!  As I was holding her bottles staring blankly, one teacher looked at me and said, “by the way, we LOVE that you label her bottles so nice like that – we always know which ones are hers!”.  Yes, she said that.  It’s a direct quote.  Trust me, I’ve been replying it in my mind all day.  I love compliments on my never ending quest for efficiency almost as much as I love organizing things in the first place.

So just like that, my stressful, sweaty, off-the-routine Thursday morning turned into a pleasant drop-off at daycare, followed by a clear and sunny walk to the office 3 blocks away.  It’s the little label things.

Apply Yourself.

Labeled Bottles Close UpIn March, A started going to daycare 2 days a week.  Her Grandmas continue to watch her another 2 days, and I play the role of Stay At Home Mom once a week.  Before she started I wanted to get her bottles all nicely labeled and organized (shocker).  I’m super pumped about the Applied Labels that I purchased online, and have been eagerly waiting to post my review (see picture above – names have been awkwardly covered with grey rectangles to protect the innocent).  They were actually love at first sight, but before publicly singing their praises on the interwebs I wanted to put them to use and see how they held up.  It’s been 2 months and they are fab.  No sign of them wearing down or off any time soon.

I toyed with the idea of using a label maker (who can ever resist an opportunity to use a label maker?!), but I wanted something that was created specifically to withstand being washed over and over.  A quick Google search yielded several sites making labels specifically for bottles.  I checked out a couple, but Applied stood out the most.  I liked how simple they were, and the ability to purchase things a la carte.  I went with a basic sheet of 30 Name Labels for $14.95 and a roll of purple Baby Tapes for $5.50 (that’s what you see above wrapped around the bottles, under the labels).  I did have to pay for shipping, but it was only $2 which isn’t too bad.  Between the 2 items, I’ve been able to label everything she needs at daycare and I still have 10 labels and about 80% of the tape roll to spare, all for under $23.

I used both the tape and the labels on her bottles (to help them stand out a little better to her caregivers), and I cut small pieces of the tape to put on the nipple collars and caps.  So this way everyone knows all bottle parts with purple tape belong to A…and only A!  I’ve also put the labels on things like her saline nasal drops and sunscreen, where marker would have worn off over time.  Both the tape and the labels are dishwasher safe, and so far they have stayed on nice and tight.  Not even a semblance of a peel-up.  The labels claim to be washing machine safe as well, but I have yet to use them on clothes or bedding.

So yeah, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m very satisfied with our whole bottle labeling system.  They are just so fun and easy to use, and they make things look so nice and orderly.  I’ve actually been trying to think of other things I could possibly label, just so I can continue my labeling streak.  I know KP and B could use labels for something, I just haven’t thought of it yet.  Suggestions welcome.

PS – It’s worth noting that I have zero affiliation with Applied Labels, I just bought their products and happen to really like them.