Let’s Play “I’m Going on Vacation and I’m Bringing…”

Venturing to exotic locales with your friends is one of the given perks of traveling.

Escaping la vie quotidienne and venturing to new locales are the reasons why we travel. Self-education and the temptation of exotic shopping sprees are also known motivates. But traveling has many other frequently over-looked side benefits — you might call them collateral damage, or perhaps necessary evils.

Packing requires decision making.

For my summer 2011 vacation, my family and I are heading to the North West Coast. The weather is changeable, the scenery is transcendent, and the lodgings are frontier. This is not a bikini and a coverup kind of suitcase. This is a fully-loaded, be-prepared-for-all-seasons kind of packing job.

Several of the things in the pile above need to go into the empty suitcase below... laundry time!

I’ll need to decide on one of everything.

But before I can make decisions, I have to know what I’m making decisions among. Which often means doing a load or two of laundry and putting clothes away so I can remember what’s in my closet to begin with. Finally, I’ll be able to see my bedroom floor.

After you’ve made decisions, you need to go shopping.

Now that I know what I have to take with me, I can make of the list of what’s missing and mend the gaps. An all-terrain, itinerary-packed vacation is a “finally buy the things you need to buy but have put off buying” kind of vacation.

New running shoes. Check.

Hiking sock liners. Check.

Bug repellant. Check.

Field binoculars. Check.

Sleep romper. Check. (Not really on my “need-to-buy” list, but I figured since I’m traveling with people, my usual sheets-only sleep wear would be inappropriate.)

This is really not how you want to look in your vacation photos. Better make an appointment with your stylist

Vacations force you get cleaned up.

You never know who you’ll meet while traveling away from home. Likewise, the last thing you want are vacation photos where you look like the Bride of Frankenstein.

Extra innings at the gym. Haircut. Highlights. Manicure. Pedicure. Bikini wax. Restylane. Fresh bottle of foundation. New mascara: Whatever you need to look refreshed and fit when you get there.

You have to get your sh*t in order.

Wrapping up projects at work. Refilling prescriptions for your seasonal asthma medication. Paying down credit card bills so you can fill ’em back up again. Removing expired foodstuffs from your pantry. Mowing the lawn. Trimming the hedges. Updating your Final Will and Testament to include appropriate custodians for your pets.

While it would be nice to just say “tahellwithit!” and run away with life strew about, there’s nothing worse than coming home from vacation to a mess bigger than what you left behind.

Indispensable Desk Items

Happiness is a very small desk and a very big wastebasket. — Robert Orben

Desks are very personal spaces, our life's command station. And to command our lives effectively, some tools are indispensable.

Desks are life’s command stations. From there we apply for jobs, complete assignments, plan vacations, write novels, and scan the internet for photos of celebrity’s cellulite so we can feel better about ourselves in a bikini. As a result, desks, like bedrooms, are very personal spaces and their states becomes a metaphor for our lives in general — controlled chaos, perfectly systematized, completely swamped, etc.

Recycled canisters are Kitschy, functional, and green!

As we curate our workspace, we arm it with indispensable items that help us wrangle our day-to-day, and sometimes, are even pretty to look at. No matter what I throw out on designated clean-up days, these things will never see a wastebasket…

Storage Facilities Made from Salvaged Containers

I’ll never understand why people pay for desk accessories when a washed 28-ounce food can and an old box will suffice. The Tory Burch gift box houses post-it notes, staples, and fountain pen ink cartridges while the recycled can stores my pen supply. Equal parts kitschy, functional, and green!

Strunk & White’s “The Elements of Style”

Sometimes, I forget how to use commas. This little book reminds me when punctuation is necessary.

Kiehl’s Hand Salve and Chantecaille Lip Chic gloss stick in Zinnia

For when the postman rings twice, hand cream and lipstick are never far from reach

Moleskin Calendar

It’s red, compact, portable, features monthly as well as weekly calendars, and gives me note pages. The added bonus of stickers makes me feel both organized and like a kid again — how can I miss martini night when there’s a bright neon green sticker to remind me!?

Vintage Stapler loaded with colored staples

I'm very possessive of my stapler and its colored staples

When it comes to staplers, I’m very fussy. Milton Waddams ain’t got nothing on me. This one has been in the family longer than I have and I refuse to share it. I gave up on standard silver staples in high school — the red slash in the corner of my resume is my version of Elle Woods’ scented paper.

Vitamin D3 Supplements

Vitamin D is the new super vitamin, apparently. Spending most of the winter cooped up inside depletes resources. I take my daily dose to stay happy and healthy, do you?

Quiet, Supportive Companions

It's always good to have silent, supportive companions my your side to cheer you on through the work day.

Meet Jorge, Mozart and Mooey.

Jorge is my traveling NY Yankees gnome. I bought him one night after watching an Amazing Race Travelocity challenge episode. Jorge has seen some pretty cool places since then.

Mozart is a reminder that I’m cultured.

Mooey is a flashlight that moos, and is the only thing that will stop my dog from trying to eat my bird for dinner.

A 5-lbs Dumbbell

Just because you’ve got your ass in a chair and deadlines to meet, doesn’t mean you can’t pump some iron and workout those biceps. Can you tell I’m a big believer in multitasking?

So, common, your turn… what’s on your desk?