Secrets of the Minimal Packer: One Backpack Challenge

One week. One backpack (a carry-on!). That's all I had with me on my Europe vacation.

I had a long layover in Boston, so my parents and sister paid me a little visit as I made my way back to Atlanta. My mom was shocked that the only piece of luggage I had was a backpack. Over the years, I've perfected the art of not over packing. While you're heading out out town for the long holiday weekend, keep my minimal packing method in mind:

DRESSES: To help save room in your bag, dresses are a no brainer. As opposed to packing a top and bottom, dresses are one piece. I always start raiding my closet with dresses first! They are easy to dress up (for a nice dinner) or down (for a casual day).
summer maxi dresses

TOPS: For a one week trip, you only need five tops. I repeat.. you only need five tops. This is including the, "Well, I'll pack an extra one just in case," mentality. Make sure one of them is a light 3/4" length to stay cozy and comfty. I like to pair my 3/4" shirts with shorts for summer nights.

PANTS: Two pairs (3 MAX!). My favorite dark denim jeans (1..) and white skinnies (2..) are my go-to bottoms. Since you'll shower, just re-wear. Add a casual pair of shorts (..3!) if you want to show off those legs you've been working out at the gym!

OUTERWEAR: During the summer, pack 1 light hoodie or sweater for the night time breeze. If weather is in the forecast, do pack a rain jacket. It isn't a bulky piece, so you won't be sacrificing valuable space, and you'll be thankful in the long run!

SHOES: No heels (be realistic!). I used to always bring a pair of nice heels with me "just-in-case" and it always proves to be wasted space. When I'm on vacation, I always manage to stay active, and sassy heels just never make it into my itinerary. Pack your favorite sandals that go with everything, walking shoes, and wedges only if you must.

PJ's: You only need two bottoms and three tees to sleep tight throughout the week.

ACCESSORIES: Be selective. I always stuff a scarf in my backpack, and some key jewelry pieces. My jewelry rule: 1 statement necklace, 1 simple necklace, tri-metal dangles (go w/ everything!), and a pair of studs. Don't forget to take your shades out of your car before you jet set!

Lastly, try every outfit works, take the time to try every outfit on to make sure it's a keeper.

Motivate Your Workout

If you are struggling to stick with a workout routine or want to add something new your current one, nothing drives motivation more than a group workout. Every wednesday a handful of my coworkers meet at our local park for an hour of sweaty torture fun.

The best part of this motivational workout is it's free! I bring with me a handful of exercise equipment, like jump ropes, but if you don't have any on hand, you can make up routines using your own body weight. Start with a warm up, then create a workout station for each person. Using a timer, each person works their station for 45 seconds, with a 15 second break to move to the next station. Repeat 2-4x! Follow it up with some cardio and a cool down.

The workouts can be completely customizable. Choose to focus on one body part like shoulders and back or do a full body routine. 

I love my TRX - it really is a portable gym. Here I am using it to work my back!

Get creative with the outdoors. We used the park bench to create an intense version of a push up.

Combine movements to get an even better workout - jump squats with an 8lb ball for oblique twist.

or add intensity by only using one leg for balance.

Either way, everyone can make it their own. I know I push myself harder when I see these guys giving it their all. And don't even think about bailing on workouts once you have a core workout group - it really isn't worth the guilt :)

and always keep it fun!  This may be my favorite photo, not sure Gavin is always this happy during the workout!

All Smiles in Savannah! An Ideal Girl's Weekend Getaway

Some lovely ladies took me on a bachelorette getaway to Savannah. My sister even flew in from Massachusetts to join us, which made the weekend extra special. It's an easy escape from Atlanta, with a ton of charm, food, views and fun. Here's how to spend the perfect weekend in historic Savannah:

Day 1:
  • Shopping on Broughton Street
  • Break for ice-cream at the infamous, Leopold's 
  • Rooftop drinks at the Bohemian Hotel
  • Jazz'd for a tapas dinner.. great drinks too!
  • Walk downtown to explore the bars
  • Be adventurous and end the night on a mechanical bull
Amazing view at Bohemian
Welcoming sissy to the south w/ rooftop drinks!
Dinner at Jazz'd
Scoping out the shopping scene
Day 2
  • Treat yourself to crab eggs benedict from B.Matthew's - you won't regret it!
  • Pack for a day at the beach and head off to Tybee Island!
  • You'll spend 15 minutes trying to pick out your cocktail from Jen's and Friends
  • Sing along to your favorite classics at Savannah Smiles
Crab eggs benedict for 3!
Staying entertained at Savannah Smiles
Beautiful day to catch some sun
Lucky Charm cocktail from Jen's & Friends
Day 3
  • End the weekend with bfast from Papillote - an a-mazing french treat!
  • Stop at the shopping outlets on the way home for some new shades
Last meal in Savannah
Callie trying to avoid being in the picture.. such a pro!

Winner! Winner! Stella & Dot Giveaway

My party was a huge success thanks to my amazing guests. My only problem is that I can't decide on what to order, since all of the ladies made each piece look so gorgeous. Thank you all for an amazing event!

And the moment we have all been waiting for, the winner of the Stella & Dot travel bag is...

It's not too late to get your own travel bag or any other Stella & Dot items you love. As a bonus, for every $50 you spend, you will receive $25 towards a purchase in July if you shop my trunk show below. Find the perfect piece for your 4th of July party or great gifts for summer weddings and birthdays!

Antique Til We Drop, Scott's Antique Market

If you're looking for a fun afternoon activity, you need to venture to Scott's Antique Market. Every second weekend of the month, it's hosted at the Atlanta Expo Center.

Since we recently moved into our first home, we've been looking for unique pieces. If you've been on the hunt for something nobody else has, this is definitely the place to go. There are two large building full of booths, plus vendors outside.

Tips for Scott's Antique Market Trip:
  1. Pack a cooler of drinks/food to refuel (you can purchase food there too)
  2. Sellers accept checks, so you don't have to max out the ATM
  3. Tax is added to all purchases
  4. Entrance fee is $5, BUT is good for the whole weekend
  5. If you don't want to drive from building to building, a shuttle can take you
  7. Sunday's are a great because vendors don't want to pack up their trucks!
I love these leaf drop tables!
Furniture made with all reclaimed wood from Bali.
We came home with a new (old) dresser that we are thrilled about! The seller told us it's from the 1800's, and has immaculate detail that we fell in love with.

How Does She Do It

This past weekend my middle sis visited atlanta from sunny south florida. I LOVE when she visits, because she always brings with her the latest fashion. She is my go-to stylist in times of need.

This trip, she brought her goodies from Stella & Dot, which I was thrilled to see, since my party is this weekend. I now have a handful of other items added to my wishlist, including this dreamy ikat bag...
How Does She Do It Ikat Bag

The best part is, YOU can win the travel version of this bag with the same print, which is equally as awesome and also on my wish list.

Step 1: Log into Facebook
Step 2: In the top right, under the cover photo  "Like" Stella & Dot by Blair Critch
Step 3: In the top right, under the cover photo "Like" The Other 128 Hours
Step 4: Dream of the places you will take your adorable new bag

DIY: Seat Upgrade, Refinishing Dining Chairs

Craigslist shopping has been a part-time job lately. I was on the hunt for queen anne dining chairs to pair with our new rustic farm table, which was hand crafted by You're Unique. Finally found four chairs that fit the bill and my vision. I was able to easily unscrew the cushions from the chairs, and reupholster them to turn these classic chairs country.

queen anne chairs makeover - before and after

Project Time: 3.5 hours
Project Cost (4 Chairs): $145.79

  • $100 - Chairs (craigslist)
  • FREE (on hand) - 120-grit sand paper
  • $20 - 1 2/3 yards linen fabric (Joann's 50% off)
  • FREE (on hand) - Staple gun
  • $5 - Small roller
  • $10 - Quart of paint (Martha's Stewart in Heavy Cream)
  • $.79 - Sponge brush
  • $10 - Finishing wax
  • FREE - 2 old rags
Step 1: SAND - I used leftover 120-grit sandpaper from my end table project to give the chairs a rough sand. I didn't completely strip them, I just wanted to kill the high gloss shine. Take a damp rag to get rid of any dust and debris.
Step 2: PAINT - Make your own chalk paint (TUTORIAL), and use a roller to cover the chairs. I also took a sponge bruch to get into the nooks that weren't reachable by the roller. I did two coats.
Step 3: WAX - Use a rag to apply a thin coat of finishing wax to your chairs. Then, take a dry rag to wipe off, giving it a matte finish.
Step 4: REUPHOLSTER - Reupholster your seat cushions with new fabric (TUTORIAL)
Step 5: ASSEMBLE - Screw cushions back to chairs, and test them out!

GIVEAWAY! Stella & Dot Ikat Travel Bag

Lately, I have seen a lot of adorableness coming from the luggage industry. Us jet setting ladies are no longer stuck with the boring monotone black bags of days gone by. Stella & Dot is one fabulous company leading the way.

Want to add to your lovely luggage collection? Win this ikat travel bag from Stella & Dot and you are well on your way to becoming a traveling trendsetter.

Entering the contest could not be easier! On Facebook, "Like" Stella & Dot by Blair Critch and The Other 128 Hours pages by June 23rd. The winner will be announced during my Stella & Dot party on June 23rd and posted here at The Other 128 Hours.

To Like Stella & Dot by Blair Critch click HERE
To Like The Other 128 Hours click HERE

Check out the entire Stella & Dot collection HERE!

Best of luck to you all!

DIY: Upholstering Perfect Corners

I recently made over some dining room chairs, which I plan to share with you next week. In the meantime, I want to show you an easy way to handle those tricky corners when reupholstering. The best way I found to handle corners is tri-fold. Before we get to the corners, I'll start from the beginning...

Project Time:  45 minutes
Project Cost: $20

  • FREE (came w/ chairs obviously!)- Old seat cushions
  • $20 - 1 2/3 yds. fabric (for 4 chairs.. plenty of leftover)
  • FREE (on hand) - Fabric scissors 
  • FREE (on hand) - Staple gun

My winning fabric lived at Joann's. I picked out a beautiful beige linen, and did everything I could to find a coupon. Luckily, it was a holiday weekend, and I was able to get 40% off!

Step 1: MEASURE -  Place seat cushion face side down to determine the length to cut your fabric. Leave 4 inches extra on each side.
Step 2: STAPLE CENTERS - Once fabric is cut, center your cushion (still face side down). Fold over about 1/4-1/2" to create a nice even line, and staple the center of each side. PULL TIGHTLY.

Step 3: STAPLE SIDES - Continue to staple (and pulling tightly) leaving a little bit of room before reaching the corners.

Step 4: TRIM ACCESS - You will end up with access fabric once you reach your corners. Trim them down with fabric scissors, leaving roughly 3" left for you to work with. (Yes, I am in my PJ's.. it was a late night project!)

  1. Smooth out fabric and staple horizontally
  2. Smooth out fabric and staple at an upward angle
  3. Smooth out fabric and staple vertically
Step 6: FILLERS - Fill in the extra spaces with your staple gun.

You're Invited!

I am hosting my first Stella & Dot party in a few weekends. My emotions are ranging from panic attack to sheer excitement, in the hopes that everything comes together perfectly. I purchased the Fiona Bib Necklace  at my sister's party and wear it with everything. Here I wore it to dress up my cotton maxi for a family photo day:

I am also excited to check out the new line of bags. My favorite fashion blogger, Damsel in Dior has me swooning over this Navy Stripe Tote she uses when traveling.
Photo Credit
And to add to the fun, I am putting together a sunday brunch spread that is sure to draw a crowd.

PLEASE let me know if you are in the Atlanta area and would like to attend. Email theother128hours at gmail for more info. If you can not attend, good news - you can order online HERE.