Kayla Weber Art

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HOW TO: Pack for 2 - 4 Weeks In Only a Carry-On Bag

HOW TOKayla Nord7 Comments
HOW TO_.jpg

Well this post has been in the works for LITERAL YEARS— but I think this will be such a useful guide for any trip, for any length of time, to literally anywhere.

John and I learned very quickly that the cost of checking a bag is expensive, ESPECIALLY if you are going to multiple destinations and flying in between multiple cities. Checked baggage can be anywhere from $30-$80 EACH WAY…. and if you’re like us and traveling in one area for multiple weeks— that ADDS UP!

Therefore, we mastered the art of packing everything we need for 2 weeks to 1 month—(or honestly longer) all in a carry-on… and I am still able to look stylish all while being comfy. I very rarely re-wear the exact same outfits on these trips, because I plan out different combos to make new outfits each day with the same pieces.

Ahem….. I plan it out the night before. I am sure you read that word plan and imagined me weeks before planning each detail and outfit and that is not the case lol. PROCRASTINATION STATION OVER HERE.

But don’t be like me. Be better.

Our luggage typically weighs about 30-40 pounds depending on where we are going. South East Asia was on the lighter end, and then Australia was on the heaviest end…. just because of weather and temps.

By far, the hardest packing we have ever done was to Australia + New Zealand in our summer (their winter). The areas we were going ranged from freezing temps, to 60’s, and then all the way to upper 80’s.

So, if we can pack for 3 weeks in a small carry-on with hats, gloves, coats, bathing suits, dresses, light jackets, etc… then you can do this for ANY PLACE. I am always flabbergasted at the size suitcases people bring— like what do you even have in there?!?! LOL

Wanted to throw it back a little here with our first big month-long Europe trip back in 2014 when we were young and fresh. lol

Wanted to throw it back a little here with our first big month-long Europe trip back in 2014 when we were young and fresh. lol

Anyways— without further ado, here are my steps to packing light— well, not really light… more like small, packing small… we’ll go with that.

STEP 1: The Bag.

Buy a good quality rolly suitcase, carry-on size. I prefer one that expands just a little, so you can really stuff it full. This one HERE is similar to mine.

You can also use a travel backpack instead of a rolly carry-on. This is the osprey backpack I have HERE.

Yes, I know they both look very small. But I believe in you. I promise you can fit EVERYTHING you need in there and more…. seriously.


STEP 2: The Cubes.

Order packing cubes RIGHT NOW— found HERE. These things will change your life. I use them every time we go anywhere. Not only do they keep everything organized inside of your suitcase, they help you stuff your clothes in odd shapes to fit all that crap in there.

They are life savers— especially in backpacks because it can be hard to find anything if you don’t have them. They also keep everything organized and you can just throw them in a drawer at the place you are staying.

When you are on the move as much as us, this is super critical to stay organized.

John got the gray ones and I got the blue ones… we mix and match them depending on what size we need.

John got the gray ones and I got the blue ones… we mix and match them depending on what size we need.

STEP 3: The Cosmetics.

Purchase a compact cosmetic bag that hangs. One similar to the one I have is HERE. Another one HERE.

Our cosmetics are very minimal and you will have to purchase all of your cosmetics in travel size or convert them into travel size. The airport regulation is 3.4 ounces or less per item... I just buy the small bottles and make my own travel size of anything we might need.

In this cosmetics bag I fit all of the things we will need for about two weeks. If we are traveling for longer, we just buy things along the way when we run out. Keep in mind, that some things aren’t easily found abroad. I always pack enough dry shampoo to last me the whole time (usually 2-3 small bottles), this amazing bug repellent (if you are going somewhere with mosquitoes), tampons, contact solution, wrinkle release, and random necessities like that.

I have literally had this bag since I was 15 haha!

I have literally had this bag since I was 15 haha!

It is very compact but holds everything we need.

It is very compact but holds everything we need.

I won’t lie to you, I am very low maintenance when it comes to travel + beauty. My makeup bag is below. It is very small and I only bring the essentials.

This tiny bag hooks to the bottom of the cosmetics bag.

This tiny bag hooks to the bottom of the cosmetics bag.


**PRO TIP: use a contact case and put your foundation into it. This is so much more compact than lugging a foundation bottle around. Using both sides lasts me for over a month.

it looks gross… but very handy haha!

it looks gross… but very handy haha!

I do not bring a blow dryer. I let my hair air dry— or I pray that the hotel/hostel/airbnb have one if I am in a time crunch. I don’t wash my hair often— so it’s not a huge issue. The only time that I do is if we are at a beach destination— then I have to wash it a lot more, but again if it’s a hot location I just air dry it.

If you definitely need a hairdryer I would recommend a small one like this one HERE, or just be sure to book accommodations with one. I do usually bring a curling wand— but these are small and thin and can go in the bottom of my suitcase/side of my backpack.

STEP 4: The Packing.

Procrastinate the actual packing until the night before———


SERIOUSLY… DON’T DO THAT. (I was just making sure you were still paying attention.)

That’s what I do, and then I have a panic attack, and I totally stress myself out, so let’s make your life easier than mine. LOL

Plan things out in advance… however far in advance that makes you comfortable. Put all of your packing cubes on the floor and designate one for each type of clothing…. one for under garments/bathing suits/camis/etc. (smaller cube). Then designate one for dresses, pants, full outfits, etc. (this will be in your biggest cube). Then designate one for bulkier things like jackets/heavy stuff if you’re going somewhere cold (also big cube). Do whatever makes sense to you. Having a clear system for where things go will make life easier when traveling and packing up each time.

There have been times John and I are traveling and we literally are packing up and changing locations every 2-3 days for 3 weeks straight. It is a huge headache having to pack up and unpack, pack up and unpack— so having a system in place makes things a lot easier…. it’s still a huge pain, but it definitely makes it better.

Once you have a clear system and organizational strategy, start to roll all of your clothes. This will keep your clothes a little less wrinkled and will also conserve space.

Then start adding them into each cube until it is pretty well filled, as seen below.

bathing suits and undergarments.

bathing suits and undergarments.

basic shirts and shorts.

basic shirts and shorts.

dressy tops, dresses, cardigan, jeans, etc.

dressy tops, dresses, cardigan, jeans, etc.

** NOTE I always put full outfits in one, so I only have to open one or two at a time. I used to separate everything… pants in one, shirts in a different and then I had to open so many to just make one outfit. I have gotten smarter through the years.

STEP 4: Part A: What to Bring.

For a 3 week Europe trip I usually bring about 10 light-weight easy dresses, 3 skirts, 4 t-shirts, 4 nicer tops/tanks, a few pairs of light weight shorts, one pair of jeans, 12 pairs of undies, 2 pairs of spandex/spanx to go under dresses, a cardigan, a jean jacket, 2 bras, a sports bra, 2 pairs of leggings, 1 pair of workout shorts, a pair of tennis shoes or converse or Adidas, a pair of sandals, a pair of flats, a pair of rainbows, sometimes a pair of wedges (depending on destination), 5 bathing suits, and a pair of jean shorts. SHEW— that really sounds like a lot— and somehow it all fits.

***NOTE: for abroad travel I hardly ever bring heels, but if I do they are these HERE. So amazing and comfy…

*** SIDE SIDE NOTE: I always bring rainbow flip flops like these HERE, leather sandals like these HERE and a pair of cute flats like these HERE are easily stuffed in the top zipper of the suitcase (all shown below). Those three pairs are my absolute ESSENTIAL shoes for travel. They have been all over the world with me and my feet never hurt. Highly recommend all three because they go with everything, look super stylish and are worth the splurge.

STEP 4: Part B: Packing the Bag.

Assemble the bag. I always put my curling iron on the bottom, my heavy or bulky shoes on the bottom and a thick coat (usually not necessary— but it was in Australia + NZ) on the bottom. I put the light weight pairs of shoes in the zipper part on the inside flap of the suitcase. If I am traveling with a backpack, I put the flip flops and shoes in the bottom zipper. Using a backpack does make the shoe situation a little tougher— so if bringing only a backpack I would forgo any heels. (Pictures for backpack packing at the very bottom)

*** NOTE: If you are going to a fancy location such as Vegas or on a beach vacay in which you need more pairs of bulky heeled shoes, it makes it tougher, but I have definitely still fit 2-3 pairs of heels in the bottom of the carry-on and everything fit.


Now that you’ve got all the heavy/bulkiest things on the bottom, you can start assembling your cubes. I usually only bring 2 large cubes and 1 smaller/medium cube depending on where I am going. Like shown, you can half them, stuff them and reconfigure in many different ways.

First big cube in.

First big cube in.

Half it and push down.

Half it and push down.

Second cube in.

Second cube in.

Also half it.

Also half it.

Third cube in.

Third cube in.

Same thing! Half it and push down.

Same thing! Half it and push down.

Lastly, I put the cosmetics bag wherever there is room— usually on the top end of the suitcase or backpack. This is nice to have on top so that when going through security you can just pop it out without digging around too much.

Everything is in with room to spare!!!

Everything is in with room to spare!!!

For the plane, I always wear one of my pairs of leggings— one pair of my comfy/bulky shoes (usually Adidas), my sports bra, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt and the jean jacket tied around my waist. (The plane is always freezing so I like to have lots of layers.)

STEP 5: The Personal Item Bag.

John hates that I bring a bag like this… but I like it. He brings a backpack, which is probably easier and more comfortable— but I am being stubborn and using this bag— mostly because I like to annoy him (I don’t know why it bothers him so much).

This bag below is nice because it has pockets… but I am kind of thinking about getting a bag like this one HERE because it slides on the handles of your suitcase and zips! Will probably be my next purchase because my bag is always super heavy to carry and doesn’t zip…. aka I roll my suitcase and set it on top and it falls off and spills everywhere. yikes.

maybe that’s why it annoys John? LOL


In here, I bring a ziplock bag of snacks (almonds, crackers and travel PB, cliff bars, RX bars, trail mix, beef jerky etc.)… these are life savers.

In here I also bring my journal (duh), multiple glue-sticks, my travel purse (which is big enough for my DSLR camera to fit in), my DSLR camera, passports, camera battery + cards, headphones, advil, etc. All the random miscellaneous things. My bag is always outrageously heavy… but it does start to get lighter as we eat the snacks. lol

John always carries this tripod (super light and easy to fit in a backpack— but still full length), go-pro accessories, go pro swivel stick shown HERE (great for getting in action videos!), and all of the electronic/chargers and converters in his personal item backpack.


STEP 6: Time to Travel!

And you’re done!! Time to hit the road….

Now with all that being said, we don’t have much room for extras— so keep that in mind when souvenir shopping. We really don’t bring back much (most of it is junk anyways)…. but if you want to bring things back or buy clothing there— definitely save some room.

I’m a firm believer in making a travel journal along the way.. you can read how to do that HERE. This is the best souvenir we bring back because it is a compilation of all of our receipts, activity tickets, maps, business cards and brochures that we pick up along the way. Plus it is a minute by minute journal of what we did!

I will also occasionally buy some jewelry or small trinkets here, if I can fit them in my personal item bag.

So, there you have it! Everything we take on a month long trip abroad. Obviously you gotta get a little creative and ask yourself— would I really need/want to wear this? And go with your favorites and essentials… and honestly comfort over everything.

I hope this was helpful! Please don’t hesitate to ask any other questions on anything I may have left out!! Thanks for reading and happy traveling!!




Shoes in the bottom zipper.

Shoes in the bottom zipper.

Heaviest cube goes in first.

Heaviest cube goes in first.

Stuff it down in the bottom and half it.

Stuff it down in the bottom and half it.

Next big cube in next.

Next big cube in next.

And then the next… sometimes they can squeeze right next to each other.

And then the next… sometimes they can squeeze right next to each other.

Cosmetics on the top… pull the string tight at the top and then buckle!

Cosmetics on the top… pull the string tight at the top and then buckle!

All in there!

All in there!

Styling a Fall Table

Home Decor, HOW TOKayla NordComment
the better better one.jpg

Look at me, y’all!! Another blog post!! I told ya I’d start cranking them out!! LOL… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves… who knows if this will last!

But alas, it’s finally the best time of year— FALL!

In the past, I have waited way too long to switch my house decor over from the summer decorations to the Fall. Then before I know it, it’s time to put the Christmas stuff out— but NOT THIS YEAR! This year I am prepared— (probably because I have one less full-time job— SHEW! Life is good!!)

Anywho, I decided I really wanted to keep my blue & white ginger jars out for my Fall table. (But let’s be honest— I really have no where else to store them now that I’ve bought 3,000 of the dang things.) So they will be used again for this season, with a little updating.

Plus, they are so pretty and BONUS, blue + orange are complimentary colors. In art teacher terms, they look really good next to each other, so they will make my fall table pop!

This picture below is what my table started as… I always use more pinks, whites, and light green flowers in the Spring & Summer table.

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I started with this version already on my table, so switching it over to Fall wasn’t too difficult.

If you’re starting from scratch I’ll link where I got everything that I am still using in the Fall version! I used the ginger jars still (similar ones found here, here, here, & here), the West Elm gold table runner (couldn’t find the exact one, but these two are similar found here and here), chargers, place mats (not the exact ones but similar style here), and the Kate Spade plates!

So first thing I did, was remove those candles and candle holders above. They were a little too chunky, so I added thinner candle holders and candlesticks (shown below). I varied the tall and short ones on both sides of the ginger jars. These candle holders are antiques which I found at the Burlington Antique Show. I’ve been looking for these thin ones FOREVER, so I was super excited when I found them.

I then removed all of the pink and white flowers. I had already purchased fall colored flowers from Michael’s. They can be found here. I would recommend going into the store and picking out bunches that go together— it’s hard to tell online. These in the second picture below are the ones I found, and they were 50% off! I liked the duller oranges, peachy-orange colored berries, and more brownish/orange colored flowers. I didn’t want anything too red/bright orange.


While I was there, I found some cute pale orange pumpkins and some cream and orange acorns shown above! These will be added to the table also!

I started putting the flower bunches into the vases, alternating between berries, flowers, berries, flowers in my taller jars.


Next, I laid down some fall “garland” along the table. I got one string from Michael’s here and the other strand is real bittersweet from the side of the road (thanks Dad!). Here is something similar! I then laid down the different acorns on every other side and spread them evenly!

Next, I put the smaller pumpkins on each end. The important thing is to keep things balanced!


Next, I added the placemats, chargers, and plates back on! Adding a placemat and a charger helps make the table look complete... and a little extra fancy!

I topped the plates off with a smaller blue and white patterned plate. I found these at a local store called The Great Room on Southland Drive, but I’ve also seen similar ones at Tuesday Morning!


Last and final thing I did was add these orange gingham napkins from Michael’s under the plate to throw a little orange there. I can’t find them online, but I got them at the Michael’s off of Nicholasville, Rd. They are paper!

I just love mixing all the patterns here. I also LOVE how the orange and blue contrast next to each other… the art teacher/artist in me gets realllll excited when I get to use color theory in my decorating :) !

Before having guests over, I would definitely set the table with gold silverware and we’d be ready to entertain! My silverware set isn’t in the pictures, but it’s from John’s grandmother, Memo (she had great taste!). If you’re looking for a set, I love this one from Target— here.


My dinning room table is from Universal Furniture and you can find it here. My dinning room chairs are from Overstock and you can find them here. The China Buffet is also Universal Furniture found here. Curtains are Wayfair, found here. Chandelier is custom made by Kim Schwab.

The ginger jars have been picked up all over town… I usually have the best luck at Hobby Lobby, Homegoods, Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. But like I said earlier, the majority of mine came from John’s Grandma and my Grandma!

Hope this helps and inspires you to get out your Fall decor and create your own Fall table!

I just love having seasonal decor… mostly because my Mom (aka Martha Stewart) always did growing up— and still does, of course! It just makes each season so special!

Let me know if you need help with anything or if I forgot to link something! Have a great Fall season, and as always, thanks for reading!

Kayla :)

Styling the Perfect Pallet Table

Little Life in Lexington, HOW TOKayla Nord2 Comments

Happy Hump Day! I am beyond thrilled to FINALLY share our Springhouse Blogger Brunch pictures and to include a little styling guide on how to achieve a Pinterest Perfect Pallet Table! Say that five times fast-- haha! And if you're spell checking me, palette is what google told me is what an artist uses and 'pallet' is the wooden thing you stack stuff on... I was shocked too! ;)  

As you may know, my family owns The Barn at Springhouse and we coordinate events and weddings there! It all started as a Garden Center (Springhouse Gardens) 22 years ago, and just recently (2 years ago) after my wedding became an event venue also! 

We host all kinds of parties and events, but one of my favorites (duh) was a couple weeks ago when we hosted the Lexington Bloggers! 

I wanted everything to be very chic & bohemian, so I went to Pinterest for some inspiration! I had seen pallets used as tables before, so I started searching, "pallet picnic" and found some great ideas. From here, I scavenged my own house and my mom's house (Thanks Mom!) and came up with the basic layout and style for the table. 

I have come up with a list of necessities to help you style your own pallet table, or even your dining room or outdoor picnic table!


  • Candlesticks (gold vintage ones are my favorite) 
  • Greenery (we cut from our Katsura tree- but Eucalyptus is ideal)
  • Votives 
  • Mason or Ball Jars
  • Flowers (wild or bought- Trader Joe's has great cheap ones)
  • 2 Candelabras
  • Lace Doilies 
  • Tiny vintage plates & extras
  • Place settings - (placemats, plates, gold silverware, napkins) 
  • Neutral Pillows and blankets (Thanks Miss Molly Vintage)

Styling the Perfect "Pinterest" Pallet Table:

To make the table high enough, but still Moroccan style, we stacked (who I am kidding-- John and my Dad stacked) 3 pallets on top of each other and in a row to make one long table. We used 15 pallets. I made sure to put the prettiest and best quality pallets on top, aka I annoyed John until he put the correct one where I wanted it. LOL.

From here I began arranging the placemats in a random order around the table. Since there were 21 of us, I had to mix and match neutral placemats from my Mom's collection and my own, but it worked due to the bohemian feel of the table. 

Next, was the greenery that my Dad cut from the Katsura tree. We laid it sparsely across the table in both directions to act as the runner.

In the meantime, my Dad was also cutting random flowers from the garden and my Mom was arranging these flowers in our Ball Mason Jars! Trader Joe's flowers would also work if you don't have an abundance of gardens around and a really cool Dad & Mom who are basically florists! LOL! 

We put the candelabras and candlesticks on next, placing them evenly throughout the length of the table, and then scattered the doilies around these, to add a little extra texture. As my Mom finished each flower arrangement, we put these on the table in between the candlesticks. 

The finishing touches for the table were the votives and extra tiny vintage dishes that we placed around randomly. The key is to balance everything, but not to overthink it, especially because we were going for the bohemian look. 

Once the table was complete, I began putting the place settings together. We brought white plates and gold silverware. Half the silverware was John's Grandmother's and the other half was from Miss Molly Vintage! 

Finding 21 cloth napkins was a struggle, so we mixed and matched some neutral and patterned ones. As an extra touch for the place settings, I painted a picture of The Barn a week before and had prints made to go on top of the plates. This was part of each person's place setting which I set on top of the napkin and then placed their name card on top of that. 


The final touch was the name place cards that I made the night before. I grabbed a pack of these white tags here from Michael's and used this beginners calligraphy pen here (also from Michael's). I had all the names written out (I just wrote in cursive with that pen- nothing fancy) and found some thin lace ribbon from Michael's, similar here.  

I cut lavender, sage, and rosemary out of my garden (about 25 sprigs of each). When I got to The Barn, I began cutting the lace ribbon into about 8inch long strips. I used the lace to tie a sprig of lavender, sage, and rosemary onto each name card. I placed one of each of these on top of my barn print, on top of a folded napkin, on top of the plate to create our place settings!

I hope this post helps you create your perfect Pinterest table! Feel free to leave a comment or a question about where I got something or anything you want to know! I find mostly everything from flea markets or are hand-me-downs from my Mom! It definitely helps to have a Martha Stewart Mom who has the best style and keeps all kinds of decorative things around! It also, helps to have an incredible venue and gorgeous gardens around to cut flowers from! Thanks again Mom & Dad (Debbie and Richard Weber), for all your hard work to make this blogger brunch happen! You all are the REAL MVPS!!!! Also BIG shout out to my husband, John, for being the muscle behind the operation! :)

For a brunch -- I mean -- bunch more (LOL)  on our #SpringhouseBloggerBrunch check out this list of AMAZING Blogger's that attended and their individual posts about our brunch! 

Taylor Camacho | The Stylish Tales of Tay

Kelsey Bauer | KabKitchen

Emily Ho | Authentically Emmie

Sarah Caton | Space, Place & Southern Grace

Courtney Hastings | Kentucky Girl Ramblings

Tif Fannin | Bright on a Budget

Katie Mullen & Anna Towle | Hartley Social

Francis Lee Baker | Lee's Lookbook

Whitney Scheibel | Fabulous in Fayette

Ella Rutledge | Girl Meets Lex

Bronwyn Butler | Basically Bronwyn

Stephanie Hargis | This Lexington Life

Leela Foley | Lex Eats

Emily Riddle | Miss Molly Vintage

Lisa Coe | Candor and Rose

Amanda Zopp | Salt & Life Blog

Special thanks to all the vendors who contributed to our special goodie bags: Shop Local KY, Miss Molly VintageAJ ApothecaryShop TwentyMorton JamesSpringhouse GardensWhole Foods Lexington, and Kentucky Yarnbirds. Our brunch was held at The Barn at Springhouse in Nicholasville, Kentucky. All photos taken by Kirstie Dunston Photography unless noted otherwise.



How to Make a Collage Travel Journal

Travel, HOW TOKayla Nord1 Comment

Happy Wednesday! Long time no post (I feel like I start every blog with that lol)... but, L I F E. 

Anyways, I recieved a lot of questions and comments on my travel journal from our past adventure, so I wanted to share my process with you all and how I go about making one of these CRAZY things!

If you are planning an upcoming trip abroad, or about to hit the beach for a week, or even if you just want to document life, I will tell you everything you need to know! I used to keep a collaged journal for each year of high school, college, and then my first couple years teaching... but I've since stopped because it just got too hectic. Now I keep them on mine and John's excursions that we take every summer. So here goes nothing!

What You Will Need:

  • A sturdy journal

  • Elmer's extreme glue sticks

  • Small kid scissors . . . . (I'm such an elementary art teacher)

Picking the Right Journal

When I go about searching for "the one" I keep a couple things in mind. I want it to fit in my purse/backpack easily, but I don't want it to be too small that I can't fit all of my post cards, maps, etc. I have had great luck with journals at TJ Maxx, Wal Mart, Marshall's, etc. I am honestly always on the lookout for a good one throughout the year, and I may or may not have a stash in a box, just waiting to be used. Finding the perfect one is the fun part for me!

In my opinion, the perfect size is 7 inches by 9.5 inches or 6 inches x 8.5 inches. If you are only going somewhere for a week, you can get a smaller one, but for each of our trips ranging from 2.5 weeks to a month those sizes have been perfect! I always try to find one that has at least 175-200 pages. The black journal is the one I took for our past 3 week Southeast Asia trip linked here and it was the perfect size and amount of pages. I actually used every page exactly without one to spare. And BONUS-- it's only $7! 

When I studied in Florence for a semester I got the same brand of journal from Wal Mart (Shown above-- the pink one) and wrote all 100 days I was there. I didn't have as much collage material because I couldn't afford to eat out/do activities every day, but it ended up being the perfect size for the 3.5 months! It's dimensions were 7inches by 9.5 inches. IT IS A MONSTER.

I prefer leather journals like the ones above, but for our month long trip to Europe I used the first tan and pink one with the spiral and it worked great. Just make sure it is substantial and won't fall apart if you are lugging it around everywhere! For the month long trip I actually ran out of room and had to start writing on top of receipts and other memorabilia like shown below-- definitely should have gotten a bigger one for that trip!

What to Collect

This is the fun part! As you are traveling or just living life, save everything! John and I both go into MAJOR HOARDER STATUS while traveling and literally take and save everything. Any brochures I find in restaurants, pamphlets, tickets, receipts, boarding passes, beer labels, wine labels, business cards, post cards, sugar packets (weird I know-- obviously empty them), but basically anything that is flat that we use/run across. The more you save the more interesting your journal will be! If you are in a different country it is so awesome to keep anything with the language on it or anything that will spark memories from being there. 

Seriously, save it all. People will look at you...they WILL stare... especially when you are aggressively trying to get that wine label off the bottle-- but don't let that deter you! LOL it happens to us A LOT.

How to Collage Your Pages

This part comes easily to me (duh-- I collage with kids for a living), but I will try to break it down as much as possible! The first few pages are always a little rough because we haven't gotten there yet and don't have much to collage. I always start with boarding passes and stupid stuff from the plane/any receipts from the airport (you know I gotta hit up the Burger King before we leave lol). 

I start by laying out everything I have (this gets tricky on the plane, but is still doable) and arrange it on the page to make it look aesthetically pleasing. I almost always go in order (or try) of what we did, so that for the most part the things on the page correspond with what I am writing about-- doesn't always happen, but I have gotten pretty good at getting close enough. 

I usually try to keep it interesting (not all white receipts on the same page) but still keep the colors all in the same family as much as possible-- it just looks better this way and as a perfectionist it bugs me if they don't somewhat match. When you like how it looks, start gluing! I use the Elmer's Xtreme because they last a long time and keep everything glued well. For SE Asia (3 weeks) I took 2 big ones and had just a little bit left. 

Brochures are great to snag if you do an activity or go to a museum. We always get 2 of them so that we don't have to choose between pictures on the front or back and can cut out everything that we want to put in the journal. This is where the scissors come in handy. I'm not proud of it, but I usually try to sneak the kid scissors on the plane and sometimes (actually a lot of the time) I get away with it! They are dull, so not dangerous or anything-- but then the other half of the time they get thrown away. When you are flying between every country and city like we were in Asia, this gets really annoying to keep having to find scissors and buy them. We finally just started asking our hotel staff if we could borrow a pair, which worked out much better.

Here are some pictures of brochures that I have cut and collaged, but still kept the pages interesting by adding receipts, beer labels and other items. 

Keeping Up With the Journal

This part is NOT EASY. There were many days I was so exhausted from going all day, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and collage everything, try and remember the details, and then actually write in story-form. There were days I wouldn't work on it at all and therefore would get really behind.

Luckily, John has an elephant brain, so I always have him jot down in my phone each day and date and little bullets of what we did, funny things that happened, where we ate, what we ate, etc. Having this outline helps SO MUCH when having to go back and remember in sequence what you did. I highly recommend doing this at the end of each day, so that you don't forget important details.

It's definitely a struggle, but it's nice to have something to do in the evenings when we get back to the room. I always tried to at least get everything collaged in the journal before traveling to the next place, that way all of the stuff isn't falling out everywhere and I can at least start writing on the plane/train/bus/etc.

I hope this helps and inspires you all to keep your own! They are definitely not easy, but so rewarding to have down the road! I am constantly going back and looking at ours. I put a lot of detail into them, and its amazing the things you forget if you don't write them down! Drop me a comment if you have any questions or enjoyed this post!! I would LOVE to see your version of travel journaling or if you make one because of this! Thanks for reading! Happy journaling!