Wednesday, August 9, 2017

May We Recommend...? Our Best Hacks for Summer 2017 by Amy Vastine & Carol Ross

Summers were made for this.
  
Vacations, potlucks, BBQ’s, get-togethers with family and friends. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing as long as we’re talking, laughing, eating, and just generally catching up on life. These moments are the hallmarks of a great summer. And one of the bonuses of all this socializing is the sharing of knowledge, the exchanging of ideas, the pontificating of opinions. So, in that vein, Amy and I will now be revealing our proposals for the achievement of world peace and solutions for global hunger respectively...

Just kidding. 

You can keep reading because what we’re actually talking about today are those little tricks, habits, or tasks that you can incorporate into your daily life to make that busy schedule more bearable. You know, shortcuts, or life hacks, which make you smile inside knowing you’ve saved a bit of time, effort, or sanity.
Here are a few of our recently-discovered faves:
Carol~
Corn on the Cob – Who doesn’t love farm-fresh corn on the cob? But when you live in the Northwest where air-conditioning isn’t a standard appliance, especially in a 100-year-old house like mine, you don’t want to turn on your oven or even boil a pot on the stove. Here’s the answer: Microwaving corn right in the husk! It takes about four minutes, and when you remove it, the corn is perfectly cooked, and the husk practically falls right off. Yes, even that annoying stringy silk. Thank you to my friend Anna J. Stewart for informing me about this fantastic method. (Yes, I will confess to eating corn on the cob for six days in a row upon returning home from RWA Nationals.)

No de-husking required! 
Amy~
Packing Cubes - I went on two big vacations this year, one you may recall from last month’s post to Arizona and to Florida for RWA. Both trips were about a weeklong which meant I had A LOT of clothes, shoes, and accessories to bring along with me. I went to Arizona and had a giant mess halfway through. I had to rummage through the case to find exactly what I needed. When I got home, I discovered packing cubes. Each soft-sided cube can hold a particular type of clothing - I had one for shirts, one for shorts, one for workout clothes, etc. No tossing clothes around to find the right shirt or the shoes I needed because everything had a place. At the end of the week, I think the pictures speak for themselves. One pic is of my suitcase, and the other is Carol’s. I think I know what Carol will be asking Santa for Christmas!

Amy says: "Oh, how wonderful is my packing cube life?!"

Carol says: "Where in the world is my underwear?"

Carol~
Self-Tagging Option for Airline Bags – I’m guessing most of us have been printing out our boarding passes ahead of time for a while now. Love this option. But now some airlines are extending the convenience of do-ahead travel to those who need to check a bag. Alaska Airlines was the first airline I noticed to implement this efficient new time-saver and I first used it back in 2015. They have reusable plastic sleeves that you can order online (free) ahead of time or grab at the bag-check area after arriving at the airport. Just print out your tag right along with your boarding pass, slip it in the sleeve, drop it at the bag check area where an agent will do a quick scan, and you’re good to go. A quick google search revealed that about a third of airlines worldwide now offer the service. One travel site I visited predicted that all carriers would be offering this service as soon as the end of 2018. Now, if only they could figure out a way a faster way to get us through security?

Anything to make this a bit more bearable!

Whether it’s about travel, cooking, or simply staying cool, we’d love to hear about the best summer hacks you’ve discovered this year!

For more information about Amy Vastine or Carol Ross, including their complete book lists of sweet romance novels, please visit their websites!
                                            

                                            


19 comments:

  1. Great post, ladies! I'm cracking up at the suitcase comparison. :) Cooking corn on the cob in the microwave, or on the grill, is the best.

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    1. Thanks, Jill! My suitcase situations felt even worse that it looks - and I know how bad it looked. Love grilled corn, too. My sister puts some kind Parmesan, garlic, butter mix on it before she grills it and it is so delicious. But you can't beat the convenience of the microwave.

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  2. Great ideas! Love corn on the cob.

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    1. Thank you, T.R. It's one of my favorite summer foods. I'm heading to the farmer's market in a couple days to get some more. And the peaches are getting ripe, too.

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  3. I love the ideas, but I do want to know what Carol's doing with my suitcase! :-)

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    1. Lol, Liz! It's so nice to meet a fellow messy traveler. No matter how hard I try it's always the same. I'm hoping Santa is reading our blog today.

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  4. Great tips for my first-ever RWA trip next year! (If I keep saying it, it will happen, right?) Will definitely do the corn-cob trick! Thanks, Amy and Carol! And LOL, Liz. I figure if I get it all in, I've done a good job.

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    1. Yes! Keep saying it Moira. Make it happen! It's so much fun. We'd love to meet you in person.

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  5. Love the tips! I've never seen packing cubes, but I will definitely be looking for them now that I can go to RWA18. When I traveled to Europe to see my daughter a few years ago, I needed clothes for 2 weeks, so I purchased the space saver type bags. I filled the bag, rolled it up from the bottom and it pushed out all the air. It saved me TONS of space in my suitcase. Total lifesaver!

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    1. LeAnne, I have to admit I was very impressed with Amy's organization. Aside from the mess, it wastes so much time trying to find stuff. I've wondered about those space saver bags. Good to know. Thank you!

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  6. Great tips! I love fresh corn. Is that four minutes in the microwave for one ear? I do love the Alaska Air baggage check, so we can just roll the suitcases into the terminal and hand them over. Quick and easy. My husband has been a packing cube devotee for years, but he hasn't converted me. Maybe I'll try it next time. Thanks!

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    1. Hi, Beth! Yes, 4 four minutes for one ear. I have been doing five minutes for two ears. And I flip them half-way through. I think I'm gonna go for the cubes, too.

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  7. Fab post! Glad the corn cheat is working for you (it's what I'm having for lunch!). And Amy, I need packing cube lessons. Seriously...I used them but then they seemed to take on an exploding life of their own once I got to the hotel, LOL. <3

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    1. Thanks, Anna! And me, too. It's seriously the best tip I've gotten in so long. The only reason I'm not eating some today is because I ran out. Heading to the farmer's market tomorrow (hopefully.) And LOL about your packing cube experience. I didn't even know! Now that I think about it...I don't think I saw your suitcase.

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  8. Carol,
    Love the corn on the cob directions. I will definitely try it.
    Amy, two things -
    Love the cubes. When I sent Mike to camp this year, I put different outfits in giant ziplock, I'm thinking the cubes would be easier.
    And, you were in Arizona! Why didn't you call me LOL Girl....

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    1. Do try it, Pam! You won't be disappointed.

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  9. I love this post, Amy and Carol. I will definitely have to try the corn-on-the-cob one!

    As for tagging luggage, imagine if each bag had an imbedded, unique microchip, not unlike microchipping your dog, that would be associated with your passport. Not only would you not have to tag it, it would be less likely to get lost, because the likelihood of a bag being taken out of the automated process because of a reading error would be reduced! Just a thought . . .

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  10. Kate, brilliant! Can you use your engineering background to get started on this? ASAP please.

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    1. I think someone probably is already working on it! ;)

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