I’ve been pretty excited about this week’s topic – life hacks! I like to think I solve problems. More often, I just create them.
My personal favorite life hack though is Skiplagged. The website helps you find super cheap flights by booking you on flights that have a layover in the place you want to go. Example…it was going to cost me $450 to fly to NYC. Instead, I booked a flight to the Bahamas with a layover in NYC for $160 (note, there’s no bag checking allowed with skiplagged). Still, I thought I wa flight to the Bahamas with a layover in NYC as winning. Until I got to the airport, and I couldn’t actually check into my flight until I had a return flight leaving the Bahamas. Some international law. So, I also had to book a return flight (and remember to cancel it within 24 hours). Thanks to Alex setting some reminders, I did cancel that extra flight! But my conclusion was…I love life hacks, but I kind of suck at them.
When I told my good friend, Campbell, this story on Sunday, we realized she would be much better suited to share some other fun life hacks 😉. I give her full credit for the remaining 8 below. Campbell is not only a life-hack expert, she also has some pretty cool stuff going on.
She’s a former teacher and is super passionate about changing the narrative around education in our country. To find out more, 1) watch the pilot “virtual visit” video. If you have feedback, thoughts, or just want to chat, e-mail her @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
But now for the hacks…
1. The ‘Bra-bberband Trick’ – Racerback bras aren’t known for their beauty, but visible bra straps doesn’t exactly scream “classy” either. To tuck away straps under a racerback top, do a one-swoop rubber band maneuver to keep straps hidden. Simply un-swoop the rubber band to revert back. Don’t forget to loosen the straps, unless you’re going for the Dolly Parton cleavage look (and if you are, you go girl! Dolly’s a babe).
2. Hat(s) Art. Wishing you had the funds to deck your apartment in “grown-up” art? Meanwhile, kicking yourself for buying that not-so-functional (yet deceptively chic-looking on the locals…) hat on a recent trip abroad? Throw a nail in the wall and hang the hat! Makes for a fun, interesting, conversation-evoking, 3-d wall piece. Pull it down when you’re feeling sassy and / or want to hide from those pesky paparazzi.
3. TJ Panky. Buy your Hanky Panky, Cosabella, and Honeydew undies at TJ Maxx (or any of TJ’s fraternal triplets; Nordstrom Rack or Marshall’s). Way cheaper – typically about 40% of the price. Not always the Pantone color of the year, but saving the moolah and wearing pink camo undies sounds like a good compromise to me.
4. The Phone Zone
Juice it up: I assume everyone knows this, but occasionally I find a poor soul that doesn’t, and I’m flabbergasted. In case even one of those poor souls reads this blog: to charge your phone WAY faster, turn it on Airplane Mode (in Settings, or just swipe up from the home screen for the dashboard).
Mark your territory: As a teacher, I used to lend my kids my phone charger when they “needed to charge to call their mom about carpool” (yeah, I’m SO sure that’s who you were itching to call. Whatever. I’m a softy). After thinking I’d lost about six chargers in a week, I realized my well-meaning kids had accidental sticky fingers. To avoid: put a sticker on your chargers and write your initials or draw something bizarre that would embarrass anyone else if they were caught with it.
5. Spacemakin’ in the City – I live in New York City, and my kitchen situation is…interesting. I’m a proud owner of a “bitchen” (aka a “bathroom” + “kitchen” combo). While I’ll save that explanation for another time, my counter space hardly facilitates making any real culinary magic happen. For the times I want a prayer of pulling off one of Ina or Paula’s masterpieces, I pull my drawers out and put the cutting board across the top for extra counter space. Learned this one from Buzzfeed and love it!
6. I hate those big earring backs.
Did you know those annoying plastic discs on the back of new earrings ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO STAY THERE? I DID NOT. Pop the middle part out and toss the plastic. It’s easier than you think! Who knew?!
7. Santa’s Helper – I’m crazy about giving gifts people love. I’m not crazy about giving gifts people hate. To experience to former of these two sides of the gift-giving pendulum, keep a “Gift List” note in your phone. When you’re with a friend or a family member who mentions something they’ve wanted for ages or spots a shirt while window shopping that they’d never treat themselves to, jot it down with their name. When gift-giving-occasions roll around (or they had a crummy day and need a “happy”), consult your note. They’ll love that you remembered and you’ll love being able to give them something they’re crazy about.
8. The Clean Closet Caper – If you’re lucky to have high ceilings but aren’t lucky to have mad ups to reach the top of your closet easily (I’m five feet tall, so this is a daily lived experience), buy an adjustable height closet bar like this one from Walmart for $15 and pop it in the bottom of the closet. Boom! Just doubled your closet real estate and, if you’re like me, saved yourself from the embarrassing fate of pulling your back out in your twenties.
Huge thanks to Campbell for stepping in for me on this life hack topic!
I’ll leave you all with the only other one I know – use your Keurigs twice. You won’t notice a difference. Try it…I’m onto something.