Vacation Prep and Planning

Vacation Prep and Planning

Often people who have their own business get very concerned that they can’t take a vacation, or they will have to overwork either before/after their vacation like a crazy person.  This does not have to be true.

It all comes down to planning.  If you know that you are going to take two weeks of vacation each year then plan to make the difference up over the other 50 weeks, not the week before or the week after the vacation.

Make sure that you have tied up all your loose ends BEFORE going on vacation, so they don’t unravel WHILE you are vacation.  You need time off. 

Also, look at the possibility of having someone “cover” your clients if an emergency comes up while you are gone.  Communication is key so, let your clients know that you are away and will not be available.  Advise them of your departure and return dates so they know.  It doesn’t hurt to send out an email to remind them.  You may need to also set something up for new or potential clients, so they know you are unavailable.  This can avoid you losing potential business or upsetting a client.

I am all about planning to make sure you can have fun!

On the personal side you also want to do several things like:

  • Having mail held at post office or someone picking it up
  • Notify your credit cards that you will be away (this can save big problems while you are gone)
  • Have someone keep an eye on your house

Remember you can go on vacation and have a great time with some good planning.  Plan to have fun!

What are your tips for planning before leaving for vacation? Leave a comment below…

Blog Contributor:

Colleen Parisi owner of A Walk in the Park with Colleen.  Takes the stress out of planning a trip to Disney and put the fun in!!

Colleen’s belief is that everyone should have a great time at Disney!  Growing up her family called her “Julie” (for those that don’t get it, it is a reference to a TV show called Love Boat and Julie was the cruise director).  Colleen has always been a planner and now does it as a business and to help other businesses.

Opinions expressed by Savvy Women blog contributors are their own.

What should I pack for vacation?

What should I pack for vacation?

Summer has finally arrived and it is time for a vacation . We all work far too hard and relax very little vacations are important for our overall health however packing for our getaway can be stressful. The thought of packing gave me hives. Opening my suitcase raised my blood pressure and created high anxiety. I have learned many simple stress reducing tips and tricks in my career as a Personal Stylist & Professional Organizer that have lessened my anxiety. These tips and tricks are simple, quick, and have helped clients, reducing any “packing anxiety” so they could enjoy their time to recharge.

When packing for a trip my biggest tip is to always remember that is Less=More. We all pack a “just in case” outfit but, do we really need it? It is important to remember to pack clothing pieces from your wardrobe that are interchangeable. If you end up needing an “Emergency Look” you always pack can buy one on vacation. Interchangeable looks will allow you to pack less, lower your level of stress, & help you spend more time enjoying your vacation! Make time to get organized before you pack your suitcase leaving it till the last minute you will most likely feel very overwhelmed and stressed resulting in overpacking.

Before choosing what goes in your suitcase research your destination. Many of us Google our destinations weather forecast, I also suggest calling. Destinations can give you information about the toiletries , hair dryers, irons, etc., that they offer. Planning what types of excursions you will take narrows down the specific clothing pieces you will need cutting down on overpacking.

Armed with the information from researching your destination now open your closet! It is always great to remind yourself before choosing any clothes that Less=More.

Items to Pack for 5 days in Beach/Lake Vacation:
2-3 pairs short
1 pair of lightweight pants ( I prefer a white jeans)
1 bathing suit
1 bathing suit cover (can double as casual dress)
4 tops (mix & match styles)
Dressier dress (going out)
2-3 bra’s
4 pairs of undies
2 pairs shoes
3 pairs socks (if needed )

These pieces of clothing should be cleaned, fit you comfortably and be in a “neutral” colors. Neutral colors allow you to interchange these pieces so you can create simple stylish looks and pack less. I suggest to clients to put on a “fashion show” to create their looks before packing. Think of this as a “fashion show” fun, exciting , and most importantly helps you double check whether you like your choices. The “fashion show” tip is very important for those of us who overpack.

One of the most frequent questions from clients is how many shoes and accessories to pack? My advice is to think simple or Less=More is always. Sneakers and walking shoes take up a lot of “real estate” in your suitcase so, wear them on your travel days. A pair of “beachy” type sandal I suggest flip flops and a dressier sandal that coordinates with the ”going out” dress is plenty of shoes.

My tip for accessories is leave your expensive/valuable pieces safe at home. I suggest following the same tip for accessories as you did for clothing simple and interchangeable: 2 pairs of earrings (choose your style) and wearing a simple necklace. Have some fun and shop for a unique souvenir type accessory while on vacation and if you are following the rule of Less=More packing you have some room in your suitcase for it!

All right, the time has come to pack take a breath you got this!

Wait did you forget your sunscreen, bug spray, or toiletries? You can purchase the small travel size soaps and “potions” at Target or most drug stores. Your skin will survive 5 days or so without the usual special night serum take a beak from it! Bringing your makeup is an individual choice my suggestion is to wear sunscreen but, not everyone feels comfortable that way.

Try to minimize : SPF 30 tinted moisturizer, lip gloss, & waterproof mascara give your face and yourself a vacation from what you wear daily. A vacation is a time to relax and enjoy your time reducing your usual skincare/makeup routine will give you more time to enjoy yourself. The Less=More rule also applies to your behavior on your trip. Less of your usual routine and More time to relax and recharge.

The biggest tip for the actual packing of clothing is to roll your clothes rather the folding. Rolling your clothes into the shape of what I call a cylinder will allow you to pack more and save space. I also suggest using your shoes to tuck items into them. Socks ,“Undies,” and flat irons work well for this it saves on space. Make sure to pack heavier pieces on the bottom (hair driers), and angling bulky pieces in the corners of your suitcase increases space. Making a list of your medication to keep on your person reminds you to pack these medications and double check the quantity you have. Vacations are not the time to need a medication refill or realize you left them on your bathroom counter at home!

Double check that you have packed chargers also you may need electronic converters if you are traveling to outside the U. S. By calling your destination packing your electronics can be easier. Always checking your cellphone plan to insure you have coverage and if there are extra costs for data usage.

Going on vacation to relax, recharge and visit new places is exciting the packing part not so much. Using the tips and tricks of my the Less=More Packing Model will reduce your stress, minimize overpacking, and make packing more enjoyable. The whole reason for packing is because you are getting ready for a vacation that will be invigorating , fun, and relaxing. So, take a breath and relax!

Bon Voyage!

What are your favorite packing tips? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page with your tips.


Sarah J. Duffy | Embrace Yourself

Sarah J. Duffy is the Owner of Embrace Yourself. After being in the fashion & beauty industry for many years Sarah realized the most fulfilling part for her whether it be assisting a customer in creating an interview outfit, fitting a woman for the right size bra, or working as a professional Makeup artist was the moment the woman saw herself in the mirror ! The glow that would come to her face when she truly saw herself on the outside the way she felt on the inside! That is the only goal, when she meets with each & every client! Helping women learn to wear clothes that celebrate how amazing they truly are! Sarah believes in using fashion & style to create your own personal power! At Embrace Yourself it is not just about having a great wardrobe, or a “detoxed closet” it is about self-acceptance, self-awareness, & self-empowerment!

Opinions expressed by Savvy Women blog contributors are their own.

Chaos in your business?

Chaos in your business?

How often does life seem chaotic to you? Some of us are energized by the chaos. Others are totally thrown off by the chaos……. it’s important to make sense of the chaos AND BE ORGANIZED in order to truly succeed.


  • Review your business goals every day.

Keeping your goals front and center allows you to weave through the chaos. It’s an introspective process that helps you hack at extraneous details. It can reveal what is important, what is a waste of time and what you should do about it all.

  • Batch tasks

Batching is collecting all of your similar tasks for the day (or week) and doing them all at once.

Email: Sit down and do it all at once. 
Writing articles: Get it done in a single morning.
Writing your business plan: Take an afternoon and write it down.
Don't let your week be a jumble of activities
  • Work on the one thing that will move your business forward.

For most business owners there’s that one thing in your mind that you know you should do. You recognize its importance and even realize that it has the potential to change your business and dramatically move things forward.

The problem? You feel too disorganized to do it.

A simple way to usher organization into your life is to just do it. Every day when you wake up, resolve to do at least one task that will move your business forward.

Doing so will organize your thinking and your priorities. It will give you a clear and coherent vision for the success of your business. Creating a Vision board helps.

  • Choose a few major tasks for the day.

Staying organized is as much about what you choose not to do as it is about what you choose to do.

Choosing too many “priorities” for the day will crush you and leave you gasping for relief. Before you know it, your day will crumble into a pile of disorganized chaos.

The secret to staying on track?

Select a few things that you need to get done for the day. Maybe it’s a single task — an article, a marketing plan, one step in a new hire, etc., — that you must get done.

Move the Big Rocks. They are the major things you want to get done this week.

Unfortunately, These Big Rocks get pushed back from week to week because we never have time to do them — our days fill up too quickly. Too often we overstep the Big Rocks.

How do you avoid this problem? By planning your week with the Big Rocks first.

  • If you have staff….. delegate!
    The art of delegation may be the difference between businesses who flounder and the ones that succeed. Understand why you’re not delegating.
    Measure how you’re doing.
    Choose the right people.
    Integrate delegation into what you already do.
    Ask others to hold you accountable.
    Really let go.
    Learn from experience.

Things that business owners must learn to delegate:

Anything you don’t enjoy doing.
Anything you don’t do well. 
Anything that will help to increase cash flow.
Anything that is getting in the way of growing your business. 
Anything that is process-oriented (easy to do) but time consuming. 
Anything you want a team member or aspiring leader to learn to do.

If you attempt to operate your business without a thought as to organization, you’ll fail. If you guide your task with an organized mindset, you will succeed!

Need help getting you on the right track?

About the Author: Manuela Broderick

The Professional Organizer, Planner and Stager

If you would like to write a guest post on our blog please email

A few steps to get you started on the path of exploring your personal brand

A few steps to get you started on the path of exploring your personal brand

We have all done it…. rolled out of bed, and hit the ground running with full intentions of returning to “get dressed.”  Now, somehow it’s noon, and we still are not really put together for how we intended. Sure, you never anticipated having to go on three different errands, yet, it happens. Perhaps you had to dash to the school to drop off your child’s project, which was left behind. Or swing into the post office to mail an order to a client. And then of course, there is the practical added errand like getting milk to save a later trip. As luck would have it you run into three people you know along the way…

How do you feel when you engage with these people? Are you happy to see them? Are you comfortable? Do you feel prepared to answer a question about your business? Or, are you just hoping they don’t notice the toothpaste markings on your sweatshirt…?

I am not advocating for perfection. Perfection is not realistic, and it’s not genuine. I am a believer of feeling comfortable. That can mean many things to different people. I know for me when I feel disheveled or drab, I don’t feel my best. This in turn can influence how I interact with others.

How we present ourselves in every area of our lives sets the tone. Whether we are aware of this or not, we ARE our personal image; this influences how others perceive us. While it would be nice to think we are not so impressionable, we as humans simply are. What we wear is a huge piece of how we present ourselves to the world.

Everything we do affects our personal and professional brand. It is up to us to determine whether our brand is affected positively or negatively.

What exactly is Branding?

Simply put, branding is the process of influencing perception. Branding helps people perceive us and our company in the way WE CHOOSE.. notice the words “we choose”, because if we don’t shape our brand, other people will shape it for us… In their minds, they will make assumptions quickly based on what are their impressions of us. Attire is an instant language.

Branding is what helps you stand out in the marketplace. When you step into the glorious person you are and present your unique self that is the best kind of confidence and positive marketing. Why? Because it’s genuine and it’s relatable. With such a fast pace society today, people are craving personable relationships which are authentic. When you are being truly you this assists to ensure trust and supportive attention. This trust is just as valuable if you are forming relationships with other parents or meeting with a client. It’s all related for you’re always presenting yourself in every area of your life. From picking up your “to go” food to walking into a meeting.

Defining your personal or business brand is one of the most special gifts you give to yourself and the world. It is your time to shine! My wish as an image maven is that every woman shine in her own miraculous and unique way! There are many facets that go into a successful brand. Like any task it can be more manageable when taken in steps. Your attire is one piece but it’s also an important one. The beauty of exploring your style is also knowing that it will evolve and change over time. So be patient. Remember, this isn’t about being perfect. Everyone starts somewhere and like anything new it can feel awkward before it feels elegant. This is an invitation to hone in on your unique style which will compliment and attract more positive experiences.

Your clothing is a tool. It can work for you or against you. The key is knowing how to dress your body and honoring your style.

Where to begin?

Following are a few steps to get you started on the path of exploring your personal brand….

Be Unforgettable – Aside from your wisdom and sunny demeanor, what sets you apart? What do you want people to remember about you? Now this doesn’t mean you grab an over the top fluffy jacket fit for show tunes. It means there is something that you add which is noticeable. Perhaps it’s a savvy accent color, a necklace which is unique, or a flattering hat. Having a piece that draws the eye in can not only be a way to be memorable it also can be a great conversation starter.

Be Authentic – Do not try to mold yourself to what others think you should be. If you are not dressing in a style that is comfortable not only will you suffer but it can affect the integrity of the relationship as well. Be the best version of yourself.

Bring In The Troops  –   It is valuable to reach out to those trusted individuals for feedback who will be honest with you because they care. Choose wisely. Gathering some friends for a night in to sift through your clothes can be a blast! If you do not have the right type of support then you may want to consider retaining a professional. We all need a trusted confidant to provide honest feedback, be kind, loving and support our individuality.

Get Inspired And Excited! –  When you look at your closet you should get excited by the items that fill them for they ideally make you feel beautiful and happy! If they do not then that is a place to start. Many times we can get in the habit of throwing on whatever and just getting by. Perhaps it’s because we don’t feel worthy, perhaps it’s we don’t want the attention. Or perhaps we have no idea how to dress our bodies. Remember, if you don’t feel truly magnificent and confident then you will send this message on some level. Whether you are working with a professional or making some changes on your own it does not need to be expensive or labor intensive. Phew! It really can be very easy… you just have to start!

If you are not sure what you like for a style then the best thing to do is to explore. Set aside some you time, pull up a chair and pick a place. It could be magazines, Pinterest etc. Pay attention and note what you are drawn to. Don’t think about the cost, where you’d wear it or if you could pull it off. Just notice what draws you in and how it makes you feel.

Be proactive – This is no time to be overly modest or shy. It’s important to move at your own pace but just make sure you keep moving forward. Refreshing and defining your style really takes very little effort and it can be so very fun! Women have gotten away from dressing up. Many of us didn’t think twice about it when we were younger – clomping around in our Mother’s shoes and pearls and loving it for we were supporting our imagination and self expression. We need to give to ourselves as we often are doing for others. For when we do, we shine both personally and professionally.

About the Author:

brandonBrandon Dewyea
Image Maven of Moxie