My Favorite Travel Option

I like to save money wherever I can (who doesn’t?!). My mom always jokes that I get it from my papa, but my mom raised me going to thrift stores, so I think they are both to blame. We have just always been thrifty people!

The other thing that I like is getting a true feel for where I am traveling. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for hotels. My mom and I had the trip of a lifetime traveling from Denver, Colorado to Boise, Idaho when I was returning for my Junior year of college. My mom put me in charge of lodging and I went pretty cheap (see: Motel 6, Budget Inn, anything with “cheap” in the name, etc.). By the time we rolled into Boise, we were desperate for deep, quality, sleep and my mom booked us a room at Holiday Inn Express. We walked in and it was like we had emerged from a month of being stranded in the wilderness. “It smells like fresh laundry! They serve cookies at the front desk! The room is so quiet!” Hands down one of my favorite memories.

So, hotels are good BUT I AirBnB whenever we are wanting to get off the beaten path.

Here are a few reasons why I like AirBnb (also check out VRBO):

  • You rent from locals.  And most of the time they can give you really good suggestions for places to eat, local things to do, the best coffee shops, etc.
  • Free parking. Caveat: not always, but more often than not. Chances are, they are renting to you because they are out of town, so if you rent their apartment downtown, you also get to use their parking space. You don’t get “valet” but you also aren’t paying $20+ a night to park.
  • Free other stuff. Wifi. Pool use. Coffee and creamer. Cooking staples. Netflix/cable. Some will even include bikes to use, pool/beach towels, beach chairs, and equipment that you can use appropriate for the location.
  • A kitchen! Again, depending on your needs and booking preferences, some rentals will not have a kitchen or it will be limited to just a mini fridge and a mircowave. We always like to have a kitchen if we are staying longer than 2 days so that we can visit the local grocery store/farmer’s market/bodega and make something for a night in. This helps save us money and we can just enjoy the location and each other’s company.
  • Personalized feeling. The hosts are usually pretty great. You can write a message telling them why you’re coming before you confirm the reservation (“my birthday weekend” or “bachelorette weekend,” etc.) and they host will usually leave you a little treat. When we booked a house in Nashville, the host left us some things to get us started like coffee, snacks, and a local candy along with a welcome note. It was so nice and made us feel very welcome.

If you’re planning on traveling, sign up for AirBnb and use my referral code to get $35 in travel credit.


Melissa Sue


Are You a Pinterest Addict?

Yes, hello. My name is Melissa and I’m addicted to Pinterest. I don’t care if you say it like Pin-trest or Pin-ter-est. I just know I’m crazy about organizing random images that I will most likely never need ever again.

As I was creating this blog one of my biggest desires was to be able to embed pins.
I’ll admit, I started searching on Pinterest on how to do this and wandered down a few rabbit trails before I stumbled upon the *actual* guide.

Thanks to WordPress, it is an EXTREMELY EASY process. Check this out.

Happy Pinning!


Melissa Sue

Word of the Year

If you’ve grown up in or around the church, I’m sure that you’ve heard the verse “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” – Philippians 4:13. Fun fact: it was my husband’s senior quote for the yearbook. 🙂  It is a wonderful verse that can serve as a reminder where our inner strength is rooted. However, not many people include the prior verse (v 12) in their quotation.

Verse 12 says, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Coming from Paul, the author of Philippians, this is a huge deal. (Read a brief overview of the life of Paul here) He had his fair share of suffering as a follower of Christ. Yet, he speaks of being content whether he is fat and sassy (paraphrasing) or hungry, and either having much or having little.

This year, rather than making resolutions, I have chosen the word “Content” as my focus. It is my goal to be content in any and every situation like Paul. Easier said than done, I know. However, through reading books (most importantly, the Bible), blogs, and listening to podcasts about “minimalism,” I know that this is something that I truly want to work towards. We are surrounded by advertisements always telling us that we need to upgrade, that we need more stuff, and more space that is bigger and better. However, God is constantly calling us back to Him, to simplicity, to a life that is Holy.

I hope that you will occasionally check in with my blog and read a little about my journey along the way, as well as pray for me as I seek to emulate Paul.


Melissa Sue

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu

Planning to Fail Pt. 2

So the whole point of a capsule wardrobe is to take away the stress of too many daily choices. Have you ever been to Cheesecake Factory? There are like 1243741942348203957 flavors of cheesecake to choose from (ok, there are actually only 33 flavors, but still). IT IS OVERWHELMING! You could always go for the classic, but then you might be missing out on the strawberry cheesecake, or the chocolate-diabetes-attack flavored cheesecake.

The same thing can happen in your closet. You probably have too many outfits to choose from (I know I do). This leads to spending extra time pairing things together, or trying on one thing and finding that it isn’t fitting the way that you would like, or maybe the colors aren’t right, or you can’t find the pair of shoes that matches with the shirt, etc. There are too many decisions!!

The capsule wardrobe curates 33 pieces appropriate (including shirts/pants/dresses/accessories/shoes/jackets) for the weather/season that you can easily choose from to reduce the daily stress. Courtney Carver, the creator of this project sums it up perfectly:

Remember that this is not a project in suffering.

Like I said in my post yesterday, I completely failed at this initial downsizing. What I did accomplish is picking 30 of my favorite shirts, 5 pairs of bottoms (pants/skirts), and about 5 dresses. I didn’t go through my jackets, blazers or shoes. See? Failing miserably.

BUT, I did take out a giant garbage sack of clothes that I was no longer wearing to be donated. These are clothes that I was flipping over morning after morning in search of my other favorite shirts. They were wasting my time and closet space! Not anymore.

I also came up with a challenge for myself because I have 29 shirts and 4 pants that aren’t my favorite, but that still fit/look good and I like them enough to not part with them at this point. What I have done is separated the favorites from the “just ok.”

For the next 3 weeks I can ONLY choose clothes from the “just ok” side of my closet for work and casual outfits. If at the end of the 3 weeks I have avoided the clothes, or dug into my favorites side to make an outfit, the remaining clothes are going in a box and being sealed away for 30 days. Then, if I don’t miss anything from that box, the box automatically gets donated.

I know it probably sounds a little silly, but I love a good challenge…even if it’s just against myself. Maybe I will eventually get to 33 items, or maybe I’ll find that I feel better at 40. I’ll never know until I try. Wish me luck.


Melissa Sue

Shed stuff for the right reasons. Define why you want to shed your stuff, or you will end up filling those empty shelves with meaningless stuff again. Having less than another does not make you a better minimalist and living with less is not a competition. The purpose of simplifying is to have more time and space for what matters most to you. – Courtney Carver,

Why I’m Planning to Fail This Year

Earlier today I attempted to whittle my closet down to 33 items in hopes of doing project 333. After going through all of my functional clothing, I have well over 100 items left in my closet. But you know what? I planned to fail at this project.

Sometime during this year I saw this short video featuring Sara Blakely talking about what failure means in her family. Each night during dinner, her father would ask Sara and her brother, “What did you fail at today?” and then celebrate their failure with them. No, he wasn’t a terrible, mean father. What he was doing was helping his children to learn that failure is not the outcome, but failure = not trying at all.How often has the fear of failure kept you from stepping outside of your comfort zone? Sara Blakely, creator of Spanx, grew up to be a billionaire.

We are guaranteed to fail at things, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying!

Like I said, I have more clothes to go through before I get down to the goal of a “capsule wardrobe” from project 333. But, instead of saying, “Forget this! I can’t do it!” I’ve created a new challenge for myself in order to get me closer to my end goal of 33 items for the rest of winter.

More on that tomorrow.


Melissa Sue



Daily Prompt: Stylish

via Daily Prompt: Stylish

Some of the best “style” advice that I ever heard was, “the things you like never go out of style.” Granted, this is not entirely true because, let’s be honest, there are some trends that need to go away and stay buried forever.

I recently helped my mother clean out her closet and I tried to convince her to get rid of all her chunky, wool sweaters that make anyone who wears them look like a box and feel like a scratching post (no offense, mom, just looking out for your best interest). Alas, a few of them made the cut to stay in the closet because she loved them and they make her feel great (and warm…obviously). She lives in Alaska and we both agreed that a few of these wool sweaters were needed.

Can I also mention “mom jeans?” You know why they are called mom jeans? Its because my mom has worn these for EONS. I have TRIED to get my mom’s cute little rump into any, and I mean any jean style, but what the hell! She loves those jeans. She grew up with them, they are legalistically speaking very modest, and they have come full circle. Now it’s all the rage to wear them. I will personally never slip into them because they make me feel like I have a 5 year old kid that I’m driving to and from soccer practice.

Another thing that seems to have come full circle is that purse style that buckles around your waist, is usually tri-colored (the more 80’s the better) but sometimes leather, with the main part of the purse on or around your rear. YES. Fanny packs. I saw fanny packs under pinterest style boards and just about passed out. Why on God’s green earth are these making a comeback?!?!

Despite my admonition for these styles, I will say that my mom is still extremely stylish. Not because of what she wears, but just because of who she is. While I will never put on chunky, wool sweaters, mom jeans or sport a fanny pack, my mom looks cute as a button at all times while donning these items. Her smile and bubbly attitude towards life can make anything look stylish.

So mom, here’s to you. The things you like will never go out of style because you are the one wearing them. I love you more than words can describe.


Melissa Sue