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12 Activities to Get You in the Christmas Spirit!

Can you believe that Christmas is only about a week away? If you’re anything like me, you’re saying, “No way!” It just doesn’t feel like Christmas! Thanksgiving bumped up to December this year, leaving Christmas cards arriving later than usual, less lights going up on houses, and a mad scramble to get gifts. We had no time to recover from Thanksgiving! So if you are feeling like me and need to get into the festive holiday mood pronto, follow this simple holiday to do list!

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1) Bake cookies. There’s nothing to get you in the mood for Christmas like baking cookies for Santa and decorating them. Grab some friends or your family and insist on baking together, with uninterrupted (i.e. no cell phones!) bonding time. Cooking can inspire conversation and is a great opportunity to get some laughs and just have a great time. Invest in some fun cookie cutters, and use this recipe for simple and buttery sugar cookies.

2) Listen to Christmas music. It may be a great idea to combine our first suggestion to this one, because cooking to music makes the food taste better in my opinion. Even if you don’t have time or just happen to forget to turn it on at home, be sure to tune in to your local Christmas radio station.

3) Sing. Some people think singing out loud is silly, but that often goes out the window when it comes to holiday songs. Everyone can join in because they often know the words, and you may be surprised when your friends or family join in with you. Just let go and have fun, that’s what the holidays are about. To quote the movie “Elf,” “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

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4) Wrap presents. There’s something therapeutic about methodically wrapping gifts and making them look beautiful. Many rush the process, so I suggest putting an hour or two aside to wrap presents especially. Just enjoy it, don’t let it be the aggravating thing that is making you late for a party.

5) Watch the classic Christmas movies. There are tons of cheesy Christmas movies around nowadays, some only made for TV. Though they may be wonderful, it’s the time of year to pull out your family’s old fall-backs and let the happy memories from over the years wash over you. You know, those ones you’d watch every year while opening presents. Be sure to gather blankets, get a cup of hot chocolate, and cozy up!

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6) Make an ornament. When we were kids, we’d often make ornaments in school or an event, but as adults, we rarely make one. You may rely on your kids to make these little handmade treasures, but it can put you in a really festive mood to make one! Check out these easy recommendations from Buzzfeed.

7) Go through old photos. This is the perfect time of year to look back and reminisce about trips you took and things you did over the year and beyond. Look at old baby pictures, birthday moments, and silly memories.

8) Make snowflakes. Remember in school when you’d spend hours cutting up a folded piece of paper, anticipating what it would look like when you were done? Do it again! All it requires is a square piece of white paper and scissors. Simply fold the paper in half (into a triangle) and then again (it should still be a triangle). Then cut fun shapes! Avoid cutting completely down the folded edges, as this will cause your snowflake to fall apart.

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9) Go for a drive around your neighborhood at night. Seeing your neighbor’s homes all lit up is so much fun, especially as you snake your way slowly through the twinkling lights. Be sure to bring some hot cocoa and turn on some of that Christmas music!

10) Enjoy a fire in a fireplace. I know this may be tricky if you don’t have a fireplace, but it’s so nice to get cozy next to a fire and smell the wood burning. If you don’t have a hearth of your own, see if a friend or family will open their home to you. In return, be sure to provide the egg nog/hot chocolate and candy canes to thank your hosts!

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11) Go out and shop. I know most people do shopping online now, but there really is something fun and festive about going somewhere and actually walking through the shops. Christmas music is playing, sales people are especially nice and attentive, and people are generally nicer than usual (though occasionally some may be a little stressed). Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s invigorating to go out and enjoy window shopping.

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12) Give back. See if there’s anywhere near you to volunteer, like at a Senior Center or Homeless Shelter. If you can’t donate your time, then donate a gift or toy to a local drive. Look up online where you can find a station in your area. The mall often has a giving tree with gift tags and suggestions for gifts for children and seniors in need.

As always, SteerList is here to help you from getting into the Christmas spirit to picking up New Year’s Eve party supplies. Get last minute gifts and don’t forget to pick up the fruitcake, all while getting your weekly groceries and remembering to fill everyday prescriptions. SteerList is the ultimate to do list and reminder app… and you don’t need to check it twice!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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The Perfect Little Gift for ANYONE on your List!

We’ve searched Etsy looking for the cutest and most unique handmade items for your stocking stuffers or daily Hanukkah gifts. From kids to adults, this is the time to order from Etsy. I’m an adamant “No Christmas Until After Thanksgiving” girl, but due to the numbers of orders most Etsy sellers encounter during the holidays, it can be a stressful time of year for them to fill orders, especially since there’s usually only one person making the products. It’s better to order early and not worry about gifts arriving in time, especially since Hanukkah actually begins on Thanksgiving this year (Happy Thanksgivingkkah by the way) and is just a week away. Let sellers know you need the item ASAP, most will accommodate or you can pay extra for expedited shipping. Whatever you personally celebrate, these presents are sure to please this holiday season!

Kids:

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(Photo courtesy of Eight Little Fingers)

These adorable finger puppets from Eight Little Fingers offer a zoo animal for each finger. Great for imagination, play or story telling, these are an adorable option for young kids to encourage education and fun at your fingertips!

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(Photo courtesy of emhocollections)

Avoid heavy bowling balls and hard items that might go flying with this soft felted penguin bowling set from emhocollections! Beyond cute, they make a fun game to play on a table top… and they don’t make a lot of noise, so there’s no threat of a headache when your kids play over and over… the only noise you’ll hear are cheers of joy.

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(Photo courtesy of OurLittleMesses)

This crayon wallet (from OurLittleMesses) also encourages creativity, which is so incredibly important for young kids. Easy to travel with, it’s also great for fast art projects on napkins or paper place mats in restaurants. They say that “creativity is intelligence having fun,” so give a gift that encourages so much more than just scribbles. TIP: My mom and I used to play a game called “Doodle” where we’d take turns jotting a seemingly thoughtless scribble onto a piece of paper, then the other person has to turn it into a “real” drawing. It turns drawing into a fun and creatively stimulating game!

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(Photo courtesy of ThoseGreatHouseWomen)

This I spy watermelon toy from ThoseGreathouseWomen is great for keeping kids busy on long road trips or when waiting in line. It’s small enough to fit in their hands, and they can spend hours shaking the bag to sift through and reveal all the items hidden inside (list of items sewn onto the back). It’s like a portable treasure hunt!

Women:

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(Photo courtesy of RetroLoveCases)

Any woman deserves to feel like a queen, and this “Queen of awesome land” cell phone case from RetroLoveCases will remind her with every phone call. Not too girly, this fun case is perfect to give to a girlfriend whether you’re romantic or just friends, girl or guy gift-giver. Just make sure the phone it fits on is the same one your recipient has!

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(Photo courtesy of Minxshop)

This bowtie necklace from Minxshop is a fun way to achieve the “menswear” trend that is really popular right now. A nod to something that can either be dressed girly or nerdy, this bow tie necklace ensures that a girl will always have the opportunity to “class it up” instantly.

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(Photo courtesy of capturedimagination)

These convertible mittens from capturedimagination eliminate the timeless question: “Gloves or Mittens?” Now, you don’t have to pick! Avoid the awkward mobility issues commonly associated with mittens by simply flipping the mitten part over to reveal mid-finger gloves beneath to keep your fingers warm while you’re able to text or use your phone without sacrificing heat or style!

Men:

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This collapsible shot glass from MAGICreBEL is sure to keep your guy warm in a less conventional way this holiday season. It’s also a fun novelty, a James Bond-esque gadget that fits right on a key chain to ensure that you’re always prepared to “take a shot.”

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(Photo courtesy of cobblestonefibers)

Hey, even men get cold! This slouchy hat from cobblestonefibers will keep any guy’s head nice and warm while he’s running around, and may even build his confidence when he makes heads turn! It’s simple and you can even say it was handmade with love… just not by you.

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(Photo courtesy of BackyardBrand)

Guys love fun toys that have multiple uses. This working harmonica flash drive from BackyardBrand fits the bill, giving him a fun musical instrument to play with as well as a way to back up files. Even I have to admit, it’s a pretty nifty little gift that I myself would love to get! (The shop itself has a couple of NSFW (Not Safe for Work) images. Though they don’t show anything distasteful, it may be embarassing in some situations, so follow the direct link to the item if you plan on ordering in mixed company.)

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(Photo courtesy of SouthCoastDesigns)

Okay, this is just too cool… a speaker made out of an old Altoids tin from SouthCoastDesigns! Is your phone or MP3 speaker just too quiet? Want to share your music with the world? This speaker is small enough to easily fit in a pocket, and will just make you feel really cool when you slip it out to everyone’s surprise and plug your device in.

Parents (or parent figures):

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(Photo courtesy of purposedesign)

This beautiful collection of six premium white teas from purposedesign will literally make your gift recipient feel all warm inside. This collection includes such delicate and intriguing flavors as “Blueberry Thrill,” “Mt. Fuji Pear,” and “Snow Maple.” These are definitely not teas that you could find at your local grocery store!

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(Photo courtesy of KennyMud)

This sweet heart mug from KennyMud would make any Grinch blush. Clever use of the handle and a thoughtful cutout give the illusion of a heart on the side of the mug. It’s unique and definitely a conversation piece.

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(Photo courtesy of ObjectIndustrialArt)

This modern cuckoo clock from ObjectIndustrialArt will update a room while still maintaining the classic silhouette. It doesn’t make the “cuckoo” sound, which can be a blessing depending on the person. However, it’s beautiful and will be a great addition to any home! Love it.

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(Photo courtesy of SecretSafeBooks)

This book safe from SecretSafeBooks is a very cool gift for anyone and piques everyone’s interest in secrets and the pursuit of cleverly hiding things—a book safe! A book safe looks like any unassuming book in a shelf, but opening it revels a hollowed out center for keeping little keepsakes or even money. No one would suspect a book…

Treats:

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(Photo courtesy of LeBonbonLA)

The holidays are a great time to let go and just let yourself enjoy decadent treats, like these Tiffany blue macarons from LeBonbonLA! If you don’t already know, macarons (not macaroons) are a delicate French cookie with a really pleasant airy texture, and they use almond flour instead of normal flour. They are extremely temperamental and hard to make, but also very trendy right now. This set of vanilla coconut macarons look delicious and beautiful.

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(Photo courtesy of BOSSGirlsInc)

These sugar plum lollipops from BOSSGirlsInc turn the famous literary holiday treat into a real lollipop that both kids and adults will enjoy. Whether visions of sugar plums are dancing in your head, or you just saw the Sugar Plum Fairy in a local production of the Nutcracker, you’ll love these violet confections.

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(Photo courtesy of OhSooooSweet)

I’ve saved the best for last… the dessert on everyone’s lips: the Cronut! You don’t have to live in New York to try this sensational sweet, you can order a dozen Cronuts from OhSooooSweet and be the hit of any holiday party!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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5 Ways to Instantly De-Stress During the Holidays

For some, the holidays are an exhilarating mix of adrenaline and shopping. Some feel that it’s a type of marathon they’ve been training for all year, and meet it with a wild exuberance that is both hypnotizing and slightly terrifying. For most, however, the joys of the season can quickly become mixed with extreme stress. The noises, the parking, the crowds can all lend a lot to a very tense time of year. On top of the shopping situations, you can also have to deal with family drama, burned baking attempts, and bills. SteerList wants you to add the following things to your to do list so you can unwind ASAP.

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1) Stop and breathe. It sounds obvious, but because breathing is second nature, you may not realize when you’re allowing yourself to get worked up to the point of hyperventilating. When you start to feel your heart beat start to rise, take a deep breath through your nose and exhale through your mouth. I recommend a count to five for each to regulate it, but you may have to adjust that for your personal comfort level. It should feel calming, not like you’re suffocating! Repeat three or four times.

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2) Close your eyes. For most, our eyes are the way we take in information, so when you’re feeling overwhelmed, shut out all the things that may be sending you into a panic. Super long line at the mall? Don’t have a meltdown, simply shut your eyes for a little bit and let yourself calm down without the stimulation.

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3) Run yourself a bubble bath or take a long shower. There’s something about bathing that makes us stop and do nothing but relax… mostly because we’re surrounded by water. Unwrapped presents can’t bother you and bills simply have to wait. Lean back in your tub or let the hot water cascade down your back, and just let your problems float away with the steam.

4) Stress means tensing up without even realizing it. If you’re standing in line and you realize your shoulders are up to your ears, let them fall. Take time to roll your neck and shoulders, and shake out your arms and legs.

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5) Take a walk. Walks have been proven to help people clear their minds, relax, and let themselves be distracted by nature. Sometimes our holiday drama can just build and build in our minds, but as soon as we step outside, we see a world outside ourselves. Problems will seem smaller and solutions become more obvious when you give you allow yourself time to decompress.

Adding these tips to your free SteerList app are crucial for your sanity this holiday season. If you’re going somewhere you know will be stressful, add a tip or two among your regular list of things you need to do. In addition, you eliminate the stress of forgetting or needing to remember things from the store, SteerList is here to make the holidays easy with our location-based app that reminds you of what you need to do as you go!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Make a Trip to the Art Museum More Engaging!

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With rainy days becoming a regular occurrence, it’s time to surrender and start moving out activities indoors. One of my favorite rainy day activities is to go to an art museum. There’s something quiet and ethereal about walking into a museum, everything is hushed and everyone walks around in awe almost like walking into a church. Of course, going to a museum can be a different task when going with a child. Here are a few quick ideas to program to your free SteerList app to keep the kids engaged on a trip to the museum.

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1) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Have your child mimic the pose featured in a portrait (at a fair distance) then ask them questions. Ask them if it’s hard to hold the pose, or how they would have positioned the model differently if they were painting or sculpting the piece of art themselves. If you’re allowed to take pictures, you can take one or two to show off later. Just remember to remain respectful even if a pose is especially silly.

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2) Get inspired. At our local museum, they include art packs that anyone visiting can pick up and use to their heart’s content. The kits have colored pencils, paper, sketching pencils, and an eraser. You can just bring a notebook with a pencil (that has an eraser attached to the end) if you’d rather go simple. I’d recommend a “put everything down before you stand up” rule, or “Hand everything to mommy before you go near the art.” Don’t want any temptations to “add” to the existing art or room for accidents. Like checking the photo policy, it is probably good to ask at the desk if it’s okay to sketch in the galleries. Most museums allow it, but it’s always good to double check.

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 3) Invent games that will encourage kids to take a second look at a piece. Kids can sometimes have a look-and-go policy. Playing a game like “I Spy” can force a kid to stop and really explore every inch of a piece of art with their eyes. They may notice things they didn’t see the first time, or just learn to go a little slower and to fully enjoy the piece. (Can you spot the one lily pad that’s floating on its own in the Monet above?)

All of these things add a little fun to a trip to the museum for a little one, but it also teaches a lot about art appreciation and the concept of art being thought provoking. Always ask a lot of questions, try to lead to a discussion.

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No Halloween Decorations? No Problem!

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Maybe Halloween snuck up on you and all the decorations are picked over or basically gone now. Maybe you hate the DIY movement with a fiery passion because you weren’t blessed with the crafty gene. It’s okay, we get it. You don’t need to join a support group for the artfully impaired! Luckily, the Halloween spirit can be achieved with just some lighting and great sound effects, and it won’t take more than a few clicks on your computer or a quick download. SteerList has gathered the best and most memorable Halloween music for you to play, no scissors or glue stick required. Just add speakers/ a CD player and press play!

1) These “Fright Night” scary sound effects instantly turn your house into a haunted mansion. Full of creaky doors and spooky voices, this is definitely a perfect way to set the mood if you’re into the chilling fun of a theatrical show.

2) “The Monster Mash”! A classic, this song is a hit with the kids and adults. A little silly, upbeat, and full of vintage charm, it’s perfect for a more festive sound. Fun fact: The BBC banned this song from being played on the airwaves in 1962 because they deemed it “too morbid”!

3) If you’re a kid at heart, then go with “This is Halloween” from the movie “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” This song allows you to hear the voices of several monsters as you travel through Halloween town. The upbeat tune balances the creepy voices, and will probably not scare kids too much because most have seen this kid-friendly movie.

4) This song by “The Pierces” was really popular with TV shows not too long ago. “Secret” is dangerously catchy, and its lullaby rhythm gently calms you while also adding an air of unease when you listen to the words. Always remember: “Two can keep a secret when one of them is dead.” This is a great Halloween song, and it’s lesser-known, so it’s not cliche.

5) THE THEME SONG FROM GHOSTBUSTERS! A cult classic, this song makes people happy from the first “Who you gonna call?” Not really scary at all, this totally 80s-tastic song playing on your porch will have people shouting “GHOST BUSTERS!” all night!

6) Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is the epitome of a Halloween classic. Full of creepy sound effects AND a killer song, don’t be surprised if you look out your window and see a flash mob outside doing the choreography!

7) “I Put a Spell on You.” This slow and spellbinding song is also great for a less cliche choice. It’s also less “dance party” and more “hypnotizing.”

8) “Disturbia” by Rihanna is a more modern song for a younger crowd. It’s a fun party song, and less frightening, more… what’s the word… disturbing!

9) “Man with the Hex” by the Atomic Fireballs. This song has a great, bouncy swing style to it, you won’t mind hearing it on repeat all night because you’ll be dancing and jumping along!

If you need to grab anything from the store at the last minute (candy, pumpkins, etc.) make sure to download SteerList. grocery list app, to do list app, and location based app. We’re all of the above, and we’ll help you get it done!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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Plan the Perfect Autumn Day!

Autumn is a time of year where there are so many fun activities you want to do that you may sometimes need a little help getting organized so you can do them all before the season is over. SteerList is a free app that can help even the most busy and most disorganized people remember to take time to enjoy the little things when they have bigger things to worry about. Whether you need just a little help or are a self-proclaimed hot mess, the SteerList app will help you get things done.

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We are a location based app that was made specifically for ease of use and moms on the go. Pick a day from the calendar, then quickly choose locations by simply searching the name of a store and selecting the one you usually go to. Then, make a list of what you need to do. After that, it’s okay if you forget about it, because when you drive or walk near what you needed to do, SteerList will remember for you and give you a notification.

We can help you remember to pick up candy for trick-or-treaters before all the good stuff is gone…

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We can help you prep for the rainy season ahead of time, so you’re not running around in flip flops with a plastic bag over your head when the first rain hits (been there, done that)…

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We can even help plan your perfect trip to the pumpkin patch…

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AND we can help you make the perfect apple pie when you’re suddenly in the mood to bake. We’re a great grocery list app for when you have new seasonal recipes you want to try…

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Then we’ll help you decorate your house for Halloween…

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Finally, when you need a break at the end of the day, SteerList can even help you remember to pick up a grande Pumpkin Spice Latte to help you unwind.

Again, we’re free to download (we also don’t run on annoying ads), so give us a try and let us know what you think! If you’ve been meaning to start a DIY project or absolutely can’t forget to pick up cake mix for the school bake sale, then download SteerList today and get it done!

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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No-stress Travel Tips

We all know that the start of the Holiday Season is almost upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or whatever you may personally celebrate, all mean travel plans that are probably being booked as we speak. Often, traveling also means the dreaded, white-knuckled horror that is braving a trip to the airport. No need to stress, SteerList is here to help.

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The number one rule of traveling is to be prepared ahead of time. This means that you go through your closets or immunization records at least a month before your trip so you can make a note of what you have and what you may need to pick up (such as Dramamine, a new bathing suit, snow shows, or a flu shot). The free SteerList organization app allows you to program these items by location so you remember to get them when you drive nearby, so you don’t have to run out on a twisted scavenger hunt the night before your trip.

IMG_0432Packing is the next hurdle you have to overcome in getting ready for your trip. If you’re checking a bag, make sure that anything you may need on the plane isn’t packed inside! Bring a oversized bag, purse, or backpack for the items you need within arm’s reach. To help you remember what is where, keep a list of important items by bag so you know exactly where everything is and don’t accidentally pack something important away. You don’t want to have to open your carefully packed carry on luggage for a show of your personal belongings as you frantically dig through it on the plane. If you’re checking a bag, store your liquids in it to avoid the whole 3.4-oz.-security-zip-lock mess. Tip: When planning an outfit to fly in, include a jacket with pockets. I’ll get into this later in the security portion.
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If you’re flying to visit family or going on vacation, my biggest, most important and golden rule is to get to the airport early. Remember that the time of your flight isn’t when you need to “be there by.” That’s the time the plane is saying “bye-bye.” Boarding time is commonly half an hour before the flight time, and before you even get there you need to check your baggage/check in and get through security. Don’t make it hard on yourself. Blood pressure rises when you panic, and running late is something that will make your pulse skyrocket. Plan to be at the airport about two hours before your flight. At worst, you’ll get to your gate early and have to relax before your flight!

Security is the reason most people hate flying nowadays. Standing in line makes people reminisce about being able to wave goodbye at the gate, but the reality is that this is the norm and the best thing you can do is be prepared for it. I recommended a jacket with pockets earlier, because it is easy to take off. No rooting through your jeans and holding up the line, simply put everything in the jacket pockets so you don’t even have to scramble to take everything out of the metal detector bins and cram them back into your pockets afterwards (risking accidentally leaving something behind). Be ready to slip off your shoes (varies at different airports) and items like computers need to be easily accessible to take out of your bag if you plan on flying with one.

Just feeling prepared can make travel a lot easier than when you’re running around at the last minute. Flying doesn’t have to feel like you’re being chased or in a race, it can be easy and feel like second nature if you’re ready for it.

Website: http://www.steerlist.com/

Download our app for FREE in the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steer-list/id661605663?ls=1&mt=8

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