Organized Flexibility

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I spent all morning working on our London trip schedule!  For big vacations, we like to make massive Excel spreadsheets with all of our confirmation numbers and schedule of events organized by day.  So far, the only definite items on our list are:


  • Tea at the Ritz
  • Oliver! The Musical
  • Spa day


For our trip to Napa Valley, we planned out each day in advance so we wouldn’t be stuck doing the whole “I dunno – What do YOU wanna do?” thing on vacation.  We even listed out restaurants for each lunch and dinner, and I wrote down suggested running routes.  It worked out really well!  We didn’t feel obligated to stick to the schedule, so it was more like “organized flexibility.”  🙂


It’s so funny how different some people are – when my BFF Lauren goes on vacation, she literally just shows up in a foreign country with a backpack and no plan – no hotel reservations, nothing!  I could NEVER do that.


I broke for lunch:


I had a grilled cheese sandwich with asparagus.  There are so many fun ways to jazz up grilled cheese, like:


  • Salsa
  • Sprouts
  • Black Beans
  • Apple slices
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomato Slices


I could go on and on!  Basically, everything tastes better with cheese.


And melon:


And one of those Gingerbread Man cookies snuck into my mouth earlier!  He just got up with his little gingerbread legs and walked across my desk, up my chest, and into my mouth.  I swear.  🙂


I am going to Megan’s place now to use her apartment gym… and perhaps drink a beer.  🙂  I forgot the Husband took my car so Megan is coming here and we’re going to the bar.  So there.  Bar > Gym. 



  • Yasmin December 15, 2009, 1:05 pm

    I like to search for events and local art museums when I go on vacation. My boyfriend takes care of all the restaurant planning, lol.

  • Kat (kats daily plate) December 15, 2009, 1:05 pm

    I love adding extra goodies to my grilled cheeses. Have you tried avocado? It is actually REALLY good warm!

  • Jenna December 15, 2009, 1:06 pm

    i love your idea of organizing your vaca!
    and i defs agree everything can go with a grilled cheese, yours looks delish btw!

  • sarah (ghost world) December 15, 2009, 1:06 pm

    i’m a planner too! i get almost as much satisfaction in planning the trip as i do in the actual trip — therefore, twice the fun!!

    but i agree with plenty of flexibility and downtime.

    SPA DAY = awesome.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 15, 2009, 1:06 pm

    I usually don’t plan for vacas, but we have never beens somewhere ‘big’ like that! I am so deprived.

  • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) December 15, 2009, 1:09 pm

    I really enjoy planning trips but I always try to leave some room for “just winging it.” It’s always nice to be able to take a breather and just relax. I tend to be an overplanner so it helps me a lot to plan times to “do whatever!” For example, when we went to Maui 2 years ago I planned one day for “drinking and beaching.” LOL it was great.

    You guys are going to have such a good time!

  • Chloe (Naturally Frugal) December 15, 2009, 1:09 pm

    I do the same thing as you for the most part. There are things I want to do and see, but I don’t jam-pack my vacations either – that’s no fun!
    However, when I was in Italy and traveling around Europe I made my reservations a day or two in advance for hostels and decided where I wanted to go next once I was in a city. It was super fun, especially to be that free!

  • megan December 15, 2009, 1:11 pm

    I love the way you plan. I tend to do that too, probably not quite as detailed, but similar. I just really like having a plan. but i like flexibility too – this is the best of both worlds

  • julia December 15, 2009, 1:12 pm

    I always plan! It’s nice to have all the important info and phone numbers on one spreadsheet. My boyfriend used to freak out about being “scheduled” on vacation but he has come to appreciate it. And just because I make a schedule, it doesn’t mean we have to stick to it.

  • Nicci@NiftyEats December 15, 2009, 1:13 pm

    Keep celebrating…you derserve too. I’m a bit anal when it comes to trips,I like to plan the trip hour by hour, what we’ll be doing? lol Buy for ”eats” I like to wing it.

  • Runeatrepeat December 15, 2009, 1:13 pm

    I have totally demolished those cookies you sent me 🙂 Amazing stuff!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance...after a 100+ POUND weight loss! December 15, 2009, 1:16 pm

    I plan out as much as I can when going on vacation or anything for that matter as I am a total PLANNER!!! Though I do envy those that are not, as it must be liberating at times. =)

  • Sarah Jayne December 15, 2009, 1:17 pm

    YUM there is a little cafe near one of my offices that is famous for their “Up North Panini”- asparagus & smoked gouda grilled on rosemary ciabatta. BEST combo!

    Congrats again on the OFFICIAL first draft 🙂

  • RhodeyGirl December 15, 2009, 1:18 pm

    I am like you. I make a big form with all of the confirmation numbers and things to see and do, but don’t book up my days either.

  • Laura December 15, 2009, 1:26 pm

    My fiance and I are big time planners, too. Do you ever use Based on reviews of other travelers we have found some really neat “off the beaten path” things to do and see.

  • Diane Doesn't Diet December 15, 2009, 1:28 pm

    You two are going to have so much fun in London! I’ve never been there but I definitely want to go someday. I like the idea of “organized flexibility” too 🙂

    I’ve also never tried asparagus & grilled cheese but it looks good! People make fun of me when I put ketchup on grilled cheese, but it’s kind of like pizza when you think about it haha. Anyway, have a great day!! Enjoy your beer 🙂

  • Evan Thomas December 15, 2009, 1:32 pm

    I definitely feel the urge to plan everything on vacation; wouldn’t want to miss anything!

  • Christie @ Honoring Health December 15, 2009, 1:32 pm

    I think I am closer to your friend in vacation styles, I like just showing up and seeing what happens!

  • Jamie (Inspired Mess) December 15, 2009, 1:32 pm

    Oh my goodness, that grilled cheese with asparagus looks sooo delicious!!! I’m going to have to try that! I love that you guys plan your vacation on a spread sheet! 😉

  • Jill December 15, 2009, 1:34 pm

    I do the same thing for vacations. For our honeymoon we made a list of 1 or 2 things to do each day. It gave us some structure, but still gave us tome to explore and have some free play. I could never just wing it, I’m way too type A. 🙂

  • Rachel December 15, 2009, 1:41 pm

    I like to plan, but also just have time to explore. That’s always the best part! Are you flying British Air? They are planning to strike next week. I had a flight with them on the 26th, but was able to get my money back to fly another airline. Just wanted to make you knew (just in case!)

  • ashleigh December 15, 2009, 1:42 pm

    I never would have thought of asparagus grilled cheese but that looks so good! you are right- cheese does go with everything.

    I like your flexible organizing idea.. I am in the middle of you and your friend but would like to be more like you in the planning scheme so I don’t miss out on things I should have done.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite December 15, 2009, 1:49 pm

    We like to “loosely” plan our vacations.

    Love the idea of asparagus in grilled cheese.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) December 15, 2009, 1:54 pm

    Organized flexibility is such a great way to look at it. For me it helps to have a plan but not to stress if we deviate. I hate that “I dunno” conversation so I’d rather have a plan instead.

  • Paige December 15, 2009, 1:56 pm

    I never would have thought of an asparagus and cheese sandwich, but yours looks awesome!

  • Anne Marie@ New Weigh of Life December 15, 2009, 1:57 pm

    Good idea to plan your vacation-it’s all about the planning for me 🙂

  • Nancy December 15, 2009, 1:57 pm


    Your sandwich looks insanely taster-iffic! I can’t believe I never thought of putting crunchy asparagus in with my grilled cheese. Oh yum.

  • Marisa (Loser for Life) December 15, 2009, 2:01 pm

    I agree – everything DOES taste better with cheese!!!

    You are one organized girl!

  • Mrs.Ballou December 15, 2009, 2:01 pm

    I love pickles in my grilled cheese. It’s weird, I know, but I love it anyway. Enjoy your beer!

  • Annalisa December 15, 2009, 2:20 pm

    Wow. That grilled cheese looks SO good! I love seeing what you eat because I’m a vegetarian also and I always am in need of inspiration!

  • Heather December 15, 2009, 2:27 pm

    Number of times i have now seen X > Y today.
    four. (and im not even taking any algebra classes)
    Shugarman > Moore.
    Bar > Gym.
    Cookies > Celery.
    Sleeping > Doing this Damn Report.

    Im going to go ahead and guess you agree on all fronts. 😉


    Book sent to Publisher! Passed FE! WONDERFUL CELEBRATION!

    P.S. Beer + Cheese = pure wonderfulness. remind me to send you the recipe for the Beer Cheddar cupcakes i’ve made for a few superbowls now.

    • Julie @savvyeats December 15, 2009, 3:22 pm

      Haha. Apparently algebra and Chanukah recipes are the themes for today 😉

  • andrea December 15, 2009, 2:40 pm

    hi caitlin!

    I hope you guys have so much fun in London. My husband and I got back in Sept. from spending 6 weeks in Great Britain and London. I would love to go back:) One place we loved to eat at was in Bloomsbury by the University of London…it’s called the Hare and Tortoise…really good and relatively cheap asian food. Also I don’t know if you know…but there is a 3 level Whole Foods on High Street!

  • Sammi December 15, 2009, 2:47 pm

    I’m not sure I could ever just show up without hotel reservations! The weird thing about my family is that we often decide to travel last minute. I remember standing in the hallway once while we were trying to figure out if we should go to Germany that day!

    I hope you have a great time with Megan! I’m trying to make myself get ready to go to the gym right now. I’d rather run outside but I don’t have anyone to run with and I don’t like to run alone! (not safe enough!)

  • Hethir December 15, 2009, 2:52 pm

    Yum, That looks good. Wish I could eat cheese (lactose intolerant). My favorite is quesodias 🙂

  • Kara M. December 15, 2009, 2:54 pm

    Holy Mother that sandwich looks delicious! I have serious food envy right now!

    I love that you cheese makes a regular appearance your healthy (and vegetarian) eating habits. I love cheese so much and always think of it as a splurge. I guess I take some comfort in know that other healthy peeps eat it too 😉

  • Allison R. December 15, 2009, 3:05 pm

    Bar > Gym….I studying for finals! Gah!

  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels December 15, 2009, 3:13 pm

    That’s totally how I planned our trip to NYC last summer and it was the most fun vacation we ever had.

  • Devon December 15, 2009, 3:14 pm

    I knew I liked you for a reason! Bar > Gym is definitely a true fact.

    And organized flexibility is a great way to plan trips. Cause really, there’s nothing worse than being stuck asking what the other person wants to do… my husband and I are ridiculously indecisive in those situations!

  • Carolyn December 15, 2009, 3:16 pm

    I’m a fan of spreadsheets, too! 🙂

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) December 15, 2009, 3:18 pm

    cheese definitely makes everything better. I’m also all for organized flexibility! I like knowing my options!

  • Julie @savvyeats December 15, 2009, 3:19 pm

    I could never show up in a country with no idea of where I’m staying… it would freak me out!

    I go with “organized flexibility.” When we went to San Francisco last year, we had a list of things we for sure wanted to do (and reservation numbers etc), and then a map with restaurants, etc that looked good marked. That way we could wander as we liked, but still hit up some good restaurants based on what was close!

  • Vicki December 15, 2009, 3:26 pm

    How much I plan depends on where we are going. We usually know a few things that we really want to do and then, beyond that, wing it. However, we’ve never gone anywhere without having made hotel reservations first.

  • Julie December 15, 2009, 3:57 pm

    I could never do what your friend Lauren does!! That seems so scary!

    My first and last big vaycay I planned everything out to the minute for each day. I’m kind of a control freak so it worked out okay, but I’m so much of a control freak that if something didn’t go as planned I freaked. That taught me to chill out and be flexable on vacations. I’ll still plan but not be so rigid.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) December 15, 2009, 4:24 pm

    We definitely like to plan out what we do on vacays, too. Or at least have a good idea of a decent amount of options. Cuts down on so much wasted time!

  • Katie December 15, 2009, 4:27 pm

    ASPARAGUS sandwhich!?!?!!? WOW!

    New SAHALE SNACKS giveaway, music, food + fitness –

    Happy TUESDAY!


  • Emily December 15, 2009, 5:10 pm

    hahaah! I love it! I wish there was a gingerbread man near me that would just hop right in..maybe I should make some?!

    Asparagus on grilled cheese…I’ve never thought about it..!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg December 15, 2009, 5:19 pm

    I love travel planning! To me, that’s half the fun!!

  • skinnyrunner December 15, 2009, 5:21 pm

    i like your organized flexibility! of course i never put it into practice, but i like it in theory!

  • Janna (Just Flourishing) December 15, 2009, 6:09 pm

    I could never ever just show up in a foreign country with a backpack and no plan! I’m definitely all for “organized flexibility” I LOVE making lists!

    Your sandwiches with cheese and sprouts always look so yummy! I’m gunna have to go out and get me some sprouts 🙂

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 15, 2009, 6:47 pm

    I am such a schedule girl too – although my husband is the complete opposite! We are heading to Japan after Christmas and the schedule is well underway 🙂

  • Karla December 15, 2009, 6:57 pm

    I’ve definitely gone places without even a place to sleep. Last time I went to Europe I went stopped by my boyfriend’s family’s house and his mother was horrified that I had no idea where I was going.
    That’s half the fun!

  • Holly December 15, 2009, 8:57 pm

    Freaking LOVE how you are enjoying life, and not afraid to have a good time at the family holiday party or have a beer on a Tuesday night with a good friend (and express it on the blog). Really warms my heart, and makes me feel good about my lifestyle as well. Sometimes these blogs get a little picture perfect in their healthfulness and well, not really a life I’d want to live. You rock, sistah!

  • Jolene ( December 15, 2009, 10:39 pm

    Bar > Gym hehe, I love it!

  • Alison December 16, 2009, 12:28 am

    what a good planner! while i enjoy showing up in random countries, it always pays off to do your homework.

  • Jo December 16, 2009, 9:17 am

    BTW – if you want any recommendations for Spas let me know – either in London or outside. I have my personal favourite but know of a few goods ones.

    • Caitlin December 16, 2009, 3:42 pm

      thanks! i think we’re going to the one in our hotel, actually.

  • Katy @ These Beautiful Feet December 16, 2009, 9:35 am

    For our honeymoon in Napa, and I planned what we definitely wanted to do and left some extra time just in case. That helped a lot. I feel like I have to plan activities I want to do but I also like a little freedom. So a little mix. 🙂

  • Julie December 16, 2009, 6:21 pm

    I am at a national training for work and this question –
    “How do you plan for a vacation?” – was like an hour long exercise meant to help us identify our personality type and how that relates to the workplace. Ha!

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