Quick Summer Wardrobe – 6 Easy Outfits From Walmart

At the end of this week, we will travel to our new airbnb. We decided to pick a warmer climate because… enough’s enough. lol. Spring in Maryland is doing this thing where one day it’s a high of 79 and the next day the high is 42. And I’m just over it. I have to leave the house with layers just in case the temp dramatically spikes or drops while I’m out. I can’t figure out whether to wear a tank top or a puffy coat, and I’ve had enough. lol.

Because it was December when we started this airbnb/vagabond lifestyle, we have zero summer clothes with us. Our upcoming location will be hot and no puffy coats or scarves will be needed. Knowing I have tons of summer clothes in storage, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a new wardrobe, but I definitely needed to buy some shorts and sandals. So I scoured Walmart and came up with a few great pieces without breaking the bank.

Here are a few easy, affordable, and cute outfits that I was able to throw together with a simple trip to my local Walmart. I linked the items I was able to find on the website, but some items may be available in your local stores.

Outfit #1: Tie dye dress.

Secret Treasures midi gown in a medium ($14.88)
(I was unable to find this online, but you may find it in your local store)

I believe this is actually a night gown or house dress, because I found it in the section with women’s pajamas. But the material is just as thick as anything I would wear out in public so it is now a multi-use garment. Part dress/part night gown. Lol. It will be put to work! Even in a medium, It’s a little long for me, so I can easily fix that by cinching the sides into a quick knot with a hair tie. Easy breezy! I could have definitely done a size down but I erred on the side of caution. I can shrink it up a little in the wash if I need to.

Outfit #2: High-low top with jeans and clog sandals.

Time & Tru Relaxed Fit Tee ($9.98); Time & Tru Wooden Heel Sandal ($19.98)

I love this top. It’s so easy to throw on with shorts or jeans. Once I got it home, I wound up also ordering it in white and navy blue. It’s just too good to have in the closet as a staple. I am wearing a medium in the top. The sandals…omg I LOVE these!! They are so comfortable, padded with a little memory foam. Just enough heel to be cute without being painful to walk in. I will be wearing these all summer! The jeans are actually pre-owned and another brand, but I could have easily found a similar pair in walmart if I needed some.

Outfit #3: Peach tie-dye paperbag shorts, a white neck, and brown stencil flip flops.

No Boundaries Shorts ($5.98); Time & Tru Flip Flops in Cognac ($9.98); Time & Tru Vneck ($4.98)

These shorts fit amazingly well. I am wearing a 19, but could have definitely gone down a size. I wasn’t quite sure how they would fit and I couldn’t try them on in the store so I erred on the side of caution. I’m quite “healthy” in th back so I would rather them be too big than too small. The neck is a classic and I’m sure I will be wearing that with other things this summer. The flip flops are a summer staple. They are ornate without being over the top. Easily paired with basically everything because of the maroon color, and the heel has a slight elevation so my flat feet appreciate that.

Outfit #4: Drawstring jean shorts, black tank, and straw hat.

No Boundaries Draw String Shorts ($9.88); Time & Tru Tank Top from previous season

What a simple but chic outfit for the beach, for brunch or dinner. These shorts are in a 2xl, and I could have definitely gone down a size. I would prefer them a little shorter so I will use some hem tape so that they stay cuffed like they are in the pics. The black tank is a basic closet necessity, and I can easily throw on my jean jacket or a sweater or kimono over this outfit. The shoes were not purchased at walmart, but I could easily wear my clog sandals for sure!

Outfit #5: Flutter sleeve top and open toed wedge booties

Tierra Sky Peasant Top ($13.98); Time & Tru Booties ($12 on clearance)

This top is awesome for summer date night, or for brunch with the girls. Perfect fit, great style, and easily pairs with shorts, jeans or capris. And these super comfy wedged open toed booties go so well with this outfit! (The jeans are pre-owned, but walmart sells tons of similar styles.)

Outfit #6: Tiered skirt, tank, and clog sandals

No Boundaries Smocked Mini Skirt ($9.98); Time & True Wooden Heel Sandals ($19.98)

This outfit is the surprise from my trip. I really didn’t know what to expect when I got home and tried this skirt on but I absolutely adore it!! Easily paired with a tank top and belt, and it looks so perfectly dainty. Or wear it with your swimsuit for the perfect coverup. I am wearing the clog sandals that I purchased at walmart and I just love this outfit! I cannot wait to wear it!

I love knowing that there are cute options for building a budget-friendly wardrobe! Walmart for the win! Of course they aren’t the only show in town, but there are definitely cute pieces that you can easily pick up while you’re doing your Saturday shopping. And don’t get me started on their bathing suits! They have totally stepped up their game! So far, I’ve talked myself out of buying new swimsuits, but if I break down and buy a couple, I’ll definitely share!

Where is your go-to place for reliable, affordable styles? Have you started your summer shopping yet? Or are you waiting for temps to get warmer? I’d love to hear from you! Let a sista know!

Life Around the Airbnb (Fredlandia)

I feel like I should be doing better at keeping you updated on the haps with my Airbnb life, so I’m going to just start posting more frequently about the normal day to day things that happen around here.  Sometimes I feel like if nothing significant happens, then it’s not worth writing about, and quite honestly, I am realizing that’s not quite how blogging works.  I find I’m really intrigued by the journal entry type of blog posts just as much as the posts about a specific topic. 

So with that said, I’ll craft my first “Life Around the Airbnb” post and let you know what’s going on in my Airbnb life.

So here goes…

Today we are about two weeks away from checking out of this home, and here’s what we’ve been up to this week.

We are currently renting a nice two-story townhouse style condominium in a modern development in Frederick.  We positively love the home, and we love the area so much, but we absolutely do not love the neighbors.  More on that later. 

We initially rented the home for a month, but we decided to extend another month because we really felt like there was more to do and see here in Frederick. Due to the pandemic combined with the cold March weather, we were limited with how much exploring we could do, and there is so much in this area to explore.  In addition, I had a few appointments in the Maryland area that required me to stay fairly local for a couple weeks.  So, despite the neighbors that we don’t care for, we decided to stay put for another month because we love the home and the area.

A majority of this week was devoted to looking forward.

One thing about starting each rental at an Airbnb when you’re of no fixed address—it isn’t long before you have to start thinking about where you will go the following month.  So we like to get going with that search pretty soon after we move into a home.  While being able to hop around is quite freeing, the research involved in selecting your next home can be quite daunting.  And here are a few reasons why:

Price considerations – As you can expect, we have a monthly budget for our rentals.  We wanted to keep the price at or below what we’d spend on a rental or monthly mortgage payment if we stayed in one fixed location.  What we’ve discovered is, while there are a lot of great rentals that would be wonderful for a weekend trip or a family vacation, they aren’t feasible for monthly stays when you multiply out the daily rate by 30 days and then add fees.  We just are not paying $6,000 a month for an Airbnb.  Just not doing it.  So that whittles down our prospective homes quite a bit, and makes us negotiate wants versus needs.  Though there are monthly discounts (more on that later), once you add in fees and such, the prices can still rise quite high.

Monthly inventory – There are a lot of homes that are available for a weekend or for a week or two, but the inventory of monthly rentals is definitely significantly smaller than the inventory of homes that you may find when you’re researching places for that weekend girls retreat or the family beach trip. Sometimes we have looked in certain cities and the inventory for a monthly rental for our dates is less than 5 homes.

Our criteria – Anyone renting or buying anything has a set list of criteria, which includes your non-negotiables as well as the things you’re willing to be a little more flexible on.  Sometimes our options significantly decrease just by filtering out ones with no kitchen. For a space to be our home for a month, there are definitely things that are important to us.  We have learned that we operate best when a home has two bedrooms and two bathrooms at the very least (no adorably chic tiny homes for us!).  For one reason, we both work full time from home, and we both have meetings and make calls. Many times our meetings and calls are at the same time, so another bedroom or a designated office with a door is crucial.  And the bathroom…well…lol…I’m sure no explanation is needed for this one.  We rented a home with one bathroom, and it worked fine, but our preference is two if possible.

Seasonal aspects – Some areas are more popular based on the season, so working around the price hikes for certain areas can be tricky.  Yes it sounds awesome to be at the beach for a month, but guess what…you will definitely pay a premium price for a monthly stay at a beach during beach season.  And who really wants to be there in off-season?  Well…some may, but…the point usually is to enjoy the weather and the water, and to do that, you will pay higher prices.  And same is true for mountains during ski season.  So navigating those nuances can add to the trickiness of selecting a home.  You may want to be somewhere in off-season, but if it’s 10 below and you only do outdoor dining, or if the area is shut down because it’s non-peak, is it really a place you want to be?

Working the Airbnb system – The great thing about monthly rentals on Airbnb is that there is typically a discount for longer stays.  We have found that in some circumstances, extending our stay by a few days can decrease the price by a few hundred dollars.  So even if we don’t need the extra days, we may reserve them just to get the cheaper price.  But figuring out which homes that applies to, and what the right length of time needed for the best price, this can be time consuming and somewhat frustrating.

Because picking our next spot can be sort of challenging, we typically start working on that within a week of moving into a new space.  This week we searched, whittled down, selected, and reserved our next home. Can’t wait to tell you about that! 

So now that that’s done, we feel like we can breathe a bit and enjoy the remainder of our time in our current space.

And that’s what’s been happening around the Airbnb this week.

Have any questions about airbnb life or what we’ve been up to while in Frederick, Maryland, comment below or send me a message at justamarylandgirl@gmail.com! Also follow me on IG at justa_mdgirl!

My So Called Airbnb Life

The North Carolina Modern Farmhouse Bungalow

I feel like I should have made this post a couple months ago, but…better late than never, right?  You may have seen me mention Airbnb life in a few of my IG and blog posts, so here’s why.

“Let’s find some beautiful places and get lost together”

Towards the end of last year, as my apartment lease was coming to an end, I had a decision to make. I had to decide whether to renew my lease or find somewhere else to live.  I really didn’t care for the complex I was living in, and finding a new place to rent was proving to be harder than I imagined.  Because of COVID and its restrictions on landlords, rental home inventory in my area was pretty locked up.  I didn’t want to move into another apartment, (I was moving from a bad experience with a neighbor and just did not want to be connected to another person). I wasn’t quite prepared to buy another property (I already have a condo that I rent out and am not looking to buy anything else right now), and my rental options were extremely limited for the Southern Maryland region.  As time was winding down on my lease, the whole search was absolutely stressing me out.

In addition, we were around month 9 of this crazy pandemic, we were knee deep in an unreal election cycle, civil unrest was on an uptick, and I felt like I just needed an escape of some sort.  Travel was essentially restricted so a vacation wasn’t really an option, nor was it a long-term solution.

One day, almost as a joke, I said “I should just pack up my stuff and Airbnb it until I’m over it.”

It seemed like a ridiculous idea…until it wasn’t.  What does that even mean?? Airbnb it? What are you even talking about?? Airbnb isn’t even a verb!

After a few conversations with my boyfriend, and a lot of hypothetical what-ifs, we decided what the hell!  We were both teleworking for the indefinite future, all we needed was an internet connection, and that connection did not HAVE to be in Southern Maryland. 

I swear I did not think my stuff would fit!

We came up with a list of criteria for a rental home, we entered said set of criteria, and we searched until we were numb. We whittled down our list and tuned in on one home that piqued our interest. We had probably looked at that Airbnb listing a million times before we made our decision. We decided to go for it, and eventually we made our first monthly reservation. We didn’t really know what to expect.  Could we live in a rental home for an entire month?? What if we hated it on day 1 and were stuck?? We have no place else to go!

The pictures looked adorable but, in this day of filters and angles, anything can be made to look amazing. 

Once the reservation was made, it was time to execute our plan. For the last couple months of 2020, we debated logistics, we purged, stored, and packed all our possessions.  We finished out our lease, and by January 1st, we were in our first Airbnb—an adorable modern bungalow right outside of Raleigh, NC.

North Carolina Rest Stop on the way to our first Airbnb

When move day arrived, we pulled into the driveway well after dark.  We were exhausted from cleaning out the apartment, packing up the car, visiting relatives dropping off random this and thats, doing our last-minute Maryland items, and then driving the four hours to North Carolina.  We fumbled through the self-check-in, we unpacked the car, (dropping a bottle of red wine all over the driveway…sigh…), showered and went to bed.  We barely found our pj’s and toothbrushes before we called it a night.  But the next morning when we woke up, explored our new (temporary) home, and realized how much we loved the idea of what we’d done.

The home was exactly as the pictures portrayed.  YAY!  The décor was adorable, the modern furnishings were so chic, and the personal touches from the host were perfect.  It was peaceful. The scenery was so calming. We felt relaxed and it was wonderful.

Anyone who has taken a staycation can probably relate.  It doesn’t matter if you go down the street or to another country, there is just something therapeutic about being out of your home, your day-to-day routine, your normal space, and in a new environment.  And after nine months of quarantine, and a year of an unpleasant neighbor, new scenery was so refreshing.  Even if all we did was sit inside this home and work, cook, eat, and do normal every day things, we felt like a new peaceful space, and slightly warmer weather, would be just what the doctor ordered.

While it feels super weird to have no fixed address, and to not know where I will be living two months from now, somehow my nerves are less frazzled than they were living next to a neighbor that drove me insane, while constantly watching news that regurgitated the COVID/election/racial injustice cycle.

I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll be an Airbnb vagabond, but I’d love to take you all on this little journey with me.  I can’t promise it will be super exciting, but I will share some homes, experiences, and lessons that I learn along the way. I’m three months and three homes into this experience, and it’s been a pretty interesting lifestyle thus far. 

Have you ever thought of doing anything like this? If so, what would be your approach? What would you want to do? Where would you want to go?

Have questions, hit me up!

Simple Amenities That Airbnb Guests Appreciate

[DISCLAIMER: Some links in this post contain affiliate links. This means I get a commission if you purchase the product through my link at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

When I embarked on the Airbnb life, there were so many things to consider.  Trying to plan for multiple what-if scenarios and the wide array of weather possibilities, it is super easy to fill up suitcases before you even blink an eye. 

But I only had one car, and I had no option but to fit everything I’d need into that one car.  From clothing to medications, to electronics to home conveniences, the car filled up super quick!  At some point I had to put my foot down.  I had to realize that I may just have to do without some items, or I may have to buy them as I go.  Or if I’m lucky, my host may actually have some of the things I’ve left behind.

I realize that a lot goes into making an Airbnb home aesthetically pleasing, and having numerous odds and ends may detract from a host’s efforts to keep things simple and clutter-free.  I completely get that. 

But if there are ways to add a few of these items to your space without sacrificing your look, please give it some thought.  You may not realize how handy these items are to Airbnb guests, especially the long-term ones, but I promise you, the perfect small gesture makes such a big difference.

I also realize you don’t want to break the bank with random knick-knacks and unnecessary items. The good news is that some of these items can be picked up on trip to your local dollar store or Walmart. Or even easier, some can be purchased with a quick click on Amazon, and then tucked away in your home pretty easily.

Here’s my list of simple amenities that add value to my stay as a long-term Airbnb guest, and I’ll link to a few things as well:

KITCHEN

  • Oven mitts: Cute and clean, not dingy and old.
  • Dish towels: I’m all about reusing and reducing, so going through paper towel after paper towel is annoying to me.
  • Toaster: Basic is good, no need to get fancy. Just something that I can toast a bagel or waffle in.
  • Chip clips: This is such an overlooked necessity. I like sealing everything that I open.
  • Olive oil: I’ve been carrying my own but it’s nice if there’s some in the house in case I run out.
  • Paper towel holder: It’s perfectly fine to set the towels on the counter, but a holder is great to have.
  • Dish soap dispenser: Makes washing dishes so much more convenient.
  • Dish drying rack: Some people prefer to wash dishes in between dishwasher loads, so a rack helps.
  • Full set of silverware: Two sets are even better. It takes a while to fill up a dishwasher load, so going through four spoons happens pretty quickly.
  • Cooking utensils: Nothing fancy, just a spatula, large spoon, and wooden spoon. Long term visitors will likely cook a meal or two.
  • Pots and pans: Clean and usable (ie., non-crusty). I am begging you, please do not just leave your crustiest dishware that you know is well past its lifespan for your guests to use. Opt for an inexpensive set of a couple of pots and pans. I’d rather it be cheap than crusty.
  • Cookie sheets: These have been the unsung hero of my airbnb stays. You don’t realize how many things get reheated in the oven until you don’t have a cookie sheet.
  • Cutting boards: Otherwise people may opt to cut directly onto your counter…and you may not want that. Cutting boards will help. And if it’s a set that has a different board for meat, veggie, etc…even better!
  • Mat for the kitchen: Drips happen. It’s nice to have a floor mat by the sink.
  • Tea kettle: I boil water every day for some reason or another. Though pots do the trick, I love not having to watch the pot while I wait for my water to boil…the whistle gets my attention just perfectly.
  • Counter spray: I love Method which is good for pets and children, but whatever works best for you is perfect.

BATHROOM

  • Qtips and cotton balls: Always a good bathroom staple
  • Sewing kit: When I purchased pants and they had a hole in them, I was so happy to see a needle and thread in my host’s bathroom.
  • Hand lotion: Hotel samples or a small bottle next to each sink is wonderful!
  • Hair dryer: This is a pain to lug around, so it’s so convenient if there is one in the home
  • Disinfectant wipes/cleaning spray: It’s nice to have a few handy for guests.

BEDROOM/LIVING ROOM

  • Full length mirror: I like knowing how I look from head to toe. What if my shoes look stupid?? I need to know! This is definitely something you could get inexpensively from your local Walmart or Target.
  • Extension cords: Everything in our lives requires a plug, and wall sockets just aren’t enough.
  • Chargers/wall adapters: A little help with the effort of staying powered up is so appreciated.
  • Hangers: A walk-in closet means nothing without hangers and they are so bulky for travelers.
  • Lamps: There’s something nice about soft lighting. Sometmes overhead lights can be a bit harsh and it’s nice to have options.
  • Tissues/Kleenex: Just toss a box on the nightstand, perfect!
  • Ironing board: A small dorm sized one is fine.
  • Hamper/laundry basket: As a long-term guest, having a place to put dirty laundry is really nice to have.
  • Extra blankets/comforters: For the couch or to layer up onto the bed, definitely a thoughtful touch.
  • Rug: If you have hardwood, a landing pad for your feet is really nice when you hop out of bed.

BONUS ITEMS (Not necessary, but definitely nice to have)

  • A second tv: Definitely not a must, but certainly nice when multiple people are staying long-term.
  • Dressers: Long-term guests will want to unpack. Having designated spaces for clothes is really helpful.
  • Nightstands: You don’t appreciate them until you don’t have them, that’s for sure. A bedside space for your gadgets and medications is helpful.
  • Desk: Because I’m full-time teleworking on the road, it’s so nice to have a designated space for those times that I want to sit at a desk, particularly when I am on web meetings and such.
  • Blender: It is totally not necessary to have a vitamix or some kind of super expensive appliance, a blender of any sort would be nice to have on standby for long term guests. Not every guest will use it, but for the ones that will, they will appreciate that it’s there.

I do not expect every house to have EVERY item. I realize that a lot of these may not even be feasible due to space constraints. And trust me, your guests realize that as well. I also know that running an airbnb can be costly, exhausting, and sometimes less-important things have to go by the wayside. I know that every experience is unique in its own way, and whether you have a sewing kit or not will not sway a guest’s opinion one way or another. Please use these lists however you see fit.

Latitude, Gratitude and Mantras

Studio Oh! Gratitude journal
(I got mine by way of TJ maxx so you may want to keep an eye out there)

I’m about a month and a half into my nomadic lifestyle, and I’m in my second location. The first home I checked into was in North Carolina, right outside of Raleigh. It was the most charming and perfect urban farmhouse retreat. Peaceful, cute, modern, perfectly decorated. It brought me so much peace after living next to neighbors that were the exact opposite of total peace. They were loud, angry, disruptive and quite honestly, I am still traumatized by loud noise. But the little North Carolina bungalow that I rented was on the most quiet little street with the most precious little birds chirping outside…and this, I loved.

While I was there, I breathed deeply, I smiled often, and I just enjoyed the space. I journaled daily, I took walks, I wrote down daily gratitudes, and I even had moments where I was able to do some creative, artsy stuff. I loved it. I sat for hours staring out of the floor-to-ceiling windows, admiring nature and taking in the sun. It was peaceful and therapeutic and perfect. I felt inspired. I felt calm.

The second home I selected is not quite the same. It’s in a less attractive neighborhood. There are a lot of politically charged signs in yards around me, which, in today’s climate, truly raises my personal alarm and stress levels each time we pass them. The current home has a lot of aesthetic imperfections…scuffs on the walls, dusty furniture…a floor that could use a good mopping. It’s cold, less spacious, it has small windows, and the view is of a less-than-pretty older home across the street. While here, I spend a lot of time thinking that I’m ready for my next location. And how many days are left until I get there.

Today I looked around, and I saw my gratitude journal on the table. I realized I had not written in it in a couple of days. And I also haven’t written in my regular daily journal in about as long. How did I go from a routine of habitual journaling to forgetting about it for days at a time? Does my change in space have that much to do with whether I feel grateful or feel like journaling? Do I only want to journal about happy feelings and good times?

Well…I suppose I could easily blame my journaling lapse on the fact that it was a practice that I started as part of my New Years Resolution. Perhaps my daily writing was part of the initial excitement that people tend to have towards a new practice that you have at the beginning of a year. I began my new year in the previous home, and isn’t the new year when most people decide they are going to start being diligent about new routines? And…don’t those routines typically fall off for many people once February hits? So…maybe that’s partially to blame…the fact that resolutions fall off in the second and third month. I’ll just have to recommit myself to the habit and strive to do better.

But what if my mood does actually play a role in my desire to document? As an empath, sometimes I do find it easier to just not focus on my feelings when I’m feeling less than happy. If I don’t think about it, I don’t have to deal with what makes me unhappy. By journaling when I’m unhappy, I’m just reliving the fact that I don’t care for this home and really hope the next three and a half weeks pass by quickly. I am one of those people that would rather not think about it; if I think about it, then I’ll focus and fixate and truly drive myself crazy.

Regardless of whether my gratitude journaling decreased because of the typical pattern of New Years Resolutions, or whether it’s because I’m just not in the mood, I think this is when it really truly becomes necessary to practice the gratitude mantras that I pin and quote all the time.

For starters, this is the number 1 lesson that I need to remember:

It is imperative that I find gratitude daily in every place and in every situation.

– Me

I HAVE to find gratitude daily in every place and in every situation. It is a must. Life in and of itself is a blessing. Every interaction and every day teaches me something. Even on my worst days, there is something to be grateful for. When you find gratitude in every day life, you don’t feel the need to constantly buy, do, search, acquire, judge…and so many more things. I look back on how much money and time was spent on purchases because I was not happy with my life and because I was not grateful for all that I had. Failed relationships, bad work environments, jealousy…so many of those characteristics drove me to stores to purchase more things that also didn’t make me happy, and drove me to unhappy habits that were completely counterproductive, if not destructive. I was so busy focusing on what I did not have, that I didn’t take the time to be grateful for what I did have. And I had a lot.

I need to always remember to be grateful, and here are ten daily gratitude mantras that help me do just that.

  1. I am grateful for everything that I have.
  2. I am appreciative for all of the wonderful things that this day brings forth.
  3. I invite gratitude into my heart right now.
  4. I am in charge of my thoughts and feelings.
  5. I am open to inspiration and creativity.
  6. I am grateful for the air I breathe, the food I eat, and the bed I sleep in.
  7. A grateful heart welcomes new opportunities.
  8. All is well in my world today.
  9. I am grateful for the work that I do, for many are jobless.
  10. When I am grateful, life gives me more reasons to be grateful.

Life doesn’t have to be perfect in order for me to find something to be grateful for. It doesn’t matter whether I’m in that cute bungalow or on the moon. The next time I am struggling to complete my daily journal, I will remember that every day presents infinite reasons to be grateful. All I have to do is pick one.

Do you have a gratitude journal? How do you stay motivated to journal when you aren’t feeling it? Let me know your tips!