Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Traveling Light - The Clothes

The final post on Traveling Light - The Clothes.  This one is a little trickier as it varies so much from trip to trip depending on location and season and itinerary, and with each person's individual style.  But this will give you an idea and maybe a few tips on the amount and type of items to pack.  

First the shoes - because they can take up a lot of room, and they absolutely, positively, MUST BE COMFORTABLE or you will not be able to fully enjoy your vacation.  I have a strict three pair limit, and one of these pairs is a pair of flip-flops.  Below are the shoes I took for Chile.   


The flip-flops are old, I think from Gap.  Used as slippers around the hotel room, as sandals beach side or pool side, and in a pinch, because of the gold trim, can be swapped out for one of the other pairs for a casual dinner. 

In the middle, and in the picture below, are my trusty Merrells.  I have taken a variation of these on every vacation that I can remember.  They serve as hiking shoes and general sight-seeing shoes, without the stereotypical white tennis shoe tourist look.  These are at least the third pair of this type of shoe I have had.  I especially like the non-tie bungee lace - easy for slipping on and off in airport security.  Because these are the biggest shoes that I pack, these are the ones that I wear on the plane.

Finally, on the right, for this trip I packed a pair of AGL ballet flats.  While the flip-flops and Merrells are my vacation standards, this third pair can vary between a pair of good walking sandals in the summer, ballet flats, or maybe a pair of low booties.  For this trip I went back and forth between the ballet flats and a pair of black, western low booties.  In the end, I settled on the ballet flats, but really, either one would have worked for this trip.

The Bottoms

A pair of skinny jeans, a pair of gray jeans, a charcoal skirt, and what you don't see, a pair of black yoga pants that I wore on the plane.

Two Long Sleeve Tops 

A bright blue Under Armour and a charcoal quarter-zip from C9 by Champion with cute detailing.  Either one could be layered if needed.

Tanks, T's, Cardis and Scarves

Three scarves - a solid bright blue from Ann Taylor (although it doesn't look like it, it's a close match to the UA long sleeve); cranberry, purple, gray and black circles; and black, gray and white leopard print (H&M).
Tanks - Nordstroms gray & white ruffled stripe, Missomo white and bright blue, very old cranberry with a ruffled front from Gap.
T's - just two - a bright pink Zella and a cosmo pink Missomo Rounded V-neck.
Long sleeve Nike black dri-fit T - another travel favorite - layer over or under, or wear with your jeans and some jewelry and dress it up for a casual dinner.  Also works good for a pajama top.
Two cardigans - J Crew long merino wool in pink and a Merona classic cardigan in white with gray polka-dots

Worn on the plane with the black Athleta yoga pants, another Missomo tank, this time in gray, and a maroon zippered sweater hoodie from Eileen Fisher, along with the circle scarf.

Two Dress-Up Options

A Talbots black silky tunic with buttons half way down the front - packs up extremely small, and a light gray cardigan scattered with silver sequins - works over the white, blue or cranberry tanks, or the black long sleeve T.

My experience has proven this to be a perfect combination. 

On the left is my favorite North Face black fleece jacket.  On the right, a very light weight North Face wind and rain shell.  Together these give me all kinds of options.  If it's a little chilly - wear just the fleece.  If its rainy but not cold, just the shell.  And if the weather turns really nasty, layer the two together.  In the pocket of the wind shell is a light weight Brooks dri-fit black headband to cover my ears.  It stays in there, ready to go, all year round so that it is ready when needed.

And a few Odds & Ends

A swimsuit, a pair of REI rain pants, lingerie and accessories.
The swim suit and the rain pants are the only two items that I don't mind packing and not using.  The swim suit because there is just nothing else you can substitute for it, and it's hard to find one you like.  Besides, it doesn't take up much room.  And if you don't need the rain pants, that's means it didn't rain on your vacation!  Throw in pair of warm gloves, a little bit of jewelry, a belt, your bras and panties, and Smartwool socks (keep your feet dry, warm, and you can wear them over and over without any nasty stink), and you are good to go.

Hope this helps you when you are packing for your next trip, and if you have any packing tips... please share them!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Traveling Light - The Details

This post is dedicated to all the Details of Packing - not the bags, not the clothes, not the shoes - but all those other things you need when you are traveling.  You will see that I am a big fan of mesh zipper bags.  They are light weight, secure, and keep your tote or luggage organized and make it easy to find what you need.  

First - in one of the two pockets under the flap on the messenger bag - this one contains my Ray-Ban sunglasses and a tube of Burts Bees Sun-Protecting Lip Balm with SPF 8.  The second picture is the contents of the second pocket - for this trip, a small Spanish-English dictionary, a pen, and a small notebook, used as a trip journal, record of purchases, and a notes of interest.   It would also show my phone except that I needed it to take the picture!

Inside the messenger bag, a few tissues, a mini mesh bag (contents below), a small Body Glide, a Clinique Chubby Stick, a compass (yeah, I have one on my phone, but what happens when you don't have in the mountains). a packet of Wet Ones, a fold up tote bag, a baggie with an extra pair of panties (if you have ever spent the night in an airport, you will understand the importance of this), my Canon Rebel, my passport case with passport, drivers license, currency and credit cards, and a nail file.

The mini mesh bags contains a nail clippers, extra camera battery and extra memory card.  I also use it to hold any foreign coins during the trip.


This blue mesh bag is in my messenger bag on the plane, and goes into the seat pocket in front of me during the flight, but during the rest of the trip, the contents are in my suitcase with my other toiletries.  These are my flight essentials - a small bottle of Excedrin PM, my prescription, eyeglasses, toothbrush and toothpaste, a Shout Wipe packet, a packet of ear plugs and an eye mask, and my contact case.

In my tote, I keep my toiletries in a black plastic lined mesh bag - easy to see but can contain any possible spills.  The liquids are all in the required 3 oz or less bottle in a 1 quart Ziploc bag.  

Another mesh bag in my tote contains my phone/iPad charger on an AppleCore cord wrap, plug adapters depending on country, and my battery charger for my camera.


I have had this clear zipper pocket for years and use it all the time for travel.  In it you will find a detailed itinerary, copies of hotel confirmations, a high lighter and some Post-It flags.  As the trip progresses, the hotel confirmations are disposed of and receipts and paper souvenirs (book mark, coaster, maybe a postcard or two) are added.  

The final mesh bag (I told you I was a big fan!) goes in the suitcase.  It contains a small sewing kit, a baggie with a tube of travel detergent and a rubber clothesline, a spoon, small section of duct tape, bandaids, a couple more Shout Wipes, a Tide To Go pen, some moleskin and a carabineer.

Next Post - Traveling Light, The Clothes

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Traveling Light - The Bags

Changing gears for a few posts - 
We recently returned from a ten-day vacation to Chile.  And, finally, after several extended international and domestic trips over the years, I feel like I have finally mastered the art of packing light.  Maybe my tips will help some of you, too!


Indy airport - not the best pic, as it looks like I was in mid-sentence, but this gives you the complete picture of everything.  More detailed descriptions are below.

Tumi Tegra-Lite Continental Carry-On.  I received this for my birthday just the week before we left.  Nothing like breaking it in right away!  And I have to say, it survived the initiation.  I did some shopping over the last couple of months, looking at various styles and brands.  My research led me to try a hard-side bag this time around as it is extremely light weight.  After looking at several brands,  I decided on the Tumi, not because it was a Tumi, but because it was light weight, well-made, and very sturdy.  The material used on the bag is the same material used in NFL equipment.  It's got to be tough!

Longchamp Black Messenger Bag - I bought this in Paris a couple of years ago and it has gone on every trip with me since.  Under the front flap are two pockets and a big zippered center section.  Along the back side is a full length pocket, perfect for keeping your boarding pass, itinerary, and city map. (You can see that better in the picture below)  I wear this cross body in the airport, and pull my suitcase with the tote on top - if the airline staff get picky on the bag limit, then the messenger bag slips into the tote for boarding.

 And the final piece - a Longchamp tote, the large Le Pliage.  I've had this for years, use it all the time, and if it gets a little dirty, just toss it in the washing machine.  It's so light weight and sturdy.  Beside it you see a Bobble Water Bottle.  Tried this for the first time on this trip.  I get tired of paying for bottled water with every meal, so in an effort to drink more during the day, I filled this up from the hotel sink every morning.

Next Post - Packing Details

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sorry Gentlemen, This One's for the Girls!

Another Target favorite!  Really, is there any reason to buy your sports bras anywhere else?  The price can't be beat and there is an assortment of styles and colors.  Some friends prefer the C9 by Champion Seamless Cami or the cotton blend Racer Back Cotton, also from C9 by Champion, but my favorite is the C9 by Champion Compression Sports Bra and the New Reversible Compression style.  I've found this bra offers good durability and support, even after repeated washings.  The bright colors are fun and spunky and spice up my work-out clothes, and my work-outs!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Another Target Favorite

Today's Target favorite is the Mossimo Ultra Soft Sweater in the scoop neck or v-neck style.  Just like it says, it's ultra soft.  Plus it comes in a bunch of colors and is only $17.99.  They are a great way to add a fresh trendy color to your wardrobe without a big investment, or just extend your collection of basic neutral pieces. You can also find the ultra-soft in other styles including a turtle neck and cardigan, but the scoop and v-neck are my favorites.