How To: Pack for a Two Month Trip in Two Suitcases

So, tomorrow morning, I'm flying home to Phoenix for two weeks, then heading to Newport for the rest of the summer. I'm so excited to spend time with my family and friends, and to relax in California! I'm not going to lie, though, packing for 10 weeks was a major challenge. I decided to do a little post about it, to help anyone else that faces this challenge. Two summers ago, I interned in New York for the summer, so I've faced this packing problem before, and I definitely learned from it! With the rising cost of checking luggage, and the general pain of toting around a bunch of bags, my goal was to pack everything in one carry on, one check bag, and one tote.

Here are some of my tips: 

  • Make room. It's so much easier to pack when you have some room to see what you actually have. I cleared a section in my closet about a week ago, and have been adding and subtracting items from there. Yesterday, I commandeered the couch, and spread everything out to fold and actually pack into the suitcase. 
The room I made in my closet to pack
  • Start early. I'm usually a packing procrastinator, but for a trip this long, you want to make sure you have everything you need. 
  • Do your laundry first. Yeah, this sounds like a no-brainer, but I thought I was good to go, space wise, looking at my hanging rack space, and then I realized: I haven't done laundry in two weeks!
  • Pack enough sleepwear, workout clothes, and undergarments to last at least a week. This may seem like an area you can skimp on to save room for "fun" clothes, but you really don't want to be spending a couple hours every few days in a new and exciting place doing laundry. 
  • Check the farmer's almanac for historical seasonal weather where you'll be, but bring a few "out of season" items, too. The summer I spent in NYC, it was rainy and really chilly for a good chunk of the summer, and guess who only brought two pairs of pants? Yeah, that would be me. 
  • Only pack clothes that can mix  and match, including shoes. This isn't the time to pack that skirt that only goes with one top and one pair of shoes (that don't match anything else). That's taking up way too much valuable suitcase real estate!
  • Buy toiletries, especially those of the drugstore variety, when you get there. For instance, if you know you'll go through a bottle of face wash, and a bottle of shampoo, save the space in the suitcase, buy it when you get there. If an item is pricey and it takes you forever to go through a bottle, pack it. One thing to note: if you happen to have allergies and won't be somewhere where products are familiar (like in a foreign country), you may want to pack your own toiletries, to avoid an allergic reaction. 
  • Pack a variety of shoes, and make sure they are shoes you can actually wear and walk in. If you can't, don't bring them. They'll sit there taunting you the whole trip while you wish you brought your trusty wedges. 
  • Bring accessories! I almost always forget this, but it's an easy way to change up the way that black dress looks after the 10th time you wear it for the trip! Just be sure to put them in your carry on if they have any sentimental or monetary value, just in case your luggage gets lost. 
  • I packed one carry on rolling bag, and had one large check bag. I'm also carrying on a small tote with my computer, etc. in it. In the rolling bag, be sure to pack any information about where you're staying, a change of clothes (keeping in mind what you're supposed to be doing the next day) any medication, and any camera equipment you may bring.  In case your luggage gets lost, you'll have something to wear the next day, all of the important papers you need, and your camera, laptop, and other expensive equipment will be safe! Also, be sure to pack your phone charger, in case you get delayed and want to phone a friend! 
  • Things are going to get wrinkled, no matter how perfectly you fold. If you won't have access to an iron, a travel steamer can be a lifesaver! 
  • Consider where you're going, and what you'll be doing on the trip to guide what you pack. But make sure you bring at least one swimsuit and one fabulous dress- you never know who you'll meet or what opportunities may come up, and you'll want the option to dress up! 
  • When you're done packing, check your weight! Even if it all fits in the bag, you'll get slammed with a heft fee if your bag weighs more than fifty pounds. 
Phew! So those are my basic tips, but here is what I actually packed for this trip (which, for me, will entail seeing a lot of friends, going to dinner with Brett, and hopefully hanging out at the beach a good deal): 
  • 5 pairs of jeans (one wide leg, two cropped, two skinny)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 2 skirts
  • 3 short sleeve tops
  • 8 sleeveless tops
  • 4 long sleeve tops 
  • 8 day dresses
  • 1 romper
  • 2 cardigans
  • 1 jean jacket 
  • 5 belts
  • 2 dressy dresses (which went in the hanging bag that Brett's bringing)
  • 9 pairs of shoes (3 flat sandals, 1 pair of wedges, 1 pair of lower heeled sandal, 1 high heeled sandal, and 1 dressy, 2 ballet flats) 
  • 1 watch, 3 sets of earrings, and a necklace (I'll be picking up most of my jewelry in Phoenix)
  • 2 swimsuits
And for beauty stuff: 
  • Regular makeup bag
  • Flat iron
  • Shampoo and conditioner (it takes me forever to go through a bottle, and it's pretty pricey, so I'm packing it)
  • Blow dryer
  • Brush/comb
  • Mani/Pedi kit, with a few polishes
Mani-Pedi essentials
  • The rest will be purchased there! 
Yikes! It seems like a lot. Well, I guess it is a lot! 

As far as the actual packing process went....
  • I put my shoes in first, and nestled in little things like socks and belts among them: 
Shoes all nestled in, with socks and belts filling up any extra room
  • And then layered workout t-shirts on top of them (something just doesn't seem right about laying pretty dresses on top of shoes to me!
  • After that, it was pretty simple: I neatly folded my dresses, pants, tops, and skirts, and stacked them on top of each other. 
  • On top, I put my shampoo, blow dryer, etc.
  • In the carry on, a majority of the room was taken up by my cameras and medication i take, but I added some more clothes, too, kind of where I could fit them. 
  • My books, magazines, and laptop went into the tote bag, so I have easy access to them the whole flight! 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn't pack running shoes, because I left a pair at my parents when I moved to Virginia, and I may pick up a few pieces of clothes that are currently being stored at their house, but I definitely think I could be fine for the summer with what I packed! 

What's the longest trip you've taken? How do you think I did with my packing (I don't leave til morning, so tell me if I forgot something)?! 

What I Wore: Seeing Spots

Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend! I wore this running around town doing errands on Friday. I'm leaving Charlottesville for the summer to head to Phoenix for a couple weeks and then Newport Beach for the rest of the summer (Brett's interning there), so our weekend was spent getting ready to leave town. I'm super excited for this trip- it'll definitely be an adventure! I'm planning on doing a "how to pack for two months" post sometime next week, so stay tuned! If you read my last post, you'd know that I'm trying to mix things up, hair-wise, and I started with the three little buns tutorial from A Cup of Jo. I was pretty happy with how they turned out, especially for my first time! It was super simple, and will be a more stylish alternative to a ponytail in the sizzling Phoenix heat! 

Top: Vintage Escada, Skirt: J. Crew, Belt: Thrifted, Shoes: Soft

How was your weekend?

Loving right now: Kendra Scott

I was browsing on Pinterest this morning, and came across these gorgeous Kendra Scott earrings ($60). I think they'd make the perfect summer accessory to liven up a white shirt and cutoffs, or to dress up a little sundress for dinner. They come in 20 stunning colors, but I'm especially coveting the turquoise.

Hair Inspiration

I'm in a bit of a rut. A rut of the hairstyle variety. Yes, it's not the worst kind of rut to be in, but it's a rut, nonetheless! I've always joked that I missed the day in elementary school where they taught all the girls how to do their hair. I can manage a decent blowout and straighten, but that's about it! I can never manage to give myself great beachy waves, and forget a complicated updo. But I'm getting a little tired of wearing my hair straight and down every day, so I turned to two of my favorite blogs {Cupcakes and Cashmere and Cup of Jo} for tutorials on simple, easy looks that even me, incompetent as I may be, can manage! Stay tuned in the coming weeks, maybe I'll show a few pics on the blog of looks that work out! 

Ok, now your turn- any simple hair ideas for me to try? 

Links à la Mode

I'm thrilled to have my post on bright shorts for summer picked as one of the top links of the week by Independent Fashion Bloggers! 

For the Love of Clothes

Edited by Fajr Muhammad at Stylish Thought
If fashion is one thing; it's fun! Whether fashion bloggers are chronicling their ensembles, spring cleaning their wardrobes or finding the perfect colored jean they are loving their clothes. In IFB we discuss fashion from so many angles we often forget the fancy of style and what keeps us blogging: our passion for fashion. This week's Links A La Mode features advice for the perfect poolside ensemble, a comprehensive Q & A on San Fran style and a walk down fashion's memory lane. At the heart of each post are the lovely clothes we wear and adore.

Links à la Mode: May 26th

SPONSOR: Bags at Shopbop: CC Skye, Ash, Whiting & Davis, Halston Heritage, M Missoni, Tory Burch bags, Marc Jacobs, LAMB handbags, Wang, Malene Birger & Gryson

What I Wore: Garden Party

No, no. I didn't actually go to a garden party. Honestly, I have no idea what one would even do at a garden party. But, if I was ever invited to a garden party, I think I'd wear this dress! I bought this last year and it quickly became one of my favorite dresses ever. I wore it to a wedding, sightseeing, work, and on countless dinner dates. Yesterday, I wore it on a little movie date (hence the sweater) with Brett to see Something Borrowed. Yes, I have an awesome husband who will watch romantic comedies. I absolutely loved the books the movie was based on, and the film version certainly didn't disappoint. Random fact: Brett told me today that I had, and I quote, "southern belle hair" today. If anyone wants to comment on that, feel free! 

Dress: J. Crew, Sweater: Nordstrom, Belt: Gap, Shoes: Steve Madden

Holga Snaps

I've been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days, so no new outfit post today, but decided I'd share a few of my more recent Holga photos I've had developed. 

{Santa Monica, California}

{Santa Monica Pier}

{University of Virginia}

{Downtown Mall, Charlottesville, VA}

{University of Virginia}

Bright Lights

This spring, colored denim replaced boring old blue, and it seemed like every fashion blogger and celeb out there was sporting a wide variety of hues: tomato red, lemon yellow, cobalt, and countless other shades. I even pulled out my purple pair! However, I know that we're nearly at the end of spring, and in many places, it feels like summer has already begun! If you're still craving bright bottoms, or feel like you missed the boat during pant-appropriate weather, I've rounded up six of my favorite bright-hued shorts. Yes, these are the perfect thing to pull on to liven up your summer wardrobe. Pair these with anything from a gauzy white top to stripes, or even color block it out with another solid color up top. No matter what, you're certain to turn heads in these bright shorts! 

Which bright pair is your favorite? Will you be wearing this trend with temps rise? 

Loving right now: DKNY

One of my favorite tweeters to follow is the PR girl for DKNY. She's witty, sassy, and smart, and recently posted a link to a DKNY dress. I spent a few (okay, 30) minutes clicking over the site, and I fell in love with this gorgeous, chic, striped dress. It seems so Parisian, and I think I could find a thousand places to wear it! 

Dress, DKNY, $145
What are you loving right now? 

Independent Fashion Bloggers: Links a La Mode

I'm honored to have my post on summer getaway essentials picked as a link of the week by Independent Fashion Bloggers! Here are the other picks of the week:

Your Blogs Perfect Accessory: Brilliant Pictures

Edited by Denimology

As I was selecting my posts for this weeks Links A La Mode, I realized how important it is to have attractive and original images in your posts. I noticed that I would open a post and close it promptly if the images looked rather..... what's the word... meh.

Here is how to have your blog posts chosen by me [Denimology] for LALM:

  • Images Are The Main Course -- A great image will draw in your reader. The image might be beautiful, odd, heartwarming, instructive or just curiosity-provoking, so long as it keeps the reader wanting to read your post.
  • Don't Forget To Use an Image -- It’s better to use a generic image than no image at all but ultimately your image should represent what the subject of your post is about.
  • High Quality Images Are Best -- We've all heard the saying "Pictures speak a thousand words", but in the blogging world they speak even more. Adding HQ pictures to a blog post will visually stimulate your readers and help them identify with you, the writer.
  • Resize Your Images -- While images can make your blog looked polished and professional, having images that hang over into the margins or that are cut off is sloppy blogging.

Links à la Mode: May 19th

Sexy Tops at Shopbop: Vena Cava, Blue Life, Monrow, Vince, Wildfox,
LnA, Equipment blouses, LAMB, Zac Posen, Rachel Roy & Jill Stuart

What I Wore: Wine Tasting

This past weekend, Brett and I went wine tasting at a local vineyard. (Fun fact: there are 23 vineyards surrounding the town we live in!) We've been to a few other vineyards around town (Brett proposed at one!) but this one was new to us. One of the best parts about the visit was going on a tour of the winery! Our guide was great, and explained each step of the process, from vine to bottle, and it was absolutely fascinating. I highly recommend taking a tour of a winery, if you ever have the chance! And if you're ever in the Charlottesville area, check out King Family Vineyards! It was rainy and misty the morning we went (hence the wonky hair in the below photos) but it was still absolutely beautiful!

Jeans: Uniqlo, Denim Shirt: American Eagle, Tank: H+M,
Shoes: Cole Haan, Purse: Kate Spade, Watch, Michael Kors

gorgeous peony- there were so many beautiful flowers around the grounds
If you look REALLY closely, those tiny green balls you see are baby grapes! 
the barrel room
Have you ever been wine tasting? What did you wear? 

What I Wore: Mixed Prints

I've mentioned before that up until the last year or so, I was majorly color phobic, as far as my wardrobe went. Additionally, I was also a little bit of a scaredy cat when it came to printed stuff. Most of the items in my wardrobe were black, grey, white, and most of those items were solid color, to boot! Blogging has really helped me step out of my comfort zone, and I feel like I've opened up a whole new world of color and prints! Yesterday, I was feeling really crazy, so I MIXED prints! Big day for me! Brett and I spent some time exploring Charlottesville, and I wore my favorite stripes with a floral skirt! 

Top: H+M, Skirt: Express, Bag: Kate Spade, Shoes: Guess, Watch: Michael Kors

What is in your wardrobe comfort zone?

10 Summer Trip Essentials

School's out for the summer, and even if you aren't a student anymore, chances are, you've got at least one weekend getaway planned. I love traveling, but I always tend to over pack. In the interest of streamlining (and avoiding checked bag fees) I've come up with a list of essentials that absolutely MUST make it in the suitcase, especially if you're beach-bound! 

1. The cute summer dress. If you've got a fun dinner or party night planned, this dress will be perfect, but it could also double as the perfect thing to wear for lunch by the pool. (Above: J. Crew, $118)
2. Wedges. These sandals are the perfect way to dress up your summer dress, or make your legs look miles long when wearing just about anything! You could wear these to the pool, to dinner, and even for a little shopping trip. Well worth the suitcase "real estate." (Above: Forever 21, $25)
3. No summer suitcase is complete without the perfect swimsuit. Yes, most of us dread swimsuit shopping, but you'll be glad you spent the time looking when you have a suit you feel absolutely amazing in. (Above: J. Crew top, $48)
4. Denim shorts are a must have, for summer trips, and beyond. These are the perfect beach cover-up, but they would work equally as well for sightseeing! (Above, Gap, $49)
5. Sunglasses are a must, for both protecting your eyes, and so you can people watch without your fellow pool-goers realizing  you're spying! I've worn the same style of Ray-Bans for three years, but find whatever style shade fits you best! (Above: Ray-Ban, $119)
6. Sunscreen is an absolute must for any vacation, beach side or not. If you're going to be outside, do your skin a favor, and slather on the sunscreen. My personal favorite is Neutrogena. (Above, Neutrogena, $9)
7. The perfect t-shirt is an essential for the plane, or for covering up after you get a little too much sun. I love to stock up on inexpensive T's at the beginning of summer, so if they get ruined by sweat, sun, or a spilled drink, I don't feel bad about it! (Above: Forever 21, $4.50)
8. A lightweight jacket is necessary for covering up when night falls and temps drop, or in frigid air conditioning. You'll be glad you packet a denim jacket that can go with just about anything! (Above: Gap, $69)
9. Flat sandals or flip flops are definitely a vacation must-have. Your toes deserve a vacay, too! Wear them to the beach, to sight see, and even out to dinner, if your pair is cute enough! (Above, Target, $17)
10. A long skirt can make for a great beach cover-up, or pair it with wedges, heels, jewelry,and a cute top for a dramatic dinner ensemble! (Above: Topshop, $80)

What are your summer trip essentials? 

What I Wore: Date Night!

On Friday, Brett finished his last final of his first year of law school, so we went out to dinner at Zinc Bistro to celebrate! We had a wonderful time (and really yummy food). I found this dress a couple weeks back, and had been waiting for the perfect time to wear it. I seem to rarely come across cute dresses with sleeves, so when I spotted this one, I snapped it right up! I think it'll be perfect all summer long (it's lightweight) and through the winter, with the right layers! 

Dress: Francesca's, Belt: Vintage, Shoes: Steve Madden, Bag: Michael Kors

What did you do this weekend? 

Independent Fashion Bloggers: Links a La Mode

I'm thrilled to be in IFB's roundup of the best links of the week again this week! Here's the rest of the bloggers that made this week's picks!

Savage Blogging

Edited by Vahni of Grit & Glamour

Savage Beauty. Don't tell me you haven't heard the paradoxically exquisite title of the Alexander McQueen exhibit currently mesmerizing the fashion world and the blogosphere. I mention it for two reasons. First, a couple bloggers in this week's roundup show you the exhibit in New York—as well as a satellite version in London—through their own lenses. So if you didn't know about it, check out their posts and resurrect your fashion cred.

Savage Blogging. Now that's my title, and while it was inspired by the McQueen exhibit, it also characterizes the approach many bloggers take, as well as entries this week that speak to the issue. Want to be haute stuff in the blog world, like The Sartorialist? Think it's all a numbers game? Well, I certainly hope not. That is savage blogging: when your objective ceases to be the art of it, the connection, and you are devoured by an obsession with your numbers. When you get so big that you forget you used to be a nobody until fellow bloggers read your blog and lifted you up. When you stop conversing, and simply become a talking head. With a camera. No thanks.

As blogging and social media mature, many are finally realizing what my mama told me years ago: You get more flies with honey. Don't be savage bloggers, loves. When you give and interact genuinely, your star will shine, I promise you. Your numbers will grow, and people won't write you any "open letters" to remind you that you've gotten a little too big for your britches. Honey, honeybuns. Got it?

Links à la Mode: May 12th

SPONSOR: Suiting at Shopbop: Ellery, Theory, DKNY, Georgie, Sachin + Babi, Alberta Ferretti, Ports 1961, Sunglasses, Tibi dresses & Sale

What I Wore: Not What You Expect

I was taking a walk around our apartment complex a few days back, and I saw the strangest thing, definitely not something you'd expect to find in your apartment complex: a family gravesite, from around the Revolutionary War. Yeah, so we're apparently living 100 yards from a cemetery. Slightly (ok, little more than slightly) creepy! Anyways, I decided to snap a few pics around to show all of you! 

Top: Francesca's, Pants: Uniqlo, Shoes: Steve Madden, Watch, Michael Kors

Thought I'd end the post on something pretty! 

Loving Right Now: Claire Vivier

I recently stumbled upon the website of accessories designer, Claire Vivier, and I'm majorly crushing on her clean lined designs. This clutch ($104) is my favorite of the bunch, and it's the perfect neutral and neon mix that's so popular this season. It also comes in tan with blue or green, in case neon pink isn't your bag (pun intended). It would be great to carry from day to night, and would take any outfit to the next level. 

What are you loving right now? 

The Six Shoes You REALLY Need

While I love a closet full of shoes as much as the next girl, I find myself reaching for the same shoes, the workhorses of my closet, time and time again. If you're shopping on a budget, it helps to make a list of the holes in your closet, and fill them in.  Or, if you're finding that you never have the right shoe to work with an outfit, chances are, you're missing one of these six essentials. I highly recommend filling these six places in your closet, with shoes you love, and that fit your budget, then move out from there and purchase trendier, or even just plain FUN shoes from here! Make no mistake though, these six can be far from boring, if you pick the right pairs. 

1. While it may be Spring now, you'll definitely  need a great pair of flat boots come Fall again (not to mention, if you buy these shoes now, you'll be able to score them on sale!). If your closet revolves mostly around earth tones, pick a brown pair, and if you're an all black, all the time girl, then go for the obvious choice! They will pull together every outfit, and since they're flat, you can walk anywhere in them. (Above: Frye Melissa Boots, $325)
2. The perfect ballet flat is an essential. You can wear these all year, and with pretty much anything. While I think basic black is great, if you go with a metallic, you can wear them with bare legs (and they'll make them look much longer than black flats), and not worry about them not matching your outfit, since they match everything! (Above: Gap City Flats $32)
3. The perfect pump is an essential to any wardrobe. You can wear these with tights in winter, and without the rest of the year. If you usually wear bare legs, pick nude, and if you usually wear pants or tights with pumps, pick black or navy (and if you want to cover your bases, buy both).  (Above: Corso Como $139). 
4. In the summer, you need a pair of flat sandals you can walk around in, especially on vacation! Pick a comfy, but still cute pair, in a neutral color that goes with your wardrobe. (Above: Cole Haan, $158)
5. I like to call number 5 the party shoe. A complete "free pick" if you will, these are the shoes you put on when your LBD needs a little sprucing, or even with jeans and a cute top for a date night. Whether your party shoe is strappy, glittery, or an eye-popping hue, you need this shoe in your closet. (Above: Badgely Mischka $159)
6. Last, but certainly not least, is the summer wedge. Whether an espadrille, stacked wood, or cork sole, you need a pair to take you from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you wear a lot of brights, go for a neutral, and vice versa. (Above: Seychelles, $110)

I know this list could change slightly, depending on your lifestyle, but I think that this is a great start to any girl's shoe wardrobe! 

What are your shoe essentials?