vacation

Finger Lakes Anniversary Adventure

Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 What a crazy month and a half it's been. Between work, family and friend commitments I've had barely any time to think! Now that things are slowing down a bit for me, I can finally start to look through all my photos and reminisce about what I've gotten to experience recently. One of my favorite highlights of the past few weeks was Jim and my trip to the Finger Lakes in New York to celebrate our Anniversary. We celebrated our 5th Anniversary this past October 4th. Usually we try to plan a trip someplace warm to celebrate, but this year we decided to switch things up a bit. The Finger Lakes seemed like the perfect combination of fall perfection and romanticism, so off we went! Most of the hotels in the area were pretty expensive and looked liked they hadn't been renovated since the 80's, so I finally decided to try out AirBNB to what our options were. After some searching, I found the perfect space. It was a converted chapel deep out the countryside. It's loft layout reminded us of the spaces we'd love to afford in Brooklyn. It also had the most gorgeous views outside it's huge windows. The property itself was amazing, with a wildflower field to the east and a quaint pond in the back. Best part was we had the entire place to ourselves, which made for a wonderfully private and unique vacation. Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Our first day we decided to check out Taughannock Park and hike to it's famous namesake waterfall. It's the tallest, single-drop waterfall east of the Rockies and it's even 33 feet taller than Niagra Falls. The entrance to the park is on Seneca Lake, which is absolutely stunning. Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 The hike itself was relatively short. It was around three quarters of a mile to the falls each way. The trail leads along the streams and river the waterfall becomes, which later empties into the lake. During our walk, we were actually able to hike the dry riverbed, which was one of the coolest parts of the hike. The falls themselves were breathtaking. It was so gorgeous, especially with all the trees turning colors all around. Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 On our way back to the chapel from the hike, we came across the Ithaca Antique Mall and just had to stop. Jim and I LOVE thrifting. It's one of our favorite pastimes. The Antique Mall was so large, we actually returned a second day to finish going through everything! We didn't leave empty handed. I got some great vintage clothing finds, and Jim also bought me the coolest op-art, black and white vase for our living room. Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 On our second day, we originally had plans to go vineyard hopping but since it was pouring out we scrapped that. After some quick internet sleuthing, I learned the local Museum of the Earth has one of the largest fossil collections in the country, and I just HAD to go. People who know me well know I'm obsessed with dinosaurs and fossils. When I was a child, when I grew up I had plans to become a paleontologist. True story. Too bad I hate dirt and getting dirty, so those plans quickly changed once I learned what was involved with the profession. Jim being the awesome husband he is took me the to Museum of the Earth on our actual Anniversary. That's love, people. That's love. Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 The rest of our free time on the trip was spent in Ithaca, exploring the town and stuffing our faces. Who knew Ithaca had such great vegan selections? I didn't. Some highlights on the food scene were Waffle Frolic's Vegan Waffle Dog, which was a vegan hot dog dipped in waffle batter and fried. Oh-My-God it was so good! We also had a great veg friendly meal at Saigon Kitchen, where I had a bowl of Pho the size of my head and loved every second of it. Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 For our Anniversary dinner out, we went to the grand-daddy of all vegetarian restaurants, Moosewood Restaurant. While the decor and menu itself were a little disappointing (both were a little dated, especially after what I'm used to in Brooklyn), it was such an experience to get to eat at the very first, seriously respected vegetarian restaurant in the country. I mean, I make recipes of theirs for Thanksgiving EVERY year. I'm so glad I got to experience it first-hand for myself. Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 We were only there a little over three days, but we got to see and do so much on this trip. I can't think of a better way I would have liked to celebrate this special anniversary with my favorite person in the world. Anniversary Trip: Finger Lakes 2013 I love you Jim Feld.

My Wanderlust Experience

Wanderlust Vermont 2013 35 Over the weekend of June 21st, my friends Glenna, Sharon and I took a road trip up to Stratton Mountain in Vermont to attend the Wanderlust Festival.  Wanderlust is a four day yoga festival that features lots of yoga classes, lectures, concerts, and a lot of crazy  hippie stuff. I've always considered myself to be more of an "urbanite with hippie tenancies".  For example:
  • I'm vegan.
  • If I can't eat it, I don't put it on my face or skin.  This includes cosmetics, skincare and haircare products, or even household cleaning products.
  • I really, really enjoy yoga.
  • I make everything from scratch.  From my almond milk to body scrubs.
This trip completely and utterly proved I am no where near the hippie I thought I was.  While we girls had an absolutely fabulous time, we experienced some weird shit while up on that mountain.  Here's some of the highlights, and weirdest points of my Wanderlust experience.

Vermont is Gorgeous!

This was a perfect, relaxing weekend getaway not only because of the yoga, but the actual venue.  Stratton Resort was adorable, and check out all the amazing views.  It's no wonder why they call them the Green Mountains here, everything was so lush and green! Wanderlust Vermont 2013 2Wanderlust Vermont 2013 7Wanderlust Vermont 2013 9 In between all the classes and hiking, we had a lot of time to just chillax on the grass lawns and take it all in.  Oooooohhhmmm!

There Are Some Bizarre Offshoots of Yoga Nowadays

Wanderlust Vermont 2013 68 One thing I learned on this trip is I like my yoga simple and stripped down to it's original roots.  My favorite schools of yoga are Ashtanga and Anusara, and I learned this trip I don't like anyone screwing with it's traditional format. Some interesting classes I participated in included Hip Hop Yoga and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga.  While Hip Hop Yoga was fun, it wasn't for me.  I like to relax during my yoga sessions and with the thump thumping music I found it really difficult to find my flow. Wanderlust SUP 2 SUP Yoga was unique, but I had more fun just straight up Paddleboarding!  My Crossfit training has served me well, because even though it was my first time trying the sport, I discovered I'm a SUP beast.  The owner of the SUP company that took us out after a while asked me if I'd rather work on SUP technique instead of the yoga, so while everyone else was in shavanasa I was doing laps around the island in the lake at warp speed.  I'm not going to lie, I was really dreading this class because I have OCD dirty-lake water issues, but it wound up being one of my favorite parts of the trip! There were also a ton of classes that were freaking bizarre that we didn't participate in, the weirdest one being Yoga on Horses.  Yes, you read that right.  Not sure how I felt about that one, but it was fun to watch!

Yoga on Horses 2

Yoga on Horses 1

The Acroyogi's were also entertaining as well.  Acroyoga is a form of partner yoga which is you guessed it, acrobatic.

Wanderlust Vermont 2013 17

While watching the Acroyoga class, we tried out another yoga offshoot, tight-rope yoga.  We miserably failed at even walking the rope, but it was fun nonetheless!

Wanderlust Vermont 2013 5 Oh, and somehow hula hooping fit into all of this.  Behold the hula hoop yoga class.  Glenna was really into the hula hoops. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 7 Wanderlust Vermont 2013 26

Yogi's Have to Shop Too

There was no shortage of crunchy shopping at Wanderlust. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 5 There were lots of apparel vendors, including Lululemon there selling their goods to the yoga pant wearing masses.  At Lululemon's D'Ohm store, I couldn't resist purchasing a gorgeous white, draped yoga hoodie.  It cost an arm and a leg, but I'd get a lot of fitness and non-fitness use out of it.  Plus, it really came in handy later on during our hikes.  More details on that in a second. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 8Wanderlust Vermont 2013 3In addition to apparel, there were a lot of jewelery, face/skin care, yoga accessory and video vendors.  Both Glenna and Sharon got some beautiful, unique jewelery pieces. I upgraded my yoga mat and got a mat bag.  I didn't realize how essential it was to have one during these sorts of events.  It became such a pain carrying my old mat around and having it unfurl into a mess everywhere I went. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 31 Wanderlust Vermont 2013 19 Needless to say, we did our fair share of shopping!

Wanderlust is Vegan Gluten-Free Heaven

Of course, the absolute highlight of the trip for me was the food.  It was literally a gluten-free vegan paradise. Check out this pizza from Pizza for the People. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 67 Granted, the pizza was $18 but worth every penny. Another meal I had on repeat was this bowl from Wok in Roll. You pick and choose what grains, protein, veggies and sauce you wanted and I always went for quinoa, tofu, veggies and a green curry sauce.  It was off the hook!  I wanted to stuff my face with it after every hike. Had this to eat several times at Wanderlust and have been thinking of it non-stop. Green Curry Tofu Quinoa Bowl. And those are just the highlights of food you actually paid for.  Wanderlust had tons of food vendors giving out near full size samples.  Best part was they were a lot of my favorite vegan brands.  So Delicious gave out greek coconut yogurts, ice cream sandwiches and ice cream bars, while Nature's Balance had popcorn and vegan cheesy poofs!  I omnommed my way through the vendor section several times a day and was never really hungry. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 1 My only real complaint on the food front is for dinner, the local restaurants although they had vegan and vegetarian options seemed to price gouge these dishes like crazy.  I had a $21 tofu and vegetable noodle stir-fry.  That's NYC prices!  I totally wasn't expecting that in Vermont, especially when their beer and wine was in the $4-$6 range. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 4

Hiking is Hard... and My Fire Ceremony is Better than Your Fire Ceremony

This city girl usually loves to hike, and we hiked two days while at the festival.  The hikes at Wanderlust were way different than I was expecting though.  For starters: Wanderlust Vermont 2013 11 They categorized an "easy" or "all-levels" hike as pretty much headed straight up the diamond runs on the mountain.  I'm not even making this up.  It was HARD.  It really reminded me how much my cardiovascular endurance sucks because it was like being on a stepmill at warp speed the entire way. The only thing that made our first hike somewhat bearable is that we hydrated prior to going up.  Our own way that is. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 75 Wanderlust Vermont 2013 85 If you have never experienced being bit by a black fly, you don't want to.  They look like little harmless gnats but they swarm all over you once you're at the summit of the mountain.  I got bit up pretty horribly and that was even with me using bug repellent.  And the bites start out as little red dots and swell up to looking like you have a horrible disease.  An oh, the itching! To try to keep ourselves protected from the flies, we pulled out our hoodies and scarves and rocked it zero dark thirty style.  I think all the local Vermonters thought we were nuts.  From what I read though, if you're from New England you have a somewhat natural immunity to them, so they don't bother you.  They feasted on us.  I'm really glad I dropped bank the Lululemon yoga hoodie, because without it I would have been in much worse shape after the festival than I am. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 97 Instead of just enjoying the view when you get to the top, the hike guides instead will make you do weird meditation ceremonies.  On our first hike, we had an over 30 minute digeridoo complimented meditation.  Normally I'd enjoy this, but I was getting eaten alive the entire 30 minutes. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 94 After the 30 minutes, the guide wanted to stay up there rocking the digeridoo so we headed off the mountain by ourselves.  Along the way, these three city girls encountered a bear and a dead badger. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 105

See that black dot in the middle of the ski trail?  That's the bear that was following us!

The hike on the second day we thought would be a little more "normal".  Once we got to the top, we were informed that it was time for our guided meditation and burning ceremony.  We were all instructed to write something we need to let go, along with something we want to welcome in it's place on two strips of birch bark, and then BURN the one we want to let go.

Firestarter

Again, I enjoyed the sentiment but I was being eaten alive by those damn black flies. So I can't say it was fun.  Lucky for us, we didn't have to worry about being escorted off the mountain this time around because we just took the gondola down.

Wanderlust Vermont 2013 6

When we finally got to the base, we headed straight to the local sushi restaurant and had our own burning ceremony.  It was something I really needed to welcome into my life at that moment. Wanderlust Vermont 2013 123

 In Summary

If you enjoy yoga and live in the Northeast (or on the West Coast where they have sister events), I highly recommend checking out Wanderlust.  Not only does it make for a great girls trip, but it was very couple and family friendly as well.  Lots of folks with their kids and even dogs got to enjoy the festival along with a bit of yoga. Vermont is absolutely gorgeous during summer, and I can't wait to visit again.  I also had the BEST time hanging out with these two girls here.  Can't wait to start planning our next fitness-oriented girls trip with them!

Wanderlust Vermont 2013 36

Los Cabos / On the Beach

PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-6 While in Los Cabos a few weeks ago on my quick girls weekend trip, my friend Ariel and I decided it would be fun to hire a professional photographer and get some "glamour" shots on the beach. When we made the decision and booked the deal with Sam the photographer, I think at that point in the evening we had already had way too much tequila. We scheduled our photo shoot for the very last day of our vacation to ensure we were bronzed enough. No point in getting glamour shots in Mexico unless your tan to boot. The shoot itself was a LOT of fun.  It was kind of weird and awkward at times in a "this reminds me a little too much of my wedding photo shoot" but we ran with it and got a lot of fantastic images.  My favorite part was when Ariel got photo-bombed by a Cabo local walking his adorable dog on the beach. Best part is before this shoot, we didn't have any photos of the two of us on the trip together.  They were all of us separately.  So now we have some really great quality shots of us and the beach we enjoyed on this memorable girls weekend. PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-9 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-14 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-24 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-25 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-26 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-28 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-32 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-34 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-58 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-62 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-67 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-70 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-71 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-80 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-84 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-85 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-93 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-95 PICTUREGUYCABO.COM-117 I think I may make a habit of getting a professional photography shoot every vacation I go on now. Have you ever gotten a vacation photo shoot?  By the way, if you are ever in Los Cabos I highly recommend contacting Sam the Picture Guy. PHOTOS // by Samir Benyettou, the Picture Guy.

What I’m Packing / Los Cabos

What I'm Packing / Los Cabos After being so crazy burnt out from work the last few months, I'm super excited to be headed to Cabo San Lucas with a gal pal for a nice long weekend this week.  I can really use a full weekend of relaxing, lots of reading, and of course skinny margaritas!
Here's some of the stuff I'll be packing to take with me.  Besides a fully loaded Kindle, I usually like to travel with only a carry on so all my clothes need to do double duty.  One of my favorite tips for a beach destination is to take a button down blouse with me to wear both as a cover up, as well as with jeans our to dinner.
What do you always take on a beach vacation?
What I'm Packing / Los Cabos MELISSA ODABASH Panama Hat // Aviators//  Leopard Blouse // RIVER ISLAND Mesh Insert Tunic Dress // TARGET MOSSIMO Black Bandeau top and Bikini Bottoms // TARGET MOSSIMO Zebra Bandeau top and Bikini Bottoms // DV by DOLCE VITA Archer Sandal // MANGO Denim Shorts // BAGGU Neon Backpack // AMAZON Kindle

Iceland

Iceland 2012 Trip As you may know, this past November I went on a weekend "girls" trip with my Mother, Aunt and my Aunt's friends to Iceland. To be honest, I went to Iceland with ZERO expectations. I basically knew it was going to be really cold, and that it was one of the few places in the world where you can see the Northern Lights. The Northern Lights was the primary reason we were visiting the country to begin with. Let's just say Iceland FAR exceeded my expectations. I'd absolutely love to go back sometime I enjoyed it so much. I was blown away not just by the beauty of the country, but also its people. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Another thing that surprised me was the shopping in Reykjavik, the country's capital. I came home with so many awesome, unique pieces from the many independent designers who all had boutiques in town. Though I took over 300 photos while there, these are some of my favorite images during my trip. Knowing I was going to try to catch the Northern Lights, I brought all my good camera gear with me so I got some pretty amazing images to remember this trip by. Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip Iceland 2012 Trip I had a few readers ask me about my experience eating vegan while in Iceland. All in all, I was pretty lucky. We stayed at the Hilton and right across the street was a fantastic raw/health food restaurant called Glo that the locals recommended. I also accidentally stumbled across a health food store behind the hotel that was chock full of vegan goodies, including soy milk and cookies. Funny thing is I got some soy milk to have with cereal at the hotel, only to the next day find the hotel had gotten some to put out at the buffet since I was asking for it the day prior. Talk about great service! Iceland Trip 2013 All the staff at most of the restaurants knew what vegan meant and guided me to appropriate items I could order. There was only one place I think accidentally served me butter, which I knew due to me being allergic to dairy and getting really horrible stomach aches. Otherwise pretty much everywhere I went, even including local coffee shops in Reykjavik had vegan options, many of which were clearly marked with the universal V sign. If you have any questions on where I ate and specifics on what I visited and did, please feel free to message me!

Iceland Packing Inspiration / Winter Layers

I can't believe I leave for Iceland tomorrow evening!  This trip really snuck up on me.  I'm packing today, and any time I pack it involves a lot of prior research and planning.  I exclusively travel with only a carry on, and since this is a five day trip in a very cold locale, I want to be sure I'm well prepared. I spent a lot of time over the weekend pinning a few outfit inspirations of winter layers to help me figure out the best items to pack.  Here's some of my favorites.
I know know for sure that some items I'll be bringing with me is my faux fur lined parka, chambray shirt, some of my flannel shirts, one or two lightweight sweaters, and maybe a vest or faux leather jacket.  That way I can easily stay warm without taking up a ton of room in my carry-on. Oh yeah, don't worry I won't be forgetting a bikini.  Our first stop is the Blue Lagoon.  Yay, spa day!

Chasing the Northern Lights

image credit: www.universetoday.com Yesterday, I confirmed details to go on a quick weekend "girls" vacation in November with the women in my family to Iceland.  We're specifically going over in attempt to see the northern lights, so fingers crossed it's cold enough when we visit to see them! The ladies all went last year (I couldn't make it) and they enjoyed it so much they planned another one for this year.  There will be a lot of spa time, dining, sight-seeing, and best of all those pretty lights in the sky.  It should be a pleasant break from work just prior to the craziness of the holiday season. While I'm excited to be going, I'm somewhat petrified on what I'm going to eat over there.  I have zero knowledge of nordic food, nevermind vegan nordic options (if they even exist!).  If you're a vegan and you've been to Iceland, please send me your recommendations!  I'd really appreciate any information anyone can send me. I'm also looking for any feedback and information on what to pack, especially while visiting in November.  If you've been to Iceland and have any tips, let me know!

July 4th

July 4th 2012 {Blouse: Old Navy; Jeans: Mavi; Shoes: Zara (vegan,found on Ebay); Headscarf: Vintage (my grandmother's); Clutch/Wallet: Gunas}

Jim and I took an early bus up to Boston on the 4th, and got in around 11 am. We took our time getting acquainted to the city and our hotel, walking around Chinatown, and grabbing some lunch. In the late evening, we had a quick wardrobe change and got ready to go out to dinner. A red, white and blue headscarf is as patriotic as I get on the 4th. During the day, I wore this same outfit from the waist up.  I just had on denim shorts and my neon yellow sandals instead of the jeans and heels.   If you checked out my packing tutorial yesterday, anything from the waist up I was actually wearing while taking the photos for that post, which is why they're not included in the photos. Just before dinner we headed up to the roof top deck, being it was recommended by the hotel concierge as being a good spot to watch the fireworks.  We enjoyed the view and took these few quick shots before headed out for some pizza and wine for dinner (I'll be doing an entire post on all the food we had in Boston very soon!).   After dinner, we decided we'd probably have a better view of the sunset and the following fireworks from our hotel balcony.  So we went back to our room, enjoyed the stunning sunset, and watched the Boston Pops 4th of July Spectacular on TV.  Once the fireworks started, it was hard to miss them.  We had the most amazing view! July 4th 2012 July 4th 2012 July 4th 2012 July 4th 2012 July 4th 2012 July 4th 2012 How did you spend the July 4th holiday?

How To / Pack for a Trip

Packing Tutorial

I packed for my entire 4 day trip to Boston in this small overnight bag.

Having traveled so much on business, I've created a pretty fool-proof method for packing, and this is how I do it. First, make a quick chart of all the days you'll be away. I usually divide mine up so I have a box for day time, and evening. From there, fill it out with the activity you plan on doing during that time on that day. Reason I divide it up day/evening is because usually if you’re going out in the evening, it requires you to be a bit more dressed up than what you’d wear during the day, though this may not apply to you. Here was my general itinerary for my vacation to Boston.
  Wed Thurs Fri Sat
Day Travel to Boston Freedom Trail- Explore City Museum of Fine Art Fenway Tour
Evening Dinner/Drinks Dinner/Drinks Dinner/Drinks Travel to NY
Bonus Outfit: Pool
After you figure out what you’ll be doing, then start to fill out another similar grid, making outfits from items you have. The goal is to be creative, and use the items multiple ways just changing things up via accessories. Here's what I came up with for my trip.
Wed Thurs Fri Sat
Day White Blouse, Denim Shorts, Neon Sandals, Army Jacket, Red, White and Blue Bandana, White Fedora, B&W Colorblock Tote Black Maxi Dress, Neon Sandals, Army Jacket, White Fedora, B&W Colorblock Tote, Tribal Maxi, Skinny Belt, Neon Sandals, Army Jacket, White Fedora, B&W Colorblock Tote Tee or Tank, Neon Sandals, Army Jacket, White Fedora, B&W Colorblock Tote,
Evening White Blouse, Jeans, Neon Blazer- if it's chilly, Black Zara Heels, Wallet Black Maxi Dress, Neon Blazer- if it's chilly, Zara Heels, Wallet, Leopard Blouse, Neon Blazer- if it's chilly, Jeans, Zara Heels, Wallet
Same as day.
Pool Outfit: Black Bikini, Leopard Blouse (as cover-up), Neon Sandals
    A few quick tips:
  • Wear bulkier items, like jeans, boots, scarves, jackets, hats etc so they don’t take up room in your suitcase.
  • Bring only footwear suited to what you’ll be doing, and make it work with everything you’re wearing. I’ll usually do one pair of hybrid casual/dressy heels (wedges are great for this), one pair of flats (like sandals, loafers or chucks), and my workout sneakers for when I hit up the hotel gym. If I’m going to a wedding or a more formal event, I’ll pack appropriate heels for that but only if necessary. Same goes for business trips, if I’m on a business trip I’ll go for pumps and not wedges.
  • When given a choice, I always pack the dressier version on items I may have multiples of at home. For example, I’ll choose my black jeans over blue. That way they work for casual daytime activities, but are also dressy enough I can wear them someplace fancy in the evening if need be.
  • Include handbags and accessories in your outfit ideas. This makes it easier to create different outfits using the same items you already know you’re bringing.
  • Keep your main clothing items, like tees, pants, shorts etc. neutral (black, gray, white, beige, etc) and add color with jackets, scarves and accessories. That way everything matches. Try to keep a consistent color theme with what you pack. In my Boston trip example, my colors are black and white as my basics, and I accent it with gray, neon yellow, leopard, B&W stripes, hot pink and metallics.
  • Don’t be afraid to wear the same thing multiple times. It’s super easy nowadays to wash and air dry certain items in the bathroom sink. Jersey is great for this. Plus things like jeans can be worn multiple times before washing anyway.
After your grid is filled out, then it’s easy to just list all the items you used to put your outfits together. Looking at all these items, I can think of another 4-5 outfits easy I can make out of these, so I at least have other options should I not want to wear exactly what I charted out above.

Clothing

Packing Tutorial
Packing Tutorial
Packing Tutorial
Packing Tutorial
  • White Blouse- worn on the trip there
  • Denim Shorts- worn on the trip there
  • Neon Sandals- worn on the trip there
  • Red, White and Blue Bandana- worn on the trip there
  • White Fedora
  • Jeans
  • Black Zara Heels
  • Black Maxi Dress
  • Tribal Maxi Dress
  • Skinny Belt
  • Striped Tank
  • Black/White Tanks
  • Army Jacket
  • Neon Blazer
  • Black Bathing Suit
  • Leopard Blouse
  • Socks
  • Bras & Underwear (7 pair)
  • PJ's

Toiletries

Packing Tutorial
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Curl Cream/Gel
  • Razor
  • Shaving Lotion
  • Shower Cap
  • Hair Towel
  • Face Wash
  • Medications
  • Hair Clips
  • Bobby Pins
  • Headbands
  • Blow dryer and attachments
  • Straightening Iron
  • Comb
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup Bag
Another great time saver that I do for toiletries is a keep a quart size (TSA Approved) toiletry bag packed at all times.  That way if I need to hit the road quick, I don't have to worry if I forgot my shampoo.  It includes travel sizes of all my usual products, sample sizes of medication creams, an extra razor and shower cap.  When I return home from a trip, I refill everything so it's ready to go next trip.

Carry On

  • iPhone and Charger
  • Headphones
  • iPad and Charger
  • Camera and Charger
  • Wallet
  • ID
  • Sunglasses
  • Tissues
  • Snacks
  • Water Bottle
All in all, using the process above I was able to easily figure out 7 outfits plus alternate options using only 17 items (most of which are smaller accessories that take up no suitcase room and many of which I’m wearing on the travel to and from my destination). The only other items you really need to add from there are PJ’s, toiletries, under-things and workout gear. Here's a few more tips to make packing a breeze:
  • Keep a standard list of everything I you need as far as toiletries, basic clothing needs (under-things, PJ’s, workout clothes), necessary electronics (iPhone/charger) and documentation (wallet, ID, keys, etc).  I keep mine in Evernote so each time I need to pack, all those items are already on the list for me. Then all I have to do is figure out my clothing for whatever activities I’m doing and I’m good to go. The less I have to think about, the better. I even include on this list a section for pet needs if the pets are coming with me, because it’s easier to delete that if it doesn’t pertain to my trip, instead of last-minute needing to remember what I should bring for them.
  • When finally packing your bag, always remember to roll your clothes, never fold them!  Rolling clothes helps prevent wrinkles, plus you can fit way more stuff in your bag than with standard folding.
  • Also, always remember to leave a little extra room in your bag.   You know, just in case you go shopping.
This system took me years to perfect, and it works super well for me. Stay tuned for additional posts of my Boston trip so you can see how I put these items together for the outfits I wore on the trip.  You can also see a few photos I posted of them to Instagram, my handle is @BrooklynBliss. Since I'm always looking to be even more efficient at everything I do (bad habit), I'd love to hear your tips! Please comment and share them. How do you pack?

My Life According to Instagram / July 4th Edition

Boston Instagram Boston Instagram #2 Boston Instagram #3 Wow, I didn't realize I've been MIA on the blog for so long.  I had been feeling under the weather for several weeks, and thank goodness just started feeling better just before the July 4th holiday, which Jim and I spent in Boston!  Boston wound up being the best city to visit for that specific holiday.  It was insanely patriotic and many of the historical sites that make the holiday so important are all located there. Highlights of the trip include watching the fireworks from our hotel balcony, getting some great vegan food, and exploring Boston's Freedom Trail. Stay tuned for future posts on our trip.  We had sooo much fun I have days and days worth of posts and photos to work on just to recap everything we did!  I also have a great tutorial coming which I have been working on forever on my travel packing system, which is quite extensive considering my OCD tendencies.  I packed for this 4 day trip with a tiny overnight bag. If you're on Instagram, be sure to say hi!  You can find my feed at @BrooklynBliss.
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