Trip Re-cap/Holiday Dressing

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I have a hunch that you may be curious to know the results of packing for my trip. I had more than enough to wear with two tops not being worn at all. The suitcase fit fine in the overhead bin. On the way home, I was stopped at the gate and told that it was too large. Different plane with smaller overhead bins? Who knows. I assured her it fit on the way over. The flight attendant said I probably packed it differently and it was fuller on the way home. Not true! I didn’t purchase one thing for myself (unbelievable I know) My suitcase was whisked away, I didn’t have to pay extra. Enough said.

Thanks to reader Linda for her advice on packing makeup, hair and skin care products. I will be working on this for next time. I know now I can pack for 5-8 days in that suitcase.

We had a wonderful trip and great times with family in Dallas. My husband’s parents and siblings all are in the area. My sister is nearby and my oldest son attends college there. Since 1996 we’ve been making annual or biennial trips to the great state of Texas. I’ve learned to love many things about it. My husband and youngest son could move there tomorrow. I’m not ready for that quite yet.

My mother-in-law requested a family photo and this turned into quite a “production”. I will be blogging about this at a later time. I’ve mentioned this topic before and I’m doing my research. I soon will have a complete post full of advice and examples.

In addition to all the food, good times with family, there was shopping! After our first time out, I was reminded again of all the choices a larger city has to offer. The focus this time was on my college son who needed a suit for an event as well as casual clothes. I was also able to help my niece who was visiting my sister and brother-in-law. She and her husband live in Chattanooga. She has a two darling children ages 2 and 5 months. She’s a busy mom with no time to shop. Most of us are not all that happy with how we look after the birth of a child. In just two hours I was able to help her find some jeans and casual clothes that are perfect for her lifestyle. She looked fantastic. My family is very spread out across the map and the opportunity for me to help them in person is rare. Such fun! I keep quite busy helping women over 40. Sometimes I forget about this age group of women who become frustrated with the way pregnancy affects their bodies. Just a few tips will go a long way.

On to holiday dressing! I love getting dressed up. I love sequins, satin, silk and lots of bling. Sadly, I have no place to wear much of the holiday attire I enjoy finding. It’s been great helping a couple of clients for holiday parties. It seems that many companies have cut holiday events in recent years. Overall, I’d say things have become a bit more casual. Taking all of this into consideration, and keeping in mind that you have get togethers with family and friends, I will do several posts this week on what to wear this holiday season. If you need to begin looking NOW, I suggest Nordstrom and White House Black Market. I will be highlighting Nordstrom for dresses and WHBM for all other attire and accessories. For a lower price point I’m choosing Kohl’s or JC Penney. Stay tuned and enjoy the holiday preparations! Take a peek of what is to come. Yes, feathers are in and the more pearls the better! What type of events do you need to dress for this year?

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Packing My Trip

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We leave for Dallas, Texas today. American Airlines charges $25 per bag each way. My husband and son decided they would rent golf clubs this time. I decided that yes I could get everything in a carry-on size suitcase. I have helped a number of clients Pack their Trip. I need to practice what I preach. It’s a 5 day trip-certainly doable. My To-Do List:

1. Get the 5 or 7 day forecast.

2. Make sure all clothes are clean before you begin packing. If possible, try each thing on before packing especially if you have never worn it together.

3. Lay out each outfit including accessories. Then put directly in suitcase. If possible, try to carve out time where you will not be interrupted and lose your train of thought. This is how things get forgotten and don’t make the suitcase.

I have a bit of a challenge with the temperature. A cold front is coming through so the variance in temperature: 70-45 with night time temperatures as low as 33. I went with a brown “capsule” adding in purple. Challenge #2: We will be taking a family photo with a black color scheme. This meant another pair of shoes I wasn’t figuring on. Why not use all those gray combinations I just wrote about? Most were too warm and bulky in the suitcase. I’ve written and pictured what I have planned. (I did not photograph black sweats and an extra white blouse I threw in just in case the color scheme for the family photo switches back to white! More on color coordinating for family photos in another post.)

I took 2 pairs of jeans (straight cut and boot cut) 2 solid tops, 4 printed tops, 1 vest, 3 long cardigans, 2 scarves, leather jacket, two pairs of shoes, 1 pair of booties, sweats, blouse. This includes what was worn on the plane.

Day 1: Travel Day. I debated about taking the dark brown leather jacket but decided it was a good choice for evenings when I’m there. I’ll wear that and the black booties (heel for photo) on the plane to save room. I’m always cold on the plane. Scarf should help. **Change of plans since photo–going with oxford shoes since I had room in my suitcase for boots.

Day 2: We’ll be visiting my son at college and shopping. There will be lots of walking. Thank goodness for these shoes (taupe) that are such a great neutral they go with everything. I’ll be writing about them soon–pure comfort! I have two options depending on the weather. The first day forecast is 70 so the second options has a sleeveless top. Same shoes. Whichever outfit I don’t choose will be worn another day.

Day 3: I’ll  need two outfits–family photo later in the day. I can just throw on the top I wore Day 1 for a short time with a necklace or scarf if I go out. If we stay at home, I’ll just put on sweatpants and jacket. The outfit for the photo is my black wrap worn like a jacket which you saw in the two posts on Gray. I can’t decide on jewelry so luckily that’s easy to pack. The silver helps brighten the black, but not sure how much is too much in the photo. Bootie (shown for Day 1) Heel–extra height is very important in photos when you’re 5’4.

Day4: Thanksgiving. I’m not sure if we will attend church, but this will work for the whole day. Option #2 if I want to be more comfortable/warmer in the evening.

Day 5: I’m not sure what we’re doing day or evening. It gets colder late in the week. Either can be worn with leather jacket or one with chocolate lightweight cardigan.

Day 6: Travel Day but we leave later in the day. I’ll wear whatever wasn’t chosen previously.

Here is the suitcase with all the outfits and my jewelry packing. There is still plenty of room for my hair dryer and flat iron. My one allowed bag of liquids is going in my “personal item” carry-on.  One makeup bag is going in my son’s “checked” bag as there are some liquid/non-liquids. In the end we decided to check ONE bag in case we bought something. And then there were the golf shoes that needed to fit…My college son also requested a few items. I’m quite proud of myself for the  consolidation. I still have options. I think you can see that I could have gotten by with even a little less.

Since the rules on liquids went into effect, I have always checked a bag. I just didn’t want to deal with it. Any comments? How do all of you fit hair care products, skin products and liquid makeup products into ONE quart size ziploc even when they’re small? Do I have too many products?

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Pack Your Trip

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It’s that time of year! SUMMER VACATION! Many of us take vacations year round, but since school is out for summer it seemed the perfect time for a post about packing. I have learned a great deal about packing for trips over the years from trial and error. I have been known to take WAY too much (I like choice!) I also have been the laughing stock of my family when it comes to loading for the airport as I always have the heaviest luggage. I usually weigh in at 48.5 pounds- thankful for my scale that weighs heavy and prepared to take something out if need be. Travel has changed in recent years. Gone are the days of taking 8 pairs of shoes and as many outfits as our suitcases would hold. My luggage is only 3 years old, yet is quite heavy before clothes. In December we went to Hawaii and I knew my ways had to change. I still over-packed. Within the last months I have helped several clients pack their trip as it is an additional service I provide. Here is short version of what I teach. While it is better done in person, I can give you some basics that will help. Bear with me, it takes a few more words to explain this one!

1. Plan outfits carefully including each accessory. Lay each outfit out on your bed to get the visual of mixing/matching. The capsule concept is the best when it comes to cutting down numbers of garments (see below) If you have choices, go for the lightest weight option.

2. Try on each outfit as you plan to wear it before you put it in the suitcase. Even if it is something you wear regularly, trying a new combination may not look just right on. Weight fluctuates. Take the time to try on to avoid disappointment and unexpected purchases (well that may not be a bad thing!)

3. Plan ways to layer and be prepared for the weather to be different than the forecast. Lightweight cardigans are the best way to add warmth quickly especially if it cools off in the evening or you’re hitting heavily air conditioned places.

4. You already know how I feel about scarves. This is the perfect thing to slip in a suitcase to cover bare arms. One of my clients was going on a European cruise. Even in June she wasn’t sure what to expect. She gets cold easily. Solution: A scarf.

My best tip is from my personal experience. LEARN TO LET GO OF THE LUXURY OF CHOICE IN YOUR CLOSET AT HOME. Simply said: You can’t take it all!

The best way to learn the concept of mixing/matching is by creating CAPSULES. This concept is one many stylists use when helping clients shop. It works beautifully for packing.

1. Choose one or more capsule colors depending on the length of your trip. When creating a capsule, you want to center around your NEUTRAL colored bottom pieces: Pants, skirts, shorts. Good color choices are black, brown, or navy. Brown capsule bottoms could be varying shades from chocolate to khaki. Black could include gray or even white. The amount of pieces in your capsule depends on if you are able to do laundry, amount of space you have and how tired you can become of wearing the same thing. A 5 or 7 piece capsule can give you up to 12 outfits depending on if you count the combinations without the jacket separately.

2. Next add tops that will go with EACH BOTTOM. I think prints add variety–your choice. Please keep in mind that I’ve chosen pictures where the pieces coordinate in color– style was not my first preference.

3. Finally add a jacket or cardigan that will go with BOTH tops and ALL bottoms.

4. If possible, ONE pair of shoes with this capsule, two at the most. It will depend on amount of walking required on trip. Obviously the Puma street sneaker shown wouldn’t work with the skirt. I also left out accessories. You’ll see more of that in another post.

My friend Leigh Anne over at Your Homebased Mom asked for a phone consultation about packing. She blogged about her outfits and took photos which I recommend to everyone. Note the multi-colored brown, black, pink, coral top with brown rosettes around the collar. I wore this one day to her house and she asked about it. It is the ultimate capsule piece as it goes with 3 neutral colors and several cardigan options. Although Leigh Anne didn’t take the photos in capsule groupings, you can get the idea of where she was going with her packing. Layout in capsule format is a visual that can help you see quickly what could be eliminated. She wanted more choices and I think she did great!

And now to “unveil” a black capsule…I’ve been experimenting with a site called Polyvore. I’m so excited as now I’ll be able to group items into outfits like magazine layouts with the links to purchase! This layout was created especially to show a capsule. As you can see, some pieces would even work with the brown capsule. Two Capsules: So many possibilities and less space taken. What do you think? Will this work for you?

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