How To: Pack for Summer Weekends Away

Happy first day of summer!! I wanted to share my go to packing essentials for summer travel. I am an avid believer in the carry-on suitcase/backpack. I am also an avid believer in not dressing like a tourist. So, when I pack, I follow two simple guidelines.

  1. Be able to mix every piece I pack and
  2. Wear things more than once

Packing List:

Shorts (I like to go for one staple denim short, because those will go with everything! But I also throw in something with some color that still goes with most or all of the tops I’m bringing.)

Jeans (I like to bring my comfiest pair that are just a little bit darker of a wash so I can dress it up if need be.)

2 tanks (For wearing in the heat, over a bathing suit, or under a cardigan/chambray for a little layering.)

1 light sweater/chambray (I have a light and loose, neutral sweater I got two years ago before my trip to Spain. It is the perfect extra layer in the summer! I also really love bringing my ultra soft chambray because it works as another shirt as well as another layer.)

2 shoes (I like to have one open toe and one closed toe option. I also make sure both are comfortable and tried and true for lot’s of walking.)

1 dress (This tends to be a preference thing. I like it because, not only is it an entire outfit in one piece of clothing, it is also so much cooler and also easy to dress up with some jewelry and that sweater or chambray. I have a few that I love for various reasons, but 100% cotton and a solid color is my usual go to.)

Jewelry (This is one of the easiest ways to mix up your look and also pull together an outfit while taking up hardly any space in that carry-on! I have a few pieces that I almost always wear (rings, studs, watch). But some statement earrings and necklace or two really go a long way for changing it up and making an outfit feel and look fresh.

Bathing Suit (Even if I’m not planning to need it, I throw it in. It’s one of those things that takes little to no space and when you need it, it’s a bummer not to have it. And for the summer, the odds are definitely higher that you will be using it. And bonus, it frees you up to go for it when the adventure opportunity arises! No excuses. No regrets.)

Cross Body Bag (I love, love, love my Fossil cross-body (and Fossil in general)! It has gone with me overseas every time and cross country many times. It fits everything I need for the whole day, with many zippered pockets and the canvas and leather strap is comfortable without compromising style. I always opt for a bag that zips completely closed to keep my things secure in the bustle at the airport, while it’s stored under the seat, and for an added discouragement for pic-pocketing. This bag is similar to what I use and f you’re interested, it’s even on sale right now! I also love this one for something a little bigger with versatile straps that still fully zips.)

Light/natural Make-Up (I keep it simple and light. That being said, I typically bring one pallet that I can use during the day, but also has something to mix it up if I need for a night out. If I plan to be outside or doing a lot of walking on my trip, I don’t like stuffy make-up face. Most important: moisturizer+SPF for my face!)

SPF (Always protect your skin!  Like I mentioned before, I bring a moisturizer+SPF for my face as well as something for my arms and legs.)

1 active set of clothes (I always bring a set of active clothes because, especially in the summer, even if I don’t have plans for something particularly active, I typically end up needing it anyway. But also, because active-wear is my go to comfort outfit for summer. That’s my “sweats” that I throw on when I get back to the hotel in the evening with my takeout. Sometimes, this can double as sleepwear too (just not after wearing it for that active day!)

What’s always in your suitcase on summer weekends away? 

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Things to Know Before Group Travel

After spending a week at a beach house in Florida with some friends, I can say, I have a couple of take always that I think could be really helpful for any of you that are considering doing the same thing or something similar this summer (or anytime). Just a few things to think about of before heading out on adventures with other humans.

While I am coming from the position of traveling with a group of friends, I think these points can apply to any environment where you are going to be spending an extended period of time with groups of people (family vacations/reunions, couples trips, girls getaway, etc.).

Be flexible. // Remember that everyone is different, simple as that. Be willing to compromise on things for the good and enjoyment of the entire group. Also, depending on how well you know the group yo’re traveling with, it may be a good idea to mention this in your pre-travel conversation so that everyone is prepared and willing to have this mindset.

Know your musts. // Think through the things that, if you don’t do them, you will wish you had when you get home. Whether that’s stopping in at a local coffee shop, having a meal at a specific restaurant, or visiting a shop, make sure you make that a priority. If your goal is to sit back and have no agenda and really unplug, make sure you make that happen and enjoy your agenda-free time to the fullest.

Plan to do things on your own. // I find it is incredibly helpful to plan to do a thing or two on my own when I travel with groups. You experience things so uniquely on your own, and it gives you something to talk about with your travel companions that night at dinner. It can get boring to do everything together and when you find you have nothing to talk about because you are all doing the same things. Even if it’s waking up before everyone else and going for a walk or run or heading to that local coffee shop, it can really help to have that time to yourself to re-center and enjoy the peace of vacation.

Be a team player. // This goes right along with be flexible. But it’s worth mentioning. When you travel in a group, the trip is not just yours. If you want to do only what you want to do, then go on a solo trip. So, unless you want to be the person that grates on everyone’s nerves, be willing to work with everyone else and consider the overall enjoyment of the group as well as your own.

Travel separately. // I have found that meeting up is a lot more fun than traveling together with the group. Obviously, this isn’t always or can’t always be the case. But I find that it is so much less stressful to drive or fly or train myself to the place than trying to coordinate with everyone else. Also, it means when I meet up with the group, we are at location and ready to start the festivities! If you are traveling with the group, make sure you talk about dividing up travel cost (like fuel if you’re driving) and scheduling ahead of time.

Book ahead of time. // If you are planning a trip to a museum or any place that requires admission, it’s a good idea to check ahead of time when it comes to getting tickets. Often you can save a bit purchasing tickets online. And if you have a big enough group, you may be able to get a discounted rate.

Talk about your expectations BEFORE the trip. // This was something that I have found to be extremely helpful and prevents a lot of potential discord down the road. So while it may be last in this list, I believe it is the most important. It can be easy to think that everyone has the same idea of what a perfect vacation is, but more often than not, that just isn’t the case. Even when they may be very similar, there are typically still few deviations. Talk with everyone ahead of time about the outings and activities you all want to do. Talk about the things you want to do with other people and the things you would rather do on your own. Also, you know you’re going to need to eat, so find out if there are any places people want to try or what your grocery list needs to look like, how are you splitting meals, etc.

Any group travel plans in your future? I would love to hear your your do’s and don’t’s of group travel below! 

 

 

Packing for a Week at the Beach

I am leaving for the beach in just a few days! So I figured I would round up my packing list and share with you what’s going in my bag!

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For this trip I will be driving to Destin, Florida to spend the week at the beach with some friends. I will not be using my regular, go to carry on suitcase this trip. Instead, I am using my favorite Adidas duffel bag (really similar to this one, and bonus: still carry-on size) that I really love, but don’t normally fly with. Honestly, it may be my soccer background, but I really prefer traveling with a duffel bag when I can. I still love the rollers for trekking accrues the airport! Since we are driving, I have a little more flexibility, which can be both good and bad. I am still keeping it to a “carry-on” and a backpack (minus things like a beach chair and a blender… keep reading!). Honestly, this is pretty easy to do for beach trips because I typically just live in a bathing suit and/or comfy clothes.

What’s in my bag:
  • bathing suits
  • beach/bathing suite cover up
  • workout clothes & running shoes (Going for runs on the beach is one of my all time favorite things.)
  • sweats (After swimming, I am always a bit chilly. Coming back from the beach or the pool and putting on sweats after a shower is pure bliss)
  • a couple t-shirts and/or tanks
  • denim cut offs
  • summer dress
  • flip flops
  • sandals
  • sleepwear
  • long sleeve t-shirt/layer (Something warm and snugly for the evenings.)
Non-clothing must haves for the beach:
  • sunscreen
  • natural aloe vera (I prefer this over any after sun lotion or drugstore aloe vera product. Whether you burn or not, it’s really good to put this on after any extended time in the sun for maintaining soft, hydrated, healthy skin.)
  • beach chair (If I have the luxury {like when I’m driving} I prefer to buy a beach chair BEFORE getting to the beach. I can get something that is much better quality for a much better price than what I typically find at the beach stores.)
  • beach towel
  • beach bag
  • blender (If you are driving and have the luxury, this is really nice to have for whipping up plenty of frozen drinks to enjoy on the beach/porch/pool. Check ahead of time to see if your beach rental has the already.)
  • Kindle
  • waterproof cases or bags for electronics
  • sunglasses
  • SPF lip balm
  • baseball cap/beach hat
  • ENO (Even if I’m flying, this typically gets a spot in my bag. It is so lightweight and compact and is a real game changer when it comes to relaxing!)

 

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I have not linked any of the specific items that I use. But if you are interested in finding out more about any clothes or product I talked about or maybe something in a photo, feel free to comment on this post or send me a message! I would love to give you more details.

What are your must haves for the beach? Anything I missed? I leave soon, so now’s the time to let me know! 

30 Day Minimalist Challenge

 Stand firm and walk free. 

My mantra as I walk through the next 30 days.

What I expect:

I am planning a wedding right now, so while some would say this is a crazy time to do this because of all the extra I am bringing into my home anyway, I say this is just the right time. I want to really evaluate the important things and enjoy what I truly love. So, yes, I know there will be some things that are necessary right now that wont be in the future. But that’s how it is with seasons, and life is all about seasons, so we have to embrace it. Those things we can call excuses, we can also call facets of the experience. And I hope this thinking will bleed over into wedding planning. I think we are doing a pretty good job of keeping the main thing the main thing, but I want to have a sense of peace and rest during the planning as well as the day of and all the decisions and things that are being made and that stand ahead of us in this season.

During this process:

  • what I keep has to be organized and has a place
  • I am going to blog about each day and give you a little rundown of what that day looks like. This will include details of that day or the guidelines I’m giving myself. I hope this will inspire you, or if you’re already inspired and joining me, this will help you follow along!

If you are joining me:

  • make this your own! Just because I have a certain items on one day, doesn’t mean you have to do that area that day too! Make the list work for your schedule!
  • Adopt your own mantra for the next 30 days. For the month of April, decide your mantra. It’s helpful to have a word, phrase, verse, quote, etc. that you can meditate on and think on for a period of time. It s something to ground you, something you can come back to that gives you an area of focus and helps you to process and develop.
  • Change items completely! If you don’t have a dog, chances are, you won’t need to take a day for the dog supplies. You can make this a day of meditation (really, this can be added to any day), or maybe you need to add a couple days for the kid clothes or the play room. The beauty of this is, it’s for you. For your life and mind and greater good.
  • Push yourself. I know there are going to be areas that are more difficult than others. And I know there will be times you want to find a space for an item that, deep down, you know it’s time to part with. So I am inviting you to not only ask yourself the hard questions, but also push yourself to walk out the hard answers.
  • Remember, it’s just stuff! I KNOW it IS so freeing on the other side of de-cluttering your life from THINGS! So go for it! I think we will all be amazed in 30 days at the change.

So, you know what I think about minimal living, so I am ready to jump in and work on freeing up my life! Are you feeling inspired? Want to join me? I’m doing it either way, but I would love to hear from any of you who are also taking the month of April to bring about some change in your own life (minimalist or otherwise).  Let’s do this!

 

  1. Bathroom drawers and cabinets
  2. Books
  3. Decorations in my home
  4. Mugs
  5. Dresser drawers
  6. Craft supplies
  7. Meditate for 20 minutes
  8. Pantry
  9. Refrigerator
  10. Movies
  11. Pet supplies
  12. Shoes
  13. Storage space
  14. Meditate for 20 minutes
  15. Voicemail
  16. Jewelry
  17. Papers/files
  18. Bedside table
  19. Car
  20. Computer documents
  21. Holiday decorations
  22. Medicine cabinet
  23. Bags/purses
  24. Linens
  25. Journal for 20 minutes, uninterrupted
  26. Closet
  27. Be outside for 1 hour
  28. Email (clear inbox and block spam emails)
  29. Set up bill payments
  30. Office supplies

Minimal Living

A while back I packed up my Honda CR-V and headed for North Carolina. And while I did leave some things behind with my parents (thanks, Mom and Dad!), I was amazed that I was able to fit everything I needed in my car (and I didn’t even use all that I brought). After coming back to Texas, I ended up throwing away virtually all of the stuff I had left in Texas and got rid of all that stuff in my car that I had not used. It went to second hand stores and (mostly) the garbage can.

It was incredibly freeing. After living for three and a half months with only what could fit in the back of my car, I didn’t want the burden and weight of possessions. It was a weird point of pride that I could fit everything I own into my car and be on my way in a day if the road called me.

Now, after living in the same place for two and a half years (too long if you ask me), things have accumulated. And I kind of hate it! SO! I am going to do something about it.I know the freedom that comes from not having so many material possessions. I have realized the weight of things and know what it feels like to be rid of them. And so to that end, I am going to challenge myself to get back there! Not only do I not like owning so much stuff, I will also be getting a jump on being ready for moving in with my forever roommate come this Fall!


The challenge:


For the month of April, I am going to minimize one aspect of my life each day. I have looked at a lot of different lists because, I know, this is no new idea. But ultimately, I am making a list that covers the areas that I want to see change as well as taking days for time to reflect, be still and process change and growth. (Also, a lot of lists I’ve found include the play room and kids toys, and you know, that’s just not a concern here.) And throughout the process, I will post here regularly about my progress.

My list is mostly done, but I am still thinking through and changing a few things while I compile 30 days worth of change/reflection/stillness/giving up/living free. So that will be coming soon! But in the meantime, I want to hear from YOU! Have you done anything similar to this before? Do you have any recommendations for things to go on the list? Want to do this minimalism challenge with me? What are things you can or want to minimize in your life?