How To Pack Stylishly For 7 Days in a Carry-On


2017 is shaping up to be a year of travel for me. Although I really didn’t plan for it to be, it’s March and I’ve already visited London, Paris, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Kansas City, and Dallas this year. Not to mention the 5 trips planned for the next few months.

Needless to say? It was time to get my packing skills refined to an artform. I’ll never forget driving to the Palm Springs airport with Kristen and Luvvie while they gently mocked me for my large piece of luggage crammed to the max for, ahem, a 4-day trip. (What can I say? This is how my brain works while packing. Maybe yours does too?)

However, I spent quite some time devoted to capsule wardrobes. How could there be such a discrepancy between my day-to-day and my packing practices? I decided I would challenge myself to pack in one carry-on for my recent 7-day trip to London and Paris, and you guys, it was so great. I don’t think I’ll ever check a bag again.

Here’s the thing about packing for London and Paris in the early Spring. You’re essentially going to be outside with a coat on the entire time. So I focused less on my under layers, and more on my outerwear and accessories. This really made packing so much easier. Also, I had access to laundry mid-week, which made it easier to cut down on my tees, pajamas, panties, etc.

First things first. My carry-on itself. I use the Bigger Carry-On by Away Travel. Oh my goodness, I can’t say enough about this suitcase. It has a hard case, a charging port for my devices, looks so stylish, and most importantly fits SO MUCH stuff in it. For real, you guys. Take a look.

This particular size fits all the sizers of major US airlines – I had no problem fitting it in the overhead bins of Delta, Virgin Airlines, and Air France during my trip. However, if you travel budget airlines in other countries or smaller jets, this particular size will probably not work, and you should consider the regular carry-on size from Away. I very rarely fly in those situations, so the bigger size works for me.

As for my packing breakdown, here you go.



Odds and Ends


1. Use Gmail and/or Chrome? These tricks are game-changers.

2. Haha, love these comics illustrating the daily struggles of women.

3. Shel Silverstein quotes mean so much more as an adult, right?

4. OMG. You must read this and then tell me there’s no sexism in the workplace.

5. Gorgeous wildflowers. Purdy.

6. Photographer tracks down subjects of his photos 40 years later. So cool.

7. Hip hop + ballet. Amazing.

8. Really important read on protecting your child from sexual abuse.

9. Why a CEO shouldn’t run the country. Pretty much.

10. This song has been proven to reduce anxiety.

11. This box of cookies meant for Texas ended up in Guam. So funny.

12. Here are the ages you peak at everything in your life. Um, looks like those of us in our early forties are in for a lull.

13. This is simultaneously the WEIRDEST and oddly satisfying video ever.

14. The strongest girls are the ones with anxiety. Love this.

15. Hahaaa. Best post about dinnertime with kids ever.

16. A guy’s wife was fired from Cracker Barrel and the internet went crazy. Absolutely hilarious.

Happy weekend to you! It’s Friday! And Spring! What is there to be down about? (Wait. Don’t answer that.)


My Guide to Natural Fragrances


above, some of my favorites

Newsflash: government regulation of the beauty industry is super shoddy. Despite a few smallish amendments, cosmetic laws haven’t changed since 1938. Yeah. Think about that for a second. (Over 10,000 new ingredients have been introduced since then, ahem.) If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend this book.

However, today, I want to talk about fragrance, which is a whole entity in itself.

I won’t go on and on about the intricacies of creating a fragrance (this post covers a lot of it!), but here’s a primer.

The biggest divide between natural and synthetic fragrances lies in the way they are created. Plants, trees or animals comprise the basic elements of natural scents and run the gamut from lilac to sandalwood to deer musk. Synthetic fragrances are created in a laboratory, and although it may not be common knowledge, Mother Nature has absolutely nothing to do with almost two-thirds of the most popular fragrances made today used in perfumes and other scented products.

The modern lab is their source, and basically, there are three different types. These include: full synthetics, which are composed almost entirely from petroleum by-products; semi-synthetics, or natural fragrances that have been modified by artificial means, and natural isolates, which are aromas which fall somewhere in between natural and synthetic because they are developed by isolating one scent from a more complex aroma base such as that of a red rose.

Additionally, in terms of government regulation, “fragrance” is considered a trade secret, so companies don’t have to disclose what it is. They just don’t have to. And so they don’t. Usually, it is a synthetic concoction that includes phthalates and synthetic masks, which are hormone disruptors, as well as chemicals that are allergens and neurotoxins.

In fact, because of these trade secret laws, the single word “fragrance” you see on labels can represent as many as several hundred additional chemicals that aren’t required to be listed. #WTF

But! It’s also important to point out that sometimes synthetics are a better choice for our planet. For example, massive deforestation has resulted from the production of natural sandalwood and rosewood, and the utilization of natural musk requires painful extraction from deer and other forest creatures. (Horrible!) All things to consider…it’s not so black and white. There are synthetics that don’t include phthalates, neurotoxins, and allergens, keep in mind.

Have I confused you enough? And, frankly, what does this mean for you? Well, it might behoove you to look into some cleaner fragrance brands – ones that are much more transparent about what they are using in their perfumes. Lucky for you, I’ve done some of the work already. These are some of the brands I’ve personally tested, which vary in their ingredients. Some use essential oils only, some use absolutes, some synthetics – so depending on how gung-ho you are, you might want to dig even deeper into the brands. (Frankly, after trying all these scents and writing this, I need a nap.)

Let’s get started!