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If you follow me on Snapchat (wardrobeoxygen), you know last week I went to California for a couple days. I was invited to be part of a project, and I’ll be sure to share it when it’s finished! But in the meantime… what I packed. While I knew for two days I’d be at the project site, I didn’t know for how long and what if any activities would take place before and after. Unknown itinerary, didn’t want to check luggage, here’s what I took and what I packed it in:
Bags I Took:
- 15” Dagne Dover tote – I hesitated taking it because it’s a heavy bag, but it’s so smartly designed. With it, I had a padded pouch for my laptop, another for my Kindle, a waterproof place for a cold bottle of water, easy to access pockets for things like my phone, and it’s a bag that easily works as a business tote or a purse. Organization trumps weight or style when cramped in Coach looking for a tissue or lip balm. I took my vermilion bag because the color is so happy and a great contrast with a wardrobe of mostly black and denim.
- American Tourister iLite 21” Spinner – I’ve had this for a few years and it’s pretty perfect. Not pricey, not heavy, fits in all overhead compartments, smart pockets and compartments, the wheels are spinners so they move in all directions and never get wonky, and the handle is adjustable and a comfortable length for dragging through an airport, pulling as I run to get to my gate, or push in front of or next to me when moving in line or off a plane. Writing this post, I found the best price online at Target but only in purple; eBags has a bunch of different colors available and the second cheapest price (both sellers have it for less than $70). While black may seem practical and chic, I recommend getting a color so you stand out in a sea of suitcases at baggage claim.
My flight left at 8:30am Tuesday; with the TSA issues I had a car pick me up at 5:30am. What I wore:
- Black and white stripe lightweight long-sleeved tee from J. Crew Factory
- My years-old black faux-leather front ponte pants (similar)
- Silver snakeskin SUPERGA slip-on sneakers (grey Smartwool Hide and Seek socks underneath) (sold out; similar concept)
- Green silk oblong scarf/shawl I bought over a decade ago, looped around neck (similar)
I had a car pick me up from LAX and take me straight to my project so I was still in the same outfit. I removed the scarf (mainly worn to have a layer for the plane), refreshed my makeup, brushed my teeth, and sprayed Body Shop Vitamin E Spray all over myself for hydration and to not smell so stale.
What I carried in my Dagne Dover tote for a comfortable 5-hour flight:
- Inflatable neck pillow
- Body Shop Vitamin E Face Mist (keeps you hydrated but doesn’t make your makeup disappear. It’s a nice TSA-friendly size too. When I was a trainer for The Body Shop flight attendants would come in and buy this by the case.)
- Body Shop Vitamin E Eyes Cube (I picked this up at the airport and LOVE it. It’s a solid, but a cooling wet feel. I reapplied many times during my flights under my eyes and also my lips)
- EOS lip balm
- LARABAR (healthier and more satisfying than the snacks they offer on the plane)
- Bottle of water (bought at the airport after going through TSA)
- Fruity gum (good for popping ears and when you feel all dehydrated and gross)
- Colgate Wisps (can never find at home, so I picked some up at the airport when I got my water; great for a quick touch-up)
- Kindle Paperwhite fully charged
- Battery and cord (this had enough juice to take my phone from 30-100 three separate times on this trip)
- iPhone with various audiobooks, podcasts, and music downloaded
- UrbanEars Bluetooth headphones
- Eye mask (though I didn’t use it)
- Personal wipes (just in case), Advil, contact lens rewetting drops, and a travel pack of Kleenex
What I carried for a post-flight refresh:
- Travel-size Batiste dry shampoo
- L’Oreal Lumi Cushion foundation (layers well and isn’t considered a liquid)
- Small comb
- Travel toothbrush and toothpaste (though I didn’t use because LAX’s bathroom grossed me out)
- Little clamp barrettes and a hair elastic in case my hair was super awful after the flight
- Mirrored aviators to hide my tired face
I was at the project for a couple hours and finally got to my hotel around 4:00pm (my body clock knew it was 7:30pm at home). I checked in, got to my room and took a very long and very hot shower. I brought a tiny bottle of Molton Brown Ylang Ylang body wash that smells amazing and so decadent. I then made my room my temporary home. What I do to make a hotel room comfortable:
- Light a candle. Travel candles don’t take up much space, aren’t in breakable containers, and don’t need to be in your Ziploc of liquids. Choose a familiar scent to get the room feeling homey.
- Instead of turning on the TV, play some music. Whether it’s bringing your own speaker, using a speaker dock with your room, or turning on the radio, music gives a more relaxing vibe than the Weather Channel or Bravo.
- Unpack. Even if it’s for one night, unpacking and making use of drawers and the closet relaxes me and I can find everything easily.
- Set up the bedside table. Water, cell charger, glasses, a journal… it’s nice to have everything ready before you crash at the end of the day.
- Bring a robe. A lightweight cotton robe doesn’t take a ton of space and is a little luxury that can make your hotel stay more comfortable. Needham Lane recently sent me this robe, which is perfection. It stays closed, has pockets deep enough to hold an iPhone, and the luxe cotton gets better with each wash (I also brought the matching shorty pajamas). It’s nice to slip on post-shower and relax, letting your moisturizer soak in.
- If you have time, bring some pampering products. I knew there’d be a lot of downtime so I brought bubble bath, a sheet mask, undereye masks, and some random samples from Sephora orders. If I had room in my Ziploc or checked luggage I likely would have brought a deep conditioner for my hair.
I knew I had to stay up until at least 9pm Cali time or I’d be up at 3am so I got dressed and went to a casual restaurant. What I wore:
- Black off the shoulder knit top
- The black faux leather-front pants
- SUPERGA sneakers
- Silver collar necklace (similar) and cuff
- Small black crossbody (I used this bag and added a strap from a Rebecca Minkoff bag so I could use it as a regular or hip bag on the trip)
By time I got back to my room, I was wiped out. I changed into my pajamas, had a cup of tea, and was asleep before 9.
Despite my best efforts I was up at 3am. I usually get up between 5-6am at home so my body was used to it. I put on my workout clothes and headed to the hotel’s 24-hour gym. What I wore:
- Zella scoop-neck short sleeved top
- Random pair of black shorts I got at Walmart in South Carolina several years ago (similar)
- Reebok Skyscapes (I reviewed here)
Came back, did some yoga, showered and dried my hair, and then dozed for a bit. Breakfast was available in the hotel lobby at 7am and I was one of the first to show up. What I wore:
- Leith black knit tank dress (seen here)
- J. Crew Factory denim jacket
- Silver Birkenstocks
- Dagne Dover tote as purse
I wasn’t being picked up until 10:30 so I went back up to my room and did some work on the blog, scheduled some social media content, and checked email. Grabbed a coconut milk latte from the Starbucks in the lobby and waited for my ride to the project.
I got back to the hotel around 5:45pm that evening. Another woman part of the project was staying at my hotel and texted me to see if I wanted to grab dinner with her. I ran up to my room, brushed my teeth, dropped off my big bag (stuck essentials in my denim jacket pockets) and met her in the lobby.
We both were from the East Coast so after sharing a bottle of Chardonnay we were both ready to crash. I was back in my room by 8pm.
What else I packed in case I had more activities and needs to change clothes:
- Gap ‘Real Straight' jeans in dark wash
- Navy and white stripe off the shoulder ‘Bardot’ top (similar)
- Orange and black floral sleeveless maxi dress (seen here)
- My DVF scarf (seen here)
- My Novica printed clutch purse (seen here)
- Leopard calfhair low-heel pumps (seen here)
Was thinking of these possible outfits:
- Dark jeans, striped top, leopard pumps or SUPERGA sneakers
- Black tank dress, DVF scarf, clutch, leopard pumps
- Black dress, silver jewelry, silver Birkenstocks, black little bag, denim jacket if needed
- Print maxi dress, birkennstocks, denim jacket if needed
- Dark jeans, black off the shoulder knit top, leopard pumps
Another 8:30am flight, so it wasn’t so bad when my body woke itself up at 5am. Did some yoga in my room, took another long shower, and got ready. What I wore:
- Black tank-style dress (similar)
- Denim jacket
- Cadet blue and black print bamboo oblong scarf/shawl (seen here)
- Silver Birkenstocks
I had my jewelry in my bag, no point in putting it on until I went through TSA. I also had a pair of Smartwool Hide and Seek socks in my bag to slip on at TSA when I had to remove my shoes and to put on if it's cold on the plane.
In my old life, I traveled quite regularly for business and had plane travel down to a science. My current job doesn't require any business travel and since having Emerson my personal trips are usually ones where the destination can be reached by car. While some may dread so much time in a plane, I always look forward to solo travel flights because it's forced time to be disconnected from work, from social media, from being social. I read one and a half books, I spent long periods of time looking into space and letting my mind wander, and took care of myself to not get dehydrated or over-tired. And by packing properly, I was ready for anything and treated it as a pampering experience. And stay tuned, I should be able to share this project I worked on in a few weeks!