Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Category: Travel

Thanksgiving Travel

Thanksgiving Travel

It’s almost November. Pumpkin spice season has been in full swing for weeks now. In less than a month, we in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the largest travel weekend of the year, and the largest shopping weekend as well. Thank you Black Friday and Cyber Monday. (Don’t even get me started on how I feel about stores that open for shopping on Thanksgiving to start the holiday bonanza early…)

A weekend full of travel, family, food, and shopping sounds like a dream to some, and a nightmare to others! For those of you who are heading out of town, here’s a long weekend travel wardrobe that will fit into a carry-on, leaving plenty of room in the trunk for a cooler to carry leftovers, and those newly purchased Christmas gifts.

This travel wardrobe isn’t for everybody. I had a particular woman in mind as I selected these pieces. She’s casually feminine, values comfort, and likes her casual to feel polished. She doesn’t mind doing laundry while traveling. If she spills on her trousers on the way to her in-laws, she’ll pop her jeans into the laundry on T-day! Then, they’ll be clean for adventures on Friday, and the trip home. She and He prefer to travel home on Saturday so they have Sunday to themselves to relax and recover!

Travel Day:

Jeans and a Tee, Moto Sweater, Scarf and Boots

(She learned early to travel in her bulkiest shoes. That way they aren’t taking up valuable space in her suitcase!) She puts a crossbody bag inside her tote, so that she can leave the tote in the car when they jump out to eat or sightsee.

In Her Carry-On:

Dress, Tennies, Two Tops, a Short Robe & (pretty) Jammies, Ballet Flats double as slippers, Jewelry & Toiletries

She has carefully chosen her pieces to mix and match, and be dressed up or down by changing shoes and jewels. If she was going someplace colder, the short sleeves would be exchanged for long, or for lightweight sweaters. She would add tights or leggings to wear with the dress. Either way, it will still all fit into one carry-on.

What are your travel challenges? Are you a minimal packer, or do you take the kitchen sink? Feel free to share in the comments below; I love to hear from you!

 

Thanks to Katherine @notlamb for the Link-Up!

 

 

 

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

My husband and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary at the end of the month, and spent more than half of our married life gallivanting around the world for his job. On my walk this morning, I realized that even though we have been in the same house for 10 years now (I really feel the need to move!), we have shared 7 different homes since we wed. That is a lot of moving, and it taught me a lot, even some things about style and fashion! So here are 5 style lessons moving has taught me…

Style is Regional

People used to ask if I was stocking up on clothing before we moved so that I wouldn’t have to go shopping, especially overseas. While I would stock up on things I thought might be challenging to find (new bras, or narrow shoes), I preferred a wait and see take on style. Style is incredibly regional, even with social media and mass market retailers. I also do not like to stand out like a sore thumb/stereotypical American tourist, so I spend quite a bit of time people-watching in our new home to see what looked natural. This holds true even here in the US. What looks completely in line in New York City can look a bit harsh here in Augusta, Georgia.

Dry Cleaner/Hairdresser

Two of my priorities after finding a place to live were finding a good hairdresser and dry cleaner. This is a quality of life issue, so I would ask anyone with a good looking cut where they had their hair done, especially if their hair texture was similar to mine. Any recommendation whose name came up repeatedly would be my first choice to try.  I would also accost anyone particularly well dressed to ask what dry cleaner they trusted. It can be awkward to put yourself out there to ask, but I never had anyone refuse to answer. If you explain that you have just moved, and that finding these professionals can be a challenge, most people will respond positively.

Planning Is Essential

This may sound in conflict with the style is regional piece, but this focuses on preparation. Before you pack out your home to move overseas, you need to think through 3 lists: (1) The Things You Will Carry With You, (2) Stuff for Your Express Shipment (You will see it in a few weeks and need to be able to live with it until 3), and (3) The Slow Boat Shipment (you will see it in 3-4 months). On one of our overseas moves, the children and I were staying with my mother for 4 months while my husband was in a class across the county. That meant packing everything we needed for summer in the South, summer and fall in the Mid-Atlantic, and Winter in England. Well thought-through planning made the whole adventure far less stressful than it might have been, an continues to make travel a dawdle, rather than a stress. Pack for a two week trip in a carry-on. Give me half an hour. Let’s go!

 

Travel Light

If you saw us load up that station wagon to travel to my mother’s house for that 4 months, you wouldn’t have thought we were travelling light! I think it probably qualified as a miracle that we got 4 people’s clothing, all our homeschool materials (I forgot to throw that wrench into the works!) and some toys for the boys into the back of our Subie Wagon. If we’d tied a rocking chair to the roof, we’d have looked like the Clampett family. (Buy me a drink sometime and I’ll tell you about the engine overheating on that trip from Georgia to North Carolina.) When it came time to fly overseas, we each had one large suitcase, and our carryon/backpack. (We shipped the school books.)  That large suitcase had to hold everything we would need for the next 3-4 months. To this day, I prefer to travel light. I rarely check baggage, even for a trip of a week or more, I’d rather wash in the sink than have to haul around a lot of luggage. If you forget something and it’s really important, you can probably find something similar where you are headed, and you’ll have a souvenir of your trip.

Go With the Flow

I may be a planner, but I have learned not to assume the plan will go as planned! It’s great to have a Plan, and even a Plan B, or Plan C, but sometimes you just have to throw it all to the wind and go with what’s right in front of you. When we lived in England, we took a Christmas holiday in London. We rented a flat, brought our tree and presents, and spent a fabulous week. It even had the courtesy to snow as we walked to Mass on Christmas Eve. One of the trip highlights was an afternoon Christmas dinner at the Savoy. Our children still fondly remember that experience 12 years later. The booking had been planned months in advance. My outfit, on the other hand for that special day was completely go-with-the-flow. I would have frozen in the dress I had brought for our special dinner, so I threw on an ankle length black-on-black plaid kilt (the one I wore to walk to Mass in) and some sweater I found in my bag. My Hero accessory was the shoulder grazing chandelier earrings that my sons (aged 16, 12 & 11) had given me that morning. (They were carefully chosen for me at Accessorize by three boys with their own meagre funds. I still have those earrings, and wore them on a Christmas holiday date with my grandson last year!) Even our waiter commented on the “unique” earrings I had on that evening… The boys were chuffed, and it was all good! It still is.

What style lessons have you learned from strange places? Please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear your stories…

 

 

Saturday Share

Saturday Share

Since we finally made it to the weekend, you may have a few extra minutes to surf, or maybe do some reading… Here are some of my recent favorites!

Janice Riggs at The Vivienne Files is a woman after my own analytical heart! Check out her post-trip packing analysis from her recent trip to Dublin. (Why did everyone I know go overseas this summer, and I was left here in town?!)

Color is a fascinating topic, and how we use it can affect how we feel, and how others relate to us. Take a peek at (another of) Imogen Lamport and Jill Chivers’s brillant video/blog articles about how color and contrast communicate.

For the Thrift-Minded, a primer from Sally of Already Pretty on the ways to not get lost in the black hole that can be the thrift store. These are some of the same ways to look/categorize that I use when Personal Shopping with clients.

From Catherine at Not Dressed As Lamb, a discussion of fashion bloggers and size (and what it means) along with links to some great mid-size fashion bloggers out there.

Last, but certainly not least, a “real” book. I love The Paradox of Choice, by Barry Schwartz, and learn new things about humans in general, and myself in particular, each time I reread it. It’s a beautiful examination of the science and psychology of choice, that still manages to be entertaining and funny. If you feel overwhelmed by decisions, he shares great daily-use strategies that free up brain space and energy for the things on which you want to focus.

Happy reading!

What have you enjoyed reading this week? Please share in the comments below!

Wickenburg AZ pt 2

Wickenburg AZ pt 2

When I wrote about our trip to Wickenburg, there was so much to share, but as it was getting too long I saved other outings for a second post. So, if you are looking for more to do and see around Wickenburg, Arizona, read on!

If you enjoy shopping for home goods and clothing and need to satisfy a taste for cowboy luxe, you must stop at the Double D Western World, aka: the Double D. They have gorgeous cowboy boots (still lusting for the polka dots), unique accessories, men’s wear, and they stock some of the coolest cabinet hardware I have seen in a long time. We stop every time we are in town, mostly to browse, but on one visit we found Christmas lights perfect for our sons. Who knew there were shotgun shell Christmas lights?

Wickenburg Antiques & Artisans is a shopping stop in downtown for the person who likes a treasure hunt. We stop each time we are in town, and are constantly surprised at what we find. We usually travel with carry-on luggage, so our buying options are limited. If the shipping wouldn’t have been more expensive than the musicians, these three gentlemen would have gone home with us! I would love to have them in my yard… They could play for my growing flock of metal chickens! (Chicken dance anyone?)

This trip we skipped over one of our favorite places to visit, the Hassayampa Nature Preserve. The Hassayampa is a river that runs (mostly) underground, and where it surfaces creates lush green oases in the desert. The interpretive center is in an old home, and the hikes are cool and shady, until you head up onto the surrounding hills. The climb is worth the view, but we wisely chose to avoid climbing in the heat of a summer day… The Preserve is on our must do list for the next trip in cooler weather!

If you are lucky enough to be visiting in February, Wickenburg throws down the welcome mat for Gold Rush Days and the Senior Rodeo. This coming February (2018) will be their 70th Anniversary, and I expect the to-do will be bigger and better than ever. If you plan on going, book your rooms early. The last time we went, we didn’t know about the festival, and couldn’t find a place for all of us. Luckily, the Yarnell Bunkhouse came to the rescue. Our adult sons stayed in their comfy suite; it was so cozy that the “boys” didn’t want to go anywhere with mom and dad… (When you do emerge, there is dangerous shopping to be done at the Yarnell Emporium downstairs, and they ship!) If you are in Wickenburg for the February fun, beg, buy, borrow, or steal to get tickets to the Melodrama. On our February visit, after spening a long day driving and visiting relatives in Phoenix, our “boys” just wanted to go back to their suite; they complained about the the detour to the Melodrama, but afterwards said it was one of the best parts of the trip! Local entertainers put on a fabulous and funny review, poking fun at local institutions and personalities. Even us soft east-coasters left feeling more like locals!

If I have missed any of the things you like to do in Wickenburg, please let me know in the comments below. I will put it on our list of things for our next visit!

Wickenburg, Arizona (Part 1)

Wickenburg, Arizona (Part 1)

Before our trip, people kept asking me why, in the name of all that’s holy, would we go to Arizona in the middle of summer? Short answer: People we love live there. (And my husband had just finished a grad school quarter.) Timing perfect! Funny thing is, the residents of Wickenburg kept asking us the same question!

This is our third trip to Wickenburg, and although I must admit to preferring the cooler weather, there is always something to do and see, even out “in the middle of nowhere” as one local put it. Just in case you find yourself in the area, here are some thoughts… First, if you are coming in from the east on 60, stop at the Chaparral Ice Cream Shop You will regret passing them by! Their Hassayampa Mud Fudge is delicious, either with or without nuts, and just in case you need to know, it is amazing paired with their cappuccino ice cream. We were lucky to be there for live music from the Chaparral Cowboys who were kind enough to play a couple of requests for us.

When we lived in Spain, my neighbor, Carmen kindly explained to me her foolproof sightseeing method. When in Spain, head for the town’s main square, often the Plaza de España, find the tourist office and get tips from them. We continue to take that advice, modified for the country at hand! In W’burg, we hit the Wickenburg Chamber of Commerce, which does double duty as the tourist office. This trip, they were in temporary digs at the old Wickenburg Hotel, across and up from the old train station (their usual spot).

We decided to do some poking about in the shops before getting lunch. We stopped at the fabulous Double H Custom Hat Company. This is the place to go if you want a real hat! Jimmy the Hat Man has been making custom hats for years, and they are gorgeous! I am thinking Christmas present for my husband… (Shhhh, don’t spill the beans!) Last visit I bought a beautiful straw hat from them that is a pleasure to wear. Here, custom means custom. They fit and shape hats on the spot. Another great place for gifts is the Rusty Rooster. My husband and I both fell in love with their woven wire baskets, and found the gourmet food treats hard to resist.

By now we were getting peckish (It happens quickly for us.), so we stopped at The Local Press Sandwich Bar, a great little sandwich shop! If there is no seating left inside, they have kindly put an umbrella over the outside table. My husband loved The Local, and the crunchy apples on the Gobbler were a cool touch on a very hot day. Beautiful and tasty sammies, served with a side of humor!

Early (around 5 AM) the next morning headed to the new Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park. We thought that it was going to be a bit like the Stations of the Cross in nearby Yarnell, so were unprepared for a long hike. (No water, no sunscreen, no hats = desert disaster trifecta!) We decided to head up until the sun caught us, and then head back down to try again next visit. Watching the sun rise over the mountain made for a stunning climb. Every few hundred yards was a plaque dedicated to one of the Hotshots who died in the Yarnell fire. My husband commented how beautifully thought out the memorial climb was because it gave you a real feeling for these men and their passion for their vocation.

Later that day we headed back to town for dinner at Anita’s Cocina. We knew even before boarding the plane in Atlanta that we wanted to eat there again, and were praying they were not taking some sort of summer vacation. It is always a good bet to try their daily specials, and this afternoon was no exception!

On our way home that evening I was struck again by the severe beauty of the desert, and how different it is from our green and humid Georgia. On our drive from the airport, I had been overwhelmed by the vast dry landscape; this evening I was thankful we had stayed long enough for my eyes to adjust and see the subtle beauty I had previously overlooked.

 

 

 

Beauty Bundles

Beauty Bundles

I love the ever amazing Brenda Kinsel, and the versatility of what she (and many others, now) calls Beauty Bundles. A Beauty Bundle (BB) is a group of coordinated accessories that can be used to add a punch to a variety of outfits. Think of them as accessory families. Now don’t panic. A BB is not fixed; you don’t have to wear all the pieces at once, and there is no set number of pieces required. You probably have some at home already…

(Please forgive my extremely amateur photos… They were taken years ago, for my own reference, ages before I ever imagined I would be blogging!)

Color or Theme?

Often, BB’s are thought of as a way to add color to an outfit, and they can be a great way to pop your neutrals, or add a second color to an outfit without feeling like you are dressed like a clown. If a Beauty Bundle is an accessory family, think of the bundle’s DNA as what makes it hang together. That DNA could be a color, or a theme. I have a polka dot problem (no there is no support group available, yet!) and pulled together a polka dot bundle. No, I would not wear all my polka dots at once, but I would mix up two or maybe three! Maybe you feel a little rebellious some days and need a Rock-n-Roll Bundle. One summer, feeling a little sad that a trip to Capri was not on my itinerary (A friend was going and I was extremely happy for her, as well as a little jealous), I pulled together a Capri beauty bundle. In my mind’s eye, that meant turquoise blue, gold, and white, and a boho luxe flair. While she was away, I joined her (in spirit) on her trip by wearing items from my Capri bundle each day. Crazy? Probably, but it made me happy, and when we did sneak off to the beach later in the summer, I packed my bundle, and that long weekend became my Capri!

Packing with a Bundle

Which brings us to one of the ways Beauty Bundles can be most effectively used. Packing! I love to travel, and will throw together a suitcase at the drop of a hat. Weekend away is one of my favorite phrases in the English language. A BB, whether by color, or theme, can help a suitcase full of basics turn into a customized travel wardrobe. Imagine my Capri bundle on the left packed with white jeans, a white tee, a denim shirt, a turquoise tee, and a chambray sundress and a swimsuit. You would be dressed for days, with very little in your bag!

Pulling Together a Bundle

Since color is the easiest place to start, head to your closet or drawers and choose a colored accessory. It could be a pair of shoes, a scarf, a handbag, or jewelry. This is your starting point. Now look through your other pieces and see what else you have that shares that piece’s color DNA. Look everywhere. Bandanas count, too! Take a snapshot of your bundle, and next time you put on jeans and a white tee, add two or three pieces from your bundle, and see if you don’t feel more polished.

Arizona Packing

Arizona Packing

We are off! Yes, I know it makes us possibly certifiable. Going to Arizona in June and July. And that’s okay with me. I love to travel! Especially when there are people I love to see. So Arizona in the middle of summer it will be!

What to pack? I love Janice at The Vivienne Files, and have been reading her blog for years, now. (Please go visit her gorgeous and witty site!) She has the same travel “problem” that I do, and will pack at the proverbial drop of a hat. Taking a page from her book, I will be packing a travel 6-pack. A 6-Pack is 6 items to mix and match. The six items do not include shoes, accessories, or the clothes for the plane. (And no, I will not be wearing my jammies to travel in! See my last Throwback Thursday post to see why.)

When I pack for travel, I start by thinking about our destination, itinerary, availability of laundry facilities,  and the weather.What a blessing to be able to access weather reports for any destination in the world at the click of a button! I remember traveling when all you could do was go for a best guess on what the weather would hold. For this trip the destination is Arizona, so hot, hot, hot. The itinerary is visiting family, and no special outfits are required. If this was a trip for a wedding, or a business trip, my 6-Pack would be far dressier.

On my body: white tee, stretchy skinny jeans, cardigan and jean jacket (I freeze on planes!), turquoise suede wedges, and a polka dotted scarf.

On arrival: Off with the wedges, on with the sandals from the carry-on tote. Lose the cardigan and jean jacket.

In the suitcase: white dress for church or anything I want to feel special for, grey shorts, white jeans, short sleeved denim blouse, striped cotton swing top, dark turquoise tank top. Everything here is pretty much mix and match, a kind of Garanimals for grown-ups. (I also have PT gear packed, and will rinse these out in the sink as needed.)

That’s it folks. My purse will be packed into my carry-on tote with the sandals, glasses, underwear and a toothbrush. reading materials, and some leftover pizza for lunch! Wish us luck, and a cool breeze or two. I hope to Instagram you some beautiful scenery…

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

Since Throwback Thursday seems to be the ubiquitous default, I’ll give it a try. As I have few to no previous posts to choose from, instead of an old post, I’ll ponder what items or trends I wish would take another spin through fashion culture.

I love the clothing of the very late 50’s through the early 70’s, before hippie chic took over. You know, the styles that drove people to swoon and discuss the wardrobe logistics of Mad Men more seriously than politics around the office coffee maker. (The P word is a topic I really would like to avoid here in Closet Play land, but I am sure it will be inevitable as it also affects style and fashion.) I realize is that it is not only the clothes themselves, but the idea that occasions were to be dressed for, and that different occasions merit different clothing choices. Are we losing our sense of the special, because so many go almost everywhere in the same clothing worn for cleaning the garage?

I remember, as a child, dressing up to get on an airplane to fly East to visit our family. We did this regularly. Not Easter Sunday dressed up, but not in play clothes, either. Today, I am agog at the people in airports in their jammies, hauling around blankets, stuffed toys, and full sized pillows. No, I am not talking about children. I get it for toddlers. Very small children have carte blanche go everywhere in their jammies. I am talking about adults, dressed as pre-schoolers. I, too, want to be comfortable, because Lord knows that passengers are even more tightly wedged into aircraft than ever before, but comfort is not only found in jammies and gym clothes.

Yes, I miss those fabulous 60’s clothes, but even more, the sense of occasion that dressing nicely brings.

What style or items do you miss?