Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Overpack Effectively


I am no master packer, but thanks to the worldwide web (aka google and pinterest) it is easy to find the master packers out there. I am pretty horrible at packing light so the prospect of packing for four months away has been pretty daunting. I am driving distance away from NYU so I usually have the whole back of an SVU when I pack for school (this hasn't helped my packing skills). Now that I'm flying across the atlantic ocean to go to school my packing space is much much smaller and I still have to pack for 2 to 3 seasons. I'll be bringing two medium sized (25in) checked suitcases along with my Stella & Dot weekender as a carry on. Two checked bags is more than most people bring, but my airline had a good deal on a second checked bag so I decided it would be safer to do two bags instead of one giant one that could easily go over the weight limit. 

I've spent the last month searching for the best packing (specifically study abroad packing) tips so that I could fit my whole closet all the essentials in my suitcases and I thought I'd share some of them with you all. 

Ahead of time:
- Use the hanger flipping method to find out what you actually wear and what you don't so you know what isn't worth packing. 

- Find out specifically the climate of where you are going and the amount it rains. My friends going to Prague had to pack plenty of boots, but I'm only bringing one 'snow proof' pair of boots. 

- Only buy new clothes that replace old ones. That means if you buy a new pair of jeans you must get rid of a pair of jeans (I know I know this is a hard one). 

Before Packing:
- This may seem obvious, but plan to wear your heaviest pieces on the plan. I'm planning on wearing my biggest/heaviest boots and bringing my biggest jacket as a pillow. 

- Make a list of the pieces that you know are your must-haves without looking in your closet or drawers. These are the most important pieces to pack!

- The Rule of Threes is a smart guideline. The rule of threes means if you cannot wear a piece in at least three different outfits don't bring it. Try to follow this as much as possible, but it's ok if you have one or two of your favorite pieces that only work one way (as long as you know you'll wear them). 

- Cut down on the shoes. To be honest picking shoes has been the hardest part of my packing (but you probably already knew that...), but the most important part of shoe packing is picking practical shoes. What that means is brining comfortable shoes that you actually like. I'm not someone who will wear sneakers or tevas for everyday wear, so my version of practical is comfortable brown flats, flat sandals, and ankle boots (plus a few more shoes). 

While Packing:
- Lay out everything you plan to put in your suitcase and organize it by type and weight so that you can roll effectively.

- After laying everything you want to bring out write a list of all of it and then cross off what you don't actually need. I'm not one for the get rid of 50% of what you think you want method because I usually weed things out as I start planning. 

- Roll your clothes the right way and when you are done organize them in packing cubes or ziploc bags so that the rolled pieces don't unroll.

- Line the bottom of your suitcase (where the awkward indents from the handle are) with shoes. 

- Stuff roomier shoes with socks to keep their shape and use less space. 

What do you think of these packing tips? Have you all used any of them before? I would love to hear any of your packing tips!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Outfit: A Dress for Twirling

{___ dress, Steve Madden wedges (similar), Rebecca Minkoff bag}

I love any excuse to wear a fun dress and an early birthday dinner this weekend was the perfect time to pull out this dress I bought on super sale a couple of weeks ago. This fun cut of of the top part and the fact that the dress almost screams 'twirl me' made me fall in love with it in the store. I was attempting to wait to wear it for my actual birthday in a month, but when my mom suggested we have an early birthday dinner with my family (since I'll be away for me real birthday) I figured I had waited long enough. 

I leave for Madrid in just five days and I'm freaking out! Let me know if you have any study abroad packing tips :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Shop: The New Fall Must-Haves

Fall shopping may be my favorite part of the year. I've always been a jacket, jeans, and sweater kind of person and I love the first few crisp mornings when you get to break out the layers. Since I can bring a limited amount of clothing with me to Madrid I've been focusing on my must-haves for fall so that I don't go without any of the classics and new must-haves. 

A Black Blazer
Everyone should have some type of blazer blazer. Mine is probably 4 years old, but I love it and will probably cry the day I have to replace it because everything about it is perfect. 

The Striped Tee
I own about a million striped tees. The key is to know what your favorite shape and stripe is so that you find the one that you are going to want to wear literally every day. You can wear the tee alone for warmer days and add lots of layers for chillier ones. 

Leopard Flats
When people say leopard is a neutral they aren't lying. Leopard flats will go with everything in your closet and can easily pair with other patterns. If you don't already own a pair of leopard flats I suggest trying out the d'orsay shape because they make your legs look a million miles long. 

Leather Leggings
Ok these are definitely a new classic and there about a million different pairs out there that you can look through. I suggest looking for a thicker pair so they are more like pants than leggings and definitely try them on before you buy. Leather pieces aren't going anywhere soon so if you don't already own a pair now is the time to get one!

Over the Knee Boots
In my opinion over the knee boots are the new riding boot (they kind of are riding boots right?). They work perfectly with both jeans and skirts/dresses and will pull your whole look together. My favorite are the Stuart Weitzman 50/50 ones from last season, but the ones above are almost identical for a fraction of the price.

The Big Scarf
Whether a blanket scarf or just a comfy wool scarf everyone needs a go-to heavy fall scarf for the extra chilly mornings. I always like a classic plaid and major points if you pair it with your striped tee or leopard print flats. I'm obsessed with the Zara scarves for fall. 

The Crossbody Bag
Fall weather is perfect for exploring wherever you live and a no hands bag makes this exploring extra easy. I mean who wants to be clutching a bag while trying to pick apples or pick through an outdoor market. Go for a classic neutral that works the best for your wardrobe and try looking at a few different sizes to figure out works best for you. 

Boyfriend Jeans
While I don't think the skinny jean is going anywhere the boyfriend jean is definitely here to stay. They were probably a summer staple for you, but try pairing them with a chunky sweater and ankle boots for the colder weather ahead. 

The Leather Jacket
There is a leather jacket out there for every kind of style so you should definitely own one. I searched for months before finding the perfect (faux) leather jacket, but once you find the right one you'll never stop wearing it. If you don't want to spend a lot check out places like Forever 21 and Necessary Clothing. Zara and Mango also have great options for around $100. 

The Chambray
This is a year around classic that everyone should own at least one of. I have four (but one is old and ripped and I just refuse to get rid of it). A chambray is a piece you should splurge on because you'll have it forever. My favorite is the classic J.Crew chambray shown above. 

Ankle Boots
Just like most of my must-haves there are so many options for ankle boots. A fall 2014 favorite is the Chelsea boot, but the key is to find the right boot for your wardrobe. I like my ankle boots to have a little bit of heel and look good dressed up or down. I just bought these boots in black! 

The Fisherman Sweater
A big chunky sweater is going to make you so happy on those lazy mornings when you're running late and on a better morning you can dress it up with a fun skirt. My color of choice is always cream or olive. 

What do you all think of my Fall Must-Haves? Do you have any must-have of you own?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Outfit: For The Shoe Addicts

{Zara blazer, unknown top, Gap jeans, Old Navy flats}
Photos taken by Briana at A Holistic Approach

Ok so I have a shoe problem. My dad has started calling me Imelda Marcos (she's famous for owning a thousand pairs of shoes). I don't own close to 1000 pairs of shoes, but my collection is growing pretty quickly. Shoes are one of those things that I just can't resist buying if a good (or even ok) deal comes my way. 

Now I'm sure you've all seen the Vince D'orsay Flats, well I'm absolutely in love with the nude ones. I look at them online way to often, but there is no way I can afford the almost $300 price tag. Instead I've been hunting to find another similar option for much much less. So a couple of days ago when I found this nude pair at Old Navy I freaked out. The front of the shoe looks almost identical to the Vince pair and the open back is actually really fun! Of course when I walked through the door my dad made another sassy comment about all my shoes and how I will never be able to bring them all to Madrid, but I just smiled and started secretly planning how I'll fit all of my favorite pairs in my suitcase. Oh the problems of a shoe addict...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Importance of Thank Yous

One of my favorite times of the year is right before New Years when all the holiday cards start piling up in mail boxes. Not only is getting mail always fun, but the personal notes from old friends and family that you rarely see remind you of all the people you love.

 On a similar note, as I've gotten older I've realized how sweet it is to receive a thank you card in the mail. Everyone has heard a rant about how young people these days send too many texts and emails and forget about how to feels to actually write a card or a letter. To be honest, I'm all for the quick thank you texts when it's appropriate, but sometimes something a little more special is the right way to say thank you to someone. A card with a cute joke you know your best friend will laugh at or a picture of one of your favorite moments is my favorite way to do something special. 

When you want to do that something special that's when it is time to check out Treat. With Treat you can personalize one of hundreds of cards with your own pictures and message instead of sending a generic 'Thank You' or 'Congrats' card to a person you care about (I'm kind of obsessed with their customizable friendship cards!). After staying with my friend Alice in NYC last month I put together one of their cards partially as a thank you and partially as a 'just because I love you'. While Alice and I talk to each other everyday an out of the ordinary reminder of why she's the best is something that she definitely deserves. This card is almost an mini album of our favorite times in New York and when you put it with my personal note to her inside it really the best way to say thank you to an amazing friend. Plus, we all know everyone loves to check their mail and see something fun waiting for them!

Do any of you ever send thank you cards to friends and family?