packing light for spring international travel

packinglightforspringtravel

i think i might be a rare one, but i love packing!  ok, not always, but for big trips i do.  we have been blessed with a bit of international travel during our 16 years of marriage, and one thing we have learned is to travel as light as possible.  several times we have been stranded in another country with lost luggage, so now we do our best to just travel with carry-on luggage if at all possible, especially if there are several flights involved.

every couple years, we get to go on a big trip sponsored by a manufacturer that sean’s company represents.  these trips are really fun because we get sent places we’d never really get to go to otherwise.  this year we are heading to monte carlo, monaco and we added on a few days in greece as well.  the price of international travel when you are already in europe is really great, so we thought since we were so close, we may as well make the most of it!

a couple years ago we went to barcelona and mallorca, before that was a river cruise in france, and before that was a mediterranean cruise.

the tricky thing about packing light for these trips is that it is also a “work” trip and there are a few work functions that we go to that require us to dress up, so that means packing 2-3 fancier dresses and heels, items i wouldn’t normally travel with.  also, we always go in the off season (just before peak season starts), so the weather is a little trickier to anticipate, so i have to pack extra layers in case of cold or rain.

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here’s the breakdown of what i’ll be bringing:

tops

shirts: 1 graphic tee, 1 long sleeved b&w stripe shirt (it goes with everything), 1 tunic (could be worn with leggings), a dressy tank/tunic/short dress (for warmer days or a beach cover up), long chambray tunic for layering, and a lightweight gauzy boho shirt {similar}

bottoms

bottoms: 1 pair of shorts {similar} (just in case its warm enough), 1 pair of skinny jeans, 1 pair of black denim ankle length skinny jeans, 1 pair of ponte pants/thick leggings with pockets and stitch details that elevates them just a bit from regular leggings

sweaters

sweaters: 1 grey loose fitting cowl neck sweater {similar} & 1 tan loose fit shawl collar cardigan {similar}

jackets

jackets: 1 olive green field coat {similar} (goes with everything) & 1 lightweight puff coat {similar} (in case its really chilly)

dresses

2 dresses: 1 fitted sheath {similar}, 1 trapeze/a-line style.

extras

extras: 1 bathing suit {similar}, pajamas, running clothes

accessories

accessories: 1 belt, 1 hat {similar}, 2 cross body bags, 2 scarves (great for airplane travel)

shoes

shoes: dressy heels {similar}, gladiator sandals, ankle boots {similar}, running shoes, flats {similar}

travel outfits

 these are just a few off the many combinations that i can make with these pieces! cheap true religion i like to have the ability to pack as few items as possible, but have as many outfit options as possible. true religion outlet packing items that work well together give me more options – options to dress up or down, or to add or subtract layers without looking like an obvious tourist.

 

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soon i’ll share my magic tricks & tips for packing ALL of this into ONE carryon suitcase!

what’s in your bag? {meet molly!}

hey friends!  its time for our next installment  of my series “what’s in your bag?“!
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today i’d like to introduce to you my sweet friend, molly!  our lives are intertwined with church and school, and our boys are super buds (and my big girls love her little girls!).  molly is one of those easy friends – the conversation flows and hanging out is always relaxing, even with six kids running around us!
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i asked molly and her girls out for a coffee date to a local coffee shop, linneas, while the boys played at home with sean.  i love linneas with kids because it has a great enclosed out door patio with lots of safe places to explore.
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so let’s get to know molly a little bit better!
 
tell me a little bit about your kids (names, ages, and what they’re really into right now)

Calvin turned six in June, Heidi is 4 1/2 and Bridget is 13 months old. Calvin, like most six year olds, is super into Legos, Star Wars, and Angry Birds. He got to watch Star Wars for the first time on his birthday – it was as if he was in Heaven. Heidi adores her brother but definitely has her own taste. Right now, she loves dolls and My Little Ponies. She’s a girly-girl but super brave and adventurous, often more so than I am. Bridget, when she is not eating or sleeping, loves to dance! She moves her hips back and forth and waves her hands in the air. It’s super cute.

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you work from home, too.  tell me about what you do.

I’m a Registered Dietitian but I only do a little part-time work from home every month in that area. I started a company called Cookie+Curly four years ago which is what takes up most of my work time these days. I wanted to make a bird mobile for my daughter, but then people kept wanting to buy them so I got my business license and started selling them at a local children’s boutique. That morphed in baby blankies, blankets, pacifier leashes, etc. Honestly, I’m not sure how I started making jewelry, but my company’s focus has sort of switched to that, although I love all things babies still too.
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i get this question a lot, and i’m sure you do to:  how do you do it all?  i’d love to hear another perspective on mothering and working from home (and surviving to tell about it!)

I hardly “do it all”. Three kids is a lot for me. Most of my friends know I take each day one at a time… My first priority {behind God} is my husband and kids. In the last year, adding a new child in the family and part-time home-schooling has definitely added some challenges. We knew that our school choice was a new way of life, and that’s super important to me. There have been times when I’ve had to cut back on Cookie+Curly work, but most of the time I just stay up late. The quiet of the night is a special time for me. Sometimes I watch a show on Hulu or listen to Pandora while I work. It’s very peaceful, but can be tiring. I’m blessed because my husband gets up at 5am to work out and then takes the kids until he has to leave for work. If I’m lucky, I get a run in, but often I choose to sleep in. I love to sleep.

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you didn’t go to school with a creative career in mind did you?  how did you transition from being a registered dietitian to being a handmade business entrepreneur?

I worked in a clinical setting in San Francisco for about 4 years but then left to start my own business counseling athletes on their nutrition plans. I burned out on this big time and, when we moved to San Luis Obispo after getting married, I took time off from work. It was the first time I never worked. I didn’t realize how high-strung I had gotten. When growing up, my mom sewed most of my clothes – she does English smocking and it’s gorgeous. In hopes of being a mom soon, I channeled my inner mama and bought a sewing machine in the hopes of finding a useful hobby to keep me busy but not stress me out. This started my love for sewing.
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tell me about your business and what you sell?

Like I mentioned before, I started off selling bird mobiles but soon added sea life, butterfly and sailboats. The baby blankets I received when my kids were born inspired me to make baby blankets, tag/ribbon blankies, and pacifier leashes. My sister-in-law lives in Canada and makes beautiful jewelry. I’ve never thought about it but she could have been my inspiration for making jewelry. I now make necklaces, earrings, and rings out of both gold and silver but also antique brass and silver. I’m constantly trying out new things for fun so in my shop there’s often new things. People have to check back often because I’m always adding stuff.
what is your favorite product in your shop right now?  best seller?
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what is your favorite product in your shop right now?  how about your best seller?

My favorite product in my shop is my vintage flower necklaces. Personally, I wear them almost every day or night. I just love all the different stones and fun flower colors. My best seller is my rings. They’re priced practically and there’s a ton of different styles and colors so they’re an easy favorite for gifts or to keep! They’re super durable – I wear them all the time with kids, dishes, life. For the babies, my best seller is the pacifier leashes. My first two kids didn’t use pacifiers so I didn’t really understand the value of the leash, but Bridget uses a paci and these leashes are a MUST. Much better than doing the “mom wash” – licking the paci – every time it drops. Yuck!
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let’s take a look inside your bag, molly!
1. Since i cloth diaper, this wet bag keeps things clean and tidy inside my bag.
2. The tissue case cover makes tissues easy to grab and cute when you pull it out to take care of a not-so-cute duty.
3. I love my sunnies case, but i also use it as a phone case in a pinch.

 
4. I had no idea the power of these tag blankies until I had a child. They are great stimulation for the baby’s fingers and mouth, and great entertainment so you can actually get some grocery shopping done! My son slept with his {and sucked on the tags… ssh!} until he was about four.
 
5. The bank gave me a puffy pleather-looking checkbook cover when I opened my account when I was 16. With my Pleated Poppy checkbook cover, I at least get to look cute when I’m writing checks. It’s a fun conversation piece, too.
 
6. Wipes. I think I will have them in my purse forever. Handy for so many circumstances.
 
7. If I have a big wallet, I will fill it with tons of stuff I don’t need. With my tiny pouch, I’m forced to keep it simple and clean. 
8. This pencil pouch fits all my makeup and keeps things from rolling around at the bottom of my diaper bag.
 
9. It kills me to think of what just my family alone is contributing to landfills. Reusable snack bag have helped me lessen my impact. Made of Ripstop Nylon, Cotton, and Velcro, they are super simple to make and safe around food. There are a ton of tutorials online for reusable bags, each with their own style and materials. Hmm.. Maybe I’ll post a tutorial of mine?
 
10. My zippered pouch has essentials for moments when patience isn’t quite working with the kids. Two notepads, two sets of colored pens/pencils, and two “action figures” for each child.
 
11. I’m always misplacing my keys when juggling getting three kids in/out of cars. I used to tuck my keys in my back pocket but too often they ended up in the toilet! {TMI?!} With my wristlet key fob there’s no way they are getting away from me. 
 
12. If I could, I’d bring a change of clothes for each of my kids. Did you know kids are messy?! :)
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do you have any crafty projects on your to-do list right now?

Oh do I! I’d love to freeze time for two days each week and just do projects. I’ve started making dresses like my mom, although I don’t have the patience for English smocking. I’ve made a couple of dresses for Heidi and it’s so much fun! {Tutorials will be up on my blog soon.} I’m realizing that my girls won’t want “Mommy Dresses” forever though so I have to take advantage of this time when they will! I also have a bunch of crafty project for the house, but those often get thrown on the backburner – Dresses are more fun!
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if you had an hour to yourself, what would you do?  how about a half day?!

Once I entered mommyhood, I realized the necessity of friendships – for sanity, but also for fellowship and growth. If I had an hour, I have a few friends I run with and that’s ideal for me – killing two birds with one stone and loving every step of it! What would I do with half a day? Oh my. Hmmm… Honestly, I’d probably work for a portion of it. But then I’d hopefully grab my hubby and go for a trail run and grab a bite to eat with him. We rarely get to do that but when we do, it’s so wonderful.
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i see a lot of pleated poppy products in your bag ;)  what are your favorites and why?  do you use anything in a creative way?  (sunnies case for a phone case)

My addiction to pleated poppy has been around for a long time. My most recent favorite is the wet bag! I use cloth diapers for Bridget and it just killed me to put her soiled cloth diaper in a plastic bag when we were out. It defeated the purpose of cloth diapers, to a degree. I’d reuse the bags, but man were they stinky! I use the wet bag every time we are out and it’s just so discrete and yet stylish and purposeful. I wish I had it for my other two kids! I also love the pencil pouch. It’s the perfect size to fit my make-up and the mama essentials – hand sanitizer, lotion, chapstick, band-aids, tweezers – and stylish enough that I can just grab it and swap it into a purse to go out. I have two sunnies cases – one for my sunglasses and one for my iPhone. The top flips over and totally protects my phone when I’m carrying it in something other than my diaper bag. I love it.

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molly makes the prettiest jewelry!

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and also adorable pacifier leashes!
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heidi is pretty stinkin’ cute!  she’s a pretty good model for my posy hair clips!
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thank you so much for the coffee date, molly (and girls)!
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and thanks also to cameron for your help with the photo shoot!