[Traveling Tales] Packing The Perfect Weekender Bag

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“He who would travel happily must travel light.”
―  Antoine de St. Exupery

My entire life, I’ve been inexplicably drawn to the buzz and twinkle of neon lights and the industrial landscape of the heart of the city much like a bee to honey. The hustle and bustle of determined personalities paired with the high octane energy of any metropolitan area are enough to make my heart swoon – but lately, I’ve had this indescribable itch for whimsical wanderlust and awe inspiring adventure that I just have to scratch.  When I stop and think about the last few years of my life, each and every season – or more accurately, almost each and every month – consisted of a major, multi day camping music festival in some far away location.  From driving down the Pacific Coast to gallivanting to Arizona’s Gem and Jam Festival and all the adventures in between, I now have a handy list of the best iOS apps for roadtrips and some nifty tricks to help book your fun filled getaway.

Fast forward to now, and though I feel I’ve outgrown (most of) my need for festivals, I’ve held onto my insatiable urge to delve into the depths of nature and really explore the beauty that surrounds me. Cathartic and soothing, the open road and traveling tales have slowly but surely have evolved into two of my favorite things.  Some trips end up being more well planned, while others seem to happen at the spur of the moment – but either way they’re spun, it’s finally ingrained in my brain how important having the perfect weekend bag is.  Whether you’re roughing it in the great outdoors or heading to a new metropolitan area for the weekend, I’ve found a fool proof list to pack quickly and efficiently for your impending vacation.

necessities

Wearables

Though we might not have traditional seasons in California – What is Winter, anyways? – we definitely have Fire Seasons, and each day can bring a huge swing in weather.  It’s always smart to query a site like Weather Underground or the like so you can get a more accurate scope of the upcoming forecast, just in case a surprise storm comes through.If you’re heading into the great outdoors, just remember – you’ll probably get dirty, make sure you don’t mind the clothes you bring coming back dirty as well. 

 In case of a heat wave, a swimsuit and towel are a must – and a pair of polarized or rose colored shades makes it an unbeatable trifecta. I’ve always thought it’s better to be prepared than sorry, so make sure you bring some warmer layers along for the trip – including a lightweight hoodie and a heavyweight jacket for cold spells; bonus points for mittens, a scarf , beanie – or my personal go-to: my spirit hood.   I always find it easier to layer when I have tank tops underneath, but you do you. Add in a pair of pants and either shorts or a skirt for each day, and double the amount of underwear and socks as the number of days you’re gone. (if you’re camping, potentially even triple – there’s just nothing better than a clean pair of socks and underwear after a long, sweaty day romping around in the best nature has to offer.) Last but definitely not least, make sure you have a comfortable pair of walking shoes with good tread, a pair of flip flops – and maybe a pair of boots or snow shoes to round out your footwear.  

Entertainment

Though I’m sure you’ll be heading out into the great beyond with your squad, that’s not to say you won’t find some down time – or even alone time. Beyond having ‘regular’ luggage, I try to always have a fun bag of things that I enjoy keeping near me at all times while on vacation, including a camera to capture the memories, a portable speaker to share the jams and a pair of headphones in case you just need a little lullaby to send you off to sleep for a midday siesta.  I always try to have a book on me because you never know what downtime you’ll find yourself in, but if you’re on the more artistic side – bring a journal and a set of colored pens or pencils, and get the whole gang in on some creative action.  Everyone loves toys so toss in a deck of cards, a football or volleyball (bonus points if it glows in the dark), and if you delve in the art of flow toys it’s the perfect occasion to bust out your poi, hoop or set of lights.

Toiletries

Last but certainly not least, the bathroom bag.  It’s so necessary, and chances are – if you’re like me – you always forget something important!  So, I’ve developed a top to bottom method where I literally start at the top of my head and work down to think about what I need to take.  When it comes to packing a parcel of toiletries, remember – travel sizes and sample sizes are your friends!  If you head to a motel or hotel, don’t forget to stock up! 😉

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The Short List:

Wearables: Multiply the following items of clothing by the number of days you’ll be gone

  • Tank Tops x 2
  • Hoodie
  • Jacket
  • Extra warmth: Scarf | Beanie | Spirit Hood
  • Pair of pants
  • Pair of shorts or a skirt
  • Underwear x 2
  • PJs
  • Socks x 3
  • Sneakers
  • Flip Flops
  • SpiritHood

Entertainment

  • Swimsuit
  • Towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Deck of cards
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • Camera
  • Portable Speaker
  • Headphones
  • Passport / ID / Wallet
  • Flow Toys
  • Fun Read

Toilettries

  • Hair brush
  • Hair ties
  • Eye glasses and/or Contacts + Solution
  • Ear Plugs
  • Tissues
  • Toothpaste + Toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Face Wash
  • Wash Cloth
  • Chapstick
  • Deoderant
  • Sunscreen or Lotion with SPF
  • Prescription Medication
  • Ibuprofen
  • Bonus Points: Midol – for the guys out there, the extra kick of caffeine helps with hangovers!

One last amazing thing that I’ve recently discovered is that Google Maps can be taken offline, so if you’re conserving your phone battery or you find yourself in a desolate area without service – never fear, the directions are here!  Gas Stations are your friend, and will more often than not keep you from peeing all along the highway and marking your proverbial territory….plus, yano, snacks and stuff. Even if you don’t think you’re hungry, snag some energy bars and water – you never know when the urge will strike!

What are your tried and true roadtrip tips?

Let me know in the comments below!

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.”
― Jack Kerouac ―

[Thursday Trend] Springtime Purse Picks


20140501-105756.jpgWhether it’s an extra dose of lotion for brittle, dry Winter skin, a pleasant Autumn aroma or some sexy Summer shades – if you’re a self professed ‘Bag Bunny’ like myself, the contents of your purse change more frequently than the weather in Los Angeles. Now that Springtime in the city of Angels has sprung to life with extra bounce in her step, I thought it was time for a little satchel-switch.

For the last year or so, I’ve been attached at the shoulder to my beloved, yet bulgy, cheetah print purse.  At any moment, it could contain up to 10 elusive tubes of chapstick and or lip gloss, my eyeglasses case, a pair of sunglasses, three lighters – two of which probably don’t even work, scratch paper, maybe there’s a pen but it’s probably almost out of ink, a cell phone charger and on a good day – a small bottle of whiskey.

I wouldn’t call it a ‘problem‘ per-say – but whenever I migrate to a new purse, regardless of size – I always manage to fill it to the brim with a random assortment of semi-important items.  Now that the weather is getting nicer, I want to downsize what I carry on me; I want the freedom of movement so I can play as I please, and I don’t want to be sweating buckets while lugging around a bag of things I might not need. So, I’m putting my old purse in hibernation until Fall rolls around and I’m trading up for a simple Springtime satchel that’s perfect for my prized possessions.

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The real draw of this great beach bag, is that there’s only one pouch – so you don’t have to dump everything out like a madwoman as you look for your (fill in the blank): mascara, camera, keys, etc.  As with all things in life though, there’s a catch to switching up your purse – chances are, you’re like me and your purse life expands and contracts at an equivalent rate to the size of the bag. This means it’s time to do some spring cleaning, clutch style!  First things first, there’s the essentials: ID, Credit Card, Cell Phone, Keys. After taking a long, hard look at what else I’d been stashing in my bag for the last few months I managed to pair down my possessions into a nice little 10 item pile that’s equally perfect for a beach day with your friends, an afternoon in the park with your BFF or a lazy Sunday with your significant other.

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10 Springtime Purse Picks
(Clockwise from the Top)

  1. [Digital Camera with Durable Case: Canon PowerShot 310] When you’re with good company, there’s little to no use for your cell phone – because, let’s get real: why give into social media when you’re in an actual social situation? Cameras on cell phones have become just as good, if not better, than most digi cams and I’ll be the first to argue the “merits” of a Yelp check-in, or why I like being able to use the geolocation feature on Instagram (*cough* nerd *cough*).  But, when trying to capture a moment becomes more important than being present in it – you need to check yourself; I can say this, because I did.  I love taking pictures, so instead of busting out my phone and deciding on a filter, I take them on my Canon and edit them on my computer using iPhoto or GIMP and they turn out somuch better!
  2. [Lip Balm: EOS in Summer Fruit, $3.29 + S/H online] I’m literally obsessed with everything about EOS lip balm! From the easy to find shape, hot pink color and the yummy flavor, this is a must.
  3. [Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner, $18 at Sephora]When it comes to makeup, a lot of girls forget that the point isn’t to mask what makes them unique, it’s to let their real beauty shine through. Warmer weather means sunkissed skin, and in my opinion: the more natural color you have – the less makeup you actually need (unless you want to look like a clown). Just a simple swipe of liquid liner with that glow and you’re good to go.
  4. [Mini Perfume] Hot days can turn into sweaty days in a heartbeat, and there’s nothing quite as awkward as smelling yourself for the rest of the night so make sure you have a small perfume in your purse that you can dab on at your leisure.  Trust me when I say, your friends will appreciate it as much as you do.
  5. [Fun Read] Everyone’s taste in literature is different, but the important thing is you have an appetite for books – even if you don’t get to indulge as often as you’d like.  Right now, I’m in the middle of ‘The Agile Gene’ by Matt Ridley but next up is something I’ve been craving for a while – The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts.
  6. [Sunglasses] There’s two types of weather in the Summer – “squinty cloud weather”, where it’s overcast but you still actually need to wear sunglasses, and blindingly bright sunlight. Either way you spin it, you’ll want some shades – so head to your local Thrift Shop and find a pair for under $30.  I had to face facts long ago that sunglasses get broken all the time, so you may as well invest in a cheaper variety; there out there, you just have to look!
  7. [Travel Size Sunblock, SPF 30+] What I said about your eyes, goes doubly true for your skin – make sure you get some SPF on your face and shoulders, or you could be peeling instead of pool partying this Summer.
  8. [Lighter] Candles, incense, cigarettes (gasp!), herb (it’s legal in California…), hookah coals, getting the fuzzies off your socks, etc – there’s always a good use for a lighter. Even for those non-smokers out there, if you’re party privvy – you’ll know that a lighter is also a great conversation starter.
  9. and 10. [Notebook + Pen] As a writer and expert list maker, I’ve been known to frantically search for scratch paper and then subsequently lose it.  Now that I have a notepad and a pen in the mix, I can get my doodle on, craft a shopping list or even get my next blog post ready. Plus, you never know when you’ll want to jot down some important info!

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Last, but certainly not least – when the weather gets above 80, you have to be ready for the inevitable, and the only thing that I think is better than festival season: pool party season! At any given moment, you could get a call to a hotel pool party filled with friends you haven’t met yet or a small apartment pool kickback with your closest friends – and based on my personal experience, not only will you want a swimsuit you feel great in, but you’ll want options, for style and color.  The two piece on the right from Sofia has the right amount of color pop and the right amount of coverage for me to bounce around with confidence where ever I roam. EDC, Las Vegas, Lightning in a Bottle, The Standard Hotel; you name it, it’s been there. And I’ve gotta admit, I’ve never been big on one piece swimsuits, but I’m basically obsessed with the cut and color of the suit on the left from Victoria’s Secret and I can’t wait to wear it!

To send you off, a new mix from my favorite Tropical house producer – Thomas Jack: