The Travel Series: Packing Your Carry-On

When I was younger, I used to have one of those Aladdin mini-suitcase carry ons that held one thing: beanie babies. As I got older, I started packing more practical things, like my walkman and my entire collection of burned CDs, filled with the likes of Yellowcard and Jessica Simpson (I was a complicated child). But it wasn't until I started traveling for work, that I really got the hang of what I need on a plane....other than an Xanax. 

Whether it's a quick flight or a journey to the other side of the world, your carry-on should be filled with only the necessities. Sorry beanie babies, that means you're left behind. 

THE BAG:

The aforementioned Aladdin suitcase just doesn't cut it anymore. I've learned that for me, what's best is a backpack or zippered tote, and a small purse if necessary. The key is it should zip or snap shut, so when you put it under your seat, your things don't go flying everywhere. I think this is what the kids call a "MAJOR KEY". For this trip to Ireland, I used a small backpack from Zara (currently sold out, but so many great options), as well as a zippered tote from Detroit is The New Black. It's the ideal travel bag, and only $34 bucks. 

CONTENTS: 

1) Blanket Scarf

An absolute necessity. While I'd love to invest in a good quality cashmere scarf, I know that planes can be dirty and I am prone to spilling my tomato juice and getting cookie crumbs everywhere while in-flight. I have this one from Asos, that has become a travel staple. Big, soft and cozy- and under $30. 

Blanket scarves are good for a multitude of purposes: warmth on a chilly plane, as a blanket, even rolled up as a pillow. The key to dressing for travel is to layer. I usually wear a comfortable pair of pants or jeans, t-shirt, sweater or jacket, and my scarf. A PLANE IS NOT YOUR BEDROOM. Nix the pajama pants and general sloppiness. You can be comfortable and still look put together. 

 

2) Headphones 

This is a given- however, based on my own experiences I wanted to make a note. My beloved Beats wireless were useless in-flight, as bluetooth doesn't work in airplane mode, or connect to the seat TV. Do yourself a favor and bring your regular 'ol headphones with a wire (sorry, iPhone 7).

3) Socks 

Sometimes, we wear sandals to the airport. Then, we have to go barefoot through a dirty security line. THEN we want to get on a plane and take our shoes off, and THEN you're going to get in your hotel bed with all the germs of the airport. This can all be easily avoided with a pair of socks. If you're wearing flats or sandals to the airport, pack a comfy pair of socks you can wear through security and on the plane. Your bare feet in public are like Donald Trump in a speedo- disgusting and better covered up. 

4) A Book/Magazine

I love to read, but rarely find time when I'm home. Being stuck 30,000 feet with nothing to do is an ideal time to catch up on a good book. Check out the Amazon top-sellers if you can't find one you like. If it's heavy, download it to an iPad or if you're REALLY cool- your kindle. Not me- I love the feeling of a big heavy book falling on my face when I (almost always) fall asleep reading it. But be realistic- if you're not a reader, don't take up room and weight in your bag for a book you won't read. 

5) Extra Underwear, T-shirt

When I was younger, for 5 years in a row, Northwest airlines lost my luggage on our yearly family trip. By the 4th time, I got wise. If you're going to be stuck with no clothes for a day or two, at least you'll have clean undergarments and an alternate t-shirt. If you're going somewhere tropical, pack a bathing suit-because past the age of six it's not cute to swim in your underwear in public. *NOTE: I hear this is different for Vegas. 

6) Toiletries

In the first part of this series, we went over in-flight beauty routines. On the plane, if I'm going to be using a mask that is in a bigger container, I transfer a little to a small jar. I am also sure to have face mist, face wipes, dry shampoo (or wave spray), and a rollerball perfume. If I know I'll be getting off the plane and right to seeing people, I'll bring my makeup bag as well. 

7) Wet Wipes

Call me a germaphobe, but I always wipe down the armrests, tray table and seat-belt before take-off. You can buy mini-packs of wet wipes just about anywhere (I get mine at Target) for cheap. Maybe I'm crazy, but you don't know who was sitting there before you, or before that, or before that, and now we're into a guy that sat there 3 months ago and clipped his toenails all the way to Tokyo. 

8) Medications

If you take any kind of medications daily (birth control, antibiotic, etc.), put them in your carry-on. If your luggage gets lost, you'll be stuck, especially if you aren't near a pharmacy. I wonder how many babies are born from lost luggage (should this have been a private question?)?

9) Gum/Mints

If you're like me, you can fall asleep anywhere- especially planes- and church, but that's a different issue. When you wake up without access to brush your teeth, do your neighbor a favor and pop a mint. Does this need any further explanation? If so, you might need a different blog...

10) Water Bottle

You can either bring an empty plastic one through security, or a reusable option. I love BKR bottles, because they're lightweight, and made of glass, keeping water colder and fresher. It's so important to hydrate in-flight, and you can't keep pressing your call button for a refill- well, you can, but don't be that person. 

11) Wallet

This should go without saying, but it's how you pack your wallet that matters. When traveling, chances are you don't need your Nordstrom card, library card, Kroger rewards card and a store-gift card with $2.04 on it that you're not sure how to spend. Bring only the necessities: license, credit card, debit card and insurance cards. 

The key to your carry-on is to simplify and keep it light. Many times I've been running through the airport, weighed down by my 500-page book, or freezing on the plane, casually cuddling up to the person next to me. I grew up Catholic, and I'm pretty sure that's not what the Bible meant by "Love Thy Neighbor".  Then again- I only went to catechism for the snacks.

 

 

Glossier: A Product-by-Product Review.

Since 10th grade, I have wanted to master the whole "no-makeup-makeup" thing. This was after a long period of blue eyeshadow, concealer two shades too dark and enough eyeliner for a Christina Aguilera video. But having the natural, dewy, glowy look requires two things: 1) good skin, and 2) good product. I'm still working on the better skin thing, but I have found the second necessity, the holy grail of skincare and makeup: Glossier. 

I am always initally skeptical of new beauty brands. Throughout our lives, we are constantly trying out new products, figuring out what works and what doesn't, rarely finding the latter. So when I found Glossier, I was skeptical, but drawn in by their girl power branding, bomb azz packaging (every order comes with stickers and an ultra-chic pink pouch) and the promise of a beautiful, healthy and natural look. I gradually tried product after product, each a bigger success than the last. Based off my experiences, I've compiled a go-to guide* for all things Glossier:

*This post is not an ad, I've got no skin in the game here (excuse the pun). Just want to share/shout from the rooftops how much this brand and these products have changed my life, and these are all honest reviews.

Priming Moisturizer

This was my Glossier initation, and it's still my absolute favorite, my skin can no longer live without it. It IMMEDIATLEY gives you a dewy, glowy finish that's great on it's own, or the perfect base for makeup. When I apply makeup without it, I can see and feel the difference. It's just not as "smooth", not as even. This moisturizer has actually made it possible for me to go out without foundation, because it's so build-able. If I'm really feeling myself, I'll mix it with a bit of highlighter and be dewy AF (Now more J.LO, less Xtina). 

Haloscope

Ever wonder how models and celebs look so glowy, like angels with lots of money and good stylists? Now I'm giving them a run for their money- at least in the glowy angel department. I have tried over 1000000 highlighters (exact estimate), finding most to be too glittery, too shiny, irritating, etc. Haloscope is the answer to our prayers. The application is absolutely foolproof, and the dewiness you achieve is UNREAL. Quartz is perfection for a straight up dewy goodness, while Topaz has been my go-to for that coveted sun-kissed glow. No glitter, all glow, all good. 

                                                          Quartz on top, Topaz below. 

                                                         Quartz on top, Topaz below. 

Moisturizing Moon Mask

One word: YAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSS. When I say this is life and skin changing, I mean it. Nothing ever, EVER has made my skin look so bright, tight (someone even asked me if I had botox once. Nah girl!!! Glossier!!), and healthy. I do this mask in the morning before work about 3 times a week, after a rough day, it's even cured hangovers (along with a #6 at Jimmy Johns and my Harry Potter DVD collection). This mask is the defintion of treat yo' self, it's the skincare equivilant of an espresso. If you buy nothing else, you need this- I promise.

                                       Moon Mask/Mega Greens Mask pictured at top

                                       Moon Mask/Mega Greens Mask pictured at top

Boy Brow

I've talked about this before, and the point is I don't care if you have no brows or the bushiest on the block, your brows are not living their best life until they have this. When I thank God for all my blessings at night, this is near the top. I have girlfriends with little-to-no brow material to work with, and every single one has texted me with countless emojis, usually that Salsa dancing girl followed by multiple tears of joy smileys. Take that and put it in a tube, and you have Boy Brow. 

Balm Dotcom

A universal skin salve, this is a staple to any beauty bag, purse, desk, or medicine cabinet. You can use it as a chapstick, hand cream, for dry skin, taming flyways, etc. The original is key, but my heart lies with Coconut and Cherry. The coconut balm is an unparalleled scent. I've been caught at work dabbing a bit inside my nose when I am piled under paperwork, dreaming of a vacation. Cherry is ESSENTIAL to that whole "model off duty look". Not only does it taste like a popsicle, but it gives yo lips the most perfect pouty-red stain. Maybe it's Ice Pops, maybe it's Glossier. I like to keep them guessing. 

Stretch Concealer

I don't care if I sleep 12 hours (what are Sundays for???) or two, I always have under-eye circles as dark as Voldemort's soul. Most concealers just lay on top and look like they're there, you know? I typically use this one from Nars, but stretch is perfect when I don't need so much coverage, but still want to be covered. That will only make sense when you try it- It's creamy, dewy, and never cakey. A natural finish that actually covers? Sign a sister up. 

Generation G Lip Colors

I typically don't wear lipstick, mostly because I'm sloppy and am always touching my face. I wore red lipstick on an interview once and walked out looking like the Joker after nervously touching my face the whole time. So as a result, when I wanted color, I started to apply a little lipstick to the middle of my lips, then blotting outwards. Gen G looks like that technique, without all the work. I've tried each color, but my must-haves are Cake, and Jam. Cake for enhancing natural color, Jam for that ideal "blended lipstick" look. Lately, I dab some Jam on my fingers and apply to cheeks. Jam over Haloscope? Trust me- it's the makeup of your dreams. 

                                                                    Gen-G shown left.

                                                                    Gen-G shown left.

Milky Jelly Cleanser

I used Milky Jelly for about two weeks before I had an allergic reaction to it- I'm allergic to mushrooms and there's some ingredient in there that has traces of it. But I will say, I loved the texture of the soap and the way it left my face- matte but not tight. So now basically mushrooms have not only ruined my pizza, but also my face wash dreams. 

Mega Greens Galaxy Pack

Do you ever do a juice cleanse, and you are feeling so pure and Fleek as a mother? Do you have any idea what I just said? Me either. But the point is, you feel GOOD after a little cleanse. That's what this mask is, but for your face. I do it when I'm feeling grimey and feel like my skin needs a fresh start. It does bring everything to the surface, but follow it with the moon mask and you've got the dream team of skin love. 

Pink Pouches

Every order comes in a Glossier signature Pink Pouch. I use them in my tote bag, purse, packing for vacation, even as a clutch when I go out. I have quite a few just from my orders, but they can be ordered in a 3-pack too if you can't wait. 

                                                                                           Pink Pouch in action

                                                                                           Pink Pouch in action

Here's the thing: we buy product after product hoping to achieve something- brighter skin, a more even complexion, makeup that's flawless. All these things have one thing in common- they make us feel better about ourselves. And that's not shallow- that's human nature. I can honestly say that since finding Glossier, I have never felt more naturally beautiful, or more comfortable in my own skin, and I truly believe everyone deserves to feel that way.

...Because I think so, here's 20% off to try it out-just follow this link to their site. And if you have any questions before you buy, email me! I've tried it all-I've got your back. 

I'll admit: I've spend nights looking in the mirror crying over my imperfect skin, not wanting to go out because of bad makeup and an even worse complexion. Glossier has created the simpliest makeup routine I have ever had, and I actually get excited to do it every day. My favorite part about this brand is that it's not exclusive to those with good skin ALREADY. Instead, their products start with improving your skin, and work up. 

These are more than just beauty products, they're a force of beauty, a representation of badass girls everywhere getting sh!% done, and I am proud to be a part of that gang. Try even one thing, and change the way you see beauty, and the way you see yourself, too. 

 

Step Aside, LBD.

Everyone knows that an LBD (Little Black Dress) is a staple to a well-rounded closet. But in the Summer months, I try to stay away from the dark section of my closet, which is tough, because that's a good 3/4 of it. I tried a LRD, little red dress, but it felt too dressy for daytime. I tried a LGC- a little grilled cheese, but was still hungry after. BESIDES THE POINT, but I'm getting there. It finally hit me that I had go-to dresses in just about every color except one- white. I became obsessed with finding an LWD, and this Halogen one from Nordstrom (similar here) was the answer to my prayers (can we work on this whole presidential mess/race inequality/home depot hot dog stand-hours now, God??). 

 

Your LWD is as versatile as any other go-to in your closet. For this look, I paired it with some Sorel sandals (yes, SOREL. Like "winter boots we're not ready to think about" Sorel) and a Glossier pink pouch, which Mike asked me if it was an accident that I was holding it in these photos. MEN. 

This is not only a lesson in expanding our closet staples, but in alterations as well. When I got this dress, it was about 3- inches too long and gaped out under my arms. However, I knew it was nothing a seamstress couldn't fix. She was able to tailor it to perfection, and I felt like a regular ol' Kimmy K having something tailored right to my body. But then later when I couldn't afford double meats on my Subway I was put back in my place. STAY GROUNDED. 

The brocade detail on this dress and the neckline gives it a solid 60's vibe, super easy for dressing up and down.  I'll wear this again with a jean or leather jacket, flats, or even a t-shirt underneath.

This dress is a staple, which means it's meant to be built upon and worn different ways. 

 

Try subbing your LBD for one of these LWDs below, and give your closet a little TLC. I'm out of abbrevs here thankfully. 

                     Leith Stretch Tank Dress:  Nordstrom  ($68)

                     Leith Stretch Tank Dress: Nordstrom ($68)

                                                       ASOS Off The Shoulder Mini Dress-  Asos  ($25)

                                                       ASOS Off The Shoulder Mini Dress- Asos ($25)

                                                                            ASOS White Shirt Dress-  Asos  ($89)

                                                                            ASOS White Shirt Dress- Asos ($89)

Not Your Grandma's Dress (but maybe her blanket).

I am always buying things to "run around in". Seriously- I probably justify a good 90% of purchases because "I'll look cute while running errands!". However, I usually end up in my yoga tights and "Karl is my Father" sweatshirt (that one always brings in smart remarks from old folks). However, with this dress from Zara, I'm sticking to my word. 

When I first saw this crochet mini, my initial thought was that it's the perfect mix between a mexican blanket and something my Grandma used to have at the foot of her bed. In other words, ALL THE MAKINGS FOR MY DREAM DRESS! Not to mention, it finally incorporates a little color into my wardrobe. I was one black and white sweater away from professional Miming. 

The lightweight comfort of this dress is selling point enough, but when your roommate stops to tell you her grandma has a similar quilt..to the front of my closet you go, blanket-like beauty.

Paired with sneakers and an old Chanel-my dad gave it to my mom in the eighties, and knowing him, it's most likely not real, but still fun!-, this combo is perfect for running around (for real this time), and not having to make a lame excuse when a friend texts for impromptu drinks mid errands (I'm on a detox girl!!!!). 

If you happen to run into me about town (you can find me every Sunday at the butcher choosing the perfect chicken breast- "NO LARRY- THE FAR LEFT ONE. OTHER LEFT.") and I'm still in my yoga pants, with no signs of actually working out, take me outside. Really- I need help loading my car. 

 

 

 

 

The Slip

It took me a long time to get on board with "lingerie dressing". I'm still bitter at the Victoria's Secret sales lady that showed me a bra when I was 7 and said, "just a few more years until you need one of these!!". I am pretty positive she cursed me "Sleeping Beauty" style, because it's 18 years later and I'm still waiting to really need one (let's be honest).

However, my belief system changed when I saw Vetements S/S '16. After seeing the most insanely gorgeous slip dress, I started seeing them as a sexy staple, instead of chincy and sleazy (and not in the good, party Ke$ha way). 

             Slip Dress: Uniqlo (similar  here ) // Sleeveless turtleneck: Asos (similar  here ) // Pink Pouch:  Glossier  packaging FTW. 

             Slip Dress: Uniqlo (similar here) // Sleeveless turtleneck: Asos (similar here) // Pink Pouch: Glossier packaging FTW. 

Here's the thing: a slip dress (or camisole dress) can go from simple and chic, to after-hours at Déjà Vu REAL QUICK. So how do you avoid looking like you just ran away from a bad rap video? Layers. Try pairing with a sleeveless turtleneck like I did here, a bodysuit, tee-shirt, or even an oversized sweater over it for a silk-skirt effect. My new dinner go-to is to pair mine with a lacey bralette, delicate necklaces and an oversized trench. 

                                             (Blogging requires a lot of walking.. does this count towards my daily steps?)

                                             (Blogging requires a lot of walking.. does this count towards my daily steps?)

IMG_3209.JPG

The key is to not look like you're wearing the slip dress by mistake when you woke up late from binge watching "Love It or List It" all night (SPOILER: THEY NEVER LIST IT.) They're effortless, versatile, and undeniably sexy.

If anything, slip dresses are the ultimate excuse to abuse the saying "Let me SLIP into something more comfortable". It's my most used pun at the moment, and also probably why my boyfriend is screening my calls. Looking good and feeling powerful (and having fire puns) might just be worth it. 

March (Metallic) Madness

There are countless articles in countless magazines telling you what staples you MUST HAVE to form your closet. While I can get down with the black slacks and a tailored jacket, that does not a wardrobe make. Sometimes you need to spice it up a bit, and for that, you need a new staple: say hello to metallic skirts. 

Thanks to Gucci, metallic skirts are becoming just as much a staple as a good white button-down, or in non-fashion terms, what cocktail sausages are to a good party. STAPLE. 

Metallic skirts are basically the Bernie Sanders of the closet. Loud, sensible, and always a smart choice. (Am I still talking about skirts here? #Berndownforwhat). 

Skirt: Vintage Christian Dior from The Peacock Room. Sweater: Uniqlo. Shoes: Asos

Your new skirt is just as handy as a pair of blue jeans. Pair it with an oversized sweater, a basic tee, sneakers, heels, even a crop top or bandeau in the summer. I've found midi-length and pleated work best with metallics. If you go mini and solid, you run the risk of looking like a girl who's lost at the festival just looking for a bathroom and a vodka redbull. 

A few no-fail options below: 

 

Topshop Metallic Pleated Skirt, $130 (Nordstrom)

 

Pleated Midi Skirt, $69.90 (Zara)


Asos Pleated Midi Skirt with Metallic Foil, $60 (Asos)

 

If you haven't already, you're going to be seeing metallic skirts everywhere, and trust me, you want in on this trend. GRANTED, I also said the same thing about those one-size stretchy sweaters in middle school, but I promise I've learned from that, and am much more credible now. 

 

Photos by Lauren Montgomery at the Belle Isle Conservatory.

A Little Shoulder, A Long Way

 

When I first became infatuated with fashion, it was all about fun. I would mix my oversized Tweety Bird tee, ruffle socks and jellies and would not even think twice that my outfit wasn't on POINT and that I wasn't flexing on my fellow first-graders. 

But as you get older, you are just beginning to scratch the surface of becoming who you want to be, and you can get very easily influenced by friends, trends and in my case, whatever they were wearing on The O.C. (Marissa Cooper is still my style icon). 

I've gone through so many style lives, and still do from day-to-day. However, the biggest lesson I've learned over the years is that sexy does not mean one thing. It does not always mean short skirts (re: college pics), low cut tops (re:re: college pics) and un-walkable heels. It can be covered up, it can be baggy, and it can even be a little silly. 

Enter: This Shirt

I love the silliness of the culotte, but the undeniable sexiness of an exposed shoulder. The perfect union of covered/uncovered. 

We shot these in Florida on vacation-AKA a trip made so I could wear this shirt sooner.

 

 

In college, I presumed that the more skin I showed, the sexier I was. But I never actually felt sexy, and I really still don't a good 99% of the time. But trust me when I say a little shoulder goes a long way. I remember wearing mentioned Tweety Bird shirt in first grade, and being told on by a male classmate because my shoulder was showing. Well, eat your heart out, John*

 

*Name has been kept exactly the same. Not afraid to call him out 19 years later.

 

 

Live The Life You Deserve: A Guide to Bodysuits

When you're in your twenties, it's a very rare feeling to feel like you've got it all together. I don't care how many inspirational quotes you Facebook, cups of coffee over the sunrise you Instagram, or the amount of times you have checked in at the gym. NONE OF US HAVE IT TOGETHER. We are essentially giant toddlers with formal educations and bank accounts. Being in your twenties is damn hard, and we're all just trying to do the best we can to form a life, little by little.

Recently, I've found one small, but substantial, way to at least make it SEEM like I've got it together- bodysuits

One of the very first tips my boss and living legend, Linda, told me was that she wore a bodysuit every single day. It was possibly even her secret to success (not really, but it seemed pretttyy important). I was immediately intrigued, and started upon my research. 

For my inaugural suit, I ordered a basic black long-sleeve from Asos. It was love at first snap (don't forget, these are basically onesies for adults. I TOLD YOU. TODDLERS.). Not only was it extremely comfortable, but it quickly became essential to every outfit I wore.

This is the easiest, yet chicest way to upgrade your wardrobe. 

 

The world of bodysuits is big, so it can be intimidating at first. Start with a few essentials. I've found Asos offers the best quality for a good price:

1) The Long-Sleeve

This is the exact one I own. Bodysuits are a simple way to look more polished. Just tucking in a tee can often look sloppy and disholved. Bodysuits stay put all day and never lose shape. $31

 

V-necks are a great option to wear alone with jeans, and the thong is a bonus for wearing with leggings (V.P.L. IS AN EPIDEMIC. LOOK IT UP). $31

 

2) The Tank

An essential. Perfect for warmer months or under a sweater. $31 for a 2 pack. 

 

Bonus points for a muscle-tee suit. Extra bonus points if you have actual muscles. Über cool with some joggers. $21

This might be my favorite one in my closet. The mock neck is ideal for under a duster-cardigan or a long coat for an effortless yet put together look. $24

 

3) The Unexpected

This one under a sweater? A great pick-me-up. Under an oversized-flannel and high-waisted jeans? Perfection. $35

 

 With a pair of creme culottes, just walk backwards into the room with this one. $52

 

Recall how Beyonce looked in the "Single Ladies" video. Now imagine feeling that way EVERY DAY. When you're really feeling like you don't know what you're doing with your life, slip on a bodysuit, and remember that we are all in the same boat- and now the same suit too. 

 

Xx

 

Inside the Box

Quick confession: I am a bag lady. I walk into work every day with at LEAST 3 bags on my arm. Each morning I tip to one side, succumbing to the weight on my right arm, forcing me into an unintentional pimp walk.

Although the overall tone in my upper arms has vastly improved, I'm exhausted of divvying up my life into tote bags, cross-bodies, and whatever else I can fit my life into. Enter the Box Bag. 

Vogue made it official in the August 2015 issue, and I've finally committed to my new, smaller yet more efficient partner. And yes, I know that's what she said. You can go back to 2008 now. 

I found my new go-to at The Peacock Room in Detroit. Vintage from the 1950s, I fell in love with its upholstered style in a fall/winter palette. The ease of carrying this shape and size had me throwing my carry-on sized tote in storage faster than Galliano was dismissed from Dior. 

In an attempt to simplify my life, I've simplified my bag down to the necessities : wallet, chapstick, mirror, and a KIND bar (I am never not down for a snack). I of course still take a tote as well to my job for my papers, agenda, lunch, etc. Girl's gotta work! 

The argument for the box bag is simple: most of us don't need all the junk that's in our bags. Find your must-haves for on-the-go, and throw them inside the box. You and I both know we don't need those 2-day-old water bottles and ten shades of Nars Velvet Lip Pencils. 

Take a peek at a few gorgeous options below, and feel the weight lift from your shoulders- literally. Have you ever lifted a woman's purse? We could put CrossFit out of business with our bags (Did I just create my Shark Tank idea?).

Marc Jacobs Leopard Box Crossbody- Nordstrom

Asos Structured Box Shoulder Bag- Asos

Vintage (like mine!) Black Velvet Box Bag- Etsy

Xx

 

Photography by Lauren Montgomery