Friday, April 28, 2017

The Perfect Carry-On Packing List

Packing a carry-on is a difficult task, because while you want to make sure you have your travel essentials, you don't want to load yourself down, especially when you're checking luggage as well.

After many trips with carry-on luggage, I've perfected my in-flight packing strategy. Here's the gist:
  • I'm a Delta platinum member, so I take advantage of the free checked luggage on every flight and fill my suitcase to the brim.
  • Then, instead of carrying on a small suitcase AND a purse, I consolidate everything into one medium-sized carry-on tote.
This works best for trips with a duration of less than two weeks, but makes airport navigating much simpler and makes it easy to go from airport to sightseeing with your medium-sized tote.

Never check baggage? Don't worry, we have a guide for the comprehensive carry-on + handbag packing, too.

First, you'll need to select your perfect medium-sized carry-on. I have a few rules for this:
  • Must be able to be carried on at least one shoulder so you can be hands-free. No Taylor Swift-style arm bags.
  •  Must have a secure zipper closure. The last thing you want is your passport slipping out or your wallet getting snatched!
  • Must be made of a durable, wipe-able material that can outlast a rainstorm or coffee spill. Nylon, leather/pleather and coated canvas are your best bets.
Now for your packing list. Everyone and every trip is different, but I have a basic list that's nearly flawless.
  • Wallet, ID and passport
  • Phone, phone charger, headphones and portable phone charger
  • Empty water bottle
  • Prescriptions, vitamins, band aids and first aid medicines
  • Travel dry shampoo, bobby pins and a hair tie
  • Glasses, contacts, sunglasses and eye drops
  • Chapstick
  • Make-up wipes and basic make-up (mascara, concealer)
  • Extra underwear and socks (in case luggage is lost)
  • Gloves and  beanie (if cold weather travel)
  • Travel sunscreen
  • Larabars or other emergency snack
  • Swimsuit (if beach travel)
  • Travel-sized moisturizer and hand sanitizer
  • Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Travel deodorant
And there you have it! What do you think I missed? What's your holy grail carry-on bag?

Five Lessons and Learnings from My Whole 30

I completed the Whole 30 in January, and since then have fielded many questions from friends who were shocked that my normally food-loving self would restrict myself for an entire month. Was it hard? What was the worst part? Did you lose weight? Would you do it again?

All in all, it was a really interesting experience that taught me a lot about food and how the body responds to it. Here are my top five takeaways and tips:

  1. Treat it as an education experience, rather than a restriction diet. During my Whole 30, I learned so much about different foods and why we eat them. I highly suggest reading up on the Whole 30 methodology through one of Melissa Hartwig’s books or doing research online. If you understand why you can’t have that chocolate chip cookie or piece of avocado toast, it makes it easier not to want it. After my Whole 30, my biggest takeaway was learning what foods make my body feel good and why we need to eat a mix of different types of foods.
  2. Find a way for support and accountability. My foodie friends wouldn’t join me on my Whole 30, so I joined a Facebook group and it made a world of difference. It was helpful to have people to share recipes and struggles with, and we were always there to answer each other’s questions and provide tips. I had a horrible headache from the sugar withdrawals the first week and wanted to quit, but the women in my group got me through it. When I was hot all the time, they helped me figure out it was because I had increased my protein intake so much.
  3. Make a meal plan and embrace meal prep Sunday. You will not finish your Whole 30 if you don’t make a meal plan, shop using a strict grocery list and prep your meals for the week. If I didn’t have all my lunches for the week ready to go in Tupperware, I can guarantee I would’ve caved and ordered take-out or inhaled a bag of chips. You’ll also save money this way and avoid buying too much on your grocery runs.
  4. This isn’t a weight loss diet. Sure, some people come away from Whole 30 looking like a new person, but this requires even more discipline than following the basic program. On Whole 30, I still ate lots of starchy foods like potatoes and fruits and enjoyed plenty of healthy fats. So, while I felt a lot better and my skin was glowing, I didn’t drop 20 pounds overnight because I didn’t count calories and ate whenever I was hungry. If you’re trying to get in shape quickly, I would recommend 21 Day Fix or good old-fashioned calorie counting.
  5. The “tough love” was too tough. Yes, of course, if you inhale half a dozen donuts or cave and scarf down a grilled cheese in an extreme moment of weakness, you should probably start over. But if you break a rule without realizing it (I didn’t realize peanut butter was a no-go and put some in a smoothie), or accidentally consume a sauce with small amounts of dairy or sugar in it while eating out, I think you should be kind to yourself. The truth is that this program isn’t sustainable for people who like to dine out and be adventurous eaters. To be honest, I’ll probably never do it again because it made me a truly obnoxious orderer at restaurants and made it hard for me to flex my chef skills in the kitchen at home.

All in all, it was an interesting experience and I’m glad I gave it a whirl, but the truth is: I probably wouldn’t recommend it to you. You can learn about food and eat healthier without following a strict elimination diet – that cuts out things I feel are good for me like legumes and whole grains – and if you’ve had disordered eating issues, I can see this being problematic for you and even leading to binges.

However, don’t take my word for it. There is so much research out there and so many options for you! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Paris Travel Style

It's no secret that Paris is my favorite travel spot, as I've visited three times with family and spent a summer studying in the Ville Lumière in college. It has everything you need for a perfect getaway - art, culture, architecture, delicious food, nightlife, parks and, of course, fashion. Paris is known for spawning the maisons Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and much more and, as such, it's a veritable fashion headquarters. However, you might be surprised by the way Parisian women dress.


French women, especially Parisians, aren't particularly known for daring fashion and tend to focus on comfortable, sophisticated yet casual tried-and-true pieces. The typical day outfit seen on the métro and in the cafés is simply jeans, a blouse or well-tailored tee, a stylish coat and sneakers or chelsea boots. Make-up is generally understated, with a classic pair of sunglasses and natural wavy hair to complete the look. Of course, like every city there are some people who dress more boldly, but generally, your whole travel wardrobe for Paris can be casual.


For a Parisis getaway, don't forget these key pieces and take advantage of the laissez-faire style to mix and match and pack light. Perfect for bringing back souvenirs!

  • Your favorite jeans in black or blue.
  • Blouses and tees in neutrals and basic patterns. You'll see lots of black, white, grey, beige and navy in Paris style.
  • A classic leather jacket or bomber, and if it's even colder a stylish trench or pea coat
  • Crew-neck and cardigan sweaters
  • Casual sneakers like Adidas or Vans
  • Black booties in faux leather or suede. Be sure to rainproof!
  • A go-to pair of sunglasses and a purse-sizes umbrella
  • A simple cross-body or zip tote bag
  • Simple jewelry and scarves, hats and gloves as needed


There are a few items I would avoid if you prefer to blend in and not be pegged as a tourist if you travel. Like in most major cities, the less attention you draw to yourself, the less likely you'll be bothered or scammed.

  • Logo t-shirts (especially in English) and anything particularly bright and gaudy
  • Shorts or sweatpants
  • Statement jewelry and bright make-up
  • Short, tight and/or revealing dresses and tops
  • Visors, fanny packs...anything resembling a "tacky tourist" Halloween costume
  • Flip flops, Crocs, etc. Wear something comfortable and durable!
  • Cargo pants or leggings


Now, that's not to say that Parisian style is disappointing or boring. I love shopping in Paris for things that won't reach American stores until the next season, and getting ideas for future looks for women I spot on the street or shopping alongside me. Parisian style is uniquely no-fuss yet chic, and it's so fun taking what you learn from French style back home and beating everyone else to next year's trends.

What are your Parisian style rules?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Airport to Street Style: Six Essentials

To get the most out of quick weekend trips, I often go straight from the airport into a full day of sight-seeing. This involves careful packing, and the perfect transitional outfit for comfort and style. Build your look with these essentials:

Sneakers or slides:

Sneakers are my favorite shoe for airport to street wear. They're comfortable, durable and easy to take on and off to get through security or sleep on a long haul flight, and generally stylish no matter where you travel. I recommend the Adidas classics or Nike Juvenate for maximum comfort.

Bonus - bring a pair of super warm fuzzy socks for maximum comfort on a red eye!'

Stan Smith Adidas via Macy's.

A great pair of leggings:

As a fitness fiend, I've found that everyone I know has their holy grail pair of leggings, and that it's different for everyone. Personally, my lululemon Fast & Free tights are my perfect travel companion. They feel like butter while still looking sleek, and they have discreet pockets for hands-free exploring.

Want to step it up a bit? I also recommend jeggings or supersoft jeans like the Topshop Leighs for a shorter flight.

lululemon leggings feel like butter.

The perfect pocket tee - only $25 at Nordstrom.
Super comfy tee:

Layers are key for for an all-day travel outfit, as the weather at your starting point and destination can differ greatly.  My base laser is usually a plain white H&M pocket tee. They're cheap, cute and come in a variety of colors. I pair it with a soft, lacy bralette and I'm basically in my pajamas for the perfect plan nap.

Lightweight jacket:

Camo goodness from Nordstrom Rack.
For travel, I typically go with a classic leather jacket or comfy bomber. They're universally stylish, comfortable and have plenty of pockets to stash essentials while on-the-go, and great for surviving a chilly day before you have the chance to unpack your winter coats. I typically pick up my jackets at Nordstrom Rack, but if you don't like to dig through the racks I love this lightweight Zara jacket and the Madewell bomber. Another fun, trendy option is a green safari jacket!

Embrace headwear:

No matter how much dry shampoo I use and no matter how much I pray to the good hair day gods, my hair never seems to survive a flight. Rather than making my roots sore by wearing a topknot for too long, I've embraced the baseball cap trend fully. It's cute, it's comfortable and lets you wear your hair long without worrying about flatness or greasiness.

I love a plain suede cap, but am also a big fan of American Needle's MLB hats and Aviate's airport hats.

H&M's take on the suede ball cap.

Find the perfect carry-on:

The perfect carry-on for an airport-to-street type of day is tough to find, because if you bring your biggest weekender or backpack you'll regret that after you log a few miles around the city. I recommend using a shopper like the Large Longchamp or Louis Vuitton Neverfull or stylish leather backpack to ensure that you have a safe place for essentials but avoid shoulder pain and traveler's fatigue.

Dagne Dover's hyper-organized Legend tote.

For more carry-on tips and tricks, check out my packing the perfect carry-on post.

What are your travel day style essentials?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Travelling to Israel


Before I graduated college, I had an amazing opportunity to visit Israel. To preface this, I am not religiously affiliated but I love exploring beautiful places with interesting cultures, and Israel was no exception. From the people to the food to the variety of natural wonders, there was something new to discover everywhere we went. Interesting in taking a trip to Israel? Check out my tips and takeaways.