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As I’ve probably mentioned about a hundred times, I just spent a few days in Tampa visiting my dad and running a half marathon. I only travel a few times a year and every time I stress out about what to pack. So, in order to make it simple this time, I stuck to a super simple color palate: black, white and gray.


similar scarf | same jeggings | same leggings | same jeans | similar sneakers | same jacket | similar tees | similar tank | similar dress | same jacket | similar cardigan | same graphic tee | same shoes 

I didn’t end up wearing everything that I brought, but I was happy to have all the options! So, what did I wear?

On the plane on Friday I wore my new olive green jacket! I finally found one that I love and it was perfect.

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I added these leggings which get me compliments every time I wear them. Seriously, if you have not bought these from Old Navy yet then you are majorly missing out. Paired with a white tee, gray scarf, and sneakers and it was the perfect outfit to go from the plane to picking up my race packet to eating lunch at the cutest little Irish pub. I had my first Guinness in the form of a Nitro IPA and then followed that up with a beer flight at Tampa’s own Cigar City Brewing.

On Saturday we went to check out an art fair and eat lunch in downtown St. Petersburg. The weather all weekend was amazing and I took advantage of as much sunshine as possible.

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Sunday was the race, of course. Which I ROCKED. A six minute personal best on a great course with beautiful weather and views. After the race my dad and I spent the afternoon at the horse race track winning enough money to buy a few beers.

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Monday we relaxed at home watching the first four episodes of the newest season of the X-Files before I flew home. Monday was all about comfort. Hence my favorite shirt.

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So, as you can see, I had some leftover items but all of them would have made even more outfits. In fact, I’ll probably pack the same items the next time I have to travel to Florida in February!


What to Pack for a Business Casual Business Trip

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Well hello there little piece of the Internet that I seem to have neglected! I wrote a post about how I miss the days of being able to write whatever I wanted and then left you hanging. I hope you don’t mind. Instead, I spent a week getting ready to go on a business trip and then, well, going on that business trip!

The company I work for bought another company last year. We’re both software companies in the Environmental Health & Safety field and recently my VP asked me if I wanted to go to Oakville, Ontario (about 55 kilometers outside of Toronto) to get trained on the new software. Yes, please!

I left last Sunday and stayed until Friday learning all about the company, their software, and meeting some really awesome people. We also got to attend the U.S. versus Canada men’s volleyball game at the Pan Am Games! And then stayed out way too late checking out the scene in downtown Toronto.

Because the company’s colors are blue I wanted to include that in what I packed. And because we were going to the game I also wanted to wear some red and white for our Canadian hosts.

So, this is what I wore:


Maxi Dress |Jeans | Black Cardigan | Blue Cardigan | Striped Cardigan | Black Top | White Top | Multicolored Top | White Jeans | Black Dress | Skirt | Blazer | Flats | Sandals | Boat Shoes | Red Necklace | Blue Necklace

Packing was stressing me out a bit because I’d been told by another coworker that this office was a bit dressier than ours. I didn’t want to be underdressed but I also didn’t want to be overdressed. Turned out I was just right.

I also wanted some options so I chose pieces that could all coordinate with one another.


Note these aren’t necessarily the exact pieces I own (although some of them are), but they’re pretty close. 

I stuck with the red, black and white palate and threw in some blue and my multicolored top as coordinating but stand-out items. In fact, based on these pieces I could have come up with many more outfits if necessary!

Perhaps the blue cardigan, black top and white jeans? How about the multicolored top with the red blazer and regular denim? Or the red blazer and the black dress? I could go on and on.

And, yes, everything fit in a carry-on, including my toiletries and unmentionables, pjs, a pair of workout clothes (which I washed in the sink so I could do multiple workouts last week) and my gym shoes. Crazy, right?

I think these pieces are going to become my new travel “capsule.” It would certainly make packing easier when I need to dress business casual or if I need to go back to Oakville. And I sincerely hope I get to go back!

What to pack for winter vacation, winter break

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I used to be a horrible over-packer. Throwing anything and everything in a suitcase because I wanted options. And then I realized that I just needed to get better about mixing and matching what I brought instead of bringing a totally separate outfit for each day! So that’s what I did when I packed for my winter vacation to Flagstaff, AZ (where it snows and is cold, by the way). I packed 12 pieces and could have easily made at least 12 different outfits!

What to pack for winter vacation, winter breakRed plaid | Vest | Boots | Gray plaid | Cardigan | Scarf | Sweater | Tee | Sweater | Black jeans | Blue jeans | Leggings

I stuck to a black and gray color palate with a pop of red from the one plaid shirt. Flagstaff is very casual and so is my husband’s family so there was no need to dress up. I also only brought one pair of shoes (in addition to my snow boots) so that I had plenty of room for ski gear.

Of course, I ended up getting sick on my trip and spent one entire day in pajamas. Although, even if I had needed real clothes I probably STILL over-packed. Why? Because look at all these outfits I could have made from the 12 pieces I brought.

12-pieces-12-outfitsAnd, believe it or not, the outfit I wore on the plane isn’t even pictures! Nope. On the plan I wore the outfit in the center of the bottom row WITH the houndstooth vest! Crazy, right?

So, learn from me. You don’t need to pack everything in your closet. Just pick a few key pieces that you can mix and match and you’ll be good to go. Don’t believe me? Here’s some other packing posts I’ve done that might help you change your mind:

And with that, I’m off to enjoy my holiday week! I wish you and yours a wonderful holiday (or a wonderful December, if you prefer). See you on the flip side!

Packing for Puerto Rico

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Packing, puerto rico, vacation

As you read this I’m most likely already on my way to San Juan, Puerto Rico for 5 days in the sun! After that, I’m headed to Tampa, Florida to visit family for a few days. You can probably imagine how excited I am to get out of the Chicago winter that will never end and to somewhere warm and sunny. I promise I won’t even complain about the humidity!

I’ve gotten pretty good at packing over the past two years (this blog has helped a lot with that!) but for some reason this trip was really throwing me off. I made a conscious decision not to plan every second of our trip and instead have a few ideas of things we could do and decide when we got there. However, this made packing a bit difficult since I wasn’t sure exactly what activities I’d need to be ready for.

So, instead, I stuck to a simple blue, green and black color palate (note: that tank in the top left? I do not own it but I really, really want to. I just chose it because I couldn’t find a good representation of the tank top I am bringing) with five tank tops, one dress, three pairs of shorts, two pairs of jeans, and two cardigans.

Of course, we can’t forget the reason we’re going to San Juan in the first place: so I can run the Puerto Rico Half Marathon! I won the race entry (but not the trip; don’t get too jealous) from Swirlgear so I’m totally going to represent them while I’m enjoying paradise.


Also, while I’m visiting family I can do laundry so if I have the desire to rewear something I can wash it when I get to Tampa.

Finally, for those of you like lists, here’s the basics of what I’m bringing in list form!

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Packing for Las Vegas

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

As I mentioned on Friday, I’m in Las Vegas for the first part of this week for a work conference. For some reason packing for this trip really flummoxed me. I’ve been to Vegas several times, once for this same conference several years ago, but I just couldn’t think of what to wear this time. I even asked on Twitter and Facebook for suggestions! Of course, being Vegas, the suggestions included sequins. And, as you’ll see, I didn’t completely discount it.



Black blazer, gray scarf, jeans, my new J. Crew Factory flats, and sequins for the plane! I’m actually writing this post on the plan and let me tell you: the security scanner machines at O’Hare did not know what to make of the sequined shirt. Thankfully I was there early enough that I didn’t mind the pat-down detour. But, for future reference, sequins may not make the best plane outfit.


Get used to seeing this black blazer. It’s my travel go-to. Perfect for layering and can totally go from day to night. In this case I’m pairing it with a black, white and gray printed tank top, black dress pants, and black heels. You may notice that there is a color theme to my packing: black and white. Makes it super easy to mix and match items.  I even threw in a pair of black skinny jeans that I can wear with top if I need something a bit more casual.


Here you go! My pop of color for the week. I put this cobalt blue shirt with a black pencil skirt and tossed in a black and white striped cardigan with gold buttons that match the gold zipper on the top. I can also wear this with my black jeans for the evening if necessary. And,of course, I can pair any of the other tops I brought with the black pencil skirt.  Silver sequins and a black skirt? Perfect for Vegas, right?


Finally I’ve got my second travel outfit. Almost exactly the same as the first outfit but I swapped out the sequins for a t-shirt. Although I kept the sparkles. Got to bring home some of the Vegas vibe, right? Can’t wait to see what airport security thinks of this top.

Not picture? My swimsuit, some lounge clothes, one workout outfit (including running shoes), a pair of black tights, and the black jeans mentioned earlier. And pajamas, jewelry and “unmentionables”.

The best part? I managed to fit it all in my carryon with room to spare!

Have you been to Las Vegas? What did you pack?

Packing for Phoenix

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As I mentioned on Friday, I’m in Phoenix this week for a conference for work. I’m both attending and presenting at the conference and let’s just say I’m mostly excited to go somewhere WARM and SUNNY! Chicago weather is really getting me down. It snowed on Saturday, people. Snowed. Anyway, Phoenix’s 80 degree weather will be a treat but packing for it was a bit challenging.


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For my travel day I decided on a striped tank top under a sheer white three-quarter length sleeve top with jeans, my black blazer, and my leopard flats. I plan to wear the blazer throughout the week and this way it doesn’t get all wrinkled in my suitcase. Plus, you should really wear your bulkiest item when traveling and in this case that’s my blazer. When I get to Phoenix I can ditch the blazer and the sheer top if necessary and revel in the fact that it’s warm enough to wear a tank top!




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For Tuesday I’m busting out my green cropped pants, a simple striped t-shirt, the black blazer again, and the leopard flats. This is my day to attend conference sessions and the dress code at this conference ranges from jeans to suits so I figured I could get away with some fun colors and pattern mixing.  The blazer is because I’m sure the conference rooms will be freezing but the short sleeves are for outside.



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Tuesday we give our presentation so I dressed it up with my black and white polka dot sheath dress and my black blazer and open-toed black patent heels. And some jewelry, of course.


Tuesday Night

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Tuesday night is the customer/attendee appreciation party which I’ve been told is a pretty crazy event. This year it’s at a Western-themed locale so I decided to bust out the gingham and pair it with white jeans and a white tank top. And nude heels because I don’t own cowboy boots.


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On Wednesday we fly back to Chicago.  And since it will probably be in the 40s when we land, I’m adding a scarf to my black, white and leopard outfit.  Plus, this is classy enough for a casual conference attendee look if I choose to attend any last day sessions.

Other items I packed but didn’t photograph? A black cardigan, white shorts, a swimsuit and a swimsuit cover-up, one running outfit, running shoes, some other jewelry,  and, of course, pajamas and underwear. Basically, everything except the dress can be mixed and matched with the other items I brought, too, so if I need to make a quick switcheroo for any reason, it should be simple enough.

And if it wasn’t for that pesky liquids restriction I could have gotten away with just a carry-on! Sadly, I couldn’t find a hair mousse I liked that came in a FAA-approved size.

Packing for Two Climates in Seven Days

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Packing for Two Different Climates

For the past seven days I’ve been in two different climates.  I started in Flagstaff, Arizona which is at 7,000 feet (9,000 at the ski lodge) above sea level.  This means that at the end of December the highs are in the mid-30s and the lows are in the teens.  After four days in Flag I flew to Tampa, Florida where the weather was in the low 70s and high 50s.

You can see how this makes packing interesting.

I stuck with jeans and (gasp!) only brought two pairs of shoes.  My Uggs for Arizona and my boat shoes for Florida.  I tried to bring items that could be layered in Flag and could be stripped down for Florida.  This two different climates thing is tricky.

So, how did I do?  Did I wish I’d brought something different?  Did I wear everything?

The only items I didn’t wear were the gray sweater, the oatmeal cardigan and the chambray top.  Otherwise I wore everything I brought and even wore the olive green button down twice.  Overall I think I did a pretty good job packing for two totally different climates in one week.  And I even had room in my suitcase for some Christmas gifts!

Have you ever traveled to two different climates in the same trip?  What did you pack?

Leaving on a Jet Plane

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NYC Packing
I hate to pack.  I hate it with a passion.  I always over pack because I’m terrified to get somewhere and not have the “right” thing.
But this time I’ve planned my outfits out in advance.  And if I don’t have the “right” thing?  I’ll just go shopping.  Because I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find what I want where I’m going.
And where am I going?  New York City!  I’ve never been to NYC and I’m super excited to go on my first “girls” trip with my friend Kim.  It will be a whirlwind trip but that just means it’s easier to pack for, right?
So pictured above is what I plan to wear.  I own some of the items and others are approximations.  And, yes, I plan to take pictures of this Loop Girl in the Big Apple.  Stay tuned!