Month: April 2015

Two Weeks in a Carry On – Packing for Your Next Long Vacation

2 weeks in a carryon title photo

For my recent trip abroad, I challenged myself to see if I could pack for nearly two weeks in one carry-on and one personal item (aka my huge beach bag purse). I’ve never tried anything like this before for such an extended period of time. I have successfully done a week here or a 9 days there, but never 12 full days. Ultimately, I packed 27 pieces (not including socks, pajamas, unmentionables, and jewelry), and I was able to get 13+ outfits out of those 27 pieces. I believe the key is packing neutral, versatile, and comfortable pieces and adding in color with accessories.

The method to packing here is to lay each piece both within the suitcase and outside of it, leaving a little hanging over the edge. Alternate each of the four sides with each piece, creating a “+” with all your clothes. Then, when you are done, begin folding one garment at a time to the center. This will create an envelope-style packing method and prevent wrinkles. You’ll get more in this way!

Here’s what I packed in my carry-on (with corresponding links where available):

5 bottoms:

  • 2 pairs of black leggings (Forever 21)
  • 1 pair of khaki corduroy skinnies (Old Navy)
  • 1 pair of dark skinny jeans (GAP)
  • 1 black pencil skirt (Express) — note: I never wore this the whole time!

11 tops:

  • Short sleeve linen tunic (from a street market in London circa 2008)
  • Black turtleneck (Target)
  • Red turtleneck (Target)
  • Long sleeve white tee (Old Navy)
  • Long sleeve black tee (Old Navy)
  • Long sleeve grey tee (Old Navy)
  • Breton 3/4 sleeve shirt (French Connection close match here or here)
  • Cream crepe blouse (Forever 21 close match here)
  • Oatmeal cardigan (local boutique)
  • Black fitted tunic dress (BCBG)
  • Black & White striped tunic (Amazon/SheInside)

2 Dresses:

  • LBD with peplum (Versona) — note: I never wore this the whole time!
  • LBD strappy (Daily Look)

4 Tanks:

  • 1 White bra tank (Victoria’s Secret)
  • 1 grey tank (Old Navy)
  • 1 white V-neck tank (Target)
  • 1 white tee (GAP)

3 Scarves:

  • Plaid blanket scarf (SheInside)
  • Red/Camel/Black Plaid scarf (no clue where it’s from)
  • Camel scarf (TJ Maxx)

3 Pairs of Boots/Booties

  • Black and Tan riding boots (Ralph Lauren updated style here)
  • Brown riding boots (Arturo Chiang exact boots here)
  • Black ankle booties (Macy’s close match here)

2 Jackets:

  • Black leather motorcycle jacket (Belk not sure on brand, close match here)
  • Khaki fitted casual jacket (GAP)

4 pairs of socks:

  • Cream knee socks (Daily Look)
  • 3 pairs of regular socks

Truth be told, I actually packed just enough, but not quite the right pieces for the weather changes. I never wore the skirt or the Versona black dress. Granted, I could have worn the black dress, but I picked up this blue number from Zara in Paris. I also picked up the purple wrap sweater/jacket on a side street in Montmartre. That purple wrap sweater came in handy as it was very cold for most of the trip. However, at the end of the trip, it became very hot, and we purchased some t-shirts from Zara to get us through the heat.

So, here are all the outfits I was able to put together. Forgive some of the photos as we were running ourselves ragged for 10 days straight seeing wineries, meeting with winemakers, touring caves, etc.

Days 1, 2, 3


Day 1 (Paris): Linen tunic over long sleeve white tee, black leggings, black boots, motorcycle jacket, plaid blanket scarf

Night 1: Black Turtleneck under BCBG tunic dress, black boots, black leggings

Day 2 (Paris): Black turtleneck, jeans, black boots, motorcycle jacket, camel scarf

Day 3 (Paris): Black/White stripe tunic over white bra top tank, black leggings, brown boots, motorcycle jacket, plaid blanket scarf

Night 3: Same as above, but add purple sweater wrap and changed scarf to camel scarf + earrings

Days 4, 5, 6

Day 4 (Paris to Reims): Black long sleeve tee, khaki cords, black boots, purple wrap, black/red/tan scarf

Day 5 (Conference in Champagne): strappy black dress, black leggings, cream knee socks, oatmeal cardigan, brown boots + necklace

Day 6 (Conference in Champagne): jeans, Breton shirt, casual khaki jacket, black booties

Days 7, 8, 9

Day 7 (Conference Touring in Champagne): jeans, cream blouse over V-neck white tank, motorcycle jacket, black booties, gingham headband

Day 8 (Conference Touring in Champagne): BCBG tunic dress over long sleeved black tee, black leggings, cream knee socks, black boots, purple wrap, plaid blanket scarf

Day 9 (Conference Touring in Champagne): red turtleneck, khaki cords, black boots, red/black/tan scarf

Days 10 11

Day 10 (Conference Touring in Champagne & back to Paris): linen tunic over white bra top tank, black leggings, black boots, red/black/tan scarf

Day 11 (Pre Zara) (Paris): jeans, grey long sleeve tee, black boots, motorcycle jacket

Day 11 (Post Zara) (Paris): Zara striped tee, jeans, black booties

Night 11: Zara dress, black booties

Truth be told, I could’ve done a lot better. I should’ve eliminated the black skirt and LBD from Versona, and added in a few more casual t-shirts. Also, hindsight being 20/20, I really really wish I had packed a pair of flats in addition to the boots and booties. Overall, I think I did pretty well considering the challenge. Have you ever packed for a long vacation in a single carry-on? If so, how did you do it?

I hope this gives you some, if any, insight for packing on your next long vacation! It was nice to only have two bags to handle when on the Metro, trains, and in the airport — not to mention the lack of worry with a checked bag making it to the destination!

Happy Traveling!




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What’s in My Travel Makeup Bag? (Packing for France)

Whats in my travel makeup bag title pic

In tandem with yesterday’s post on my TSA Approved Liquids Bag, I wanted to also give you what’s in my makeup bag for France. This bag is a little cheap one from Wal Mart that I purchased for about $5. I just wanted to use a small-mid sized bag and one that I don’t mind losing if it gets too beat up. This bag is roughly 9 inches long by 6.5 inches tall. It’s small enough to fit into carry on luggage, and large enough to give me two weeks worth of makeup options. Granted, I probably packed more makeup than I really need, but a girl needs options, am I right? 🙂

So, let’s get started! I tried to narrow things down (as much as possible) to use products that can pull double duty and give me as many options as my mood allows. I took out all liquids (foundations, concealers, and glosses) to place in my TSA Approved Liquids bag.

Since there’s no rhyme or reason to my composite photo, I’m going to go through these by category. If you have any questions about a particular product, let me know in the comments!

Travel Makeup


  • Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder in Transparent — This is a staple in my collection. It sets foundation and concealer flawlessly without getting cakey. It does come in skin-tone shades, but I definitely prefer the transparent one. Available at any drug store $4.99.


  • NYX Powder Blush in “Mauve” — I love this blush so much! It’s my favorite every day matte blush. It’s super natural and gives a nice light glow. Plus, it’s super super cheap at $5 (available at Ulta, CVS, Target).
  • Benefit Bella Bamba Blush — I enjoy this blush as a more dramatic blush. It has a slight shimmer to it, and is a bit more on the coral side. It’s like a watermelon and a cantaloupe had a baby blush. This is the travel size that came in one of the Benefit kits. These are great to pick up and store away for traveling. (Full size $28, available at Sephora and Ulta)


  • Soap & Glory Glow All Out — A fabulous powder highlight that isn’t super white shimmer. It has a hint of peach, so it looks so natural. ($19.25 on Amazon)


  • Benefit Hoola Bronzer — This is my all time favorite bronzer. It’s matte and applies so naturally. It’s great for most skin tones, though I wouldn’t recommend it for darker skin tones.

Eye Shadows:

I took this opportunity to make a customized palette using my Makeup Geek Z Palette. If you aren’t familiar with the Makeup Geek empty palettes, you can find them here. They come in three sizes, each holding 9 (small), 28 (large), or 35 (extra large) standard round shadow pans. The back of the palette is magnetic so you can switch your colors in and out as necessary.

I wanted to make sure I had a good mixture of mattes and shimmers with me, so I packed Tarte’s Tartelette matte palette, which I’ve done a full review of here. It’s got a great mirror in it, so that will serve as my on-the-go mirror, if I need it.

So, here’s what I included in my Z Palette:

  • Top Row (L to R) Peach Smoothie (MakeupGeek), Unexpected (MakeupGeek), Prom Night (MakeupGeek)
  • Middle Row (L to R): Shimma Shimma (MakeupGeek), Coppering (MAC), Woodwinked (MAC)
  • Bottom Row: (L to R): Wedge (MAC), Embark (MAC), Expensive Pink (MAC)

*Note: Wedge also doubles as my brow filler.

I can’t leave home without my Maybelline Color Tattoo cream eye shadows. So, I grabbed Bad to the Bronze, which is my all time favorite. (My quick go-to red lip look pairs Bad to the Bronze, layered with Woodwinked, and two coats of mascara, so this was a must for me.) I also included Creamy Beige because it’s a very neutral matte brown, similar to Wedge, and doubles as an eye shadow primer.


  • Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in Brown — I can’t rave about this liner enough. It goes on so smoothly, without pulling on the eyelid, smudges really well for a smokey eye, and stays put all day. And it’s only $3.50 at drug stores. Seriously, it’s the best.
  • Pacifica Natural Waterproof Eye Pencil in Fringe (brown) — I’ve used this one off and on for a while, it’s more matte than the Rimmel, which has a slight sheen to it, so it’s a good contrast in that way. It’s not anything to write home about, but it’s travel size and it gets the job done. (available at Whole Foods, Ulta, Target.)
  • Lord & Berry Silk Kohl Kajal Eye Pencil in Black — This is a great semi-matte black liner that smudges well if needed, and stays put all day. Plus, it’s tiny. ($16, available on their website here.)
  • Xtreme Lashes Glideliner Eye Pencil in Black Pearl — This is my go-to liner for a smokey eye. I smudge it all over my lid before I even begin the smokey eye process. It’s black with a hint of purple in it, and it deepens the color of any shadow you put over it making it more dynamic. Blend quickly though as it sets very fast! (available at the Xtreme Lashes Website for $29)

Brows and Lashes:

  • More Brows by ModelCo — I haven’t tried this yet, so I thought now was a good a time as any. It’s billed as a natural looking brow gel that fills in sparse areas and holds brows in place. We shall see! ($18, available here.)
  • Tarte Lights Camera Lashes (travel size) — I had several travel sized mascaras, so I chose the one I thought I would like the best. I haven’t tried this one yet, but I love Tarte’s Lights Camera Flashes (in the gold packaging, my review here), so if this one is anything like that one, I know I will love it.


Yes, I went overboard here. I know. Don’t judge me, I have a lipstick problem. Again, since there’s no rhyme or reason to the composite photo, I’m just going to list them from left to right as best as I can. If you have questions let me know!

  • Rimmel Show Off Matte in Meteoric Matte — I’ve been raving about this color and this liquid lipstick for a while. (I love the whole range.) But this is a beautiful bold plum-berry that stays put and adds a little drama to any night time look. ($4.99 Available at drug stores)
  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Icy Violet — I love this lipstick for a natural tinted lip. It’s not very violet, but is more on the pink side of purple, so it goes very well with my skin tone when I want a more natural look. (Limited edition, no longer available in store, but is available on Amazon)
  • Cover Girl Colorlicious Lipstick in Bombshell Pink — This is a super fun bright fuchsia. It’s a fun color for a bold daytime lip. These lipsticks have some serious staying power without drying out your lips. ($6.99-$7.99 Available at drug stores)
  • NYX Slim Lip Pencil in Hot Red — I use lip liner only when I wear red lipstick. It keeps it from bleeding all day long. (Available $3.50, Ulta, CVS, Target)
  • Bite Beauty BB for Lips in Tawny — This is just a very high quality balm, in my opinion. It’s reminiscent of the Clinique Almost Lipstick (remember black honey??), and has just a hint of dusty pink color for lips. I wanted to include a balm just to keep my lips hydrated under lipstick. (Available at Sephora, $24)
  • MAC Modesty — My go-to nude when I do a smoky eye. It looks pink, but my lips are very pink naturally, so what appears to be nude in-store always makes me look like a zombie. So, this has a nice hint of rose to it, which works really well for me. (MAC, $16)
  • Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Roomiest Rose — This is a great moisturizing natural to bright rosy pink. Love these for keeping my lips moisturized all day. ($17)
  • MAC RiRi Woo — retro matte red lipstick that I cannot live without. I’m super upset it’s limited edition, but I’ve been told that the Ruby Woo is a near match. (Ruby Woo, MAC $16)
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Polish — I had this travel size in my collection, so I thought I would pack it for exfoliation. I have so many issues with my lips drying out that I exfoliate often and make sure to use a good balm or lip mask while I sleep. (full size $22.50, Available at Sephora)


  • NYX pencil dual sized sharpener
  • 10 spoolis/mascara wands for brows (in case I hate the More Brows Gel) and taming small hair frizzies/baby hairs. (you know which ones I’m talking about!)
  • Eyelash curler

inside travel makeup bag

So, that’s all my makeup! I’ll have plenty of options to create as many looks as necessary. When I travel, I’m definitely that person that needs options. I’d much rather pack pieces than actual planned outfits, and the same applies with makeup. I never know what each day’s inspiration, occasion, time constraint, or weather will be, so I like to plan those things on the go! But, I managed to fit enough makeup, and I am happy about that! What do you take in your travel makeup bag?


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