My Love-Hate Relationship with Packing: Washington, D.C. Edition


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Decisions are hard, to say the least. I’m definitely not great at making decisions, even though I have somehow become the go-to decision maker for my friend group at school.

Style decisions, at least for me, are some of the hardest to make. I’m heading to Washington, D.C. for Panhellenic Weekend 2016, held by D.C. Greeks, and since I’m traveling by train and bus, I want to pack light. The thing is, this event is basically a giant party, including one event that is “cocktail attire optional,” so the type of clothing that I’m packing this time around is incredibly different than the type of clothing I packed for my (unsuccessful) trip to Connecticut.

Like I said in my September Haul, I recently purchased a bunch of new clothes specifically for this trip, but honestly, I might have bought too much. I mean, I’ll definitely wear all of it, but I might not actually need it all for this specific trip. Following the tips I outlined in the Connecticut post, I tried to make my decision by mixing and matching and knowing my itinerary. That actually was pretty easy, considering that I already had a preference for some outfits over others, so as far as clothing goes, I ended up packing:

The hardest fashion decision I had to make was picking which dresses I wanted to bring. I had purchased three for the occasion, but in all honestly, I may only need one. I decided that I should bring two out of the three with me, just in case I do need a second one.

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I had to pick from these three dresses: (from left to  right) JAX Side Lace Scuba Dress, Forever 21 Contemporary Grid Print Dress, and JAX Square Neck Mixed Media Sheath Dress

I already knew that I was obsessed with the grid-patterned dress from Forever 21, so that immediately stayed in the running. Now, I had to eliminate one more dress. This was a little harder because the dresses are the same brand and kind of similar, so I followed my tips from Connecticut and tried to make my decision. I ended up making my choice based on the concept of mixing and matching. I’m very weird and particular about mixing metals, and honestly, I have a preference for silver over gold. The Mixed Media dress prominently features gold, but the bag I was planning on bringing to the events features silver accents. I’m just not comfortable with the way that would look together, and I didn’t want to pack an extra purse, so I decided to eliminate the Mixed Media dress.

 

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Both of these dresses match well with my bag (similar here), so mixing and matching is easy!

 

 

That rest of my packing was actually pretty easy, so as far as clothing goes, I ended up packing:

  • two fancy dresses
  • one casual dress
  • one jumpsuit
  • Spanx (hey, sometimes a girl needs her shape wear!)
  • one corduroy skirt
  • three sweaters
  • three pairs of heels
  • one pair of jeans
  • one pair of leggings
  • one strapless bra

I found that the real struggle, however, was in choosing what makeup I wanted to bring with me.

 

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Some of my fave beauty necessities, such as Garnier’s Micellar Water, elf’s Poreless Face Primer, and EcoTools’s Bamboo Finishing Kabuki Brush. Also, peep my super cute and colorful makeup bag (similar here)!

 

Since I was supposed to go to Connecticut for a church retreat, I packed very minimal makeup. But since I need to get completely dolled up for this shindig, my makeup decisions are much more imperative. Here are some tips for how I made my decisions.

  1. Get a good makeup bag: This is essential. I’ve had the same makeup bag for a few years now, but I love it because it’s sturdy and has plenty of compartments for me to stow my products. It even folds into a smaller package to easily fit in my luggage. Look to something with zipper or snap compartments so you can pack a lot in there but still make sure your precious makeup is safe and secure.
  2. Don’t skip steps: Don’t sacrifice priming or finishing products just to pack light. Especially for an event like Panhellenic Weekend, where I’m going to be dancing all night long, it is imperative for me to make sure I prep my face well before applying makeup so it doesn’t budge while I’m on the dancefloor. Also, finishing products like a setting spray or finishing powder make your makeup picture perfect, so don’t skip this if you know you’re gonna be snapping a ton of selfies!
  3. Pick your faves: I have a handful of beauty products that I save for very special events, either because they were too expensive for me to use on a daily basis, or because it’ll look silly if I wear them to class. This is one of those weekends where I bring those special products out to play. Not only will they make your makeup look extra special, but you’ll finally get the chance to use your products. At the same time, don’t skip out on the everyday products that you absolutely love! Your favorite eyeliner, foundation or lip gloss should still have its place in your routine.

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    These three products by one of my favorite makeup brands, NYX, are my special event go-tos. The Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator is just a touch too shiny for my everyday routine, but perfect for a night out. The NYX Wonder Stick for highlighting and contouring is a little too drastic for my school-day look, so I save it for when I know I’m going to be taking a ton of pictures. The Highlight & Contour Pro Palette gets reserved for incredibly special occasions because it is the most expensive piece of makeup I’ve ever purchased (I’m a drugstore beauty queen, what can I say?), but I love being able to finally use it!
  4. Mix and match: Just like with clothes, try to mix and match your makeup looks while traveling. You can stick to the same basics, like eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara, to save space and pack lightly, but pick ones that work for multiple outfits. For example, you can pick  one eyeshadow palette that can match anything you wear while away instead of bringing multiple palettes with you.
  5. Splurge: But at the same time, I understand that sometimes choosing is hard. You don’t want to limit yourself on the way you look, so choose one item that you’re going to allow yourself to pack multiple of. I am a lipstick addict, so I packed several different colors. Plus, since my outfits are going to have all different shades of purples and reds, I don’t have any one color that will really match perfectly with all my outfits. I couldn’t just limit myself to one.

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    I own more lipsticks than I care to admit, mostly by NYX, but also with some colors from elf and Revlon.
  6. Skip Supersizing: I know they say bigger is better, but that isn’t always the case when traveling. Yeah, it can be tempting to bring a big container of some beauty product on a trip with you, but only bring what you need. I use Vaseline on my lips a lot, so I keep a giant pot of it right next to my bed. But when I travel, I only need a tiny pot, because there’s no way I’m even going through that in three days. Same goes for toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner, makeup wipes and face wash. By using the travel sized options, you’re leaving yourself room for larger must-haves that don’t come in smaller sizes, like leave-in conditioner or other hair products.
  7. Don’t Forget Removal: Just because you’re going away for a few days doesn’t mean you get to skip taking care of your skin. Make sure after your night on the town you remove all your makeup and wash your face to prevent build-up. The last thing you want is to come home and have to deal with breakouts!

I’m really excited to head to D.C., catch up with some friends and dance the night away! Hopefully, I’ll get to share some details with you when I return. I hope you guys have some awesome trips coming up and can use these packing tricks to make your experience a little less stressful! Let me know about any cool adventures you’re taking and any packing stories, mishaps or tips you may have. Happy and safe travels, Tasters!

xx,

Toni

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Packing: Connecticut Edition


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I have always been a girl who loves too much. I love people too much, I love food too much, I love shoes and clothes way too much. Which makes packing for anything a challenge from the get-go. I always pack (you guessed it) too much, and then I have to schlep a gazillion heavy bags to wherever I’m headed. Not. Fun.

But the contradiction lies in the fact that I love packing. There’s something about it that makes me feel so productive and grown-up. Maybe I associate packing with adventure and journeys so I get all excited when I pack. All I know is that packing makes me feel official and gives me purpose.

That’s not to say it’s easy. It definitely isn’t, due very much to my original problem of over-packing. Even when my mom used to pack for me, I would somehow find a way to sneak more and more things into my luggage. My mom hasn’t packed a suitcase for me in close to a decade, so the blame is falling more and more on me, and now that I live in a dorm room and not at home, it is much more imperative for me to pack light for my own convenience and sanity.

I spent five weeks as a counselor at a sleep-away camp called Camp Saint Paul this summer, and even though I was only supposed to stay for four weeks, I somehow managed to pack my suitcase with enough clothing to last me months, even though I had convinced myself that I packed light this year. How in the world could I have been so wrong?

So now, I’m limiting myself.

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I’m spending the weekend in Connecticut at an Orthodox Christian Fellowship retreat (more details to come soon!), and I am traveling by train, so it was incredibly important that I pack in a smart and efficient manner. I knew exactly what I needed, so I packed no more and no less. I packed:

  • two T-shirts
  • one pair of jeans
  • one pair of joggers
  • one dress
  • one pair of ballet flats
  • one rain jacket
  • one set of pajamas
  • four underwear
  • toiletries: BB cream, mascara, eyeliner, makeup wipes, toothpaste, toothbrush, perfume, deodorant, pads, a razor
  • a pillow
  • a blanket
  • a sleeping bag
  • a journal
  • my planner
  • my Kindle
  • my camera
  • notes to study (I have a media law midterm next week)

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That’s enough for an outfit on Saturday, an outfit for liturgy on Sunday, and a travel outfit for when I leave the church on Sunday. I’m honestly really proud of myself for the surprisingly light and efficient packing that I did, so here are some of my tips and tricks on how to pack smart!

  1. Make a list: Making a list of what you need to pack without a doubt makes your life easier. It lets you check things off as you go so you can be certain you have everything you need. When I was packing my suitcase for Connecticut, I nearly forgot pajamas. Like, my suitcase was packed and zipped and ready to go, all without pajamas. Thankfully, I consulted my list again and realized my mistake.

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    I would be no where in life without the Notes app on my iPhone. This checklist option makes my life so much easier.
  2. Mix and match: Mixing and matching the pieces of your outfit can make packing a million times easier. The less items you need to pack the better, right? Now, I’m not saying pack one underwear or shirt and wear it for the entire duration of your trip, but planning your outfits around re-wearable accessories like shoes will make your packing lighter. I packed one pair of shoes that I need for liturgy on Sunday, and the rest of the time I will be wearing the shoes I’m traveling in, which is my maroon Vans.
  3. Know your itinerary: Knowing what activities you might be preparing in will help you know exactly what you need to pack. Since I knew I’d be attending a church service, for example, I knew I needed to pack a dress and nice shoes. This ensures that I won’t feel out of place or be uncomfortable in any situation presented to me while I’m away.
  4. Early preparation: Getting your packing done earlier instead of waiting till the last minute helps you ensure that you don’t forget anything while getting your things together. Like my issue with the pajamas, I would’ve been much more likely to forget them if I had packed after all of my classes instead of the night before.
  5. Check the weather: Checking the weather of your intended destination will help you pack clothes that you’ll be comfortable in. I knew the forecast for Connecticut this weekend predicted rain, so I made sure to pack my fave raincoat. Even if I’m not outside that much, I’d rather be over-prepared than under-prepared.
  6.  Layer: On the topic of climate, you may not know how it will be inside your destination. Sometimes it’s freezing cold, other times the heat is blasting. By planning out outfits that you can layer with, like a T-shirt and a sweatshirt or sweater, you make sure that you’re prepared for anything.
  7. Solve the puzzle: This might be both the hardest and funnest part. Packing is indeed a puzzle. You need to make the most of the space you have so you can pack as much as possible. The key to this is finding a way to condense your belongings as much as possible and then fit them together almost like Tetris. I tried to accomplish this for this particular trip by stuffing my pillow at the bottom of my suitcase and then packing everything on top of it. I rolled almost all of my clothes so that they would take up the least amount of space possible and could be stacked. Anything that I didn’t fold got placed on top of what was already there. My toiletries sat in any empty spaces. Don’t forget to take advantage of any zipped compartments your suitcase may have!

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    A successfully solved puzzle… I think. The clothes I’m going to wear first are on top to make my life a little easier, too!

I’m super glad I got to have this experience with packing because I’m heading on a trip to Washington, D.C. in early November, and even though I’ll need to pack totally different items, this really taught me how to pack more efficiently. I hope you guys have some awesome trips coming up and can use these packing tricks to make your experience a little less stressful! Let me know about any cool adventures you’re taking and any packing stories, mishaps or tips you may have. Happy and safe travels, Tasters!

xx,

Toni

Email: tantilizinglytasteful@gmail.com

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