Mighty Life List
Nov 15 2010

Travel Backpack Pack List and Windows Phone 7 Giveaway

This is the super fancy Windows Phone 7. Behold!

Ooo. Shiny.

The idea behind the phone is that you can do all kinds of stuff with it, so you don’t have to carry so many gadgets around to stay on top of your life. As you know from the Packing Light series, I’m all about doing more with less, specifically only what you can fit in a carry-on and a backpack

Lots of you have asked me what I pack in my backpack while I’m on the road. All of my electronics go in there, so here’s my list of what’s in my “personal item” bag when I’m boarding a plane.

Digital SLR with 50mm 1:1:4 lens
Camera battery charger
Phone charger
Earbuds
Laptop charger
Laptop
Magazine
Moleskine journal
Pens that won’t explode in flight
A hard case for my glasses
A small purse that contains:
-my wallet
-keys
-phone
-and a mesh zip bag with:
+Waleda hand cream
+Burt’s Bees lip balm
+Lipstick
+Eye drops
Comfort kit with
-snacks
-teabags
-a sleeping mask
-earplugs
-an inflatable neck pillow with knit cover

How about you? What’s your bare minimum of what you need to be comfortable when you’re traveling, or working, or just getting ready in the morning? What are your tricks for doing more with less in your life?

I’m giving away one Windows Phone 7, which is worth about $500, plus all this good stuff:

-A one year XBOX Live Gold membership
-A three month unlimited Zune Pass — which lets you download and stream unlimited music and keep 30 songs forever and ever.
- A T-Mobile SIM, active until November 30. (If you’re already a T-Mobile subscriber, you can also use your existing SIM.)

To enter, all you have to do is leave a tip in comments about how you’re doing more with less. You can enter once a day, but you’ll need to cough up a new and improved tip every time you comment. I assume this helps ensure that you are not a robot. Not that I have anything against robots.

Now for the fine print. The contest is open until November 29, and as usual I’ll pick a winner using random.org. I’ll email the winner, and once he or she emails me back, I’ll announce who it was on Mighty Girl. Sound good? Great. The crazy detailed details are here, as are the bazillion (or so) other sites where you can go to enter for another chance to win the phone. I encourage you to do so.

This giveaway was brought to you by the new Windows Phone 7. Less MIA. More PTA: Learn about Windows Phone online and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today.

Sep 28 2010

Mighty Summit: Packing Light

This is everything I packed for the Mighty Summit in the Russian River wine country. As you might have surmised, it takes some time to decide what to wear in front of 30 bloggers’ digital SLRs. This is the third post in the L.L.Bean Signature series, so you’ll find a few of those products below.

Is this me wearing another shirt as a dress? Maybe. Maybe it is, Internet. I have seen photo evidence that this might be shorter than I expected, but whatever. I was amongst the team.

I wore this with jeans and sneakers while we were unpacking boxes from the car. Then I changed into the tights and boots for the welcome party, which involved cocktails, and sliders, and smart ladies by the pool. This shirt/dress is Urban Outfitters, the tights are Target and they’re grey, though you can’t really tell from the photo.

The equestrian boots you are from L.L.Bean. Let’s go ride horses, you guys! No? Do you want a tiny little hamburger? Yeah, these boots are perfect for sliders.

The next morning we had a pajama breakfast, and I wore my vintage red velvet Christmas Robe with a T-shirt and boxers underneath.

Many a time have I considered cropping this robe and wearing it as trench coat, but this is only my third year owning The Christmas Robe. I cannot resist its Donna Reed qualities, even though I can’t fully raise my arms while I’m wearing it. Passing out presents is so dainty when you can’t bend at the elbow. Or shoulder. Fashion!

This is what I wore for wine tasting in the ‘70s. The preppy ruffle sweater is L.L.Bean, the cha-cha skirt is vintage (you may remember it from Puerto Rico), and the bronze cowboy boots are from Buenos Aires, which means I particularly enjoy it when people ask me where I got them. (Ask me about my boots!)

Actually, boots story. Margaret and her family came to Argentina with us, and her main goal for the trip was to find a pair of cowboy boots. These were the only pair she loved, but they were slightly too small. She said I should try them on, and they fit me perfectly. She selflessly passed them to me, and I promised I would wear them into the ground. We high-fived over the boots at the Summit, where Margaret also presented me with an amazing vintage dress she picked up for me in Dublin. In conclusion, Margaret is a wardrobe sister.

This outfit is my favorite thing ever, you guys. I took our fiesta palette inspiration from this Kate Spade ad, so the colors were red, lemon yellow, robin’s egg blue, and plum/fuchsia. I wasn’t sure what I’d wear to the party, until I realized that I actually owned a piece in every one of these colors. Here’s a better view of the tights:

Liz is rocking that striped dress. I covet her wardrobe, so look for her in a Mighty Closet soon.

My dress is H&M, tights and shoes are Target Online, and the cardigan is vintage. The sweater is such an old favorite that there’s a huge hole in the elbow of one arm, so I wore the sleeves pushed up.

FYI, this entire outfit, including shoes, cost $40. POW! Sock!

This is what I’d look like if you showed up at my apartment unannounced at around 8 a.m., and I happened to be sabering open a bottle of champagne.

As you know, I try to pack jammies that I can wear as outfits. I was so tired the third day, I didn’t entirely change out of my PJs until evening. The heather grey v-neck tee is Old Navy, the leggings are H&M. (To hike through the redwoods I pulled on boyfriend jeans from Limited.) The versatile wrap sweater is from Ambience in SF. It’s my version of a sweatshirt. Speaking of which:

This is me trying to convince Andrea to get an American Apparel sheer circle scarf. I use it as a wrap, a scarf, a hood, a top, a dress, a sarong, an airplane blanket. Someday I plan to do a trip with only this scarf, a toothbrush, and a couple pairs of underwear and an Esquire Magazine.

This is what I wore to our farewell dinner at Barndiva. Turban, FTW! Natalie got this hat for me as a present, because she is rad, and because she keeps trying to steal my yellow turban, which she cannot have. The tuxedo jacket is L.L.Bean; which I’ll have tailored to fit more closely when baggy goes out of fashion, and then will wear for the rest of time. The weirdly comfy high heels are from Nordstrom Rack.

My dress is vintage, purchased to hide post-baby chub at a time when people were still asking me when I was due, ie: twelve months after I’d given birth. Those people can suck it.

Many thanks to L.L.Bean for sponsoring this post. All of their products featured here are part of the current L.L.Bean Signature Collection, so they’re available now on the site, along with many other cute things that you might want, eh?

Nov 17 2009

Packing Light: Laura Mayes, Outfit 1

pllauraflowglasses

Speaking of The Industrious Laura Mayes, I took some photos of her outfits while I was in Greece so we’d have another perspective for the Packing Light series. Laura is an Emmy-winning writer, editor of the new Kirsty book, and fellow Broad Summit organizer. I love having her around, because even when she’s tired or having a rough time, she still seems joyful.

pllauraflowear

See what I mean?

Laura’s earrings are from Target, and she stole the flower from a bush on the hotel grounds. I was scandalized.

pllauraflowhair

Laura also dressed up her ponytail by covering the band with a bit of hair. In case that seems like a Houdini-style achievement to you, here’s a quick how-to:

-Pull your hair into a ponytail like usual,
-take a piece of hair from your ponytail and wrap it around the rubber band until the end is on the underside of your ponytail,
-secure that bit of hair beneath the band with two bobby pins crossed over one another in an X shape. Note: You’ll want to tuck the bobby pins into your hair as you pin so they don’t show.

And voila.

pllauraflowfull

Laura got her dress at a vintage shop in Houston, and her sunglasses are Prada. Laura can have Prada sunglasses because she apparently doesn’t lose them every time she wears them like I do.

pllauraflowbracelet

This yellow cuff is from a New York boutique, and Laura keeps it in heavy rotation.

pllauraflowshoes

Her patent red ballet flats are Gucci. Laura is another friend who tends to be serious about her shoes. I personally think it’s dangerous to wear “there’s no place like home” shoes when you’re vacationing in Greece, but Laura lives on the edge.

pllauraflowdance

For the record, this is how Laura responds when you’ve been barking orders at her as you photograph and then you say, “Now, dance, monkey! Dance!” She takes direction well.

Tomorrow we’ll discuss Laura’s Mighty-inspired packing strategy.

Oct 27 2009

My Packing Master List

So, as many of you know, I’m into packing. Deeply into it. Maybe it’s because my well-packed suitcase is a haven of organization compared to my closet, which looks like a 75% off sale in a communal changing room at Dress Barn.

Anyway, my friend Asha worked with Microsoft Office to compile this Slideshare Parent Toolbox. A bunch of bloggers are posting templates that make their lives easier, and I contributed my Packing Master List! (I need you to imagine fireworks here.) It’s the list I use to start packing for any trip — it includes several variable lists, and even a pre-trip to do list. I seriously can’t believe I’ve never thought to post it before.

Here you go. Go somewhere good:

Sep 11 2009

Packing Light: Greece Edition

If you’ve been reading long, you already know the drill from my packing posts about New York and Puerto Rico. I don’t like to check luggage if I can help it, so I try to fit everything in a carry-on and my laptop bag. This is what I packed for two weeks in Greece. It’s eight outfits total, and my plan was to wear everything twice, but on different islands.

redflowers

This is my favorite vintage dress. It’s cotton and it has pockets, purrrr. Great for visiting churches when I’m traveling, because it covers the shoulders and knees, but it’s cool and easy to move in. I can also plop down on the ground without worrying I’m flashing everyone, so it’s good for traveling with the toddler too. The shoes are my navy saltwater sandals.

redflowersit

Because it’s cotton, this dress wrinkles in the suitcase, so Bryan taught me a trick from his acting days. Head into your hotel bathroom with the dress on a hanger, turn the shower on hot, wet a washcloth, wring it slightly, and then pat the dress down. The little wrinkles will fall out with the steam, and the wet washcloth takes care of the big ones. I just put the dress on damp and let it dry on me, but you can also let it dry overnight.

The glasses are a drugstore purchase from years ago, the headband is an elastic 99-center from H&M. So useful, that I actually gave Melissa one when we were in Puerto Rico, because she lamented having lost the ones she picked up in San Francisco. You need one too. More on that later.

blackdress

This is a simple black, drop-waist dress that I got for $7 at a thrift store when I was in college. On the plane, I wore this with a pair of black leggings, my trusty slip-off gold flats (see Puerto Rico post if you’re curious about those), a pale blue cardigan, and my swimsuit wrap worn as a scarf (the wrap also doubled as a blanket). Again, I’ve failed you in photographing my travel outfit. Don’t think I can’t hear you cursing me from here.

blackdressclose

I think the dress is rayon, but it reacts to water like crepe — either way, it doesn’t really wrinkle. I bought the hat for 10 Euros in Santorini, because I didn’t pack a sunhat. Which was dumb. Be ye not so dumb, my traveling friends.

The purse is from Buenos Aires, the necklace is my favorite, a gift from Bryan purchased at Rare Device. I can’t believe I’m blanking on the artist’s name. One of you knows, I’ll bet. Let me know in comments, and I’ll update.

shortsfull

These are the same shorts I took to Puerto Rico, they’re Rocawear. The shirt is a men’s undershirt, Hanes I think.

shortsscarf

The brooch is a long vintage silk scarf that I made into a flower shape and pinned to my shirt with safety pins. Because I am crafty.

redfull

Oh man this dress is so good. Also vintage, and unfortunately polyester — the yucky kind. I got past it though, and it’s great for traveling.

redwrist

Bryan brought back the bracelet from a work trip to China. All my cool jewelry is from Bryan.

redskirt

The gladiator sandals were my main shoes for this trip. They’re surprisingly comfy, though buckled a little loose in this photo. They’re from Delia’s, which is a teen catalog that’s great for accessories and trendy stuff that you only need to last for a year or so.

romp

Speaking of trendy stuff that doesn’t need to last, here’s a $15 romper I bought for the trip from Urban Outfitters (Be careful, that site now has music! Ugh).

rompjump

I told you a while ago that I like to pack jammies that can double as outfits, and these were supposed to be my jammies. I ended up wearing them almost more than anything else, the knit was crazy comfortable. Action wear!

rompear

The giant earrings are from a shop in Kentucky. They’re lightweight.

headband

Back to that headband. I keep it in my purse when I travel because my hair invariably starts to look scraggly with wind and swimming, or I get too hot to wear it down. With this, I can pull it into a ponytail and use the band to clean up the stray frizz caused by humidity. It’s easy to do without a mirror, and the result is casual, but a little more polished.

greecefull

This dress is by 25singles. The sleeves are constructed so I can push them to the front and back and wear a cardigan without any added bulk on my shoulders. Great for the city.

greecejump

Greece is all about jumping for me, apparently. Anyway, you can see here how the sleeves only attach at the top, so you can arrange the folds for more tummy or bum coverage, as you desire. Genius.

greeceneck

The necklace is actually two necklaces from H&M, which I knotted together.

tankfull

Here are those shorts again. The tank is by H&M, and is much fuller than it appears in this photo. I actually decided it was a little unflattering on this trip, and probably won’t be wearing it again. Such are the perils of seeing yourself in photos.

The shoes were a blog rec by Elizabeth from Browner Brown. They’re $17 Saniya Pointed Toe Flats from Target, and they’re rubber soled. They didn’t give me problems on this trip, but have since given me pinky toe blisters. Great with tights though, and I love the color.

tankscarf

The scarf is the same one I used as a brooch above. This time I looped it twice around my head, tied it on top, and tucked the loose ends under for an updated Rosie the Riveter vibe.

treefull

This is another vintage find. That green band has crazy giraffes and other jungle animals in play, which is spectacular. Super comfy.

treebelt

The fish-scale belt is elasticized, I got it at a thrift store. The waist on this dress is a little high for me, so I like to define it a bit.

treetop

Sunglasses were on loan from Laura, as an Englishman had accidentally absconded with mine the night before, thinking they were his girlfriend’s.

suitwrapfront

This is my swim wrap, which I bought in Bali on my honeymoon. It’s essentially a large rectangle of linen with a random button and a random tie. I have to figure out how to wear the damn thing every time I put it on, but it’s great to travel with because I can also use it as a scarf or a blanket on the plane. It’s by Oka Diputra.

suitwrapback

The back gives you a little insight into how it’s fashioned. Button at the neck, tie at the waist. Supposedly you can wear it like fifteen different ways, but I have no idea how.

suit

Here’s my new La Blanca suit! I’m excited because I almost never buy new swimsuits. I may just be turning over a new leaf on that though. (Sorry this is a little blown out, my camera was on the wrong setting.) I got it on sale at Nordstrom.com. I like that it’s a sexy one piece, but I don’t feel like my boobs are hanging out. Also? Red! Which is the very best color for a swimsuit.

And that’s it! Here’s a shot of my suitcase.

suitcase

I had so much extra room, that I decided to throw in my rollers, which was ludicrous. I used them twice and they made my bag heavy, which is a Packing Light fail.

You can also sort of see that I packed two things that didn’t get much play, a yellow turban purchased in Puerto Rico, and a white men’s button down to wear as a coverup (I wore it for sleeping instead). The red and white striped thing is an adorable $10 beach bag from Walmart, which I used a couple times as a shopping bag, and to carry home Hank’s gifts without crushing them. I also had a pair of black flip-flops, which got a ton of use.

Regrets? Well, the stupid curlers. Come on, Maggie. Also, I should have worn a sunhat on the plane. It took a while to find a reasonable one, and I don’t totally love it. Also, in retrospect, I would have thrown in three or four more evening dresses. We tended to wear casual clothes during the day, and dress things up at night. It would have been good to have a few more in the vein of my 25singles dress.

Also, I would have stuffed my busy husband and my cranky toddler in, because as fun as it is to travel with girlfriends, I missed those guys.

I was in Greece because Intel is sponsoring my Mighty Life List. Next week, I’m going skin diving in the Arctic Circle! Stay tuned.