Yesterday after posting photos of my Hawaii hair, I asked: What is your city doing to your hair? And the answer was: Cute things.
Is today a good hair day? You can still play along on Twitter and Instagram, just use the hashtag #cityhair.
So this is (almost) everything I packed in my carry-on for the press trip I took to Oahu. There was also a photo of me in a bikini that I took with my cell phone the hotel bathroom mirror. As you might imagine, it was a little… much. So this is everything I packed for four days in Hawaii except the photo of me in a blue bikini with ruffles. If you’ve already seen me naked, I will totally send that to you. Otherwise, use your imagination.
For trips to warm places, I try to pack mostly one-pieces (dresses, rompers) because they pack smaller and you don’t have to waste any time worrying about whether you’re packing stuff that matches everything else.
I wore this dress to travel, with a yellow slip underneath so my skin doesn’t show through the perforations. It’s poly, so you can pretty much roll it into a ball and it doesn’t wrinkle, and it also unzips all the way down the front, so you can layer it over things in interesting ways.
Here’s a full shot of the dress, which I also wore on our tour of the Turtle Bay Resort where we were staying. I look so happy here because the dress cost six bucks. I’m genetically unable to shut up about that.
I wore this to the luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center, the dress is Urban Outfitters, and the sweater is thrifted. I’ve since shrunk the dress to half its original size, so look for it as a shirt in future posts.
This romper is by a San Francisco designer whose brand I forget, of course. (She’s in the Mission, tiny shop on one of the numbered side streets between Valencia and Dolores. Anyone?) Anyway, it’s an oddly functional piece of clothing. I can belt it, wear it with tights and a long sleeve shirt, add something with a collar to switch it up. It’s become a bit of a uniform, but ultimately it’s a romper. For romping.
There, that’s better.
This is me in a ruffly dress from H&M, wielding a machete. Machetes are apparently still a thing in Hawaii.
Here’s the full dress with one of the vintage cardigans I brought. I used that sweater constantly, by the way. It was warm, but the breeze at night was a little chilly and there was some rain while we were there.
To save space, I try to pack jammies that can double as clothes if I need them. This is an Old Navy tank, and a pair of workout shorts from American Apparel. Can you imagine how bad the aforementioned bikini shot has to be if I’m willing to post this? Exactly.
Beach coverup! I wore this Urban Outfitters romper over my swimsuit when we headed down for surf lessons at Turtle Bay.
I got the sunglasses at a flea market. They’re made for shooting, and they feel heavenly because of those little side shades. Our trip lead, Mike, said they make me look like a 70-year-old man. I told him to get off my lawn.
American Apparel high-waisted side zip shorts and a random transparent shirt I’ve had forever. This shirt is an awesome suit coverup, so I wore it kayaking because I knew it would fit under the life jacket.
(Aside! Holy crap, have you ever seen a sea turtle? These sea kayaks had glass bottoms, so you could see them swimming around, and I didn’t expect to be so affected by them. One looked right up at me, and it was like I could feel my heart beating in my mouth. Please put “see a sea turtle” on your Life List.)
This is my American Apparel bikini top, which I bought for a trip to Jamaica. The bottom is super high-waisted, which is convenient if you have stretch marks from baby havin’.
You can also cover stretch marks with a lightweight scuba skin, which is excellent for snorkeling. And sexy times.
Trip lead: “Do you want me to sign you up for the surf lesson?”
My brain: “Uhhhhhhhh. I burn pretty easily and doesn’t the reef have a billion kinds of bacteria that will kill you if it cuts you plus I had knee surgery so it sometimes hurts to stand from a kneeling position that’s what she said and what if I don’t know the surfing etiquette and I smack into someone from a prominent family and a surfer kid from the wrong side of the reef defends me and I’m accidentally the catalyst for bloodshed which sharks can smell in the water from like 100 miles away?”
My mouth: “Sure.”
My brain: “… Bring to me all of the rum.”
There are three hours between the decision to surf and the actual surfing, so I order a Mai Tai with my burger. And then they bring me another one. Probably because I ask for it. When the trip lead comes to get us, I order a glass of wine and drink it like it’s a beer can with two holes punched in the bottom.
By the time we make it down to the lesson, I am not drunk per se. I am illuminated. I am prepared to be at one with the hungry sea. I am no longer considering faking a seizure to get out of this. Because that would be wrong.
On land, each of us tries our surfing stance in turn.
OK, this is going fine. I am a land surfing champion. Maybe this will be okay.
While paddling I resist the impulse to lay down on the board and take a nap. So far so good.
This! This is working out! I am on my feet on my first try! The ocean and I are at one!
Whoa. The hell, Ocean? You’re kind of being a dick.
But whatever. I almost stood up! I roll off into the waves feeling okay about it, and I’m relieved to find that surfacing is no big deal. That is until the board cracks into my nose and throws a handful of glitter across my vision.
OW! Et tu, Surfboard? Ow.
Well, now that I’m insta-sober, let’s try this again.
Oof. Again the ocean betrays me; the surfboard greets my nose with enthusiasm a second time. And then a third.
Finally, I tell the instructor that I’m getting clobbered and he says, “Whoa. Really? That almost never happens. Wait for your cord to get taut so you know the board isn’t near you, and then surface with your hands above your head.”
This absolutely works. I wait for the cord around my ankle to go taut, then give a kick… and bash my foot into the reef. Mothra! Fockra! It’s like stubbing your toe against shards of glass.
As I injudiciously paddle out for a fifth wave, the booze completely clears my system. My foot and face throb with every heartbeat. I decide to paddle in, passing a four-year-old local and her dad on their way out. “Oh!” I say. “She’s so awesome!” “Thanks!” her dad says. But the girl just paddles toward me scowling with concentration. As she passes, I hear her yell back at me, “PADDLE! PADDLEPADDLEPADDLEPADDLE!!”
Right. Thanks, kid.
(Thanks also to the Hans Hedemann Surf School at Turtle Bay Resort for the mortifying photos. No really, you guys. Mahalo.)
I’ve always wanted to drive cross country, and I’ve started collecting a little list of places to see along the way. Here’s one for you:
If you find yourself in Petaluma, California, especially if it’s cold out, consider stopping for a drink at the Washoe House.
The place has been around since 1859, and used to be a stop on the stagecoach line. Patrons have been tacking dollar bills to the walls for decades, so the bars walls are almost ruffled. It looks like the world’s most expensive parade float turned inside out.
I can spend hours reading the notes on the bills over an Irish Coffee.
How about you? What would you add to a stranger’s road trip map?
Hello team, please welcome my lovely, kind friend Roxanna from Every Day Treats. I saw her recently at Mom 2.0, and she always looks so smashing that I asked her to do a packing light for us. We were halfway through the trip by the time I asked, so she did an “unpacking” light when she got home instead. Enjoy.
Take it away, Roxanna:
My flight landed at the exact time the opening cocktail party started, so getting dressed was a rush. After checking in, I went into my room changed out of my travel outfit (yoga pants, tank top and a cardigan — all in black) and slipped into this dress. It took five minutes. We all know that little black dresses are magic, and this one is stretchy and comfy, so wearing it feels exactly like wearing a T-shirt without pants.
Dress: Calvin Klein, purchased at TJ Maxx. Calvin Klein dresses fit me well, and TJ Maxx always has them in stock. Therefore, I never pay full price for them. Awesome.
Necklace: A find at a preppy little shop in Wellesley, MA. It cost $15 and I love it so.
Shoes: Naturalizer. These strappy heels are a gold/platinum color and go with everything, so they usually come with me on trips.
This is what I wore on the first day of the conference. I chose a purple top and yellow heels as a nod to Mardi Gras. I don’t think anyone noticed, but it was fun for me.
Unfortunately, I regret wearing jeans. I love skirts and dresses, and since winters are so cold where I live I don’t get to wear them as often as I’d like. So when I walked into the conference the first day and saw so many women in dresses, all I wanted to do was go change. But I didn’t. Instead I gave longing looks to anyone in a skirt and kicked myself for not taking advantage of a chance to wear what I like.
Even worse, I wore jeans so I wouldn’t stand out too much on my first day. I thought that’s what most people would be wearing. What a mistake! I’m always telling people that they should dress for themselves and I didn’t follow my own advice. Bad style blogger! Don’t be like me — pack things you love to wear and nothing else.
Top: Nordstrom, bought off season, so it was 60% off!
Jeans: Joe’s Jeans, also from TJ Maxx.
Shoes: Seychelles purchased at Saks…Off 5th. And they were on sale. Again, I don’t pay full price if I can help it.
After a busy day bummed out by my too casual attire, I was so happy to change into something dressier. We had plans for an evening of misconduct on Bourbon Street. This was my favorite outfit from the entire trip. The night started at Pat O’Brien’s and ended at Galitoire’s, and I was comfortable at both places because I dressed for myself. Lesson learned!
You know how those makeover TV shows tell you to mix textures to “add interest” to your outfits? I think that this is what they mean. I love this skirt because it’s shiny and you can’t tell if it’s made of leather or fabric. People can’t help but touch it — which means that I was petted by many lady bloggers.
I would never pair this skirt with flats at home, but my feet were tired from wearing heels all day at the conference and these were my only other option. Limited choices force you to be creative, and in the end I loved how the whole thing came together.
Top: AK Anne Klein from TJ Maxx! (Are you sensing a pattern? I have an awesome one right by my house.)
Skirt: J. Crew, bought off season and on sale.
I’m obsessed with personal style blogs and this is me trying to look like a style blogger. I could use some practice. I was going for sultry, but the expression on my face is actually me noticing that I need to mop my floor:
Housekeeping aside, this outfit is so comfortable. This skirt is better than wearing yoga pants, because it’s missing the pants part. I take it with me on almost every trip. You can also wear it as dress, and while I prefer longer skirts it’s nice to have options.
Tee: Banana Republic (I paid $5 for it!)
Skirt: J. Crew
Shoes: Jack Rogers (these never go on sale, but I live in them in the summer so they’re worth it.)
I wore the same dress with different jewelry and shoes (the black flats) to the reading at the Eiffel Society. I actually had another skirt and top to wear, but it turns out I didn’t even need them. If you travel a lot, invest in a black sheath.
And that’s it! Other than my travel outfit and another set of workout clothes to sleep in, this is everything I brought to the conference. Everything fit in a carry on and it was more than enough. See you next year!
Thanks, Roxanna. You are a peach. If you’d like to read more on Roxanna’s packing light philosophy, you might like this short post from her site. Please let me know in comments if you’d like to see more Packing Light features from friends (maybe a guy friend?), or if there’s anything that’s been perplexing to you about how to fit everything in a carryon. I’ve been getting a lot of requests for packing lists for people who have tough trips ahead of them. Is that something you care to see, or too personalized to be of use? Let me know.
As you know, I’m all about the carry-on luggage. A carry-on and a backpack can get me through almost anything, mostly because carry-ons will hold way more than most people think, especially if you’re going somewhere warm. Here’s what I packed for New Orleans.
The denim skirt is thrifted and the striped top is Urban Outfitters. Anna Beth Chao only weighs like three pounds, so you can fold her right down into the exterior pocket of the carry-on. I take her everywhere. Chao and champagne.
There was a cocktail party that first night, so I wore my vintage fringe happy dress, which requires zero ironing. I take it everywhere.
These are my fallback shoes, which operate on the theory that if you’re a woman over six feet tall in heels, no one notices what you’re wearing anyway. I need a new pair, because I’ve had these for nearly a decade. It’s impossible to find stable, comfortable, unreasonably tall shoes, but it’s time. Help a sister out, Internet.
The next day was my presentation. I like to be totally comfortable on stage, so I went with this simple navy shift from H&M and swapped the belt out for a striped scarf. The orange travel flats are Tieks, and I also wore two square glass orange rings, because I like to be matchy matchy like that. You’ll see those below.
A group of us went to dinner later that night, and I wore a romper I got at Forever 21 for 16 cents. Cheap prices for disposable clothing is why I continue to shop there, even though they purposefully play music to annoy people my age. You’ll have to more than blast Avril Levigne to drive me away from prices like this Forever 21! Actually, I love that “What the Hell” song, so I’m golden. I am bopping in the aisles, Forever21.
I wore the romper with very basic open toe black flats from H&M. I don’t have any full-length shots of this outfit that you haven’t already seen, so I’m cheating by using a shot from New York. There are, however, several shots of me looking naked at dinner:
“Oh, don’t mind me. I put a dinner napkin on the chair before I sat down.”
This is my impression of cruise director Julie McCoy. Can you feel me setting a course for adventure?
The skirt is from Buenos Aires, and the tennies are knockoff Bensimons, which I got on the cheap at the now-defunct Martin and Osa. I need to replace those badly, but can’t bring myself to spend $50 on a pair of slightly more awesome canvas Keds.
Scarf is another vintage Vera tied as an ascot. The button-up shirt is from The Limited, which makes great shirts for business travel because they aren’t 100 percent cotton, which means they have stretch to them and don’t wrinkle nearly so easily. My glasses are Dolce and Gabanna.
That night I wore an American Apparel dress for my reading, with the same heels we talked about earlier.
As you know, I like to take jammies that I can wear as clothes in a pinch. This time, I packed this grey romper, also from Forever21, also 16 cents. The cashmere sweater is from the Alameda Flea Market.
I stayed a couple extra days with Anna Beth, so I revisited the navy shift for lunch at Commanders Palace. Here you can see the aforementioned orange rings, which I got from street vendors in Buenos Aires:
I also wore my stripe top again, this time with a little black mini from Urban Outfitters:
And a scarf from H&M:
Again, I failed to get a photo of what I wore on the plane due to exhaustion. I know this makes you rabid, so I’ll say I wore a short cotton mini-dress over tight jeans with the gray striped sweater, a blazer, and the white sneakers.
And that’s it, team.
One day soon I’ll do a post about what I wear on planes to maximize comfort and go from cold (San Francisco) to warm (everywhere else). Speaking of which, do you have a standard travel outfit? If so, spill. I could use a variation on the dress/leggings/sweater theme.
Also, keep an eye on this space, because I asked Roxanna from Everyday Treats to tell me what she packed for New Orleans. She always looks amazing, and she sent photos. Hooray, Roxanna!
This beard belongs to my friend Pableaux Johnson, a New Orleans native who literally wrote the book on eating in his home town. Whenever we got hungry, I called Pableaux, so he could tell us where to go, what to order, and how to make our meal a better experience. Much of the advice below is straight from Pableaux’s mouth, and I’ve never eaten better. (Thanks again, mister.)
1. Shrimp Po’ Boy at Parkway
Go hungry. If you can, go hungover. Walk past the line winding through the patio, and find the bar in back. If you can get a seat, the waitress will take your order right away. Order the Shrimp Po’ Boy, the sweet potato fries, and a side of the beef gravy for dipping. If it’s the season, you’ll want a Strawberry Abita too.
Stay as long as you want. Have another beer.
2. Beignets at Café Du Monde
Once you’ve tasted these beignets, the memory will bring you comfort. Warm, soft, sweet, and your soundtrack is a man singing gospel on the corner.
3. Hamburger at Slim Goodies
The quintessential burger, the first I’ve eaten in a restaurant that reminded me of the ones my mom fried up in a cast iron skillet at home. Thick, salty, fatty perfection.
4. Moscow Mule or House Sazerac at Bar Tonique
Come to Bar Tonique while the sun’s still out, and have a seat. Don’t make any special requests, don’t try to direct your bartender through the mix. Just sit down, and let them give you something better than what you know how to order.
If you’re a whiskey drinker, the House Sazerac will make you calmer, more acute. What you’re tasting there is a little fennel. If you’re thirsty and want something juicy, ask for the Moscow Mule. Knock it with your straw, and watch the flurries of fresh ginger dance around the ice.
5. Muffaletta at Cochon
Cochon has an in-house boucherie, so order something meaty like this Muffaletta. The cocktails are just as good as the food, and and the food is just fine, thank you very much.
6. Strawberry Abita on the porch
First off, I’m usually dubious about flavored beer. The Strawberry Abita, however, doesn’t try to pretend it’s a wine cooler. It tastes like cold beer with a little bit of extra summer on the backend. Like eating iced strawberries and popping open a beer chilled in the same bucket.
7. Turtle Soup at Commander’s Palace or Brennan’s
Unfortunately, turtle soup isn’t to my taste, but you’re a visitor so you’re honor-bound to try it. I tried a bowl at Commander’s Palace — where they take three days to make it — and a bowl at Brennan’s. They were remarkably similar to me, but I had a sentimental preference for the bowl at Brennan’s because the staff was singing happy anniversary to a gray-haired couple at the next table.
When they ask if you’d like some Sherry floated on top, you would.
8. Pimm’s Cup at Napoleon House
It’s hot. You want a drink with a cucumber in it, and this is where you should get it. Wait to sit on the patio.
9. Eggs Benedict at Stanley
Pableaux said if he had three days to eat breakfast in the French Quarter, he’d eat at Stanley all three times. Fair enough.
10. Strawberry Shortcake at Commander’s Palace
Make your reservation, fasten your pearls, and set aside a few hours for lunch at Commander’s Palace. When they offer you a dark napkin because your dress is black, let your brain unclench. Order the two-course special, and ask for the House Martini, which is a quarter. You heard me. (If you don’t drink martinis, the House Cosmo is also 25 cents, as are a nebulous blue drink, and a florescent green drink, neither of which we can discuss here.)
Everyone will tell you to finish up with the bread pudding soufflé, but if the strawberry shortcake is in season, you know what to do. Bring a cigarillo in your clutch, because you should be pleasantly illuminated by the time you leave. There’s a lovely graveyard across the street where you can chat with your girlfriend, and pat your hair back into place while you smoke.