Travel Wardrobe: Quick Trip to Raleigh / Durham

We went to the Raleigh/Durham area a few weekends ago for a friend’s wedding. It was a long weekend involving everything from a wiffle ball tournament at beautiful Umstead State Park (complete with Yogi Berra/Abraham Lincoln custom-made t-shirts) to, obviously, a wedding, at the lovely and delicious Caffé Luna. The rehearsal dinner was at Sitti – tasty Lebanese food. We also ate at Lilly’s pizza (good beer, pizza was fine but I think I’d pick a different flavor next time) and at Elmo’s Diner for brunch where the huevos rancheros hit the spot. The locals love Elmo’s so the lines were long but moved quickly.

We didn’t have time for a Durham Bulls game (which we have enjoyed in the past) or to hit up the Marbles Children’s Museum (only $5 a pop!) but they’re both on the list for next time.

Here’s what I wore:
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Yes this is a Goodwill dressing room – I continue to be unimpressed with North Carolina Goodwills in terms of cleanliness (my legs are hiding a Bojangles cup and other trash someone left in there) and selection – I think I took maybe one picture of a so-so find. But maybe I’m just spoiled by the Goodwill of North Georgia?  

Also, those same red shorts with this top:
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Travel uniform:
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The full (poorly lit) shot:
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Attire for the rehearsal dinner & wedding, only I wore that same white denim jacket as above as my top layer:
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Running attire:
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Nothing like a run around Duke’s beautiful campus to put you in a good mood – even in the rain!

How did my wardrobe work? Turns out, not that well! I broke my own rule for creating travel wardrobes and forgot to check the weather. Well – I did check the weather, but I did so two days out, and by the time we were ready to leave the forecast had taken a major dip temp-wise and rain was predicted for two of the days (thankfully not the day of the wiffle ball tourney).  So I was pretty darn wet and cold for a portion of the weekend.

Also, I packed an extra dress I did not end up wearing because it felt too summery for a rainy wedding day:
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[Full thrift disclosure: you may recognize that as a dress I’d marked for giveaway oh…almost two years ago!  But I just couldn’t part with it – I love the colors and the bodice and the fuller skirt is a nice summery addition to my army of sheath dresses.  I have since stuck it in my “festive occasions” wardrobe (I just made up that term…) and it’s been worn for Easter twice and, as you now know, it’s on my wedding attire roster.]

Also also, I should have had the foresight to realize that my preschool-aged flower girl would want me to walk with her down the aisle and opted for a jacket/blazer in a more formal fabric than white denim.  I don’t think it ruined anyone’s wedding (especially since the groomsmen – and my kid! – were wearing Chuck Taylor’s), but I would’ve felt a little dressier.

Live and learn, friends, live and learn.

What do you think of my travel wardrobe?  Have you been to Raleigh/Durham?  If so, what do you recommend for the next time we head that way?

Travel Tips for Packing Light

Last post about Ireland; non-travel-related posts will resume next week!

When we took a 9 day trip (including 2 travel days) for a friend’s wedding I packed entirely into a carry-on suitcase and a handbag. Here are some of the tricks I used to pack light and still have room for possible thrifted treasures and many thank-you gifts.

  1. Do laundry. Whether you’re visiting family/friends and can use their washer and drier, staying at an AirBnB with laundry facilities, in a hotel with in-house laundry services, or just using the sink in a hostel, washing mid-trip is the best way to halve the amount of clothing you bring. Some folks opt for a travel steamer but with space considerations and the voltage change I opted to forego it. We stayed in 3 AirBnBs and one bed and breakfast and made sure at least one had laundry (no dryer, but we were there 3 nights so air drying was no problem).
  2. Fold KonMari style. You may not be into the “magic” in your regular life, but this technique – even my lazy approximation of it – saves space in your bag and makes it easy to see everything once you arrive. (Nothing like packing super carefully only to dig through your suitcase for something… and then having to re-pack it the next day.)
    The-KonMari-Method-Pants-Folding-512x680 The-KonMari-Method-Shirt-Folding-536x680
    Source of these rad visuals
    It’s also wrinkle-reducing – my floor-length dress unrolled after a week of resting in KonMari with nary a crease!
  3. Stuff your underwear and socks into your shoes. Unless they’re collapsible, your shoes are going to take up a certain amount of room no matter what. Why not make use of it? (If the idea of your underwear coming into contact with naked foot territory weirdos you out, tuck them in a plastic or cloth bag first.)
  4. Wear your heaviest layer. Leave that bulky sweater or coat out of the bag and use it as a pillow or a blanket in transit. It can be tied around your waist or tucked on top of your carryon handle while you wander through terminals or train stations.
  5. Travel in your pajamas.  Obviously this depends on what type of pjs you wear (no nightgowns please), but if you wear leggings or a t-shirt to bed you can easily wear these in transit. If you don’t sweat through you’ll still be okay for sleep and you’ll save a fresh outfit for your destination while not bulking up your baggage with your long johns.
    Sporting my PJ shirt and leggings (under jeans) in Dublin:
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  6. Use a kid’s toothbrush. This makes the most difference for a backpacker or someone who’s counting every ounce of weight, but even a conventional traveler will save a little space this way. Bonus: the bristles are super soft so your dentist won’t accuse you of scrubbing off your gums.
  7. Pack travel versions of your essential cosmetics. Duh. But the emphasis here is on the “essential.” You likely do not need every cream and applicator you use in the course of a year (or even a normal week) while traveling. Usually use one lotion for face moisturizer and another for your body? See if one can pull double duty. Normally use two different brushes to get just the right do? See if a comb can stand in the breach. Sharpen that eye or lip liner before you go so you don’t have to take the sharpener.
  8. Bubble wrap. I mix my own face toner and oil moisturizer and keep them in small glass spray jars. To keep them from breaking in transit, I slip them into little bubble wrap sleeves (either the ones they shipped in or ones I make out of bubble wrap from other packages). Then into the quart ziplock bag they go:IMG_4917
  9. Exfoliate with a baby washcloth.  These suckers are super thin, kind of micro-fiber-y, and dry easily overnight. Unlike packing your clarisonic, you’ll never even know it’s in your suitcase but your skin will thank you. (Cutting up a microfiber cloth meant for dusting computer screens works too.)
  10. Save those soap nubbins. You know when your soap dwindles to such a small size it’s annoyingly impossible to get a good lather? Save these and melt them into one slightly larger nubbin (yeesh, even that word is annoying) or just take one nubbin and be slightly annoyed for the week but don’t worry about taking a soap case with you. We weren’t staying in hotels and couldn’t guarantee free toiletries so I took along the end of my savon de Marseille bar in my toothpaste curl tin: IMG_4914 (one curl = one brush; less waste and none of the chemicals of regular toothpaste. Yes I’m a hippie.)
  11. Binder clip your headphones. If you’re like me and still haven’t gotten on the noise-canceling headphone bandwagon, keep track of your spaghetti-like ear bud cords with binder clip. This will save you inordinate amounts of frustration, preserving your sanity for figuring out an unfamiliar transit system or converting temperatures. Just make sure the cords go through the triangle and aren’t pinched by the black part of the clip, which could damage them:IMG_4918
  12. Take clothes you can toss. We packed, wore, then tossed: socks with holes, a ratty undershirt, a bra long past the end of its life cycle, and my crapped out running shoes.  So many caveats to this last one… like being a runner, being near the end of your shoes’ life but not so near it you’ll injure yourself, and finding a place to donate or recycle your old pair. But if it works out, you’ll save a bundle of room on your return trip.

What are your travel-light packing tips? Scroll down to comment!

 

Ireland: What I Wore & Where We Went

If you’re not sick of Ireland posts yet, here’s how I put together outfits from my carry-on suitcase over 9 days (including travel) and everything from tourist sites to hiking to wedding festivities.  Buckle your seatbelt, we gotta lotta pictures in this post!

 

Day one – Dublin

My traveling/wandering-around-Dublin-on-no-sleep outfit, in front of the Táin Mural near Nassau street (hey Queen Maeve!):

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To save suitcase room and travel comfortably, I flew and toured the first day in my pj shirt and pj leggings (not shown under my jeans).  If you’re wondering, that’s Hope and Will, the mascots of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where I was a chaplain resident.IMG_20170225_054730

We ate breakfast at Hatch & Sons, a cozy and charming restaurant that feels like eating at your grandma’s (if she lived in a plastered thatched roof cottage):

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Vegetarian Irish breakfast was very reasonable at €5 and eminently tasty. The full version is pictured here:efea29d91b41b1ed5836bc1d88c30239
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We wandered around and took silly pictures with the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Park until it was time to  check in at our Air BnB.  Our host Aoife was absolutely lovely and as a food writer gave us all the downlow on good vegetarian and pescatarian restaurants as well as ideas on things to visit (this is how we found out about the Dublin Flea Market).

That expression on Oscar’s face is priceless.

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Then it was time to meet Joe, our host for City of a Thousand Welcomes.  This free program is genius: if you are a first-time visitor to Dublin, all you have to do is sign up for a date/time and tell a little bit about yourself, and you are magically whisked off by a native Dubliner for a free pint (or tea/coffee) while they regale you with stories about Irish history and recommendations for Dublin places/events/activities that fit your interests.

I neglected to get a picture of Joe, who charmingly brought us guide materials in a TJ Maxx bag from his last visit to see his sister in California because he thought it would make us feel welcome!  But here is the Merrion hotel, where he took us for pints:

merrionhoteldublin imageSource, source.

Quite fancy, no?

When you’ve done the City of a Thousand Welcomes, admission to the Little Museum, which sponsors the programs, is also free!  And you also get 10% off your bill at Hatch (if only we’d known).  I’m telling you, this is the best and cheapest way to start off any trip to Dublin.

The tour at the Little Museum was a lively 30 minutes and gave us a great overview of Dublin’s history from the 1916 Rising on.  Everything inside was donated by Dubliners, including the current exhibit on U2.  Super fascinating!

Room 2 of the tour:tour-back-room-1Source

We spent the rest of the day wandering the picturesque streets.  The signs are all in Irish, then English:IMG_4933

Lots of design shops where all the contents are by Irish designers:IMG_4956

Christchurch Cathedral:IMG_4958IMG_4959

A taste of at least one political view:IMG_4962

Abandoned church for sale:IMG_4969

Busty Molly Malone and a piper:IMG_4968 IMG_4971
Heh heh.

Dinner that night was at a vegan restaurant called Sova Vegan Butcher which had some tasty points but also some not-very-well-seasoned bits, and thus felt a bit pricey for the fare.  Afterwards we walked down the street to Devitts where people our age or younger were in charge of the traditional music (flutes, concertina, guitars) and no one was shy about dancing. We may have ended up with a tile from the floor of the pub kicked loose by a drunken Irishman who insisted we take it home to America as a souvenir from an “authentic” Irish pub…

Day 2 – DublinIMG_4935

In the morning we hit up the Dublin Flea Market (pictures/writeup here) before wandering lots more through the streets and taking care of a few thank-you presents for folks back at home.

After a delicious and affordable falafel lunch at Umi, we popped over to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells (no photos allowed). While that was quite interesting, I think the price of admission was a bit steep.  Good thing it included the Long Room right above the Book of Kells: IMG_4963

I wish I could somehow share with you the smell… the whole place was infused with the aroma of old books.  Glorious!  200,000 books from the 14th through 18th centuries are stacked in those two-story alcoves.  One of the security officials was quite a ham and teased us when we asked when it stopped being an active library and became a museum: “I didn’t get the memo!” Turns out you can still take books out, albeit just into a special reading room.IMG_4964

Oh hey, it’s the harp that became the symbol of Ireland! Cs5HckxVUAAdhtb
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And an original printing of the 1916 proclamation declaring Ireland a free country:

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Dinner that night was at an Indian restaurant called Pickle, with quite spicy and tasty dishes – I got a veggie mix with asparagus in it, which was fun, and the Spouse went a little more classic with chana masala and puri.  A bit expensive; the marquee-sized Bollywood posters were great fun.

Day 3 – Glendalough

We took a day trip down to Glendalough, a valley in the Wicklow Mountains that is home to a 6th century abbey started by St. Kevin (don’t you just love that there is a St. Kevin?) and to numerous walking and hiking trails.

First up, the awkward outfit shot with the spouse cropped out:
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I layered my silk long john shirt and my bamboo tech shirt under my rain jacket and my leggings under my jeans.  The jeans got a bit muddy but luckily we had laundry facilities at our next accommodations.

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Drunken tombstones:IMG_4993

Ruins of the cathedral:IMG_4985 IMG_4980On the right is the bell/defense tower, where the monks would ring the bells for prayers but also hole up inside if invaders approached.

We made a quick pit stop…

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And then got hiking. I thought the little sprinkling of white was some kind of lichen…but no, it’s snow.  (It snowed for a few moments while we hiked!)

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An abandoned mine is tucked back in that valley:IMG_5037

I expected to see a hobbit pop out at any time.IMG_5050 IMG_5051 IMG_5063IMG_5039

It was stark and so beautiful, almost tundra-like.  We picnicked with bread, cheese, and apples at the top of the boardwalk-style path above and felt on top of the world.  Waterfalls little and big were everywhere, and every time we turned a corner there was some new astounding view…  Since we took a wrong turn and hiked on a timber road for half the journey, we had the forest all to ourselves for a good while.  It was such a different landscape from what I see at home and what I expected from Ireland.  This was probably my favorite thing (tied with the Burren) we did all trip.

Day 4 – Galway

That outfit pose where you’re trying to look awake! And excited! This is the navy blue turtleneck under the polkadot vest paired with my cream corduroys and navy Puma sneaks (and yes I’m still wearing leggings underneath): IMG_5066

We ate at Hooked for dinner after our late arrival the night before:IMG_5070

Thatched roof cottages!IMG_5073

The beach right next to the park commemorating all who sailed away from Ireland via Galway during the height of the Potato Famine:IMG_5086

A local harvesting mollusks of some kind:IMG_5090

A side branch of the River Corrib, and schoolgirls who thought it’d be funny to pose in our tourist photo (it was):IMG_5099

Houses on the Long Walk:IMG_5100

Our AirBnB host Rosemary was a treat, inviting us to share Pancake Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras) with her friends, meeting us out for a pint, and giving us more great restaurant recs including the best meal (in my opinion) we had in Ireland at the Quay Street Kitchen (pr. “Key Street” for all you Americans – or maybe just me? – tempted to say “kway”).

She also explained all the ribbons tied on the Wolfe Tone bridge over the River Corrib – they had just popped up in the last few weeks as a sort of Pont des Arts love locks thing, with people writing messages on over a hundred ribbons flying in the wind:IMG_5105

That copper dome in the middle is Galway Cathedral, which we visited next.  Built in the 1960s on the site of the city’s former jail, it was such a beautiful combination of stone and wood, classical architecture and modern stained glass, and light play:IMG_5133IMG_5134IMG_5118

My spouse was totally into Jesus’ rainbow comet trails due to stained glass:IMG_5117

So on the left is Pádraig Pearse, one of the Easter Rising martyrs and an Irish nationalist, and JFK is on the right.  Y’know, just chilling, praying to Jesus in an Irish cathedral.  (JFK was EVERYWHERE in Ireland.  Those people are seriously proud of the first U.S. Irish-American president.)IMG_5135

Father P(eter?) Rabbitte has an office here:IMG_5136

Then more wandering…
…into Irish design shops – this time some lovely jewelry:IMG_5137 IMG_5138 IMG_5139 IMG_5140

…past a random medieval castle turned into a bank:IMG_5142

…and ending with some pretty solid buskers whose music we enjoyed with a cup of delicious hot chocolate and some cappuccino:IMG_5148

Day 5 – Galway

I wore the same clothes as Day 4 so we could wash and air dry stuff that was dirty.  No judgment.

This was Ash Wednesday so we started off with an intimate service at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, where the parishioners were very welcoming and didn’t mind us peering over their shoulders to share prayer books. Then we sat in on part of a tour being given to local students and learned a thing or two about the church’s history and architecture.  St. Nicholas is the largest still-functioning parish church (aka non-cathedral) in Ireland and was built by Galway’s powerful merchant families (one of whom, the Lynches, owned the castle above) in the middle ages.

I loved the yellow walls and ceilings which made the inside glow like the daffodils decorating the church:

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Like many churches in Ireland, you can see evidence of Cromwell’s soldiers’ destruction of all human-like images, considered by the overzealous Puritans of the 17th century to be idolatrous:  IMG_5166

Ironically, the church is now Church of Ireland (meaning Protestant, not Catholic) – so I guess Cromwell got his way?

The Church of Ireland shares space with two Orthodox congregations, who have marked off sacred space with an altar screen featuring lovely icons:

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A beautifully ecumenical thumb in the eye of Cromwell, who probably would have hated these as well even though icons aren’t seen as graven images in Eastern churches.

A little thank-you-gift hunting at O’Maille – they have a great online store full of luscious Irish yarn and woven/knit garments.  Look at the colors on this Donegal tweed blanket! I die.

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And at Wooden Heart, three delightfully narrow stories full of wooden and hands-on toys tucked into a 440-year-old building:IMG_5171

Then lunch at Ard Bia in another ancient edifice:IMG_5161

And off to the (free!) Galway city museum, which featured exhibits on archaeology, the city’s fishing industry, Galwegians in WWI, and the Easter Rising, both historical and in contemporary art.  One of the coolest things was this set of interactive maps of the city from various eras, each with blue dots marking famous sights which you could pull up in contemporary images or vintage postcards:IMG_5173

The sword and scepter of Galway given by the English monarch, which William Randolph Hearst just *happened* to own for years and then returned to the city (imagine that guy’s attic):IMG_5176

Old glass bottles:IMG_5177

A hooker, the classic Galwegian fishing vessel (it says “Galway” in Irish):IMG_5180

Somewhere in there we stopped by Gourmet Tart Co. for delicious raspberry & custard tarts:IMG_5181

Wandered some more, noticing fun window displays:IMG_5182 IMG_5183
It’s a shoe shop.  Go figure.

We stopped for a flight of Irish whiskeys at Tigh Neachtain, and spent an hour gabbing with our AirBnB host who had come there with a book to read.  Thus we learned that in Ireland pubs are basically coffee shops.  IMG_5186

This was the night we ate at Quay Street Kitchen, just across the street.  Afterwards we caught a free singer-songwriter (well, two were bands) showcase at Roisin Dubh (pr. “Ruh-SHEEN Dove”), a famous music club with (of course) a pub attached.  Loud but lively!

 

Day 6- Drive through the Burren to Spanish Point

This outfit is exactly the same as Day 4 (and 5) but with a camel sweater.  And yes, I did change underwear.  And yes, I did get these cream pants quite dirty by the end of the trip.  But they washed clean!IMG_5210

Dunguaire (pr. dhoon-GOO-irra) Castle in Kinvara.  Y’know, when there are just random castles on the side of the road…IMG_5188

A stroll around the castle:
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Next we drove through the Burren, more of which will be pictured below since it was raining this day. We stopped at The Burren Perfumery which makes all of its perfumes/soaps/lotions/etc. from local botanicals through processes that preserve the fragile Burren ecosystem.  They also have a free tea room where you can sample their herbal teas (and where we ate our supermarket picnic with soda bread, smoked salmon, local cheese, and apples. Yum!):IMG_5207

Children who had come to the tea room drew charming pictures representing their visit:IMG_5203

As did Tom, aged 26:
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Day 7 – Cliffs of Moher and a Wedding in Spanish Point

The weather didn’t mess around Day 7 and neither did I – silk undershirt, tech shirt, and the thickest sweater I’d brought (and had not yet worn) prepared me for a rainy, windy morning at the Cliffs.IMG_5212

Here’s a sneak peek of the weather as we drove through Lahinch, a renowned surfing spot, on our way to the cliffs.  Impressively several surfers were out braving the 40 degree temps and the sizable waves: IMG_5218

The cliffs in their misty, 700+ feet glory:IMG_5219IMG_5229

O’Brien’s tower, built for tourists in the 1800s:IMG_5231

Accurate signs:IMG_5236IMG_5241

We made it back just in time to shower and dress for the wedding.  I’m a goober and didn’t take any pics (I was busy officiating, okay?!), but here’s a pic of my outfit in terrible lighting:
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I’m making the W for our alma mater.

Here’s the dress in better light, a pic from when I first bought it as a possibility for another wedding:

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Day 8 – Lahinch, Hike in the Burren, drive back to Dublin

It was cold enough that this, plus jeans, is all I showed to the world.  I wore the same leopard-print sweater underneath.  Apologies for disembodied spousal hand:

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We returned to Lahinch in better weather on our meandering drive back to Dublin:

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Particularly to get my sister a gift from a woman-owned, designed, and printed T-shirt shop:IMG_5260

Her screen printing setup:  IMG_5245

I took a class on screen printing in highschool and was madly impressed with the intricacy, color, and cleanness of her prints.  You can see/order them here.

What a difference a day makes – this is the same beach as before:IMG_5261

Surfing spectators.  There was definitely a surfing subculture going on here that I would never have associated with Ireland – which shows you how little I know about surfing, particularly in colder climes!IMG_5257

We stocked up for lunch at a small grocery shop and headed back to the Burren to enjoy a day hike in much better weather than when we first drove through.  First though some obstacles in the road:IMG_5265

The views!IMG_5268

 

Below is where our 3-mile walk began.  The seemingly barren limestone landscape is called karst and was created in large part due to humans overgrazing livestock in the Stone Age.  Ironically this now-tundra-like environment is home to a fragile ecosystem full of rare wildflowers (hence why the Burren Perfumery set up shop there) for which there is a considerable conservation effort. Human influence on the world around us is so complicated…

PS check out that limestone wall:IMG_5276

Hazel trees:IMG_5292

Cows in dramatic lighting: IMG_5294

More ancient walls:IMG_5296IMG_5303

Karst, worn away by wind and rain, up close:

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We walked around a turlough, a kind of seasonal lake that occurs when the karst can’t drain rainwater fast enough:IMG_5336

Cow with attitude:IMG_5357

Overgrown walls (I’m sensing a bovine/wall theme here):IMG_5369

Did I mention we had canine companions herding us for the entire 3 miles?  No nipping, just gentle herding whenever I stopped too long to take a picture (which was frequently):IMG_5374

Informative signs:IMG_5377

One of the karst hills in stark contrast to neighboring green fields:IMG_5393

A cow we surprised when we had to pull onto the verge to let another car squeak past (driving on narrow-to-the-point-of-one-lane Irish country roads is not for the faint of heart!):IMG_5399

Stream next to Dunguaire, which we passed again on our way back to Galway/the highway:IMG_5412

And that’s the end!  We drove three hours back to Dublin, scarfed some Pakistani takeout, and crashed into our final AirBnB before getting up at the crack of dawn to catch our flight back to the States.  What a grand adventure!

Gold star if you made it to the end.  I hope you enjoyed looking through the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. :)

 

What I’m Packing to Ireland – in a Carry On

As you read this I will be heading out to Ireland to co-officiate my college BFF’s wedding.  It’s also the first time the spouse and I have ever taken a vacation together that does not involve family or friends.  Whoopie!

We’ll travel light to expedite connecting flights and hauling our stuff around the country. So what’s in my carry on?

Specs
First up, let’s do the numbers.  We’ll be gone for 8 days; right now the forecast is calling for rain (not a surprise, but blech) and highs in the high 40s/low 50s, so I’m looking at warm layers and rain-resistant outerwear.  3 out of 4 of the accommodations we’ll stay in are Air BnBs with laundry facilities so I plan to wash things halfway through.  Our activities will hopefully include a day hike (weather allowing), a few morning runs, lots of walking, and a wedding.  Most things will be pretty versatile except that wedding outfit – which I might be able to turn into a nice dinner outfit, but we’ll see.

 

In the bag
As usual, everything is thrifted unless noted otherwise.

Pants:

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Jeans: Banana Republic; corduroy: Lauren by Ralph Lauren

 

Tops:

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Gap; J. Crew; Loft; French Connection

 

Layers/outerwear:

IMG_2748  kelty  WP_20170215_13_37_00_Pro 6tag_241216-123751 madewell-blackwhite-buffalo-check-open-weave-scarf-blackwhite-black-product-0-239492956-normal

J. Crew; Kelty (gift from my spouse lo these many years ago – image source); navy polka dot vest from Savile Row Co.; no label gloves/hat; buffalo check scarf no label (image source).

 

Running/hiking/sleeping/keeping my legs warm under my pants:

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x2 leggings by American Apparel (responsibly made) – one in black, one in navy; gifts; source. Silk running shirt by Winter Silks; bamboo tech shirt by Tasc Performance.

 

Shoes

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Puma for walking; Champion for running/hiking – retail; source.

 

Wedding outfit

The wedding colors are navy and grey, so I’m going with a floor-length navy velvet dress you may remember as a runner-up for another wedding outfit. I kept it around thinking it would be great for another formal event, and voilà, it is.

Enjoy this outfit pic in which I a) pose ridiculously b) have much shorter hair than now and c) appear to have only one foot:

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Wrap from my mama:

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Shoes by Talbots:

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All this plus underwear, socks, bras, and toiletries packed into my suitcase:

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Those little Konmari bundles are deceiving – they’ll squish a lot more, making enough room for a few thrift finds and some gifts for those keeping the home fires burning. (Thanks family!)

 

I’ll report back in two weeks with any last minute changes, outfit pics, and what I wore/what stayed in the suitcase/what I wish I’d brought instead.  Wish me luck!

 

Travel Wardrobe: Cold Weather in a Carry On

No Friday ReBlog today because I haven’t been reading enough (any?) blogs over the holidays to find good stuff for ya.  It’ll be back next week; in the meantime, send me your favorite thrift- or style-related blog posts at leah AT thriftshopchic DOT com or leave ’em in the comments.

We went to the Great White(ish) North for a week over the Christmas holiday and I had to figure out how to pack for cold weather in a carry on. The limited parameters on my wardrobe were not as dramatic as this trip when I packed my stuff and my kid’s into a tote bag (which I promptly forgot), but I did need to think practically about how everything would go together since warm clothes take up more space and thus afford fewer slots to play with.  Everything is thrifted unless otherwise noted.

Using the template from the How to Pack a Travel Wardrobe post, I’m factoring in:
-length of trip (6 days);
-weather/activities at destination (cold; family time + church + exercise); and
-laundry facilities (check!)

Knowing it would be cold, I started off with this wool/cashmere/angora sweater from the Loft, which is as cozy a garment as you’d hope to find:

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Then I picked out tops to go underneath:

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4 tops, with plans to either rewear or wash depending on how many living room dance parties were to be held.  L to R: Coldwater Creek, Piazza Sempione, Loft, J. Crew

I also tucked in a sleeveless undershirt in case it got REALLY cold – didn’t need it but was glad it was there.  And I wore leggings (see below) under my pants when were going to be outside for a significant amount of time.

Then pants that picked up the colors in the sweater and would serve as great neutral bases:

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L to R: Banana Republic, IT! Jeans

I wasn’t keen on the grey at first, since I had a grey turtleneck; doing too much grey because it’s just depressing when it’s dark and cold. But the corduroy on the dark grey ones is almost like velvet, making them so chic I knew they would dress up my otherwise comfy outfits.   I thought about bringing my navy cords, too, but since I couldn’t justify 3 pairs of pants (no room!), I decided to keep the grey and just not wear it with the grey top.  (Look for a post next week introducing the caramel velveteen pants.)

Jewelry:
Same ol’ earrings every day, plus one pendant necklace, the cream and dark taupe of which would jive nicely with my sweater:

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Necklace DIYed from Goodwill parts.

Shoes:
I went for one these two, to cover church (bronze flats by Clarks – retail) and everything else (navy Pumas):

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Plus sneakers for running (retail).

 

Workout clothes:
Luckily my sister-in-law is pretty devoted to her running schedule so I knew I’d get a chance to run with her – motivation!

I packed a silk undershirt to layer and keep me warm:

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And a bamboo tech shirt to layer on top:

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It wasn’t cold enough to need more than that – I just had to run about 5 minutes to warm myself up and the silk kept me nice and snuggly.

I also brought bulky but oh-so-worth-it track pants from highschool to keep my legs warm while running.

I brought two pairs of leggings, one for sleeping and one for layering under the track pants, both American Apparel (retail).  Here was my shirt to sleep in (and to wear one day before I slept in it):

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Faded Glory.

Sadly, I discovered ANOTHER hole in it, so it’s hereby consigned to winter sleepwear with no daytime cameos:

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Outerwear
I wore my trusty red wool peacoat on the plane (well, used it as a blanket) and packed my freshly thrifted winter accessories in the outer pocket of my carry on so I could get them out first thing after landing:

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J. Crew

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No tags.

Here are my outfits.  There’s not a lot of variety, but I liked the formula.  Furthermore, I had no one to impress and just wanted to look put together and feel WARM.  Mission accomplished:

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(worn twice)

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(worn twice – except for the bowling shoes, those were just worn once)

 

What are your strategies for packing sufficient cold weather clothes into a small space?  Do you ever just pick one simple outfit formula and wear variations of it to keep packing super simple?  Scroll down to comment, and Happy New Year!

 

 

Travel Wardrobe: Chicago Sightseeing & Lake Michigan Dunes

Ahhh, two of my favorite places: downtown Chicago and the Michigan dunes.

Last week we took time out to visit family and celebrate our anniversary, and although we had access to laundry (thanks Mom & Dad!), I wanted to pack light and bring versatile pieces that could do double duty for sightseeing in the city and the beach.  I also wanted things that could layer since the weather was about to take a dip into cooler temps – real fall!  (Although sadly the trees were all still green because that part of the Midwest has had such a warm late summer/early autumn.) Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: Chicago Sightseeing & Lake Michigan Dunes”

Travel Wardrobe: Asheville, NC

A few weekends ago we packed up and drove the 3 and a half hours to meet friends in Asheville, North Carolina for a mini break.  What follows is what I packed (and what my kid packed), what I wore, and what we did, including a thrift visit (sadly only one; I saw at least two more but we didn’t make it to them.  Next time, Asheville!).

If that sounds like a lot to cover, it is!  Buckle up, folks, this is a long one (but there are photos to help you make it through!). Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: Asheville, NC”

Thrifted Style in Legitimate Cold (with a Shout-out to Cold Weather Newbies)

I sometimes imagine that when I’m writing about my winter capsule wardrobe, all of you north of the Mason Dixon line are silently rolling your eyes.  “What does she know about winter down there in Georgia?!”

Well, you’d be right—these days I don’t have to think twice about real cold weather wear.  (Watch me eat my words though if we have a properly chilly winter.)  But my family lives up North and you better believe I dress appropriately when visiting the Midwest or New England.  I’ve spent far too many frozen months in both of those places not to know better.

Thus, I give you Thrifted Style for Legitimately Cold Weather, and an amusingly lip-less photo taken by The Sister:leah201512

Continue reading “Thrifted Style in Legitimate Cold (with a Shout-out to Cold Weather Newbies)”

Thrifting an Emergency Travel Wardrobe in 30 Minutes Flat

Has a luggage crisis  ever left you with the need to assemble a mini wardrobe, stat? Rather than head to the mall and spill a bunch of cash, you might consider hitting up a local thrift store to find a few items to tide you over ’til your luggage arrives or your travels come to an end.

For example.

Remember the weekend travel wardrobe I packed for a holiday trip? Well, we went on that trip recently…and I left the entire, flim-flammin’, ingeniously packed thing behind.

Gah.

I chalk it up to my child being on strike and the whole family being late and the fact that I’d put the bag in a safe (read: foolishly out of sight) place to prevent said child from emptying its entire contents on the floor…anyway, we got to the airport sans bag and with no time to go back for it.

The upside was that it was a lot lighter navigating the airport without it!

The other upside was that we were going to visit family (thus: laundry) and that said family loves a trip to the thrift store.

So the day after we arrived (and after I had slept in the clothes I traveled in…just to make sure I was telling the truth in that post about wearing literally the same clothes for everything), we headed to a local Goodwill.

I gave myself 30 minutes to find clothes to get me through the next few days, clothes I wouldn’t hate wearing in real life once I got home. I figured if I was spending money on something anyway, I’d try to make those purchases count.

(Meanwhile, my in-laws went looking for clothes for my kid, whose wardrobe was also nicely packed away in our travel tote, at home. My mother-in-law was PSYCHED.  No really, she loves dressing her grandkid.)

 

So…what did I end up finding? Did I make it in under 30 minutes? How can you, too, thrift a passable wardrobe on very short notice? All will be revealed…

Continue reading “Thrifting an Emergency Travel Wardrobe in 30 Minutes Flat”

Travel Wardrobe: Holiday Weekend Edition

We’ll be hitting up New England this winter for a holiday weekend, and since many of you will be traveling for (American) Thanksgiving, I thought I’d show you what I plan to wear in case it helps you pack for your own adventures.

Staying with family in the past several years, I’ve come to realize I rewear the same pieces of clothing every day—when we’re in the Northeast visiting my in-laws, that means whatever I’ve brought that’s warmest. (Thankfully, they have a coal-burning stove where you can generally find my Southern-acclimated self cozying up during all but the sunniest hours of the day.)

My wardrobe strategy for these trips?  I sleep, run, and lounge in layers, and make liberal use of my in-laws’ washing machine when I’ve done all 3 in the same garment and it’s time for some freshening up.

Yes, I can hear all you Northerners chuckling right now.

 

Taking our cues from the How to Pack a Travel Wardrobe post, I’m factoring in:
-length of trip (3 full days, 2 travel days);
-weather/activities at destination (cold; family time + church + spouse’s high school reunion + exercise); and
-laundry facilities (check!)

With all that in mind, here’s what I’ll be packing for our next trip (everything thrifted unless otherwise noted):

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Top to bottom, left to right: Continue reading “Travel Wardrobe: Holiday Weekend Edition”