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Hey you! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find what you're looking for, get inspired, and have an awesome week.

xx, Mel

Perfectly Packed: Italy & Spain

Perfectly Packed: Italy & Spain

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WOW it has been almost a year since I've traveled! The last time I put together a packing blog, I was headed to Paris. Since then, I think I've refined my personal style in a lot of ways, and every time I pack like this I try my best to maximize outfit combos and cut down on bulk even more. I'm excited to see how much my style has evolved now that I'm a year older and wiser.

This past year, I've been doing my best to stock up on basics in my day-to-day wardrobe. I realized I never reach for unique pieces during the work week, as much as I'd love to say that I do - but I am rarely client facing these days and I'd rather be comfortable sitting at a desk all day. I've cut down on buying trendy items, do a lot less online shopping than I used to (still working on this one), and have started stockpiling things in neutrals which is all I end up wearing. It makes it so much easier to pair things when I'm half asleep in the morning.

This overall strategy becomes really important when it is time to plan a trip. Especially in the Spring, when layering is essential and the weather can be unpredictable, I need 14 outfits that can be mixed and matched from a handful of easy pieces. I'm all about getting that fabulous travel blogger look, but with clothes I actually normally wear... since nobody is shipping a massive closet to my destination.

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I've found the best way for me to start packing is to list out possible outfits on paper, in groups of three.

Top, bottom, and jacket (or sweater), and sometimes shoes if I want to be specific - but all of my outfits should go with one of the three pairs I pack: sneakers, slides/sandals, or boots. I try to re-wear each piece multiple times, especially the jackets since they are heaviest and I don't want to take too many. Then, I pair down my lists, cutting items that I only paired off once or that seem unnecessary. Next, I pull up my inspiration boards (are you even surprised I have inspiration boards) and see if there are any items I need to purchase, and if I can justify them! The final closet you see above is everything I plan to take laid out so I can visualize it all.

TIP: Don't forget - this doesn't include undergarments or toiletries or any other items you need to pack so make sure it looks like everything will fit okay. This is why I lay it all out!

I wanted to share the combos I built since I often look at posts like this and think "oh, I like that but that's not quite my style" or "I would never pack that much or that little" - but these combos can be configured to work with whatever you have in your closet! The key is overlap - what can you use several times, but create separate looks? It really helps me to see it on paper and even take the list with me so I don't forget what I was planning to wear. You can download a blank one for yourself at the link below!

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You can see that almost everything is used at least twice! I made sure I have a jacket or warm sweater to go with each and every outfit, because I always end up cold, and especially because this time of year can be so hit or miss with the weather. When I was in Paris last spring, it dumped rain for two days then was sunny and 80 degrees the rest of the week. It is also critical to bring at least one pair of shoes that can get wet, for this same reason. Last year I bought cheap white sneakers on sale from Zara that can get trashed and I won't mind.

See below for the new additions I decided were a worthy add to my suitcase!

 

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01. RUFFLE ROMPER
Saw this and had to have it! Even though Forever stuff doesn't hold up well, I can get behind a cheap and comfy piece that makes throwing on something on vacation look slightly more put together.

02. WOVEN MULES
Always count on Target to bring the best trends to the masses. Their mules have held up for me in all kinds of wear and and tear so I feel so good about buying two more pairs for this trip! Will be wearing these all summer.

03. FLORAL MAXI DRESS
I had been on the hunt for the perfect maxi for so long. I love the cami top but flowy bottom - why is that SO hard to find? Looks casual yet chic and the material is so comfy. Perfect spring layering piece and summer staple.

04. PINK MULES
Been eyeing a pair just like this for a long time so I pounced when I saw the $20 version. I love these for flights because they slip on and off so easy!

05. TIE FRONT SWEATER
Speaking of good layering pieces, this sweater is so cute and the perfect addition to any sleeveless top that might be just a bit too cold.

 ALL IMAGES IN COLLAGE VIA TARGET, FOREVER 21, & LULUS

ALL IMAGES IN COLLAGE VIA TARGET, FOREVER 21, & LULUS

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My last step is to add accessories to the pile. Everyday jewelry (just a few pieces), a hat, scarves, etc. Tuck in undergarments and pajamas, and your clothing needs should be all set! 

I'm so hopeful the weather will be nice for us the next few weeks, and that I won't need to constantly wear a jacket. I'm especially crossing my fingers that Cinque Terre won't be foggy for us, but it will be beautiful no matter what!

How do you like to pack? Let me know in the comments below (any any Italy/Spain advice is always welcome too).

xx, Mel

Ending 2017

Ending 2017