Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pack One Week into a Carry-On Suitcase

I've lived out of a suitcase for 3 months and out of a carry-on suitcase for one month. I less of a master packer and more of excellent shover-of-stuff into nooks and crannies. Still, I underestimated as usual and thought that packing for a one week tropical getaway would a piece of cake. 

Well, it would be, except that I have a wedding to attend, which means I have to keep at a couple classy outfits clean by the end of the week. That's the biggest obstacle for me, really, is keeping things clean and in order once opening the suitcase. And shoes!  I always forget about shoes. How do you fit multiple pairs of heels into a carry-on suitcase with everything else?

Anyways, packing for a warm holiday is very easy, it's packing for cold wintery trips that take up space. 

My motto for packing: wrinkle-friendly. I don't say wrinkle-free because I don't believe anything is truly ever wrinkle-free so let's not kid ourselves and think it will come out looking ok.

A stream of thought on what to pack:
One piece outfits if at all possible, jumpsuits, dresses, etc. Skirts and shorts  to wear as bottoms to your bikini, a cover up, sandals which are grippy at the bottom (mine are Reefs or Havianas, Rainbows are leather and aren't water friendly), and everything should be easy fabrics to dry (because seriously, nothing is ever fully dry in the tropics), and of course, swimsuits and bikinis! Oh, and let's not forget underwear and toiletries, we'll get to those later.

Here's what my suitcase looks like with the first "layer" packed:

The suitcase, so far, consists of (from left to right and clockwise): 
A short white skirt 
A long blue skirt (one of those trendy semi-transparent ones)
High-waisted coral shorts 
An airy green and grey jumpsuit (shorts)
Maxi dress (my favorite)
White shirt
White shorts
Tank top
Blue ombré cover-up shirt
Crop top
Hair curler
Bikini bottoms

Here's my second layer:

My two "nice" dresses for the wedding festivities
A small bag to carry around the necessities
Bikini tops
Sleep nightie
All-purpose scarf/shawl, which should be in every girls travel essentials and I'll tell you why later.
(This doesn't include my travel outfit, which is a black jumpsuit.)

Since I need to keep my dresses clean, I actually put them in a plastic bag for safe keeping: 

I forgot to take a picture, but I also managed to squeeze two pairs of heels (in a plastic bag) on top, because I realized I had forgotten about them until right before I had to put some shoes on. Typical genius work happening right now.

Another photo I'll save you from is the other side of the suitcase which is that meshy area filled with clean underwear, chargers, and toiletries like face wash and sunscreen. Obviously, you can never have enough clean underwear. Ever. 

I'll leave you with that golden nugget of wisdom to ponder over.

In my purse, I try to keep things to a minimum because I tend to lose everything:

Camera (but I forgot my memory card, gah!)
Sunglasses (mine are Calvin Klein)
Sunscreen (SPF 27 here but for the tropics I go up to 50)
Wallet (mine is by Gucci)
Simple wristlet, for when I don't want to carry my whole wallet
Not pictured: my makeup bag (later in this post)

Since I have a wedding to attend, I brought along some shiny bits:

All are from Forever 21, pretty much the best place for accessories. By the way, i love animal pieces and particularly elephants.

As for my makeup bag, very minimal.  Mainly because I'm lazy but also because it just melts off my face in the tropics (and I have a sanitary issue with reapplying new makeup on top of old makeup...gross):

Clockwise from top left:
Physicians formula bronzer palette
Bare Minerals foundation
Retractable kabuki brush (there's a handy lid somewhere that I've lost...)
Liquid liner (with a brush tip)
Brow pencil
A fun lipstick (right now I have both the berry and peach colors)
Bobby pins, clip, tweezers
Bare Essentials powder (sample size)
Kiehl's BB cream (SPF 50)

I mainly use the Kiehl's, a bit of BE foundation to secure the SPF effect, brow pencil, liquid liner and lip stick. This isn't too far off my regular makeup routine. 

Here's a photo of me trying to look "natural." I've used one of those photo filters so that I look flawless with my minimal makeup. And look at my elephants! 

My purse is actually a random bag I grabbed as a last minute need from my mother's beautiul bag collection and it turned out to be the best thing ever:

It's been on so many trips with me and is so durable, I sometimes wish it would fall apart so that I had an excuse to get another.  Call me Mary Poppins because I can fit everything along with elephants in this thing.

One thing I haven't figured out how to pack nearly is one of those large woven sun hats. Do people pack them into a suitcase, wear them on the flight or just buy them on location? If know, let me know!

The last checks that go through my mind: plastic bag, toothbrush, toothpaste, chargers, and an extra pair of clean underwear...just in case. 

Happy packing!

By the way, you can check out my mom and Amah's bag designs here:


  1. loved this post kristen!! i love seeing what other people/pack and what they carry in their bag/make up bag! p.s. i use that same BE foundation and i have that same retractable kabuki!! :) keep blogging!

  2. I've definitely had a couple months of living out of a carryon for a month, but I definitely do not look as cute as you do! Minimal makeup is definitely key!