What I Packed :: San Diego, CA

Have you ever stood at the baggage claim of a Southwest flight? It’s a great example of “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

As I waited for my small carry-on and cabin bag, I watched countless people drag suitcases large enough to haul a person in off the belt and struggle to drag them around the airport. Even if you’re checking a bag, I still think the carry-on is the perfect size - don’t forget you still have to drag that thing around the city when you’re off the plane!

All of that to say, here’s what I packed for our recent work trip to San Diego.

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Work trips are a bit different than fun ones, because you do have to look somewhat presentable if you’re planning on networking at all. We took a few extra days on this trip for fun though, so I had the challenge of packing a wardrobe that worked for business and leisure.

Day 1 :: Travel & Exploring
Black Leggings + Red Camisole + Black Sweater + Sneakers

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We had an early flight and gained two hours, so we had the whole afternoon to explore our new neighborhood in San Diego. I wore leggings, a camisole and sweater for the plane to combat draftiness, but opted to wrap the sweater around my waist once we reached warmer temps. Sneakers also proved to be my best friend since we did most of our exploring by foot.

Day 2 :: Shopping & Balboa Park (kind of)
Black Jeans + Pink Camisole + Black Sweater + Loafers

Mr AJ had a day of workshops for the conference we were attending, so I had a free day to go explore the city and do whatever I pleased. I took the trolley to Fashion Valley and talked myself out of buying Chanel flats, but did pick up this cute red backpack from Zara that proved to be clutch for navigating the conference later.

After that, I tried to walk to Balboa Park to take a leisurely afternoon stroll, but ignored the ominous clouds (it never rains in California, right?) and ended up getting stuck under a tree in a deluge. After that it was back to the hotel to change into dry leggings and grab a snack from a cheese store that ended up being closed. Rough day.

Day 2 :: Evening Networking
Plaid Jacket + Pants + Loafers + Black Top

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Unless you’re in a very corporate industry, I wouldn’t recommend packing a full suit. However, both of these pieces worked on their own really well (as you’ll see in future outfits), so I decided to pack the whole thing. That way, I could wear the full set for networking or fancier dinners.

Day 3 :: First Day of Conference
Black Sweater + White Button Up + Plaid Pants + Loafers

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We attended the Social Media Marketing World Conference, which means we saw a wide variety of wardrobes! I opted to go business casual, and this was a super comfy + cute outfit for the first day of conferencing. I heard from many people that the rooms could get drafty, so I was glad I wore the sweater.

Day 3 :: Dinner + Gaslamp District
Black Sweater + Plaid Pants + Suede Jacket + Loafers

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I ditched the button up to go a bit more untucked for dinner, and grabbed my suede jacket since it was pretty cool in San Diego. I’m glad I brought a layer to protect against the elements, especially since we sought out a rooftop patio to enjoy views of the city this evening.

Day 4 :: Conference Day 2
Plaid Jacket + Black Jeans + Red Camisole + Sneakers

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Day 2 of the conference was still action-packed, so I swapped out my loafers for my sneakers. I like to have a couple of options when it comes to flats just because they hit on different points on your foot - I was walking 15k-20k steps // about 10 miles a day every day, so just that slight change made all the difference. We skipped out of the last keynote and walked to Little Italy for $1 oysters (food guide coming your way soon!).

Day 5 :: Train to Tijuana
White Jeans + Pink Sweater + Espadrilles

I didn’t get all iterations of all of my outfits but here’s another variation I wore during my trip.

Day 6 :: San Diego Zoo & Coronado Beach
Bonus Athleisure Wear

Not pictured in my packing graphic is a couple of pieces of athleisure I packed for lounging, working out, and super comfy days. I’ll include them in the official list at the bottom, but since we were doing a long day at the zoo I decided to wear super comfy clothes. Athleisure is great to pack because you can mix and match it into your normal wardrobe, but it doesn’t take up a lot of extra space in your luggage - all of mine fit in one of my skinny packing cube.

Day 7 :: Exploring & Travel
White Jeans + Red Camisole + Sneakers

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Our final day we had a late flight, so we decided to grab pizza and visit the Ballast Point brewery before catching a 3:30 plane. It continued to get warm as the week went on, so this was one of the warmest days! I didn’t need a layer for our exploring, but did throw on the black sweater when we headed to the airport since I knew it would be cold when we got back to Little Rock.

Final Packing List + Tips

There are a few things not pictured on the graphic that would be great for a work or conference trip that I did bring, so I’m including a list below. Full disclosure - I did have some other items that were more for my “fun” side of the trip, so I’m not including them in the official list because this is meant to be specifically for a work trip. I also did not take photos of every outfit despite my best efforts, so there were some variations here that you might not have seen, such as leggings + pink sweater that I changed into the day I got soaked, or the white button up + black jeans for a night out, etc.

Packing List:

  • 1 Pair of Black Jeans

  • 1 Pair of White Jeans

  • 1 Pair of neutral leggings

  • Matching Jacket + Pants

  • 2-3 Camisoles (I packed Black, Pink, and Red)

  • 1-2 Blouses (aka, work blouses)

  • 2 Sweaters

  • 1 Jacket

  • Optional: 1 dress / skirt for dressier events (I did not use mine)

  • 2-3 Soft Tanks for Lounge + Workout

  • 1 Pair of Fashion Sneakers

  • 1 Pair of Athletic Sneakers (I love the Charleston Shoe Co Lulu - looks great for day sneaks too!)

  • 1 Pair of Black or Nude Flats

  • 1 Pair of Sandals (for mild or tropical climates)

  • 2 Pairs of Leisure Shorts - 1 athletic, 1 lounge

  • Swimsuit (always pack a swimsuit)

Tips:

  • Wear your biggest shoes so you take up less space in your suitcase

  • Pack a light scarf to add flair to outfits and bags

  • Buy a backpack at Zara that you can carry around the rest of the week (lol this is a joke but a nice reminder to leave room for stuff you might buy!)

  • Bring a stainless steel water bottle! This was a life saver all week.

  • Organize everything in packing cubes for easier packing + unpacking. I put all of my tops in one, all of my athletic / loungewear in one, all of my pants + dresses in one, etc.

  • Instead of packing bright workout tops in traditional athletic fabrics, consider bringing plain neutral tanks in cotton so you can use them for lounge or backup shirts

  • If you need more room than a normal carry-on, consider adding a cabin bag instead of a second larger bag! It slides onto the handle for easy toting around.

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What to Pack :: Weekender

I took a little weekend trip with my bests last weekend to Eureka Springs. It's a funky little town in Northwest Arkansas, known for its biker bars, weird shops, and hilly nature. We booked an AirBnB on Thursday and drove up Saturday morning for an impromptu getaway, which I highly recommend for basically everyone. Anyway, it got me thinking about how I haven't done a "What to Pack" post in a while and I wanted to do a recap of what's in my weekend bag! If I'd planned ahead, I would have pictures. But I didn't. So I don't. Bear with me.

You'd think it would be easy to fit LITERALLY a night's worth of clothes into a small weekend bag, but it's not. We were actually met with surprisingly warm weather, so I was grateful for the random t-shirts I threw in at the last second. I also packed a wrap just to wear around the house that I ended up wearing on Sunday just because it was so cozy. You never know what you're gonna need!

What you will need, of course, is an adorable weekend bag. Shopbop has a bunch of cute ones right now (DYING over that Kate Spade one!), and Sole Society has an awesome selection as well (love my Cassidy weekender!).

1. Skinny Jeans. It may be tempting to throw a pair of boyfriend jeans in there, but skinnies are far more versatile. In a dark or black wash, you can dress them up with heels at night, then roll them up with flats or sneakers for a casual day look. One of my favorites? Hudson's Nico cut, which sits just low enough to have a cute front tuck but just high enough to battle muffin top.

2. A couple of tees. I always throw one or two extra t-shirts in my bag in black or white, just in case. Even if it's just something you wear to lounge in, it's a good thing to have. Layer one under a leather jacket with a statement necklace for a cute night look - I've been lusting after all of the DANNIJO styles lately.

3. Speaking of...a leather jacket. It's my favorite of all of my jackets for travel. The leather does well with cutting the wind, and it's appropriate for a number of occasions. This doesn't actually go in the bag - you wear it.

4. A nice silk top - or whatever fabric you prefer. I like to have at least one stand-alone top that I can wear to a nice dinner. This weekend, it was this adorable wrap top from Asos. Rebecca Taylor has some of the prettiest flowy tops, with really interesting shapes.

5. One pair of flats, one pair of heels. You want something comfortable to walk in, and something to dress up with (if you want). I love Soludos for cute flat espadrilles, and they lend themselves to travel well thanks to their collapsible nature.

Packing Inspiration :: Vegas Edition

We are less than a month out from a trip to Vegas, people. My husband and I will be headed to Las Vegas for a long weekend to celebrate a birthday with my friends, which means one thing: SEQUINS. HIGH HEELS. CHAMPAGNE. Birthday celebrations tend to be a bit glitzier than a normal Vegas trip, so I've been trying to figure out what I'm going to pack.

The fun thing about Vegas is it goes beyond the Little Black Dress; I like to call my Vegas dresses "LFD"s: Little FAB dress. I plan on taking at least one versatile LBD that can be dressed up or down, but this is a great opportunity to try out sequins, feathers, and all things fun. There's a fine line between Vegas in your 20's and 30's, though. I'm looking for something a bit classier than the crazy bodycon and over-the-top sequin dresses I used to wear in my early 20's.

Source: Elle // Glam Radar // Fab You Bliss

However, the problem with dresses is that you often get to wear them only once. I've played around with the idea of using Rent the Runway to beef up my night-out wardrobe (you can rent and return from The Cosmopolitan!), but packing a few great staples like leather leggings or a crop top could beef up my daytime AND nighttime outfits.

Source: Lovely Pepa // Ashley Graham // Pinterest (I tried to find the real source. I failed.)

And for the day, you'll likely find me in one of my many fabulous swimsuits or something nice and cool. I've been loving my new Nike Free sneakers and will likely pack them as the first pair of super comfortable shoes I've ever packed for any trip ever. Here's a little day inspo for my suitcase:

Source: Beautéphilla // Vogue // Collage Vintage

Anyone else start obsessively looking for inspiration before a trip? I'll be making Polyvore boards soon to work out what I'm bringing and how they all go together. I'm a packing freak. What can I say? It's nice to have something to look forward to.

What's your go-to Vegas garb?