Tag Archives: packing tips

What’s in my (weekender) bag? | Packing for a weekend trip

I’ve done a couple of “What’s in my bag?” kind of posts, including my original handbag post and a more recent evening bag post. When my mom sent me a weekender bag — in time for me to try it out for a Memorial Day weekend visit to my friend Stephanie in Portland! — I thought it would be fun to highlight how I pack for a weekend visit.

Weekender bag

First up, closeups of the weekender bag my mom recently gifted me. It’s striped and on wheels, with a collapsible handle. It also has a zippered bit on the bottom to expand the bag if needed. There are also pockets lining both sides of the bag’s interior.

Librarian for Life + Style | Weekender tote, top view

Librarian for Life + Style | Weekender tote bag side view

Librarian for Life + Style | Interior pockets of the weekender tote

What I packed in my weekender bag

Below is what went into my weekender bag. I like to roll up undergarments inside each outfit, so every outfit is bundled together. Then I just stack the bundles up in my bag or suitcase, and everything is nice and tidy. There are lots of different ways to pack — and I looooooove reading all about different packing tips! — but I have found that this way works for me! ūüôā

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for the weekend


  1. Outfit for the trip back (floral shirtdress + black leggings, exact outfit previously seen here)
  2. Black sandals
  3. Metallic sandals
  4. Bronze shawl (to layer when cold, particularly on the train)
  5. Toiletries bag
  6. Pajamas
  7. Optional casual outfit (black & white striped tee + red shorts, to wear with black sandals — I didn’t end up wearing this outfit, but I always like to have an extra outfit on hand, just in case)
  8. Casual outfit (grey tee + tan shorts, to wear with metallic sandals)
  9. Travel pillow for my back or neck

And below is how everything fit into the bag, with room to spare:

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for the weekend

My traveling outfit

Below are details of my traveling outfit, which I wore on the train down to Portland. I wore a grey scoop-neck tunic that my mom also recently sent me, and it’s so soft and comfy — perfect for traveling! I layered the tunic over leggings and my metallic sandals. A fabric belt helped give some shape to the tunic (which is a bit oversized on me) but didn’t feel restrictive.

Below is also a closeup of my accessories. When I travel, I don’t like to wear any jewelry except for one pair of earrings that go with every outfit. These topaz drop earrings are one of my go-to choices when traveling, because they’re so light, and the color is a nice neutral.

When I came downstairs, Sam remarked that it was a perfect traveling outfit, because, as he put it, “It’s cute and pulled together for traveling, and it looks comfy — but when you take the belt off, you’re ready to lounge!” Yep. ūüėČ

Librarian for Life + Style | Travel outfit

Librarian for Life + Style | Travel outfit closeup

On the day of travel

And finally, a couple of pics snapped on the day that I travelled down to Portland by train on Memorial Day weekend. (Mom, I knew you’d especially like to see how I’m wearing the items you’ve gifted me — thank you for knowing my style! Love you, Mom ‚ô• )

And yes, my black + tan + white purse also coordinated with every outfit that I packed. Because OF COURSE. ūüėČ

Librarian for Life + Style | Weekender bag and purse

Librarian for Life + Style | Travel outfit and weekender bag

What do you include in a weekender bag? Please share!

Linkups:  Hello Monday, Visible Monday, #iwillwearwhatilike, Shoe and Tell, Confident Twosdays, Turning Heads, Style With a Smile, Who’s Wearing What Wednesdays, Trendy Wednesday, What I Wore Wednesday, I Feel Pretty Wednesdays, Weekly Wednesday Fashion Linkup, Top of the World, Thursday Moda, Fashion Friday, Passion for Fashion, Fun Fashion Friday, Fabulous Friday, Fancy Friday, Fine-Whatever Linkup, Weekend Wear Link Up, #SaturdayShareLinkUp


Be my guest: Salazar

Hope y’all¬†enjoy the guest posts while I’m on vacation! Jen

Today, my fellow SIA co-host Salazar is here to share some traveling tips for footwear. Practical and stylish — my favorite combination! ūüôā

Hello, readers of Librarian of Life and Style! I’m Salazar of 14 Shades of Grey, and I’m excited to be blog-sitting for Jen while she’s on vacation. Since Jen is traveling, and I just got back from summer vacation myself, I thought it’d be fun to show you guys some of my favorite traveling shoes. Shoes are, I think, one of the most important things in your suitcase, but also the most difficult thing to pick out, because they are heavy, bulky, and how do you pick just one or two pairs that go with everything? Anyway, here are the shoes I tend to reach for when I’m traveling, in this order (I tend to bring no more than two pairs, and most of the time, just one pair is enough for the whole trip):

1. Hiking boots:

blue jeans work boots by 14 shades of greyred striped shirt navy cardigan brown boots by 14 shades of grey

white dress navy cardigan brown boots by 14 shades of greyblack shirt embroidered skirt work boots by 14 shades of grey

I call them hiking boots, but they’re not actually sturdy enough for vigorous hiking. I don’t know what they are, actually. I got them dirt-cheap from Payless (they were on sale for like, $10 or $15!) about three years ago, and since then I have taken them with me whenever I go on a trip. I like traveling to mountain areas, and they are great for walking around in the dirt and rain. Even when I went to the beach, the beach is near a tropical forest, so I packed them with me as well! They’re neutral and basic enough to go well with jeans, but I’ve worn them with dresses and skirts too. I love them. I’m going to have to find a replacement pair before my next trip, because I have worn these absolutely to the ground.

2. Sneakers:

lam kinh by 14 shades of greyhanoi old quarter - the huc bridge - by 14 shades of grey

Well, this is a no-brainer. If you know that your trip is going to be mostly casual, you’re not going to the beach, and you’re not trekking around in the mud, then I think one pair of Converse would be enough for all your needs. They go with everything, and they’re comfy — what more can you ask, right? Just be careful in the rain though.

3. Tall boots:

balboa park - museumhuntington beach - outfit

These are great for cold weather, and you can dress them up or down. People always talk about how boots take up space, but my thinking is, if you’re wearing them on your feet, then you’re actually saving space, because one pair of boots is all you need. I did get blisters from walking around too much in boots though, and they’re not as hardy as hiking boots, so I would think twice about bringing them if I know I would be walking around in nature.

4. Flats:

temple of literature - gate - by 14 shades of grey

I have always packed flats with me when I travel, and I almost never wear them. They can work for a day’s walk in the city, but only if the weather is nice and dry. Still, they don’t take up much space, so having a pair with you just in case is always a good idea.

5. Sandals/Flip-flops:

ha long bay - beach - by 14 shades of greyha long bay - monkey island - by 14 shades of grey

I’d say bring them only if you’re going to the beach. Even if I’m just walking around in the city, I don’t want my feet exposed. Who knows where those sidewalks have been?

So those are the my choice for shoes when traveling. I don’t include heels or wedges because I almost never go on the type of trips that require those, and even then I would opt for a nice pair of flats or flat sandals or flat boots over anything with a heel. But hey, that’s just my preference. Depending on your destination and your plan, you can pick out the shoes that work best for you.

Thank you for reading, and thank you, Jen, for letting me guest post. I hope you’re enjoying your trip!

What to wear to a conference in Las Vegas

I know that is a¬†highly specific title and event to dress for, and as you read this post, I am recovering from¬†the Las Vegas heat. [Full disclosure, I will have just returned from the conference, but I wrote this post early so it could go live as I recover. I have a late flight after four full days of conferencing.) It is supposed to be¬†around 110 degrees, whaaaaaa?!!!!. I have completely¬†acclimated to Oregon weather, so I am not¬†looking forward to¬†the heat, even if it’s supposed to be a dry heat. WhatEVER. Hot is hot, y’all, and I’ve lived in the desert.

This is the second¬†time that the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference has¬†been held in Las Vegas (the previous time was 41 years ago!).¬†Seriously, 20,000+ librarians in Vegas?! (The jokes practically write themselves, don’t they? So I won’t bother making any jokes myself. ūüėČ )

Anyways…. here’s what I packed for this conference. I tend to go for “business casual” for conferences that I have to travel for, just because of the comfort level while traveling. I was also thinking layers, betting on icy¬†air conditioning indoors. I based¬†everything around my new metallic sandals, going for a bronze-y color theme mixed with navy, brown, and olive tones. I also chose items that would pack well, like my tan pencil skirt and print maxidress.

Librarian for Life + Style | Essentials + accessories for ALA 2014

The Essentials: Accessories:
  • metallic sandals
  • orange + brown tote bag (awesome traveling bag, also seen¬†here)
  • bronze hoop earrings
  • bronze shawl

Not counting the accessories above, I packed 8 basic items for 4 days of outfits! ūüôā

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2014

The layers: Miscellaneous:
  • library catalog t-shirt (I couldn’t resist!)
  • argyle¬†t-shirts (grey + blue)
  • brown cardigan
  • tan skirt
  • navy print maxidress
  • olive ankle pants
  • denim jacket
  • swimsuit
  • swim cover-up
  • canvas tote for pool stuff
  • flip flops
  • pajamas
  • sunscreen

Traveling outfit (to and from):

The denim jacket and olive pants will wear well for two days’ use of travel, and all I will have to do is switch out the t-shirts. I will also wear my scarf in case it gets too chilly on the plane.

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2014

Details: ¬†Denim jacket: ¬†Kohl’s, old ¬†/ ¬†Argyle t-shirts: ¬†Gift from my mom, old ¬†/ ¬†Olive ankle pants: ¬†Tommy Hilfiger via Macy’s, gift-carded this winter / ¬†Metallic sandals: ¬†Naturalizer via DSW, gift-carded this month

Day 1:

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2014

Details: ¬†Tan pencil skirt: ¬†Bealls, old ¬†/ ¬†Library catalog t-shirt: ¬†Gift from my husband this winter ¬†/ ¬†Wide belt: ¬†Kohl’s, old

Day 2:

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2014

Details:  Navy print maxidress:  LOFT Outlet, this spring  /  Brown cardigan:  Gap, old

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2014

And here is everything all packed in my carry-on suitcase. Having just a carry-on is so much easier while traveling!

I’ll post updates on how I did with the conference wardrobe on my Facebook page. And if you’d like to know how I did at last year’s ALA, click here and here.

Do you find it hard to pack for business travel? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Link ups:  Look What I Got

Packing for Vancouver

Today, I wanted to share the travel wardrobe I packed for our quick Spring Break trip last week to Vancouver, BC. (FYI, tomorrow’s post will feature highlights from¬†our trip, so stay tuned!) I will admit an ulterior motive in putting together today’s post; due to the outerwear, it looks like I’m wearing the¬†same outfit in practically every pic Sam took of me during our travels. So this is to prove that I did pack and wear different clothes! ūüėČ

Librarian for Life + Style | Vancouver travel essentials collage

I started with a foundation of travel essentials — and the main reasons why it looks like I wore the same thing each day!¬†These essentials included ¬†a raincoat, flat boots, and a crossbody bag. All of these pieces were chosen for practicality. The raincoat was a no-brainer, and as it’s lined, it was also quite warm for chilly 40-50 degree days. The flat boots were perfect for walking-intensive days, and the crossbody bag was rubber-lined to withstand the spring rains. Even though the bag¬†was a smaller size than I had originally envisioned for a travel bag, it was actually great for traveling as it forced me to pare down what I put in it, and it wasn’t too¬†heavy.

Around those three essentials, I added pieces in a color palette of¬†mostly purple, grey, and black. I don’t like to wear a lot of jewelry while traveling, so I kept accessories to a minimum. And everything fit into a carry-on suitcase, by the way.

  • Bottoms: ¬†black skinny jeans; dark denim skinny jeans; grey wool midi-skirt; grey and black fleece-lined leggings (to serve as tights)
  • Tops: ¬†purple cowl-neck sweater; black long-sleeved t-shirt; purple long-sleeved t-shirt; black-and-white striped shirt; red striped sweater; olive¬†cargo vest
  • Accessories: ¬†black-and-white patterned scarf; silver earring studs

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for Vancouver collage

Here is how I remixed these items for the 6-day trip:

  • Black-and-white striped shirt + skinny jeans + cargo vest (traveling outfit, to and from)
  • Red striped sweater + black jeans + scarf
  • Purple sweater + grey skirt + black leggings
  • Purple t-shirt + black jeans + cargo vest + scarf
  • Black t-shirt + grey skirt + black leggings + scarf

Tip: ¬†If you have a cargo vest, I highly recommend using it while traveling!¬†I’ve worn one on every trip I’ve taken since getting one¬†over a year ago. Those pockets really come in handy for storing smaller¬†items, like hair ties, lens cleaning cloth, medications, chapstick, etc.

And, yes, I had all of this planned¬†out on a memo app on my phone. I’m a librarian — I like to organize things and make lists! It’s half the fun. ūüėČ

Packing for ALA

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be on a plane to Chicago, headed for the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference. ALA Annual is HUGE, y’all. Just imagine 20,000+ librarians in one city all at one time. Oh, yes. All that awesomeness and organization and intelligence all mixed together, with enough cardigans and spectacles to outfit a small city. ūüėČ

Conferences are tricky to pack for (see my previous posts on what to wear for library conferences here, here and here), but this one was particularly challenging. Here’s a list of things I had to keep in mind while packing:

      • Long days –> comfortable clothing
      • Lots of walking — this conference has programs at multiple locations across the city –> comfortable footwear
      • Early summer –> high temps + sweating¬†+¬†possibility of rain
      • Two formal evening events –> dressy ensembles that are also packable (and non-wrinkly)
      • Meet-up with blogger friend [details at the end of this post]–> cute and stylish outfits
      • Networking and committee work –> professional-looking outfits
      • One carry-on suitcase –> light fabrics + “less is more” mentality

And now on to the outfits I’ve planned out!

For day wear & travel:

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2013

Details: ¬†Red ankle pants: ¬†Macy’s, gift-carded this winter ¬†/ ¬†Striped tank top: ¬†Old Navy, gift-carded last summer ¬†/ ¬†Denim jacket: ¬†Kohl’s, old ¬†/ ¬†Pewter sandals: ¬†Target, on sale this spring

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2013

Details:  Striped dress:  Old Navy, gift-carded this spring  /  Olive short-sleeved cardigan:  Gift from sister-in-law, old  /  Pewter sandals:  Target, on sale this spring

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2013

Details: ¬†Charcoal maxidress: ¬†Target, gift-carded this month ¬†/ ¬†Denim jacket: ¬†Kohl’s, old ¬†/ ¬†Pewter sandals: ¬†Target, on sale this spring ¬†/ ¬†Red sports bra: ¬†Target?, old

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2013

Details: ¬†Polka-dotted skirt: ¬†Lands’ End, gift-carded this spring ¬†/ ¬†Black button-down: ¬†H&M, last winter ¬†/ ¬†Grey tank top: ¬†Target, old ¬†/ ¬†Pewter sandals: ¬†Target, on sale this spring

The constants? My metallic sandals, the color black, and pattern (stripes or polka dots). If I need to, I can also remix a couple of pieces for another outfit — like pairing the black button-down with the red ankle pants and denim jacket.


Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2013

I’m also packing my light grey rain jacket and sporty, rubber-soled black flats just in case it rains (the weather channel has been going back and forth on the possibility of rain in Chicago this weekend) and if I need extra layers. I’m also bringing my new black travel purse, my new swimsuit (my hotel has an indoor pool, yay!), black-and-white polka-dotted scarf, plus some silver jewelry.

For evening wear:

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2013

Details:  Navy halter dress (knee-length):  Maggy Longon, thrifted this summer  /  Sequined clutch:  Aldo?, Abu Dhabi, old  /  Silver-and-white scarf:  Origem, Abu Dhabi, old  /  Silver dangly earrings:  Made by a friend, Abu Dhabi, old  /  Pewter sandals:  Target, on sale this spring

Librarian for Life + Style | Packing for ALA 2013

Details:  Pink-and-white halter tie dress:  Origem, Abu Dhabi, old  /  Sequined clutch:  Aldo?, Abu Dhabi, old  /  Silver-and-white scarf:  Origem, Abu Dhabi, old  /  Silver dangly earrings:  Made by a friend, Abu Dhabi, old  /  Pewter sandals:  Target, on sale this spring

Again, going with the same sandals for evening. In my head, the metal bar makes them versatile for both day and evening looks, and I like the unfussy, cool vibe the sandals bring to each combo. (If it’s good enough for Charlize Theron, then it’s good enough for me!)¬†I’ve got two evening events to attend, one more of a cocktail reception (I’ll wear the navy halter, knee-length dress to that one) and the other a full-on banquet and awards ceremony (the long pink-and-white dress with the beribboned tie detail on the halter feels more formal).

So there you have it: ¬†minimal accessories + practicality + professional yet comfortable day and evening wear. Hopefully, that all adds up to 1 stylish librarian’s travel- and conference-appropriate wardrobe! ūüėÄ

And yes, in case you missed it in that list at the beginning of this post, I’ll be meeting up with a fellow style blogger, Erin of Loop Looks. So excited!!! Erin’s blog was one of the first style bogs I came across. We’ve contributed guest posts back and forth, and even collaborated on a “Mutually Inspired Series” style challenge this past spring. Can the world handle two fellow MLS’s and style bloggers meeting up in real life? I SAY YES. ūüėČ

I’ll be posting pics from my meet-up with Erin when I get back next week, so stay tuned! Until then, for your viewing pleasure, I’ve got some special posts already queued up.