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Capsule Suitcase: What I'm Bringing to Birmingham this Spring

Blogging, Fashion, DIY, How To, Packing, Petite Style, Lifestyle, Photography, Travel, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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Today’s post is new! I am packing for a trip on Thursday where I’ll be visiting my “hometown.” I say “hometown” because I grew up moving all over the world due to my father being in the military for 24 years. I am forever grateful for the experiences that came with my childhood knowing I saw far more than most at an early age, but the word “hometown” still resonates as a funny sounding concept. Anyhow, due to a death in the family, I am returning to Birmingham, Alabama where my family is from.

As I prepare for the upcoming trip where I’ll be gone five days I thought it would be fun to share outfits with you all. Packing is both a science and an art. It’s a science in the fact that you have limited space and you want to use all of it appropriately. It’s an art being able to feel and look put together without overloading your suitcase. If you haven’t checked out my page on Packing, I suggest you immediately stop reading and head over there. It’s full of TONS of tips and strategies. I include how to pack in a color scheme, how to pack in a carry on and additional posts on what I actually wore on trips.

For this trip I am obviously wearing black for the memorial service so that was a given in the color scheme. I am adding in pieces with pops of red and yellow for accents throughout the trip because black can tend to wash me out. I also added Spring inspired accessories like basket bags, totes, and a patchwork bag! Although the purpose of the trip is to celebrate a lost one’s life, I am looking forward to seeing my extended family for the first time in almost three years! Here’s a breakdown of what I’m wearing. The only items I will additionally pack include two fitness outfits, undergarments, a swimsuit in case the hotel has a pool and finally pajamas. I hope you guys enjoy this round up! If you do, please DM me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or leave a comment below!

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For every flight I want to be as comfortable as possible. Since we are going direct and the flight is short I’m wearing stretchy skinny jeans both there and back. Once you find a soft pair of jeans that have a little stretch you’ll find they aren’t uncomfortable to sit in for a few hours. For longer flights I usually opt for a maxi skirt or a pair of leggings. I usually bring my largest jacket on board for warmth and to save space in my bag. I prefer to wear a pair of slides or ballet flats for security screening but pack in my personal item a pair of warm socks. I like to have layers that I can put on or remove so that I can adjust to the surrounding temperatures. Plane flights can get hot and cold depending on what the air craft needs so being able to easy add a scarf or remove a sweater is a necessity. Finally, I like to look put together when I land so that I am ready to go and don’t have to waste time changing if we aren’t going straight to a hotel.

Flight There

Flight Home

Daytime Outfits

The weather is going to be a little tricky this time of year in Birmingham. If you live in Texas, it’s similar weather to Dallas and Ft. Worth. This time of year it’s warm in the day 60-75 degrees and cool at night. I’m packing an extra daytime outfit so that if I don’t like something, I have options to change. I can also change out a shoe and wear one of the following in the evening if I want to. It’s nice to always pack one additional option for the trip that’s versatile for day or night. Again, I’m mostly wearing neutrals with pops of red or white so things can mix and match if I feel like I want to be a little more creative. Travel Pro Tip: Make sure you try each outfit on BEFORE you pack.

Outfit 1

Outfit 2

Outfit 3

Outfit 4

Evening Outfits

For the evenings, the temperatures will drop between 20-30 degrees. I’m taking a trench coat and a suede moto jacket to layer over the dresses or jeans I’m wearing. I packed a few long sleeve dresses which are perfect for Spring to stay both warm and cool and then an evening out wearing jeans. One of the misconceptions about packing is that you need to bring a lot to have options. Not true, by carefully planning out your outfits and bringing neutrals you can have a much bigger variety. I really love navy, so of course, I mixed navy pieces in with my evening looks. It also gives me a little break from black. Travel Pro Tip: Dresses are the easiest thing to pack and take up the least amount of room!

Outfit !

Outfit 2

Outfit 3

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While I oftentimes pack in a carry on this trip is different. My mother (an amazing woman who has always generously taken care of her entire family) has a disease that has rendered her in the need of a full time caregiver. As my father and I planned the logistics of the trip we decided to make things simple by checking the bags in and just bringing personal items on board. That way, if we need to help mom we are able to without dealing with a bunch of suitcases in the airport.

I hope to write an upcoming post on this specific topic. At this point, I have flown with a six week old baby, elderly and toddler so I do have more to share with you on transporting others that need assistance. Once my sister sprained her ankle during a Summer trip home and had to ride with us on a 24 hour trip back to South Korea from Alabama with a removable cast. There are so many ways to make the trip easier and I want to share that information with you guys!

What are your packing tips? Although I fly often there’s always something new to learn so leave me a comment!

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How to Perfect Your Flying Routine

Fashion, How To, Packing, Travel, StyleCrystal JacksonComment

It’s no secret how much I love to travel. One thing you may not know about me includes my extreme hatred for inefficiency and chaos. Airports can be a place for adventure but they can also be a headache. In fact, the whole process of flying is so stressful to me. After countless terrible flights I’ve perfected what I can control and that’s my flying routine. Today I’m walking you through how I prep for a flight, what I do to ensure screening is simpler and finally my on-board rituals to make the time in the air fly by.

Carry On Packing

I bring two bags, a roller carry on size with a swimsuit, pjs and extra change of clothes sits above in the over head bin. I also use this bag for my jewelry case and toiletries (except facial products). I bring a separate tote with the following for easy access while on board:

  • Printed Book

  • Journal and Pen

  • Ipad/Laptop

  • Facial Products

  • Makeup

  • Curling Wand

  • Wallet/Money

  • Scarf

  • Headphones

  • Backup Battery

Before Leaving to Airport

My routine begins before leaving my home or hotel. Before any travel I make sure I shower and wash my face, brush my teeth and leave my skin clear to breath during the flight. I have all devices charged and a backup battery charged as well. I try to pack the day before so that the morning I leave or day I leave I can focus on last minute items. I triple check for chargers, keys, money, cell phone and load what I can in advance. If I’m taking a cab or Uber, I put things by the door so it’s ready to go immediately. I also begin by drinking water now. I grab a 50 oz Smart Water bottle and make it a point to finish as I’m walking through the lines of security. If I need a cup of coffee, I’ll drink one now and that’s all for the trip. On board, I want to rest as much as possible so coffee in take is limited. If I have time, I will also curl my hair into loose curls for the trip. If not, no worries I can do that at the airport after checking into security.

Airport Arrival and Security

I always use the airline apps to check in 24 hours in advance. Here I can change seats if need be. I prefer to have an isle seat so I can easily get up for the restroom or to stretch my legs. If I’m checking luggage I go ahead and drop off my bags and head to security. This is a perfect time to pop in my headphones. I can wait in line calmly and make sure that I keep my anxiety under control. I usually opt for a pair of flats for easy shoe removal and pull my laptop out of my tote to go through the checkpoint. This is about the time I finish that bottle of water and toss the empty bottle in my tote for a refill on the other side. Something I’ve found helpful is to pack in the same bags as much as possible so you have a good system and know where you put your stuff. As soon as TSA checks my ID and boarding pass they go straight to my wallet. Everything has a spot and makes it so much easier once I’m on board.

On Board the Plane

I begin my on board routine the same way every time. I put my overhead carry on in the bin and my tote underneath the seat. I pullout a a pair of slippers and stow away my ballet flats. Slippers are perfect for trips to the bathroom and are warmer on the feet during the flight. I also use my scarf as a pillow sometimes so that’s pulled out for easy access. I begin by lathering on eye creams, serums, and moisturizers onto my face and hands. Then I slip on my ear phones with a music list ready to hit play and a sleep mask to block out light. If I’m restless I’ll make lists or jot down thoughts or read my paperback. I try to get as much rest as possible on the plane knowing once I land it will be a few hours before I can relax again. If I do nap, once I awake I either drink a cup of coffee before landing or I’ll get up and brush my teeth in the bathroom.

Over the years I’ve realized I feel best when I stay hydrated, wear my hair down, bring a sleeping mask and avoid alcohol and caffeine. I arrive so much more refreshed with that combination than I have in the best when I spent flights working or having a pre-party before the actual vacation. Now, by getting good rest on my flight it allows me to minimize travel stress and prepare my body.

What are some of the ways you minimize travel stress?

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My Travel Uniform

Fashion, How To, Lifestyle, Packing, Style, TravelCrystal JacksonComment
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Lately I’ve really been into dressing in neutrals. Don’t get me wrong, my colorful spectrum wardrobe will continue to showcase bright pieces but sometimes it’s nice just to get back to the basics. Whenever wearing neutral tones it’s nice to play with various textures. Here a velvet blazer is layered over a velvet body suit. What I really like about the body suit is that it is super easy to look pulled together without having to worry about constantly tucking your shirt in. This one is from Target from last season but I’ve linked several ones below under $50. The main key to making it comfortable is to pick a fabric that’s soft and make sure it has buttons to undo when you are using the restroom.

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I layered it under really stretchy skinny jeans. I like to look for a pair with a wider waistband for travel. That way they almost feel like leggings instead of jeans. A dark wash is my usual go to since it hides stains, spills or just dirt as you are in and out of public transportation. A soft blazer can be added for warmth underneath a coat if you are going somewhere chilly. Finally, a pair of ballet inspired pumps (on MAJOR sale right now!) with a block heel does just the trick. They are easy to slip on and off during the flight while being comfortable to walk in. Another thing I love about this look is that it is easy to step off the plane (or out of a vehicle) check into where you are staying and immediately head down for dinner or drinks somewhere.

As far as traveling I think it’s important to look for proper luggage. This season I picked up a rolling duffel bag from Jessica Simpson’s collection and found it was perfect for most three to four day weekend trips. I prefer to pack in the same bags often so I have a good system down. Since I travel almost every single weekend (and have been doing so for years), efficiency is key to not getting overwhelmed constantly. This duffel has so much room and zipper pockets inside and outside of the main compartment.

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I usually bring a canvas tote or laptop bag to hold my other items like toiletries, electronics and journals. Having a “travel uniform” streamlines the getting ready process and let’s me think more about activities at my destination than, “What am I going to wear?” I also like to make sure that whatever I travel in would be comfortable enough if I got stuck somewhere or worse my luggage is lost. Oftentimes, I’ll throw an extra shirt, nightie and swimsuit (since all pack small) into my carry on so I have extra things in the event anything I check is delayed or missing. After a trip 6 years ago and my luggage was delayed over 24 hours to San Francisco I re-evaluated all packing endeavors to ensure I had what I needed as soon as I landed in case my luggage didn’t make it with me.

When selecting luggage, it’s really important to find something that works with what you wear. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve double a canvas tote for a beach bag and left my items in a dresser in the room I’m staying in. I also like to have all of my luggage at least color coordinate. In the past I used a black suitcase with tan trimming. Now I usually check this leopard print duffel and then utilize my tote and laptop bag for on board. I found a really adorable identical version of this duffel in a navy polka dot if you are looking to add a new classic piece to your collection. I prefer darker colors to hide scratches and marks, but this striped pink one is a must have too! Although I struggled to find an exact match to the one I’ve photographed in leopard I did find this version for under $50 from Vera Bradley!

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Video: How to Pack for a Weekend Away

Fashion, How To, Travel, Packing, LifestyleCrystal Jackson1 Comment

New year means fresh starts! A few years ago (after a very dramatic NYE where my luggage was delayed by the airline) I vowed to learn to pack less and smarter. I started researching how to pack in a carry on and came across a video of a flight attendant traveling on vacation for 10 days. She packed plenty of things to wear and I realized that I was hooked. If she could do it, I can do it. It’s been four years now and I haven’t checked a bag since. (Applause, please? Ha ha, jk.)

Through trial and error, I’ve come up with an efficient system for packing. I’ve shared a few tips here on the blog (check out the Packing Page), but decided to make a leap and show you guys on video a few more. The key is to make sure you plan in advance, lay everything out, and pack in a color scheme. This will save you headaches in the long run. Think about packing as an editing project. You can always wash if you run out of clean clothes. You can also mix and match if you bring things that work together. I hope you all enjoy this new video adventure! Please share, leave a comment or just click like for feedback!

View the Video:

Travel Style - How to Simplify Your Pack

3HC, How To, Style, TravelCrystal JacksonComment

I cannot tell you how frustrating it was for me prior to learning how to pack in a carry-on. I mean FRUSTRATING. From carrying heavy bags to losing luggage at the airline, it became too much.  I decided after my bags were delayed 24 hours in San Francisco on NYE… it was time – time to simplify. So, I started with Pinterest and scoured boards to find better methods. I spent hours on Google looking up ways to pack lighter. Fast forward years later, and I have it down to a science. Here are few ways to make your life easier and carry less!

·         Dresses and Rompers – They take up less space. I carry 3-4 from dressy to casual. You can throw a cardigan, blazer or sweater over and give it a second look.

·         Limit Toiletries – I pack only the necessities. I also limit how much makeup I bring. Put them into smaller containers and everything goes in a TSA approved clear pouch.

·         Pack in a Color Scheme – Depending on the length of travel, I usually will pack in 1-2 color schemes. I wrote another post all about this, but it makes a difference in how many bags/shoes/accessories end up getting tacked on.

·         Wear Bulky Items – Jeans, tennis shoes, coats or boots should be worn on the plane to reserve more room in your bag. See this post for more tips!

·         Plan Your Outfits – I lay everything out on my bed or floor in outfits to make sure I’m not missing anything. It makes a difference when I arrive because I spend little time thinking about what I am going to wear and more time doing things I’m interested in.

·         Double Use Bags – I use my tote for the beach, shopping and double as a personal item on the plane. I also will pack a clutch inside of a cross body. That gives me 3 bags as options and takes up little space.

A lot of people will tell you to limit your shoes, but here is where I disagree. I usually pack smaller and less bulky shoes like ballet flats, simple leather slides and maybe a pair of heels. I find that as much as I love wearing heels, I don’t usually want to put them on if I’m doing a lot of walking when I travel. Hope these tips help! If you have more questions, feel free to reach out via email or leave a comment! I’d also love to hear your tips or tricks!

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