Category: Travel

Packing for the Family Summer Vacation

It’s time for another Family J Vacation packing post – hurrah! The last time I wrote one of these posts, we were heading to Mexico; this time, it’s a coast closer to home. To wit: Vancouver.

Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach

Vancouver is one of our favourite places on earth – as evidenced by the fact that this was Luka’s 4th trip in as many years – but we actually haven’t been back there since February 2014. And how we’ve missed it! I will be honest and say that, as much as I enjoy visiting it with the kids, I would love an opportunity for an adults-only trip. As long time readers know, my husband and I started dating while he lived in Van, so the city holds a lot of romantic memories for me. Alas, that opportunity will have to wait a little while longer (fingers crossed for 2016!).

Since this was a family vacation, I knew I had to pack accordingly. First, Westjet is now charging for every checked bag, which is just baloney if you ask me (and too bad they didn’t). So, minimalism was the name of the game since my husband and I had to share one suitcase (the horror!). Second, I had to forgo chic-ness in favour of practicality; I needed clothes that would be comfortable for long days of walking and kid-wrangling. I wanted to have some rainy weather options as well, because you never know – this is Vancouver we’re talking about. Third, I didn’t want to look like a schlub, so the clothes had to be practical, but still cute.

Blah, blah, blah … here’s what I packed for our 5-night, 6-day trip:

everything but the raincoat and unmentionables
everything but the raincoat and unmentionables

That photo is probably not super enlightening, so here’s a breakdown:

– 2 dresses
– 1 skirt
– 2 pairs of pants (jeans)
– 1 pair of shorts
– 4 tops
– 1 denim jacket
– 2 sweaters (technically, one was a fancy sweatshirt)
– 1 cardigan
– 1 rain jacket (not shown)
– 3 pairs of shoes

I wore a bunch of the clothes on the plane, naturally, so the item count for the suitcase was actually 13 (including shoes). Not bad. Out of that, I managed to squeeze out some decent vacation outfits (posts to come), whilst feeling like I had a variety of options each day. And that’s the key with vacation packing, in my opinion: having enough clothes to feel like you have just enough, but not too many, options.

There was no real magic to selecting the individual pieces. I started by picking a couple of dresses and a skirt that I knew I would be excited to wear. The skirt is one of my faves, and it’s cotton, which is perfect for summer vacations – it’s light, comfortable, and easily washable. The dresses were new thrifting acquisitions and fit the same criteria, in addition to being cute and possessing the novelty factor. Next, I picked my go-to casual bottoms: skinny jeans, and black jeggings. I added a pair of shorts, just in case the temperatures reached tropical levels. Then I picked 4 tops that could easily mix and match with all my other stuff (hence, a lot of black, white, and stripes). Finally, I picked some toppers that could also easily pair with everything (i.e. denim and black everything). For shoes, I went with black and cognac leather sandals, which I knew would be comfortable, plus some flats in case of colder/rainy weather. Both of those colours worked with the bags I took with me, as well as the overall colour scheme of my vacation “capsule” (which happened to be predominantly black, white, tan/cream, blue, and yellow). And that was it – it honestly took me longer to write it all out than it did to put it together in the first place.

Stay tuned for vacation OOTDs, and more shots of Vancouver.

The Transatlantic Skirt

Blazer, Aritzia; top, Loft (swap); skirt, Boden (via eBay and Lou); shoes, Ellen Tracy; bag, Mulberry (via eBay)
Blazer, Aritzia; top, Loft (swap); skirt, Boden (via eBay and Lou); shoes, Ellen Tracy; bag, Mulberry (via eBay)

This dress has seen more travel action than I have in the last 3 years. It’s traveled across the Atlantic 3 – THREE! – times. First, when I bought it from an eBay in the UK. Then, when I sent to Lou in a clothes swap. And, finally, back my way from Lou, who sweetly offered to reunite us after she heard I was pining for it again.

Not content with stealing the skirt off her, um, tush, I also stole her outfit idea. Don’t y’all rush to be my friend now.

(Love ya, girl!)

red suede shoes of sadness!
red suede shoes of sadness!

Beach Vacation Style: Travel Capsule Review

riviera maya mexico
oh, sunshine & ocean

You’ve already seen a bunch of the outfits I wore on my Mexico vacation, but I figured I’d do a proper “capsule” recap so you could see how I fared overall. While I ended up wearing almost all of the pieces I brought with me, I spent the majority of my time in my swimsuits and either my thrifted tie dye schmatta dress or my cover-up. No surprises there, really. I always seem to forget how casual most resorts tend to be; the shorts-and-tee outfit on the right (below) was a “dressy” daytime outfit. Running around after the kids gave me one more reason to stick to the simple & comfortable.

beach resort capsule; travel capsule; beach vacation capsule
one, two

Speaking of shorts, I wore this pair an awful lot:

beach resort capsule; travel capsule; beach vacation capsule
three, four, five

I also wore them in the evenings, fancy like so:

beach resort capsule; travel capsule; beach vacation capsule
six, seven

Or what passes for fancy at a resort, ahem. And on that note:

beach resort capsule; travel capsule; beach vacation capsule
seven, eight, nine

I was mocked mercilessly by my family the entire trip for taking outfit photos, but that was not the worst indignity my blogger ego suffered; I was also ruthlessly photo-bombed, and entirely upstaged on the regular. Behold:

beach resort capsule; travel capsule; vacation capsule
who cares what I’m wearing, amirite?

Luka wasn’t the only one in the photo-bombing game, however:

beach resort capsule; travel capsule; vacation capsul
Payback’s a bitch

My kids are certified grade A hams … and I wouldn’t have it any other way:

dat smile, tho
Blue Steel-ing it on the beach
Blue Steel-ing a few selfies on the beach

Oh, right, this is a style blog. Ahem. Moving on.

beach resort capsule; travel capsule; beach vacation capsule
ten, eleven

All of these were on the overdressed side of the scale, but I didn’t care because – hello, pretty summer frocks! It’s been too long, my lovelies. Summer can’t come soon enough.

All in all, I was pretty happy with the things I packed. There were only a few items I never wore, which I sort of expected anyway. My workout gear never got unpacked; the resort had beautiful and extensive grounds, and everything (our rooms, the lobby, the buffet, the beach, the pools) was spread out, so we walked a lot. Let’s just say, I was not devastated that I didn’t get/have to work out. The weather was unseasonably warm for the first half of our trip, so I didn’t need any toppers in the evenings; the last few days, I wore my black cardigan for dinner – the other cardigan and my denim jacket could have been left at home. Still, you can’t predict the weather, and better safe than sorry, etc. The only piece that was truly useless was my pair of jelly pumps. Heels just weren’t going to happen on this trip. See above re walking a lot, and running after kids. I should have known better.

What got the most wear? As I mentioned above, my tie dye dress and beach cover-up were almost daily wears. I also wore my floral print shorts, and black maxi dress more than a few times. Oh, and my black J. Crew Factory sandals and Old Navy flip flops – I probably didn’t need to pack any other footwear, to be honest. And that’s all I got, folks. Nothing really groundbreaking in this post, but I did manage to sneak in a few photos of my kids, and you got an eyeful of my pasty appendages, so … um, there’s that. We’re all winners here.