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Packing Light – 7 Days in a Carry on

This last week I headed to the other side of France, as I often do, for a little vacation. My older son spent the week at a basketball camp staying with some friends and I spent the week at another friends house speaking French all week. Even though it started off pretty rough, it was still a really great week.

I posted on Instagram (@NataliaLSimmons if you want to follow along!) that I fit everything for me and my little guy in the same suitcase. I was pretty impressed with myself. I’ve tried this before but what usually ends up happening is either I throw a few more things in because I feel like I will neeeed them or I am disappointed with my outfits because they weren’t remixable enough. This time I think I did okay! Packing light really works!

small suitcase

There is the small suitcase, the one to the right, aren’t you impressed? And it’s too big to be a carry on for RyanAir if you were wondering. The same carry on I take on all my flights is too big for Ryan Air.  Here’s what I came up with:

Packing Light for a Week Away

1 carryon bag 8 different outfits

I ended up taking these pictures in my backyard after vacation because I’m just not in the habit of snapping a photo everyday of my outfit. That might be a good thing to get in the habit of though. But that’s what I wore! Not too shabby, right?

Here is what packing light looks like to me: a maxi dress from Hazel & Olive, my favorite Rock and Republic jeans, coral jeans from H&M, skeleton shirt, striped grey shirt, black shirt (the one I brought was actually long sleeve but I couldn’t find it when I was taking the photos), white tunic from Roe Blvd (love this shirt!), and my jean jacket. (All links are to similar items. That’s what happens when you never shop. Things are too old to link to.) Oh I also brought/wore my grey light sweater thing from H&M. So in total that’s 8 pieces of clothing and I am showing 8 outfits! Although I easily could have done more.

colored jeans black tee

As I was putting together this post, I can see that most of these are ‘mom outfits.’ Is that a bad thing? I don’t know. I mean, I never promised to be an amazing fashionista. These little slip on shoes are great, but they seriously smell because you have to wear them without socks. And then the bummer is here in France most people like it if you take your shoes off when you get in the house. But my feet smell!! It’s a problem.

jeans and a tee


Do I buy new ones? Do I wash them? How do you get your shoes not to smell? I think I might throw them in the wash. I’m pretty sure I got them at Payless because that’s where I get most of my shoes. They’re cute and comfy, there’s just the problem with the smell.

This white tunic I’m wearing is my absolute favorite. It’s so soft and comfy. But it’s also cute. It’s longer in the back and flows a bit. Here’s some more pictures of it. It’s also long enough for my arms, which is a feat in and of itself. I’m kinda tall.

colored jeans and striped shirt

This striped tee is a favorite too. It’s casual and cute but serious mom wear right there, isn’t it? I mean, is that okay? Moms are allowed to dress like moms, right? I mean, I don’t mind if I look like a mom, just a mom that is trying to put herself together. And yes, I’m aware my hair in these pictures does not look like I’m trying to put myself together. Or that I appear to not be wearing any makeup at all. I was, promise, I just fell a sleep on the train on the way home from class, so I look a little out of it…

jeans tee and light sweater



Another favorite – the tunic I got at H&M a little while back. That might be a sign of age that I like anything nice and flowy. Or a sign that I need to hit the gym…. Either way comfort is high on my list and this one does it for me. I wear it often.

skeleton shirt and tennis shoes


I think I bought this shirt on a whim last year in St Quentin. I have a weird thing for skeletons. I love them in fashion. It’s cute and funky, I like it. I don’t wear it often. And since the weather was quite disappointing on vacation, it only got one look.

off the shoulder dress


Ahh this dress. It’s funky, right? Hazel and Olive, if you don’t already know this store, totally rocks. They have the cutest stuff. This dress isn’t there anymore, but they’re always getting new stuff in. Definitely worth a check out for sure.

striped shirt and jeans


Please excuse that face. I am most definitely not trying to be sexy. Camera just caught a bad angle or something and I didn’t have a lot of choices. Modeling has never really been an option for me… colored jeans and jean jacket

This was my airport outfit of choice. Just I wear these boots to the airport. I try to wear my heaviest, biggest shoes so that they don’t take up space in my suitcase. I didn’t have to take them off when I left but when I was returning somehow they must have looked more dangerous or something. There’s that comfy tunic again. I’m embarrassingly wearing it right now as I write this as well.

There you have it! I was pretty proud of myself for packing light and making outfits out of them all. It was my goal to pack wisely and remix my clothes and I did it! I left on a Saturday and returned the next Saturday morning. Not too shabby.

In other news, I’ve got lost of cool stuff going on ’round here if you want to check it out! You could win $100 to Reebok just by telling me where you would wear your Skyscapes if you won. You could win $500 to spend at RedEnvelope, which if you haven’t checked out, it’s a must. Then I shared how to get a fake tan without using fake tanner. It’s pretty genius if you ask me.

Hope everyone’s having an awesome hump day!! We’re actually celebrating my little man’s birthday today! Even though it was a couple weeks ago… We’re really on top of things around here, what can I say…

Have a great day!


28 Responses to Packing Light – 7 Days in a Carry on

  1. MJ May 14, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    C’est mon obsession / défi, de tout avoir dans un bagage cabine, mais avec les restrictions des dimensions RyanAir / Easyjet, c’est pas évident!
    J’adore ta robe avec la ceinture!
    Joyeux anniversaire à ton garçon 🙂


    see, that’s a little french practice du mercredi for ya 😀

    • Natalia May 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      Merci! Je veux que tu fasses tout les comments en français! Mais j’écris très mauvais, tu verras. Je parle mieux. Je suppose que les restrictions de RyanAir/Easyjet sont comme ca parce que le prix est déjà très bas! Mais ça marche! Je préfère comme ça!

  2. Becky @ bybmg May 14, 2014 at 6:26 am #

    I’m impressed with your hair! 🙂 But, I can’t braid to save my life. I think you did an amazing job with the variety of outfits.That dress is awesome! I totally should have used this method when I went to NYC for a few days. Instead I brought a bazillion outfits.

    • Natalia May 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

      It is super hard to not pack a million outfits. Us girls, we like options! But it was a lot more practical this trip, so it worked out great.

  3. janalyn May 14, 2014 at 7:11 am #

    I run into the same problem when I wear TOMS! I wear those nylon footie socks with them. Spray then insides with Febreeze when you take them off for the day and it freshens them up.

    • Natalia May 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      I’ve heard about that with TOMS. I don’t own a pair, but I imagine it’s similar. Gotta try spraying them soon!

  4. Arielle May 14, 2014 at 8:14 am #

    I used to NEVER wear flats or little canvas sneakers like those because of the sock issue. But THEN I discovered THESE:

    They’re fantastic. It would not be overstating to call them a wardrobe game changer. And if you have any flats that are more ballet flat style, try these:

    Good luck!! Happy non-smelly-shoe-wearing!!

    • Natalia May 17, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      Amazing, I need them now! And Payless, I already shop there. Perfect!! 🙂 Thanks!

  5. kate May 14, 2014 at 10:52 am #

    Great post! I’m growing in the area of packing light, but still am not all the way there! I dress very similar to you, but am not a mom, so now I’m concerned I dress like a mom. Oh well. There are worse things to dress as, I suppose!

    You should consider doing a post on styling maxi dresses. I am so intimidated by them! I’m not entirely sure they’re a look that works for me (I overall have a similar body type to yours, but I’m quite chesty–I’m worried they will just make me look pregnant!) But they’re so ubiquitous now, I might be tempted to try one if I saw some cute styling. (And shoes! I never know what I’m supposed to do with footwear with them.)

    • Natalia May 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

      I don’t think dressing like a mom is bad, besides if you ever become a mom, you’ll be prepared! 🙂

      Great idea about the post on Maxi dresses. Perfect for summer! I definite;y don’t have the chesty problem, if that’s considered a problem at all! 🙂 But I’ll do a post on it soon!

  6. Lana May 14, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    Wow – very impressive! I could definitely take some packing advice from you. I always bring too much, lug it around on vacation, and wear 1/4 of it. Have a great week!

    • Natalia May 15, 2014 at 9:23 am #

      That sounds about right most of the time for me. I was determined to be different this time! It wasn’t easy, but glad I did it!

  7. The Domestic Fringe May 15, 2014 at 4:49 am #

    I LOVE that dress!!! Oh, my goodness. Wow. Looks so pretty on you. I’m going to go browse that website now. 🙂

    I laughed when I started reading about the stinky shoes. We have this problem in my house too. I hate how many shoes I’ve tossed because of it. It’s why I don’t wear a lot of flats. I just prefer mostly open sandals, so my feet can air out. lol.

    I’ve scrubbed, using baking soda, and tossed in the washing machine. The smell comes right back when you wear them. I carry extra clean socks in purse when I know I’m going over someone’s house, just in-case I have to remove my shoes.

    Love how you pack and remix. I need to learn to do this.

    • Natalia May 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

      Thank you! I really love their site! Yes, stinky shoes are an issue, lol! I wish I could wear wedges all the time because I would. But then I’d be like 6’3″ all the time and it gets tiring. I think I might have to toss them and grab a new pair!

  8. trixi peng May 15, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    Hi Natalia,
    your blog is very special to me, you’re such a natural and honest person, you don’t find very often online. Stay yourself!

    Regarding the shoe problem: buy new ones, I find they never really loose the smell even after washing them and they tend to fall apart afterwards because the heat doesnt do well with the glue in the shoes. And then always always always put fresh barefeet soles in the shoes. In Germany you can buy them with 5 pairs in a box in every shoe and drug store, don’t know about France though. And then just swap the soles regulary. It’s cheap and gets the fix. Try it!

    • Natalia May 15, 2014 at 9:23 am #

      Thank you for your sweet words, I really appreciate it. And thanks for the tips as well. I’m gonna try that, I’m sure you can find them here in France. I think I’ve seen them actually! They were cheap shoes so it’s not a big deal to throw them away. They’re just easy to put together.

  9. Agi May 21, 2014 at 7:12 am #

    Love this post. I’ve definitely gotten better about what I pack. Now I decide what outfit I’m going to wear every day, that way I don’t end up bringing everything and the kitchen sink. It makes it easier to plan, pack and then decide what to wear when I’m on vacation. All you need to do is pull out that outfit for the day. It takes some planning but it’s worth it. Love that maxi dress and those pink pants are fabulous.


    • Natalia May 21, 2014 at 7:23 am #

      Thank you! Yes, I’ve gotten a little better, but packing it hard!

  10. Frugalistablog May 25, 2014 at 8:49 am #

    That dress on you- ooh la la! Bow chicka bow wow. (I know that’s not French)

    • Natalia May 30, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

      You know what though, they really say oh la la!! My son started saying it! So funny. And thank you 🙂

  11. Cécile June 2, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    “Oh la la”, this dress is so perfect on you! You know: you should wear dresses and skirts more often. They are perfect for your “A silhouette”. They will enlight your nice waist and legs… I know you didn’t ask me for this clothing advices but when I saw the difference between this dress picture and the others, I couldn’t help it 🙂

    • Natalia June 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      Thank you! I’ll take fashion advice when it’s given for sure. I like dresses and skirts but they have to be practical! Thanks for weighing in! 🙂

  12. CFJ Aziz June 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

    Hi Natalia,
    Regarding your smelly shoe problem, if you can locate shoe sachets that are filled with natural cedar shavings, that did the trick for our family’s smelly shoe storage area. Even the guy’s extra stinky athletic shoes were tamed with this stuff. I stick a sachet (little muslin bag filled wth the cedar shavings) into each shoe and let them sit overnight. The longer the sachet sits in the shoe, the fresher it gets. But at least give it an overnight treatment. Natural charcoal insoles might also be helpful.

    Hope this helps 🙂

    • Natalia June 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Oh this sounds good, I might have to try this! Thanks for the tip!

  13. Aimee June 19, 2014 at 4:41 am #

    Gold Bond medicated foot powder is great for the stinky shoe/foot problem. Wash the shoes to get them in good shape first so you don’t start out stinky (did you know soaking in a bucket with warm water, some detergent and about a cup of mouthwash will kill the odor?), and then dust your feet with the powder every time you put the shoes on. Works, really. Also, if you give the shoes a break between wearings it helps – maybe rotate two pairs.

    • Natalia June 20, 2014 at 8:15 am #

      Wow, great tips, thanks!! I will be using this on all my flats now! 🙂

  14. Helen July 6, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    For smelly feet, spray clean feet with underarm deodorant/antiperspirant before putting on new shoes. I found this more effective than deodorant sprays intended for feet! My underarm area is treated gently but my soles are tough enough to take it! If I go sockless without the spray even once, the shoes retain an odor forever. 🙁

    Stumbled on your site today. How very refreshing! Easy, breezy advice, perfect for regular women! Great Job!

    • Natalia July 8, 2014 at 4:04 pm #

      Thank you so much for your comment, I love hearing from people! That’s a good tip, I definitely need to try it. Because man, those shoes were stank! I actually tossed them! But I’ll try your tip next time I buy a new pair!

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