Traveling Light- Collecting Sentiments, Not Stuff

It just occurred to me that this is one of my first “minimalist” trips.  In the past I used to always check a bag or two, pack enough shoes for three weeks, and prepare for any occasion.

Not anymore.

As I packed for a week in Colorado, I was realistic- I knew I’d be lounging around during the day, working away on my laptop, and bundling up to go out and explore.  This has been a bit of a “working vacation;” while my friend is at his office during the day, I’ve been drinking endless amounts of coffee in his luxury apartment lobby, working away, and catching up on TV shows (since, you know, I normally watch shows from my laptop).

I brought one carry-on- my packable Henri Bendel overnight bag (which comes in Bendel stripe or black), making it easy to store after getting back from a getaway.  Since Henri is my favorite for all the things, I had my plaid purse and monogram cross-body bag along for the trip.  I was glad airport security didn’t have anything to say about me having three personal items, not two- but my cross-body is small enough to get away with.

So, far, so good.  Packing was a success.

Yesterday we took a road trip to Boulder and checked out the lovely Pearl Street shopping area after exploring Flagstaff Mountain.  Shopping used to be one of my favorite activities of all time.  My friend Brett just so happens to be the best shopping partner, too.  Over the years he’s accompanied me on many excursions- from shoe shopping in San Francisco to Macy’s with my mom and me in NYC, he’s a really great sport.  Not this time, though- he didn’t have any bags to help carry and didn’t spend hours waiting for me outside a fitting room.  Since the beginning of our friendship (when my fashion blog was in full-force) my priorities have taken a major shift- what used to be one of my favorite pastimes now gives me a ping of anxiety, with a “where will I put this?” running in the back of my mind.

My colorful wardrobe of items I never wore has since been replaced by classic blacks, staple pieces, and favorites- no duplicates, no “because it was on sale” excuses, no space fillers.  Just things I actually wear and love.

Sure, I’m on a budget and don’t have space in my carry-on- I packed as much as I possibly could into that Bendel bag- but I also realized I don’t need anything new.  Just a couple of weeks ago I did a major deep-cleaning in my apartment, doing two huge loads of laundry and gutting my entire closet to re-organize.  Even though I didn’t think I had much, it was entirely overwhelming.  Step by step, I organized socks, shirts, skirts, leggings, loungewear, etc.  After all was said and done, I felt AMAZING.  I knew where everything was, ditched the things I no longer use or wear, and created a method to the madness.  “Stuff” can get overwhelming even when you’re a minimalist- there’s just less of it!

This trip has inspired me to consign and donate even more of the clothes I have.  It’s made me take a closer look at the things I really need- and things I haven’t missed in my six days in Denver.  So, what did I bring, you ask?

Seven days in Denver: Packing List

  • Hairdryer
  • Straightener
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush
  • Face lotion
  • Nail polish (Essie “Merino Cool”)
  • 2 black tanks (H&M, 2 for $10)
  • 3 black leggings
  • 3 sweatshirts (two black, one grey)
  • 1 black dress (in case it got nice- it hasn’t)
  • 1 pair of tights
  • 1 black cardigan sweater
  • 1 SF Giants t-shirt
  • 1 SF Giants hat
  • Workout clothes- yoga pants, sports bra, running shoes
  • 1 quilted black coat
  • Bras, underwear, socks
  • Suede ankle boots
  • Black ballet flats
  • Laptop

This is all I brought.

My plane wardrobe consisted of a black tank, black wrap sweater, leggings, booties (that were easy to slide on and off at security), black scarf, and my long(er) quilted black coat.  The beauty of each and every item I packed is that everything goes with everything.  That’s the key to packing- having an interchangeable capsule wardrobe.

Although my love for clothes will never die, I’ve learned to prioritize and focus on quality over quantity.  Even though I didn’t do any damage on Pearl Street, I experienced something even better- mindful moments with a good friend, enjoying the beauty of nature, and some relaxing time away from home.  I did get a sticker from Trident Books, an iconic Boulder bookstore.  Coincidentally, the sticker (which came from a machine) is of a woman meditating in the forest with a baby deer on her lap.  We had just seen deer running through the mountain, too!  I put the sticker on my laptop as a reminder of this fabulous trip, and to stay mindful in every moment.

I leave Denver tomorrow afternoon and am so grateful for this re-set.  I start a new job on Thursday and I’m thrilled about the opportunity- and to be able to recharge before I begin a new chapter.

If this trip has taught me anything, it has confirmed the importance of collecting sentiments, not stuff.  There truly is a freedom to living more with less- so get outside, take a deep breath, and remember what really matters- this moment.

Mountain Escape: Soul Recharge

Nothing makes you feel small like being at the top of a mountain.  Looking down at thousands of trees, tiny buildings, and snow capped rocks really puts life into perspective.

Today we ventured to Boulder, a city I’d never been to before.  I’ve been in Denver for five days now and have been in awe of the constant sunshine, majestic mountains, and overall chill vibe.  There’s definitely a much less chill energy on the east coast- unless you count the New England air.

We drove up Flagstaff Mountain to catch the views, stopping several times along the way.  Although it was a bitter 24 degrees, the sun made it feel much warmer- unless there was wind, of course.  Even though it’s been warmer in Boston, this week was the perfect time for me to go on a getaway, relax, and recharge my batteries.  There’s something about the fresh mountain breeze and sunny days that makes you feel brand new.

It’s important to remember that spending time in nature is a perfect way to engage in self-care.  Connecting with the earth helps to ground you, relieves anxiety, and balances your root chakra.  Having a solid foundation and a clear outlook is important for starting a new week, project, or job- I never used to realize how therapeutic being outside was, but it’s been one of the most helpful forms of “medicine” in my life this past year.

Whether you’re by a park, beach, mountain, river, or lake, spending time in nature is one of the best ways to recharge your soul and re-energize your spirit.   I love meditating outside in the sunshine, going for walks along the water, or just grabbing coffee and strolling through the park.

I hope you’ve been able to recharge this weekend- March is almost here, so make the most of this last week of February!  I’ll be enjoying the chill Colorado vibes in the meantime.

February 22, The Master Builder, and Guidance Through Angel Numbers

Ah, 2/22.  For as long as I can remember, 22 has been my favorite number.  I get excited on the “22” days every month, and never fail to see my birthday, 12:22, on the clock- or any other 22 for that matter.  Not only was I born on December 22, I was raised on West Bay Shore Drive, also known as M22 (Michigan highway 22).

22 holds a special place in my heart.  Known as the “Master Builder,” 22 is the most powerful of all numbers.  Confident and diplomatic, courageous and charismatic, 22 is also known as insightful and intelligent.

Sometimes 22’s can be scared of their own talents and gifts, but listening to love and continuing to spread their art is important for them to truly feel happy and fulfilled.  I know that can be the case for me- I’ve held back from sharing my work with others in fear of rejection, but I’ve learned to focus on the positive, learn from the critiques, and know I’m serving a purpose by sharing my stories.  It makes me so, so happy when I get messages from women telling me they relate to what I have written.  If I can make just one person feel like they’re not alone, I have done what I came to do.  We all need to feel connected- and 22 is also a very powerful number of connection.

You can hone in on the ambitious 22 energy and learn more here.

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Angel number 222 signifies balance and harmony, encouraging you to follow your heart.  It’s also a nudge from the angels that you’re on the right track to discovering your purpose and following your passions.  If you’re feeling down or doubting your dreams, know that 222 is reminding you to keep the faith- the Universe will deliver when it is time.

Maintaining a positive attitude and acknowledging everything you’re grateful for is essential to manifesting more blessings and synchronicities in your life- for me, when my vibration is high and I’m feeling energized, my life begins to flow and following my path is effortless.  22, or 222, is powerful for manifesting your desires and dreams, so make the most out of this special day.  If you’re in need of raising your vibration, check out a post I did about ways to uplift yourself when your vibes are a little low.

Writing out a gratitude list each morning, choosing a few favorite mantras to lift your spirits, and journaling are amazing ways to help put your life in perspective, set intentions, and manifest a life you’ll love.  You hold more power than you know, so focus on what you want- not the things you don’t.  It works.

PS- hello from Denver!  Anyone who asks if I’m here to ski definitely doesn’t know I’m one of the least athletic people on Earth.  However, there’s a heated pool, hot tub, and endless coffee (which is a little more my speed).  Let me know if there’s anywhere I MUST check out while I’m here!