Saturday, November 7, 2015

Packing Post: Fall Edition

This weekend we are off to Tennessee to spend some time with the in-laws. In addition to spending with the family, I'm also looking forward to enjoying the beautiful Fall weather and the colorful scenery of the Tennessee mountains.

I'm headed off for a total of six days. Packing for this trip has been especially challenging because the weather in Texas is quiet different. Here I'm still able to get away with a light cardigan on most days and haven't had to reach for a sweater quiet yet. However, the temperature in TN is going to in highs of 60s and the lows in the 40s.

So in packing for this trip my formula was quiet simple - leggings or jeans, a sweater, and a vest or jean jacket. I really wanted to pack as light as possible. Since we don't have any major plans or parties to attend (that's a first!), I was able to get away with just a single pair of shoes for my entire trip. Now, that's a first too! I also packed a basic long sleeve swing dress which is also going to be quiet versatile for a relaxing day at home or a night out with friends.

As I've mentioned before, taking outfit pictures as I pack my bag as been super helpful to me. It helps me remember any accessories or completer pieces I might be forgetting. Plus laying everything out together also helps me sees how all the pieces in my capsule wardrobe for the trip will easily go together. I'm learning that sticking to a color palette is key to minimizing the overall number of items packed.

Express Dress | Style & Co. Booties | Jean Jacket from Khol's | F21 Necklace

I just purchased this Express dress last week and I can already tell it's going to be one of my favorites.  It's really comfy and flattering. Plus, it's a plain canvas that you can totally dress up or down with different accessories.

Left: Gap sweater | BP necklace | J.Crew Vest | Lou & Grey leggings | Style & Co. booties          
Right: Oversized sweater | Lou & Grey leggings | Style & Co. booties

These Lou & Grey leggings are so comfortable! I've gone through several different pair of black leggings and these are by far my favorite. They are thick enough to keep me warm and I never have to worry about any sheerness. They also wash and wear really well - an added bonus! 

This J.Crew vest was also a good purchase from last year. It can be layered on any of these outfits for little extra warmth. I considered more affordable options before pulling the trigger on this one, but for me the pattern of stitching on this version is much more flattering without adding too much bulk.

I wore this chambray shirt a lot last year. It's great to layer under sweaters, over dresses, or just with by itself. However, looks like I've gained a little weight since last year and it wasn't as loose over the leggings as I wanted. So in the end, I didn't pack it simply because I knew I wouldn't wear it. 

Left: Old Navy Sweater | Loft skinny jeans | Style & Co. booties      
Right: BR sweater |  Lou & Grey leggings | Style & Co. booties

TN tee | Jean Jacket from Khol's | Loft skinny jeans | Style & Co. booties

This last outfit is what I wore on the flight there. I was really proud of myself for managing to take only one pair of shoes to go coordinate with almost a week's worth of outfits. I purchased these booties last year and they are my favorite! I'm sorry that the exposure in some of these pictures isn't very good, but the first picture with the black dress shows the exact color of these booties. This color is no longer available, but I'm thinking of purchasing them in black as well because the heel height is perfect and they are super comfortable. 

This is everything I took with me in my carry-on bag. I love my packing cubes and I don't know how I ever packed with out them. The only item not pictured is a compact blow-dryer. As you can see I also opted not to take brown my cross-body bag.  Instead, this black one was big enough for to carry my small make-up bag without being oversized. I also decided to leave my sunglasses at home and opted to take an umbrella instead since rain was in the forecast. I wore my jean jacket and jeans on the flight and packed my vest instead.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with everything I packed. I've come a long way from overpacking, being frustrated and unhappy once I've reached my destination. The only thing I plan to improve on next time is the amount of items I took in my toiletries bag. I guess it's like the saying goes, there is always room for improvement.  

What are you packing for your upcoming holiday?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November | small goals

I thought about waiting until January to finally join Nicole's monthly "small goals" link-up, but then again any month is just as good as January to start something positive, am I right?

I have been following Nicole's blog for sometime now and her monthly posts are my favorite. She is always super down to earth, open, and honest. I always feel inspired and motivated by reading Nicole's as well as other people's goals and aspirations. Just the fact that Nicole adds the word "small" in front of her monthly goals gives me hope that I too will be able to accomplish some small goals of my own.

Priya takes her monthly goals a step further and has been setting monthly one-word motto's for herself for almost a year now. I typically take a few moments after reading her post to self-reflect on word of the month. It's interesting how one small word can have such a profound impact on you life, if you only take the time to comprehend the true essence of it's meaning and then apply it to your daily life. I'm always eager to find out what her next one-word motto will be.

Both these ladies have inspired me to start setting monthly goals for myself. At least one these monthly goals will be focused on self-improvement (mind or body). I'm hoping that by documenting my goals, I will be motivated to hold myself accountable.

So without further ado, here are my small goals for the month of November!

1. Finish our yearly scrapbook.

I have been making a yearly scrapbook for us ever since we got married. It runs from August to July of the following year.... don't ask me why! I'm currently on my fourth one and I'm definitely starting to get a bit lazy. I know that if I drop the ball just one year, then it will only go downhill from there. These scrapbooks are very important to me so I really want to make sure to stay on top of it and get it done before Christmas.

2. Start a new book.

The last few books I read have been really good. I'm just now getting into reading and really enjoying it so far. I feel like one bad book and I may fall off my bandwagon. So, I being super selective about my next book in order to stay inspired and motivated to read more. I've been considering Beyond Religion - Ethics for the Whole World by HH Dalai Lama.

3. Attend a photography class.

I have already signed up for a 4-hour introductory course next Saturday, but I want to make sure that I actually follow through without any excuses. This has been a goal for mine for several months now, so this month I'm determined to get it done!

4. Overhaul my closet for fall/winter and make a list of the holes in my closet.

This was partly done over the weekend when I donated several of my old fall and winter clothes from last year. But I still need to go through my inventory and decide what pieces are I'd like to add this year. I always get overwhelmed with all the sales around the holiday season.  This year I want to be prepared so that I'm not distracted and filling my closet with absolutely nothing I actually wanted or need.

5. Be present.

Around the holiday season I forget to be truly present in the moment. I'm always trying to juggle too many projects, worried about the decorations, buying presents, wanting everything to be perfect and trying to attend too many events all at once. So even though I'm surrounded by people who are most important to me, I'm rarely paying much attention to them at all. This year, I want to make sure to be fully present with my all family and friends at each and every gathering. This may mean that I have to make some trade offs, but I think they will be well worth it.

I'm very excited to see how I do at the end of this month! Be sure to check out the Nicole's link-up and share your goals for the month!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

{Rewind} October 2015

{Rewind} posts have quickly became my favorite! This month was fully of visitors! Like I've mentioned before, I think October is really the best time to visit Dallas. The weather is absolutely perfect... just cool enough to where you don't really need a sweater quiet yet, but still sunny and warm enough to enjoy the outdoors.

The month started off with a very short visit from my cousin. I don't get to see her very often, so it was great catching up. Next up, were my parents, cousin, and my grandmother. Having them come for a visit was probably the best part of the entire month!

The next weekend we also had some visitors from California, Heena and B.D., followed by our good friend, Nihal from Atlanta. In the midst of his visit, Chirag and I also babysat Anand for the first time! I think my SIL was partly relieved that Nihal, who is also a father, would be present in order to supervise us. We actually ended up having an impromptu game night with some more friends that evening. It was nice to introduce an old friend to some of our closest friends here in Dallas. Baby Anand was so good during his entire stay and ended up being the life of the party!

In the midst of all the visitors, I also got some time to bond with my mother-in-law over her famous Khasta Kachori Chaat. It was fun cooking in the kitchen together and I can't wait to try the recipe out again soon.

One special evening during this moth was catching a free outdoor concert by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. I have always wanted to go see them perform, but this outdoor concert on a cool Fall night, under the string lights, cuddling up on the side of a bench with Chirag was really the best way to enjoy it.

Another highlight of the month was watching Aziz and Amy at the Oddball Comedy Fest. It wasn't quiet what I expected, but we had a few good laughs and it was a fun show to enjoy with our friends.

I finally ended the month going trick or treating with our cute neighbor, Radha. I don't really explore our neighborhood much. It was fun to meet some of our neighbors and see how much people really get into the spirit of Halloween here. She looked so cute in her Nemo outfit. Her mom dressed up as Darla, and her dad was the the Dentist. I didn't get the Nemo memo in time, so I went with the easiest outfit I could find at the Dollar Store. I think I was a pretty decent Fairy, wouldn't you say?

Dear October, thank you for such a great kick start into the Holiday season!

What were some of your highlights this October?