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what's in the bag?

I. when you may have to jam In my experience, children of divorced parents are great at packing. You start to get that living-out-of-a-bag thing down to a science after a few years of that every-other-weekend thing. You just adopt a routine of thinking about what you need; it's basic adaptation. My brilliant friend Courtney once aptly described her parents' divorce as as contributing to her being “half extreme nester, half restless wanderer.” No matter which pole I’m momentarily magnetizing toward — nester or wanderer — I love feeling prepared. Remember that scene in The Breakfast Club where Allison Reynolds dumps her purse out and it’s just crumpled clothes and tons of tampons? “Never know when you may have to jam,” she explains. Except I’m way more high-maintenance than Allison Reynolds. I want to bring my little snackies. If I’m going out at night in the summer, I make sure to bring my bug repellant. If I’ll be spending time in a waiting room, I want something better to do than stare at my phone. And I have been punished too many times by the tragic circumstance of not having a pen. Or a tampon, for that matter. I can’t help it; I think being prepared = having a better time. II. packing credo To avoid forgetting stuff, I start early. Maybe five days before I'm going somewhere, I take the bags I'll be packing and throw them on the floor. Then I just start to put things near them. Everyday I’ll spend five minutes or so just kind of staring down at this collection of stuff with my hands on my hips, adding to piles now and then. This helps me not to forget anything — my brain has the space and time it needs to remember the odds and ends. To avoid packing regrets, I try to imagine what I would want to be wearing for what I already have planned. The question isn’t so much “How do I want to look?” as “What do I want to be in?” So when Max and I are out to dinner in Philly, what can I wear that will make me feel good? For a trip that includes a tattoo appointment, what can I wear that exposes that area of that body for the artist but is simultaneously the most comfortable possible garment for me? It’s not as much about what I hope to wear, as it is about what I picture myself wearing. To pack as light as possible, I plan to do laundry. There are definitely not always laundry facilities where I’m traveling to. So I fully embrace shower laundry! It might not be good for my clothes to wash them with shampoo. Maybe some people might also find it gross. But it works short-term and it’s kind of fun, and I would have to travel with a lot more stuff without it. Weirdly enough, the items that make me feel fancy often take up much less space than the comfy items. So to make the most use of what I pack, I rely on details to dress me up. For instance, my favorite lipstick and a pair of big earrings can go a long way for me. I can wear them with a t-shirt and my Chuck Taylors and feel pretty dressy. Obviously this doesn’t work if you need to attend a charity ball (or if you’re traveling to Paris, where no one could feel overdressed), but if you’re going to a bar for drinks or whatever, it works really well. III. exhibit A This was what I packed for going on a mini-vacation to Philadelphia (equal parts walking around/exploring and going out to eat), getting some new ink, closing on a condo, moving day, and a few days afterward before the rest of my stuff was fully unpacked.

A 4-day capsule life: - Clothes: jeans, denim cutoffs, black jersey pencil skirt, black palazzo pants, one graphic tee, black tank, Pete shirt, leggings, underwear, one silk scarf, robe/coverup, socks - Shoes: Birks, Chucks, cheeky red flats - Tiny bottle of wrinkle releaser - 2 hats - Select jewels - Jinxed bag for most of the time and red crossbody for special times - 1 pair of specs, 2 pair of shades - Burlap sack with toiletries and other secret items - DIY laundry bag fashioned from a sportsball cinch sack - Camera and film - Laptop, charger, phone charger, headphones, Bluetooth speaker, blah blah - Journal, book (Barbarian Days by William Finnegan right now. Is it worth finishing? Halp.) - Water bottle - A candle gift to give - Umbrella & parasol

All of it fit inside the backpack and the Filson bag:

I had everything I needed and a little room to spare.


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