THREE TIPS FOR PACKING THE ESSENTIAL TRAVEL WARDROBE

how to pack travel essentials

In collaboration with The White Company

Warm weather vacations are the best kind of vacations mainly because it’s so much easier to pack. Summer clothes are lighter and easier than winter clothes, so you get to bring along a slew of more options! And I’m an options girl. I’m also the most meticulous suitcase packer within my household. Equipped with usually two extensive lists, I’ll start packing at least a day before to give myself plenty of time to think of everything I could possibly need to bring along. At times I wish I was the ‘throw whatever into the suitcase and deal with it later’ person.

But, alas, I’m not.

mom travel essentials

The key to a solid travel wardrobe are three things: simplicity, versatility and quality. You’ll want to be able to swap out pieces and mix and match to create twice as many outfits without having to actually pack twice as much. Since I’m already such a fan of The White Company (they seriously make everything you’ll ever need), I thought it was as good a time as any to test out their products against my travel wardrobe guidelines. The White Company is a British lifestyle brand that recently crossed the pond, opening their first store in New York.

amy parker anderson summer packing list
amy parker anderson summer packing essentials

Simplicity: Just because something is simple, doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Packing pieces that have clean lines, fit well and look chic will always guarantee you look effortlessly put together, regardless of how much time you actually spent getting ready. A fitted white t-shirt is a staple in my suitcase. This white peplum camisole has ‘summer ease’ written all over it and I’m always on the hunt for tanks of this style that are more modest up top. Since I’m constantly with a baby on my hip, a higher neckline is smart to combat the pull down that happens when you’re lugging a human on your body!

Versatility: I try to exclusively pack things that can either be a daytime outfit or an evening outfit. This can be based on how you pair them and your chosen accessories. This tassel scarf is a great example of a day-to-night transition piece. A chic and neutral bag means no clashing scares, and I also like to keep all my clothes within a monochromatic color palette (not surprising, I know), so then everything goes with everything!

Quality: No one wants to arrive to their hotel room only to spend the next hour ironing all of your clothes back to their crisp original selves. You can tell a quality piece of clothing by how it stands up to being folded and cramped for a number of hours. Especially during the summer, all linen pieces are your best options!

If you ever want to be super meticulous, I sometimes suggest trying on outfits before you pack them and taking pictures of yourself in the outfits. Then when you don’t know why the heck you packed that one skirt or what on earth you’re supposed to wear with that particular pair of pants, then you can swipe through your pictures and have full references for your entire travel wardrobe. This may make me sound crazy, but I swear it saves time and energy so you can enjoy your trip and not overthink your wardrobe.

amy parker anderson parker etc 
amy parker anderson parker etc

What are your packing tips for your summer vacations? And where are you going this August?

HOW TO THROW A LAST MINUTE HAPPY HOUR

summer happy hour cheese plate

This post is sponsored by Bota Box. All thoughts and words are my own. 

Have you ever read the book about your love languages? If you haven’t, I’m sure you’ve at least heard the Cliff’s Notes version and that’s really all you need to know. Back in the day, I used to really have the love language for ‘gift giving’. Not the receiving of gifts, but being the person that always finds that perfect gift for loved ones at every occasion. I prided myself on being able to hunt down anything, find it and then wrap it up in a presentation that was unbeatable.

Just as seasons change, I’m finding maybe your love languages do too. Over the past few years, I’ve noticed my gift giving language has really diminished and things like ‘acts of service’ have risen higher. What’s behind this shift? Motherhood! I’ll love you forever if you help clean dishes or pick up toys or hold a baby for me! I just lack the time and energy I once had towards gifts, and as we’ve gotten older, I think experiences are starting to take precedent. Eric and I have decided we prefer date nights and Broadway shows and little weekend trips as forms of gifts. So with his birthday approaching and his current travel schedule being as crazy as it has been, I was determined to find a fun way for us to spend some time together on the one free night he’s home between trips!  

how to make a cheese plate
amy parker anderson parker etc

As with most of my decisions these days, I waited until the last minute and almost forgot what night he was actually going to be home! So, I decided to throw together a little cozy wine and appetizer spread to start off his birthday. In my next life, I want to do nothing more than build cheese plates. Maybe that’s my new love language! Thanks to our local meat and cheese shop around the corner, I was able to whip up this spread quite quickly and thanks to Bota Box, I knew we’d be covered regarding all things wine. With only 20 minutes to put everything together before he got home, I feel like I did a pretty good job! So, I wanted to share a quick little guide to what you’d need to create your own wine and appetizer spread in a jiffy!  

A massive cheese plate or cutting board is a must. I like to start with the big stuff like placing the cheese in separate sections and then I surround them with crackers on one side. Make little stacks of dried fruit and nuts and place those around. The best part of a big cheese plate is to just keep adding things into spaces until it looks entirely full. Anytime I saw a gap, I would just throw some grapes in that direction! As long as you have a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables and handfuls of varying nuts and meats to go along with the cheese, it’s easy to make it appear fancy and grand.

Next, I swiped the flowers from the dinner table and also brought along some floor pillows for something comfy to sit on. Then of course the wine, can’t forget wine! This summer I’ve been really into this portable wine trend. Not only are Bota Box wines more environmentally friendly (100% recyclable) and so easily transported, it’s also extremely delicious and high quality wine. It’s really a brilliant option in this case because, in my haste to get everything ready, I never seem to remember a bottle opener. Thankfully, with these boxes, you won’t need one. The cork free design also allows for the wine to stay fresh for up to three months, in the fridge, and that’s helpful for light weights like myself who can do about a glass or two tops!

I’m always thankful to celebrate another year with my man. We’re in a season where every day is a different adventure. Thankfully, I was able to get everything together within minutes of him arriving home and we enjoyed a perfect summer evening! 

ARTWORK FOR YOUR HOME

In recent years, the design world has shifted heavily to this minimalist approach. Interiors are minimalistic, clothing is minimalistic, water bottles are minimalistic and there’s even a book about the life changing magic of being a minimalist. I didn’t buy it, but trust me, I got the gist! Like many others, I appreciate a clean and simple aesthetic to my style, my home and my products. The hardest things for me to come to terms with have always been kids toys and televisions. Eye sores at every corner and no matter how hard you try to conceal or decorate around them, they are always the first thing to catch your eye in a room if they are misplaced. Thankfully, I’ve been seeing a lot of beautifully designed children’s toy companies coming to the rescue for parents desperate for prettier options. But no matter how fancy, or curved or flat screened televisions can be, they always just look like a large blank screen taking up space in the middle of a room. They’re impossible to conceal and even harder to seamlessly incorporate into a room’s design. Until now!

Friends, I do not usually geek out over in-home technology. I leave that to my husband. He single handedly appoints himself to keep us up-to-date on all the latest and greatest, and I usually don’t have an opinion. I didn’t even own a television until we got married. But I’ve been converted. My newest love you ask? The Frame television from Samsung. If you follow along on my Instagram Stories, than you probably caught all my behind the scenes shots from their recent event in New York City and saw first hand what the television looks like. Pretty sure that the photos of this television garnered more elated responses than the cutest photo I’ve ever posted of Sidney Sloane, ha! When they reached out to ask if I’d help introduce the product, it was an easy ‘yes’. It fits my personal aesthetic and makes the interior design geek inside of me very very excited!

I have always wished a television didn’t look like a television. When you don’t have a lot of space to work with and your living room is the first thing people walk into in your home, I just cringe at the thought of their initial view being a mounted black screen. Finally, those days are done. If you’re like me, when I first walked into the event and looked at the gallery walls set up, I couldn’t actually tell which pieces were The Frame and which ones were just artwork. Thanks to Yves Behar and his collaboration with Samsung, this creation fuses together interior design, art and functionality to shift your view and start thinking of your television as a statement piece. It adds value to your space, and when you’re working with a small space, every inch is valuable!

The Frame comes with a built-in art gallery, but you can also purchase or upload your own personal artwork or photos. The groundbreaking mounting system even lies super flush on the wall and has a single chord system that is so discreet you’d barely even notice it. Staying true to its name - it merely looks like a framed piece of art! I’m so happy when creative people partner with technology to create beautiful pieces. Screens aren’t going away, so it’s refreshing to have products that blend the two together!

*This post is in partnership with Samsung, a brand we use around our home. All content and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this little blog and my family*