Packing light and smart is key when prepping for a European vacation. Lugging around a heavy amount of unnecessary items on planes, trains, and automobiles will wear on you quickly. Let’s start with some basic musts:


  • Passport, copies of your passport stashed away in your suitcase, all travel docs
  • Digital Camera
  • Wall Converter…not just an adapter, you’ll want to convert the electricity first. Lesson learned the hard way ending in a melted straightener in Paris once.
  • A good travel read…or two.
  • Phone Charger…and car charger if renting a car. You never want to run out of juice when in need of an app or map.
  • Headphones…I love my noise canceling ones on planes.
  • Inflatable neck pillow
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Deck of cards
  • Backpack for day trips
  • A few plastic bags for dirty clothes…think, wet swimsuits, dirty clothes


On to toiletries, I’ve always found great travel sized options on Amazon and Ulta.  Here are some items to not forget, aside from the obvious toothbrush, shampoo, etc.

  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Sunscreen
  • Bandaids or blister relief for all of the walking
  • Travel meds like Advil and Tums…I once developed an ear infection in Greece, I never go on vacation without eardrops, now.
  • Roll on perfume…easily packed and a good excuse to try a new scent.


When it comes to clothing, choose a color scheme, prioritize items that won’t wrinkle, and think versatile and easily layerable. Leave flashy jewelry, heels and clutches at home (although, how cute is this?). Think simple and comfortable.

  • Tennis shoes…a must for all of the walking involved on a European vaycay.
  • Rainproof layer
  • Comfy leggings and a sportsbra that can work for a hike or even to throw on before a long train ride.

  • Swimsuits and coverups…if beach-going is going to be part of your European travels, be sure to pack a few of these!
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach bag
  • Sunhat

  • Several fun dresses…long and short
  • Simple accessories that will match any outfit
  • Jacket for layering
  • Neutral Scarf
  • Your favorite pair of jeans
  • Shorts and a few tops to mix and match
  • Sandals that can be dressed up or down, a short wedge if you plan on getting fancy at night.
  • Crossbody purse that zips


Always remember to lay everything out ahead of time, check the forecast before you leave, and roll up your items to save space if you are carrying on. Hope you enjoyed these tips on packing light and effectively. This post leaves me dreaming about my next European getaway.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today I am sharing one of my easy go-to weekday meal ideas. I love the concept of incorporating all ingredients into one pan and DONE. I stumbled upon this handy dandy guide via My Fitness Pal a few months ago, and its perfect to use if you are interested in whipping up a stir-fry.  I love the experimenting with the different combinations of sauces and most of the ingredients I already have on hand.  This week, I added grilled chicken and rice noodles to the basic sauce recipe below.



Have you jumped on board the bell sleeved train? Such a cute look for spring. LOFT is currently having a 40% off everything friends and family sale, and has lots of cute bell sleeved options to choose from – this one in particular I love. Here are some of my favorite picks for this spring trend:

Last month, my Chicago/Denver/West Virginia based family flew into Arizona for a few days of sunshine and relaxation.  We stayed at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa situated on a beautiful golf course with impeccable grounds in the Phoenix Scottsdale area.  From a beautifully kept spa to a lazy river to lounge in, this vacation had a little something for everyone. There were loads of restaurants, bars, and shops within walking distance of it, too.

The first day the guys went on a private ATV tour through Arizona Outdoor Fun and rode four wheelers on trails through the desert for the day.  The girls hit the spa and pool, and everyone regrouped for dinner at Eddie V’s. We ended the night by the fire pits at the Westin with cards, cocktails, and a live music duo.


The next day a few of us hit a spring training game to watch the White Sox (you’re welcome Dan).  We stayed for a few innings but AZ is just so. dang. hot.  We were in need of a body of water to float in.  That night we visited Tommy Bahama’s restaurant and had a nice open air dinner.

On our last day we hung out poolside once again, couldn’t get enough of the sunshine and cold beers.

On our last night of vaycay, we had dinner at North Italia. This was our favorite restaurant of the trip. We went on a Sunday and took advantage of their happy hour menu – great salads, wine, and of course company.

AZ was a great destination for a family gathering, and the Westin Kierland met our needs perfectly. Already looking forward to our next family vacation!