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Do you know how hard it is to go from 90 degree sunshine and SKIRT WEATHER to the 40’s? I’m sure your imagination will suffice on this one – it’s hard. I just got back from the most amazing spring break trip to sunny California with my acapella group, Counterparts (fun fact: we’re John Legend’s alma mater group!), and I’m experiencing a very hard reality check as I sit here in my sweater and chug a grande chai. The struggle is real, folks.
I spent the past week a bit away from le internet (did you miss me?). For the first time in college, I took a trip for break and and hit up the Golden State.
Instead of just merely summing up the glorious time I had basking in the sunlight (I’m having FOMO for the sun at this point, it’s that bad), I figured I’ll add in some video fun, showing you how you too can pack for an entire 6-day vacation in just one carry-on luggage, and a giveaway for $50 to 9th & Elm – an adorably bright jack-of-all-trades shop – so you can stock up on some fun spring finds, too. Sound good? Good.
First, I had no idea what to bring. I had never been to Cali before; actually, I had never been more westward than Chicago before. But I have had my fair enough share of travel to know my personal care and beauty routine, as well as some wardrobe basics that would be multipurposed. In it all went.
We started our trip in San Francisco, California. I. Fell. In. Love. From the gorgeous buildings and city living to the sweet bayside breezes, this was my town. The group beboped between San Fran, David, and Danville, Cali, as we had gigs all across town. But first things first, a group of us woke up to seize the day and hit up the Redwood Forest.
This forest could’ve been the set of Twilight’s older, more mature counterpart. There is not a single question in my mind as to why it was named a natural wonder of the world; it’s by far the most peaceful, serene environment I’ve ever experienced, seemingly in the sky overlooking San Fran. It’s the cleanest air my lungs have ever felt, and not a BIT of litter lay anywhere in the entire reservation. I mean, not even one gum wrapper. That spoke wonders to us. These trees just demand the utmost respect. It’s powerful.
I picked a giant lemon from my singing friend’s tree, because apparently that’s what you do in Cali. But real talk though, have you ever seen a fruit this large?
While in SF, we grabbed lunch at Boudin’s Sourdough Factory – the absolute dream for me, since my fuel is bread. #carboholic Then we just spent time strolling Fisherman’s Wharf, a hothothot tourist spot downtown. Remember the arcade in The Princess Diaries, where Julie Andrews arm wrestles a grizzly ripped machine? Saw that.
And then I took a picture with Alcatraz on my shoulder.
We spent a good portion of our afternoon sipping iced coffee and talking in a field after spontaneously performing by the bay. This trip would easily have “spontaneous song” at the top of the list of activities, making it so fun and quirky and just us. The first three days of the week were pretty travel-heavy, but by the time we were ready to hit LA, I had already grown so much closer to my group. It’s funny – even after three years in Counterparts, I still hadn’t completely clicked and felt like family with everyone else. It sometimes felt like every college group out there would boast their familial atmosphere, including CP, but it didn’t truly gel for me until this trip. And boy did it gel. We all opened up, trusted, laughed until we cried, ate until we popped, and sang until we dropped, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have gone.
After SF, we jetted to LA, where it was finally warm enough for me to bring out my new favorite skirt – this floral skater from 9th & Elm.
I had In n’ Out for the first time. Do I need to explain?
Me being an obvious tourist, I thought “shopping on Rodeo Drive” was something actually plausible. Spoiler alert: it’s not, unless you’re a Beverly Hills billionaire or just have thousands and thousands of dollars to spend on a belt buckle. Or you’re Al Pacino, who we saw while driving down the drive to park. Hooah. Eventually we ended up in Disney Land (naturally), where we were performing.
I saw Hilary Rushford, we rode all the rides, and we ended the day seeing Aladdin live and it was seriously a whole new world, right up until I was surprise smooched by Flik. What a flirt. That’s the absolute shortest summary I can possibly do of this trip – it was just so long and jam-packed and full of memories and fun. So I’ll leave you with a few things.
4 ways to Compact Pack:
- Mix and match to the max. Make sure you’re planning out each type of outfit you’ll need for your trip, and include as many mixable separates as possible. If you can dress it up, down, and something in between, it’s golden. (Hence my skater skirt – perfect for all day transitioning!)
- Bring travel/trial size everything. Besides that being a necessity when flying, will you really need your entire bottle of miscellar water for the week ahead? Probably not. If it doesn’t come in trial size already, or in lieu of raiding the drugstore travel aisle, consider investing in a few mini plastic bottles (easily found at Target!) and transfer the product you need into it.
- Minimize footwear. I know, I know – this might be harder than keeping New Year’s Resolutions. But if you can keep it to three pairs – Think: comfortable walking, easygoing day, fashionable night – it’ll save space.
- Burrito, not taco. Not a lunch order, people. Try rolling all of your clothing into tight, burrito-like bundles to line up in your suitcase. Bonus: It’ll keep everything wrinkle-free and ready to go!
3 ways to Maximize Group Travel:
- Know thyself. Do your research ahead of time and know what sights are your personal priorities, that way you can push for them or ensure you see them yourself as the group decides what to explore.
- Group pack. If you’re traveling with close friends, alternate who brings what and share what’s possible (think: hair styling tools, cute tops, certain travel products). This saves space!
- Speak up! If there’s something you’re dying to see, let everyone know and recruit folks to join you. Especially if you won’t be returning anytime soon, you don’t want to miss out! #noregrets I got my fabulous floral skater skirt and a kickbutt black and white blazer for day and nightwear while traveling the Cali coast; now it’s your turn to win $50 and do some shopping of your own! Good luck, and happy shopping…