Packing List: Winter Weekend in London

London is one of my absolute favorite cities in the world. 
When I was growing up we lived there for a few years and my love affair with that glorious city has never ended.

When traveling, my wardrobe goal is always to blend in as much as possible without being pretentious. As an American choosing travel clothes for Europe, stick to classic styles and practical pieces that will keep you comfortable, but most importantly not sloppy. One of my pet peeves is Americans dressing badly and making the rest of us look bad when they travel abroad.

Recently, quite a few of my American friends (all of whom dress very appropriately, for the record) have been heading across the pond for visits and it's inspired me to create this packing list of things I would wear and bring for a quick visit to jolly old London town. If you're getting ready to travel to London, this one is for you.

I lived in the UK and was raised in New England. Those facts are all too clear in my love of most things Barbour. This jacket is a classic investment piece that will last you for decades if you treat it right. It will also give you the practical waterproof protection with room for warm layers that you'll want while exploring the city. December in London (or any winter month) is going to be chilly and damp. Be prepared. Another great jacket option is a classic trench coat like this one. 

These practical leather booties will take you anywhere you need to go and keep your feet dry and cute. You'll probably want to spend quite a bit of time exploring London on walking tours. Sightseeing in London can be overwhelming and the last thing you want is to get blisters or be uncomfortable.

These earrings are slightly retro and perfect for everything. I'm just in love with them. 

A simple necklace for every day. 

Layers, layers, layers. Cozy sweaters are key. 

Everyone should have at least one cashmere sweater in their wardrobe. I love that this one has a neckline that's a little bit different. 

Because this is what I live in. Wearing a button down will very rarely leave you feeling out of place when you're somewhere with a strong business culture.

These t-shirts from Old Navy are seriously my favorite layering tees ever. They're inexpensive, they fit beautifully, and so far mine have held up for years. They are the perfect base layer.

You'll want to have some layering shirts with varying sleeve lengths to stay comfortable. These are the best layering tees. 

The thing I love about high rise denim is that they don't slide down to expose things you don't want exposed, and they can conceal a variety of sins. Specifically they'll be able to conceal any amount of delicious curry you want to eat during your adventures. 

These just look so hip while not being ridiculous.

Warm. Comfortable. Dress. Yes please.
Sweater dresses make great travel dresses because they tend to not wrinkle as easily due to their thicker fabrics.

A simple flattering dress is one of the biggest assets you can have in your travel wardrobe. Different colors and styles will give you great travel outfit options. 

Seriously, one can never have too many sweater dresses in the winter. 

This is a great option if you're planning on going out to a more upscale dinner or meeting while you're in town. It's professional enough that you could wear it into a boardroom but elegant enough that it wouldn't be out of place at a party.

Party necklace! Wear it to your event or pair it with one of those sweater dresses to jazz up your every day look. 

For attending that party- these have a thicker heel that is perfect for navigating cobblestone streets after dark. No one wants to fly home on a sprained ankle. 

Additional items to consider:

How to Ace Your Flight Attendant Interview

Ah, the dreaded job interview. For most people, it's exciting (you're one step closer to the job!) and also terrifying (this is make-it-or-break-it, buddy) to be invited to an interview. 

So while you're at home this winter thinking to yourself "I want to be a Flight Attendant." or even just "Hey, maybe being cabin crew could be fun." fill out the application and start prepping for your interview to join our club. 
Right now there are quite a few airlines hiring to fill open flight attendant jobs. They might call it "inflight jobs" or "cabin crew jobs" but it's all the same- you want your office to be at 30,000 feet and they want to hire talented people like you! Learn some more about it, submit your application, and go for it. 

In this job process, there are quite a few ways in which airlines could interview you for the position you've applied for. 
It could be a video interview that you record in the comfort of your own home, it could be a group interview at a large session, or it could be a private interview with just you and 2-3 interviewers from the company. 
For some airlines, all of those are a part of the process. 

In my opinion, the most exciting part of the process is when they fly you to their corporate headquarters for an interview- I felt like such a celebrity.

Here are a few tips to ace your interview:

For Every Flight Attendant Interview:
  • Dress like you already have the job, but don't copy the uniform of the airline you're applying with. Wear a suit in a conservative color. This is a great opportunity to purchase a skirt or pant suit that you'll be able to use for any variety of interviews. I found my navy skirt suit at Banana Republic and I've been very happy with it. Try something like this one that's currently on sale.
  • Jewelry: pearls are always a good idea.
  • Accessories: personally, we all know that the sassy scarf is the signature flight attendant accessory. If you're a scarf person, wear one! I'm currently obsessed with this Kate Spade "Going Places" scarf. Heart eyes. Guys, keep it simple with a tie in a professional color and pattern. If you want to spice things up, add a coordinating pocket square. 
  • Hair: For the ladies, make sure your hairstyle is professional, polished, and simple. For the guys, make sure that any facial hair is neatly trimmed. Even better- be clean shaven.
  • Shoes: black dress shoes. The end. Ladies, keep the heel height under 4 inches. 

The Video Interview:
  • Check the lighting to ensure that it doesn't wash you out on the screen, and make sure there's enough light that you're not casting weird shadows.
  • Ensure your background is neutral- a plain wall, no crazy colors, not in front of a window, a mural, or a bunch of plants. 
  • Sit up straight.
  • If the program you're using gives you the opportunity to record a test clip, DO IT. Watch it, and make corrections. 
  • Stick to the appearance tips I mentioned earlier, no matter how much of you is visible on camera, take this as seriously as any other interview. 
The Group Interview:

  • This isn't your chance to show off and prove you're better than everyone else in the room, this is your opportunity to demonstrate that you're a team player. At work, we rely intensely on our co-workers, most of whom we've just met. You need to be calm, kind, patient, and professional.
  • Don't fight to outshine everyone around you- this is not your diva moment. 
  • Answer questions honestly and illustrate your answer with a travel story if you have one that applies. 
  • Support other interviewees in their answers (if appropriate) by using phrases like "I agree with Kate, travel helps us all understand the world we live in."
  • If there's a group activity, actively make sure that everyone's voice is heard and contributes to the overall result. 

The Individual Interview:
  • This interview will likely be a segment of the events on the day when your group interview happens. Your interviewers will take you to a separate room and ask you one on one questions.
  • Have a clear answer to the question: "Why do you want to be a Flight Attendant?" and "Why do you want to work for our airline?" 
  • Focus on your experience providing great customer service and being a team player.
  • Illustrate your points with stories! 

Things to Avoid:
  • "I want to be a Flight Attendant because I really hate my current job."
  • "I want to be a Flight Attendant because I love to travel."
  • "I want to be a Flight Attendant because I hear the money is good."
  • "I want to be a Flight Attendant because the uniform is cute and I hear it's easy to pick up dates on the plane."

At the end of the day, be yourself and be professional. 

Good luck!

Holiday Travel: Carryon Edition

Well everyone, we survived Thanksgiving. 

The Wednesday before Turkey Day is the highest traffic travel day of the year. Airports are packed with people, the roads look like folks are fleeing an incoming asteroid, and we're all bracing for the moments when our families will inevitably frustrate us (*cough*political conversations*cough*).

I was on call in base this year, as I likely will be for the next decade or so of my life, and though I was sad not to be with my immediate family members I was able to have a delightful Thanksgiving week with visits from friends, a dinner with Martin's family, and a Friendsgiving. Besides, my family already celebrated Thanksgiving back in October. It's one of the perks of our dual citizen status. 

I didn't get called to fly in the days leading up to the holiday so I was able to do something I love: cook for people and impress them with my unexpected culinary skillz. 
I'm just going to be real with you- I'm a pretty good cook.

 After learning the basics from my very talented mother and both of my grandmothers (one is  a published cook book author and the other is Julia Child's cousin) I've spent my adult years honing my kitchen skills with varying amounts of success, and this summer I really hit my stride. Preparing multiple meals a day for 6-25 people who were *paying* for meals is a whole level of pressure that I'm really really really relieved that I thrived under. 
My mom owns and runs two Bed and Breakfasts and a catering company in Vermont, but while she was out of commission after her stroke I took over the kitchen operations for the most part. It was exciting. 
You can check out the B&Bs here and here

While cooking my favorite Green Bean Casserole (I make it fancy, guys) I decided it's about time I add a cooking element to what I post get excited. It's coming your way soon. 

In the meantime, I want to have a semi-serious conversation about carryon bags during the holiday season. 

While I was working BOS-PHL flights yesterday it was clear that all the college kiddos were heading back to school. I swear half of the plane was doing homework and/or carrying a combo of the VB duffel and a Northface Backpack. 

Ladies, for the love of all that is merry and jolly, PLEASE STOP WITH THE VERA BRADLEY DUFFEL BAGS WHILE FLYING.

Look, they're fine when you're driving somewhere, but trust me when I say that you are going to deeply regret your bag choice about ten minutes into walking around the airport with it. 

Personally, VB patterns have never been my favorite, but I do own some cute duffel style weekender bags which I adore.

This baby from Kate Spade is similar to the one I bought years ago, and this delightful monogrammed option is one that I love using all summer for trips to the beach. 


They're adorable bags, I get it. 
But once they're full of stuff they are FAR too heavy to schlep around the airport comfortably.  

You're going to end up overheated as you awkwardly try to gallop through the airport to catch your next flight, trapped under the weight of a duffel bag that is way too awkward to justify how cute it looks in your snapstory about heading home for the holidays. 

Learn from my past mistakes and my professional airline experience. 
Add this brilliant wheeled carryon bag to your Christmas list right now and thank me later when you're using it to fly home after the December Holidays.

This is easily the BEST carryon bag I've ever worked with. It's designed in such a smart and practical way. I'm in love with it. 

While you're at it, if you MUST carry a backpack, make it this one. You'll be able to haul your books to class and when you enter the real world you'll have a bag you can slide over the telescoping handle of your wheeled suitcase for easy airport sprinting. 

Again, really really smart design. I can't get over how perfect it is for ease of use while traveling. 

Personally, I think a tote bag is a far more attractive choice for your travels.
Longchamp is always a good idea, but it's best to make sure that your second bag has a way of securely attaching to the telescoping handle of your rolling bag. It is SO MUCH easier.

Why not invest in a really GOOD bag like this one that I've been coveting?

Ah Tumi, how I love thee.

Making smart bag choices now will save you a lot of time, energy, and stress while you're en route to your holiday destination.
Have fun!

What an Autumn

The election is over and the dust is starting to settle, at least in Vermont. Nationally it still feels like so much is uncertain and frankly pretty scary.
I didn't win this time. While I'm sad, I'm really ok. I feel so lucky to have received such amazing support from so many people and at the end of the day, sometimes what really matters is that you tried.
Right now, I'm trying to get some sleep. I'm looking forward to spending more time with friends, more time with Martin and his family, and more time traveling. Generally just more time doing things that are fun, like my real job as a Flight Attendant and blogging.
Once I've rested a bit, I'm going to get back up and fight. I'll continue to fight hard for equality. For kindness. For optimism. For the values that truly make America great.
I am so proud of this nation we love and I know that we are stronger together.
We can do this.

What A Summer

At various points in my life I have been really busy. 
My senior year of high school I was an officer in no fewer than ten student organizations simultaneously.
When I was Miss Vermont I averaged four hours of sleep a night for an entire year because of the demands on my schedule.

So please understand how serious I am when I say that this summer I have been really, really, really busy. 

June and July were packed with international trips (heyyyy 30 hours in Paris with my boyfriend!), and a TON of campaign work, but I was like "Ok, cool, this is a lot but I've totally got this handled."

Then during the first week of August the you-know-what hit the fan. 
(I tried to come up with a less crass metaphor, but really that's what happened.) 

My mom had a stroke completely out of nowhere and has been sidelined ever since.
The good news is that she doesn't have any significant cognitive impairment and there's no paralysis. The bad news is she's just too tired mentally and physically to do most tasks, including things like driving and running her three businesses. 
Yes, three. At one time. 

And that is why my schedule suddenly spiraled out of control. 
All of a sudden I was responsible for a full time job, a political campaign, running three businesses, and a variety of other projects I had on the side. 
(Semi professional blogger here, y'all.)

So this is basically how I've been feeling for the last month and a half:

People keep asking how I'm getting through this. 
The answer? 
Coffee. My super supportive boyfriend. My competent campaign manager. Useful family members. Kind friends. 

Literally every single hour of every single day is packed with SOMETHING URGENT that I have to do. It's a lot. 

So essentially...
Please send wine, Catalyst Coffee gift cards, and don't be mad if I haven't watched your snap story lately. 
Support the campaign here and keep your fingers crossed!

Things I'm Coveting: My Birthday Wish List

My birthday (i.e. the BEST DAY OF THE YEAR) is in nine days. I've been so focused on campaigning, flying, and organizing the I actually forgot it was so close until Martin reminded me last night. 
I'm not hard to shop for... as long as you have excellent taste and buying experience for Monelle
For everyone else, here are a few things that would make excellent birthday gifts this year, in plenty of time to order them for June 24th arrival. You're welcome. 

I legitimately don't know if these are a "want" or a "need". I'm pretty sure I need at least five pairs of these to get me through future elections too. 

Y'all know I love working international flights. I figure this baby will draw some Crew Scheduling karma my way so that I'll end up in Europe more frequently. 

A beautiful and practical gift. I've been coveting this case for about 18 months now. 


I'm in love with Jetset Candy. This is the JFK charm, but ideally mine would be PHL or one of their other adorable destination charms. They have this USA Passport stamp one that is adorable. 

I'm not usually this whimsical, but this travel wallet has SO much organization at such a great price. 

I'm turning 26. It's time for a really adult investment handbag (that can be monogrammed).

This smells like fresh French elegance. #goals

Easy and fun. 

Fear Means Go: Take the Leap

I don't know about you, dear reader, but I am very consistently scared. 
Beyond my actual phobias (heights, blood, and needles, FYI), I'm primarily afraid of failure.

Trying new things can be really scary because you're opening the door to failure and all of the negative emotions that come with it: embarrassment, shame, disappointment, and heartbreak all come to mind. 

Two things are really important here.

1. "Failure" isn't actually a negative thing.

2. Life truly begins at the edge of your comfort zone. 

In my quarter century here on Earth, one of the most important lessons I have learned is that failing at something can often be the best thing that can happen to you. 
We have a lot of ways of talking about this idea. Maybe you've heard someone say "When God closes a door he opens a window." or something like "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." 
Having faith that if you do fail, it's because something better is coming can be one of the best ways to plow ahead towards your goal or your dream, no matter how much it scares you. I can point to countless incidents in my own life that illustrate this idea. If I hadn't "failed" the first time I ran for office, I never would have found the job I love so much now. If I hadn't "failed" at being married, I wouldn't have found the wonderful man I'm currently in a relationship with. 

Failure is always going to hurt, but it doesn't have to be a negative. 
You can learn from it, grow from it, and achieve more and better things because of it.

Speaking of growth, to really live you've got to grow, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Your comfort zone might keep you safe, but if you stay inside of it your life will stagnate. At best, you'll be a very boring person...probably one with a boring life. You'll go to work, go home, see the same people, do the same things, and you might not ever understand the underlying feeling that something isn't quite right. 
When something scares you, it's a good indicator that you should try it at least once so that you have the chance to see who you might become.  

When you're afraid, it means that something is big enough and important enough that it deserves your very best effort. Fear means it's time to take the leap because something matters. 

If you have a dream, go all in. Try. Dare greatly, and grow. 

I'll leave you with one of my favorite Garfunkel and Oates songs, "Loser". 
There's a little bit of strong language involved, so don't watch it around the kiddos, but it's awesome. 

"You are such a loser, good for you.
It's something that a lot of people can't do.
Trying is hard, that's why people don't do it.
Losing is hard, they can't make it through it.
But not you." 

Things I'm Coveting Today: 3.28.2016

 I'm not really a "watch person" but since I'm required to wear one for work I figure I might as well make it one that tracks my steps and shows me my text messages in addition to telling the time. It IS 2016 after all. I've been considering making the switch to the Apple Watch for a long time now and now that my company recently announced we're all going to be getting raises next month...maybe the time to make the big purchase is coming?

I have been pining for a signet ring for years now. It's so simple, classic, and perfectly personalized. This one would do quite nicely for me, thanks very much. 

How perfect are these for spring?! I love having one or two really pretty and bold pieces that I can pop on with any boring outfit as a little way of saying "look how fun I can be!"

Classic and perfect. The end. 

I'm allergic to pineapples but I actually love them, so instead of consuming them (no pina coladas for this girl, womp womp) I wear them and decorate with them. 

Rumor has it that the bottom compartment of this bag can fit THREE pairs of shoes, so basically I need to get my hands on it and test that out. 

Five Ways Running for Office and Being a Flight Attendant Are Exactly the Same

I recently announced that I would be running for public office in Vermont. For those of you who haven't known me for longer than five minutes, being an elected official has been my goal since I was ten years old.
Along my political journey, I was lucky enough to begin my career as a Flight Attendant, which is perfect because in Vermont we have a part-time citizen legislature. All of our Representatives and Senators have other jobs because they only convene four days a week for about four months of the year.

I don't plan on writing about politics much on this blog- this is a space for packing tips, products I'm in love with, and my advice on applying to be a Flight Attendant.

That said, I have noticed five ways in which my life in the sky and my life in politics intersect.

5. You deal with the public.

There are people in this world who find interacting with the general public to be challenging and exhausting. I don't. I'm an extrovert's extrovert.
My favorite thing about being a Flight Attendant? It's the people. 
I love meeting passengers and coworkers who have completely different life experiences than I do. I adore interacting with locals on my layovers, learning about the place they live and how they live there.

People are also my favorite part about running for office.
The best part of politics is helping people. Whether it's connecting a constituent to a service they need, answering questions about the democratic process, registering a first time voter, or answering questions about my positions on the issues, the best part of all of this is the opportunity to help people. 

4. You know how to be patient and calm with people who don't understand the rules.

On the aircraft, the rules we enforce are to keep you safe. Most of those rules come from the Federal Aviation Administration and are the result of studying what has gone wrong in the past when an accident or situation has resulted in injury or loss of life. For example: you're required to put your seat backs forward, your tray tables up, and to stow your bags completely under the seat in front of you for takeoff and landing because those are two very vulnerable times during a flight. Those are the two points when you're most likely to have to evacuate the aircraft, and if (God forbid) that needed to happen, your reclined seat, open table, and bag could impede that evacuation process. So when we ask you to do those things, it's not because we're being controlling, it's because we want you to be safe.

When running for office, you're more likely to run into someone who isn't familiar with how to register to vote, where to get an absentee ballot, or a volunteer who isn't familiar with the legal requirements of the campaign trail. These things are less likely to compromise an individual's physical safety, but they are critically important to your future. Civic responsibility and engagement are extremely important parts of being a citizen of this great country.

If I encounter confusion or resistance in either situation, I just explain the rules with a smile, offer information, and ask the person I'm interacting with (politely) to change what they're doing.

3. You know how to follow the law.

As a Flight Attendant, if it's a Federal Aviation Regulation applicable to the aircraft cabin, you have it memorized and you follow it. As a political candidate, you follow all kinds of laws about campaign donations, financial disclosures, and many other things. (Examples: how far a sign can be from a road, and laws about putting pamphlets in mailboxes.)

If you're lucky enough to win an election, you're going to be making the laws so you'd sure as heck better be good at following the law. 

2. You're trained to be calm in a crisis.

I constantly encounter people on and off the plane who have absolutely NO idea that Flight Attendants are on the aircraft to protect passengers in an emergency. Our main job has nothing to do with offering you coffee, tea, or water. In the air, we are the police, the fire fighters, the EMTs, the counselors, and anything else that needs to be done to ensure that our passengers are safe. Trust me, you could absolutely pour your own drinks and you can bring your own snacks, but I'd like to see you evacuate a burning airplane with 180 people on it in under 90 seconds.

During a political campaign, there will be many twists and turns. Some of those can throw you for a loop. You just have to be calm, methodical, and as we say in the aviation industry, your training will kick in. 

1. The sexism.

Depressingly, the number one way that being a Flight Attendant is exactly like being a woman running for public office is the sexism.

I don't just mean the sexual harassment that can so frequently occur on the airplane,
I mean the constant undercurrent of skepticism whenever I tell anyone, male or female, that I'm a Flight Attendant. People hear "flight attendant" and they think "ditzy", "stupid", and "brainless".

When I tell people I'm running for office, it takes them a second to wrap their heads around it because I'm young, I'm blonde, and I'm female.

The last time I ran, other candidates in the race made comments to me about the large purse I carried ("Did you bring lunch for all of us in that thing?"), my physical appearance, and my clothes.

Now, some people might say "Oh, they were just joking! They didn't mean anything by it."
I'm actually pretty good at not being offended when I can tell that people aren't being malicious. I generally don't mind when people call me a stewardess instead of a flight attendant, as long as they aren't being intentionally derogatory.
Here's a good way of determining if your comment or joke is sexist: ask yourself, "Would I make the same comment about a man?"
If the answer is no, you're being sexist, and no matter how accidental it may be, it's wrong.

Some people use age as a stand in for gender.
They might say "Well, you're awfully young." but sometimes what they mean is "What could you possibly know about hard work? You're just a girl."
There are people who have questioned, and who will continue to question, if I'm qualified to run for public office given my age. To anyone wondering about that: my age is an asset.
We need to have diverse voices that represent our electorate sitting in our chambers of government.
In Vermont, 35% of our population is between the ages of 20 and 44. 
Our median age is 38. 
And yet, the average age in our House of Representatives is 60 years old. 

51% of our population is female, but only 41% of our State Legislators are female.

In order to live up to the promise of our democracy, we need to have voices at the table that are representative of our population.

The best way to fight sexism in the sky or on the ground is by raising awareness, talking about it, and being bold.

So basically, in the words if the indomitable Leslie Knope:

I Flew! I Flew!

The last few months have been pretty slow flying for me here on slow.
On the one hand, it's been good to be able to focus on a few other things I've been working on and to get a lot of cross stitching done

BUT. Crew Scheduling FINALLY called me for a trip last week! 

I had layovers in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Phoenix and I just had the BEST time. 

In LA I was able to spend time with my Aunt Anna, Uncle Scott, and my cousins Sarah and Tommy. I hadn't seen these guys in about two years and it had been nearly 14 years since I'd visited them at their house in California. 

My Aunt Anna is also my Godmother and it's always been a fun Bright Family thing that we look extremely similar.

Meanwhile, I look just the slightest bit related to my not-so-little-anymore cousins. Sarah is a senior with SO many accomplishments and Tommy is a sophomore who is very talented in his own right and carrying on the Weber dynasty at their high school. I'm super proud to be related to them. 

It was so hard to say goodbye! 

The next day I ended up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where the weather was lovely. I took a nice long walk to the War Memorial and enjoyed the view of Lake Michigan.

When we got to Phoenix I immediately changed at the hotel and hiked about two miles to my favorite BBQ restaurant, Little Miss BBQ. I waited in line for two hours and it was completely worth it. That brisket and those jalepeno cheddar grits...mmmm. 

That night I worked the red eye back to Philly and landed around 6am. 
All in all, a very satisfying four days in the air!

Thirsty Thursday: Skincare Edition

When I started Flight Attendant training I knew that once I started flying all the time I was going to need an impressive moisturizing situation to handle the wear and tear on my skin. Enter the Korean beauty line, Dr. Jart+. I've been using Dr. Jart+ skincare products for about a year now, and let me tell you, I'm obsessed. Here are a few of my favorites and two products I'm dying to try.

Sheet masks are the coolest. They help your skin and you get to look like a super creepy horror movie character. It's a win-win. This one is delightfully cool and I've found it's fabulously plumping.

This little bottle is an absolute everyday essential. I use it every morning, whether or not I'm wearing makeup that day. 

I have been super super impressed by this product. I got it as a sample and LOVED how full the coverage was without looking cakey or makeupy. It's the first BB cream that I've truly been able to sub in for my full coverage foundation and it's very moisturizing. It works perfectly over the Ceramidin Liquid. 

If ever a perfect facial moisturizer existed, it's this one. That's really all I have to say about that. 

I haven't tried these bad boys yet, but I'm just dying to. Colored clay that turns into foam? A combo kit? Sign. Me. Up. 

I'm not really a contouring pro, but I feel like this kit could make me one. I'd love to give it a try because this seems like it could totally work. 

Things I'm Coveting Today: 2.11.16

This ring is just so dainty and understated but it still manages to fit your whole monogram on there.

Nothing says "I have my life together" like whipping out your own gold pen when it's time to sign the receipt at the end of the night. 

Little known fact: lemons are my favorite fruit. 

Your friends will be thrilled to put a coaster under their champaign flute when that coaster is this sparkly!

Vermont: the gold standard in my heart, the gold standard in this print.

Want to give jewelry that tells her "I'm all in" but you're not ready to put a ring on it? Take a (financially responsible) baby step with these earrings to tell her you want to be bound to her for life. 

I'm a Chi Omega. I love pearls. Anything else?

Oh, and I used to be a pageant girl so when Kate does AB rhinestones, I'm on it.

Ok, hear me out on this one. This cologne looks like something that would be on the dresser of a Wild West saloon owner/pool shark, but it smells like joy in a bottle. I hate many traditional women's perfumes because they smell too floral for my personality. This is a men's cologne but it is FABULOUSLY appropriate for a woman. 

Flight Attendant Work Packing List

Today I'm heading to the airport to sit "On Premises Reserve". Some airlines call it "sitting hot" or the "hot seat" but we just call in OPR at my base. Regardless of what it's called, the concept is the same. You go to the airport, bags packed and uniform on, to wait for Crew Scheduling to call you and tell you to RUN to Gate A45 to go work a flight to anywhere in the world. 
Normally we have to have a minimum of two hours notice before we work a flight, but when you're sitting OPR it can be as little as ten minutes. 

Sometimes when they call I feel a lot like Amy Pond.

The thing that annoys me the most about OPR is that you just have absolutely NO idea where you're going. None. 
So what do you pack for a 3-4 day trip with no set destination? 

My Work Packing List
Uniform dress
Uniform sweater
Uniform skirt
Two uniform tops
Uniform scarf
Six pairs of hose (they shred like Tony Hawk)
Sports bra
Toiletries kit
(I never bring "real" jewelry with me when I fly)

Additional Weather Dependent Items

These essentials should get the job done, no matter where they send me, and no matter what kind of social event I end up participating in (unless it's black tie, but a surprise gala hasn't happened to me yet). 

Things I'm Coveting Today: 1.28.16

Things I'm Coveting Today

Food I Pack When I Fly & My New Year's Resolution

When I first started this job, I made a point of eating delicious local meals wherever I had a layover. Now,  experienced and jaded Flight Attendant that I am, if I have a layover somewhere new I absolutely make a point of trying out the local restaurant scene, but if I have a trip with three consecutive layovers in the same city (BORING), somewhere I don't have local friends, or a really short overnight (12 hours to get off the plane, get to the hotel, sleep, and back on the plane) I don't want to scramble to find food and I'd rather spend my time sleeping anyway. The trip that really convinced me I had to plan my food consumption better was a few months ago, when I found myself hiking across a dark highway to get to a Walgreens so that I could have something for dinner and lunch the next day. There are few things sadder than buying dinner alone in a drug store at 9:30pm.

My other challenge was that I often found myself with the ability to purchase delicious local specialties or I'd have leftovers that I'd want to eat for lunch but no way to transport them or keep them fresh. There's only so much you can do with ziplock baggies in your purse, trust me.

So how did I solve this little challenge?
I broke down and turned to my favorite travel store ever:

I purchased their Crew Cooler II and it has CHANGED. THE. GAME. 
I can pack breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in this bad boy and go for DAYS. It's also just a pretty good little carryon bag. Now, a word of warning. For most of you travelers out there, the Crew Cooler Jr. is going to be plenty big enough for your food needs while traveling. You're also going to want to keep in mind that as a uniformed crew member I have different parameters for bringing liquids through security, but you CAN bring foods through security if they're solid. Read, frozen. So pull a Queen Elsa and freeze that soup you're hoping to have for dinner later and you'll be golden. (Probably. Don't get stuck at a TSA checkpoint being like "But Caroline SAID I could bring frozen soup.")

In fact, the TSA has published a whole list of foods that you can and can't bring in your carryon. I love that Maple Syrup is specifically identified. You just KNOW that's because enough people leaving Vermont have been like "But it's a NECESSITY. I NEED THIS." 

Good news though, pies and cakes are cleared to fly. Thank. Goodness. 

For all you non crew flyers out there, the New York Times recently published an article about bringing your own food on the plane, so check that out. 

Food I Pack When I Fly

Leftovers from the night before
Roasted Vegetables
Crackers (Melba Toast or Saltines)

From Trader Joe's: 
Frozen Chicken Tikka Masala
Frozen Channa Masala
Frozen Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese
Frozen Microwaveable Rice
Chicken in Red Curry Sauce
Precooked Lentils (these are in the produce section at your local TJ's and they are a GIFT)
Salad mix plus cucumbers, celery, and grilled chicken
Frozen Steelcut Oatmeal
Frozen or freeze dried raspberries

Not From TJ's:
Oatmeal Caramel bars from Hudak's in the summer
Vermont Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Non-perishable items I keep in my cooler:
Frank's Hot Sauce
Lara Bars
Tea bags: Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Peppermint, and Ginger
Mints and gum

I try to consume a generally beneficial mixture of whole grains, vegetables, and protein. If "eating clean" is your thing, you do you, but honestly I'm a little suspicious that it can stray too close to disordered eating. I'm with Nigella on this

Which brings me to my New Year's Resolution. Generally, I don't believe in committing to something just because it's January, but this year I'm trying to make a new start when it comes to one thing.

I've decided to stop seeing weight loss as success, for me or for anyone else.
Possibly a remnant of my pageant days, probably just part of existing as a woman in Western culture, in my head "losing weight" is something to be proud of. Like, when you see someone who you haven't seen in a while, and they've lost weight so you say "You look so great!". 
Being thin does not make you healthy. Being thin will not give you peace with your body or your appearance. Being thin is not, in and of itself, an accomplishment.

Personally, I struggle with wanting to be thinner (just like practically everyone else), and I kind of WISH I could go all in on an extreme diet and crazy workouts to drop thirty pounds, but I just can't. I can't because it feels wrong and nags at my conscience. There is NOTHING wrong with my body as it is (except for my one knee that keeps crackling and I do have scoliosis, but that's unrelated) whether it's at a size four or a size twelve. Frankly, I'm kicking around a size 8 right now and that should be ok.
Part of me wants to lose weight to fit into size four dresses that I just LOVE from when I was Miss VT. The other part of me wants to stay the same size I am now to show people (especially young girls) that it is completely acceptable to wear a size 8 dress. I know that when I see pictures of Amy Schumer, or America Ferrera, or another "average" sized celebrity it makes me feel less like there's something wrong with my body for looking the way that it does, and I want to be able to provide that for someone else out there in the universe.

There are a whole variety of weights and sizes out there in the world, and I need to constantly remind myself that it is acceptable for anyone to be any of them.  
(Unless your doctor tells you to lose weight for your health, then you need to do that.)

I want to be healthy. But does healthy have to mean having a thigh gap, the ability to do a handstand, and running marathons?
For me healthy means being able to easily stow my roll aboard in the overhead bin, being able to do a 90 second plank, and being able to run/jog/walk a 5k at a moment's notice.

So in the midst of this internal conflict, I think the best I can do for right now is to drink a LOT of water, enjoy my kale and my french fries, and to stop thinking losing weight is the pinnacle of success.