Friday, December 2, 2016

How to pack one weekend in your Tote Bag

It started with a ridiculously priced flight that would be even more ridiculous if I bought a carry on. By now, you all know me well enough to know that I despise anything I perceive as a waste of cash. And this definitely qualified. Why should I have to pay more to bring a small bag?

I thought about the trip I was about to take; a weekend flight to Orlando. Unlike here in Philadelphia, Orlando's temperature was way more pleasant, negating the need for anything but a light cardi. I wouldn't need the boots there that, back at home, I couldn't do without. In fact, all I would need would be a few late spring like looks and a warm look to travel in. And that meant I didn't need a carry on.

Yay for savings. But what to pack my stuff in?


That's right. I managed to get three days worth of my essentials into a LongChamp tote. And you can too. Here's how I did it:

Start with a roomy tote
A nice roomy tote bag is more than perfect for your day to day, work to play routine. A tote is great for packing for a weekend away. I used my LongChamp tote as my "weekender". It's light yet tough. A perfect bag to carry three days worth of basics in style.

Know what you need
I'm pretty good about this. I usually make a list of everything I need. And I mean everything; from pjs and a cardigan for the plane to chargers, extra hair pins, headphones, gum, and even that lip color I want to try.

Plan exactly what you want to wear
Here is where I usually fail. I tend to bring a bunch of stuff, most of which I never end up wearing. This time, I laid out everything.    I planned every outfit. Each with the possibilities in mind. I managed to get three daytime and one evening outfit with interchangeable pieces (in case I changed my mind).

Accessorize wisely (and minimally)
Unlike underwear, you simply don't need new accessories for every outfit. To be honest, other than special occasions, I typically wear the same necklace, earrings, and bracelets every day. Since I am using my everyday tote and my carry on, I brought along one of my favorite black pouches to hold my small essentials and to double as a wristlet.

No new friends (or clothes)
Don't do this. Don't be that person that needs to bring a bunch of new stuff for a short trip that you probably won't even have the time to wear. This stuff takes up vital space and makes the whole task of packing lightly damn near impossible. So no, don't do that. Only bring along what you know you will wear and what will look good on you.

Roll your clothes (instead of folding)
Folding in a tote is just not a good idea. Can we say wrinkles? Rolling is the best way to go. Not only do you save so much space, but you won't have to worry about as many wrinkles.

Pack essentials at the top
There is nothing worse than fishing through your bag to find your wallet or chapstick. Using that handy pouch to hold my essentials (charging cable, wallet, etc), I put this into my tote last. That way, it's the first thing I could reach once I opened my tote.

Wear the big stuff, pack the light stuff
Since we were leaving from Philadelphia for Orlando, needless to say I wouldn't be needing major warm weather wear. So, it was easy to wear the big cardio and an easily removable pair of Sperry's and to pack my Prada ballet flats, leggings, and tees in the tote.

That's it. That's how I managed to get a weekend's worth of stuff into my everyday bag. What are your best packing tips? I want to hear them. Drop them in the comment box below!

Reclaimed Readables, December 2nd

Happy Friday beauts and beaus!

Today's Readables feature lipstick mistakes and how to fix them, the black owned ride app coming for Uber and Lyft, the women leading the march on Washington, rose infused beauty products, the newest trend for jackets, and 20 easy ways to save when you're broke.

Byrdie: Lipstick mistakes and their fixes
Huff Post: Black owned ride sharing app, women leading the march on Washington
The Zoe Report: 12 rose infused beauty products
WhoWhatWear: Newest jacket trend
Refinery29: 20 ways to save when broke

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Practical ways to make a difference during World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day, a day we stop and take time to not only bring awareness to this virus, but to also acknowledge the many strides we are making to combat it.

The facts are:
According to the World AIDS Day site, twice as many people have AIDS now than only 10 years ago.
34 million people around the world who have the virus.
Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, over 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Something must be done.

And things are being done. 

With citizen powered movements like RED raising not only awareness with the sale of products (in red, of course), but also raising over $365 million for AIDS prevention, treatment since beginning in 2006, things are being done.

But you can do things today. Things that don't involve pinning a ribbon to your shirt or buying a new iPod in red (although if you want to, you should!) There are many simple and practical ways to honor World AIDS Day, ones that don't really involve you doing more than having a conversation.

Here are just a few.

Talk about the importance of AIDS awareness to someone
Getting tested (even if it is for no other reason other than to honor the day)
Encourage others to get tested
Take to social media to show your support

For more ways to support AIDS awareness, head to

Reclaimed Readables, December 1st

Happy Thursday and welcome to December!

Let's kick off the last month of 2016 with Readables, featuring 10 things to know about World AIDS Day, 31 outfits perfect for a stand out December, 100 unique gifts under $100, 6 celebrity approved ways to get a flatter stomach, 7creative ways to style your turtleneck, and affordable indie brands you should know.

Man Repeller: 10 things to know about World AIDS Day
Refinery29: 31 outfits for December, 100 gifts under $100
Byrdie: 6 celebrity approved ways to get a flatter stomach 
WhoWhatWear: 7 creative ways to style your turtleneck
Racked: Affordable indie brands 

And just for the fun of it, here is the full Trevor Noah interview of Tomi Lahren that I posted earlier on Instagram (brace yourselves).

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why I will never look at umbrellas the same again

It was the day of the election. Here in Philly, the weather really reflected the overall sentiment. The previous day had been sunny and bright, unseasonable warm. This day was grey and cold. Rain was intermittent, sometimes a gently trickle of tearlike drops, sometimes a driving cascade of grief inducing torrents. It felt as though nature

Hillary lost the election.

We lost the election.

An election that was so much more than merely choosing a candidate for a position, but one that ignored respect, decency, equality, and fairness. That was enough to make any person with good sense grieve.

I had tried my best to just get through the day. As I shared with you before, I hugged a woman more grief stricken than I outside of Starbucks, I tried to do some sort of self care, but as much as I tried, the waves grief simply wouldn't stop. All I could do was let them pass.

So, as with all things, every time one of those waves rose up, I turned to talk to God. No, I didn't fall on my knees in some dramatic form. I simply started talking, and waiting for some form of response. They came in gentle whispers and various moments through out the day.

As I was leaving from a work session, the sky really opened up. I had forgotten my umbrella at home. Combine my already sad mood with being both cold and wet and you can see how my mood could have gone from sad to all out despair.

But something within me pushed me. It said to me "Things are going to be all right." And a warmth wafted over me, an inner reassurance that, no matter what, I was loved, I mattered, and that I would be taken care of.

As I was walking, still wet, still cold, but not as sad, I said to God "Ok. I'll trust you. I know that know matter what, you will take care of me." I went to cross the street, a street that is infamous for having large puddles during moments of prolonged rain. There, floating in my direction in one of the larger puddles, handle pointed up, wide open, like a boat, was a black umbrella. I took the handle and lifted it to inspect it.

Not a hole, not a tear.

It was perfect.

A perfect umbrella in a sudden storm. A perfect umbrella in a sudden storm that only came, not when God changed the circumstances around me (because He didn't), but changed my attitude within me. I now had a tangible reminder of that promise, that, no matter what, if I trusted Him, God would take care of me.

I'm sad to say that today, while rushing off of the train, I lost that very tangible reminder of God's protection. Something within me said to not put iron the floor. But it was so wet, I didn't want to cover the seat with water once I had left. I wish I had just listened.

But to be honest, part of me is okay with not having it. I am sad that I lost it (in a very Whitney way to lose things) But I don't think that God would want me to cling to an object more than I should cling to the lesson learned. After all, The Bible says that we as believers "live by faith and not by sight."(2 Corinthians 5:7) Maybe the most important thing I got out of all of this was not a faith souvenir, but a testimony of God's love and faithfulness.

I will never look at umbrellas the same again.

So, to whomever is riding the Regional Rail trains, if you happen to find a non descriptor black umbrella tucked underneath one of the center seats of the train car, you have found something special, a tangible answer to an attitude change.