Call me old fashioned: Hearkening back to centuries-old Irish farms and the rainy wilds of British isles, something about the storied construction and classic look of a well-made waxed cotton coat gets me every time. As romances tend to go, though, I’ve found good waxed canvas can be awfully tough to find — made more difficult if you’re on the hunt for hardworking, ethical options that are tailored for women.
All you really need in the summertime is a tall iced coffee, a mountain to climb, waterfalls and forests to explore with your favorite people and pups, and a few solid outfits that will breathe with you through the afternoon breeze. For a recent weekend getaway wandering the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee, I packed a few trusty wardrobe staples along with some new favorites I’ve picked up this season.
Between unwinding along Ireland’s quiet northwest reaches and enjoying copious helpings of Scottish whiskey, we took the train down the Irish coastline for a weekend of adventures along the southern reaches of the Wild Atlantic Way, a 1,500 mile scenic route speckled with jaw-dropping views and castles along Ireland’s rugged westerly shores. With much to do and just a few days to soak up Ireland’s first national park, centuries of history, a gorgeous peninsula, and some incredible seafood, my husband and I hit the ground running as soon as the train slowed into Killarney station. Our first stop would be the surreal sanctuary of Friar’s Glen, a small bed and breakfast nestled away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Killarney in an ancient valley between the mountains of Killarney National Park.
When you marry a whiskey man (or whisky man, as they say in Scotland) with whom you share an affinity for first editions, bedroom slippers, bran cereals, Ken Burns documentaries, gardening, and heavily peated scotch (we are essentially grandparents in the chrysalis) it’s tough to decide on a honeymoon destination. Oddly enough, we both landed on a tiny island off the coast of Scotland through independent research (another beloved Hunt-Ralston hobby) and soon realized it would be the perfect spot to unwind after exploring the wilds of Ireland and bustling Brussels.
After a few weeks abroad I’m back home, unpacking, sorting out photos, and catching up on beauty rest. Three countries and three times as many plane and train rides later I’m missing one city in particular. Nestled along the northwest coast of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, Galway is a relaxing train ride from Dublin (with wifi and wine) or just an hour’s drive from Shannon airport. The city holds an extra special place in my heart as likely 1700s stomping grounds for my great-great-great-you-get-the-idea-grandfather who immigrated from North Ireland to North Georgia and opened a tippling parlor only to be eventually killed by local Native Americans who would also become part of my Appalachian lineage – but that’s another story for another blog.
How to pack for two to three weeks in Europe using a single carry on. Plus my capsule wardrobe packing system, what’s in my bag, a few travel tips, and a handy printable packing list. If broken roller boards, sore shoulders, Zambian baggage fees, and a lone suitcase languishing on the tarmac of the Madrid airport have taught me one thing about exploring this world, it is this: Pack light to travel well. How light? Whether a trip is three days or three weeks my max is a 10 kg / 22 lb duffel bag paired with a little 14L backpack. 22 pounds (plus a small bag or personal item) is the typical limit for carry-on luggage on most smaller airlines. According to backpacking experts, 22 pounds is also on the lighter side of my ideal pack weight, which is 1/4 to 1/6 of my 125 lb total body weight. To me, traveling well means having enough clothes, toiletries, and travel essentials to be comfortable without dragging along anything I could do without. The fewer …
Have you ever tracked your closet? This weekend I audited all of last year’s clothing purchases, and in the process I realized some really interesting things about my shopping habits in the year that followed the Nothing New Challenge. The results make up this cozy lil’ fireside chat and subsequent outfit – what I’m wearing makes up a few of my most worn items of the year. Other favorites included a trusty Patagonia better sweater, Rocksbox jewels, and everything Everlane. To start, I pulled every new piece of clothing into a spreadsheet with rows for each month, as well as columns for product name, cost, retailer; whether the item broke, was returned, sold, or donated; and whether I wore the item every two weeks, once a week, or less than five total times. My least-worn items were from many different retailers but had a few things in common: most were on clearance or were purchased without knowing detailed fit information, while others were for very specific occasions: swimming, fancy parties, running, getting married. Generally speaking, …