The PrepFords Pilgrammage

No Intro, Just facts. We went to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The culmination of a dream come true. We had the opportunity to go before but passed for very complicated reasons. But as huge Harry Potter fans (see Harry Potter wedding) we had to go.

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Usually, I’m all about bypassing the t-shirts and going for girly dress but if I’m being very honest here, Harry Potter fashion is mostly ugly, or really really hot or ugly and hot and scratchy to boot. I should have done what my husband did and opted for custom gear but I didn’t think far enough ahead so I opted for this t-shirt from the mens section of Target. But honestly, look how cute he is and can you beat a man who looks at you like that when you’re not looking? The answer is no.

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Anyway, we spent two days in Universal Studios and here are the top ten tips that we came away with for best navigating the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

  1. Get the two day park to park pass. If you can afford it and have the time, spend one day doing all things Harry Potter and the other doing everything else that Universal has to offer. The HP things are split between two parks Universal Studios and Island of Adventuress and are connected by the ride, Hogwarts Express.
  2. Get the app. We had the app and still allowed ourselves to get lost. The app has not just a map of the park which can guide you from ride to ride but it also has tickets, real time waits for the lines, and the wifi is free in the park so you are killing your battery searching of signal all day.
  3. Get there for park opening. No not 10 am not 9:30 am. NINE AM. We got to the park our second day a little before ten and it was a mistake mistake mistake. Oh the difference an extra hour makes. We had the park all to ourselves the first hour of the first day and we were able to figure our way to the the Wizarding section of the park without fretting over crowds and managed to ride a few rides before people flooded the park.
  4. Walk to the back of the park. It takes a lot of energy to get there sure but by skipping stuff at the front of the park, you can ride the rides at the back since no one will be there and then do stuff at the front of the park on your way out. Souvenirs and such will still be there and you can ypass everyone taking introductory photos together. We applied this to both Disney Magic Kingdom and Universal and we were not disappointed in the slightest.
  5. Start the day with Gringotts bank. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts is a beautiful, beautiful ride and the lines get long fast and you want to be able to experience it before they do get long. You have to get a locker which is right across from the ride. Put EVERYTHING in it. They’re free for the first hour or so and the attendants will send you back if you haven’t put everything in the locker so do it the first time.
  6. Regardless of how many children you have, buy ONE interactive wand. Whether you have one child or five, the best bet is to buy one interactive wand from Ollivander’s. Hubby and I made the mistake of buying two and then spent the better part of the day together so we didn’t even get the chance to use them both. If your little ones all demand a wand, get them the non-interactive one and buy the interactive one for yourself so that they can share it. Keep your eyes open for golden medallion on the ground near shops because this is where the interactive wands can be used.
  7. Buy the butterbeer. It’s overpriced and tastes very similar to cream soda but for $7.50 it’s worth it to satiate your curiosity about what it taste like. And in a park that gets to be 100 degrees, it quickly becomes worth the money. If you have little ones, get the courtesy cups and split it. I had to share mine with hubby because it was just way too much sugar. We passed on the souvenir cup because we didn’t feel like carrying anything else.
  8. If a ride has a short wait time, take it! The Hogwarts Express had a ten minute wait, so we took it. The Dragon Challenge ride had a ten minute wait so we took it. The wait for those lines was even shorter than the fast pass so it helped to act while we were paying attention.
  9. Be assertive without being rude. There are people all over the place many of whom stop in the middle of the sidewalk and the streets and the walkways. If you spend all day waiting around for people to scoot over, you will never see everything. By the end of the trip we were experts at the human version of Nokia’s snake and bobbing and weaving while saying politely “excuse me, honey”.
  10. Don’t rush. This sounds counter-intuitive to all the advice I’ve given so far but it pays to take it slowly and meander. You don’t want to get burn out. Our favorite places to take it easy were the shops and food areas.They are all so gorgeous and detailed and pictures can never do it justice especially if you’re a die hard fan.

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What are some suggestions you have for the Wizarding World?

XO Prepfordwife

DIY Wire Minnie Mouse Ears

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Today’s post is finally a DIY tutorial from the wire ears I made for meeting my shero, Minnie Mouse. You can see that post here. I saw a similar pair somewhere online and quickly whipped up a pair. Emphasis on quickly.

I made the first pair with the red ribbon in our hotel room at 2am and the second pair with the yellow flowers in five minutes before we had to run out of the room to the park. I feel like it’s safe to consider this a five minute diy.

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Here are the quick steps for the floral crown ears seen above.

Supplies

Scissors/Wire Cutter

24 gauge Gold Jewelry Wire

Ribbon close to your hair color

Hot glue gun

Floral wreath

Cup

ear supplies

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1. Wrap jewelry wire around glass or other cylindrical container to form ears. Choose one that’s the size you ideally want your ears to be. I chose a larger glass because I wanted my ears to be able to be taller than my large hair if I decided to wear it out which didn’t happen because…humidity.

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2. Make sure to leave enough wire to be able to wrap around your headband.

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3. I chose headbands that were close to my hair color so that they would just blend in but you are welcome to choose a color that stands out or matches your color theme.

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4. Cut off a piece of the floral wreath to fit in between your ears. Make sure to cut a piece that is visually interesting to you. For the park, I cut out the yellow piece since that’s the color I was more interested in wearing that day.

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5. Place your headband and wreath together to make sure the fit is right then hot glue your headband to the part of the wreath you cut. Then wrap a piece of the ribbon that you bought around the headband weaving in and out of your wreath to tighten it. Since Florida is so hot, you could have loose hot glue. The ribbon fortifies it and also provides cushion so the wire ears don’t stab you.

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And Voila you have yourself a pair of ears. I won’t do a tutorial for the ribbon ears but you do make them the same way. Just sub out the wreath with really big bow.

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Now go out into the Disney World and hear all the things with your new shiny ears.

Love,

Prepfordwife

Minnie Mouse and Polka Dots

For our first day in the actual Disney Parks, we had to go to Magic Kingdom. I had a date with destiny and I couldn’t be late; I had to see Minnie Mouse.

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Dress| Sneakers |Cole Haan sunglasses| Diy Ears

This is probably not the first, nor the last, time that I will gush about Minnie Mouse on this blog (see this post). She’s been my first love since I was young. We talked to my mom on the car ride down and she reminded me of my first birthday, Minnie themed of course, where I got a Minnie Mouse doll the size of my little body. I still have her even today. Consider it the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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I spent the week leading up to this trip picking an outfit to meet Minnie Mouse in. I wanted her to like it. Eyeroll yes but this is who I am as a person. Better you find out now than later. Queue my favorite polka dot dress which I’ve worn before on the blog. It’s a favorite of mine even among other polka dot dresses that I own. Needless to say, Minnie loved it.

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After Minnie, we moseyed around and did the usual Magic Kingdom things. We arrived at opening and took the ferry so we had plenty of time to see and do everything. It was hot (isn’t it always in Orlando?) which made this dress a success for me. I’m a proponent of looking like myself in all facets of life and that includes in amusement parks. I feel like they invite you to do otherwise on account of the sweating and the water rides and the general disarray but this dress was breathable, comfortable and had the added bonus of hiding any kind of sweat with the dark fabric and the print.

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This dress fit right in on Main Street and people seemed generally surprised to see something Minnie Mouse outside of the usual t-shirt and cap with ears.

Speaking of ears, these ears were a 2am DIY that got quite a few compliments. They were super simple and lightweight since I need a no muss no fuss accessory. I may end up doing a quick DIY post.

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What do you usually wear to amusement parks?

XO Prepfordwife

 

Outdoor Explore with Air Boats

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Shirt| Jeans| Purse |Belt| Sneakers (sold out| Similar)| Sunglasses (Old Cole Haan C718 25| Similar for less | Similar)

We decided to take a last minute small family vacation to Orlando for a week. Usually, I skip summer vacation in favor of something in the fall for our anniversary but this year, my job has been wearing me a little thin. I was rapidly approaching burn out so a little get away was a must. My sister in law came with and she asked for one thing, to go airboating. That quickly became priority number one for us since it could be tackled in just one afternoon.

I like to feel like and look like myself on vacation and a striped shirt with a white pair of jeans is my standard fare uniform. Although we were on a boat with the possibility of getting soaked in swamp water *yuck*, this was still what I opted for. Not only does it fit for most casual scenarios, but by wearing long pants and sleeves I could keep my skin safe from the roasting sun and the biting mosquitos at the same time. It was just the wrong scenario to have naked skin.

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I’m all about comfort when it comes to vacationing. From the top of my head down, this outfit was perfect for that. The material from the shirt is surprisingly thick so I didn’t spend all day wondering if I was going to sweat through it or if my bra was visible. The pants have the PERFECT amount of stretch to them so much so that reaching of this branch was no biggie. Also, little hint, I own three pair of this exact pair of white jeans which is why I was willing to risk it all. I scored them at an end of the season sale last year and decided to put one pair through the ringer on this trip. The inseam is the perfect length for my larger hips and short frame plus the pocket is finally deep enough for an iPhone! A trait that is worth its weight in gold in women’s pants.

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I feel like I am constantly raving about this Madewell Crossbody Transport Tote but its because its that wonderful. I snagged it by accident because it was on a horrendously good sale but it turns out its one of my most practical purchases ever. I can fit an umbrella, my Nikon, a GoPro, my iphone7, a bottle of water, a pack of tissues and a package of face wipes in this little bag if I play my cards right. It literally hold all the necessities without looking ugly or weighing down my shoulders. It’s a total win.

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All in all, the air boating was an awesome idea. We had so So so much fun although the middle of the day during the middle of the summer isn’t exactly prime crocodile spotting season. We went with Boggy Creek Airboats which was pretty close to Orlando. It was well priced for a day outing. Our tour guide was the absolute sweetest. He made sure that if he spotted something interesting, he pointed it out for us and as the resident biology nerds on the boat, hubby and I appreciated that. We got to see some great native birds which are also native to our neck of the woods but still great to see. I would definitely recommend one of the air boat tours especially if you go late in the evening when its cooler. Either way it was a fun little adventure and a great way to kick off our week. Stay tuned for more from our little trip.

XO Prepfordwife

PS. Enjoy this little snap with lovey for the road. 😉

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Come Pack with me

img_4515Call this a guide to squeezing an entire business weeks worth of clothes into a carryon. I’ve flown a lot in my short time on earth and what I’ve discovered is that for some reason I have a very high mistrust for the airline. I fear that my luggage will miss the lay over or that it will be seriously damaged or it will just flat out go missing. So if I travel for less than I two weeks at a time, I always bring a carry on instead of a checked bag.

I have a business trip coming up and here’s how I shoved a week plus worth of clothes into the cutest rolling carryon ever.

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Sweater| Jeans | Button Down| Purse |Carry-on| Shoes

 

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I am a button down kind of girl so I snagged enough of them to make it through the week. I’m wearing a plain white one and then packed my three most basic and yet special button downs. Throughout the week, I’ll layer then and mix and match them under the sweaters and the dress in the top left. Each article of clothing is good for any climate and can be mixed and matched for casual and business. Not featured is a standard fair black blazer and my favorite J. Crew lady day coat. When packing for a week, pick the clothing you feel best in.  There will never be a day on this trip where I won’t love what I have.

I also threw in clothes for more casual wear like my favorite pair of mom jeans, two tshirts and some work out clothes. I stacked the items up by genre, all the tops together, all the bottoms and the all the casual clothes.

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Shoes go in the pouch beneath the logo. In the main case I layered the stacks and tucked the underwear at the bottom of the case.

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It takes a bit to smooch them in but it truly is enough clothing for the week.

This Coat Deserved a Home

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Coat | Shirt |Pants |Shoes |Bag

I purchased this peach coat on a whim. Even though all of my coats seem to live in this color family, it was just calling my name. Loudly. It didn’t help that I met some of the nicest shopping pals humanly possible who told me “yes, you need that”.

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So long story short, this coat has a home. I wore it on a short pre-Christmas trip to Biltmore Estate and when I tell you that I got a compliment literally every single place we went. It could have paid for itself in under an hour if each compliment were worth a dollar. It was right at home in the gardens where every floral was coral. I found my place in the world.

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This coat is aesthetically pleasing and with its thinsulate lining, I’m warm without ever requiring bundling, which is perfect for someone who lives in the south and often forgets to even wear a coat. It also does pretty well in warm environments. I wore it through most of Biltmore’s Gardens in spite of the 80 degree plus temperature.

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The gardens themselves were stunning. Once upon a time, I masqueraded as a green house keeper so being amongst so many beautiful blooms felt both flamiliar and exotic. Each aisle contained more beautiful florals than the last.

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The greenhouse itself was massive but still only take a half hour for the quick explorer. It was my favorite part of the visit so it took us well over two hours. When visiting Biltmore, they make it very clear to wear comfortable shoes. I took the memo a step further and assumed comfortable clothing as well. I paired the coat with my uniform of choice, white shirt, black pants. I made sure to glitz it up a bit with this embellished oxford and a crystal necklace. For bottoms, I reached for the J. Crew Minnie pant which breathes like a legging but makes me feel like a “grown up” and a pair of flats with a bow.

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Biltmore’s Gardens were absolutely magically but we couldn’t stay all day despite my best intentions. We took a brisk walk from the gardens around the grounds and up to the house itself. The home was absolutely stunning and we had plenty of time to see it during our night time tour.

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More about the actual house in a part two.

XOXO Prepford Wife

 

 

Old Salem Harvest Festival

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While wedding venue scouting some years ago, I ran across the Old Salem district in Winston Salem, North Carolina, a town created to mimic the eighteenth century Moravian version of the town. It has some of the most gorgeous and rustic areas to hold weddings. I surprised my husband with a weekend trip during their fall festival years ago and now it’s become a bit of a tradition for us.

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The festival features hands on activities and awesome demonstrations and it’s truly one of our favorite places. Even if you aren’t into fall festival activities, it’s super scenic and the little district blocks are perfect for a fall stroll.

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As usual, tons of walking means trusty dusty Nikes and a cross body bag so that I could eat have my hands free for activities.

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Old Salem is just a beautiful and peaceful place to visit. They also have great activities all through fall and the Christmas holidays so definitely stop by and visit if your in the area.

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Sweater | Shirt (Similar) | Jeans | Nikes (Sold out) | Purse (Similar)

Hope you enjoyed. XO Prepford Wife

Pumpkin Pickin’ and Stuff

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This past weekend, husband and I adventured to The Lazy 5 Ranch. It’s a bit like the North Carolinian version of a safari where you sit in your car and drive about, all the while feeding the animals. They also have a fall festival this time of year. There is nothing I love more than the combination of exotic animals and a fall festival.

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The animals were so sweet and curious. Because cars are driving through all the time, they walk right up to them! When you enter the park, you can pay for feed buckets and if they see a bucket in your car, they know you have snacks. My kind of animals.

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These animals are my wildest dreams come true. In addition to the animals we had to go to the fall festival. Anything that requires the word festival is right up my alley. We somehow scored a really quiet time during the day so aside from us, there were only a few school groups there.

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These field boots have been dying to come out to play for fall and this day only felt totally appropriate for their arrival.

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Fall is my favorite season ever and you have no clue how sad it makes me to not be getting enough of it due to North Carolina and just, you know, global warming. Either way, this day called for fall colored clothing and pumpkin picking. I know every blogger is pumpkin picking but duh! It’s fall.

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In the interest of full disclosure, I am totes eating one of those Cowtail candies in this last picture. Growing up, whenever my mom and I did fall activities, this was our candy of choice for some reason. Shout out to small traditions.

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What fall activities are you going to get in to?

XO Prepford Wife

Shirt | Vest (Plus, Similar)  | Jeans | Boots (Sold outsimilar) | Bag (Similar, Has a bow)

PS. Bonus with hubby

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Tanzania; a juicy contradiction

My people perish from a lack of knowledge.Hosea 4:6 Today marks day 5 of being back in the United States from a 3.5 week trip to Tanzania. From March 15-June 7, I along with 8 other students, traveled half way around the globe for the cultural experience of a life time. We stayed for one week in Shirati, shadowing in multiple rural clinics and district hospitals. We then spent the remainder of our stay in Ntagatcha in the City of Hope orphanage when we ran a mini health clinic for the children of the orphanage and did village visits to survey the everyman in order to find out a little more about their culture, particularly medically. What I gained from the experience was more than a missions trip, more than a class, more than a study abroad. What I gained was so real its almost tangible. So intimate was the experience that I am forever changed by it. Tanzania is the ultimate contradiction. Impoverished Masai mothers masquerading their desperation and intelligence in order to con visiting Americans out of a dollar. Children who shout “jumbo” and welcome visitors while being sassy behind their hands in hushed tones. Safaris that average $3k for visitors while natives families struggle to avoid doctors visit to avoid paying $4. Farmers who grow enough food to provide for a family of seven. A mother with ten pregnancies but only four children who welcomes unexpected American guest,dropping her daily to-do to answer invasive questions about those deceased children, mosquito nets and her knowledge of HIV, the whispered disease. Bucket showers and no electricity in a home but still a wealth of entertainment. Masai herders armed only with sticks two hundred yards from a pack of lions. Africa is a disturbing contradiction to me for all of those reasons and more. How can a country so beautiful and with such a wealth of resources fail to conquer the world, for a lack of better phrase. What it always comes back to me is Hosea 4:6. For my masters degree, my research is on the behavior behind HIV transmission and while I was in Tanzania, I had the opportunity to ask an abundance of uncomfortable questions in the name of my research. One of my questions was “Who do you think is more at risk of STD, men or women?”. And an educated young man explained to me that it was men because he was promiscuous. When I explained to him if a man is promiscuous he has the propensity to infect multiple women, meaning women are more at risk, he understood! People, often Americans and Europeans, have handicapped Africa. We give give give give to them; give them everything but knowledge. People are so ready to shove their religion down Africans throats in their haste to share their personal opinions that people fail to realize that they are in need of so much more than your faith. I have experienced their churches. Their faith is more real than ours could ever be. Each day they rise trusting in God’s provision for each and every one of their needs. So instead of sharing our religion, lets share with them our education, our knowledge of medicine, our lack of corruption in our government, the idea of a freaking supermarket! (I had to explain a supermarket as “a warehouse of food. like your markets but much. much. much. bigger”)I just think our focus should be different but enough of my soap box. Look at God’s grace!These are God’s people and the work of his hands.

Grand Master Pack

Sometimes during holiday season I internally refer to myself and Grand Master Pack (which is clearly a play on Grand Master Flex). Unlike a lot of people, I get a serious kick out of packing. I have moved around a lot what with college and going back and forth from NC to PA, so I have had to unique experience of having to pack only small amounts of stuff at a time. I have to say that out of all the packing I do, holiday season packing is my favorite for 3 reasons 1) It’s a personal challenge to only pack what I need for 3 weeks 2) I fly home so I can have a maximum of 50lbs of stuff including toiletries 3) I have to have enough room for my stuff plus these HUGE Christmas gifts that I have to bring home for both my family and Marcus’ as well.

This year, my personal challenge for packing is to only bring home a carry on’s worth of stuff and I have done it effortlessly for some reasons. Here is all that I intend to bring with me and is really all that you need. This is the easiest way to pack only what is crucial for a trip home.

Start with the basics and the bulkiest.

1) Shoes: Chocolate mocassins, black low top chuck taylors, black ankle boot heels.
2) Under garments: Week’s worth of underwear inside of chucks, bras inside of mocassins, sandwich bag of jewelry inside of heels plus bobby pins and hair ties/bands.

These are really the only shoes necessary for me. Everything I own goes with one of these. I can make a dress casual with chucks and jeans dressy with the ankle boots. Once your shoes are packed you can start on outfits. Because it’s home, there are plenty of clothes there so you don’t need to bring every thing.

1) Bottoms: Dark wash bootcut & dark wash straight leg jeans, navy wide leg trousers, 2 pair of gray sweats. I don’t need much more. I usually take home a bunch of pants and only wear a few.

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*Fold in along crotch crease and roll length of pants. Place on top of filled shoes forming one layer. 

2)Tops: 4 tees for sleeping/gym (2 long sleeved), 3 tanks (neutral, navy, purple), boyfriend navy cardigan, striped breton cardigan, Ralph Lauren oxford shirt and rugby shirt (both long sleeved)
*Fold tshirts like they do at the Gap or Express. Make sure to place on top of rolled jeans to maximize space.

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3) Outer wear: Thick pull over hoodie and zip up hoodie, North Face Denali fleece

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*Lay on top of the previously folded shirts. I’ll wear my peacoat onto the plane for multiple reasons. It maximizes space in my bags. it’s tasteful for all occasions, and I have no clue what the weather will be like in Philly. 

4) Extras: Little black dress, sheer black tights, cotton scarf, suede tan belt and jewelry that I can’t live without.

Helpful hints: 
  • Know what you wear and use on a regular basis. There is no point in bringing home stuff that you do not need. I know that I view navy blue the way that most people view black. It is my standard go to color so why would I bring home anything black when I know I prefer blue?
  • Be sure to snag the last minute things that you do not necessarily wear but are crucial. Tooth brush, camera, usb stick, phone, ipod, retainer, etc.
  • Double and triple check for your wallet! Every time I travel (literally every single time) I forget my wallet which includes money, id, cash, and plane confirmation number. SO CRITICAL!
  • Carefully pack a toiletries bag. If you know you have doubles of shampoo/conditioner, lotion and perfume at home, why bother bringing them?

As of tonight I officially have a suitcase chock full of gifts, a well packed carry on, plus bookbag.