Ultimate Travel & Packing List – Part 2 

Check out my full list of packing & travel tips here

One of the first things I do is check the weather and then I look up the Fashion & Style Norms for the country. Next week I will be traveling to London, England for the first time. I went on Pinterest and searched:

“London Outfit Ideas”

“London Street Style”

“London Fall Outfits”

“London Work Outfits”

Here are some of my favorite outfits, which will be used for inspiration when packing my clothes:

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The Ultimate Packing & Travel List

I love to travel both domestically & internationally. Here are my packing & travel tips:


Caption: Packing Cubes allow you to better organize your outfits and make more room in your suitcase. Especially helpful if you are packing multiple people in one suitcase. img_0495

Caption: Hubby & I on our last adventure to St. Louis, MO. We regularly just pack up our bags and take a weekend trip somewhere. 


  1. Be sure to look up the clothing & cultural norms (e.g. are women expected to dress modestly?)
  2. Look up the climate & understand the season you are traveling in.
  3. Consider the type of activities you will be doing? Do you need activewear? Dress up clothes, etc.?
  4. Pack clothing in a similar color palette to make packing shoes & accessories easier.
  5. Pack more underwear than you need. You never know when you may have a delayed flight or decide to stay extra time.
  6. Pack at least one outfit per day.
  7. Pack at least one swim suit and cover up.
  8. Shoes (think function over looks). Think neutrals: browns & blacks.
    • Walking/Athletic Shoes
    • Flip Flops
    • Dressy
    • Casual
  9. Scarves (great accessory and can also be used to “cover up.”)
  10. At least two “dress up” outfits
  11. Don’t forget your belt.
  12. Don’t forget your bras.


  1. Prescription Medications
  2. Imodium (in case you get sick!)
  3. Pepto Bismol (some people prefer this over Imodium)
  4. Tylenol (or other preferred headache meds)
  5. Hand sanitizer

Carry-On Bag

  1. Try to keep it small!
  2. Blanket
  3. Pillow (Note: Many international flights provide both a blanket and a pillow, but I’m weird about germs and prefer my own)
  4. Socks (I like to take off my shoes during international flights & only wear my socks)
  5. Noise-canceling headphones (these are essential for traveling for me. I have a pair of Bose that I absolutely love).
  6. Reading Material
  7. More Water/Drinks (due to airport security, you will need to purchase these once you get past the security line & before you get to your gate)
  8. Compact Snacks (may be useful in your travels as well, depending on where you are going)
  9. Writing Material
  10. Print-outs of important things (your hotel reservation, ground transportation, itinerary, return-flight info)
  11. External battery (for laptop and other mobile devices)
  12. Assume no wifi or internet (even upon your arrival)
  13. Smart phone (for music, make sure your chosen streaming service plays music offline. I love Spotify, but you are required to turn the “offline” feature on, to make sure your playlists actually work when your device is in airplane mode.)
  14. Include a smaller envelope clutch or bag so you can stow the larger bag.
  15. Airplanes can get really cold. Be sure to dress in layers and have a jacket or extra hoodie to travel with.

Don’t Forget

  1. Make copies of your passport
    • One to leave at home with your friends/family
    • One to pack in your luggage in case something happens to your passport
  2. Make ground transportation arrangements
    • For when you arrive to your destination
    • For when you return home
  3. Leave room in your suitcase to bring things home. You WILL shop!
  4. Make a list of gifts/souvenirs to get and people to get them for.
  5. Look up travel norms for the country you are visiting.
    • Is it safe to travel via Taxi
    • Does the hotel offer an official shuttle
    • What are the tipping expectations
  6. Look into whether or not you need a Visa.
    • Especially true if you will be traveling to multiple countries. Sometimes you need a Visa to exit one country and enter another, regardless of your home country.
  7. Set a spending budget and stick to it!
  8. Let your banks know when and where you’re traveling (to avoid your account being frozen)
  9. Research where you want to go.
  10. Bring different types of bags.
    • a backpack
    • a clutch or small handbag or shopping bag
    • a pouch
    • Personally when traveling, I prefer hands free options. I also don’t usually travel with my designer bags depending on which country I am visiting.
  11. I don’t travel with much jewelry. Only earrings & my wedding ring. Flashy jewelry can make you stand out AND it also makes haggling/bargaining difficult because your jewelry is a signal that you are wealthy!
  12. Include a bag for dirty clothes (I hate for my clean clothes to mix with my dirty clothes while traveling. On the way back home, I remove all of the dirty clothes from the dirty clothes bag and repack them.
  13. Use travel packs/cubes, or employ the rolling method to make more space.


  1. Toothbrush
  2. Toothpaste
  3. Mouthwash
  4. Soap
  5. Deodarant
  6. Oil or Perfume (I usually take a rollerball or two)
  7. Makeup remover wipes
  8. Sunscreen
  9. Lotion
  10. Cosmetics (keep in a travel case)
  11. Wash cloth (depending on where you are going)
  12. Beach towel (depending on where you are going)
  13. Dry Towl
  14. Pantiliners or sanitary napkins (these can be difficult to find in some areas and super expensive. Pack your own)
  15. Shower cap

Feel free to ask any questions you may have OR tips you may have in the comments section below!

Bon Voyage!!!!

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My Love Affair with New Orleans…


It is no secret that New Orleans is my favorite city outside of the Chicago, the city that I call home.

I’ve written about my love here…and here

The city of New Orleans hovers with an energy and a spirit that sticks to your thoughts. The architecture makes you feel like you’re stepping into a time capsule. Plaques throughout the city hint at just how long some of the buildings have been around. New Orleans is a fortress, that borders the Mississippi like an antique gold frame.

The only thing that I don’t like about New Orleans is the oppressive humidity (which happens mostly during the summer months). Outside of that it’s sensory perfection.

I had a chance to visit New Orleans last week to attend a conference with AARP.

We had an opportunity to tour HollyGrove – the neighborhood that Lil Wayne is from. We also had a chance to tour Bywater. In Hollygrove there is a neighborhood garden and farm, where residents are able to grow food and then sale it in the market. I spotted okra, bok choy and even organic milk and dairy products! They had a row of food where residents could fill a bag for $25.00.

StudioBE, created by artist Brandan “Bmike” Odums was super inspirational. It is a 30,000 square foot warehouse that is filled with art. StudioBE is SO hip-hop! I spent a couple of hours just taking in all of the art. Here are some of the favorite images from StudioBE:




You can also follow Bmike on Twitter here and StudioBE on Instagram here and Facebook here.

You can also learn more about StudioBE here. StudioBE was recently featured in an episode of Ava Duvernay’s Queen Sugar and an article in Ebony here.

Across the street from StudioBE, is NOCCA – New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. NOCCA was founded in 1973 and is regional, pre-professional arts training center that offers students intensive instruction in culinary arts, dance, media arts: filmmaking & audio production, music (classical, jazz, vocal), theatre arts (drama, musical theatre, theatre design), visual arts, and creative writing. Students audition to study at the school tuition-free. The school has a Culinary Arts Program supported by world-famous chef Emeril Lagasse. Donda’s House works in the after school space, so it was exciting to see an arts-centered academic program! Here are my photos:


Students work out of the Press St. Station and it is connected to the building. While we were there, Creative Writing students were giving evening presentations. Learn more about Press St. Station here.

The school was built on the site of a train station where the historic Plessy V. Ferguson case happened. Across the street from Bywater is the neighborhood Faubourg Marigny.


I had the chance to visit Holy Trinity Chuch, the location where Solange had her wedding. Check out the photos here:


While in New Orleans, I love to eat seafood and had the best Oysters I’ve ever had in my life a Neyow’s! Not only were the Oysters amazing, but so was everything on the menu (including the fried catfish and the fried chicken!). You have to have the signature Bow Wow drink which is 16 or so oz. of light & dark rum & fruit punch. Sip it slow, it will sneak up on you and they serve it in a to-go cup. I had the chance to meet the owner Tony and his wife Tanya was the chef! I’m always inspired to meet other couples who work together. Neyow’s will be opening up in a beautiful facility next door and they also own an event space across the street called Neyow’s Palace. Also, please have the bread pudding! It was served warm out of the oven & by far the best dessert I’ve ever tasted in my life! Check out Neyow’s on Yelp here.


No visit to New Orleans is complete without hearing Rebirth Brass Brand at Maple Leaf.


One day I hope to own an apartment or condo in New Orleans. I’d like to visit NOLA at least once a month at some point in the future because I love it THAT MUCH! Definitely adding NOLA to my vision board and if you have the opportunity to visit, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.


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Fall Decor – Take 1

Fall is my favorite season!!! I usually change out my decor on the 1st day of the new season. Things were kind of crazy last week, so I wasn’t able to make the change until today. 

I still need to get something to decorate my dining room table & I also needs to pick up some mums, but this is what Fall looks like in my house so far:

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Fall 2016 Inspiration 

I love to decorate my house based on the seasons! Here is my Fall 2016 Inspiration:

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Guard Your Heart… 

I’m an introvert… so naturally that means that solitude recharges me. I’m also married to a public fugure, which by default makes me a public figure. For that reason I am extremely selective about who & what I allow into my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very nice. I am also told often that I am easy to talk to & I give great advice, because I don’t share information that people entrust me with. I’m not as open about my private life & I’m also very careful about socializing & opening up. 

You have to guard your heart, because it powers everything else in your life. I have to guard my heart because:

  • I have committed my life to service, which means I have to have room in my heart for the people that I serve. 
  • As an organizational leader, I have to set the tone for our culture & I want that culture to be warm, filled with integrity & filled with love.
  • Bitterness is an ugly poison that chokes the life out of relationships & opportunities. Bitterness is what happens when frustration, jealousy, disappointment, etc. pile on top of each other. 
  • I have step children & want them to feel nothing but light when they see & think of me. 
  • Eventually I want to have children of my own, and I want to give them the inspiration, optimism & fortitude they need to be the best version of themselves. 
  • I want to inspire people to be the best versions of themselves. 
  • I’ve endured enough disappointment & heartbreak which are wounds the heal, but scars that are visible. More disappointment & heartbreak triggers the memory of the past disappointment & heartbreak & I don’t want to live in the past or think too much about the negative. 
  • I’m interested in closing the gap between my dreams & my reality. It’s difficult to do that with a hardened heart. 
  • I don’t want people to get hurt trying to climb over walls or pry open the door to my heart. 

The best way to guard your heart is to stay prayed up! To ask God to help you attract the people into your life that will bring you closer to his will. Also ask him to remove people from your life that intend harm or who may try to distract you from God’s will. The other thing is to pay attention to your heart’s alarm system… your intention! It will often alert you if there is a intruder or security breach!!!  

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Self Care Tips 

I came across this graphic on Pinterest and had to share! Please remember to take care of yourself! 

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