Back to the Basics


I’m currently watching through Sex and the City. A show, for the most part, about:

  • Sometimes single women in their 30’s living in Manhattan…
  • I got married at 22 and live in the Midbest
  • Who wear fur, smoke cigarettes and lust after heels…
  • I think my grandma owns fur, I smoked in high school (gasp!) and firmly believe that women who wear high heels every day are a rare form of superhero 
  • So obviously I love everything about it but can relate to absolutely nothing.

The show really makes me realize that I hate drinking liquor, avoid most jewelry and was never into complicated clothing or relationships. I tend to gravitate towards the basics. I started thinking about what items I would need day-to-day and how simplified I could really get. This year we traveled to NYC twice, Hawaii, Chicago + more and I never missed anything back at home (besides my pup).

Here’s a quick visual list of the only things I’d really “need” or use daily. If I found out I was boarding a plane in an hour and had to grab everything I think I’d want…this is what I’d choose. Obviously I omitted food and basic clothing because…obviously. Not going for the hungry, naked vibe.


  1. MacbookPro (I would forego my external hard drive and rely on Dropbox exclusively)
  2. My Moleskine notebook! Used for sketching, notes, wireframes + handlettering
  3. Prismacolor brush markers. My all time fave. After I’m done with a hand lettering project, I snap a photo on my iPhone, email it to myself and drag it into Photoshop/Illustrator
  4. Our Aeropress. You can find grounds anywhere but you can save some extra cash when you travel when you make it in your hotel room/Airbnb. No more worrying that you’ll be stuck with drip.
  5. Benefit’s Fake Up concealer. It’s moisturizing and covers the dark circles.
  6. Burt’s Bees lip balm. If I don’t have it (or something similar), I spazz.
  7. My glasses! I get mine from Warby Parker. About $130 for the frames and lenses since my eyesight is a bit worse than most.
  8. My Canon 6D and a prime lens. I’m upgrading to the Mark III soon and I’m pumped.
  9. Lush’s Mint Julep lip scrub. My lips are…big. I can’t have them be dry and flakey too.
  10. Good shoes. I just snagged these Sam Edelman booties.
  11. Everlane’s Reverse Denim Tote. SO roomy and comfortable to carry.
  12. A wallet.
  13. My iPhone!

Would you be able to pack just one bag and be okay while traveling? I  figure I could get the basics, get a blowout instead of washing my hair or buy a book if I need something extra.


A Consideration

A weekly email where I share things that made me stop and consider. Never sponsored, no affiliate links.

Powered by ConvertKit

Comments (35)

  • The only things I panic about when I’m travelling are contact lenses, prescription medication, phone, camera and respective chargers and money. Everything else I use I can probably buy where I’m going (I’m not one for wilderness holidays!). I’m always trying to be better at packing light, I spent my teenage years filling bags with clothes and then wearing the same few items all trip – although I’m in a bit of a love affair with Scandinavia/cold countries at the moment and it is impossible to pack light when it’s freezing!

    • I always freak out that I’m going to lose a contact lens (especially if I’m in a tropical place) because then I’ll have to wear my glasses 24/7. CHARGERS are another thing. I can’t believe I forgot to include those. Cold weather packing is much more difficult when trying to keep it light. I wear my biggest items while traveling so I don’t have to pack them (boots, coats, sweater, jeans).

  • Alright, here is where I finally ask it… what in the world is a blowout and what is its purpose? Does it make your hair less greasy (since you said you could possibly do it in lieu of shampooing?) … Am I the only female in the world that doesn’t know this?

    • A blowout is where they wash your hair and style it (usually $35-40). It’s not so much about making your hair less greasy than to get it styled a certain way. You can do braids, sock bun, waves, curls, etc.

      I like to get them done while I travel because I can usually make them last for awhile and then I don’t need to bring shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer, straightener/curling iron, hairspray, etc.

  • Also, we could be twins, from the moleskine to the iProducts to the brush markers to the Burt’s Bees. Yes to it all.

  • I NEED that tote.

  • ok, i want to use “midbest” instead of “midwest” from now on! (i’m proudly from northern IL, about 30 min outside of chiacgo).

    i can usually stick to one bag if i’m only traveling for a few days. however, i noticed that if i pack a bag and there is still room in it, i have this need to fill it with extra clothes. i need to kick that habit asap!

    • You totally need to! It’s the best!! (pun intended)

      I’m the same way with needing to fill a roomy bag. I’m going to Chicago/my hometown tomorrow AM and am only packing a carry-on. I’m also bringing some stuff for my family so that will take up more room.

  • Great post idea! I love this: “Obviously I omitted food and basic clothing because…obviously. Not going for the hungry, naked vibe.”

    I could survive with the following:

    1. MacBook Pro
    2. Bic Z4+ Pens
    3. Longchamp Le Pliage Large Tote
    4. iPhone
    5. Nivea Kiss of Smoothness
    6. Good Loafers (Target’s Merona Mallory right now)
    7. Half & Half Tea (Sweet + Unsweet)
    8. Hello Kitty Notebook (or other recent dorky paper product of choice. My other has a bee on it and says “Bee Great”)
    9. Neutrogena Visibly Even Moisturizer – All I do for skincare is splash with water, rub gently with a good cotton washcloth and put this stuff on. And, it smells delish.
    10. iPad – for idle time reading and taking to meetings/traveling

    • Haha thanks :) I figured I didn’t need to include that I’d obviously pack underwear and pants.

      I also could see myself bringing a little bit of argan oil now that you mentioned your moisturizer! Your list is great!

  • I love this post. Since moving from the Midbest (represent!) to Guatemala, I have learned that there are so many things that I can live without. My top favs also include a moleskine, and I’ve been a fan of the Sakura Micron pens, but I’ll have to check your pick out. I think we all have different needs in life, and one of mine is to create, so its important to have my camera and sketching materials.

    Hoorah for the basics, and solid relationships.

  • You know there are times when I feel like I have so much that I “use daily”, but this made me realize I actually don’t. I could probably just get one bag if I had to pick up and go somewhere tomorrow!

    • I felt the SAME way Kory! At first I looked around my house and saw way too much stuff and thought, “No way can I do this,” but I did and it feels kind of freeing. Now to get rid of all this other stuff….

  • I try to avoid checking a bag at all costs, especially for trips lasting a week or less.

    I usually bring my filson tote which I pack my clothes in and a backpack which I load up with all the stuff I need easy access to while traveling. I try to keep the backpack as empty as possible though so that I’m not lugging around more weight than necessary and so that I have room to bring back goodies from my trip!

    • We do too. We only checked a bag for Hawaii (we were there for 9 days). Especially because when I’m in the sun a lot, I want my own sunscreen and lotion.

      I hate carrying around awkward or uncomfortable bags too so backpacks are perfect.

  • I sort of love that Everlane tote. Amazing! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pack with one bag. I have huge feet and I always over-estimate my shoe situation. You have great taste in clothes!

    • Ahh shoes can be the kicker. I have come to the realization that I will never workout while traveling (I walk a lot when we explore anyways) so I try to pack a heel, boot and flat if it’s not summer.

  • I think as long as I had my MBP and my camera, I’d be sorted! Oh, and some moisturiser.

  • I adore this post, Allie! I love the direction of this blog right now:) That picture of you is so pretty!

    Also, I wanted to share this thing I have done with your Death to Stock photo – they are beautiful and I am oh so in love with them. I am part of the Day of the Girl Action Team and we are looking for a web developer to revamp the website (it reaaaaaaally needs it). And you guys’ beautiful photography style works perfectly for the direction I want the movement branding to move towards:)

  • I love this!! I’ve probably mentioned this 100x in your comments section, but I moved to a whole new country with 2 suitcases (one 50lb bag and one carry on). We’ve since moved twice within the same city, and are going to be moving 3 more times before March. I’ve simplified during every move and found myself getting rid of more and more stuff in favor of simplifying.

    …I’m pretty excited to visit the US for Christmas and come back with a DSLR, though! haha

    • I SO admire you and your minimalism. Life has just felt so cluttered lately and I rarely touch the piles of crap. I need to do a good cleaning this weekend…

  • Everything about this post has made me smile. I am checking out the Benefit concealer. I love their stuff and need some!

  • Great board of basic things! Most of my must-have’s are there too (if in a slightly different style/type).

    I was never into Sex and the City. I tried… but I just hated it!

    • I never liked SATC before either but just now have enjoyed it. I am always late to jump on the bandwagon but could see how it’s not for everyone. It’s a bit over the top too ;)

  • I was in Vegas this week and by far brought the largest bag of anyone. I hate not having options and feeling like I’m not ready for anything. I wish I could live a more basic life, but I think I’m just not that girl!

    It’s fun to see how people are so different. Though, I love EVERYTHING on your board :)

    • I remember the first time I UNDER packed and it was stressful. I ended up buying random stuff to stay warm.

  • I probably couldn’t pack things I use daily all in one bag since it feels like I use so many things! If I really had to narrow it down though, I’d probably bring my MacBook Pro, cellphone, EOS, lotion, boots, IIIBeca bag, Pentel ballpoint pens, my RayBan glasses, a pair of Converse and a pair of jeans.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.