Packing for an academic conference

carry_on_bagsEverlane weekender bag / ModCloth tote

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to an out-of-state academic conference. I don’t go to out-of-state conferences very often; in fact, I had only been to two since starting grad school before this one (two years at the same conference in the same location plus one year as an undergrad). When it comes to packing for conferences, I will admit that I’m not a pro. I always second-guess what I choose to pack, especially because I have always needed an outfit to present in. However, Earth science-related academic conferences see a wide range of fashion–everything from suits and ties to parkas, worn-in jeans, and sandals (of course, sometimes with socks…haha)–so this lessens the burden of packing the “perfect” outfits a little bit.

This time around, I packed only 16 everyday pieces (not including a t-shirt & leggings to sleep in, sweatpants, and workout gear). That may seem like a lot, but it includes two tops, two tees, two sweaters, a sweatshirt, a coat, a pair of jeans, a dress, two pairs of shoes, tights, jewelry, and my tote. I noticed that when I pack for trips, I tend to pack layers, and this trip was no different. It’s so easy to mix-and-match when you have a couple of tops, a couple of cardigans or light jackets, and everything goes together. When luggage space is limited, it’s the best way to go.

During my trip, I discovered a cool feature of the Stylebook app. (You may remember that at the beginning of September, I posted my current closet inventory and also noted how I had been using the Stylebook app. I love it!) Besides having a photographic inventory of your closet and outfits, you can also create packing lists! Brilliant, right? I always intend to make an actual list that I check off as I pack and then repack to come home, but it never happens; I rely far too much on my memory, which has been known to fail me one too many times (I forgot to repack my pair of sunglasses on this trip, ha).


After you create and name your packing list, you’ll see a page like this one above. What’s great about the packing list is that you can either add items by adding the items individually and then the looks that incorporate them, or you can do what I did and add the looks first and it will automatically populate your packing list with the clothing in your looks! How cool, right?! I didn’t make my Stylebook packing list until the end of my trip, but I was thoughtful enough when packing that I already knew my outfits ahead of time. (I actually put all of the looks together in Stylebook while on the plane to the conference!) In the notes section, I wrote down where I was headed/what I was doing and the weather to expect.


Here are all of the items I brought with me! I stuck to a relatively cohesive color palette of burgundy, grey, and black, but I added in my cobalt dress for one of my poster presentations; my cropped navy sweater over that dress has become a go-to for academic conferences. My trench coat is the only coat I brought (thank goodness the weather cooperated!), and my tote was one of my carry-on items on the plane. I stuffed it full with my laptop, notebooks, poster (it was fabric!), my liquids bag, and a container full of cookies! The rest of the items were either worn on the plane or fit into my Everlane weekender bag, as seen in the top photo.


Here are the outfits I wore! I was there for four full days (three days actually spent at the conference), which are the top outfits. The bottom two outfits were worn on the travel days with my yoga pants and sneakers. As far as dressing for conferences goes, I pretty much wear what I would normally wear on a daily basis. I actually felt slightly overdressed at my conference! If you’re looking to feel put-together, I highly recommend dark-wash jeans, simple blouses, and a nice cardigan. Even my sweatshirt felt nice enough for a conference setting. If I’m presenting, I like to go the extra mile and wear a dress with heels, though it definitely wasn’t necessary at this conference. Be sure to pack pieces that mix-and-match (sticking to a cohesive color palette helps a LOT) and you’ll be set! 🙂 (Below is one of my looks in action–post-conference, of course!)

IMG_7667Helmut Lang sweatshirt / LOFT top (sold out) / Madewell jeans / Sam Edelman boots / Ignatius 😉


Postcards from San Francisco

As I mentioned in my last post, the second installment of From the Window Seat, I was in San Francisco, CA, for a few days last week for an academic conference. I was hoping to spend some time exploring the city, but the weather deterred me from doing much more than going to the conference, eating, and occasional shopping. It was my third time attending the conference, and I still haven’t done some of the more touristy things. It’s kind of a bummer! I would love to visit the city for an actual vacation sometime. It’s so stressful trying to fit in sight-seeing around a bunch of posters, talks, and other science-y things going on during the conference. Conferences are exhausting, and I had no problem falling asleep well before midnight during the week because of it.

Regardless, I did manage to visit a couple of new places this time around–the Ferry Building and a portion of Little Italy. Here’s some snapshots from those places and the usual sights, such as Union Square. Hope you enjoy and are having a lovely Christmas Eve Eve Eve! 😉


The Ferry Building

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The Bay Bridge

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Giant Christmas ornaments found in the Financial District



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Union Square


Walking to dinner; Bay Bridge in the background

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From the Window Seat, vol. 2

I recently travelled to San Francisco for a conference and snapped some photos (as usual) from my window seat–the best seat to fly in, in my opinion. 😉 Since I was flying with a bunch of other Earth scientists, everyone had their phones out taking photos of the clouds and geology. I almost wish it had been a longer flight just to see more cool stuff!


Deicing the plane before take off


Taking off–possible lake effect band below the main cloud deck


Turning over the clouds




Snow and sweet geology


Descending with a cool contrail coming off the wing


It looks like you’re going to land in the bay when you land at SFO!


Just before touching down

Long weekend in Moab, UT

After I defended my thesis last Friday, Chris and I packed up and headed out for a long weekend away in Moab, Utah. We planned to spend one day at Canyonlands National Park and another day at Arches National Park. You guys…Moab is literally another world. The rocks are SO red, I can’t even explain. You just have to see for yourself. I think it’s amazing that Arches and Canyonlands are a mere 30 miles from each other and yet SO different. They are both amazing and breathtaking, but in different ways. I took a couple of geology classes during undergrad, so I have an appreciation for rocks. I could not get enough of the amazing geology in the whole area! They are definitely parks you should add to your bucket list if you haven’t already. I wish we could have stayed the whole week, but alas, works calls; I have to edit my thesis and prepare for a conference next week!

I’m sharing with you some photos from our trip (I took nearly 1,000 and picked only 16 for this post!), and I hope you enjoy! 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend! xo

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands is divided into different districts, and they’re separated by the Colorado and Green Rivers. We spent the whole day in the Island in the Sky region, which is the northernmost region closest to Moab. It’s also the least primitive of the regions; the others are more catered to backpackers and such (little to no paved roads, survival skills required, etc.).


Upheaval Dome (no one knows for sure what caused this)


On top of Whale Rock looking towards the Green River


Green River in the canyon below


Colorado River in the canyon below (that geology!)


Mesa Arch (there is a 500′ drop below it!)


Looking towards the La Sal Mountains (covered by rain)

Arches National Park


Delicate Arch (rare moment with no one standing under it)

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Skyline Arch


Heart rock (my name for it) / Butt rock (Chris’s name for it)


Proud of this selfie I took with Landscape Arch


Double Arch


North and South Windows


Helping Balanced Rock stay balanced

From the Window Seat, vol. 1

One of my favorite things about flying is sitting in the window seat. Watching the sky and ground below will literally keep me entertained for 4+ hours (as long as I’m not super tired, which happens too often–why is sitting in an airplane so exhausting?!). I’m studying atmospheric sciences right now, and I have a giant love for our planet (I studied hydrology during my undergrad), so I’m a huge nerd when it comes to all things Earth science related. For this post, I wanted to share some of my favorite photos I snapped from the window seat during my most recent trip. (None of the photos have been edited.)


Thunderstorm anvil over the Midwest


Lake Michigan


Sunset as we turn onto the runway


New York City (and surrounding areas) at night


Massachusetts: Boston (bottom left-center) and Cape Cod (in the distance)


Fields somewhere over the midwest


Awesome geology somewhere over the southwest


Canyon! (No idea which one, but I don’t think it’s the Grand Canyon.)

Tilton Island Park


If you have never been to New England, you should probably start making plans now. This area of the country is absolutely stunning; nearly every road is picturesque, even in the middle of summer. My favorite time of year is–hands down–autumn. There really is nothing like a New England autumn. The first time I ever visited Chris was in October a couple of years ago. I could not get over how beautiful it was! I would advise avoiding New England in the winter unless you really like snow. And I mean, really really like snow.


We wandered to the cutest little park in the middle of the Winnipesaukee River for this photo session. As much as I’m not that attracted to retro style, something about high-waisted shorts works for me. A tied sleeveless blouse kind of takes it up another notch, doesn’t it? Also, I’m so glad I bought this shirt. It’s so perfect for sweltering heat. (This day was the hottest day of our vacation. We took major advantage of the pool later in the afternoon!)


Shirt: LOFT (unavailable online; check stores) | Shorts: ModCloth (last seen here) | Sandals: Salt Water (exact; also available here) | Earrings: ModCloth | Tote: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

Merrimack Valley Railroad


I’m back from my second summer vacation! Chris and I spent last week in New England with his family. We had so much fun shopping at the outlets (where I picked up these earrings!), swimming in the pool, boating, visiting with more family (and attempting a disc golf course on a mountain), hanging out with farm animals, playing with Chris’s little niece and nephew, and checking out a state park on the most beautiful day.


I packed as little as possible for our trip. I was playing with the idea of doing a 7×7 challenge (7 pieces – 7 days), but decided against it when I realized I could only pick one pair of shoes. I’m pretty against wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row (unless I absolutely have to) in order to prevent them from wearing out quickly, so wearing the same pair seven days in a row seemed too extreme. I packed only separates (four tees/tops and two pairs of shorts) along with my two favorite pairs of summer sandals. I am sooo glad I brought this linen tee with me! It’s a recent purchase from Madewell and my first 100% linen tee. I never felt hot while wearing it–awesome!


Tee: Madewell | Shorts: J.Crew Factory (sold out in this color) | Sandals: Madewell | Earrings: Banana Republic Factory | Tote: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

Italia Nostalgia, part 4

I can’t believe it’s time for my last installment of Italia Nostalgia! It has been so fun looking through my photos and deciding which ones to share (which is nearly impossible, might I add!). I planned the posts so that they basically encompassed the time I spent in Italy. I flew back to the US on July 2nd, so the timing was almost perfect. This post features the last five places I visited. I stayed a week after my class ended to travel some more, and that’s how I was able to visit Cinque Terre and Venice. Italy is a truly beautiful country, and I highly recommend visiting! (If you missed the other parts, here’s part one, part two, and part three!)


Pienza is a freaking adorable town in Tuscany kind of off the beaten path. I went there with my class for a quick tour and bite to eat before making our way to Siena. The town center is relatively small, but it offers incredible views of the Tuscan countryside!

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Siena is another absolutely lovely Tuscan town! It’s larger than Pienza, but not as big as Florence. It felt like a small town with all of the tight, winding roads (to be honest, most Italian cities feel this way!). I had amazing gelato here and got pooped on by a pigeon while sitting in the square taking in Palazzo Pubblico (photo three). I stayed the night in Siena before catching a train to Florence the next day.

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Oh, Florence. What can I say about Florence that hasn’t already been said? It’s a quintessential Italian city right up there with Rome–full of life and a whole lot of history. The Duomo (cathedral) is breathtaking, and I loved exploring the Galileo Science Museum (what can I say? I love science). The only downside was the large amount of people wandering around, but I still had an amazing time. I’d spend more time there next time I go!

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Cinque Terre

My trip to the five towns along the Italian Riviera that make up the Cinque Terre was simply amazing! I love the Cinque Terre so much; it’s seriously a must-see. I stayed in Riomaggiore (the first photo), walked to the neighboring town of Manarola along the Via dell’Amore (third photo), and from there, took the train to the other three towns: Corniglia, Vernazza (fourth photo), and Monterosso al Mare. There are 382 steps from the train station up to Corniglia–talk about a workout! I was hoping to hike around the many trails, but it ended up being too hot and uncomfortable. I had to include the photo of the sunset I took my first night there–isn’t it stunning?!

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Venice was my last stop on my trip. Some people really don’t like Venice, but I loved it. Yes, it is touristy, but the many canals make the city unlike any other. I really enjoyed getting lost wandering down random quaint canals. I’m also in love with blown glass and loved visiting the neighboring island, Murano. St. Mark’s Basilica was one of my favorite stops because the interior is all a mosaic. I definitely think it’s worth visiting; next time, I want to do a gondola ride. They’re pretty expensive and super touristy, but whatever! It seems like so much fun.

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Italia Nostalgia, part 3

Another two weeks have gone by, so it’s time for the third installment of Italia Nostalgia! For those of you who haven’t read part one or part two yet, I studied abroad in Italy three summers ago. I started this mini series to share photos from my trip! Check out the other two posts to see my other photos if you haven’t already, and stay tuned for the fourth and final part to be posted two weeks from today.

Today’s post is all about the places I visited in the region of Campania in southern Italy. I visited new places pretty much every weekend, and this trip I took during my second weekend there. It was a long weekend because June 2nd is a national holiday (Republic Day), so I had lots of time to explore!


Sorrento is south of Naples and is the gateway to all of the surrounding areas I visited. I didn’t wander around Sorrento very much, but I can tell you that there are lemon and orange trees everywhere (have you ever had limoncello? It tastes like liquid Lemonhead candy) and it has beautiful ocean views. In Sorrento, I had this pizza thing filled with Nutella and topped with sugar. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much sugar in my life!



I was so excited to visit the ruins of Pompeii! I think volcanoes are so cool, and it’s amazing to see what an ancient city looked like and to learn about its destruction. It’s actually quite large. I didn’t get to walk through all of it after spending many (hot) hours there. There are a lot of details that are still intact and I think it’s incredible! (The plaster cast below still has its teeth. Pretty cool, huh?!)



The ancient city of Herculaneum was also destroyed by pyroclastic flows from Mount Vesuvius. I really liked all of the ancient art still intact on the walls. It’s hard to believe this place was once buried in 60 feet of mud!


Isola di Capri

The island of Capri (pronounced KAH-pree, not kuh-PREE) is located a short boat ride from Sorrento. It’s home to two towns, Capri and Anacapri, as well as the Blue Grotto. I tried to visit the Blue Grotto, but I got there when a million other people were there, so the wait would have been two hours (on a rocking boat, no less). To top it off, the tide was coming in. At high tide, the little boats can’t get under the rocks to go inside. I watched these people flatten themselves in order to get below the rocks! I have no idea how they got out… Anyway, I ended up spending most of my time in Capri after riding a bus through the narrowest streets ever in Anacapri. (I seriously thought the bus was going to go over the edge of the road and down the hillside when we passed other cars!)


Starr Light


This is the beautiful house we stayed in while on the Outer Banks. I love how beach houses have names; isn’t it adorable?! There were some pretty funny ones around our neighborhood. I also love the beach house style–colorful exteriors with white trim. (I have to admit, though, I’m not a fan of the beach house interior. Most houses have just one too many seashell-related items, haha.)


We had such a wonderful vacation, and I was so glad to meet so many wonderful people in Chris’s family! (Most people there were his first cousins once removed, and he hasn’t seen them very much.) We spent a lot of time on the beach, either soaking up the sun or frolicking at sunset, searching for the perfect seashells. We loved lounging in the hot tub, riding bikes around the neighborhood, and eating the most delicious ice cream! We took a trip with his grandparents to the Wright Brothers National Memorial. (I have one of those national park passport books, but I had forgotten it, so I stamped a piece of paper to tape inside my book!) On our last day, we went on a wild house tour and got completely soaked since it was raining and we were sitting in an open air truck, booking it down the beach (yep–they drive on the beach in the wildlife preserve because they don’t have paved roads!). All in all, despite the extremely muggy conditions at times, I would go back! Now it’s back to school until our next adventure. 🙂


Sweater: Madewell | Shorts: J.Crew Factory | Sandals: Salt Water (exact; also available here) | Earrings: ModCloth | Sunglasses: ModCloth

* So, I did actually have my toes painted before we left. I did it myself in an effort to save money, but the paint started peeling off of nearly every single toe, so I spent an evening taking it off. Whatever base coat I used did not adhere very well at all, so that was a huge fail!