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Avec Amour : September 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to Pack for Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan - full of amazing views and red wine.... what more could you really want?

Since I was coming to the PNW for 10 days, including a lake weekend, wedding festivities, and typical Seattle activities... I had to pack smart & versatile. Here were my outfit combos for Lake Chelan.

Lake Chelan Outfits

Vintage dress / Little Mistress strapless maxi dress, $105 / Topshop cut out dress, $55 / American eagle outfitters shirt / T By Alexander Wang linen shirt / Alice Olivia silk blouse / Abercrombie Fitch white tank top / Jacket / American Eagle Outfitters black jacket / MICHAEL Michael Kors blue jeans / H&M chino shorts, $8.15 / Neck tie / Bikini bathing suit / Madden Girl strap sandals / Restricted ballerina shoes / Strappy sandals, $115 / MICHAEL Michael Kors leather tote bag / Michael Kors crossbody purse / Ulster Weavers canvas purse, $24 / Michael Stars hat / Yves Saint Laurent black sunglasses / H M braided belt, $21

Chelan is casual but classic. Here are some of my thoughts on packing for Chelan:

  • Longer Chino Short allows for warmer weather but can also be classy for a winery. 
  • A few dresses keep your options open and can have a jacket layered for cooler evenings
  • Nice sandals will do - no need for beach flip flops as you won't be getting them sandy or wet.
  • Easy accessories like a hat and sunglasses give you extra options

Just flashback to my full Seattle Packing List. I pulled key pieces from this wardrobe to make a casual lake weekend work.


It seems like I wore everything.... but the good news is that there were still PLENTY of outfits left for the 7 days I had left in Seattle! 

Stay tuned for those outfit combinations.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

What to do in Lake Chelan, WA

I really want to talk about Lake Chelan.

Yes, that is real.
No filters, no editing, no fancy photo programs.... just an old fashioned pano on my crappy iPhone4.

It's just that beautiful.

I'd never even heard of Chelan, and I'm guessing most of you haven't either. It's a crying shame... because everyone in Washington is keeping it to themselves and reaping the benefits!

I also tried to do research ahead of time on what activities were like, what to expect and perhaps... what to pack (more on that later!). I could barely find anything! SO I knew it was my responsibility to do a little write up on this gem.

Chelan is a small town that is situated on... you guessed it... Lake Chelan. The Chelan area is covered with lake homes overlooking the water, with docks out to the lake, and wineries galore! Plus it's only 3 hours from Seattle!

For my dear Traci's bachelorette weekend, we loaded up the cars and headed East for 3 wonderful days at the lake. Talk about fun & relaxing! We enjoyed delicious dinners out, lazy mornings sipping coffee on the deck, laying out & drinking wine on the dock, wine tasting, and just enjoying the views. They were abundant.

Some places to check out!

Benson Vineyards
Sweeping views and a beautiful deck to enjoy - - it doesn't get much better than that.
Wine Pick: Estate Rhythm
Wine tasting at Benson Vineyards - the best view in Chelan!

The people at Karma were SO nice, the wine was my favorite and they have a little zen garden for you to enjoy your tastings in.

With the bride! Right before I spilled red wine on my white shirt! (It came out! YAY!)

Karma Winery - a favorite of mine
Sorrento's Ristorante/Tsillan Cellars
We had dinner here and it was one of our best decisions. The view was gorgeous & the food was amazing. This is a 'must do' for anyone visiting the area.
Food Pick: Eggpant Parmesan 

Sorrento's view from the parking lot. Gorgeous!

Our view from dinner - amazing, right?

All the girls at Sorrento's!

Drink Coffee
As adorable as Chelan is, and as close as it is to Seattle.... the coffee game was weak. Opt to stay in and brew your own, because why wouldn't you when you have a deck like this for the weekend?
Morning coffee on the deck

Sipping coffee with Cait. What a view, huh?
It was incredibly relaxing and I would totally have a lake house there if I lived in Seattle and had an extra $800k to drop. In. A. Heart. Beat.

A few quirks to keep in mind:

  • On your three hour drive, bathrooms are questionable and scarce. Many gas stations only had port-o-potty options.... so we just held it. 
  • The Chelan area is sweeping. We stayed about 30 minutes from town (on the West side of the lake) which wasn't a huge deal (and was cost effective), but realizing you need olive oil or another bottle of wine can be a challenge. We made at least 1 trip to town a day. Not in any way a down fall, as you've got views galore! Just stock up or be prepared for a little road trip :)
  • Many of the wineries are in Manson about 30 minutes away from Chelan on the East side of the lake. Because of this 1hr long distance from us, we didn't make it to Manson. But we heard good things! So keep that in mind when booking a place to stay.
  • Lake houses are easily available to rent through Airbnb, VRBO or  My Chelan Vacation. We used MCV and it was very simple and user friendly. 
  • Make sure your rental is ON the lake! There is very little public access to the lake.... so you'll want to spend a few extra bucks for a waterfront weekend.
I absolutely LOVED this weekend in Chelan! It would be great for a lover's get away, girl's weekend, family trip, group of friends.... anything, really! As long as you like pretty views you'll fit in just fine.

Have you ever been to Lake Chelan?

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Friday, September 26, 2014

New Thing Poppin'

In 1999, Nae Nae was my nickname (some people still keep the dream alive).

In 2014, Nae Nae is something to be dropped.

What's even crazier is I dance just like these guys??!? :)

I guess this is how Dougie felt. What an honor!

What's great about this dance is that you really get to do whatever you want.... as long as you do the little fist pump at the end. FREE STYLE AT IT'S FINEST.

This is probably a good time to mention that I was on a Step Team in 10th grade. I'm sure this was inspired by some of my fantastic moves.

The truth is I have no idea what they're talking about. Let's hope it's not insanely offensive.


Thanks, Ash, for sending this my way :)


If you are itching for more, you can see Part II & Part III.

PPS - How to do the NaeNae if you'd like to work on your skills.

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I'm grounded for almost a month.

Not like, "I got in trouble and now I can't go to Homecoming", grounded. 

The kind of grounded where I'm not getting on an airplane for a while :) After being gone for 2 solid months, it's a welcome break. Because after all, one of my favorite parts of traveling is coming back home at the end!

In an effort to embrace my down time, I've decided to Tour My Own Town. Try new things, hang out at places I haven't frequented in a while, make lots of plans with friends, and mostly - maximize the time I spend on my relaxing front porch.

Pour your cup of coffee and let's go
Here are some Nashville-y things I'd like to do while I'm home.

Hit up Arrington Vineyards
A view from the winery. Wait until all of those leaves change!
My favorite. Pouring a glass at home isn't too bad either...
I've already been out once to pick up my quarterly portion of wine (best decision I ever made!) but the weather is so fantastic, I'd love to go again. We play cards, bring a picnic, and enjoy the sunshine & the changing foliage.... YAY!

Work the Coffee Circuit
We have so many great coffee shops here, I'd love to make my rounds. 
8th & Roast
Pinewood Social (they serve Crema Coffee!)
I already went to Frothy Monkey a couple of days ago, but definitely need to hit up 8th & Roast, Crema & try out Woodbine Coffee Co. Has anyone been there yet?

Go to a Local Show

My friends band, Neulore, is playing their CD release show this Sunday. I can't freaking wait.

Try New Restaurants
The Sutler just opened down the street from our house, and I've heard good things about Espice & Flipside in 12th South. Anyone been there yet?

Also, I'm probably the worst vegetarian ever.... because I've never been to the Wild Cow in East Nash. If i'm over that way, I just really want to eat at Silly Goose because it's my favorite!!! But I really want to see what Wild Cow is like.

Seasonal Brews
We have two local breweries in town & some fun places that serve craft beers on tap. I like beer, but really only when it's draft. Craft Brewed  is down the street, AND they have a patio. Sold. I know Jackalope Brewery & Yazoo Brewery make seasonal brews, too. Does anyone know which restaurants carries them on draft?

Host Friends
Some of the Nashville favorites. 
I've missed these friends of mine! Really excited to host brunch for some of our favorite people soon. I've been dreaming up all sorts of delicious brunch fare & I'm really excited to use my home made infused liquors for Bloody Mary's! Does anyone have a good recipe?

All in all, it feels really great to be home & in the swing of things. Sometimes being grounded is nice, eh? Am I missing anything, Nashvillians? Any other city folks interested in #TourYourOwnTown? 

While I'm enjoying Nash, here are the trips I'll be prepping for in October & November:

10 Nights in Italy
4 Nights in Chicago
4 Night Cruise

Stay tuned for packing guides!

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Random Items You Might Consider Packing for Your Next Trip

There are few random items I think are worth packing... but some can really come in handy. As I mentioned in this post, keep your "what if?"s to a minimum, because it probably isn't going to happen! But let's talk about a few items that might cover your bases and serve a purpose as well.

Rain Jacket

I bought this rain jacket about two years ago and it was the best $40 I've spent. We found it on SierraTradingPost.com on sale, but I would buy it full price if I had to. This packs up so small in a suitcase, and I've used it every time I've brought it. Here are a few ways it's useful:
- Keeps you dry
- Helps keep you warm when you need an extra layer
- Easy way to cover up a wardrobe malfunction (rip or spill)
I bought the uninsulated one so I could use it year round.  This has adjustable wrists & hood so it will end up being a perfect fit for everyone! I also chose black because it is the most versatile & doesn't show dirt!

Tip: Buy one size larger so you can wear OVER layers when it's cold & rainy!

Wet Wipes

These take up NO space at all, and the uses are endless. I use almost a whole pack in a week long trip. Here are a few ways:
- Nasty tray table on the plane
- Napkins
- Remove Make Up
- Wipe off face/back of neck after long day of travel 
- Wipe off dirty luggage
- Last resort when no soap in bathroom

Seriously. They are so multi functional! I've even used them as a tissue in desperate times. For $1 at Target and 1cm in your pack, these are a must have in my book.

I've started carrying a small, flat, neutral tote with me on every trip because I'm always in need of a spare bag! Just a few places you might need these:
- Farmer's Market
- European Market
- Beach Day (on a non beach vacation)
- Picnic
- Shopping
- Eco Friendly City Grocery Stores (they charge you for plastic bags)
- Store dirty clothes away from clean ones
- Gym Bag
- Just because sometimes you need two bags!

On my last trip to Seattle I was able to use my tote as a beach bag at the lake, gym bag, shopping, market & to separate clothes! The ones I've featured above are cute, but there are tons of adorable ones on Etsy, too! For bargain options, check H&M or Forever 21. Other stores like Cotton On offer cheap totes as add-on purchase for a couple of bucks. But let's be honest - you probably have a free one floating around somewhere! I'd go for a canvas style that lays flat (rather than the reusable shopping bag style) and something neutral & cute you wouldn't mind using as an alternative purse. 


This might seem like a no brainer... but most of us rarely cary cash! Here are some of the times I've wished I had a few bucks in my bag:
- Tip (Valet, Porter, Barista)
- Cash Only Vendors
- Farmer's Market
- Metered Parking
- Bus Fare
- Minimum Credit Purchase
- Laundry
- Pay Per Use Bathroom (I'm looking at you, Europe!)
- Pay Phone (ok, so it's been a few years - but you never know in an emergency!)

Having $20 broken down can get you a long way. Having a couple of dollars in quarters is always helpful for laundry, bus, and meters. Some people are happy to give cash back and break down change... and others aren't. Save yourself the headache and have a few bucks with you. If you're traveling internationally, I would have a few bucks/quarters for the trip out but make your change in your destination's currency.

Pen & Paper

iPhones! Technology! That's all well and good until your phone dies or you're out of service area :) I'm a big believer in writing things down. Times I have loved my pen & paper:
- Having someone write directions
- Having someone write name of restaurant or location
- Exchanging phone numbers/email with new friends
- Leaving notes for others you're traveling with
- Keep score in card games :)
- Keep tab if one person is paying & all splitting at end of trip

I use pen & paper soooooo often... I couldn't imagine traveling without it! Ask my study abroad classmates.... they would find notes from me 24/7 because we didn't have cell phones. I keep this little Moleskine in my bag with a Sharpie pen (doesn't smudge) because it's skinny & easy to rip pages out. Also, there's this little pocket in the back for keeping any notes organized!

These are some of my MUST HAVE items when I travel... each one serves so many purposes in my opinion! Do you travel with any of these things? Do you think they're useful?


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Travel Diary: 10 Days in Seattle

I'm falling in love with the PNW a little more each time I visit. I've also realized I've spent over 3 weeks there in the last calendar year... wow!

a photo from my trip in January
This time I was able to go out for a bachelorette weekend followed by the wedding... with a lot of time spent with friends in between!

10 Days in Seattle held a lot of activities for me:
Bachelorette weekend at Lake Chelan (Dinner, drinks, wine tasting, laying out, lounging in the cabin, shopping, travel days)
Down time in Seattle (Dinner, coffee, working, shopping, exploring, working out)
Wedding Festivities (Rehearsal dinner, doing the bridal party's hair, wedding ceremony & reception)

Here's how I packed (not pictured: 1 set of work out clothes, 1 set pj pants & tank, 2 earrings, 2 necklaces)


4 tops
2 bottoms
4 dresses
4 outerwear/sweater
2 scarves
3 shoes
3 bags
bathing suit, hat, belt, sunglasses

I'll get into the outfit combos in an upcoming post! Let's just say this is a great set of clothes to work with.... the possibilities are pretty endless.

The first three days were the bachelorette party in Lake Chelan. It was so so so much fun! Another upcoming post. 10 days is so hard to write about in a concise manner :)

Between the girls weekend in Chelan & Matt arriving (he came about 6 days after I did), I stayed with my friend Cait in her apartment in Madison Park.

The view was amazing... and so was the weather! We had that sliding door open 24/7. It was awesome. Plus, Madison Park is adorable! There are tons of little shops and restaurant, and even their Starbucks is cute - it feels like a big ski lodge.

Some fun activities for the week:
- I went to Orange Theory with Cait in Capitol Hill - i've never tried that workout before, have you? It's a 60 minute "class" where you spend half the time doing weight/strength circuits and half the time on the treadmill doing bursts, intermixed with rowing (for recovery). It was tough work but fun! Because you're constantly rotating, the time went really quickly. I'd definitely go again!

- Sitka & Spruce is a restaurant I've wanted to try (as I've been to two of their other concepts - London Plane & Bar Sajour in Pioneer Square) and it definitely impressed me. 

we sat right next to the "kitchen" in the open concept

the menu.... everything was divine!
Everything on the menu was delicious and perfectly prepared, the staff was friendly & knowledgeable (i love when wine recommendations are spot on!) and the atmosphere can not be beat. There are only about 30 spots in the whole restaurant, and it's definitely a leisurely dining experience. Lucky for us, we walked in around 6pm on a Wednesday, but I would recommend reservations if you're really interested in going (especially on the weekend). Oh and I don't care if you're Paleo or Gluten Free (those with Celiac, you get a free pass because I don't actually want to cause you harm) -you NEED to get the London Plane bread. It's worth every cheat day you've ever dreamed of.

- Victrola Coffee Roasters is a coffee shop in Capital Hill that I just loved! Big open windows & tables, great coffee (no drip - large batch french press), free wifi & cool vibe.

It was such a great week with Cait. And her new apartment is amazing!

The wedding was SO MUCH FUN! I was able to do the bride's hair and she looked gorgeous. What do you think?

I'm definitely not a pro... but it's so fun!

Here are a few snaps from the wedding.
On the dance floor with Cait!

My date showed up! 

Also, i promise that's not a baby bump I've got going on. My dress has pockets and it was opening at an unfortunate time! 

Once Matt arrived, stayed in this AirBNB apartment (more on AirBNB in Seattle, here!) in the Wallingford area, and we absolutely LOVED it! Here are a few pics I borrowed from their listing (it is even more gorgeous in person! Great spot!)

We were obsessed. Bigger than most 1br apartments, and we stayed 3 nights for less than the price of 1 night in a Seattle hotel. We LOVE AirBNB!

Some spots we hit up:
- Zoka Coffee (Greenlake) was about two blocks from our apartment so I walked there to pick up coffee for Matt and I. What a gorgeous walk! And Zoka was buzzing with cute families & puppies on a Saturday morning. I also was able to go to the Zoka in University District with Cait! Try the lavender mocha. 

- Oddfellows Cafe was somewhere I passed by on the bus and decided to look up on Yelp. Turns out, it's a Seattle favorite of many. Awesome vibe & even better food!

We sat at that little table on the back patio... so cozy! Plus the weather was gorgeous that day... definitely doesn't hurt! Definitely try the Baked Eggs... they're amazing! 

- Discovery Park is NW of the city center and feels totally removed. We laid in the grass and enjoyed the sunshine... I could have stayed there forever!

The park is right on the water. Isn't it terrible how much it rains here? Aren't all of my photos gloomy and terrible? This rain business is a LIE.

- We lucked out and Cait's friends were going Boating on Lake Goodwin one afternoon. Again.... gloomy and terrible.

Matt went wake boarding and got some good jumps (not pictured: him being sore for 4 days after haha!) - it was fun!

- Taste of India for dinner with Sharyn & Bryan. Get the Channa Masala!

- Portage Bay Cafe for Brunch. This is our 3rd time eating here.... and it won't be our last.

- Driving around Alki Beach area in West Seattle. It's a cute little beach town! Who would have thought that existed in the PNW?

- Cafe Flora for dinner. This vegetarian restaurant would please even the most carnivorous carnivore. Everything is INSANELY DELICIOUS. I wish I lived down the street, I'd stop cooking and just eat here. We went here for the first time for Sharyn's rehearsal dinner and I've dreamed about it ever since. Try the Beet Gnocchi!

And of course, I'm dying to go back! It was 65 and sunny every day, filled with friends & good coffee. I absolutely love it out there. Looking for an excuse to go back out....

Do you have any must-try restaurants, coffee or activities in Seattle? I have a few more here if you want to check it out!

Stay tuned to how I used my packing list & for the details on Lake Chelan!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

New Music Tuesday: It's a BIG DAY

My dear friend, Adam, has been working on this record for over three years....


Do yourself a favor and go listen to this album. It's pretty incredible.

If I could go back in time and have "Don't Shy From the Light" be the first dance at my wedding, I would.

If I could have "Native Skin" playing at Respectables in college while we were dancing at 2am... I would.

I guess the fact that I know how much time & effort went into this album might make the love it more. 

But truly, it's art. Heartfelt lyrics. Raw melodies. 

It's haunting, exciting, sad, and hopeful all at the same time.

If you want to check it out (you definitely should!!!), go to iTunes and search for Neulore, or click HERE.

And if you happen to be in Nashville, their CD release show will be at 3rd & Lindsley on Sunday night. You can get tickets here. OR you can listen live on Lightning 100 on the "Nashville Sunday Night" show.

For the rest of their tour, check out their website.

This sounds like a big sales pitch.... but it's just me trying to help YOU out ;) If you like good music, give it a listen.

Did you discover any new music lately that I need to know about?

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Monday, September 22, 2014

How To Pack for 4 Nights in Vegas

This post is dedicated to my fun & fashionable friend, Carly. She travels on the regular & is admittedly an over-packer.

She's making changes to her packing game and is headed to Vegas next week, so she asked if I'd drum up a guide for 4 nights in Vegas... so here we are :)

If you've never been to Vegas, it's FUN. Late nights, bright lights, sensory overload. Days are filled with laying by the pool, going to the spa, and of course - shopping. When we went, I feel like I changed my outfit at least three times a day, so you definitely need options.

This would also be a good jumping off point for packing for a cruise, or any other scinereo where you'll need casual daytime clothing and fancier night time clothing.
Vegas Nightlife2

Warehouse black hat, $41 / D&G sunglasses, $995 / Collar necklace / Oasis black enamel earrings, $13 / Forever New earrings, $8.94 / Luv Aj charm pendant, $135 / Rebecca Minkoff leather handbag / Ted Baker leather purse, $180 / Manning Cartell strapless dress / Hervé Léger pink dress / Black cocktail dress / Oversized shirt / White top, $82 / Alice Olivia pink shirt / Forever New black scoop neck top, $54 / Lipsy cover up, $57 / French Connection cover up / Chicnova Fashion black kimono / Moschino Cheap Chic playsuit romper / spring st sundress Factorie, $18 / Stretch jeans, $42 / River Island mini skirt, $41 / Rag & bone shorts / Beach panty, $98 / Crochet swimsuit / Swimsuits two piece / Seafolly swimsuits two piece, $65 / Sol Sana flat sandals / Tory Burch pumps / Valentino high heel shoes / Atwell black flat

Your Packing List:
3 bottoms (shorts, pants, skirt)
4 tops 
4 shoes (2 heels, 1 flat, 1 sandal)
2 suits
2 cover ups
5 dresses (4 fancy, 1 sundress)
1 outerwear
3 bags (large handbag, cross body clutch, misc. tote)
handful of accessories (sunnies, hat, 2 necklaces, 3 earrings)

With your two bathing suits & two cover ups, you should be good for 4 days at the pool. The suits you bring should mix & match. If you want to wear a different cover up each day, swap in shorts or the floating sundress. You only wear it out to the pool & immediately take it off, so it won't be getting dirty. Choose sandals that are nice enough for boutique shopping but also won't get ruined by pool water. Take your tote as your beach bag with all of your essentials.

vegas day

For lunch, shopping, heading to the spa, travel days, or a casual evening, take the versatile items you've packed and have fun mixing & matching! Choose neutrals (don't forget, pale pink, navy blue & olive green are considered neutral) as your base and then choose your pops of color. In this capsule wardrobe, the bottoms are plain in print (but not necessarily in color with that yellow skirt!), and all of the tops have a design, texture or graphic to make them more exciting. Neutrals don't equal boring! This will provide plenty of options, as these 11 outfits can be further customized with your accessory choice. The possibilities with well selected base items will set you up with dozens of outfits, no matter what your mood.

Nightlife Outfits Vegas

Nightlife is HUGE in Vegas! There are so many shows - Cirque de Sole, singers, magicians, comedians, musicals - so many restaurants to eat at, so many bars to try, casinos to play, clubs to dance at... you'll be out all night no matter how you slice it. And in Vegas, it's dress to impress. A sexy dress (and a romper!) for each night, two pairs of heels and a few accessories to mix it up. If you're able to narrow it down to one heel, you'll be thankful in the end - but in a city that never truly sleeps, an extra pair of heels will end up getting their use. Don't forget to bring ones that are comfortable.... the Strip is long!


Hervé Léger dress / Manning Cartell silver strapless dress / Sleeve shirt / Forever New scoop neck top, $54 / Moschino Cheap Chic black romper / spring st sundress Factorie, $18 / Chicnova Fashion black kimono / Sol Sana flats sandals / Atwell metallic flat / Rebecca Minkoff pink leather purse / Ted Baker leather cross body purse, $180 / Forever New diamante jewelry, $8.94 / Oasis black drop earrings, $13 / Luv Aj gold tone necklace, $135 / Warehouse black fedora hat, $41 / D&G round frame sunglasses, $995

With versatile pieces, your evening dresses can be used for day time, hitting the casinos, or a more casual dinner. Changing from heels to flats with the romper dresses it down, and adding the hat is super fun. Peplum tops are SO versatile in a situation where you're packing a lot of dresses... because they can be layered over top and instantly create the illusion of a skirt - plus you've got a whole new outfit. This sundress probably wasn't necessary to pack, either... but if I'm being honest, I LIVE in sundresses - I like having one in my suitcase so I can just throw it on and run to the store, grab something out of the car, or lounge around the hotel in it. I also love layering lady like pieces (the lace romper) with a more casual piece (the sweatshirt)... It's so casually cool.

Choose pieces you love and make sense for your style. For example, don't pack jeans if you never wear them, choose a 2nd pair of shorts or a skirt instead). If you don't wear it at home, you won't wear it when you travel! Or swap heels for a pair of sexy boots. Whatever it is, make sure you love it and it makes sense for your destination.

You don't need to pack more clothing... you just need to rethink how you wear it!

Have fun in Vegas, and play some blackjack for me.

Other Packing Lists
Packing for 1 Month in Florida (in a Carry On!)
How to Pack Light and Always Carry On
Toiletry Swap: Eliminate Liquids in your Bag

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