Category Archives: Lightening Up

Pack Light!

Part 1 : REALITY CHECKS

I do quite a lot of traveling. My husband and I devote a sizable chunk of our finances to travel. It’s enriching, enjoyable; a priority. Along with enrichment and enjoyment, all of this traveling has also availed me with mad packing skills that my girlfriends marvel at.  So, in this post I share my thoughts about packing light with you, and per Samantha’s request, I have documented what I packed for my 3 ½ week trip to Europe.  You too can learn to “pack light”!

Okay, let’s get started. It’s important to be in the right frame of mind while packing, so the following “Reality Checks” should get you ready.

Reality Check #1 : *Let’s be real* – No one you see on your travels needs to know how versatile your wardrobe is. *real-er* Other than your loved ones, no one you see on your travels will see you more than one day anyway. *real-est* No one you see on your travels will even notice what you’re wearing (do I hear heads deflating), that is, unless you look hideous (more on this later).

Reality Check #2 : Washing machines exist in other countries, most of the time those washing machines are going to be your hands. Pack a little detergent, fill up the sink and get scrubbing. It’s a relaxing thing to do when you are not watching TV at night. CNN will get old, trust me. All underwear and most shirts will dry over night, roll them in a dry towel after you wring them out then hang in the shower. You will be pleased to discover that machines do not always do a better job, and since your case is now a carry-on, you’ll never have to deal with lost luggage again.

Reality Check #3 : Have you ever stared into your closet and wondered, hmmn, what should I wear? Well, good news, you only packed 4 choices. Wow, that was fast, let’s go have breakfast.

Reality Check #4 : Whatever you need, you will also be able to buy wherever you go. Even when it comes to toiletries, pack lightly. For example, I pack a couple bandages and if I do get a cut, which btw has never happened, I know I can always buy some more or ask the hotel.

Reality Check #5 : You are going to buy fabulous little must haves while you are traveling and need extra room in your tiny carry-on bag for those items.  Imagine those wonderful things, and leave room for them.

Okay, so, you’ve read the reality checks and are in the right frame of mind to get packing.  Now we can move onto my tips on what to pack.

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Pack Light! – 2

Part 2 : Packing Tips

Okay, so, you’ve read the reality checks and are in the right frame of mind to get packing.  Now we can move onto a few tips about what to pack.

Packing Tip #1 : When you are packing, count your clothes according to how many days they can be worn. Shirts can be worn 2-3 times, Pants 2-6 times, Dresses 2-4 times, Sweaters 2-10 times. So if you are going on a week-long trip you need only 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, and 1 sweater.

Packing Tip #2 : Bring clothes that you love and that match each other. Your clothes don’t have to be all black tan or navy, but most of your bottoms and tops should be able to go with each other. If you pack only clothes that you love, you will feel fabulous every day and won’t mind having to wear the same things.

Packing Tip #3 : Limit yourself to 1 jacket, 2 sweaters,  & 2 pairs of shoes. Make sure they all go with the clothes you pack.

Packing Tip #4 : Do not pack gym clothes or gym shoes (especially for non-U.S. travel). This gym obsession is silly, you are going to be walking all day and don’t want to waste a minute running on a treadmill. Do a few sit-ups and pushups and get out of the hotel. Since you are not packing tennis shoes, you will be able to fit an exercise band if you must.

Packing Tip #5 : (for women) Pack a couple colorful neck scarves or necklaces to mix it up and feel fancy. I also always pack a warmer scarf or wrap, even in the summer, and wear it on the plane and carry it with me during the day.  As for earrings, I prefer to wear the same beautiful and sensible gold hoops the whole time.

Packing Tip #6 : (for women) Pack a couple of dresses.  They look great, are easy to pack, and easy to accessorize.  Women all over the world wear dresses and skirts, but they do not always wear shorts.

Packing Tip #7 : (for men) Pack a suit and several ties. No one will ever fault you for looking overdressed. Under-dressed however, very bad (more on this later). If you don’t have a suit that is comfortable you have been wasting your money. A great suit that both fits perfectly and is made of a high quality fabric IS comfortable and looks fantastic. The same goes for shoes.

Packing Tip #8 : All about shoes – The shoes you wear must be comfortable enough to walk long distances in. This means that unless I have a performance, I do not pack high heels (I’m a singer BTW). However, I do have low heels that I can walk in for ages that I will pack.  The shoes you bring may not be tennis shoes (more on this later).  If you don’t have comfortable shoes then you need to go shopping (try the Walking Company).  I suggest walking in your shoes before you go.  Walking often makes feet swell, so get shoes with some wiggle room and good arch support. I think it is preferable to wear darker leather shoes or sandals over a white shoe.  White is hard to get right.  Also available are euro-style shoes that have a streamlined look with a rubber sole that is comfortable like a tennis shoe.

Packing Tip #9 : Pack these things, you’ll be happy you did:

  • A Nylon Bag or Three. I own 3 “les pliages” by LongChamps. I have one backpack, a small handbag and a mid-size handbag.  All of them collapse down to be super small.  I often bring all three and will use the mid-size bag as my personal item on travel day. These are available in most airports and in Europe are significantly cheaper than in the US.  These are great to carry while walking around because they are almost weightless.  One will pack in the other on shopping days. Also, many of these are gender neutral, so the man in your life won’t mind carrying it.
  • Landry Detergent
  • Plastic bags for shoes or dirty clothes
  • Power Converter
  • Vitamins. Buy the best.  Bring green drink powder too.  Even though I find the food most places I travel superior to eating out in the US, I don’t ever seem to get enough veggies.  Being sick or low on energy while traveling is not fun.  Vitamins help.
  • Trail mix and/or snack bars (we make our own with almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, & dark chocolate chips)
  • Your smart phone & headphones with a PDF copy of your passport, any music you’d like to listen to, e-travel books can be OK, e-translator AND if your phone is compatible tri or quad band and unlocked you could get a Sim card for it, or just text with your current plan.

Packing Tip #10 : Pack whatever it is that you love to use every day. I have short hair, and therefore don’t need a dryer or straightener, but if having great hair is your thing, then by all means, bring what you need to have great hair (travel size if possible).  Check with hotel about hair dryer, many already have one mounted on the wall in the bathroom. I love my electric toothbrush and I also bring my enormous toothbrush charger.  It sounds counter-intuitive to the pack light title of this post, but this is something that makes me happy everyday and packing light is meant to enhance travel without causing deprivation.

Packing Tip #11 : pack all of your clothes on hangers. Again, I know, this sounds counter-intuitive. But in the spirit of enhancing travel, packing clothes on hangers allows you to quickly unpack and view the clothes you have.  There will be no digging in a suitcase to find things, getting dressed will be quick, your clothes won’t be wrinkled and you can use the hangers for drying when you wash your clothes.  Get a light-weight suit cover, and all of the hangers and clothes zip in.  Folded in thirds it fits perfectly in the carry-on suitcase.

Packing Tip #12 : to bring a computer or not to bring a computer? that is the question. My husband HAS to bring a computer; he’s an Aquarius and cannot be without this gadget (you know if you are this kind of person).  When we travel together, I do not bring my computer, because I’m not that kind of person as I am content with 5 minutes of use per day.  More and more countries are offering wireless WiFi (which BTW in many countries including England is pronounced WEE-fee).  Appropriate to the pronunciation, many places only offer WEE-fee for a fee.  That’s right, free internet is not yet the norm. For this trip I did bring my computer since I would be away for so long and would be doing some work.  I suggest knowing ahead of time if your hotel has a business center, WiFi in the lobby, WiFi in the rooms, and if there is a fee.  If you are new to packing light, you may not be able to fit your computer, and really, you likely won’t need it.  My laptop goes IN the carry-on suitcase (not the personal item bag).  Your much lighter smart phone or e-reader or tablet, if WiFi ready, can take the place of a laptop.

OK!  So, that’s the end of my packing tips.  I hope it has been helpful.  If you think I’ve missed anything, or you have any specific questions, I’d be happy to answer them, and I will post the Q & A right here.

NEXT UP:  Remember the “more on this later” that popped up a couple of times? Well, it’s time for me to get on my little smarty pants soap box and bla bla some more of my opinions.  Read on if you dare – – – Pack Light part 3: Appropriate.

Go back- – – Pack Light part 1: Reality Checks

Jump ahead – – –  Pack Light part 4: Proof! 

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Pack Light! – 4

Part 4 : Pack Light In Action

What I packed for my 3 ½ week trip to Europe in July:

Carry-on is still quite a lot of stuff!

1 jacket
1 sweater
1 black shrug
4 dressy shirts
1 black t-shirt
3 pairs of pants
2 dresses
1 belt
2 neck scarves
1 wrap
undergarments & 4 pr socks
3 nylon bags
1 purse with Capital One card (no fees), passport, phone
1 computer in bag
1 taupe pair of sandals
1 leather tan pair of loafers
1 black lightweight jacket
PJs – 1pr jersey shorts, 3 tank tops
3 travel books
1 umbrella
1 enormous tooth brush charger
1 pouch with electronic plugs, converter
1 pouch with make-up, razor, tweezers, nail clippers
1 pouch with liquid toiletries & detergent
Vitamins (CoQ10Ubiquinol, Multivitamin with enzymes), Green Powder
Trail mix & food bars


Packing it up:

Beginning to look like not much stuff!

Left – clothes for the day
Middle – hangers in bag & black jacket
Right – Nylon personal item w/ toiletries, purse, book, slippers
Bottom – Carry-on suitcase packed
w/computer on L
underwear & scarves in zip pouches
books
sandals
PJs
belt
felt slippers
trail mix on R zipped


All packed up:

Carry-On Luggage Baby!

Me and my stuff after the no sleep 6+ hr flight.

I packed light!

It is so exciting to have just what I need and have the freedom of no checked luggage.  I hope you will try it!  If you have any questions, please contact me.  It would be so fun to hear form you. Let me know how it goes for your summer travel!

With Love,

Colleen

Go Back to Pack Light 1 – Reality Checks

Go Back to Pack Light 2 – Packing Tips

Go Back to Pack Light 3 – Appropriate Clothing

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Pack Light! – 3

Part 3 : Appropriate?

You’ve had your reality checks & you’ve filed away the packing tips, Now you’re ready for themore on this latersection where I briefly address the general appropriateness of your attire while traveling.

I’m pretty adamant that it is super important that we wear clothing and shoes that are appropriate in the countries that we visit; clothes that allow us to blend in.

We Americans are extremely casual.  This is not necessarily the norm around the world.  Very few adults in foreign countries wear shorts, t-shirts, or tennis shoes in public.  Our version of business casual is often the same other countries weekend wear.  So, business casual is a good starting point of reference for both men and women when packing for a foreign trip.

In addition to being quite casual, American woman tend to show much more skin than is considered appropriate or attractive in many other countries.  Women in some other cultures do not show their thighs or cleavage or wear tight clothing.  You may see women in revealing clothing when you travel but those women will likely also be able to blow away in a gust of wind, or they are working if you know what I mean.  Real women (who have curves) tend to cover their skin, even their upper arms, and yes, even when it’s hot out.  If you are traveling in an especially modest country be sure to make the necessary adjustments.

Americans sadly often put function ahead of form when it comes to clothing and shoes.  So, let me tell you, just because it’s comfortable does not mean you should wear it out-of-doors.  Yes, I know, you would be comfortable all day in a T-shirt, shorts and tennis shoes, BUT you would also disrupt the visual beauty of the amazing places you visit, polluting the visual cortex of hundreds if not thousands of people you walk by.  Really, it is NOT okay to look sloppy. It’s simply a major bummer to look at.  This is your opportunity to dress as the Romans dress.  Enjoy it!

Next up, let’s see if I can practice what I preach!  See what I packed for 3 1/2 weeks in Europe.

go back to:

Read Pack Light 1 – Reality Checks

Read Pack Light 2 – Packing Tips

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Integrative Nutrition

Integrative Nutrition Ambassador – Friend referral scholarship available!

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I’m writing to tell you about the most remarkable educational institution in the world:  The Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  I attended this groundbreaking school in 2010 from where I earned my Certification as a Health Coach.  This institution expanded my life and world view and most importantly guided me to become a more healthful joyful human being.

If you are looking to get healthier or if you are already in a great place and want to share your knowledge and passion with others in a meaningful career of your making, then this is the experience you need!  All types of people with all types of focuses attend this school.  But I have noticed that this community is united in our will to impact change, our creativity, altruism, and open minded approach to life and learning.  I have met amazing people in this program who have inspired me and given me hope in our future.

As a graduate of IIN, I signed up to be an ambassador for the school because I believe so strongly in its mission and method.  If you would like to learn more about the year-long program please do not hesitate to ask me about my experience.  You can also visit the website integrativenutrition.com.

This program is an investment in your entire being.  Some students just attend to become healthier, more contented people, but many enroll to also prepare for a new career.  What I experienced in school in the big picture is an understanding of what is most important to me and how I can share that which is uniquely me with others.  I have been inspired to live more fully and to invest in life like I hadn’t before.

This big picture experience has also been perfectly balanced with real world practical guidance.  I have received every tool necessary to create a lucrative career as a heath coach.  This is the only school I have attended that invests in their student’s career success continually.  Even after graduating, IIN is supporting me in any way necessary as I build my career.  My success is part of their mission and is therefore in their best interest.  I cannot fully explain how amazing it feels to have a school completely celebrate what I can offer the world.  I have never experienced this before!

This is a long distance learning program, so you can do this anywhere in the world at any time that is convenient for you.  You do have time for this life changing experience and you will be delighted by how affordable this program is.

If you decide this school is for you, then please let me know and I will assist you in securing your scholarship.

Get ready to grow at a rapid pace and to love every minute of it!

With Love, Colleen Palmer

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Feeding Children Well

Parents want to feed their children healthy foods and often wonder how to do it.

Here are a few tips to feeding the young people in your life while encouraging a sane relationship with food.

Tip #1:  Children LIKE Structure

Create Meal Times

Try to have meal times around the same time every day and to have one plated snack after school if necessary.  Try as a family to stick to the structure 80% of the time.  Ask your young people to be involved in making sure that the family sticks to the structure.  One person can be in charge of knowing when it’s time to begin cooking; one person can be in charge of when it’s time to begin clean up … etc.

Monthly Menus

Create a monthly menu.  For one month eat the same dish on every name day for a total of 7 day menus:  MONDAYs = quinoa & lamb with zucchini onions & tomatoes, TUESDAYs = white bean soup with potatoes, carrots & green beans with Rye Bread etc. The dishes you choose should reflect what is available and in season:  soups and stews in the fall, salads in the spring.  Towards the end of the month have a family meeting to plan the next month.  Older children can be in charge of planning one day.  If you cover a variety of whole foods cooked and raw with different colors throughout the week you will be getting a variety of nutrients that your family needs.

The time spent planning meals is the perfect opportunity to educate children about where food comes from and how it can be prepared.  It’s also a great time to talk about what junk processed non-food is and that most of the commercials they see for food are actually for junk.

Tip #2: Children will EAT what they NEED

One major worry in families is that the child isn’t eating enough, or will not eat what is given to them.  This can be distressing for adults because adults feel it is there duty to feed the children well.  While this concern is well meaning, if focused on, it can lead to upset and power struggles around food.

It is important to allow food to be pleasurable and emotionally neutral.

If a child does not want to eat something, do not force her.  Forcing a young person to eat is disrespectful to them and will create a slew of emotional and control issues around food.  Just don’t go there! It is best to feign indifference about what your young person is or is not eating on her plate during mealtime.  The important thing is that what ends up on the plate is full of variety and color, is fresh, naturally grown, and is whole.

What is served IS dinner.  Translation: special meals for one person do not exist.  If the young person doesn’t eat anything, remind them only once that this is their opportunity to eat dinner, and that the next meal is not until breakfast.  If no food is consumed, give yourself a pep talk: “self, my child will not die of starvation by missing one meal”.  To be sure, they will be very hungry for breakfast the next day!  Try steel cut oats with organic cream and organic raisins and walnuts or a veggie, onion, organic cheese, farm raised egg omelet.  In a rush? Hard boiled whole egg on buttered toast.

If a child typically eats everything but the broccoli, be sure to let her know that she does not have to eat it, but since it is part of the menu for that dinner it will be served on her plate.  Remember, a child often has a healthier relationship with food than an adult.  If they are not interested in a food, it is highly possible that they don’t need it at that time.  Sometimes when children are going through a growth spurt they will want high-fat, high-calorie food.  There is a reason that potatoes and cheese, or macaroni and cheese are popular kids’ food.  Growing children are developing rapidly and require different foods as compared to adults.  Broccoli may be high in vitamins, but it is also high in fiber which makes it more difficult to digest, and it is low in calories.  To a growing child it will be better sold with olive oil, butter or cheese*.  Another benefit of adding fat with vegetables is that it allows us to assimilate the fat soluble vitamins.

If a child doesn’t want to try a new food give her time to get acquainted.  It  might take several meal for her to try it.  And then, even after trying it might take time to like it.  Even if on first try we don’t like the taste of a food, it often happens that the body will crave it even though we think we don’t like it.  Just keep serving the new food, and keep feigning indifference about whether or not they eat it.  Meal time is really not the best time for health education.  Meals are best spent enjoying flavors, the company of our loved ones, and being grateful for both.

Tip #3: Nourishing with Hugs, Laughter, Encouragement & Honesty

There is so much more to being nourished than calories & nutrients.  Affection, encouragement and praise are vital to nourishing another being.  When we experience love from those important people in our life we are happier, more optimistic and everything seems to works better.  A young person who is nourished in this way grows up with a world view that they are valuable and lovable.

At the same time, it is important to be honest with a child about what is expected of them.  It is okay to let a child know when they have made a mistake.  But it is important to not withhold hugs and encouragement from children who have made a mistake.  The two are separate.

Again, children like structure which includes clear expectations.  It is important to take responsibility as the adult for communicating clearly all that is expected. Remember, if the student hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught.

For example, a child who has developed a habit of whining and crying during mealtime would need to be prepped before the next meal time with clear expectations.  “Mealtime is a peaceful pleasant time for the family to have a nice time together eating.  I expect you at dinner tonight to use your big girl voice and for your eyes to remain dry.  If you can do this then after dinner we can put on your favorite song and have a dance party together.  If you don’t, you will have to sit on time-out for (age) minutes.”  Right before mealtime, remind your young person of the expectation, and then stick with it.  Stay calm, but firm, and emotionally neutral.  Either way, after the time-out or the dance party, give the child love and encouragement.  Remember, love is not a reward, it is a given.

A child that is held accountable to clear boundaries while being loved up will grow up to be able to handle criticism and will develop the ability to self correct.  She will be light enough to laugh at herself and honest enough to improve herself.  It is understanding that even if she makes mistakes she will still be loved that allows her to weather the bumps of life with ease.  She will be willing to try new things and put herself out in the world because she knows that success or failure does not make or break who she is.

Lots of Love,

Colleen

*Note:  Buy the highest quality food that you can afford, and feel good knowing that this is the most important purchase you make. The simplest way is to shop at a natural foods market on the perimeter of the store.  While there, ask questions to find out where the food comes from and how it was grown and then choose as close to naturally raised as possible. When adding fat or cheese to a meal, be sure to get cold pressed organic olive oil and/or grass fed/pasture raised dairy products.  Industrialized food is composed differently.  Industrial butter has lower amounts of vitamin D and A because the cows don’t see sun and don’t feed on pasture and also contains antibiotics. Another example is that farm raised salmon is lower in omega 3 and higher in omega 6 than wild salmon.  So, farm raised salmon does not have the same benefit as wild.

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I love ME!

It’s February.  A lovely, short, symmetrical month.  The holiday weekend commemorating the American presidents breaks the winter monotony as daylight continues to expand reminding us that spring is coming. Punxsutawney Phil lets us know how much more winter we can expect with a squint of his little rodent eyes as he looks for his shadow. 

Although February has many of it’s own virtues, we are all too aware or the domineering holiday which insists on upstaging all of the other lovely 27 days: St. Valentine’s Day. The local pharmacy decks it’s shelves in preparation with chocolates & hearts enticing us to literally BUY into the celebration, even if only to eat more Hershey’s kisses and chalky heart candy.  But for a holiday devoted to celebrating love, it seems to have intentionally excluded the un-matched, leaving many otherwise fabulous singles feeling quite forlorn.  It is as if not having a romantic partner for whom we could buy a sappy card expressing our ardent devotion means that we are less than complete.  We are led to feel that our uncommitted state is a problem or even more than a problem, a pitiable condition. Well, although I am now happily committed to the joys of couple-dom, being empathetic to a fault, I still feel the discomfort that this holiday causes so many of us. 

Well, let’s not dwell in the negative, it’s such an uncomfortable dwelling. I am a woman of action, so this year I offer this simple solution: let’s make Valentine’s Day about the one most important human relationship we will ever have in our entire life, our relationship with our self. When was the last time you did something nice for yourself?  Have you given yourself a compliment, a pat on the back, a pep talk? 

 Love is in the air this February for ALL of us to breathe in.  Our love-dependent cells require it, so please, partake in it. Make this month a month devoted to loving and appreciating yourself.  It’s not something we are all taught to do, but just like practicing our instruments to improve our musicianship, we can also practice loving ourselves to improve our quality of being. There are a multitude of things that are absolutely delightful about you. Get to know them, enjoy them, share them.  You are fabulous, and it’s likely that you don’t even know how fabulous you are yet.  So take the plunge and commit to loving yourself this Valentine’s Day.     

With Love,

Colleen

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