Posted: Mar 24 2017
NRFB Blog » travel outfits
Posted: Aug 12 2016A messy fishtail bread and a sweater you can layer over everything are travel essentials -- especially for the cool climate of Sweden.Get This Look: Natalie Wool Sweater
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is built of 14 islands; the city center is virtually situated on the water. It seems as if everywhere I look, there is a beautiful cityscape framed by the sea. The city is a puzzling paradox – one minute a bustling metropolis, then right around the corner there’s a quaint alley that swiftly transforms it into a peaceful sanctuary. The labyrinthine like streets, each with their own personality, keep me wanting to explore, to leave no stone unturned and discover all of its secrets. I feel as if I could spend a lifetime wandering Stockholm’s winding roads and I still wouldn’t see enough.
Gamla Stan is the old city, dating back to the 13th century, the whole area is comprised of medieval alleyways, cobblestone streets and antiquated architecture. Here, the pace of life is a bit slower, the coffee is a bit sweeter, and all that walk its winding streets can feel the history – it’s a living museum, full of sights, restaurants, curios and souvenirs. Gamla Stan has a unique character, with the buildings in so many different shades of gold; the facades seem to tell a story of their own.
I stroll, taking in the sights and the fragrant smells – something sweet is baking up ahead, so naturally, I go in search. Large open shutters reveal a young girl, her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, sitting next to a metallic machine. She’s concentrating, with one foot placed on a pedal – like with a sewing machine; her hands are delicately stitching together waffle cones. The sweet scent fills the air and my stomach rumbles, she looks over, smiling, and invites me to come inside.
It was here, in this tiny dessert shop that I learned about the Swedish word of “fika”. Pronounced “fee-ka”, it refers to a sacred tradition that all Swedes partake in daily – sometimes even multiple times a day. Fika is the almighty Swedish coffee break.
A woman behind the counter giddily says, “Hallo!” I look up, realizing that I’ve been salivating over the ice cream flavors and Nutella drenched waffles for minutes. Admittedly I can’t decide on which to choose, “What’s the most popular flavor here?” I ask. Her face lights up, “Oh! You have to try this!” She rushes over to the ice cream chiller and dishes up a spoonful of a yellow, blue and white blend. “This is the most popular flavor in Sweden – it’s vanilla with something like blueberry. It’s our national ice cream flavor.” My taste buds dance in delight, and I nod my head yes, “Okay, definitely this, and maybe one of those,” I point over to the girl at the waffle maker.
“Please, go sit – in the open window, and enjoy. Fika!” She insists. “Fika?” I thought to myself, maybe I misheard her. Taking my ice cream cone, I sit in the windowsill, and watch the world pass by. I hear different languages mix together as groups of people walk by – families, friends, people from all around the world, laughing and talking with each other. The sun starts to peak over the buildings of the alleyway, and my blue and yellow ice cream takes on a honeyed sort of flavor as it begins to melt into one.
Inside I ask for a napkin; “How was your fika?” The woman asks, smiling at me again. “My what?”
“You know – fika!” She then went on to explain that the concept of fika is simple. It is a pause in the day to truly enjoy the present moment, typically with a baked good (or sweet) and a coffee. You can do it alone, or you can do it with friends. The essential thing is that you slow down and savor the moment: that’s what fika is all about.
Posted: May 25 2016
With summer fast approaching and the days dwindling down to that long-awaited vacation – have you begun to think about the crucial elements… like what you’re going to wear?
Images courtesy of Collage Vintage
In the past, I've fallen into the trap of thinking we need X amount of outfits for X amount of days that I would be in *insert exotic location*. Sometimes I'd even pack two outfits - depending on what activities we had planned – and different outfits for day and night, of course. Lugging my overflowing suitcase to the airport, I’d reach the check-in desk and cross my fingers, hoping that my luggage was under the 50-pound weight limit. I’d see the number jump on the scale, hitting the maximum and then surpass it, often dancing between 58 and 60 pounds. To my chagrin and utter dismay, I’d have to unzip and unload pieces from my bag, then distribute them to whomever else I was traveling with (shout-out to my brothers for being team players all those years). The thing is, this didn’t happen just once or twice, this was my modus operandi when it came to packing; I’d even allot extra time at the airport because I knew the suitcase shuffle was inevitable.
Image courtesey of WhereTraveler
That is, until a few years ago, when I learned about the art of traveling lightly and packing outfits that you can easily mix-and-match. I’d strategically plan my outfits for the trip, making sure not to pack double of basic items (denim, flats, sneakers, tank tops, a good jacket). Similar to the “capsule wardrobe”, I’d narrow down my travel wardrobe to what was really essential, and find different ways to pair items like never before.
Some tricks of the trade:
*Don’t plan too much for “what-if” contingencies and circumstances – the times I’ve done that, I’ve never worn the *ball gown* that I brought (okay, maybe not ball gown, but you get the picture)
*Take wardrobe chameleons – these are the pieces that you can layer and that work in multiple situations
Tops: Basic tanks that you can easily pair with shorts, jeans, over a fitted maxi dress
Bottoms: Depending on location and weather - you'll likely want two to three pairs of bottoms that you can swap in and out... Plus shorts for warmer locations! One color of each is a good rule of thumb to go by.
Shoes: This is always where I tend to overpack. It's usually best to just pack shoes that are neutral colors to limit yourself. Make sure you have a good pair of shoes to walk around in, and maybe a pair for going out.
Sweaters + Other Items: Two cardigans/sweaters to layer over pieces are perfect - black goes with everything and the stripes add a bit of pattern over a simple dress. Mix in a couple blouses, and a romper or two in a fun pattern for good measure and to add a little bit of variety.
Try to limit yourself to one bag – preferably the one you are taking as a carry on!
Everything here can easily be paired together for a multitude of different outfits and will have you looking like a rockstar on your trip... and save you the embarrassment of doing the infamous airport suitcase shuffle.