Travel Day Uniform Essentials

travel uniform

Travel days: they too often start at an ungodly hour in the morning and drag you through a variety of temperamental climates and circumstances. So how does one dress in a way that’s functional, comfortable and still somewhat presentable throughout all of these variables? I’d like to think I’ve kind of mastered this art by now, so here are a few things you need to know. 

But before I share, let me point out that a lot of these items are currently marked down significantly thanks to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. If you’re not a current cardholder who gets early access to these particular items, you can check back in after July 19th for full access.

 

COMFORTABLE FLATS

comfortable flats

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, ferry, car, broomstick or any other vehicle, comfortable flats are a must. With that said, this doesn’t mean gym shoes are your only choice here. This can also be in the form of a loafer, a sandal, a ballet flat or a slide depending on the outfit you choose, but there are several reasons why I suggest against any kind of heel. In addition to heels being more cumbersome when it comes to metal detectors or any kind of security screening, they’re also generally uncomfortable (I don’t care if you are Carrie Bradshaw, don’t tell me you honestly think heels are an ideal footwear choice to schlep around a suitcase in). 

 

COMFORTABLE + VERSATILE BOTTOMS

Sit. Stand. Stairs. Sprint to gate. Sit again. Stand again. Schelp your luggage… you get the picture. Travel days certainly aren’t the time to be wearing a mini-skirt or pants that are even remotely uncomfortable. I always love to wear leggings with some sort of detail that dresses it up a bit. Sure, you may have a zipper at the ankle or some sort of leather component, but you’re essentially wearing glorified yoga pants that are comfortable enough to sleep in. If leggings aren’t your thing, I love a boyfriend jean which wears a bit more loose and comfy than your skinnies. And if you really just want to be cozy AF, go for a jogger like these

 

BASIC LAYERING SHIRTS

basic layer t shirts

When your plane feels like a sub-zero Icelandic tundra but minutes later your cab to the city feels like a furnace occupied by Lucifer himself, light layers are the name of the game when it comes to maintaining a comfortable temperature… but where do you start at the base of all of that? I almost wear a basic tee that can be worn under a cardigan, scarf, light-jacket or on it’s own. If you’re feeling cheeky, go for a graphic tee like this, but a safe bet for me is always a classic stripe, which pairs well with just about any later you throw over it. 

 

BLANKET SCARVES / WRAPS

blanket scarves

Per my commentary above, a scarf or wrap is a great additional layer to throw on when someone gets a bit too carried away with the AC. I love these because you can wrap it around your neck or your entire body if you want to wear it, but they also come in handy for a blanket you can snuggle up in on a plane. Pay attention to the material and weight of the fabric depending on the time of year you’re traveling (wool is a bit aggressive in the summer, but a light-weight cashmere will pretty much always be your best friend). 

blanket scarf
cardigan

Surprise! More ways to layer. Cozy cardigans are a must in my opinion (I seem to always go for long ones that feel like a robe and can double as a blanket if needed.) Even if it’s 100 degrees outside and you’re convinced there is no way you’ll need a sweater… bring one. They’re light enough to not weigh down your bag if you don’t need it but will be a game changer if you do. 

 

LIGHT JACKET OR SWEATSHIRT

Sometimes interchangeable with a cardigan or oversized wrap/scarf, a light jacket or sweatshirt can also make a great final addition to top off your layering. This time of year we don’t need a parka, but having some sort of thicker shell from a denim or utility jacket can provide not only an additional layer for warmth if needed, but also double as a shield if you get caught in unexpected rain.  

 

T-SHIRT DRESSES

dumbo+brooklyn+cuyana+carry+all+tote.jpg

Acting as another base layer, I’m a huge fan of t-shirt dresses. Not only are they cool and breezy for warm summer travel days, they also mean you don’t have to wear pants, which I’m always a big fan of. I’d definitely advise bringing a couple layers if you opt for this base, as my legs almost always get cold on a plane when I go for this look. 

 

Looking for some other essentials for your upcoming travel day? Be sure to check out my blog reviewing my favorite travel bags or check out the “Shop Travel Gear” section of my site for some of my “can’t live without” items. 

 

Thanks as always for stopping by... I’m excited to share a lot more travel essentials with you in the near future with all of my upcoming adventures!

 

xx

Whitney

blonde atlas

Best Bags for Travel

BEST TRAVEL BAGS BLONDE ATLAS

Summer has officially arrived, which means the most popular travel season is upon us! As you prepare to pack your bags for your next holiday, I thought I'd share the ones that have become my personal favorites after I've dragged them all over the globe. 

 

TRAVEL WALLET 

CUYANA TRAVEL WALLET

I suppose a travel wallet isn't a bag, but I felt compelled to include this essential because I often carry it as a clutch (which is kind of a bag, right?) This Cuyana pebbled-leather travel wallet is honestly one of my favorite everyday items I own (I've pointed several friends to this piece and they're now advocates for it as well!) It's perfectly sized to fit in any purse or carry on bag without being too large and bulky. It neatly compartmentalizes your credit cards, travel documents, passport and spare change (plus there are plenty of other compartments where you can keep business cards, a lipstick or other essentials if that's all you want to carry out one night).

 

 

EVERYDAY PURSE

Selecting a single purse for travel is a daunting task, but here are some things I definitely recommend. 

-Zip-able compartments to protect against pick-pocketing. 

-A strap you can wear as a cross body to make yourself less susceptible to theft.  

-A size that's small enough to not be cumbersome to carry all day, yet large enough to hold everything you need. 

-A material/color that wears well over time and won't get dirty easily. 

-Something classic that can be worn with a variety of outfits - regardless of what you pack in your suitcase. 

My "go-to" purse while traveling that ticks all of these boxes has been this Fashionable Menbere Foldover Bag in black. It comes with a removable strap so you can wear it as a cross-body for daytime security but also as a clutch at night (and it holds the travel wallet I mentioned above perfectly!) There is also a large zip-able compartment to keep valuables in and a pocket in the back that makes your phone more easily accessible. I also love supporting Fashionable because they are a brand that's focused on ending generational poverty by working with women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances. They employ these women both locally in Nashville,  but also globally. 

 

 

CARRY-ALL TOTE

CLASSIC STRUCTURED CARRY ALL TOTE CUYANA

This Cuyana classic structured tote is my most recently acquired travel bag, and I've absolutely loved it so far. I often use it as an everyday purse when I'm trekking around the city (it holds all the essential items you'd have in your purse, but also my laptop sleevewater bottle and whatever book I'm reading). It's also perfect for an airplane carry on or any occasion where you want to carry a little more than what you could fit in a purse. Cuyana also recently launched this tote organization insert that fits into it perfectly if the idea of digging for your belongings stresses you out!

 

OVERNIGHT BAG

I've had this Le Sud overnight bag by Cuyana for about two years now, and I still carry it all the time (they don't make it in this color anymore, but it still comes in black and I've provided a similar bag with the same color options). Similar to what I said about the carry-all tote above, this is a great bag when you need something to carry a little more than "just the basics." Whether you use it as a gym bag or one to carry the essentials you need for a quick overnight jaunt, this sleek canvas tote has been a staple in my travel repertoire. 

 

WEEKEND DUFFLE BAGS

Everyone needs a good duffle bag, and I've actually found two that I love. Both are great for weekend trips or a larger carry-on option to bring on the plane, but there are a few reasons I like having either as an option. For a classic canvas bag that can be thrown around or checked if need be without too much worry, I've loved my Cuyana weekender (they actually don't make this exact bag that's pictured anymore, but the Le Sud weekender is essentially the same thing!)  When I'm traveling for work or any kind of elevated occassion, this  Leatherology large Kessler duffle is beautifully made and adds a bit more polish.

 

The bags listed above are all fantastic and I can personally attest to their quality after trying them out myself for several years. None of this is sponsored-- just trying to pass along some expertise to fellow travel enthusiasts in search of a good bag! Hope you find these recos to be helpful and if you have any questions about them, feel free to leave them in the comments below. 

Thanks for stopping by, and happy travels wherever you're off to next! 

xx,

Whitney

BA_button+copy.png

A Weekend in NYC with Expedia

a weekend in NYC

 

Whether you refer to it as The City That Never Sleeps, The Big Apple, Empire City or another famous name, there’s no question that New York City has something for every kind of traveler. This destination easily has more restaurants, galleries, rooftop bars, museums and culture all in once condensed place than most destinations around the globe. This is especially true now that the surrounding boroughs seem to be in the spotlight as often as Manhattan! So let’s all take a deep breath and accept the reality that one simply cannot see and do it all in one (perhaps even several) visit(s).  <sigh> 

If that was a hard pill to swallow, rest assured: no matter what you choose to fill your itinerary with in New York, chances are it will be a great trip. I recently partnered with Expedia.ca to create my own itinerary and put together a “Weekend in New York” recommendation list. As I was planning, I made a conscious effort to strategically do as much as I could in our four short days. And again, while I knew I couldn't cover everything there is to do in this city, I aimed to sample a little taste of the things I love the most: global influence, epicurean highlights, culture, unique experiences and embracing the local, iconic landmarks. 

  Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village

boucherie greenwich village nyc

 

But before I jump to those recommendations, here are a few things you should know first about visiting NYC:  

 

Downtown is Quite Literally, Downtown:

Often while visiting a city, we refer to downtown as a commercial center where all the action is. In New York, however, it means in a southern direction (as opposed to uptown in the north or midtown in-between the two.) This is important to note while following directions (especially on the Subway, while most trains are marked “uptown” or “downtown.”  

 

Sidewalk Etiquette: 

Given the condensed nature of New York, it’s an extremely walkable city. With that said, the plethora of pedestrians means it’s imperative to make an effort to have some decent sidewalk etiquette. Always aim to keep to the right. Don’t be a sudden stopper (you wouldn’t put your car in park suddenly on the interstate without pulling over first, would you?) If you’re with friends, don’t take up the entire sidewalk (no more than two people next to each other at a time is a safe rule of thumb). Simply put: make an effort to be mindful that while you may be enjoying a holiday away, there are loads of New Yorkers trying to get on with their daily life in an orchestrated  manner (ideally, without dodging tourists who are being inconsiderate or oblivious).   

 

new york subway

Subway, Yellow Cabs + Ubers: 

While walking will take you far (we averaged 11 miles a day!) to see all that you should, you’ll inevitably need to give your legs a break to get around. NYC has tons of transportation options... so how do you choose? I always recommend the Citymapper app, which shows you all options to get from point A to B (then you can decide if you’re more concerned with time, convenience or money). Chances are, you’ll be taking the Subway, an Uber or a Yellow Cab. The Subway is fairly easy to navigate (although I personally found it to be a bit more confusing than metro systems in cities like London, Chicago or Paris— I think because the lines are simply a letter or number which is less memorable to me than a word/name). It’s only $2.75 per ride and to avoid buying a ticket every time, I’d suggest putting $10 or $20 on a card at a time if you plan on riding multiple times throughout your stay. Should you ever call an Uber or other ride share, always be sure you’re requesting the correct pick up location (and that you get in the right car— check the license plates!)  And if you decide to go for a ride in a famous yellow cab, look for ones that have the numbers on their roof illuminated (if they’re turned off, someone is in it). Oh! And be conscious not to upstream someone while hailing your own (essentially, this is “cutting" or standing a bit farther in front of someone who was already trying to hail a cab.) 

 

Right, I think that covers enough of the basics, so let’s dive into some of the details from our itinerary.  

Wythe Hotel Williamsburg

WHERE WE STAYED: 

As I previously mentioned, Manhattan is no longer the favorite child of the NYC boroughs the way it once was. While I’ve still only been to New York 4 times now, 3 out of those 4 trips, I’ve stayed in Williamsburg- an easy train stop or two away from the Lower East Side. When I first visited, this trendy Brooklyn neighborhood seemed to be predominately occupied by hipsters with man-buns and artisanal food shops peppered amongst gritty bodegas. As any gentrification process seems to play out, today this area is home to world-class restaurants, swanky hotels and even a Whole Foods. While it’s not exactly a “hidden” gem anymore, this borough is brimming with fantastic food, drink, shopping and culture— all with an extra bit of breathing room you don’t quite get in Manhattan.  

I’ve stayed with friends every time I’ve visited, however there are plenty of Airbnb options to choose from. And if you fancy a proper hotel? The Wythe is a 117 year old factory building turned boutique hotel and offers panoramic views of the city.  Regardless of where you choose to rest your head, I love the convenience of Williamsburg to both Manhattan, as well as neighboring areas of Brooklyn. 

 

WHERE WE ATE:

We squeezed a lot of great food into a few short days. Here are some of those highlights: 

mr purple nyc
mr purple rooftop nyc les

MR. PURPLE

While asking some friends who are NYC locals what their favorite rooftop bar was, I kept hearing “Mr. Purple.” Located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo LES, this hotspot " captures the vibrant and artistic spirit of the Lower East Side.” With incredible views of both the Empire State Building and One World Trade, this is exactly where you want to be on a beautiful day in the city. 

The menu has iconic culinary staples and features locally sourced ingredients (we loved their burrata, tuna tartar and salt & pepper fries). To drink, they offer an extensive list of beer, wine and both classic and specialty cocktails (I recommend their signature “Mr. Purple” with Casamigos respasado tequila, cranberry liqueur, allspice dram, apple and lemon).  

 

 

claudette nyc

CLAUDETTE

I’m always looking for globally-inspired cuisine, so when a reader recommended Claudette: a Provençal eatery in the heart of Greenwich Village, I was sold immediately. Claudette offers Mediterranean-accented French dishes that are inspired by the cooking and teachings of the Chef’s Tunisian grandmother. The space is bright, airy, inviting and is the quintessential environment you’d envision sipping rosé for an afternoon lunch with girlfriends. We shared the lamb hefty with za’atar yogurt, and the chicken & kohlrabi salad with mint, chili, scallion and a walnut-truffle emulsion. 

 

 

aldea portuguese restaurant

ALDEA

To further my quest for global cuisine, I opted for dinner at Aldea: a Portuguese eatery emphasizing Iberian Coast flavors in a chic space in the Flatiron District (and newly boasting a Michelin star). Chef George Mendes made us feel right at home sitting at the chef’s table, which is the bar nestled against the kitchen where you can watch all the magic happen. We sampled a variety of items off the dinner menu to enjoy tasting highlights like the Bacalhau À Brás (farm egg and salt cod custard with crispy potato and black olive) and the Morel Mushrooms. My favorite main was the Arroz de Pato with duck confit, chouriço, orange and duck cracklins. Yet my favorite part of the meal was when Chef Mendes wowed us with his decadent Pasteis de Nata: a traditional Portuguese egg custard tart that was just as good as the ones I had in Lisbon (possibly even better). Every wine pairing was spot on and they did a beautiful job of bringing Portuguese culture to life in the heart of New York City.  

 

 

kingside brunch nyc
kingside diner

KINGSIDE

Located on the street level of Viceroy Central Park, Kingside offers a swanky diner vibe with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and hand-crafted cocktails. We came here for brunch one afternoon and ate like absolute Queens! Start with a small plate like the cauliflower croquettes or  an NY classic: smoked salmon & a bagel. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you can’t miss their bubble waffles with caramelized bananas, vanilla gelato, walnuts and butterscotch. Craving something a bit more savory? The lobster scramble and avocado toast are both incredible. But my favorite item on the menu? Oddly enough, the kale salad (it comes with brussels sprouts, pistachio and pear— but the ingredient that really stood out was the fresh mint. It was one of the best things I ate all weekend! This was the perfect spot to pop in for brunch before we went around the corner to Central Park to walk it all off.  

 

 

Vandal New York LES
vandal nyc brunch

VANDAL

Tao venues are typically known for their nightclubs, yet VANDAL is broadening that stereotype a bit with their art-filled space on the Bowery in the Lower East Side. Exploding with pop art, murals and interesting creations at every turn, there is no lack of excitement for your eyes (or your tastebuds) at this spot. We loved coming for brunch and sampling a variety of their globally-inspired menu items (my favorites were the chilaquiles and the vegan donuts). They also offer a range of fresh pressed juices if you’re feeling healthy (but don’t worry, you have the option to add the Ketel One Botanical vodka of your choice). 

 

 

 Image c/o Eater

Image c/o Eater

salvador dali the woodstock nyc

THE WOODSTOCK

It would be a sin to go to New York without having pizza, but I wanted to find a spot that puts a fresh spin on the city staple. Enter The Woodstock: a low-key yet vibrant 1960s-inspired cocktail and pizza bar in the Meatpacking District. Art lovers will swoon over the original Salvador Dali paintings adorning the restaurant’s walls and adding a bit of surrealism to their trendy buzzing space. There aren’t enough adequate words in the English-language to properly pay homage to the Gloria pizza (a Primo Tartufo with mozzarella, smoked scamorza, wild mushrooms, rosemary, pine nuts and porcini truffle crema). But while the 60s decor, Dali paintings and mouth-watering pizzas are all incredible, possibly the most memorable aspect of this hotspot is the cocktail menu. Each concoction is served in a unique glass, ranging from your standard Collins or High Ball, all the way to a lightbulb (which the “Light My Fire” is served in). And while one may think the luxe art collection would skyrocket food/drink prices, however all premium cocktails are merely $10 and pizzas are $15 (which is practically robbery for NYC prices). 

 

 

 

 

TRAIF

“Remind me how much of a vegetarian you are these days?” my cousin texted me as we were trying to decide where to meet for dinner my final evening in the city. I’m thankful my answer was 0% so I could experience Traif: a Williamsburg restaurant flaunting all things unkosher. Traif celebrates pork, shellfish and globally-inspired food (my favorites were the strawberry-cinnamon glazed Berkshire baby back ribs and the seared foie gras). While the neighborhood’s nearby community of Hasidic Jews likely won’t be flocking to Traif anytime soon, meanwhile, the orthodox are busy ordering another "Rude Little Pig”: a signature cocktail with lapsing-infused tequila, orange liqueur, pomegranate and, of course, a bacon rim.  

 

 

WHERE WE DRANK:

Stomach too full for a meal, but looking for a spot to grab a drink? Here are some of my favorite watering-holes where we gave our legs a break from walking.  

 

the django nyc jazz club
the django nyc jazz club

THE DJANGO

This was hands down one of my favorite places we found in New York. Located in the basement of the Roxy Hotel, The Django is a cavelike, Paris-inspired jazz venue and cocktail bar. We walked in last minute, but I would recommend calling in advance if you go on a Saturday night to reserve a table (it was jam-packed, but still so fun!) With big-band jazz music filling the room and people of all ages and background swing dancing with no regard for what time it was, it felt like we transformed back in time (or perhaps were on set for the Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris.”) Whatever you do, give this place a spot on your itinerary - you won’t regret it.  

 

 

 Image c/o Bon Appétit

Image c/o Bon Appétit

SANTINA

This award winning coastal Italian restaurant is located directly under the High Line, yet it boasts vibrant blue and orange umbrellas that leave you feeling like you’re in Positano. Pop in for an Aperol spritz on the patio after you finish strolling the High Line.  

 

 

le bain at the standard rooftop

LE BAIN- ROOFTOP AT THE STANDARD

On a sunny Saturday in the summer, be sure to arrive to The Standard right at 4pm to beat the lines and grab a spot at Le Bain. This rooftop bar boasts incredible views of the Hudson and Manhattan skyline and offers an energetic atmosphere, complete with delicious cocktails.  

 

P.J. CLARKE’S

Pop into their lower-Manhattan location a sunny Friday afternoon in the summer and you’re sure to rub elbows with Financial District employees who are loosening their ties for the weekend. P.J. Clarke’s has been serving up frosty drinks (their frosé is truly special) since 1884 and you can’t beat the buzzing energy and waterfront views this place has to offer (a perfect place to grab a drink before the Willy Wall).  

 

LLAMA INN

This Williamsburg Peruvian eatery offers a stunning atmosphere, but more importantly, delicious pisco sours (a traditional cocktail of Peruvian origin). I came here after dinner at Traif to meet friends and in addition to our cocktails, we tried one of the most memorable desserts I’ve had in a long time: Palo Santo flavored ice cream.  

 

 

WHAT WE DID: 

 

honorable william wall nyc
will wall cocktails

WILLY WALL

I couldn’t believe how many locals I spoke with who had never visited the Willy Wall (or more formally known as “The Honorable William Wall”). It was easily one of the coolest things we did in the city! Whether you fancy watching a sailing regatta or simply taking in gorgeous views of NYC on a nice day, this floating clubhouse/bar in the Hudson belonging to Manhattan Yacht Club is somewhere you absolutely shouldn’t miss. Tickets should be reserved in advance and includes a free one-way transfer on the Liberty Landing ferry from the World Financial Center Ferry Terminal to the Warren Street Pier where you meet the Admiral’s Launch water taxi.  

 

  

dumbo nyc

DUMBO

An iconic photo spot just around the corner from the Brooklyn Bridge. Be sure to go for coffee + almond croissant at Almondine while you’re over there!  

 

 

brooklyn bridge

BROOKLYN BRIDGE

After snapping photos at DUMBO and grabbing your coffee at Almondine Bakery, it’s time to stroll across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge! You always want to walk from the Brooklyn side to the Manhattan side for the best views of the city, and if you prefer to avoid crowds I definitely recommend going early (we arrived at 9am and it still was pretty full).  

 

 

THE HIGH LINE

Formerly an above-ground railroad, the High Line is a ~1.5 mile elevate park that runs along the west side of Manhattan. Starting a few blocks from Penn Station and running down to Meatpacking, this is the perfect spot to stroll when the weather is nice (it reminds me a lot of London’s Southbank with all of the street vendors, places to sit and various view points).  

 

 

 

central park nyc

CENTRAL PARK

An obvious “must” while visiting New York. We didn’t have much time to spend here on this particular trip, but some of my favorite highlights over the years include the pond, Gapstow Bridge (with the Plaza Hotel and skyline as a backdrop), The Lake Strawberry Fields and Sheep Meadow.  

 

 

radio city music hall

ROCKAFELLER PLAZA 

With today’s plethora of tourists, this likely won’t be a spot you want to stay long. Even still, I liked starting an (early) morning here to sneak a peek of the TODAY show cast (we heard Shawn Mendez performing “In My Blood” from a distance while we were shooting some photos in the area!) and strolling along some of the famous sights like Radio City Music Hall. Get in, see what you came to see, and then move on.  

 

 

top of the rock nyc

TOP OF THE ROCK 

It’s been said that this is the best spot for views of the city and I can’t really disagree now that I’ve been (although be warned, it gets crowded). It opens at 8am and tickets should be purchased in advance to avoid a long line. I recommend going bright and early to avoid peak tourist times so you can enjoy the views with limited crowds.  

 

 

 Image c/o  prêt-à-photo

Image c/o prêt-à-photo

FLATIRON BUILDING  

While this building is certainly an iconic NYC landmark you shouldn’t miss, the area in general has plenty to offer. Go for an afternoon pick-me-up with a cappuccino at Eataly or some matcha at Cha-Cha-Matcha before strolling through Madison Square Park or doing some shopping.  

 

There’s a lot more I could say about our time in New York (and about other things I’ve done during other visits!) Since I can’t expand upon everything, here are a few more favorites worth mentioning:  

 

MUSEUMS + MONUMENTS

The MET

Whitney Museum of Art

World Trade Center Memorial

MoMA

 

COFFEE/TEA/SNACKS

Variety Coffee in Williamsburg

Cha Cha Matcha

Grass Roots Juicery in Williamsburg

Everyman Espresso

Devoción

Momofuku Milk Bar for Ice Cream

 

momofuku milk bar nyc

 

GLOBAL CUISINE

Dhaba Indian Cuisine 

Uncle Boon’s (Thai) 

Le Coucou (French) 

Taverna Kyclades (Greek) 

Lupa Osteria Romana (Italian) 

Manousheh (Lebanese) 

 

 

I’m always looking for great recommendations to try for the next time I visit, so if you have a spot I can’t miss tell me in the comments below! 

 

Thank you to Expedia.ca for partnering on this trip and post and to Mr. Purple, Kingside, Aldea, Woodstock and Vandal for accommodating us. All opinions are my own.  

 

SHOP THE POST: 

weekend in new york
WEEKEND IN NYC.jpg
blonde atlas