|Pennsylvania looked a lot like this when I was there recently!|
Just before Christmas I visited my brother in Pennsylvania (and got stuck on a plane at the Atlanta airport for almost four hours because I returned on the day the airport lost power, but that's another story!). My brother recently lost his wife, and has been extremely busy attempting to settle her affairs while also working full time, so my visit was mostly spent trying to help him catch up on more mundane chores such as house cleaning and animal care. Needless to say, this was not a glamorous vacation, but it was nice to get together with family, especially since my other brother came up from Maryland for a couple of days as well.
All of us, including my sister who was there for Thanksgiving but couldn't make the pre-Christmas trip, will be converging on Pennsylvania for a long weekend to celebrate my brother's birthday in late February. It is a landmark one for him, and I am sure it will be rather hard on my brother without my sister-in-law, so we do not want him to be alone. Once again I am expecting to help him catch up on chores, but we will also treat him to a dinner out at a nice restaurant. Based on my packing experience for the pre-Christmas trip, I have a pretty good idea of what I will need to bring with me in February. Pennsylvania will be cold then, much colder than Georgia, so I will make sure to have plenty of warm layers. I need to pack clothes that I can wear to muck out a barn as well as an outfit appropriate for a fancy restaurant. As always, I want to be comfortable on the plane, especially after my unexpected extended plane experience recently!
First up is the outfit I will be wearing for the flight from Georgia to Pennsylvania, mostly based on similar items I already own and wore when I visited a couple of weeks ago:
|Clockwise from top left: Igloos Microfleece Reversible Headband in Anthracite Black; Columbia Women's Mighty Lite Hooded Jacket in Black; Southcombe Mabel Warm Lined Leather Gloves in Black; L.L. Bean Women's Straight-Leg Double L Jeans in Rinsed Wash; J. Crew Women's Tissue Turtleneck T-Shirt in Navy; Gap Dalmatian Graphic Stripe Pullover Sweater in Red; Joe's USA Women's Soft and Cozy Fleece Vest in True Red; Center top: Madewell Zip Top Leather Tote in True Black; Center middle: Hanes Premium Women's Cushioned Crew Socks in Navy; Center bottom: Propet Women's Madison Mid Zip Boots in Black.|
It sure seems like a lot of clothes, doesn't it? The trick is to choose your apparel carefully. My quilted coat is actually a lightweight one, which does a good job of blocking the wind but is not too uncomfortably warm indoors. I am one of those people who prefers cooler temperatures, so I never want clothing that is too toasty. The lighter weight also means that I can easily keep the coat on the plane seat with me (airlines discourage people from putting coats in the overhead bins since there is so little space for carry-on items on planes). The fleece vest keeps warmth in around my body core, which goes a long way toward making the rest of me feel warm, and if I get too hot I can unzip both the coat and vest to cool off. The sweater is a cotton blend and the turtleneck tee is lightweight. I found that I could keep all four layers on even indoors and not get overheated. Jeans are always warm enough for me, but anyone who wants more warmth could add a layer underneath (silk long underwear like the ones shown here are great for holding in warmth but not adding bulk).
I do not look good in hats and almost never wear them, even in the coldest weather, as I find polar fleece headbands to be more than adequate. Sleek insulated gloves keep my hands comfortable, and both the headband and gloves fit easily into the generous coat pockets when I do not need to wear them. I like to wear lightweight socks with fleece-lined boots that are not too tight so that air can circulate and keep my feet warm enough but not too hot.
Next up is all of the packed clothing for this long weekend trip:
|Clockwise from top left: Boden Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater in Ivory/Navy Multi Stripe; Lecxci Women's Small Leather Crossbody Bag in Black; Hanes Men's Ultimate Cotton Heavyweight Crewneck Sweatshirt in Deep Red; L.L. Bean Women's Long-Sleeve Crewneck Pima Cotton Tee in Black; Hanes Sport Ultimate Cotton Men's Sweatpants with Pockets in Black; Pendleton Argyle Wool Blend Crew Socks in Charcoal; Traveler's Club Luggage Monterey 18" Expandable Carry-On Spinner Luggage in Red; Soft Style by Hush Puppies Heaven Leather Slip-On Shoes in Black; L.L. Bean Women's Slim Perfect Fit Pants in Classic Navy; L.L. Bean Women's Long-Sleeve Interlock Mock-Turtleneck in Dark Cranberry; Center top: Uniqlo Women's Cotton Cashmere V-Neck Sweater in Navy; Center middle: L.L. Bean Women's Long-Sleeve Interlock Mock-Turtleneck in White; Center bottom: Hanes Premium Women's Cushioned Crew Socks in Navy and Black.|
You may have noticed that I am mixing black and navy, which not everyone likes to do. I personally do not have a problem with these two colors together as my dark neutrals, but for those who do not like the combination, grey or charcoal could be substituted for either color. I own a lot of red apparel and it fits right in with the rest of the colors. I found that I practically lived in my heavyweight red sweatshirt on my recent trip to Pennsylvania (mine happens to have the UGA logo on it, but that detail is not a necessity!). This top keeps me warm enough when I am not active, and I do not worry about getting it dirty if I need to wear it while doing chores. I even slept in it at night with sweatpants, since I do not normally travel with pajamas (the sweatpants can also be worn when doing chores). You may have noticed that I selected men's sweats, because I think that they are better made and more practical than the ones made for women. One pair of warm wool socks is useful for outdoor activities, and I always change back into lightweight socks once back indoors as I find wool socks to be too warm most of the time.
For my upcoming trip, I can wear my travel jeans as chore pants, along with a tee-shirt and the sweatshirt. The striped sweater and red mock turtleneck with the knit pants will work for the birthday dinner, and the same pants with the navy sweater and white top are fine for the plane trip home. The navy sweater could even be left out and either the Dalmatian sweater or striped sweater can be worn once more for my return trip, which is what will probably end up happening as I may try to bring an even smaller carry-on bag if possible (it is getting harder and harder to fit luggage into those overhead compartments unless you are one of the priority passengers who gets on the plane first). I purposely did not pack any jewelry as I do not wear earrings and I think that a necklace or bracelet would be superfluous with all of the layering. For the same reason I did not include a scarf, because the coat and vest can zip up over the neck and most of the tee-shirts cover the neck as well. If the weather should be unexpectedly warm, the tee-shirts and sweaters can all be worn on their own instead of being layered.
You have finally almost come to the end of this rather long post! I am not fond of traveling during the winter months due to the unpredictable weather, and most of my upcoming trip will be more like typical chore days at home, but it will be a chance for me to spend some time with all of my siblings, and that is something that happens so rarely I would not even think of missing this event! 2017 was a rather traumatic year for my family, so hopefully we can all enjoy ourselves in 2018 with a birthday celebration for my brother. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that 2018 will be a good year and that nothing will go wrong, at the very least not for this trip!