All posts in: 5 tips

5 Tips to Pack in just a Carry On

Many moons ago I was the girl that packed as much as she possibly could into the biggest piece of luggage I could find and prayed it was within the weight limitations once I got to the airport. Oh the STRESS of it all, not to mention the pulled back muscles from trying to lift the thing. I finally saw the light and now I only travel with a carry-on. Sure, sometimes you have to get creative, but it is so worth it! You no longer have to worry about weight limits, if your bag will actually get to your destination, or if you can physically lug it wherever you need to go – it is so freaking freeing! So here are my 5 tips to pack in just a carry-on based on what I’ve tried and learned over the years.


1. Best carry-on luggage.

HANDS DOWN NO QUESTIONS ASKED is the Away Bigger Carry-On bag. And bonus it is a smart bag so you always have a little extra battery power for your phone, etc. This bag fits EVERYTHING. When you think it won’t close, just sit on it and zip – trust me. It has a zipper of champions! It easily fits in the overhead bins, has 4 wheels that glide like a dream, and a built-in lock to keep your stuff safe. It is definitely an investment piece, but if you travel a lot then it is well worth the price. I use this and then a large tote bag that fits over the Away bag’s handle so that it doesn’t slide all around. This is seriously all you need!

Travel Hack: You are allowed to carry on with both pieces and a purse!

How to pack in only a carryon

2. Packing Cubes or Nah?

I love the organization that packing cubes brings to your luggage, especially on longer trips where you can simply remove the packing cube and put it into a dresser drawer. These are the kind I use and they come in a bunch of fun colors. However, I personally have found that sometimes you can’t fit as many things and there’s weird extra space around the cubes that is difficult to utilize. I have found that a mix of some cubes and some free space is the perfect balance when packing in only a carry-on bag.

Travel Hack: Bring an empty cube to put your dirty laundry in!

3. Fold or Roll?

Definitely roll. You can fit so much more when you are packing in just a carry-on bag if you roll all of your clothes. I do not understand the physics of this lol, but it is very true. It’s also easier to fit rolled up clothes around the bars of the luggage handles that are on one side of the suitcase. The only downside of rolling is that your clothes can get more wrinkled, but I have found literally the best wrinkle release solution if the place you’re going does not have an iron. Pro tip: buy the bigger size, not the travel size and then just pour a little bit into a travel size spray bottle.

Travel Hack: Put your undies in a small packing cube or bag, no need to roll those and it keeps them all organized.

Roll your clothes when packing

4. Choose a base color

This is the simplest tip that you will see across the board on all travel blogs. Pick one base color for your travel wardrobe so that you can easily mix and match different outfits. Personally, I love black and white so on my most recent trip I mixed and matched black, white, and denim and had two scarves that added a little color. This is also helpful if the weather is going to change a lot so that you can easily layer your outfits.

Travel Hack: Just because you wore it once doesn’t mean you can’t wear it again, use some Febreze if needed! This size is perfect.  

Crease Release

5. What about toiletries, hair dryers, straighteners, etc.

Regarding toiletries, I always bring a travel size of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion. I never feel like the hotel’s is super high quality and I have very sensitive skin – but it’s good in a pinch if you run out of space. As for hair dryers – I never pack a hair dryer because the hotel always has one, but I also don’t mind showering at night and letting my hair air dry. It saves SO much room in your carry-on because even the “travel hair dryers” are decently big. I do always bring my curling iron OR straightener, never both. They’re easy to tuck into the side of my suitcase. Make sure you bring a heat protection case so that you don’t burn your clothes or luggage. Also be sure to bring a converter if you are traveling abroad or it will be pointless to pack this! This one has 8,000 5-star reviews.

Travel Hack: Dry shampoo is your best friend when traveling and of course they do have travel size!

This one is my favorite.

Let me know if you give any of these a try or if you have your own tips for how to pack in only a carry-on!

You might also like this post on wardrobe basics that would be perfect to pack in your carry-on bag

Safe travels,



5 Ways to Practice Self Care

Happy International Self Care Day! I hope you are able to find some time today for YOU. I know so many of us struggle with making time for ourselves. We get so busy, or we think we don’t deserve a break, or we just don’t make it a priority to actively treat ourselves to some self care. So, for whomever needs to hear this today or any day, YOU DESERVE IT! Which is why I’ve put together these 5 ways to practice self care.

When we take time for self care we ultimately make a better version of ourselves. By taking a pause for a much needed mental break, we allow room to become more present with family, friends, work, side hustle – everything! Think about it, when we get SO busy running from thing to thing, we’re usually just thinking about the next thing rather than the present thing. These pauses give us a chance to reset, regroup, and reflect.

Try your best not to buy into the lie that it’s selfish because that’s so far from the truth. Self care is an investment. You invest in your 401k to take care of your future self, so why not care for your present self in any little way that you can? A big part of investing in ourselves is investing in our mental heath – enter self care!

For me personally, I struggle with chronic anxiety and have since high school. Over the years I have had to learn various methods of self care and with that, being more mindful about intentionally setting time aside for self care. I can be a social butterfly, but quickly get exhausted, so I’ve learned to schedule self care nights every once in awhile and they are non-negotiable – I don’t flake out on myself! I encourage you to do the same. Make self care a priority. Today I’m outlining my top 5 ways to practice self care in the hopes that my suggestions will work for you too!


#1 Journaling

Gratitude journaling is just that – you write down all of the things that you’re thankful for. It is so grounding on days when you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Just sit down and jot a few things that you’re thankful for – it can even be as simple as your cosy bed you get to cuddle up in at the end of the day – but suddenly it puts everything into perspective and you feel a little lighter.
For me, gratitude journaling evolved into list writing or bullet journaling on occasion. Whenever my mind is full of ideas or to-do lists I just write them all down and it is so freeing! It opens up space for me to be able to focus on other things or even conversations I’m having so then my mind doesn’t drift elsewhere.
Of course one of the best parts about journaling is the cute notebooks like this one and this one. I also keep lists in my planners. Yes, plural 🙂 I have one for work and one for my personal life/side hustle. And you can’t have a cute notebook without some fun and colourful pens. Who say you can’t accessorise for mental health?!

#2 Self spa time

Notice I called this section “self spa time” not “spa day”. The key here is that you’re not splurging by going to the spa (although if it’s in your budget then by all means have at it sister!) and you’re also not using an entire day, just a few intentional hours. For me this helps to minimise that nagging, guilty feeling of spending time on myself. I 100% believe that we should never feel guilty about investing time in ourselves and our mental health, but sometimes it sneaks in. Taking these precautions helps me squash that guilt. It may not be an issue for you and that’s great!

For my self spa time I LOVE to light A LOT of candles, I’m talking fire hazard quantities (jk), but I just find candles to be so calming. They really set the tone for my intentional me time. I love the Capri Blue Volcano candles and the Woodwick Candles the most. I think the Woodwick brand is even better for Fall/Winter because they sort of set a fireplace glow mood. 

Once I have the right vibe, I take this time to do beauty treatments I rarely ever do – like facemasks. I typically never have the time or patience to sit in a mask, but for my self spa time, masking is perfect to sit in and maybe even meditate while you let it work. It is so refreshing for your skin and so soothing. You will feel like a million bucks afterwards. 

Another thing I like to do to pamper my skin is spend a few minutes using a facial roller. I have the electronic version, but a simple roller also does wonders. Not only does it feel SO good (literally it’s as good as rocking a baby to sleep), but it has noticeably improved the elasticity of my skin – much more firm and lifted!

If I have more time, I love to give myself a mani/pedi! For me this just means using a scrub on my feet and then just putting on a fresh coat of polish (I love OPI) on my toes. I’m terrible at painting my own fingernails so I love to use the Impress or KISS press on nails. If I’m splurging I’ll go get a nice dip mani 🙂 Feel free to really get into your spa time. After all, this is YOUR time!


#3 read with a cosy beverage

There’s nothing better than a slow morning with a good book and a fancy coffee or tea. I LOVE to read, but lately haven’t been making enough time to get through my reading list. I realise I really miss it! Just like binge watching your favourite show, it’s such a good way to turn off the brain and get away from reality for a bit. If you’re not a reader then swap this suggestion for your favourite show or even a good movie!

I love to read pretty much everything, but my favourite genres are self-help and fiction. My favourites recently are: You Are a Badass, In Five Years, and The Happiness Project. I could write out all my favourite books, but that would take FOREVER – I see another blog post in my future 😉 If you’re in the market for a new read, I would check out one of those!

I also think a nice hot drink sets the cosy vibe even more! I’m a coffee AND tea drinker, but usually gravitate toward coffee. I recently picked up a milk frother and it is my new obsession. I feel like I’m treating myself to a fancy Starbucks coffee in my own home! I also have quite a mug collection and love to choose my morning mug like I love choosing my outfit of the day! Currently loving this mermaid mug


#4 organise your space

Organising is SO therapeutic! There’s something about living in a messy, chaotic space that just makes anxiety that much more stressful. I love setting aside time to organise something. A friendly warning though, don’t make this goal “organise the house”, make it much smaller like “organise the desk”. Just a small chunk of time every so often will do wonders.  I recently made it a priority to organise all of my beauty and makeup products. I find having the right tools really makes the job so much easier. So I found this rotating organiser to sit on my vanity as well as this small stackable organiser. I also bought these various drawer organisers to keep everything from rolling around inside my vanity drawers. It allows me to still be able to easily see everything without being inside a makeup bag. I also did quite a bit of purging, which is just so cathartic. Get rid of whatever doesn’t serve you anymore! 

This fourth tip of my top 5 ways to practice self care is also the gift that keeps on giving, because not only does it feel good to organise and set everything up just how you want it, but it also feels great every single time you come back to use the space. 


#5 take a nap or have some quiet time

Last but not least, and also my personal favourite of the 5 ways to practice self care, is napping/quiet time. I am truly the nap queen to the point that my college roommates used to call me Sleep Monster – lol. I used to think that something was wrong with me or that I was super lazy, but the more I analysed why I need this nap or quiet time, the more it made sense. 

Stress is exhausting! Anxiety = stress! Plain and simple. I find that even 20-30 minutes with my eyes closed is SO refreshing. I notice this especially on Fridays when the work week is done and we have plans to go out later, I just need a little time to reset and rid myself of any lingering work stress. It’s not laziness, it’s taking care of my mental health. We should never feel guilty or ashamed of this!

If you love naps and quiet time, make sure to set up a comfortable space. Whether that’s your couch, a cushy chair, or your bed. Mine is my bed 🙂 I have the best pillow you’ll ever try and it’s even customisable. I also use a lavender spray to make the room smell and feel so calming. Lighting a candle is also very cosy if you’re just resting and not sleeping. Occasionally I’ll use the headspace app for relaxing soundscapes. This is hands down my favourite way to care for myself. Cosy pjs and slippers are also a must!


self care is self love


I truly hope some or all of these suggestions for 5 ways to practice self care resonated with you! Mental Health Awareness is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart and whatever I can do to help you on a path towards better mental health I would love to do it! Always remember that self care is not selfish, it’s self love – and more than that, it helps you be able to love your loved ones even better! Let me know if you try any of these methods and I hope you have a wonderful International Self Care Day!

xx, Ashley

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