This past Monday I left for a three day work conference. I have been working for this company officially since February, but finally received training at the Annual meeting this week. (The guys I work with have been great about explaining things when they have the time, but mostly I have just figured things out through trial and error). I was incredibly nervous about going on this trip, since it is a very conservative company and this is our corporate headquarters. I come from an incredibly liberal background, love the arts, I’m not big on most sports, I am not married and do not have kids. In my experience these are deal breakers in the South. So I prayed for guidance. I prayed that I would find some common ground with everyone and that I would learn a lot. So now that you have the backstory let’s look at what to pack!
For the plane to the reception:
1 pair of coral colored dress pants.
1 white top
1 statement necklace
1 blanket sweater
1 pair of sparkly flats
1 neutral/nude bra
Tip: I always bring one pair of socks to wear when you have to take your shoes off for TSA then I take them off and put them in a ziplock so I do not transfer athletes foot and God knows what else to my feet/shoes. Then, grab my extra pair of socks to put on and head to the plane! I knew I would have to go from the airplane to a work reception/dinner the first day. The next day is a full day of events, meetings, networking,then dinner at a country club. The last day is a half day ending with us heading to the airport after lunch. Now what should I wear for one full day of events and two half days? While you want to be comfortable you also want to look professional. I am a huge fan of color, unlike most people who opt for black and grey. So I thought I would put together a few looks that would work for the short period of time, but fit in a carry on.
Do not be afraid of color! Even in a conservative office people still love to wear color, whether it is a bright colored tie on guys or a bright shirt or lip color on ladies. Think of J.Crew and Lily Pulitzer, these two brands love to use color.
To sleep in:
1 long sleeve top
1 pair of shorts
I always think about the unexpected. You never know when an unexpected fire alarm may go off and you don’t want to risk running past your boss in a nightie.
1 toiletries bag for liquids
-make up remover
1 make up bag
-liquid black liner
-a neutral shimmer eyeshadow
(Toothbrush and toothpaste of course).
To work out in:
1 sports bra
1 pair of work out pants
1 work out top
1 pair of sneakers
Bring work out clothes! Even if you don’t think you will have time to workout you’ll be thankful you brought the clothes to change into. Every time I bring a sports bra and sneakers I think okay, I can take at least thirty minutes to workout between events and dinner. It’s rare that hotels do not have a gym and even if yours does not you can walk around the area site seeing.
The Capital hotel we stayed in is owned by the same company that has the building across the street. There is a full rooftop gym with rowing machines, kettle balls, free weights, stair master, elliptical, oblique machine, balance balls, weighted ropes and nine arm machines. I made it a point to work out in between the check in time and dinner reception the first night. The view from the top was beautiful and if I wasn’t so tired from networking the next night I would have went back Wednesday morning!
1 bright high-neck dress
1 light colored cardigan
1 strapless bra
(The same pair of sparkly flats)
The second day I planned to wear a nice dress since we planned on heading to the Country Club after the day of training. I knew we would probably have thirty minutes until we needed to head to our dinner location so it’s better to be dressed up for the day. I always make sure to try on the clothes I am packing at home to make sure I have the proper bra for each piece of clothing. That way you do not have to worry about your straps showing and having someone adjust your clothing. I always pack a nice cardigan that I can wear over sleeveless dresses and stay warm in air-conditioned buildings.
1 red top
1 pair of black pants
1 blanket sweater
(The same pair of sparkly flats)
The third day I chose to wear the standard black pants and a red V-neck. This would be corporate enough and comfortable for the plane.
Above you will see some photos of the Capital hotel. The elevator of the Capital hotel is huge. The rumor is Ulysses S. Grant rode his horse into the hotel and needed the elevator to be big enough for his horse to ride up. I guess he parked his horse in the hallway when he went into his room.
Overall my trip went really well. I enjoyed learning more about my bosses and the Company we work for. The CEO is incredibly charismatic and enjoys taking the time to make everyone feel important. The other admins are fabulous older ladies who want to share their knowledge and uplift one another. (We’ve even started a share drive to help each other with new programs and tasks). I had a really great discussion with multiple people about enjoying this time in my life. As people asked me if I was married, had kids or how old I was I felt a little hesitant to share. (Most people in my company have been married for a minimum of 7 years and are in their late 30’s or 40’s). While I actually am very happy at this point in my life, I find people often try to shame you for being a single woman. Personally I think this is a short window of time where I am allowed to be selfish. I can take the time to travel anywhere I want without asking my man for permission. I can spend $300.00 on a purse I liked, because it is my money and I do not have to explain that to anyone. I’m also taking my time to seriously think about my deal breakers and needs in a husband. It is not a long list, but there are certain qualities I know he needs to have. Just like I expect him to have a list of qualities he is looking for. While I have literally been told by “loved ones” you need to lower your expectations no one is perfect. My response is, “I’m not looking for the perfect person, I am looking for the perfect person for me”. As far as I am concerned we meet when we are meant to, in the meantime I am enjoying this time spoiling myself.