packing for two weeks in Spokane.

In July, I went packed my things and sat in a car for six hours, arriving in the city of Spokane, WA. I was to spend the next two weeks sleeping in the dorms, going to lectures, and eating college food. That was basically the camp at Gonzaga Debate Institute. Knowing how tiny the dorms were supposed to be, I realized that I had to bring as little clothes as possible. Not only did I have to bring things to wear, I also had to bring sheets, a pillow, a ton of food, and basically everything I needed to survive (comfortably).

So, about three weeks before I really needed to start packing, I planned out what I was going to bring. I don’t have much artistic skill but I ended up drawing the items I wanted to bring on little post-it notes. These were super helpful just to see everything visually.
There are tons of formulae out there telling exactly how much of what you should bring based on how long your trip is. Six felt good to me, so I brought six tops and six bottoms. For bottoms, I brought four shorts, leggings (which I didn’t really wear), and I replaced that skirt with sweat pants (fantastic idea). For tops, I brought three tank tops, two tees, and a long sleeve that replaced one of those gray shirts. I also brought a light hoodie and a rain jacket.

Spokane in July is pretty hot, though the mornings are comfortable enough for me to wear sweats and a long sleeve. I spent about eight hours of the day in a heavily air-conditioned classroom so everything that I brought was actually too cold. But outdoors, it was perfect.


If everything coordinated, there would be 36 outfits which is plenty for a two week trip (we has access to a washer and dryer too). But since everything I brought didn’t require much outfit planning, I just grabbed what I wanted.

All of this, plus two pairs of shoes, towels, and toiletries, fit in a duffle bag. Success.


palouse falls, WA

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Just a little hike from the parking lot, Palouse Falls is an oasis amidst a desert. We arrived in the late afternoon but the sun was still high in the sky. There were people camping, hiking, painting, and just hanging out. As the teens say these days, it was pretty chill.

las vegas.

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Damn Vegas, you are quite the busy city. You are just like any other city during the day, but at night, your personality really lights up (get it?). DSC_8929 copy DSC_8935 copy

There are so many people in you, walking to this restaurant and that, that it almost reminds my of my hometown, Shanghai. You two are pretty similar, though with less bicycle-riders and food stands. The hotels placed on every single corners are grand, theme-centered, and have a casino at the bottom. I’m going to ignore you’re gambling side and focus on that one beam of light that shines directly on the clouds. I’m gonna ask you about those mountains that hover around you and make me feel as though I’m in this other world where everybody has endless money (which they don’t) and no one is relaxed and sober at the same time. But Las Vegas, I’m just talking about your main strip, not the hundreds of big houses in the desert, or the miles of windmills on the hills that make me feel as though maybe you are a little less wasteful.  DSC_8948 copy Your starless skies, your impersonating landmarks, oh how you make yourself fancier than Iggy Azalea.

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I’d to hang out with you some time again, maybe after I go visit San Fran again, when I’m not with distant relatives that get tired easily and don’t plan enough time to truly enjoy you.

Have a good night, LV

I know you always do. 🙂




In case you were wondering, we stayed at the Planet Hollywood hotel and went to see the majestic, musical fountains in front of Caesar’s Palace.

grand canyon.

Next up in our west-of-the-rockies road trip, the Grand Canyon.DSC_8812 copy DSC_8821 copy We finally arrived at the South Rim around 7 pm. It was not the best of planning that day. The drive through was absolutely beautiful, a single black line through the red carpet. When we arrived, we only had a few hours to take in the stunning views before driving back to our cabin through the dark, lightning-filled skies.  DSC_8834 copyDSC_8836 copyDSC_8837 copyDSC_8839 copyTip!! One day, or even two, is not enough to take in all of the grand C. There’s a special bus that takes you to the most beautiful road in the park, and only that bus is allowed to drive there. If possible, take a ride on as many buses as you can before they close. DSC_8861 copy DSC_8864 copyThe next day, we went to Zion National Park. DSC_8898 copyDSC_8902 copyDSC_8922 copySimilar to the Grand Canyon, but smaller, and with a orange highway they perfectly named “the carmel highway” running through the whole park. It was a nice stay-in-the-car experience, the last nature activity before we entered the city of lights and spending money on luck.

in a duffle: 2 week roadtrip



I am on a road trip right now.

*flashback music and distortion of the screen*

It was just an average after-dinner hangout on the deck, in the sumer heat and the orange sunset.

“Iris, come over here.”

I didn’t think much of it until my mom said:

“What do you think about going on a two week road trip with your cousin and his parents?”

Hmmm. Interesting.

“They are going to LA, San Fran, and a few other places. You’ll have to be very independent without us.”


*comes back into real time*

This is definitely something for my #successfulsummer list. So, being the overly planned packer that I am, I started a Google Doc with my packing list. There are a lot of packing lists and tips out there which are useful and insightful, but I’ll just add one more post. 🙂 Here’s what I plan on packing:



  • 6 shirts
  • 1 army jacket
  • 1 hoodie
  • 2 pants (jeans & sweats)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 dress
  • socks
  • undies
  • 2 camis
  • pajamas
  • swimsuit
  • rain jacket
  • 1 pair of everyday sandals
  • 1 pair for shoes
  • 1 wide scarf

I was extremely inspired by the photo from House Mix Blog.


  • toothbrush & toothpaste
  • hairbrush
  • shampoo & conditioner
  • toner
  • moisturizer
  • cotton pads
  • dry shampoo
  • hair elastics/bobby pins
  • contact kit
  • concealer
  • lip balm

and of course my electronic, wallet, and neck pillow 🙂

Now, this is a road trip so I don’t have to worry about liquids or weight. I have also planned everything in outfits, although every shirt goes with every pant and goes with every jacket so I don’t really have to worry about that either.

As many, many sites will tell you, roll your clothes and use packing cubes. I rolled my clothes but since I didn’t have packing cubes, I just used old shopping bags from stores like Forever 21 or Gap.

It all fit in a duffle bag too (with room for purchases haha)! Ah, I am really excited  and I’ll definitely be sharing photos. 🙂