Travel lesson I learned from my stylish friends in Sedona


Three friends, five days, 115 degrees; the girls’ trip to Sedona was awesome! With a plan to hike in early mornings and evenings, then run around the hip town of Sedona in the heat of the day, I stashed a selection from Mud and Grace Summer Essentials in my pack. But I was curious to see the clothing my friends would bring. More experienced outdoors women than I am, Ann and Lynette also are beautiful, with the sort of easy grace of women who have known what to wear and what to pack for years.

Ann, Lynette and me on a 6 a.m. hike.
Lynette, looking elegant in 100 degree heat heading up Cathedral Rock.
Lynette, looking elegant in 100 degree heat heading up Cathedral Rock.

Lesson 1: Beat the sun with technology

You’ll notice the chic little scarves both of my friends are wearing? It’s not to elevate their hiking boots with a Parisian detail. They are cooling bandanas. You soak the little scarf in cold water, and retains the cold for hours. Plus you look adorable.


Next, check out Ann’s robin’s egg blue shirt. We’re pretty sure that Ann is Scottish royalty. She’s good with horses, hates to cook, her skin burns with the hint of sun, and breaks out in hives against any jewelry that’s not 100% precious metal. Her long-sleeved shirt was cool sun protection for every hike we took. REI and Columbia have nice options. She also brought light, colorful scarves to keep the sun off her decolletage.

Ann and I in our solid color, sport weight dresses. Ann is rocking some stylish, product free sunblock.
Ann, rocking some stylish, product-free sunblock.

Lesson 2: Free and easy makes for stylish downtime

A casual evening on the town.
A casual day in Jerome, or evening on the town.

“I want to steal that dress right off you!” a woman told Ann as we were wandering through a lovely little shop. You can’t blame her. The simple silhouette and color blocking with the embroidered neckline are just gorgeous. Lynette’s patterned shorts and swinging silk top are fun but still elegant. Like Lynette, the ensemble is up for anything.

Even the graffiti in Jerome is stylish.
Even the graffiti in Jerome is stylish.

Lesson 3: Pick a color

You’ll notice that in almost every picture, Lynette is wearing white, Ann is wearing blue and I am wearing red. Too bad we weren’t there over the 4th of July. Both my friends complimented her primary color with black and tan, but most of what they packed was in one color that looked great. There certainly is a time and place for trying new colors and stepping outside your comfort zone, but we had plenty on our plates without fussing about new color combinations. Simplicity is stylish.

Lynette, competent horsewoman. Ann, accomplished horsewoman. Me, desperately trying to keep my horse from running away and/or eating grass.
Lynette, competent horsewoman. Ann, accomplished horsewoman. Me, desperately trying to keep my horse from running away and/or eating grass.
Feelin' the vortex
Feelin’ the vortex, inadvertently coordinating with the rock.

Lesson 4: Pack light, buy a remembrance.

Ann and Lynette both wore one necklace, a wedding ring and one cocktail ring. Then we went shopping. Learning about jewelry is part of my Mud and Grace journey, and Lynette and Ann were great people to learn from. Lynette found a gorgeous ring. Ann took a long time in choosing this perfect bracelet.

Ann’s turquoise bracelet

I found this fun bracelet. Next step? Learn to wear it with confidence.



Lesson 5: Bring the best, leave the rest

Much of the success of this trip was in what we didn’t bring, but it wasn’t just excess shoes or a second maxi dress left in the closet. Here’s a list of what to shed before you even hit the TSA line.

Leave behind your insecurities, and with that your jealousy won’t want to make the trip. My friends are smart and beautiful, and sometimes I feel like a spare-parts corgi trying to keep up with a couple of greyhounds.  But these girls love me despite, and even because of, my goofiness.

Don’t pack in your diet, and ditch your body image issues. A few days away from home with great food, and I don’t have to cook or clean up? Yes please! And I’ll have bread with that, thank you.

Leave your guilt at home. Do you want your kids to grow up to develop strong friendships? Your children will benefit by watching you deepen relationships with friends, and take time for yourself. You’re not leaving your family, you’re setting a good example!

Ultimately, the most important pieces we brought weren’t in our wardrobes. On this girls’ trip I learned to never forget the following: a few childhood stories, trail-map reading skills, and one or two really good pieces of gossip. A ready laugh and a relaxed attitude take up no space in a carry-on, and always come in handy. Finally, throw in a little curiosity, empathy, generosity and wonder, and you’re set for a magical vacation.

Sedona girls' trip!
We’ll be back!



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