Kelly Does Capri

A not-so-innocent goes abroad and turns her eye to Italian fashion — with only two pairs of shoes. Can she survive?

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist,

So, while you are sitting down to peruse the Unionville Times with your Landhope coffee, I am, at this VERY MOMENT, sipping espresso in a café in Italy. Jealous? I thought so.

I am wearing black skinny jeans with a striped top and a black scarf wound ever so “European-ishly” around my neck. I am shouting things like “buon giorno” and “bellisima” and “gelato” all in the attempt to BLEND. I have (un)successfully convinced my husband to wear a button down heather gray cardigan and plaid beret tilted casually to one side. Therefore, to punish him, I am also fake smoking (because I gag at the thought of really smoking).

I am turning up my nose at the passing Americans in their white Sketcher Shape-Ups and fanny packs and Six Flags sun visors. For this week, at least, I AM Italian.

I am here in Italy as a result of a FABULOUS birthday present from my husband. I am approaching a rather significant number. I don’t have the stomach to say it out loud; but, let’s just say that I COULD, potentially, have a subscription to MORE magazine. Although, age is just a number, right??? So, I will read my Teen Vogue and shop at Forever 21 just like I always have. Plus, Madonna is a good decade older than me and her body is ridiculous! Have you seen it?

Now, before you go singing my husband’s praises for such a wonderfully fantastic trip, let me tell you a little something. He said, and I QUOTE: “Kelly, we will be schlepping our suitcases around so we need to each take a small one. You can only pack TWO PAIRS OF SHOES.”

Uh huh, that’s what he said. The nerve! The incredulous audacity! I was flabbergasted.

I have a two-a-day shoe wardrobe change on an everyday basis in America! How am I going to pull off BEING Italian with such limited options? Doesn’t George Clooney have a house here? What if we run into George? It could happen!

But, I am competitive. I like a challenge. Plus, I am in the land of delicious leather goods and my husband has a torn ACL. If I start to panic, I can out-run him to the most expensive little boutique on the Almafi Coast.

In the attempt to humor him, however, I took it upon myself to figure out a way to work around two pairs of shoes.

I selected a bronze ballet flat trimmed in black and a knee high sleek black boot. That is the KEY, ladies. Pick a color “theme” and choose your clothing options accordingly. So, you will pick either a “brown” theme or a “black” one.

If you haven’t figured me out from the content of my previous three articles, I am somewhat neurotic. What I am going to suggest next as a means of successful “light” packing may seem a little OCD. I concur. But, it works.

I choose all of my outfits and try them on one by one. I pair the accessories that would go with each outfit and write them all out on a list. Is this making you nervous for my mental health? Don’t be. My father and sister are psychologists. I am perfectly normal.

I bought vacuum sealed Space Bags to ensure every square inch of my luggage space. I decided to wear my jacket on the plane along with my boots since they were much bulkier than my little ballet flats.

I pack as much as humanly possible in a large handbag to bring with me as a carry-on. I always include my make-up bag (because even if they lose our luggage, I still need my lip-gloss and mascara), my toothbrush and an extra pair of underwear.  I don’t know why these things instill a sense of peace, they just do.

I absolutely HATE to fly. I have anxiety and motion sickness all rolled into one. This feeling compounded by a nagging pit in my stomach that I left the “perfect” outfit at home in my closet is enough to make me an absolute JOY to travel with.

But, imagine the fashion tips I will gather! I can’t wait to share my good fortune with all of you when I return!

Until next week, ARRIVEDERCI!

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