If you haven’t guessed already, this girl loves to travel. Leaving reality behind and setting off for an unfamiliar experience with new sights, foods, people and cultures is one of my all-time favorite things. Not my favorite: lugging heavy, over-packed bags or, on the other end of the spectrum, having too little resources to feel totally comfortable while away from home. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced is finding beauty products that are travel-friendly and keep me looking and feeling my best. On a recent trip to the hot and humid streets of Chicago, these four products held strong, cementing their status as must-haves for future excursions.
Colorful Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm from Clinique
[Image from www.clinique.com]
Bright and refreshing, these lip gloss sticks make the perfect travel companion. Long flights always leave me looking and feeling a little dull, but I was ready for any adventure as soon as I stepped of the plane with a pick me up from these Clinique treats. The lip balm comes in 16 shades that can be worn as a subtle tint or layered to make lips pop—Super Strawberry is my favorite!
Aveeno® Positively Radiant® Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
[Image from www.aveeno.com]
In the summertime, when the weather is hot, hot, hot, I would much rather use a lightweight concealer that can withstand a little sweat than heavier creams and powders. This Aveeno tinted moisturizer not only gave me an even skin tone that stayed strong under pressure from the sun, but also provided SPF protection—a major plus, especially with my fair skin. This product stuck with me in the transition from day to night, with little to no reapplication necessary. Probably my favorite part is the moisturizer’s silky feeling; it goes on as a cream but transitions to a softer, power-like substance as it blends into my skin. No sticky, streaky mess here, just flawless and fabulous.
The Body Shop’s Moringa Body Butter
[Image from www.thebodyshop-usa.com]
The Body Shop has some amazing products, but this body butter has to be my favorite. It melts right into my skin, leaving it feeling super soft and smooth throughout the day. And the smell is incredible! The not too strong, not too sweet white floral scent is light and refreshing. The packaging is what makes this product the most travel-friendly; with body butter’s airtight shell, there’s little risk of finding a suitcase full of lotion-covered clothes after a flight. The Body Shop even offers this beauty must-have in a travel size, perfect for weekend getaways.
Maybelline Volum’ Express the Colossal
[Image from www.maybelline.com]
In the early 1900s, a New York chemist noticed his younger sister was using a mixture of Vaseline and coal dust to give her lashes a darker, fuller look. He bottled it up and sold it locally, naming the new product after his inspiration: Maybel, combining his sister’s name and Vaseline. A sucker for history, it’s this anecdote (from Wikipedia) that first drew me to Maybelline’s mascara products. The mascara’s high quality, however, is what keeps me coming back. My favorite of Maybelline’s mascara line is the Colossal in Classic Black. The company claims a collagen-enriched plumping formula gives lashes 9 times the volume and, while I can’t vouch for an exact number, when wearing the Colossal mascara, my eyes certainly pop. I’m partial to the washable formula, but this product also comes in waterproof, ideal for a day at the beach or pool.
What are your beauty essentials when packing for a trip?
Down a nondescript Milwaukee street lined with industrial buildings, Sobelman’s Pub & Grill stands tall, offering beer, award-winning burgers and appetizer-like bloody Marys to all who can find it. At first glance it looks like an average sports bar, but Sobelman’s is much more than that. First, there’s easily the most impressive bloody Mary I’ve ever seen. The breakfast cocktail features a green olive, a pepperoni stick, cheddar-jack cheese, an onion, a pickle, a stalk of celery, an asparagus, a shrimp, a Brussels sprout, a scallion, a lemon wedge, mushrooms and a cherry tomato all soaked in tomato juice and vodka, with a small beer to chase it down. Practically a meal in itself, but the burgers are also not to be missed. The most popular—the Sobelman’s—comes complete with three chesses, jalapeño and onion on a brioche bun. Spicy, spicy and more spicy … Water is a must with that much flavor. Sobelman’s is great place to be before, or after, a Brewers game, or any time you’re in the mood for an excellent burger and bloody Mary.
Sobelman’s Pub & Grill
1900 W. St. Paul Ave.
Chicago is known for its deep dish pizza, and plenty of restaurants throughout the city claim to have the best pies. My favorite is Pequod’s Pizzeria, where each deep dish boasts toppings galore and a crispy caramelized crust. We opted for sausage, pepperoni and mushroom on one and bell peppers, mushrooms and onions on the other. Both were incredible—the only downside was my stomach couldn’t handle more than one slice of each. Thank goodness for to-go boxes!
2207 N. Clybourn Ave.
Last night, some friends and I made the trek downtown to a bar called Perch, located on the top floors of the Pershing Square Building. Although having to wait in not one but two lines was a pain, the end result was a gorgeous view of the city. The live music on the patio on the 15th floor was great, but the lounge-like atmosphere and fire pits on the 16th floor were even better. I can’t wait to take visitors here and show off another special L.A. spot.
Detroit-based Morpace Omnibus, a survey marketing research and consulting organization, determined via online survey that nearly 60 percent of Americans plan to take summer vacations this year.
It’s not a Segerstrom Center event without Morton’s Power Hour first!
Tonight at the theater: Green Day’s American Idiot
Dancers and drummers show their cultural traditions at Olvera Street
This time last year, I was on my way to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, for a wedding. Besides a day trip to Ensenada with Carnival Cruise Lines, this was my first real visit to the country, and my feelings were mixed. While Mexico is a beautiful place, the stories I had heard and news articles I had read told me to travel with caution.
My boyfriend and I traveled with another couple who live in LA, arriving at the Cancun airport and taking a shuttle (reserved through our hotel) to the wedding destination. That hour drive to the resort may have been one of the longest of my life, with visions of worst-case scenarios running through my head, but we made it to the hotel safe and sound.
As a half-joke during our long day of traveling, we imagined being greeted at the hotel entrance with umbrella-adorned tropical drinks. Much to our surprise—and delight—the front desk agent asked for our drink orders within five minutes of arrival. They may have been umbrella-less, but those daiquiris were more than welcomed. It meant our vacation had begun!
What happened next were three of the most relaxing days I’ve ever had. All meals and drinks were included in the resort price, a wonderful amenity that I wish I could incorporate into my daily life. Can you imagine paying a flat rate each month to eat wherever and whenever you want? It would be an amazing, albeit completely implausible, concept. This all-you-can-eat format allowed for two of my favorite parts of the trip: morning brunch ordered through room service and eaten on our hotel room patio, and late night snacks at a 24-hour lounge, which came complete with pool tables and a nacho bar.
I think that may have been the basis of my relaxed state, being completely worry-free when it came to money. It was incredibly difficult to re-enter reality and leave that lovely, pre-paid world behind.
Of course, it also didn’t hurt that there was hot tub in the middle of our hotel room. And two pools just outside surrounded by cushioned lounge chairs. And a sandy beach met by a clear blue ocean that provided not only an incredible view, but water so much warmer than the often-freezing Pacific I am accustomed to.
Another highlight of the trip was the level of service we experienced while at the resort. We dined at one restaurant, set in a newer part of the property, that was not as visible to hotel guests and therefore practically empty. Our table of six consisted of a few old friends who hadn’t been able to spend much time together recently so the conversation was jovial and unending. Our boisterous demeanor did not deter our fabulous server, who was attentive, professional and made every effort to enhance our dining experience.
With only our table and another filled in the entire restaurant that evening, he could have taken the easy way out and barely paid us any attention. Instead, he performed his responsibilities at the highest level of service. We were incredibly appreciative of his hard work and made sure to give him praise on the “How Was Your Stay Card” handed to us at check out, as well as recommend the restaurant to our other friends who were there for the wedding party.
The wedding itself was a beautiful event. The ceremony was set in a gazebo with the beach as a backdrop, and the reception was held right on the sand, our table just feet away from the breaking waves. As someone who was unsure about destination weddings before, my experience in Playa del Carmen changed my mind. As the happy couple celebrates their one-year wedding anniversary this weekend, I’ll be thinking of them, and thanking them for giving me a reason to visit such a picture-perfect place.