Carry-on essentials for sunny destinations

I’m a huge proponent for always traveling with nothing but carry-ons. Why? Because waiting for suitcases at the luggage carousel can add so much extra time to getting out of the airport when arriving to a new destination. Plus, I may have had one too many scares about checked-in luggage going missing, so I’ve learned to travel light with only the essentials.

Ibex leather and wool travel organizer is a carry-on essential for travel

Today, I’m sharing my carry-on essentials for sunny destinations. I just came back from the Dominican Republic just under a month ago (wow, it feels like forever ago!) and found great products to bring along to this sunny destination that not only helped to keep me entertained while in transit for 12+ hours, but are also TSA-approved for carry-on bags.

For starters, let’s talk about a product that I cannot travel without when going on any plane rides in general. The Mario Badescu aloe, herb, and rosewater spray is such a refreshing treat! I’ve talked about this product before in my TSA-approved toiletries bag, but I cannot get enough of this stuff. It really helps my skin feel refreshed, especially after sitting on planes with recycled air circulating. The 2oz travel size also meets all of the TSA requirements.

After some less-than-pleasant experiences with lotion-styled sunscreens exploding in my purse, I’ve started carrying the Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen. Although this may seem a bit pricey at the $25 price point, the stick-applicator really makes this a dream to put on. The formula glides on smoothly, smells slightly sweet, and moisturizes without feeling thick like most sunscreens. I like to carry this in my carry on because of the ease of access for application straight off the plane.

The last must-have is this Ibex Urban Tool Roll Up Queen City case. While I received this item for review from Ibex in exchange for this post, I am considering purchasing another one of these for my partner. As someone who has suffered from spending the first 15 minutes of a flight untangling my headphones from charging cables in my purse, this roll-up case is such a dream for staying organized. Each of the 3 loops are adjustable, which makes the customization of sizing for storing pens, cables, etc endless. I also love the snap-button pocket for bigger items like my Anker battery pack, which I bring on every flight since not all aircrafts offer charging outlets. Aside from the practicality of this case, the material combination is so beautiful. The Merino wool and leather combo is such a dream!

And there you have it! Aside from wallet, passport, and some snacks, this is all I pack in my carry-on purse when traveling. I like to stay organized and not have to fret about digging through a bottomless-pit bag to find what I’m looking for, and these are my bare essentials!

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Packing for the holidays – TSA approved makeup bag

If there’s anything that I’ve learned to master in 2016, it’s how to efficiently pack a TSA approved bag! Being on the road for work taught me a lot. Not only did I learn that I can live for 2 weeks with the sole contents of a small carry-on roller and a backpack, but also how to strategically pack around TSA’s 3-1-1 rule for my makeup bag.

With the holidays just around the corner, here are my must haves for any makeup bag while traveling:

cat-makeup-bag
TSA-approved-toiletries

Downy Wrinkle Release – This stuff is an absolute life saver. I have both the travel sized and full-sized bottle for all of life’s wrinkles! With any shirt that I pack, it’s inevitable to get wrinkly while on the road. With the Downy Wrinkle Release, a quick spritz, small tugs on the shirt, and then a few hours of drying, gets the shirt back to wearable condition! This is so great, especially when there are no guarantees for access to an iron while on the road. Only downside is not being able to wear immediately after spraying.

Arbonne eye roller, cleanser, and lipstick – Arbonne is a new-to-me company. Known for their safe, non-toxic, and eco-friendly products, I love their mantra of taking a scientific approach to experimenting with botanically-based ingredients. In my makeup bag, I always carry the facial cleanser (which maxes out at 3oz– absolutely perfect for your carry-on!), soothing eye gel (really great for travel days, especially when going straight from the plane to a meeting. Helps reduce the eye bags!), and a lipstick as a finishing touch. I love the fact that my favourite lipstick from Arbonne is vegan friendly, which is not something that I’ve seen very often when browsing the aisles of traditional drug stores or makeup shelves.

Benefit Magic Ink liquid eyeliner – My go-to eyeliner! The Magic Ink is the first liquid eyeliner I ever tried (back in 2011 or 2012) and I’ve never looked back. The black pigment is so opaque with just one swipe– I love it!

Bare Minerals warm blush and mini application brush – This flawless application brush came with a starter set that was originally purchased when I was first trying out the Bare Minerals loose foundation. I wish I could find a link of the full set online, but it came with the mini brush, the warm loose blush, and a starter size of the medium beige foundation for under $40. I’ve taken the mini brush and warm blush on almost every trip with me since first getting them about 4 years ago. I’ve since finished the foundation, which is why I’m linking to The Body Shop one below.

The Body Shop extra virgin minerals – Looks like this product has been discontinued, but I used to purchase The Body Shop version of the loose powder instead of the Bare Minerals one because it was a bit cheaper. The coverage was the same as the Bare Minerals one, and if I’m remembering correctly, The Body Shop also had many more shades.

Benefit highlighter Got this from Sephora as a “birthday gift” in 2015 (or maybe it was 2014?) and it’s still half full! Adding a little bit of highlights under the eyebrows and upper cheek bones makes a big difference, especially after long flights.

Mario Badescu facial spray – This aloe, herbs, and rosewater face spray is so refreshing! I love having a bottle handy on trips, especially flights, because it helps to rehydrate and refresh skin. Even when not on a flight, I’ll give the occasional spritz to the face to help set makeup in the late afternoon. It smells delicious and comes in a 2oz travel size (although I also have the full size), perfect for packing in a carry on.

And there you have it! A full makeup bag with all products that meet TSA’s 3-1-1 rule! The last finishing touch would of course be a cute makeup bag. I used to use a mesh bag from The Body Shop that housed a gift set that I received years ago, but after a tube of hand lotion exploded in there earlier this year, I found some cute cat bags from Forever 21.

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Adventures on the road: Europe edition

Ever since switching jobs and becoming engrossed in the industry of e-commerce, I’ve grown to be more aware of the cycles of the industry. Busy seasons for shoppers have such a big impact on scheduling for retailers of every kind, and online business is no exception. With the last quarter of the year being the busiest for shoppers, I got a special dose of what it’s like to prep for this season, being on the other side of the shopping experience. Aside from getting to learn about the industry, one of the biggest perks of my current job is getting to see how the industry runs on a global scale. I always feel so lucky to get to experience business first hand in markets outside of North America, which is how I spent just under half the month of October in Europe.

Last month, a few of my coworkers and I spent a healthy dose of 12-18 hours every day – for almost half the month – together on the road. Going from London to Munich to Milano and everywhere in between, we had jam-packed days of meetings. In whatever downtime we could find (usually in between meetings as we were driving from one city to the next), we tried to squeeze in as many touristy attractions as possible. The pit stop at the London Eye and Big Ben during golden hour being one of my top 3 most memorable stops.

My absolutely favourite top stop was in Chur, Switzerland. We never intended to even be in Switzerland, but as luck would have it, the trip was rerouted and required a 5 hour trip in the car from Munich to Milan. In that single drive alone, we drove through 5 countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, and ending in Italy), stopping only for gas and coffee.

On the quite Sunday morning (while mass was still in session), we found the one and only coffee shop open in this quaint town. I wish we had more time to explore every nook and cranny of this small town, but from the limited interactions with the coffee shop owners paired with the picture perfect weather and quiet streets, it was the perfect pit stop for a mid-day reflection, counting our lucky stars for the experiences so far.

Everything about being on the road makes me really happy! Aside from getting to visit new countries and experience life from a different perspective, being away from home for weeks at a time gives me a whole new appreciation for the life that I have in Seattle.
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Glamping toiletry must-haves

Around the same time as planning the trip to Alaska, a friend of mine floated the idea of staying in a yurt. While the yurt plans never panned out for Alaska, I kept glamping in a yurt high on my list of things to do before the end of the year. Needless to say, my dreams of glamping in a yurt came true a couple weekends ago!

Seattle glamping in a yurt
Glamping on Orcas Island

Since this yurt adventure was the first time in a few years since I had last been off-grid, it took a while to figure out what essentials to pack. My goal was to bring no more than a single backpack for this 3-day trip. This meant packing light and bringing toiletries that would either play multiple roles, or strategically packing complementary essentials. Here were my glamping must-haves:

glamping-must-haves
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Weekend in Alaska: Denali

Hope you all enjoyed your extended, 3-day, Labor Day weekend! I spent mine celebrating at the wedding of one of my best friends here in Seattle, and finally getting around to editing the last set of photos from the weekend trip to Alaska! (Earlier posts of exploring Anchorage here and here, if you missed them!) This post is my best “You should definitely visit Alaska!” campaign because if the scenery here doesn’t say it all, I don’t know how else to convince someone to go!

Denali bus tour - scenes from Denali
Ok! So, if you missed the last post exploring Anchorage, we left off with a 4 hour drive from Anchorage to Healy, AK. This was a solid 4 hour drive through pouring rain and the occasional sunny break between the storm clouds. One of the most challenging things when packing for Alaska was selecting footwear. I usually only travel with a pair of sneakers, but knowing the possibility of heavy rain, I spent a solid 75% of my backpack on a pair of rain boots. Sounds crazy, but it was totally warranted.

Denali National Park bus tour
We started our morning in Healy off bright and early. The Denali National Park bus tours usually last 8 hours, and we were scheduled to fly back to Seattle that same night, which would require making the 4 hour long drive from Healy back to Anchorage after the Denali bus tour. The Denali bus tour promised gorgeous views, the potential for seeing wildlife, and getting to stop off to see some of the scenery up close and personal. Needless to say, it did not disappoint!

Littered around what felt like every corner of the road, we spotted sheep, caribou, deer, and even a bear! The buses running this tour drive super slow. The tour is only 66 miles long, but takes 8 hours because of the slow speed required to keep the animals in the area feeling unthreatened.

Denali caribou antlers
One of the pit stops included seeing some deer and caribou antlers up close. These pieces were found around the park by the staff rangers and collected for tourists to examine up close. It looks like I’m struggling to hold one antler up in this photo, and that’s totally true! These babies can weigh up to 40 lbs a piece! As someone who has zero arm strength, I worked up a sweat for this photo! haha

Helly Hansen rain jacket and rain boots
outfit details:
raincoat: c/o Helly Hansen (exact)
denim: PAIGE denim (similar)
rain boots: c/o Helly Hansen (exact, currently on sale!)

Because of the on and off downpour on the way to Healy, I wore my striped rain boots on the Denali bus tour. I realize how much of a tourist this makes me look like now that I’m looking back on the photos, but it was a great choice at the time! They were so comfortable to walk in and didn’t over-insulate my feet. On the windier pit stops, the Helly Hansen Welsey trench was such a life saver. For the amount of insulation and windproof it provides, it’s surprisingly lightweight! The hood can also be packed to form the structured collar. This jacket is the ultimate fashion-tech piece, which I absolutely love because it makes packing for trips like these easy!

Denali bus tour views
If you’re debating a trip to Alaska, the Denali bus tour around the Denali National Park is a must! Don’t forget to check the weather before going so you can pack appropriately!

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