When we leave for trips, Hank usually hugs us, kisses our faces, and asks what kind of toy we’ll bring back. That was the drill for all of our travel for the last couple of years, it just didn’t really phase him. Until Saturday, that is. Bryan told Hank he was leaving on a work trip to Ireland, and Hank was displeased. I’ve been traveling a ton this summer, and all of Hank’s friends have been leaving daycare to go to preschool. Hank’s preschool doesn’t start until later this month, so he’s been feeling a little left behind.
Apparently, Dad leaving was the last straw. Hank refused to make eye contact for a few hours, and then began to shriek, “DON’T GOOoooooo!”
Oooh, my friends.
So I find myself unexpectedly in Dublin. The original plan was for me to stay home with Hank, because I was busy preparing for the Mighty Summit. But the heartbreaking dismay of our three year old happened to coincide with a crazy cheap last-minute ticket sale. When we realized we might be able to swing it, we asked Hank what he thought.
-Kiddo? Mommy and Hank and Daddy could all go on the airplane together, would you like that?
-Oh, YEEEES! That would make me very much happy!
-OK, should we pack your suitcase?
-YES! YES! Oh, thank you! I love you so much!
We love you too, little guy.
Also, it’s 2 a.m. in Ireland. Go to sleep.
(photo from The Standard Edition)
Man, I’ve spent a lot of time in New York this summer. When I mentioned the horrible (albeit cheap) teeny hotel room from my first trip, lots of you asked about good places to stay when you’re in town. Stay at the Ace.
We were at the Ace for a week and threw a cocktail party there with Federated Media (photos here). Because we needed the suite for the party, we ended up staying in three different rooms. By the end of the trip, I felt like we lived there.
The Ace is a boutique chain with other properties in Portland, Seattle, and Palm Springs as well. All the hotels have strong, free wi-fi throughout the property. The New York Ace has a welcoming lobby with a bar, an old timey photobooth, and a Stumptown Roasters attached. The coffee is so good, you’ll want to bathe in it.
Most of the rooms have walls painted by local artists, and the in-room fridge has a pony keg.
I can’t say that I’ve ever been inspired to take photos in a hotel gym before. I wonder what the decorators would have to do to inspire an actual work out. There are lovely details everywhere you look.
They even manage to make ironing less irritating, and Laura wanted to take the bathroom home with her.
Plus, you can’t beat a room that comes with a guitar.
Anyway, if you’re booking a trip to New York, I highly recommend a stay at the Ace. Where do you stay when you’re in town?
I just ordered some flats, because I’ve walked holes in all my everyday shoes. The ones above are Kimchi Blue Asymmetrical Skimmers. They’re cheap, so I assume they will hurt me, but I’m taking a chance because of the cuteness.
I also ordered a pair of Tieks, which were recommended to me as the ultimate travel shoe by someone on Facebook (was it you, Lisa Kohara?). Because I am a miser when it comes to clothes, this is the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes, but they look perfect for traveling. If they last, I may decide to always own a pair forever and ever amen. If they don’t last, I’m going to be pissed. *(Update: My Tieks arrived, and they are genius. Very solid, and compact, and great quality. Highly recommended. I could not be more excited to have found them.)
Have any sensible shoe favorites I should know about? Spill.
I’m currently on a four-hour layover at Miami International. While I’ve got some time on my hands, let me ask you something.
Were someone to offer you an unsolicited international trip via email, would you assume it’s a Nigerian prince scheme? Yeah, me too. Which is why I did a little research when the Jamaica Tourism Board contacted me about a week ago.
I know I’ve been on sponsored trips before (And I hope to take many such trips in the future! Captains of Industry, do drop me a line). But “free” travel usually comes at the end of a year-long pitch process with twenty different companies, and the conversations go like this:
-Will you stop using your laptop, and instead use our MP3 Player’s voice-activated “BlogUp!” feature?
-What if we let you keep the MP3 Player?
-Will you guarantee fifteen Tweets about video games over a two day period, using the hashtags #GameOn! #Cabo!
-What if we have our intern write the Tweets for you and set them to auto-post while you’re away?
So you can imagine my surprise when Jamaica contacted me about a week ago with a note that boiled down to, “What’s up, Maggie. Do you want to come to Jamaica?”
And then I didn’t even bother to look for my hand-knit Rasta beret with attached dreads until a few days later when Jamaica was like, “Cool. Here’s your ticket.”
So now here I am in Miami. If you don’t hear from me in a few days, send a dispatch to Nigera, would you? Thanks a million, team.
A lot of you have asked me how I fit everything in one tiny carry on. One of my big tricks was a tip from Gwen, who suggested putting liquids in a see-through bag with a clip, like this one. It hooks on to the zipper of your suitcase, and it has changed my life. Life altering! You just pop it off at security, pop it back on once you’re through, and BAM! You have room for an extra pair of shoes in your bag. Bwahahaha.
Once I’m at the hotel, I empty that bag into the dopp inside my suitcase that has all my “dry” stuff in it. My dopp kit is easier to get into, and I prefer to have that on the counter.
I love to share hotel rooms with friends so I can see the little luxuries they take with them on the road. Lots of you ask for photos of my bag when I pack, so I thought I’d start by showing you my dopp kit. Here are some lists of what’s inside. If you see awesome stuff I’m missing, let me know.
Hair bands and bobby pins. As you can see, I like to contain things in sandwich bags. Makes it easier to find stuff and to restock.
A mini-container of John Frieda Secret Weapon Flawless Finishing Creme for dry hair
A mini-container of Curls Rock Curl Amplifier for wet hair
Tweezerman mini tweezers, which are so tiny and precise, and less apt to get nabbed by security, though they are potentially very stabby indeed.
Baby oil to remove my long-last lipstick
Fashion tape— this is skin-friendly double-sided sticky tape, to tape clothes in place over cleavage or keep bra straps hidden. Toupé tape works too.
Benadryl, because I have food allergy issues.
A wide-tooth comb for combing wet curly hair.
Marvis travel toothpaste, I can’t believe how long this teeny tiny tube has lasted.
A lint roller
Gilette Spa Breeze razor — have you used this? It has little soap bumpers on it so you don’t need to soap up before you shave. Killer.
Natural hand sanitizer
A travel candle and matches
Panty liner to buy me a few minutes while I run to the drugstore for supplies if necessary.
Single-use eye drops — Love these. They save space in little purses when you’re going out, and I sometimes tuck them into my bra if I don’t want to carry a purse.
Handy-wipe — For washing my hands if I decide to go thrift store shopping.
Cuticle scissors, which I mostly use as real scissors.
Nose hair trimmer (ahem)
Jewelry I keep in the exterior zip pockets.
Face cleansing towelettes — I didn’t get a photo of these, but I travel with two kinds: pre-soaped ones that you wet to wash your face, and then the damp ones you can use to wipe off your makeup. I keep those in the night stand in case I realize I forgot to wash my face after I’ve already climbed in bed. I do that a lot.
Revlon Creme shadow in Pink Petal
The Naked Bee sunblock stick This was a Mighty Goods submission, so I’m testing it out and I like it so far. Makes it easier to get sunscreen onto Hank.
Burt’s Bees Peppermint Lip Balm, so tingly. This is the only lipbalm I use, and I have sticks of it everywhere. I even have one specially marked to soothe my nose and upper lip when I have a cold. There’s also a version with sunscreen.
Cover Girl blushes in Classic Pink and Natural Rose
A full palette of Maybellene Superstay Lipcolor, which never, ever comes off. I just made a lunch date with a friend for the specific purpose of teaching her how to apply it, and I don’t even care if that sounds nuts.
A lipstick I picked up at the airport and now hate. It’s that bright orangey red that’s so hip right now, but I can’t find a brand that doesn’t bleed, which makes me look like a pack-a-day circus clown.
A brush for blush and powder
Eyelash curler, which I never, ever use. Why do I pack this?
Eyebrow pencil, which I also never use. I have Yeti eyebrows.
Nosehair trimmer and tweezers, which I apparently photographed twice.
Perfume — the type varies because I like to associate trips with particular scents.
Clinique tinted sunblock, which I use as foundation.
Concealer with sunblock
Mini-container of DDF Daily Protective Moisturizer
Philosophy Help moisturizer. I use that so infrequently that I think I’ve had this tube for years. Which is… gross.
Neutrogena sunblock/moisturizer — I just use this as sunblock, because I have dry skin and like the extra moisture.
White eyeliner — I use it to put that little dot on the inside corner of my eye that’s supposed to make your eyes sparkle. Is that still a thing?
This is my nail kit, and it’s mostly for touch ups. The cork bag was a Mighty Goods submission. I didn’t love it when I got it, and now I realize I was dreadfully wrong. Do you know who makes it? Let me know and I’ll update.
La Occitane Pure Shea Butter — I think I got this as a hotel amenity, but it’s great cuticle cream.
Revlon Strawberry Electric nail polish — I usually only paint my toenails and I think toenails look best in comparatiely garish colors.
Seche Vitte fast-drying top coat — You put this on while your polish is still wet. It gives an at-home pedicure the professional sheen. Also good for stopping runs in your tights.
That’s it! Typing all that makes me want to take a trip. Or head to a Sephora. What about you? What are you willing to squeeze into a mini tube so you can take it on the road?
I try to travel without checking luggage, and Packing Light is a series about what I pack to get that done.
I haven’t done a lot of winter suitcases, so I thought I’d do a post about what I packed to speak at ALT Summit. The jeans are from The Limited, and I need to imagine a gospel choir singing and Jesus rays breaking through the clouds as I type this next part: They were the first pair I tried on. I’m a size 8 to 10 in jeans, and the ones at The Limited have a perfect waist to bum ratio for my figure, so the waistline doesn’t gap. The boots are my magic Buenos Aires boots from the trip we took when Hank was a baby.
The undershirt is an acid yellow top I got at Old Navy in a frenzied stock up on layering pieces when they had the $5 sale before Christmas. I like to buy unusual colors so I can combine them with neutrals and have it look all artsy, which is what I’m going for with this grey Dolman sleeve sweater, also from a sale at The Limited (twenty bucks, baby!).
Laura took this lovely photo of me in my outfit for the “Old Hollywood” party. I took that to mean retro-Oscars, but most other ladies wore chic little cocktail dresses, which means I was grievously overdressed. Upside, I arrived after dinner and drinks, so I was mostly too illuminated to care much.
This is a cheap feather hair clip I often use to spruce up dress straps. It can add va-voom to the most mundane spaghetti strap number.
Update: I got the clip at a cheesy costume shop on the Haight, the one with all the wigs and spandex zebra print outfits. I looked for a similar one online but couldn’t find it. If you do, let me know and I’ll post a link in a later post. Also, this can get crushed in a suitcase, so I pack it in a hard-sided cardboard box that’s maybe three inches high.
My hair is getting too long for ponytails, it just tends to look scraggly, so this is my version of the quick updo. I twist back the front sections, then do a loose chignon in the back.
The shoes are a hand-me-down from my sister. I like the surprise lattice work in back.
I got the shirt and belt on sale at JCrew and I wear them both constantly. The cashmere sweater is a vintage Pringle from the Alameda Flea Market (twenty bucks!). The brooch is by Elefante, e a Vida, and I adore it. Miriam’s work is my go-to gift for beloved girlfriends, all of whom I’m pinning one by one.
I got this fake fur jacket years ago at a thrift store in Sacramento. It brings back amazing memories of having breakfast at a sidewalk cafe on sunny winter mornings. My roomie at the time had a giant giraffe-print coat, and we’d wrap up so we could sit outside without waiting for a table. I swear I can smell mint tea every time I put it on, and it’s crazy warm.
Update: I wore the jacket and boots on the plane, so I didn’t have to fit those in the suitcase. Next time I’ll remember to include a shot of the case packed. I also roll my clothing to save space, though the long dress I just folded over and stored in a top panel of the case.
Leggings by H&M, as is the zip-front sweater.
These leg warmers are also H&M, and they are divine. They make it more feasible to wear leggings as pants, and you can really wear them with anything when you want to throw in a little trendy kick.
(Someone asked in comments what I’m wearing on my lips in this photo. I think it’s just Burt’s Bees peppermint chapstick.)
And finally, you must own one of these American Apparel circle scarves. I never take mine off, and there’s so many ways to wear it, I give a full-on infomercial to anyone who will listen. Sorry about that, Karen and Erin. But you love the scarf don’t you? I thought so.
Over the years, I’ve developed an aversion to pilots who use the intercom in flight. You’re trying to sleep, and they point out scenery visible on the opposite side of the plane. Or they delay the in-flight movie to impose their own form of entertainment on a captive audience. Until last week, I thought “but seriously folks” was the most distasteful phase a pilot could utter. As it turns out, that honor belongs to the phrase “Emergency Landing.”
For example: “This plane, which is hurtling through space with hundreds of flammable people aboard, is going to have to make an emergency landing, folks.”
Or perhaps: “If any of you have developed a sudden allergic reaction to gravity, please inform your flight attendants, as we are preparing for an emergency landing.”
See what I mean? Distasteful.
The pilot on this particular flight tells us we will be making an emergency landing at a new airport, one with a longer runway. Apparently, there are concerns about the breaks — specifically whether we have any.
The girl in the center seat turns to me with moon-pie eyes. She’s in her early twenties, and it’s the first time we’ve looked at each other since we boarded. I almost reach for her hand, but instead we stare stupidly for a few seconds. “The nearest exit is five rows up,” I say. She nods. I lean forward. “Five rows up,” I say to the girl at the window. “In case you can’t see, and you have to count.” This girl looks at me like I’m an insane person. Fair enough.
I reach into my bag for my ID so emergency personnel will know who I am. I tie my hair back and find my scarf so I can breathe through it if there’s smoke. I text my husband that I’ve always loved him and Hank. I wait for the plane to burst into a fiery ball of flaming fire.
Meanwhile, the flight attendants rush the aisles checking belts. There’s a problem with the landing gear, it didn’t descend electronically, so they had to crank it down manually. I’m trying to gauge how serious this is, and the flight attendants are exchanging significant glances. Glances that say, “I have never done this before. You?” “No. No, I have not.” Apparently, the attendants are sure that we have landing gear, because no one tells us to brace for impact. This is a profound comfort.
I decide that I will drag my seat mates out of the plane if there’s a problem. With the gallon of adrenaline coursing through my system, I’m certain I can heft them both like potato sacks.
I am mentally rehearsing hefting them like potato sacks as we land. The landing is utterly, blessedly uneventful — just like any other. Except for the fire trucks racing to the wings. And the twenty-year-olds over my shoulders.