Travel Tips

Question:

Why did the rancher give the pony a glass of water?

Punchline:

Because he was a little horse.

I am blessed to be able to say that my family does a decent amount of traveling. Throughout all these experiences I have streamlined a couple of pieces of advice that I follow myself in order to get the best experience possible. Hopefully you can gain something from them. Enjoy!

 

  1. Make a reservation for a meal after you arrive.

Airport food is generally overpriced and lack-luster. The best way to see a new city is to walk around and share a meal amongst the locals. Making a reservation before you reach your destination helps you avoid airport food and gets you a head start on exploring the city. Go to the hotel, drop off the bags, freshen up a bit and then either cab or walk to the restaurant.

This tip works especially well if you are traveling in a group because, in my experience, hungry stomachs don’t make quick decisions. Or if the hungry people do decide on a place to eat quickly, it’s probably not going to be the best the city has to offer. So research before your trip to save time and ensure that you all know where your next meal is coming from.

    2. Pack “freshen up” items in a carry-on.

I’ve learned from unfortunate experience that you never know when the flight gods will decide a sacrifice is in order. It’s when you’ve watched the empty luggage carousel go around three times and everyone else from your flight has left that you wish you would’ve had the foresight to do this. You head over to the help desk and they assure you that they will get you your bag by the next morning. In the meantime though, your skin is dry, you smell like an airplane and your mascara is smudged – and if you followed the previous tip, you have a dinner reservation to catch. All you want is your tried and true (and travel sized) beauty products.

Having your go-to items in a less than great experience like this truly makes the difference in how you feel moving forward with the rest of your day.

   3. Buy any tickets ahead of time

In this modern age of websites and apple pay, there are very few museums and attractions that don’t have systems for purchasing tickets ahead of time. You wake up in a fluffy hotel bed and look at your traveling companion and say “what are we gonna do today?” This tip helps cut down the time spent making a game plan for the day and helps make sure you really make it to the places you want to. Instead of waiting in line at the box office, you can spend that twenty minutes appreciating and exploring the attraction.

   4. Always carry a camera, always.

With increasingly amazing cell phone cameras, this rule is easier to follow than ever but I still feel the need to say it. Walking around a new city you just never know what you will see. I cannot even begin to compile a list of the peculiar things that I captured in a photograph that inspire me to this day- a steamed up window, ironically placed graffiti, a kid looking in the window of a toy store.

Along with this tip comes the one to always pay attention to the small stuff. The way water pools at the bottom of a condensation coated glass, a crumbling brick facade, a man holding his girlfriend on the subway – inspiration and beauty is truly everywhere. Places that locals frequent tend to make it easier to see so I recommend checking out public transportation, marketplaces, and parks.

 

As a closing note, I just suggest to truly appreciate every moment while traveling. Don’t let egos, a missed train or bad weather spoil your mood because you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to be there again.

A Brightly Lit Stage

Question:

How does a train eat?

Punchline:

It goes chew chew.

 

 

A blue mustang with the top down parked in a driveway lined with flowers. A cold glass of lemonade dripping onto the asphalt. The glistening blue water filling the pool. A white French door opens from the kitchen a woman in a green dress steps onto the patio. She places a platter of teacups and finger sandwiches onto the wicker table and sits in the matching chair. The wooden gate opens to her left and she looks over her shoulder, expecting company. A man in a cream-colored suit and lavender shirt walks through with his coat over his shoulder. He smiles in the corner of his mouth at her and she stands and takes a step backward- cutting from the frame as she falls into the pool. The smile widens to his eyes and he runs to leap in after her. They tumble ever downward, impossibly deep for a common swimming pool.

An open marble doorway suddenly rushes up to meet them and they step onto the tile flooring, completely dry and presentable – the pool water and rushing wind seeming to have had no affect.

I know what you’re thinking, really, I do. When I was told to record this story I was skeptical. It seems so fantastical that it’s almost – unbelievable. However, dear reader, I can assure you that I am a reliable narrator and that this account is completely factual. My advice is to not worry so much and just sit back and as the cliche goes, “enjoy the ride”.

“Maya, Charlie – so glad you could join us this evening,” the voice comes from a tuxedoed man off to their right who presents them a silver plate supporting two champagne glasses. Charlie takes the two glasses and passes one to Maya at the same moment she takes his arm and they follow a rapidly unfurling green carpet in front of them. After many minutes of walking the two share a furtively loving glance and step out onto a vast, wooden stage from the right wing. An interlaced grid of faces look up at them- conversations halted, phones fallen to laps, babies cheeks dry. Have you ever seen an audience like that? An audience so completely enveloped by the scene unfolding in front of them that they become completely unaware of themselves self? No? Yeah, me neither. Charlie sits at the grand piano as Maya climbs a ladder to sit on a swinging bench, high off the stage.

Now this is where things get tricky, try to keep up. Oh here, this tip will help: try to imagine these character blurbs as if you’re watching through a camera lens – you know, the one that swings and pans around that they use for films. It’s like you’re tracking different characters who may be of great importance or maybe they are completely insignificant. Either way, it provides different viewpoints. Now pay attention.

Following the show, the couple is met by adoring audience members in the opulently decorated lobby. You are pushed to the back as fans more rabid than you elbow ever forward as if physical closeness to the pair is all that is required to share in their success. You watch Charlie throw back his head in laughter and Maya cover her mouth in mock surprise. Soft heel clicks on the marble flooring and the calling out of men’s voices to their wandering wives. You push out the double gold-gilded doors to the cobblestoned courtyard. Snow quickly coats your hair and shoulders as you hurry to unlock your small, brown flatbed truck.

You push towards Maya and Charlie, elbowing people who clearly don’t want it as much as you do. Your hands push open into the open space just in front of them, close enough to smell Charlie’s cologne and to hear the delicate swish of Maya’s silk dress. Someone tells a raunchy story and Charlie throws back his head in laughter and Maya covers her mouth in mock surprise. You shake their hands politely and compliment them on yet another incredible show. Feminine eyes glaze over to either side of you as Charlie begins to tell a story about their first performance together. You lose focus and are slowly cajoled into the back of the crowd by people who apparently want it more than you do. You push open the heavy door where the fresh snow rushes down to meet you and see a small, brown flatbed truck pulling away from the curb. Your heel slips into a crack between cobblestones causing you to fall onto your knees.

After the show, you head towards the concession stand where you purchase a large bouquet of pink candy floss. You pull webs off and eat while you watch the hordes surrounding the performers with amusement. What were their names again? You can’t remember. Too many shows in too few nights but the one thing that remains the same- candy floss. That and the crazed fans; always eager to observe, to please and to be viewed. A woman pushes past you to reach the stairs to your left, most likely hoping for a better view of the show-ponied duo. After a few more moments of watching, you push open the gold-plated door and see a woman fall to her knees- puncturing the white lace blanket of snow.

Well I hope that little segment wasn’t so bad for you dear reader, I really did try to make myself clear but critics have said that my ideas are too runny and messy to be held on a page. That’s why I’m providing this commentary, see? I’m trying to be generous and kind and to make sure that you get “it”.

Maya and Charlie make their exit through the wooden, backstage doors and stroll toward a gently bubbling fountain in the center of the cobblestoned street. They perch on the lip, resting their feet on a small mound of snow. “You were incredible tonight,” Maya says, leaning in towards Charlie. “The black and white keys are nothing without the painted rainbow of your voice, my love,” Charlie responds and places a soft kiss in Maya’s snowflake-laden hair.

“Charlie, I know you were hesitant but I am very glad we decided to do this show. I could see it in the audience’s eyes that they needed it.”

“I agree completely, I just worry about how much it takes out of you. You are stunningly talented and watching you question that… well, it just darkens the softest corners of my heart.”

“I know sweetie, I know. I am working on it.”

“I’m so glad to hear that. We just can’t lose you, Magnificent Maya, we just can’t – the last time was much too close for comfort.”

“I know, I know. I really am trying”

Charlie smiles and leans in to delicately kiss her cheek.

Maya’s dimples deepen and she asks, “Where to next?”

“Let’s go home.”

Maya smiles and nods, gripping Charlie’s hand tighter as the pair fall backward into the shallow base of the fountain. The two fall much deeper than the meager inches of the ceramic fountain, leaving the shining layer of copper undisturbed in their wake.

Sunlight cuts through the water of a surface they are rapidly falling towards. A surface quite far from the one they tackled minutes before. The world inverts and they walk out of the sea, hot grains of sand like a thousand tiny needles on their feet. The beach is devoid of beach towels and neon swimsuits and people altogether. Water drips from them like the shedding of a second skin. Warm sun licks their skin similar to a dog welcoming a much-beloved owner home after a long trip. They ascend the concrete steps to a waiting blue mustang with the top down. Yes, it’s the same Mustang that was in their driveway when they fell through their pool. “How’d it get to the beach?”, you might ask. At this point, I would like to remind you of what I suggested earlier- to worry less and “enjoy the ride”.

They drive along the coast on a highway seemingly deserted until they reach a small street past a white wooden fence. They turn into the flower-lined driveway of a small yellow house. Charlie shuts off the car and goes around to open the passenger side door. Maya takes his outstretched hand and the pair head up towards the bright red front door together.

Okay, so you know how I swore to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God? Oh wait, no that was at my court hearing last Wednesday. Well, either way, I said I was being factual. So maybe I wasn’t being completely honest with you, reader and I am truly sorry about that, truly I am. But maybe people can’t actually travel through water but the truth is that it’s not about the water. Maybe it’s about the travel and the weightlessness and the purity of it all. Or maybe it’s about nothing at all.

My Night Routine

A guy walks into a bar … and sustains a mild concussion.

 

 

Hello dear readers – long time no type. It’s been a crazy month or so here at school dealing with moving, sorority recruitment and the general housekeeping that comes with starting a new school year. I have not had the time I want to be able to make quality posts for this blog and I would rather take longer to make something I’m proud of than put out sub-par material quicker. Hopefully, that hiatus will be a rarity rather than the rule and I’ll be able to dedicate the time I want to this project going forward. About a month ago I started a new nighttime routine that has really kept my skin clear and on some days even glowing so I thought it would be fun to share. Enjoy!

  1. I take my makeup off with Son & Park Beauty Water on a cotton round. If I have a heavier eye look to take off then I use an almost excessive amount of this and hold the cotton pad to my eye for a few seconds – the mascara will easily melt off.
  2. Twice a week I use the Mario Badescu Strawberry Tonic Face Mask. I love this mask because it smells amazing, is a nice thin texture and I see the effects on my skin immediately.
  3. I use the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion on any breakouts. This stuff is super strong which is apparent from the smell and tends to work quite well.
  4. Next up is the Mario Badescu Ceramide Herbal Eye Cream. I love the thicker texture of this because I always get dry spots around my eyes which irritate me throughout the day if I don’t properly care for them at night.
  5. I then use Caudalie Eau De Raisin facial spray to give my skin a light layer of moisture. I also spray this on my neck because that’s where I always forget to lotion after my shower.
  6. While the facial spray absorbs into my skin I put Carols Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray into my hair. This keeps my hair silky soft which is a deceivingly difficult task since my hair is wavy and tends to dry out pretty easily.
  7. Lastly, I spread a thin layer of Formula 10.0.06 P.M. Perfecto Overnight Hydrating Cream all over my face except my eyes. This night cream is the perfect balance of thick moister while still letting my skin breathe. I also love the blackcurrant & licorice smell of this since most of my routine leans towards citrus notes.

While I do all this I usually light a candle (Autumn from Bath & Body Works is my current favorite) and listen to music (currently loving the “Jazz for Sleep” playlist on Spotify).

The Supers: A Super Honest Review 

From the design of their website to their pink packaging and the products within, Glossier has been a front runner in the competition for space on my vanity for a few years now. Although their Super serums aren’t their newest product, it’s one that has entranced me since it’s arrival. 
Super Glow:

This lightweight vitamin c and magnesium serum is my favorite of the three. It really does give my face a nice subtle glow and tends to limit oil production throughout the day. I like layering it under my primer or wearing it alone on a fresh face day. 
Super Pure:

This serum is one of my favorite products for when my skin is being temperamental. At the first sign of a breakout, I use this product once a day until my skin seems to have evened itself out again. I either apply this after I wash my face at night and before my night cream or alone in the morning if it’s a no makeup day. 
Super Bounce:

This serum is the one I use the least simply because my skin tends to be on the oily side. In the summer I sometimes use this at night instead of a heavier night cream to let me skin breathe a little better. I usually don’t use this is the morning because it’s more moisturizing than I need. If you do have drier skin and are looking for a super lightweight injection of moisture than this is the serum for you. 
Overall I highly recommend the Supers because their price point is affordable, the amount of product lasts at least a couple months and the brand itself focuses on making your skin ideal rather than creating products meant to cover it up. 

The Grand Budapest Hotel: a Grand and Great Film

Most every scene in this film could be paused, screenshotted, printed and hung up and your friends would question where you found such beautiful artwork. Wes Anderson’s creative style is best showcased in this film’s explosion of color, comedy and surprising action. 

The settings (especially the hotel) make you feel like you’re truly in a doll house, the camera panning around the room rather than cutting back and forth. This is Anderson’s signature filming style, showing the audience just how much set was actually built for the movie to be possible. The characters are magnetic in both attitude and dress and the audience is sure to become immediately entranced by their various plights. 
The comedy is quick and dry- if one talks at just the wrong moment, they are sure to miss a joke and never even know it had been said. The film moves quickly and you are sure to catch on to more and more with each viewing. 
This is my favorite Wes Anderson film and one where I feel his vision is the most clearly presented. I highly recommend this film to anyone willing to pay attention because the payoff is truly spectacular. This is the movie you’ll bug your friends to watch because they simply “won’t get it” until they’ve seen it for themselves. 

Stila Huge Extreme Lash: an Extremely Excellent Mascara 

For years I have heard hype about Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara and have been frustrated about its lackluster results on my own lashes. For all of you who have felt the same way or are simply looking to fill your mascara drawer a bit more I have the mascara for you: Stila Huge Extreme Lash. 

I first tried this mascara from a sample included in a Birchbox many years ago and have not found another comparable mascara since (and believe me, I’ve tried). This mascara is medium thickness which really grabs onto your lashes and helps curl them. This is also great if you’re in a hurry and don’t have tons of time to wait for them to dry to avoid messing up your eyeshadow. Throughout the day it’s doesn’t flake, smudge or smear and keeps my lashes curled and black as coal. 
Every time I try to switch mascaras I am less than wowed by the competitors results. And then after a few days I go back to Stila and am beyond impressed with how well this mascara works. 
Mascara tip:

 I try to buy mine travel sized since they expire after 3 months and I never finish a full-sized tube in that time.

So you want to cook 

This is the first year where I have to cook for myself full time- no mom, no dining plan. Throughout this journey I have found a few great resources to make my time in the kitchen both shorter and more enjoyable. I thought I’d share these with you – you can benefit if you’ve just started cooking or, if you’ve been doing it for what seems like forever, maybe you can pick up a few new ideas.
Budgetbytes.com
This is my favorite recipe resource because it’s organized, searchable, cheap and most recipes don’t take too much time. As a college student my time and money are in short supply so I have loved getting ideas from a like-minded source. Some of my favorite recipes are Dragon Noodles, Southwest Chicken Skillet and Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles. 
It’s All Good by Gwyenth Paltrow
This cookbook is great for when I’m looking to clean up my diet a bit. There is a wide assortment of recipes from smoothies to kid friendly main courses. One thing I especially love about this cookbook is that it contains week long meal plans for a variety of concentrations including detox, vegan, and body builder. 
Nutribullet (just trust me on this one)
I never cease to be amazed at what a nutribullet can be used for. It can blend doughs for baking, make single serve smoothies or even mix up salad dressings. It is quick and easy to use and has a wide variety of attachments for almost any use you can think of. 
Gordon Ramsey. 
Okay so I’m a little biased because of my strong love for this man but I think he is a great resource in and of himself. He has a wide range of cooking shows, cookbooks and now a tutorial YouTube channel. Check out any of these if you’re looking for a laugh as well as some great cooking tips. If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t get your chicken breast to be as moist as restaurant quality or why your soufflé always declares upon plating- consult Gordon.