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This may be less of a packing tip, and more of a “What Not to Wear to the Airport” tip.
This weekend I went to Chicago for my sister’s bachelorette party. I left for the airport about twenty hours after arriving home from Manila, so there wasn’t a lot of time to get ready. Friday morning was frantic, running around doing laundry, Scotch-guarding boots, running errands, and packing. Let’s just say that I was running late. Very late.
Luckily, I had printed out my boarding pass ahead of time, and when I got to the airport (with about five minutes until boarding time) there was no line at security. Yes! I thought. I will make it, and maybe have enough time to get lunch. I go to the security line, get all my stuff (laptop, shoes, toiletry bag) ready to go in the bins. Send it through the machine. Go to walk through the X-ray machine and…..beeeeeeeep!! Yes, friends, that was me, setting off the alarm on the machine, for the first time in possibly five years.
I look down and realize—it is my shirt. In preparation for going out to dinner straight from the airport, I had worn one of my favorite winter-time party shirts. It is a black V-neck, with a large black and silver brooch sewn into the middle. Yes, I literally put on a shirt made of metal and tried to walk through the machine at the airport. Did not even occur to me that this would be a problem.
So as the very nice TSA lady pats me down, I watched the first group start to board my plane. And the second. And I pick up my shoes and suitcase and run to get in line, gasping for air, as my group is about to board. I made it, barely. I’ve decided to blame sleep deprivation from the Manila trip for the whole debacle. But don’t worry, I’ve learned my lesson!!
So this quick packing tip is: Don’t wear shirts with metal sewn in them to the airport! It will slow you down and make things complicated.
Why do I think it’s a good idea to do makeup/face cleanser/moisturizer experiments when I have to actually go somewhere to go to work? I work at home most of the time. Why doesn’t it occur to me to try something new when I am going to be at home, with no one around but the dogs? That would make way more sense than before I head off to speak in front of two hundred people. But whatever.
For the past couple of months I have been using Korres Watermelon Lightweight Tinted Moisturiser SPF 30. It is all natural and organic, which is what I am trying to move toward with all of my skincare. Prior to this I used the tinted moisturizer from Dermalogica, but it has parabens and other terrible stuff in it so I went searching for something better for my skin. Immediately I liked several things about the Korres moisturizer. It smells good, is organic, was reasonably priced, didn’t irritate my skin, and at first seemed to work pretty well. Then I realized (especially as I got farther away from my summer tan and my skin got paler) that the color was kind of….yellow. And it dried really fast on my skin so if I got too much somewhere I had to fix it immediately or it dried in place. And the coverage was more than I needed, so much so that I got the yellow line on my neck.
However, because I didn’t want to waste it, I decided to get a non-tinted moisturizer that didn’t dry so quickly and try mixing them together. I bought the Juice Beauty Oil-Free Moisturizer after trying it out at Sephora. The two mixed like a dream, giving me the color, consistency, sheerness, and drying time that I wanted. However after I put it on my face would get really warm for a minute, and I was worried I was having some kind of reaction.
So fast forward to my last day in Manila, getting ready for work. I decide, hey, maybe I should just put on the Juice Beauty moisturizer and see if that’s the problem. Genius, right? So I get it on, and sure enough, my face turns red and gets warm. Issue discovered! Then, before I can really worry about it, the warmth and redness fades and I begin to look like myself again, albeit with a slightly less even skin tone than I have after using my tinted moisturizer. I went to get dressed and give my moisturizer a chance to dry, then I went back to finish my makeup. And the moisturizer had not dried, not at all. It was sitting on my face like oil on water. Um, not good. I have approximately 7 minutes before I have to walk out the door and no makeup or shoes on. I frantically grab tissues and start blotting like crazy. I end up getting most of the goop off my face, and getting a shortened makeup regimen done before slipping into my shoes and running out the door.
Lesson learned: the Korres is too drying, the Juice Beauty is too wet, but together they are perfect. The warm face goes away pretty quickly, so I should be okay doing this from now on. And don’t , for heaven’s sake, do makeup experiments before work anymore. Let the dogs be the judge of how well something is working!
Thanks for listening.
Winners and Losers
Seat Cushion—loser Again, I think this could be useful but because I got to lie down across four seats on the flight from Tokyo to Manila I did not need it. So I guess maybe it’s not really a loser, just not a winner?
Travel blanket—loser Maybe it’s because Japan Airlines is really good, or maybe because technically I was flying internationally so they had more amenities. But they have blankets there that are lightly stitched together after washing so you know nobody has used it before you. So needless to say I did not use my travel blanket. Also, I know that they post dimensions on Amazon, but I swear this thing was way bigger than I expected.
Compression socks—winner!! Actually, big winner. They are not perfect, as I could still see some mild swelling in my feet. My ankles were barely bigger than normal, though, which is a minor miracle. Considering that I was in transit for 27 hours total, I think they worked amazingly well.
Slippers—winner!! They were very helpful on the long flight. Highly recommend for long flights.
Toiletries—neutral. I didn’t end up needing any of these things, as American Airlines gives you a little bag with toiletries in it when you fly Business Class. But if I were in coach the whole way I would definitely need these items.
I guess the bottom line is that if you are lucky enough to get upgraded, long flights are much more comfortable without you having to do anything. However, if I were in coach I think I would use all of the items I brought. So I guess that means everyone is a winner! Go team Road Warriorette!
Okay I think the lack of sleep may be making me delusional. Can’t wait to get back home!
Manila is a very interesting city, full of contrasts. I am not going to go into an entire socio-political-geographical discussion, but instead focus on one specific contrast. Their roads look just like ours—they are mostly well maintained, with overpasses, green and white street signs, and lane stripes. There is a difference though: drivers in Manila must be the best drivers in the world. Despite the fact that no one seems to notice the lanes, and everyone drives like there are no other cars on the road, I have not seen one single accident, much less the mass fatalities one would think would happen with the insane driving here. The buses just change lanes, moving over regardless of whether there is a car, or a motorcycle, or a pedestrian in their desired spot. And pedestrians just walk in between the cars, whether traffic is moving or not. Often, people don’t even drive in one lane—they kind of hover between two lanes, or three cars will fit into two lanes.
And the horns! They use horns to tell other cars where they are, horns to yell at cars for moving over into their space, horns to get the pedestrians to stop…..one time we were driving down a deserted road and my driver honked at nothing. Out of habit? To hear himself honk? Who knows.
I have to close my eyes sometimes because I am sure that this is the time that bus is going to run us off the road. So far it hasn’t happened! I am in Manila for another three hours before I head for the airport. Hopefully I will make it safely. See you back Stateside!!
This is the Winners and Losers version, Part 1.
Kindle—Winner!! Normally for a two day trip I will bring 4 books. For a trip with 50 hours of flying I brought 8, on my Kindle. The first thing I noticed as I was picking up my purse to leave for the airport was how light it was. Awesome! I have read two books so far, and my eyes have not hurt at all, which I was concerned about. It has been great! The only problem is that I did not receive my case before I left, so I am constantly worried about dropping it or breaking it.
Eye mask—Winner!! Of course, I didn’t end up needing the one I bought because they give you one in Business Class on American, which I didn’t realize. Oh well. Not only did I use the eye mask on both long flights, but I used it in my hotel room yesterday when I was sleeping during the day (remember, I’m working at night and sleeping during the day). The only disconcerting moment came on the first flight when the nice man beside me had to wake me up so he could get out of his seat. It was pitch black even when I opened my eyes, and there was a quiet, unknown, Japanese-accented voice in my ear. Took a minute
Ear plugs—loser I didn’t end up using them, because when it comes down to it, it creeps me out. I didn’t realize this until I was about to put them in. Maybe I will try again, maybe not. What I did end up using was my iPhone White Noise app with headphones, and that was great. With the eye mask on and the white noise going in my ears, it was like I was the only one on the plane!
Seat Organizer—Loser I still think this could be really useful, but it took up a lot of room in my backpack that I just didn’t have to spare, so I didn’t even bring it. I think for another trip it could work, so I’m going to try again.
Next edition: Seat cushion, travel blanket, and compression socks. Fun times!
I have arrived in Manila! It took 27 hours of time to get from my house Sunday morning to the hotel Monday night. It is 1am here and I am about to leave for the office, because the office here works at night in order to work during American day-time hours. What a crazy world!
A couple of quick thoughts about my trip. First of all, the flying was actually not as bad as I thought it would be. Business Class for the longest leg certainly helps, but even on the flight from Tokyo to Manila the plane had a lot of empty seats so I had four seats all to myself.
The airport in Tokyo was like all other airports (besides the writing in Japanese) except for one thing–in the ladies’ room, one of the stalls had a toilet in the ground instead of the one I am accustomed to. If anyone knows why this is so please share! I walked past that one to the normal toilet, but am dying of curiosity.
Finally, my hotel has excellent coffee, which is great since I will probably be needing copious amounts during my short stay.
Tomorrow I leave for Manila. It takes 26 hours of travel time just to get there. So I leave Sunday morning and land (because of the time difference) on Monday night. Wow! That is a long, long time in the air. I will be honest, I have never been on a plane or in transit this long. Luckily I got upgraded to Business Class during the longest flight, from DFW to Tokyo, which is fourteen hours. However that still leaves me with a five hour flight from Tokyo to Manila in coach, so I want to be as comfortable as possible.
Because of this long flight, I am trying several new things to facilitate my comfort. Here is a quick rundown of what and why, and I will come back (hopefully throughout the week, assuming my internet connection is solid) and give updates on how everything worked.
Kindle—I am very excited about this! Instead of packing 10 books for the combined 52 hours of flying, I am just bringing the Kindle. So much easier!
Eye mask and earplugs—hopefully this will help me sleep
Seat organizer—I am iffy about this, but if it makes things easier I am willing to try it. Basically it hangs on the back of the seatback tray in front of you and has room for glasses, a water bottle, books, a newspaper, etc.
Seat cushion—I know it’s probably silly, but five hours sitting sounds so long! I want to be as comfy as possible.
Travel blanket—I know in coach travel blankets are scarce (and sometimes scary). This one folds us into its own fairly small case.
Compression socks—trying to keep my feet from swelling! My mom swears by these. We shall see.
Slippers—so I don’t have to wear shoes all the time but can still get up and move if I need to
Toiletries—I’m also taking a little bag with chapstick, moisturizer, facial mist, and lotion so I don’t get dried up
For the actual trip in Manila, I am bringing a couple of new things.
Clothespins—Because I will be working at night and sleeping during the day, a friend recommended I bring these to keep the curtains closed
Emergen-C—because I will surely be somewhat sleep deprived. Got to keep the energy up!
Tune in throughout the week so I can (hopefully) update you on how everything worked out!!
I heard a story on the radio where the man said, “I don’t do New Year’s resolutions because I think it’s important to be happy with yourself, and what’s the point of saying you’ll do something or other and a few months later falling into your old habits? It’s demoralizing.”
I can see his point….to a point. It is important to like yourself, and be happy with who you are. But it is also important (in my opinion) to try to keep growing and learning and trying new things. My typical list of resolutions is a mix of things I want to learn or experience and new habits I want to form.
No surprise, this year several of my resolutions are travel related. Going to see family, experiencing new places, and learning new cultures and languages. Should make for a busy year!
My travel resolutions are:
1) Travel to Chicago to see my sisters twice
2) Travel to South Texas to see my grandmother twice
3) Go to Europe (hopefully Norway) with Home Warrior, and learn some Norwegian
4) Go to one new place in the US with Home Warrior
Happy New Year!! I hope this year is a great year for you, filled with fun travel, lots of learning, and new experiences.
There have been a lot of articles this week, everywhere from NPR to MSNBC to Huffington Post, about the new full-body scanners that may make an appearance in airports around the US. Some say the high tech scanners could have prevented the would-be terrorist from getting onto the plane on Christmas Day. The main reason these scanners have not been put in very many airports is because they see through clothing and form a full body image on a screen, which privacy advocates are concerned about. It can “show the body’s contours with embarrassing clarity” and perform “virtual strip searches” (from AP).
Of course I want our country and airways to be safer. But is this the answer? I don’t know. What do you think? Is it worth it to sacrifice this much privacy?