purifying waterless hand soap

fruits-passion-waterless-hand-soapA purifying waterless hand soap, you say? Perfect! Especially for a germaphobe such as myself. This handy travel-sized hand wash doesn’t require water, which means that you can give your hands a quick clean before eating on the go or after touching … you know … whatever that was your hand just grazed on the bottom of that table. Yuck! I usually try to keep some Purell handy but I love this new product from Fruits and Passion. Love the packaging and the fragrance, too. It has the soft scent of orange and cantaloupe.

Available online at fruits-passion.com.
Price: $6.50

souvenir: french for “to remember”

postcards-macauHey – I like to shop as much as the next girl. But when I travel, the best thing I can bring home from my trip isn’t a pair of shoes or a fabulous new bag. What I love doesn’t cost a thing (hmm … that sounds an awful lot like the lyrics of a J-LO song, doesn’t it?) Anyway … all I want, all I need are my memories. I love having lots of photographs to remember cherished moments. But there are two little things I do make sure I pick up along the way: postcards and magnets. My fridge is covered in a collage-like assortment of postcards and magnets from around the world and every time I walk by the refrigerator, I smile. I am flooded with memories and these little, inexpensive things are truly are the best souvenirs I could bring home because they last. Sure I’ve bought other things as well when I travel but clothing or jewelry just don’t summon the same memories. I love my postcard- and magnet-covered fridge! In this photograph (above), I’m shopping for a picture-perfect postcard in the quaint Portuguese area of Macau called Senado Square. Je me souviens.

how to: pack smart

packing-smartI know. It’s not easy to pack light. I don’t know how guys do it – well, I do know how they do it. They pack one pair of shoes, one pair of jeans, maybe a pair of shorts and two T-shirts. They don’t mind that everything doesn’t match and they have no problem leaving their products (if they even use any) at home. Oh, they just don’t understand us women. The clothes, the shoes, the hair products, the skin products, the makeup, the purses, sweaters if it’s chilly, sundresses if it’s hot … did I mention the shoes? Like I said. I know. It’s not easy to pack light.

But … I will say that I myself have learned from my BF and travel expert, how to pack smart, without having to leave all my fabulous stuff at home. It all started when he and I began planning a trip to Hawaii and Australia, with a pit stop for me in Los Angeles, that would last 16 days. Awesome! Until he called me up one night and said something about only bringing carry-on luggage. Huh? Was he planning a different trip than me? Didn’t he realize that we were going away for SIXTEEN days? I started to argue until he made the one point that was unarguable. We would, he explained, be flying on some small planes, including one puddle jumper to Fraser Island. We simply couldn’t weigh the plane down with excess luggage. Gulp. Carry-on it was.

But how? It was like the riddle of the Sphinx. I was stumped. But with the help of my ever-ingenious mom, we figured it out. The key is rolling.

First, I place my shoes around the perimeter inside the suitcase. Small shoes like flip-flops can easily fit into pockets. That leaves what looks like not-a-whole-heck-of-a-lot-of-room for anything else. Before you start packing your clothing, survey everything you’re planning to take and cut it down by half. OK, maybe by one-third. Then start rolling. Clothing rolled into tight cylinder-like shapes can be lined up in rows tightly against one other and you’ll be surprised just how much fits. Depending on what you’re packing, you may even be able to do another row on top. If you’re heading to a warm-weather destination, this is much easier as summer clothes are so much smaller and lighter than those in our winter wardrobes. But the principle still applies. Packing this way, I can still fit two pairs of jeans along with shorts, skirts, dresses, tops, shoes and accessories.

But what’s the big advantage to traveling light? Well, there are lots of pros. First of all, you don’t have to get to the airport quite so early if you’re not checking a bag. You won’t have to worry about it getting lost in transit (it’s a real pain, trust me!). You don’t have to waste time at the baggage carousel once you’ve landed. It’s safe and secure with you at all times and it gives you added flexibility. Say you want to change flights for some reason (maybe there’s an earlier flight or your flight is significantly delayed); having your luggage on your person means you can make quick decisions and change your travel plans … on the fly.

There are lots of other packing tricks like socks inside shoes. What are your packing tricks? Leave a comment and share! But remember ladies, you don’t have to bring everything but the bathroom sink! It took me a while to feel comfortable traveling without my hairdryer (even still the thought stresses me out), but for the most part, all hotels have hairdryers. They’ve got shampoo, conditioner, soap – so leave that stuff at home. I know you’re partial to your own products. But what would you rather have – your own shampoo or your cute strappy sandals? That’s what I thought.

ahava: delights from the dead sea

ahavaI was just recently in Israel (I wrote about it if you missed it; check it out here) and unfortunately, I was so sick the day we visited the Dead Sea, that I missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime. Swimming, or floating, rather, in the Dead Sea was one of the exciting things I was looking forward to doing but when you’re sick, you’re sick! Instead, I spent the afternoon virtually passed out at a picnic table in the shade, about a five-minute walk from the sea. I just couldn’t do it.

Not only is the Dead Sea known for the fact that it’s the lowest point on earth (422 metres below sea level) and for the fact that you can’t sink in its waters (even if you’re a terrible swimmer, like me!) but the sea is believed to have major healing properties due to the mineral content of the water. Ahava is an Israeli cosmetics company that makes facial, body and skin care products using natural Dead Sea ingredients that restore skin’s health and moisture balance. Sounds good, right? The products are available in many stores but if you’re interested in trying them out, check out Bath & Body Works. The Body Delights Travel Sampler comes in airline-approved travel sizes and features a mud exfoliator, a mineral hand cream, a mineral foot cream, a purifying mud mask, mineral body lotion, a mineral shower gel, a flower mirror key chain and a white mesh lipstick case. For $12.50, how could you go wrong? Visit bathandbodyworks.com for more information.

the perfect travel accessory

I was recently asked about a scarf that I often travel with and I thought I’d write a blog post on the subject. How much is there to say about a scarf? Well, a few points I thought I’d share. The scarf I always travel with is a lightweight, inexpensive one from Gap, similar though not identical to the one pictured here. It’s so handy and I love traveling with it for a number of reasons. First, I’m always cold, especially on airplanes. Having this wrap handy means I don’t have to cover up with the airline issued blankets that often look like they’ve seen better days. (It’s hard to get cozy in a blanket that’s been used by countless other passengers, no?) It’s great to have a scarf like this on hand for chilly evenings but even more useful is when you’re visiting holy sites. Frequently along my travels, I’ve arrived at places where, despite the raging heat, covering up is mandatory as a sign of respect and reverence – the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Grand Palace in Bangkok and The Western Wall in Jerusalem are a few that jump to mind. This particular scarf is so light and it doesn’t wrinkle, making it the perfect travel accessory. You just never know when you’ll need it!

Colours: Orchid Blossom (pictured here), True Black, Chives, Chocolate Chip
Available at: gap.com
Price: $19.50

tory burch flip flops

tory-burch-flip-flopsI’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my oh-so-cute Tory Burch flip flops. I love the patterned soles and assortment of bright candy colours they’re available in. I ordered them online at toryburch.com and I can’t wait for them to show up. They’re also available online at Bloomingdales. Neither online retailer ships outside of the US, so if you live elsewhere like me, you’ll have to con someone who lives there into ordering them for you (that’s what I did!) Anyhow, I can’t wait to take them on my next trip, wherever that may be!

crabtree & evelyn’s 60-second fix manicure set for hands

After some careful consideration, I think it’s safe to make the following statement: I’m a germaphobe. And I think I have an increasingly severe condition. I can’t help it. Especially when I travel, I am constantly washing my hands, dousing them with Purell or using anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down everything from my seatbelt on the plane to the remote control in my hotel room. (Incidentally, remote controls are rumoured to be one of the dirtiest items in a hotel room, along with the drinking glasses you often find in the bathroom. Yuck!) Anyhow, the result of all this compulsive hand washing is that my hands are left dry and raw. Sometimes they actually hurt because of the frequency with which I wash them. I try to carry hand lotion with me at all times but even so, it doesn’t always do the trick. The solution? I’ve finally found it! Crabtree & Evelyn’s 60-Second Fix Manicure Set for Hands is incredible! Literally, in 60 seconds, my hands felt soft (honestly, like velvet!), soothed and restored. First, you exfoliate gently, then moisturize your hands with the lotion. The intensive shea butter and seaweed formula must be just the right combination because the results are wonderful, especially if you suffer from chronically dry hands like me. Available in a mini size, perfect for meeting airline regulations regarding liquids. Try it. You’ll like it.



One of my least favourite things about travel is being weighed down with stuff. You know how it is – you roll up to the airport with everything neatly packed but before you know it, you’re scrambling to find your passport and your hands are filled with stuff — pen, boarding pass, customs forms. Your shoulder bag is hanging from your elbow and you’re trying to roll your suitcase with your other hand but you’ve dropped your boarding pass and the people in line behind you are starting to scowl. You’ve only got two hands and if you could, you would move faster!

The airport is not the place to be disorganized. Just recently, I was sitting at my gate, waiting to board an American Airlines flight to New York when the flight attendant came by, saw my luggage and asked for a personal demonstration of the gadget I’m about to tell you about. It’s called a LUGbuddy and it’s the greatest little invention. It’s like a bungee cord. You fasten one end around the handle of your suitcase. Then, place your hand luggage (or whatever else you’re carrying) on top of the suitcase and stretch the LUGbuddy across the item, securing it at the back of the suitcase’s pull handle. Finally, tighten the LUGbuddy with the cord lock if necessary.

This gem is one of the best products I’ve found when it comes to helping you stay organized. It makes it so much easier to navigate your way through the airport when your two pieces of luggage are secured together like this and it also leaves one hand free. I LUG my LUGbuddy and never travel without it! Visit lugbuddy.com for more information.


andrew harper and dunhill traveller collection

What do you get when you cross Andrew Harper (acclaimed travel aficionado on everything luxurious and sophisticated) with dunhill (fashion house known for its luxurious and sophisticated designs)? You get the absolutely gorgeous Traveller collection, exclusively from dunhill. You may know Andrew Harper as the Editor-in-Chief of The Hideaway Report, a newsletter targeted toward discerning travellers. He’s joined forces with the powerhouse fashion house of dunhill and together they’ve created a small and exclusive line of luggage featuring just three inimitable pieces: a holdall, a document case and a rucksack. Each piece is exquisitely designed with supple leather and is the perfect marriage of form and function. Each piece of dunhill Traveller will be sold with a booklet that introduces Andrew Harper and provides his essential packing tips. These pieces are effortlessly beautiful but masculine, perfect for the special man in your life. (Father’s Day is on June 21, ladies.) This luggage is for men what Louis Vuitton’s luggage is for women. Decadent. Luxurious. Sophisticated. View the entire collection here: dunhill.com. And for more information and to become an Andrew Harper member (benefits include: access to trusted, insider advice, a variety of planning services and exclusive travel priviliges), visit andrewharper.com.