Peaches the Magical Pearl

An Adventure Story for Kids Awaiting a New Brother or Sister


Far off the shore, where the ocean gets gemmy,
Sails a pirate named Liam and a mermaid named Remi.

With each wave they crest, one after the other,
The sea brings adventure to this sister and brother.

For Liam and Remi aren’t like all the rest.
They have special powers that aid in their quests.

Liam can see past horizon and mist,
And calm the whole sea with a flick of his wrist.

He’ll climb up the mast, clear up to the sky,
And chart out their course with his sharp eagle eye.

Remi can soothe any creature she sees
With the hum of her voice, and her sweet melodies.

With ruby red fins to send her leagues down below,
Remi searches for secrets where no man can go.

Then “No wonder!” you’ll say, “That ships far and wide,
Never find as much treasure as The Sapphire Tide!”

And right you would be, for there are stories of old
Of The Sapphire Tide and the treasures it holds!

But Liam and Remi, those two, they know better.
They know the real treasures are their adventures together.

They’re lucky, they know, through life’s stormy bends,
To not only be siblings, but also best friends!

Then one day on their travels to a faraway shore,
They discovered a map boasting rare things galore!

They sailed and they swam ‘til it grew bright and hot.
Then Liam dropped anchor, shouting, “X marks the spot!”

Down Remi shot like a bullet through waves.
She whirled and twirled through caverns and caves.

Gazing over the sides, at the surf all a-glister,
“I’m lucky,” thought Liam, “That a mermaid’s my sister!”

Then Remi popped up, sparkling bright as the sun,
And said, “Throw me a net! This thing weighs a ton!”

The crew tugged and tugged, and up came the haul.
Diamonds and emeralds… This chest had it all!

As they scoured through loot, the crew in a whirl,
They found at the bottom a rare sort of pearl!

A wonder, it was, like nothing they’d seen!
It glowed and it glimmered and shimmered and gleamed.

The deck fell to a hush, no sound of flute or of fife,
For the treasure they’d found was the Pearl of Life.

The mates doffed their hats; Remy started to sing.
For the Pearl of Life makes the most magical things!

“That’s how we were born!” she shouted with glee.
“Will it be a pirate like Liam, or a mermaid like me?”

“It looks like a peach!” Liam exclaimed.
“So we’ll call it Peaches – what a wonderful name!”

For months, they took watch; kept it safe, snug, and warm,
And it grew and it grew and began to take form.

One day, as it started to squirm, stretch, and wiggle.
They waited and listened, and heard a small giggle.

In a flash, and at last! In a bright flash of light,
It burst forth from the Pearl, a magical sprite!

“Splendid!” said Liam, and Remy, “What can I say?
It’s neither pirate nor mermaid…
It’s special, in its very own way!”



Seven Cards and a Glass of Bourbon

Growing up, my Aunt Jean and Papa Ed had a lake house where our family would spend time during the summers. That lake house had a way of forcing us all together for summers of hot dogs and cannonballs, and though I was very young, my memories there are the only times I recall my family feeling cohesive. I guess it’s true what they say: “You never know how many friends you have until you have a lake house.”

When I think back on memories of myself during those summers, they tell of a EPSON MFP imagepersonality that still felt wildly unfettered by the sharp edges of the world. One summer evening, I took the liberty of lining up all of the porch chairs on the deck to form a theater for my one-night-only, one-woman show. I had brought a recital costume with me, and trotted about in a blue-and-white-striped sequin leotard and tiny tap shoes, ushering (shoving) each of my relatives to their seats so they could behold the wonder of my prodigious talents. One of my favorite things about children is that they are rarely bashful about showing off. It’s just their natural assumption that everyone will be thrilled to see all that they are accomplishing so far in their young, budding lives. It becomes less adorable, sure, as we get older, but I think the motivation behind it is what changes the response. When we show off as adults, what we’re usually saying is, “Hey! Look at me! I am doing something IMPRESSIVE!” When we show off as kids, all we’re thinking is, “Hey! Look at me! I’m doing something I LOVE!” And let’s face it, joy is an immeasurably more enjoyable thing to applaud than ego.

My cousin, Sara, remembers me always wanting to play shop clerk with this toy cash register they kept at the lake house. I’d go through the house collecting groceries and household items, and insist that everyone stand in line and check out before going about their day. Sara is several years older than me, and it inevitably cracks her up when she recalls how I would correct her cash dispensing methods and send her back through training because she wasn’t doing it right, and apparently she let me. This is usually the part in the story when she tells me I’m lucky I was cute, and I tell her she’s lucky to have had such an efficient supervisor, because where would she be today without my no-nonsense work ethic and sky-high expectations?

My favorite thing about going to the lake house was that I got to see Moochie. Moochie was my nap/EPSON MFP imagedance/gambling partner, and even though he was Papa Ed’s dog, he was my best friend. We were the exact same size, which meant we could trade off as big and little spoons. I could fall asleep on his belly, to the rise and fall of his fur in my face with each deep doggy breath, and it didn’t bother him one bit. Moochie would pretend to be my attentive student while I played teacher and taught him his ABC’s and arithmetic. He would don my tap costume while I pretended to be the Ginger Rogers to his ever-so-dashing Gene Kelly. Moochie would even sit perfectly still and hold playing cards with his paws (I’m being totally serious), so I could hone my Rummy skills for my cutthroat competitions with Papa Ed. God, I loved that dog.

Inevitably, at the end of a long, sun-drenched day at the lake, everyone would settle in to drink beer on the back porch, play card games at the kitchen table, or watch 80’s sitcoms on TV. My family would laze about basking in the easy happiness that only comes after a fun-filled day on the water, pressing their fingertips onto their arms to see if their tans were really sunburns in disguise. Half a dozen swimsuits would be flung over the shower rod, someone would be snoring on the couch, my Aunt and Grandmother would be pouring themselves Jim Beams with Coke, and Papa Ed and I would settle in to play Rummy.

In retrospect, seven was probably a little ambitious of an age to start playing Rummy for money, given that I’d just recently graduated from Go Fish, and given that I didn’t actually have any money. But ever the sport, Papa Ed would give me time to scour the couch cushions and everyone’s Levi’s pockets so I had enough coin to pony up my ante, and off we’d go, Papa Ed in his recliner, me kneeling at the footrest, and Moochie laying at my feet.

Papa Ed was a sneaky holder. He didn’t care that I was seven. He’d wait until he started to see those little flecks of excitement in my eyes at whatever long awaited card I’d just drawn, lay everything down and discard on his next turn, putting me massively in the hole and trying in vain to contain my indignation and despair. It was almost like he enjoyed dashing my dreams, but I knew him well enough to know better. Even though I hated losing, and even though, at the end of every game, Papa Ed would swipe the last of my loot off of the footrest and into one long, white sock where he kept all his winnings, shake it tauntingly up and down so I could hear the coins jingle, smirk and say, “Lost enough money yet?”… I never stopped wanting to play Rummy with Papa Ed. He’d always joke about all of the things he was going to buy with my winnings, and I, with a fire in my belly, would demand one more game.

It was a glorious day the first time I beat him. I remember feeling the tension in my fingers as I gripped my cards, and my unbearable eagerness for him to finish his hand. I tried my best to hold back my eye sparkles, hoarded my last set, and discarded with the triumph of a gladiator who’d just earned her freedom. I remember sitting up tall, proverbial fireworks spouting off in my chest, swiping the loot off the footrest, and saying, “Lost enough money yet?” He just smiled and shuffled.

A lot of things changed over the next few years. Moochie went to doggy heaven. My Mom remarried. My Grandmother moved farther away to live with some guy who had a tractor and a weeping willow on a farm where she taught me how to snap green beans. Aunt Jean and Papa Ed sold the lake house. Family summers ended. I saw Papa Ed less frequently, but he and my Aunt did stay in my hometown, so we would still visit. Even though he had a new house, and had gotten a new dog (who was no Moochie), one thing always stayed the same. Papa Ed and I always played Rummy when I came to visit, and he always took my money when I lost.

I remember one particular game we played when I was in high school. I was at an age where I still loved my Aunt and Uncle, but was eager to get out and hang with my friends. I was doing my due diligence as a dutiful niece, and thought I’d muscle through it by playing cards. Papa Ed and I were sitting at the dining table—on those uncomfortable rail-back chairs with floral cushions tied to the seats—and my Mom and Aunt were sitting on the back patio where my Aunt could smoke and yell at the dog to stop barking at the neighbor’s dog through the fence. I’d gotten shrewder at Rummy with age, and was losing fewer games. I’d even taken a page out of Papa Ed’s book and learned how to become a sneaky holder.

There was one hand during that game that I absolutely dominated. All cards out with a set of Aces, and a discard in fewer than four turns. Oh, it was beautiful. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so victorious. He raised his eyebrows, and just kind of nodded, surprisingly and approvingly. And suddenly, a question occurred to me that I’d never before thought to ask.

“Papa Ed?” I asked, after a few deft riffle shuffles.


“Have you ever let me win?”

Honestly, I think I’d assumed yes. Our open-ended tournament was now over a decade long, and everyone knows you let little kids win sometimes. The thing was, though, that I didn’t really remember winning very much growing up; at least not until I was older, and not very often then.

“No.” (Picks up cards, taps them on the table, and fans them out.)

“Are you sure? Not once?”

“Nope.” (Moves two cards to the front of the pile, and one card two spots from the back.)

“Even when I was really little?”

“Mm-mmnh.” (Draws a card.)

“You swear?”

“Yep.” (Finds a place for the new card, moves another.)

“Why not?”

Papa Ed looked up from whatever onslaught he was planning, took a swig of Beam, and said, “Because if I’d ever let you win, it wouldn’t have meant anything to you when you won on your own.”

In the span of over ten years that we played Rummy, I probably won fewer than one in ten games. And the thing is, I’m not really any less of a sore loser today than I was 30 years ago (don’t let me lure you into playing Battleship unless you want an aircraft carrier thrown at your face). But when I think back to those hundreds of games of Rummy with Papa Ed, I don’t remember how it felt when I lost. I always just felt ready to start the next game, where a win was still possible. I do, however, remember what it felt like when I won. It made me over-the-moon happy whenever I bested him, and he was right: if he’d ever let me win, not only would those wins not have meant a thing, but the game would no longer have been any fun.  Papa Ed had taught me that the joy of victory can only be sweet when you have experienced the disappointment of defeat… It was a lesson he’d etched into me long before tritely motivational Instagram accounts (my generation’s version of cross-stitched pillow inspirations) became every Influencer and Content Specialist’s bread and butter.

That revelatory game of Rummy with Papa Ed was the memory playing in my mind as I stood next to him in the hospital bed they’d bought for the house, just a couple of years later. He’d been fighting terminal lung cancer and expected him to concede any day. Aunt Jean had called to tell us we needed to come say goodbye. I wasn’t as practiced at goodbyes then as I am now. He was the first significant family member I lost that I actually felt close to. I don’t think I knew what to say—I was 17, who could blame me?—and I don’t remember what I finally settled on. I’m sure I told him I loved him. I’m sure I hugged him goodbye. The writer in me wants to fill in the blank and make something up for the sake of the story, but all I really recall is standing there, with my hand on his shoulder, and feeling, so keenly, how much I was going to miss the sight of Papa Ed holding seven cards in one hand and a bourbon in the other.

A few days after the funeral, Aunt Jean asked me to come by the house. She said there was something Papa Ed had wanted me to have. She took me into the room where I’d seen him for the last time. I looked at the bed, with its laundered linens all made back up, and knew that he was gone. Funerals have never offered me much in the way of closure, but somehow, the sight of unrumpled bed sheets, crisply folded, tell me someone’s never coming back. She went to the top left drawer of his dresser—his sock drawer—and pulled out one long, beige sock, with a knot tied in it.

“He’s kept this since your very first game,” she said. “He asked me to make sure you got your money back once he was gone.” When I got home, I untied that sock and dumped out the pot, tears streaming down my face. It amounted to $3.10, two fake coins, and one pressed penny from Luray Caverns. It wasn’t much, but it taught me something that day that I’ve never since forgotten: there are more important currencies than currency. As I sat there on my bed, wrestling with what death had taken and what his life had left behind, I suddenly started to laugh.

This was his final sneaky hold.

He had plotted one last move, slipped in one last hand, made one final discard… and flat out refused to concede the tournament until after he was dead.



Nature’s Way – A Poem by my Mother

Nature's Way

As the brown leaves of trees
fall, different shades of color
can be seen all over.

The soft touch of fresh, cool
air, along with the shimmering
rays of the ball of fire from Heaven.

The feeling of security thrills
the flesh.

You can see the tree tops swaying
in the breeze, birds flying, bugs
crawling, and nature moving.

You can hear the chirping of
crickets and the sound of rustling,
autumn leaves.

I love things that are free
to do as they wish!!


BY: Debora L. Thomsen



7 Points to Ponder Before Accepting a Jet-Setting Job

If your idea of porn is scrolling through Condé Nast articles, or your idea of scrapbooking is cutting out clippings from AFAR Magazine to file into a binder, believe me, I get you. You’re my people. I’ve suffered from an incurable sense of wanderlust for as long as I can remember.

Sitting in Mrs. Hopper’s dimly lit sixth grade classroom, shades drawn, motivational posters sprinkled across the cinder block walls, my eyes were glued to the screen of that mammoth of a TV on a rolling cart (do you guys remember when TVs weren’t flat? Weird, right?). We were watching a video about Holland, and I was hypnotized by the sway of the tulips in the wind, the whirling sails of the windmills, and the Lisa Frank-esque colors splashed across the houses lining quaint cobblestone streets. I was seduced by the “other,” thrilled by the different, and lured into a lifelong love affair with exploring cultures, languages, foods, and customs that differed so radically from the familiar suburban surroundings where I was raised. I vowed then and there that Holland would be the first of many countries I would visit in my lifetime (it wasn’t).

It’s no wonder that this insatiable desire to travel ended up leading me to job opportunities that would support my addiction. You know what they say: find a way to get paid for doing what you love. Right? Well, maybe. In my 10 years in the workforce, there have been instances when doing something I loved for a living turned out to be the fastest way to ruin something I loved. This is why I’ve never pursued a career as a chef (cooking soothes me–why introduce the stresses of a job into such a sacrosanct experience?), or as a full-time writer (it could also be because no publisher has ever serendipitously tripped over my hobby blog to suddenly exclaim, “WHO is this shockingly undiscovered mind mecca of a wordsmith, blessing us all with her indelible grasp of the subtle struggles of humanity, and dusting our minds’ eyes with the shimmering wisdom in her words??!!” I mean, OBVIOUSLY, that’s what they would say, right…?)


Given that writing is free, cooking is cheap, and traveling is neither, it made sense that I jumped at the chance to take a travel-based job and absorb all the glorious perks that came with it. There are certainly many benefits to being in a travel-based career. You get to visit new places on the company’s dime, meal and entertainment expenses are covered, and you can rack up an abundance of airline and hotel points. If you’re certain that you are the exact type of person who is built for life on the road, in the air, and atop the rails, feel free to skip this post and re-read the article on work dresses that travel well.

If you’re on the fence about whether a travel-based career is right for you, here are seven questions to ask yourself. Sure, nothing is ever as romantic as it seems, but that doesn’t mean you throw the baby out with the bath water. In order to fully reap the benefits of a travel-based job, you must first do what you can to preserve the passion that led you to it in the first place. These questions and your answers to them can help you identify any potential hang-ups that could threaten to leave you more exhausted than exhilarated by the demands of travel.

1 – “How often am I expected to travel?”

Eventually, I came to find out that the industry standard for travel frequency for my position was 1-2 weeks per month, 9 months per year. In my first year, I traveled 2-3 weeks per month, 11 months per year, twice the industry norm. It didn’t exactly foster a reasonable expectation of long-term sustainability. Severe burnout at the end of my first year led me to set an ironclad policy for my second: no back-to-back trips, no trips two weeks in a row, no exceptions. If I was going to be able to do this job without collapsing, I had to learn to acknowledge my limits and set boundaries to protect them. Get a clear idea of how much travel is expected, and how much autonomy you have in making your own schedule.

2 – “Am I predominantly introverted or extroverted?”

(If you’re a raging extrovert, you can probably skip to Question 3.) This shocks a lot of people, because I’m neither shy nor socially awkward (unless I’m on a first date), but I am highly introverted. I get my energy stores from being alone, mulling over my thoughts, processing the events of the day, and basking in silence. I find small talk cumbersome. I have zero FOMO. Networking events are my worst nightmare.

This question will largely matter in regard to what it is you do for work when you travel. If you’re introverted, but spend most of your travel work day at an office or in front of a computer, this may be a winning combination for you. I was in sales, which meant I spent all day in a revolving door of pitching products to potential customers, and chatting with sales reps in the car between sales calls. Easy breezy for a bonafide extrovert, but by the end of the day, my brain and barometer for social interaction were, more often than not, completely fried. As such, often the thought of going out to enjoy the city’s social scene and cultural offerings paled in comparison to putting on pajama pants and binge watching Game of Thrones.


3 – “Am I comfortable going out and doing things by myself?”

I actually don’t mind doing things in public by myself. In Chicago, I saw Jim Gaffigan by myself. In Sedona, I ate dinner at a romantic resort overlooking the desert by myself. In Denver, I saw Deadpool, ate quail, and ordered an entire bottle of wine at an Alamo Drafthouse by myself.

I had a blast doing all of those things, but unless you’re one of those rare people who is instant friends with nearly everyone you meet, life on the road can get a bit lonely. Most museums and other cultural experiences are closed in the evening, which limits your choices to dinner, concerts, and movies. Can you eat in a restaurant by yourself, enjoying the ambiance instead of staring at your phone the entire time? Do you feel weird not having someone to laugh with at a movie? Are you secure enough to dance by yourself while checking out a local band?

The downside to this is that even the most introverted among us still need close human connection, and eventually I started to realize that my travel schedule fostered a perpetual rotation of isolation. After being on the job for about six months, I started to find that I’d be too tired to hang out with my friends when I’d get home. After catching up on sleep, I’d have to do errands, laundry, bills, and pack again for the next trip, where I’d go out to eat alone, go to the movies alone, etc. It was getting difficult to maintain close connections. It was while I was out to dinner for the 100th time by myself at a restaurant in Portland, when I realized how sad I felt to be eating alone again. For someone who likes doing things alone, that was a pretty big sign to me that maybe I didn’t have the best social temperament to spend that much of my time constantly surrounded by people but connecting with none.

4 – “What am I sacrificing at home to be on the road?”

Your answer to Question 1 is important to take into account when examining what you’re leaving behind. Will you be able to maintain your life and your relationships at home with the ratio of time you will be expected to be away? Are you newly married, trying to settle into a new life with your spouse? Do you have kids who have soccer games, school plays, and science fairs? Are you single and trying to meet someone in your city and don’t want to be in a virtual long-distance relationship? Do you have close friends you’re used to seeing on a regular basis? Do you have a pet to whom you are the primary caregiver and companion? Do you miss being able to say yes to a spontaneous night out, or reading bedtime stories to your kids before they go to sleep?

I’ve always been more wings than roots, so it took quite a bit of time away from home before I started to feel really uprooted from my life, but it did eventually happen. I distinctly remember one time, having to schedule a hang out with one of my best friends, who also traveled for work, six weeks in advance. My dog started being less obedient, responsive, and attentive whenever I was home, either because he was mad I was gone so much, or because the dynamic of our connection was changing. And dating? Challenging. To be fair, I’ve always found it challenging on my best day under the best circumstances, but working a budding relationship into the priority wheel of my already dwindling friendships, connections, and social circles made me dizzy. I really started to miss the life and the relationships I had built and was building at home, and for the first time ever, I started to view my suitcase as a sign of restriction instead of freedom.

5 – “What kind of sleeper am I?”


If you’re one of those blessed humans who blacks out the minute your head hits the pillow, and can sleep soundly through the night in spite of hotel doors slamming, sirens in the streets below, insufficient light blockage by hotel curtains, and the inconsistent firmness levels of mattresses and hotel pillows, skip this section and know that I hate you. I’m a horribly light sleeper. In my bedroom at home, my windows have dimming film, my curtains are blackout curtains, there’s a sound machine across the room, and bottles of lavender and melatonin stored in my bedside table.

Unfortunately, there’s no way around it: travel is tiring, even when you’re doing it for fun. When you’re doing it for work, you need to make extra sure you’re well rested so you can wake up and hit the ground running at the top of your game. Plus, what’s the point of having a job with travel perks if you’re too tired at the end of the day to go out and explore the city? Sleep isn’t optional. We need it to survive. Staying well rested prevents sickness, lowers stress, and helps maintain a healthy weight. The best we light sleepers can do is to manipulate our nightly surroundings as much in our favor as possible, say our prayers, and hope for the best.

6 – “How often/easily do I get sick?”


Do you get motion sick? Better stock up on Alka Seltzer. Prone to colds? Get used to dumping hydrogen peroxide in your ears. Against getting flu shots? Eat your vegetables, take your vitamins, don’t touch anything, and wash your hands a lot. Airplanes are basically flying cesspools of air and surface bacteria. Thousands of people have inhabited your hotel room before you. You’ll be shaking hands with a lot of strangers. When you’re traveling, you’re less likely to hydrate properly, sleep well, exercise, and maintain healthy eating habits. Good health takes discipline all the time, but it requires a lot of extra effort on the road.

If your immune system still needs some fine tuning, consider how much more costly and complicated it is to call out sick in a travel-based job. You’re not just missing a day at the office; you’re likely canceling a (possibly non-refundable) flight, as well as a (hopefully not prepaid) hotel room, not to mention missing the opportunity to further grow whatever market you were scheduled to visit. If you’re not dedicated to staying on top of your health, you’re putting yourself in precarious (job) position.

7 – “How much will I actually be making for my time?”

Jobs that require a lot of travel have big price tags for a reason. Psychological studies show that people consider their work day to have started when they leave the house, and consider it to have concluded when they get home. Mentally, we lump in the commute with our workday, simply because it is time away from our lives. When you travel for work, your commute is constant, and sometimes, when you divide the hours spent away from your life by the amount of money you make, it doesn’t end up being worth it. Ask yourself what kind of compensation you’d expect for the actual work you do on the road, then ask yourself what compensation you’d expect for the inconvenience of having to be away from home to accomplish that work. After you’ve done that, take into consideration any extra expenses you’ll occur by being away, like pet care, day care, or help with house cleaning, grocery shopping, or errands. If the bottom line adds up to you, great. If not, consider looking for a higher paying job at home that will fund your travel hobby in your free time.


Fortunately, the travel bug is impossible to squash, and my love of new places hasn’t waned. I learned quite a bit from my jet-setting job, and enjoyed the new places I was able to visit because of it. If you’re ready to take the plunge into a jet-setting job, many adventures await you, and I salute you! May it never lose its sparkle for you. My goal for 2017 was that anytime I set foot on a plane, it would be for fun, not for work, and for the first time in a long time… I’m really looking forward to packing a suitcase again.



Healthy Snacks & Hacks for Life on the Road

Nothing wages war on healthy habits faster or with more fury than an erratic travel schedule. Just ask my waistline:  six months after I started my job, it was noticeably… snugglier. Now, 18 months later and 25 pounds lighter, I have collected a few die hard lessons and habits that keep me focused, healthful, and happy on the road.


OvereatingFirst things first, let’s start with mindset. We rarely effect long term change in our lives without first being mindful of unhelpful thought patterns. If you travel for work, or travel often, what you do on a trip is no longer an exception to your normal life – it IS your normal life, and every habit (good or bad) matters to your health (and your pants size). Even for the occasional vacationer, it is important to keep extravagant eating in check. Sure, we all need and deserve a little indulgence from time to time, but here’s the thing: your body never takes a vacation from needing proper nutrition.  The best way to fully enjoy any trip is to properly take care of you.  After all, isn’t that what vacation is all about?


Sorry, but I don’t mean alcohol. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but water is  your best friend on the road. Staying hydrated not only helps prevent you from getting sick and feeling sluggish, but it also helps maintain healthy weight.Popular opinion has held that this is because drinking water helps you feel full, which may be partly true, but a more fundamental reason is that your body simply cannot burn fat when it is dehydrated. Dehydration increases fat deposits by storing toxins in fat cells, and by causing fat cells to expand, thus allowing them to store even more. Hydrated cells are happy cells, and happy cells are fat-burning cells!

My Hacks: I commit to drinking 12 ounces of water for every hour I’m on a flight. I also pack a reusable water bottle that I can use to infuse if I start to get bored with water. Simply stuff the bottle with your accoutrements of choice before you leave the house (watermelon, pineapple, cucumber, lemon, orange, apple, lime, fresh rosemary, basil, mint), then top it off with sparkling water once you get through security. This will keep things fresh and flavorful, and it’s a method you can continue to use throughout your trip.


If you don’t plan ahead, you will at some point find yourself feeling peckish, or worse, famished, without any guarantee that the options available to you will be options that are wholesome and healthy. Why do you think fast food restaurants position themselves off of highway exits? Try to never put yourself in a position where you are at the mercy of whatever’s available, instead of having the power to really choose what to put in your body (incidentally, that’s good advice for dating too!).

My Hacks: In my carry-on/work bag (they’re one in the same), I ALWAYS have 100-calorie packs of Emerald’s Raw Almonds and Walnuts. They’re easy to pack, curb cravings, are high in magnesium and protein for energy, and rich in Vitamin E for antioxidant protection. Having a healthy option in tow makes it easy to pass on plane peanuts and pretzels, which are higher in saturated fat and sodium. Throw in an apple or pear, and you’re good to go! In my suitcase, I pack a small insulated lunch box with an ice pack, so that I can take enough breakfast and snack foods to get me through the week at the hotel. Runny hotel eggs and Belgian waffles do not a champion make! I usually fill it with Chobani-100 Greek Yogurts, KIND granola bars, fruit, and power balls (I’ll have to pass on my recipe another day).  This leads me to my next tip…


Never book a hotel without a fridge. Never EVER. It makes the previous tip utterly useless. Also, do your research to get the deets on nearby eats. The more convenient you make healthy eating for yourself, the more likely you are to stick with it on the road. Narrow down hotels based on nearby juice bars, healthy restaurants, and grocers.Screenshot (144)

My Hacks: I love stocking the hotel fridge with local cold-pressed juices squeezed from organic fruits and veggies. Raw juice and coffee are my life blood on the road!  If I have a particularly long flight or know I’m going to be hungry when I land, I will place a take out order at a health food restaurant situated in between the airport and the hotel. This keeps me from pulling over for Chick-Fil-A (my weakness!) or ordering spaghetti from room service.


saladNothing dampens the spirits of even the most vigilant health nut like yet another wilted chicken salad.  There are few things less satisfying to me than shoveling gobs of boring lettuce down my gullet just to avoid that wily cheeseburger making googly eyes at me from the next table. Most people’s first instinct is to peruse the salad section of a menu for healthy eating choices, but rest assured, there are other options, even if you don’t see them on the menu. If you’re not in a health-centric restaurant, and you don’t see something you’ll like without regret, switch to reading the ingredients instead of the entrees. Having been in the service industry myself, I’m not advising that you go overboard high-maintenance, but there a few simple ways to hold your line without infuriating the kitchen.

My Hacks: Caprese salad on the menu? Score! I like to add grilled shrimp and raw asparagus. My favorite move? The lettuce-less salad. What’s on the menu? Avocado? Zucchini? Tomatoes? Corn? Artichokes? Green Beans? Peaches? Blueberries? Broccoli? Cucumber? Oranges? Garbanzo Beans? Black beans? Think of the combos! Pick 3-4, have them chopped up raw, tossed in a bowl, and served with oil, vinegar, and lemon. Still at a loss? Every restaurant in the world can do grilled chicken or shrimp with veggies.  


Of COURSE you get a cheat! Eating is one of the great pleasures of life, and traveling to beef tartaredifferent places is a great opportunity to experience new flavors and cuisines you may not get to try elsewhere. Allowing one or two special indulgences will add to your travel enjoyment AND keep you from giving into temptation and eating like a maniac throughout your entire trip. It’s a lot easier to eat chicken and veggies for lunch when you are doing it for the beef tartare at dinner! Choose your cheats, relish every bite, and move on!

My Hacks: I pick my number of treats based on the length of my trip (typically one
for every two days). I like to ask locals what food they’re famous for, who makes it best, what I simply can’t leave the city without trying. My cheat in Atlanta? A coursed meal at the Optimist. My cheat in Chicago? Deep dish pizza, obviously, and POPs for Champagne‘s beef tartare with deep fried pistachio ice cream. My cheat in Ft. Lauderdale? A huge plate of crab legs with lots of butter (I get withdrawals living in a land-locked state). My cheat in Sedona? The beef tartare at Enchantment Resort, while watching the sunset over Boynton Canyon. Notice a trend? Beef tartare is my go-to cheat in almost any city. I love it. If I don’t have a food in mind, I know I’m going to ask around for the best in the city. In fact, I have a constant revolving list of my favorites all across the country… but I’ll save that list for another day.


I’ve covered the topic of staying well rested on the road in a previous article, but if you need another reason not to let your zzzz’s slip away from you, try this on for size: there is a causal correlation between sleep deprivation and overeating. I am a frightfully light sleeper, which is why I travel with a sleep arsenal to battle sleeplessness in hotels. On the occasional occurrence it still doesn’t help, I notice a significantly stronger urge to inhale calories. Makes sense right?  Your body needs fuel, and it when it’s running empty on sleep, it tries to compensate during your waking hours with caloric energy.  

Research shows that people tend to consume 22% more calories after getting less than four hours of sleep, resulting in an average of 550 extra calories in a day.  That’s an extra 52 pounds per year. Hello, fat pants! The biology behind it has to do with two hormones:  leptin and ghrelin. Inadequate sleep causes the suppression of leptin, a hormone that tells your brain when you’re full, and the increase of ghrelin, a hormone secreted by your stomach that signals when it’s time to eat. Many other hormones and functions are affected by sleeplessness, further supporting the evidence that our health is wholly interactive, interconnected, and interdependent. Prioritize sleep in your overall nutrition plan, so that all of your hard work and planning doesn’t go to waste. Sleep in and stay thin!


Having a job where you travel can be exciting and tiring. Most of the time, my job takes me to fun cities I really enjoy visiting, like Chicago, Atlanta, Portland, Seattle, Phoenix, and Denver… But sometimes… It doesn’t. Like, central Illinois. Enter, the spinach story.

I was staying in a hotel near the airport and was due to fly out the next morning. There’s not much going on in rural Illinois, and not much of a food scene (my apologies to the Rib Shack and their bone buckets), so I was resigned to ordering delivery to the hotel and catching up on emails and my Hulu queue. With a stack of delivery menus, I picked a pizza place with a salad section and figured that, with a little finagling, I could make do.  

I ordered a salad with chicken, and said “I see that you have spinach listed as a pizza topping, so can you make me a salad with spinach instead of iceberg lettuce, and just charge me extra?” There was a very long pause. “Hello?” I checked, making sure the girl was still there. “Um… can you hold on for a minute, please?” After enough time had passed that I had put the phone on speaker and un-paused Modern Family, the girl returned to the line.



“I’m sorry,” she said. “I had to talk to the manager. There’s not really any way for me to tell you this without just saying it, but we can’t make your salad with spinach. I don’t think you’d want us to.”  

“Why?” I asked, not sure if I wanted to know the answer.

“Our spinach comes out of a can.”


Here’s the deal: MOST nutrition pitfalls can be avoided on the road with the right amount of forethought and preparation. In most places, you can find a healthy option if you look in the right place. But every now and then, you’re just going to have to accept that your evening will consist of shoveling a bowl of processed taco toppings down your throat to avoid going hungry, and decide never to go back to Central Illinois without a second suitcase full of food.  

Happy eating, all!

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15 Minutes of Pillow Talk with Arianna Huffington


Let’s be real, if you want to know how to survive a life of travel and stay on your game, this is the powerhouse you ask.  It should therefore come as no surprise that I made sure to grab a seat front and center, legal pad positioned and pen poised, for her talk on her latest book, The Sleep Revolution, at Belmont University’s Spring Leadership Luncheon this afternoon.  If secondhand sprays of success decided to emanate magically from the stage, I wanted to be waiting readily in their near vicinity for anointing.

All right, maybe success doesn’t exactly work that way (though a little cosmic fairy dust never hurt anybody) but relevant, impactful knowledge does, and of that, there was no shortage.  Her talk encompassed commentary on our culture, tips for sleeping well, and a question and answer session, during which I gleaned valuable information and suggestions for staying well-rested while living this crazy plane life.

As she explained it, our overall cultural paradigm on sleep shifted dramatically during the Industrial Revolution, when we “started treating humans as machines.”  Since then, we have evolved into a culture that lauds sleeplessness as dedication and importance.  We showcase our lack of time for sleep as a trophy, because we think it proves just how indispensable we are.  Given, however, that sleep, nutrition and exercise comprise the three pillars of health, “sleep,” as she put it, “is non-negotiable.”

Quick, someone put that on a graphic tee.

If we want to become healthier individuals, and ultimately, a healthier culture, that mindset has to change.  Because “without disrupting models that don’t work, we can’t create ones that do.”  Given that healthy cultures, communities, and families start with a healthy you and me, following are some helpful tips and guidelines I gleaned from her talk to start all of us on our training as Sleep Champions:

1- Take microsteps.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, eat an elephant one bite at a time, so on, so forth.  Good habits are not formed overnight or all at once.  Start small, but start smart. Be deliberate. In the spirit of “practice what you preach,” I’ll list my microsteps for each tip.

2- Set a demarcation.  I loved this.  When we set a marker by identifying a time or an activity that says, “the day is done,” we condition our brains to stop harassing us with tomorrow’s work, and give it the freedom to unwind and rest.  Bubble bath, meditation, sunset stroll, herbal tea, making dinner–your call!
♥ My Microstep:  Use making dinner, taking a bath, meditating, or having a cup of tea as my demarcation by 8pm.

3- Learn your sleep cycle and ditch the alarm.  Don’t panic; it’s possible. She makes a great point: the word “alarm” says it all. When we are yanked from our natural cycles, we are immediately starting our day in fight or flight mode, akin to pulling the laundry out of the washer before it’s done.  Experiment when you can, learn your sleep cycle, and let simple mathematics become your natural alarm.  Working from home (half the time) helped me get somewhat of a grasp on this, but letting our bodies wake us up shouldn’t be considered a luxury. When I have to be up at a certain time, being in bed nine hours prior has me awake before an alarm 90% of the time.  On the road, it’s more like 50%, but that also could be the maid cart.
♥ My Microstep:  Be in bed to read by 11pm.

4- Set your alarm for when you need to get out of bed.  When you need to use an alarm, why yank your body out of its sleep cycle before you actually have to and rob yourself of precious rest?  Commit to more sleep and less snoozing.  I read once that hitting the snooze button is breaking the first commitment you made to yourself that day.  As Jim Gaffigan put it, “Nothing like starting the day with a little procrastination.”
♥ My Microstep:  Get UP when I wake up-no bonus hour of Instagram, Huff Post, or online shopping while I’m laying in bed.

5- Unplug.  We all have tech addiction.  Ditch the tech for a specified amount of time before bed so your brain and eyeballs can actually prepare for restful sleep.  Her tech detox time is 30 minutes.  Maybe start with five (see bullet point #1).  Turn them off and, as she puts it, “escort them gently out of the room.” Having your phone in your room is kryptonite if you wake up in the middle of the night. Not even the best of us can ignore all of those little red bubbles. If you’re wondering what to do with yourself instead, they do still manufacture books: pick something fun and enjoyable and totally unrelated to work. If you use your phone as an alarm, buy an alarm (do they still make those)?  I’ll be honest–I said a big, fat “no way, not possible” in my head when she covered this.  Then I realized:  Arianna Huffington is the President and Editor-in-Chief of a multi-million dollar news publication tech company spanning 15 countries (think of all the time zones).  Maybe news never sleeps, but Arianna Huffington does.  If she can go without blue-lighted tech overload for 30 minutes a day without something major falling apart, well, it’s absurd at best, and idiotically narcissistic at worst, to think I can’t.
♥ My Microstep: Noise machine. I usually use an app on my phone, but tonight it will be charging in the living room.  [Follow up: What was the first thing I did this morning was when I woke up? Reached for my phone on zombie tech autopilot.  At first, I felt a sharp stab of phantom limb pain, but after a few moments, it was really nice.  When was the last time I started my day with my own thoughts instead of Facebook?]

Read More About Sleep Revolution on Huffington Post

As a professional who travels 50-60% of the time for work, I was dying to have those microphone ushers call on me during Q&A time, so I could ask her to how keep my head above water and happy on the pillow, while hotel-hopping from state to state.  As luck would have it, I was the next person up when they stopped taking questions (fairy dust FAIL), so enter… Uber.

As part of her campaign to raise awareness for drowsy driving (the cause of 8k deaths and 1.2 million crashes last year), Arianna Huffington has partnered with Uber to provide free rides to college students during certain late hours.  Which meant that in Nashville today, from 3:30-5:30pm, as part of this promotional campaign, you could enter a promotion code, move the toggle to ZZZZ, and get picked up by Arianna Huffington in an Uber (Is this real life?!).

By 3:46, the ZZZZ still wasn’t showing on my phone, so thank you, Uber Nashville, for quickly responding to my sad face emoji on your Instagram post, and telling me I needed to park my butt and my smart phone closer to Belmont.  Sure, it may have required sitting in a coffee shop for 45 minutes refreshing my Uber app for a ZZZZ car every 90 seconds while skimming her book, and you may consider that light stalking, but let’s get real. Arianna Huffington is one of the top five people in the world I would have elected to have a cup of coffee with (before 2pm, of course) and pester with questions.  And as she so eloquently put it during her speech: “Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen.”  So my Uber strategy was in full swing.

I had rather gotten used to seeing the “There are no ZZZZ cars” notification while haphazardly alternating my attention between the app, the book, and the two hipster musicians at the next table talking loudly about music-y things and writing music-y notes on their music-y computers, when I looked down and lost my mind. ARIANNA HUFFINGTON WAS PICKING ME UP FROM BONGO JAVA IN THREE MINUTES.  I grabbed my water and ditched the coffee (I had ordered in a frenzy and had not followed the 2pm rule), and waited on the curb.

There are several words I could use to describe this little tête-à-tête, or têtes-àu-têtes, given the Uber employees and media guys, but honestly, it was just so FUN.  She was, of course, fresh-faced and lively, and equally as warm and welcoming.  Her follow up question to asking where I was from was, “What brought you to Nashville? Are you a model or an actress? You’re so gorgeous!”  Needless to say, my inner dialogue went something like, “Wait… Was that real? Did Arianna Huffington just ask me if I’m a model?  Okay, sold. Love her already.”

After she said she would have fixed me up with the Uber rep if he wasn’t married, and I asked her if she’d had hot chicken yet (she hadn’t), she asked me what I did for a living. I explained my job and told her that I travel 50-60% of the time.  Her facial response resembled mine whenever I realize I have to book a flight with two layovers, or I find out TSA pre-check is closed.  “That’s always hard on sleep.  How do you maintain your sleep routine?”  Most of the time, I do fine. But there have been a couple of instances this year when I have crashed and burned, and now Arianna Huffington was swooping in as my sleep angel.

I told her of a few examples when my schedule had been so overloaded or erratic that I had experienced major exhaustion and burnout.  One incident followed five straight weeks of travel, followed immediately by five straight days of sleeping for no less than 14 hours per day when I got home. Another involved rampant and repetitive episodes of utter absent-mindedness, including booking accommodations in the wrong city, only to discover the night before that I was four hours away from the next day’s event (I got a good laugh out of it, then made the most of it by renting a convertible for all the driving, but it was still exhausting).  The point is, these things are not in character.  OCD is my second religion.  Believe me, if I were a character on Friends, I’d be Monica.

What I hadn’t had the chance to ask and wanted to get her advice on most was about sleeping in hotels.  When your sleep environment is always changing, it is difficult to maintain routine, and familiar comforts start to feel like long lost loves.  There are an innumerable number of factors outside of your control that can affect your quality of sleep:  noise, bed softness, light, pillow thickness, sheet fit, humidity, etc.  It can be a nightmare for a light sleeper who’s used to sleeping on a King-sized tempurpedic in a room with blackout curtains. She gave some great advice, interspersed with a few laughs (bonus: Arianna Huffington is kind of hilarious).  Her answers are written from memory and summarized to the best of my recollection, but they are not verbatim:

How do you maintain a healthy sleep routine when your sleep environment is constantly changing?  Bring familiar comforts from home, like small scented candles and your own pillowcase.  Make sure all blinking and bright lights are off.  Turn the lights off, lay on your bed, let your eyes adjust, and then identify where any disruptive light is coming from.  Unplug the clock.  I always pack black tape to cover up lights I can’t unplug or turn off.

What do you never leave home without when you travel?  I have a bag that’s always packed with everything I need for sleep:  eye mask, noise cancelling headphones, lavender candles, my noise machine.  When your schedule is always changing, you have to plan ahead, you have to prepare, and you have to be very, very organized.

During the 5% of nights when you haven’t gotten enough sleep, what do you do to maintain energy the next day?  Take naps.  [Let that sink in for a moment.  A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist tycoon named by Forbes magazine as one of the World’s Most 20 Powerful Women in Business just told us to TAKE. NAPS.  NAPS!!]  I drink coffee-not after 2pm-but I have no problem with coffee. I love it.  I pack healthy, energizing foods.  I love organic nuts like almonds and macadamia nuts. Especially macadamia nuts-I LOVE them.  I don’t really eat sugar, because it makes your energy spike and crash.  If you don’t stay fueled on good, healthy things, that’s no good, because you’ll end up taking whatever’s available to you.

To this, I replied, “You just exactly described my dating life,” and then, Arianna (yeah, our relationship is so first-name basis now) cracked up laughing.  “See?” she quipped – “Some rules are universal.


As if she needed to be any more endearing, she sent me skipping away with a bag full of sleep goodies-a noise machine, an eye mask, a granola bar, and a Sense ball that measures movement, light, humidity, and circadian rhythms while you sleep.  They’re all going in my travel sleep kit.  She called me bright and beautiful and I called her a charming powerhouse and thanked her for championing sleep.  After years of hearing sarcastic choruses of, “oooohhhh, how nice of you to join us,” it’s a beautiful thing to be told by one of the most successful women in the world that “sleeping in” puts me at lower risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, cognitive decline, strokes, car accidents, and wrinkles.

At the end of the day, the bottom line from this magical experience boiled down to this:  yes, we all live busy lives, but there’s a difference between being busy and being productive–and NO ONE performs at peak productivity when they’re running on fumes.  In a world where being a yes-person is more popular than being a no-person, and fear of missing out or falling short dominates our daily decisions, we martyr ourselves in the name of success or think we are not holy unless we are haggard.  Remember that sometimes saying “no, I can’t take that meeting,” or “now is not a good time for a trip,” or “no, I don’t want to go out,” is really the act of saying a bigger yes to yourself. It’s saying, “yes, I have the power to decide how I will spend my time today,” or “yes, I deserve to hit the market well-rested,” or “yes, my well being is more important than someone else’s opinion about how hard I can hang.”

We are each the lone steward of our life’s structure, our overall health, and our capacity for success. Sleep is one pillar that contributes to the vitality of it all, and not only is it an important one; it’s a pleasant one.  Thank the moon and stars!

Sweet dreams, then.

Buy Sleep Revolution here

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Watch: Things You Should Never Do Before Bed

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Watch: The Evolution of Sleep Culture

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Watch: Arianna Huffington on Donald Trump



Travel Recovery Pro Tips

{{A few essentials I can’t live (or fly) without, to help rejuvenate the body inside and out…}} 

Airports and planes can be headaches and pains, and while we can’t control all of the factors that go into making a flight environment or experience pleasant, I can share a few things from my own personal regimen:  let’s call it my little air travel survival kit.

1 – WATER 

If we’ve heard this once, we’ve heard it a thousand times, but really (no bull), how many times have we actually listened and heeded this advice?  I did about 10% of the time, if I’m being generous (or if I’m lying), until I started flying 6-10 times per month.  Simply put, humidity on a plane can be up 50% lower than what you’re comfortably used to.  Who cares, right?  Well, your skin, your hair, your energy, and your immune system for starters.  Raise your hand and roll your eyes if you’ve caught a cold, or worse, the flu, from some derelict who decided to fill an enclosed space with his or her projectile sneeze and cough germs for two hours.

Here’s the deal:  humidity in the air moistens your airways, allowing them to trap germs and prevent bacteria from entering your body.  You can’t argue with that.  It’s science.  Making this your number one priority will help guard against sickness, while also helping prevent alligator skin, Richard Simmons hair, and the energy levels of a coma victim.  Bonus points:  the more hydrated your cells, the more efficient they are at burning fat, so if you won’t do it for your health, do it for all that extra junk food you ate while on vacation.  Think ahead, be proactive, and chug a lug.

👉 My move: I buy a liter water bottle (half of the suggested intake for the day) as soon as I pass through security and make sure I’ve finished it by the time I get off the (first) plane. water

❤️ Extra love:  When you get home, infuse water with yummy fruits and herbs so you’re sure to gulp more of it down.  To make this a travel option, fill a water bottle with your fruits and herbs, but leave the water out until you get through security.


I’ve never been much of a germaphobe, but now that the travel requirements of my job make me much more susceptible to illness, I’m the queen of Wet Ones and hydrogen peroxide. You may think this next tip is nuts, and you wouldn’t be the first.

It’s an old wives’ remedy that has been thought to combat the flu, and it goes a little something like this:  lay on your side, drop a  half cap full of hydrogen peroxide into your ear, wait three minutes, flip, drain, repeat.  Full warning, the sensation is bizarre, disconcerting, and tortuously ticklish at first.  It may drip into your nasal passages, which is fine (think neti pot), and because it’s affecting your inner ear, it can also make you feel a little dizzy, temporarily.  But as I understand it, most illness-causing bacteria enter our systems through our ears, nose, and throats, and hydrogen peroxide can kill the bacteria that may have entered your system on a plane, that are then lying in wait to wreak havoc on your immune system.

From the reading I’ve done, there’s no harm in doing this unless you do it too often–so save it for after high-volume germ environments like planes or hospitals, or when you feel the onset of cold or flu symptoms.  I have to say, in the past 16 months, I have been on over 50 different aircraft carriers, and I’ve been sick a grand total of one time.  There are, of course, more foundational factors that contribute to my good health, like nutrition, vitamins, water, and sleep, but this little baby is my sniper rifle waiting at the back lines to take down anything that may have slipped past my normal defenses.

👉 My move:  I use a travel shampoo bottle for squeeze ease, so it’s already TSA friendly when it’s time to pack!  It’s also handy for when you accidentally drop your toothbrush on the hotel bathroom floor.

❤️ Extra love:  Have a Q-Tip ready and waiting. A Q-Tip will never have felt so good.


I don’t think I need to tell anyone that plane seats are terrible and perpetuate the EPSOM SALTever-worsening decline of modern day posture.  But good news:  a hot bath isn’t just a pampering luxury item–it is a valuable, practical application for maintaining joint and muscle health.  Draw a bath with Epsom salts and some relaxing essential oils, and soak it up. Do some stretches in the tub, practice deep breathing, and just take a moment to relax. 

Post bath, whip out the yoga mat and get next level with your muscles and joints.  You know what they say:  “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.”  Structural health is no joke:  everything in your body is connected to your spine, and every movement you make flows from it.  In my own experience, I have found that the more often I practice yoga during and after travel, the less often I feel the need for a chiropractic adjustment (sorry, Dr. Grande!), or even a massage–but believe me, I am opposed to neither.

👉 My move:  I typically do a variation of the following postures to work through travel tension:  Sun Salutation A, Cat & Cow, Puppy Dog, Sitting Half Spine Twist, Reclined Spine Twist, Child’s Pose, and Bridge (you can massage your shoulder blades into the floor with this pose).

❤️ Extra love: If you’re packing a carry-on, you won’t fit your yoga mat, but you will fit your yoga towel.  Use it for hotel yoga or take it with you to a studio so you don’t have to rent a used one.


Let’s face it (pun intended), your skin has just been through a totally garbage time and deserves a little extra attention.  As with our insides, our outsides need extra cleansing and hydrating post-plane, too. Even oily skinned people like myself need to keep their skin plenty juiced. 

Find a quality cleansing masque and a quality moisturizing masque.  Apply one during the evening after you’ve been on a plane, and the other the following morning–focus first on what you think your skin needs best at the moment.  Your face is your first impression.  Keeping your skin in prime shape helps it reflect your true, fresh and lovely self; not the haphazard plane version we don’t recognize under those heinous fluorescents. 

👉 My move:  I typically use SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque the evening I arrive mask 2home, and Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque the morning after. It’s important to remember that our skin care needs change throughout the year.  I choose my most intensive skin care items based on my esthetician’s recommendations following periodic facials.

❤️ Extra love:  Keep a travel bottle of Evian Natural Mineral Water Facial Spray in your bag at all times. The minerals help kill bacteria in the skin, the water helps keep your skin hydrated, it’s a great primer to use before resetting your makeup in the airport bathroom, and the cool mist feels amazingly refreshing after having been trapped in a metal vestibule with bottom-shelf wine and grimey tray tables all day.  

Whether you’re a constant plane dweller like me, or the occasional traveler, I hope you’ve found a helpful tip or two to remain your best self for your next flight.  Hours of baggage-toting, security-braving, germ-inhaling, armrest-sharing, tantrum-tolerating, hair-frizzing travel can drain even the best of us.  You deserve to be well.  Safe and happy travels!