Five things I never fly any sort of distance without

Never is a pretty bold statement, and obviously this depends on the length of flight, but here goes:

1) Kiehls In-Flight Refreshing Facial Mist

Cabin humidity isn’t just for your insides. Though this product has been relabeled as Cactus Flower & Tibetan Ginseng Hydrating Mist, I have been assured it is the same stuff. I spray this stuff liberally on my face and neck, and honestly anywhere else. It smells great and a bottle lasts forever. Make sure you buy the 2.5 oz size because this is a carry-on essential. Who checks bags anyway? Things are better if you’re on a 787, but I still bring it.

2) A large, thin scarf.

Blanket, headwrap, skirt, privacy shield…what you can do with a scarf is endless. I recommend something at least 6 ft long and 3 ft wide. Linen is great, cotton blends are great, silk is ok. Fold it up, wear it on, whatever. If you’re in economy, make yourself a little privacy sleeping hood. Anything that makes you feel a little less like you’re mere inches away from the face of a stranger.

3) Water Sac

Sure- most planes will give you free water. But it is never enough. Seriously you need to drink more water on planes. One liter for every four hours of flight, even more if, like me, you love to drink the free booze. I do this even when I am in premium cabins, as it is personally more annoying to continually ask for water or deal with trying to hoard mini bottles at your seat than to just bring some of your own. Water sacs are nice because they flatten and are reusable, but if push comes to shove, buy a liter at the airport. If I am going to a destination where the tap water is not drinkable, I will bring one with an attachable purifier.

4) Thick socks or slippers.

My shoes are coming off but I am not going to walk around the cabin in my regular socks. Slippers are ideal- better protection from the floor, but socks are easier to pack. If I am in business or flying economy on airlines like Qatar or Korean, this will be provided. Always be prepared though.

5) Noise cancelling headphones

I like these, which are small and I can crumple up and abuse. I can’t sleep with giant domes on my ears. I also love that you don’t have to charge them. Remembering to charge your electronic devices before leaving is obnoxious. Between computers and cameras and phones and battery packs, the last thing I want to worry about it my headphones.

Disposable face wipes, toothbrush/paste, eye cream, and a non-aerosol dry shampoo are my runners up.

No, I don’t receive compensation for this but I am totally open to product bribes.

Thing Thirty Two

A few years ago I saw these for the first time. “How cute!” says I. As a frequent flier and lover of cocktails, it seemed like the perfect thing. I picked one up, turned it over and shrieked “twenty-five American dollars?! For a single enhanced airplane cocktail?!”

Helllll no. Once you purchase the booze, you are looking at a $33-$35 drink you made yourself on an airplane. And people complain about bag fees. But, the concept was solid and I started making my own for when I wanted to feel fancy in economy (see also: privacy scarf).

Jason in New Jersey will be receiving a starter kit, which includes Peychauds bitters, orange bitters, sweet vermouth, honey, cane sugar packets, real lemon, real lime, real orange, candied orange peel, toothpicks, and a spoon. You’ll have to use the airplane napkin. Make a great Old Fashioned, manhattan, Champagne cocktail, hot toddy, spruce up your gin and tonic, or create something new! Most of the time the vials are small enough for airport security to not care, but if you’re concerned, throw them in your liquids bag.

TIP: Batch cocktails and punches are perfect for entertaining. A few of my favorite recipes are below, but if you really want to up your punch game, and learn some fascinating history at the same time, read David Wondrich’s Punch.

Champagne Pomegranate Punch
Red Sangria

 

the big three-oh

Get thee an enormous, modal scarf. Make sure there aren’t any serious danglies or tassles. And use it for everything (you hear that Tiffany in Washington?!) Need to lay on the beach? The scarf’s got you. Need a fashion accessory that doubles as a blanket for travel? Scarf. Need to hide? scaaaaaaaaarf. Wear it as a dress when you’re doing laundry. Use it as a head covering when you need privacy or modesty, use it as a cover-up on the beach. It folds into almost nothing, it’s comfy, it’s lovely, and it can transform any boring outfit into something spectacular as a fashionable cape. GET THEE A SCARF. Bigger the better, as long as it’s thin.

TIP: Rewatch Frasier. It’s so worth your time.

28

I started an online book club this year. I wanted to talk about books, and also force myself to be less lazy when choosing reading material. The qualifications were that all books had to be published in the past 18 months, and that I would seek out authors who were not cis, straight, white men.

Each month (though a few were skipped!) I would put two selections up for a vote, with the winner getting discussed at the end of the month. I almost always read them both. Below is my complete list of bookclub books for the year. Meg in Pittsburgh gets a copy of the best thing I read this year, which was What is Not Yours is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi.

We’re currently choosing December’s book, and you’re invited to join us on the journey. A discussion will occur mid-January.

        • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
        • Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration by Lauren-Brooke Eisen
        • What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi
        • These Heroic Happy Dead: Stories by Luke Mogelson
        • Red Clocks by Leni Zumas
        • Exit West by Moshin Hamid
        • The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Daniel Mallory Ortberg
        • Tomorrow Will Be Different by Sarah McBride
        • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents a Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo
        • Hey Ladies!: The Story of 8 Best Friends, 1 Year, and Way, Way Too Many Emails by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss
        • Not That Bad, edited by Roxane Gay
        • Chemistry by Weike Wang
        • The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife by Lucy Cooke
        • Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution by Menno Schilthuizen
        • How Are You Going to Save Yourself by JM Holmes
        • The World in a Grain: The Story of Sand and How It Transformed Civilization by Vince Beiser
        • Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything by Randi Hutter Epstein
        • Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
      • December Picks: 
        • The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After by Clemantine Wamariya
        • Choose Your Own Disaster by Dana Schwartz

      TIP: Many libraries let you check out books on your Kindle (or other e-reader) for free with a library card. And of course, you can always do the thing where you go into a library and borrow a book (or 10) for free too.

twenty four things

Local Art…buy it, love it, gift it, share it. I am full of bias here as my career is all about this very thing, but really that just makes me an expert you should listen to. We just had Shop Local Artists Week, and maybe I should have posted this then, but you don’t have to limit your support to just one week!

Buy original art, buy reproductions, promote your artist friends on social media, and do all that you can to value what artists provide to your community. Georgia in NYC will be receiving a framed piece of work by Beverly Ryan that I purchased in a fundraiser earlier this year. If your art budget isn’t much, get on the mailing lists of local artists and arts organizations because they can provide great opportunities to get unique pieces at amazing discounts.

Don’t forget that there are local artists making ceramics, jewelry, clothing, and more. Art: it’s not just for your walls!

TIP: Many independent artists are willing to work with you on a payment plan. It never hurts to ask when making a large purchase.

🎶 we’re feeling 22 🎶

So after yesterday’s booze, we must hydrate. I mentioned in Thing 7 that I am a double California almond. My thirst is not just limited to my skin, but also my actual hydration. I drink so much…and you should too. Not only is it good for your skin, sleep, and organs, it also helps your brain!

Water in the United States is completely safe to drink (almost everywhere), and yet, bottled water consumption is still off the charts. While I do buy a bottle sometimes when there are no other options, I try to be prepared with my watersac- the HydraPak Seeker 2L. This thing is almost weightless (empty lol), and can be condensed into something that fits anywhere. It also has never leaked and is easy to clean. Sid in San Francisco will see soon.

What I use my sac for the most is air travel. Even if I am in a premium cabin, if the flight is over 4 hours, I make sure to fill this up at the airport (from a water fountain, dispenser in the lounge, or even a larger bottle if I am in a place with unsafe tap water). If you have to ask for every 6-8 oz of water, you just won’t drink enough. There is no specific answer on how much water you should drink, but for myself, I try and consume a liter of water for every 4 hours of flight.

TIP: For long flights, there are almost always drinks and snacks you can grab from the gallery, and if there are not, just ask! It’s also a good excuse to get up and avoid that DVT.

Thing 17

It’s another catch up day! I am here to proclaim your chafing and blisters at an end. Feet, thighs, nipples, armpits, etc…they’ve all been saved! When I discovered Band-Aid brand friction block after I started running, I soon made the leap to rubbing the stuff all over my body. But it was impossible to find. I would hop around from CVS to CVS looking for that magic little tube, filling my cart like I was on that extreme coupon show if I hit the jackpot. And now it is discontinued.

But one magical day in October 2016, a flagship REI opened on my block. I walked through all of the hip displays, full of pricey camping and outdoor products, imagining myself taking up new hobbies based solely on proximity to gear. And then I saw it: an entire rack of friction reducing products in glorious colors and sizes. My heels and thighs were saved!

Body Glide has products for her, for feet, for body…and a few other things. But honestly, all of the tube types are very similar. There are large sticks, the size of a deodorant, and tiny little ones that fit in any bag/purse/clutch/pocket. Hopefully Ed in Pittsburgh enjoys a friction free life!

TIP: Make sure to clock the mileage on your running shoes. After 500 miles (sometimes less!) you need to get a new pair. Only use shoes you have maxed out on for biking or tubing or anything where you’re not walking.

Thing 5: Your Local Museum

Happy Small Business Saturday! Escape your family and go to a museum. As I remarked in my viral tweet earlier this year, I hate when we refer to visiting our local historical and cultural institutions as “playing tourist.” You should be visiting these places all the time! Sure, the decommissioned submarine at your City’s harbor may not warrant an annual visit (maybe it does!?), but plenty of museums and historical sites are changing up their exhibits and programs constantly. And sign-up for email newsletters or follow places on social media to watch out for special events and programs.

Go to lots of them, and go often! Become a member, if you have some money. Many memberships are tax deductible.  Check to see if your membership (or a slightly elevated membership level) will get you reciprocal benefits at other museums. I save several hundred dollars a year being a member of The Whitney.

If cost is an issue, lots of museums have free and reduced days monthly, just check their website or social media feed for information.  Or see if you can take advantage of Free Museum Day!

Kerri in Falls Church gets two tickets to visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

TIP: If you try and give everything in a museum equal viewing time, you are bound to be overwhelmed or disappointed. Give yourself permission to pass things over. Develop a strategy: stop at what catches your eye, stop at every third thing, only look at things with circles in them, or just skip entire galleries and wings you have no interest in. Let yourself really focus and absorb a few things instead of trying to do it all. Memberships can help with this, as it gives you a great excuse to drop in for an hour whenever. But do challenge yourself to see new things, especially if they are showcasing parts of history or the art that many museums have often ignored.