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My World of Lighter Packing

21 May

In college, I would show up for a weekend away with little more than an overnight bag and my purse. My friends would gape at me and wonder how the hell I was going to make it through the weekend with so little “stuff”. It’s easy, people. REALLY easy. Packing 17 outfits for a 5 day trip, including two practically identical pairs of brown heeled wedges is idiotic on so many levels. Why do we girls, in particular, do this to ourselves? Why pay for checked luggage when we can fit everything into the overhead bin?

Over the past 20-plus years, I have perfected the art of packing. I believe this comes from decades of camping with my family, weekends visiting my dad, and of course that little stint abroad – including the time I spent 10 days in Italy with only an over-the-shoulder bag (which also carted 10kg of parmigiano cheese). It’s officially down to a science.

In just 24 hours, 4 of my favorite ladies and I will be heading down to Myrtle Beach for a long Memorial Day weekend of celebrating our nation’s finest by saluting them with tequila sunrises. We’ll be gone for 4 full days, and are cramming ourselves and our stuff into a little toyota camry. Our bags, which need to be kept to a minimum, will contain bathing suits, bar attire, warm clothes, something to sleep in, and “normal clothes” to wear during the day. Not to mention hair supplies and makeup! That’s a lot to fit into a carry-on sized bag. So we must be prepared. Not all trips are created equal – obviously a trip to the beach is a little different than a trip to the mountains. But for this standard Beach weekend, here are my staples.

 

The Duffel Bag:
There are literally thousands of options to choose from. Whether you keep recycling your old Vera, switch to a sturdy yet stylish L.L.Bean or Northface, or simply grab one from Walmart, a medium sized duffel bag is integral. Backpacks are my second choice. I find them to be much more efficient for trips where you need to take your stuff with you at all times (i.e. a European adventure!). But for our purposes, a duffel gives me more space, and the ability to simply toss it from the car to our rooms.

Swim Stuff:
A bathing suit takes up basically no room in a bag (also, hi let’s discuss how cute ModCloth’s suits are). Same goes for a coverup. But the towel is a traitor. There is literally no reason to bring more than one. Never. If it gets wet, wash it (or just don’t). You are likely staying at either a hotel or a friend/relative’s house which means you don’t need a second one for showers – there are always extras…

Comfort Clothing:
These will be used in multiple ways. A pair of thick black capri leggings, long/short sleeved t-shirt, and a hoodie provide a magical combination for traveling women of all shapes and sizes. You can wear them on the car/plane/whatever both to and from your destination. They are also perfectly acceptable sleepwear. And there is certainly no shame in wearing them around the house or in the evening on the beach when you and your ladies are just downing one bottle of wine after another watching the waves come in.

Day-to-Day Attire:
You’re at the beach, so let’s be honest… I don’t need much of this. I’ll be basking in my suit under the UV rays til the cows come home. But just in case I do need something to wear between the beach and the bars, here is what is going into my own bag:
1 pair of black shorts
1 grey maxi-dress (or substitute for a maxi-skirt)
1 colorful loose-hanging top
1 solid-colored tank or blouse
Choosing individual articles of clothing that can match with more than one other option will double your outfits. Besides, you’ll likely be wearing them for less than 4 hours each day. It’s not like you’re getting them dirty.

In-Da-Club:
Friday and Saturday nights in a warm environment are not difficult to prepare for. I feel like describing the clothes you should bring for a night out is ridiculous. We all know what we like to wear when we go to the bars. My personal preference (and plan) is as follows.
Night One – A Fun black sundress with a red belt
Night Two – A bandage skirt and bright top

Shoes:
You need a total of three pairs of shoes for all of the above outfits. One of each. That is all.
1. Sandals – These will be paired with your comfy clothes and swimwear
2. Flats – Choose your color wisely, because these should be able to match both your casual clothes and possibly your bar outfit
3. Heels (optional) – If you’re feeling bold. But if you can already tell they’ll be staying in your bag, do yourself a favor and leave them behind and go for a sparkly pair of flats
There is seriously zero reason to bring another type of shoe.

Note: For those of you who think you need to pack exercise clothing and tennis shoes on this trip, I laugh in your face. You’re on vacation. Just stop. You will not be invited to my beach house.

Misc:
Make up, shampoo, shaving stuff, hair dryer, straightener sunscreen… If you’re going in a group, which is generally the case, it is completely unnecessary for each individual to bring their own version of the previously stated items. Bring your own razor and makeup, and then divvy up the rest. 2 hair dryers and straighteners, one bottle of shampoo/conditioner, and one bottle of sunscreen can easily be split between a group of 5. Sharing is Caring, ladies. (PS, for Sunscreen, no matter what your skin type, you don’t need more than 30 spf.)

Oh Em Gee Look at all this extra room I have! Now what do I do??:
Here is your chance to add in an extra shirt, or a jean jacket to complete an outfit. (Note, I’m not saying this is absolutely necessary…) I guarantee your bag is lighter and happier, so there’s so much more room for activities!! (This is also known as shopping.)

Welcome to my world of light packing. I hate sifting through mountains of clothing when I’m on a trip. And I love having extra room so I can bring more stuff home with me! The key points to remember here are to be prepared. Try all your clothes on before you pack them, and come up with your actual outfits. Pick clothes that mix and match well. And don’t forget that you’re with your girlfriends… SHARE YOUR STUFF! Feels like college…

Belle

Love knows no limits

15 Nov

So, confession. I spend hundreds of dollars a month on Uber (since cutting back on the social schedule, this bill has also cut back, MUCH needed relief to my overprotective father’s wallet). Uber is my weakness, and the most stable, reliable relationship in my life currently. I can be in DuPont at 8am, or H Street at 3am, and still, always, without fail, Uber is there to whisk me away.

Not only is the whole process a serious breeze, especially in taxi-problem-ridden DC, you get to ROLL UP IN A BLACK CAR OR SUV. In a town where you never know who is on the other side of those tinted windows, you better believe I act important when I go LITERALLY anywhere in an Uber. (ugh, #ThisTown)

i have ARRIVED

Uber has gotten me out of some pretty sticky (literally) situations, hence the stability of our relationship. Allow me to outline the five best, or worst, moments of our relationship:

5.) The time I spilled a Hurricane on myself

After a particular rowdy night at Little Miss Whiskey’s, I thought it was a good idea to bring my unfinished Hurricane along for my journey home in my purse, the same purse that suffered a horrible fate a few weeks later. Obviously, I was wearing 4 inch wedges and ate shit on H street en route to my Uber, and obviously, the full Hurricane half in my purse half in my hand covered my whole body in a sticky slushy mess. Even still, my Uber driver accepted me with love and clorox wipes to rinse off.

4.) The time I hooked up in the back

Self-explanatory, I was very drunk (duh), and our “two stops” quickly turned to just one. (It was a VERY PG hookup, don’t go thinking I’m that kind of girl)

3.) The time I was stranded at National Harbor

I found myself at The Gaylord during CPAC (honestly, I don’t even know how I got there, but I was with a gaggle of Republicans, clearly I was fine), and then suddenly found myself at 4am VERY READY TO GO HOME, TO VERY NW DC. Uber? PICKED ME UP WITHIN 10 MINUTES, AND 87 DOLLARS LATER I WAS IN BED.

2.) The time I threw up in a $300 purse

I was on a long journey home from H street (I’m sensing a pattern here), it was 90 degrees outside, it was a jerky car ride, I had way too much vodka/gin/wine/fireball/beer etc, and it just happened. I vaguely remember being half asleep, as I often am, and as a fairly regular drunk vomit-er, I knew I had approximately 30 seconds before shit got real. I looked around for a bag, a water bottle, ANYTHING to avoid the $300+ cleaning charge for getting sick in an Uber. I was a girl scout, I knew how to be resourceful, so I used my $300 Tory Burch purse as a trash receptacle until the driver realized what was happening and pulled over. Bless his heart, he didn’t kick me out, and he even tried to help me clean up (I have some pride, I CLEARLY refused). Looking back, it would have PROBABLY made more sense to throw up in the car, as I’m now out my favorite purse.

1.) The time I LEFT A BURRITO IN THE CAR

TRAGIC HORRIBLE THE WORST NIGHT OF MY LIFE. I had a beautiful, perfect burrito from SR’s beloved Sol, and I was headed home from a long night on H street. Again, I was half asleep in the back seat when we pulled up to my house. I hopped out and headed into my kitchen, only to realize……I LEFT MY UNTOUCHED VIRGIN BURRITO IN THE BACKSEAT. I think I cried before curling up, truly alone, in my bed.

So you see, DC, nobody will ever replace my one true love, Uber. SOMEHOW, it’s honestly so unclear how, I was recently informed, my Uber rating is 4.7/5. THEY LOVE ME RIGHT BACK. Uber has been there for me so many times before, and I know they will be there for me again tonight, tomorrow morning, tomorrow night, Sunday morning, and beyond. If you haven’t tried them yet….. never read this blog again try it out, and let me know how it goes. Everybody has at least ONE good Uber story, my life just happens to be one hot mess after another.

PS: Missed connection moment: mystery Uber driver who was lucky enough to eat my burrito, please buy me a new one, it’s been months and I’m still not over it.

We Tried it, so You Don’t Have to: At-Home Wax Kit

14 Nov

The Product:

Extra Strength All-Over Wax Kit from Sally Hansen

So, I’ve been waxing forever. Sometimes I get lazy and shave, but generally, I try to wax every six weeks, because I am not a fan of the bushy look, and before you get all feministy on my ass, let me clarify that yes, I do it because I feel sexier and because I am convinced that men are more likely to go down on me if I do. I am (sometimes) a walking stereotype and I sleep with assholes who would agree. Kthnxbi.

Honestly, I don’t know what possessed me to do any of the following.

I was at CVS, waiting for a prescription, casual. That’s how they get you. And so I thought: hey, maybe I should try doing it myself! I’m fiercely independent and I would save money blah blah blah. I usually exclusively associate Sally Hansen with nail polish, but given that it was the only brand at the store, I went for it. I have waxed my legs on my own before, and I had seen it done billions of times!! How hard could it be?

That’s when I should have knocked some sense into myself. But I didn’t.

Instead, I drank a glass of wine because OOF, what a day plus it’s a soft painkiller. Logical.

I took the lid of the blue jar, which contains the wax. As indicated in the instructions, I microwaved it for 30 seconds. Now this is a key step, because if you don’t follow instructions, the wax can explode in the microwave, and you do NOT want to deal with that mess. The wax came out melted but not scalding. Good sign.

The first issue arose when I forgot that there was no lid on the jar. I wasn’t paying attention and I spilled wax on my floor. But I moved on, because I needed to wax; I could deal with the floor later (still haven’t).

The next question was: how do I position myself to reach all the necessary key areas while being able to use the kit. I sat on the floor, and using the above shown popsicle sticks I dabbed some wax on the relevant skin portion.

Important note: Always apply the wax in the direction of hair growth. Pull in the opposite direction.

I then took one of the white cloth strips and placed it on the wax. The first pull was easy. As soon as I pulled I put my hand on the area and applied pressure (something suggested on the instructions and done by wax professionals). The area seemed mostly clear of hair. It was promising.

I moved on to a new area. When I went to pull the strip, it did not work and the wax stayed on the skin. I tried a second time and nothing happened. Except for pain. I decided to give it a rest and move to the other side. Again, wax stayed on skin, and pain. At this point, things were starting to get messy. I accidentally dripped some more wax on my skin, and all the patting started getting wax on my hands. After some more pain, I decided to quit. It was NOT happening.

My strategy then was to hop in the shower and wash off the wax. Except for that I forgot the tiny detail that wax and water don’t mix. So there I was, covered in wax, unable to really do anything. I tried using shampoo, body wash, face wash, and conditioner to get the remaining wax off my bikini (and hands, stomach, and legs that somehow ended up also covered in wax).

Problem number seven billion arose when I decided to shave, since the waxing had failed. Needless to say, the results were disastrous, given that I was still somehow covered in wax. After running my hands under hot water for 20 minutes, I managed to get most of the wax off my hands, enough to do regular shower things as well as shave attempt number 2.

I had to get out of the shower when I started getting dizzy from the heat. And so here I am, writing this review, still covered in wax, still unsure of how I am going to ever get unsticky or how I am going to get the wax off of my floor.

So DO:

–       Use it if you’ve waxed that area by yourself before.

–       Heat it up an extra 5 seconds, I suggest.

–       Read ALL the instructions before using it.

DON’T

–       Drink wine before using it

–       Spill wax on the floor or your legs, or really any body part.

–       Try to shower to fix things.

–       Use it. Splurge and have someone do it for you.

Honestly, given the one successful strip, I am sure the wax itself works. But it’s just one of those things that will always have a place in my budget. The luxury of not having to do it myself, and it taking fifteen minutes during my lunch break is priceless.

Need recommendations of where to do it in DC? Email Stacie Smack at stacie.smack.sr[at]gmail[dot]com