beautygrind

How To Pack Efficiently For Travel

In travel on August 12, 2019 at 10:21 am

Image Courtesy of Lucas Fran├ža/Pexels

Going on an extended vacation or short trip can, for the most part, be exciting.  Packing for said vacation or trip on the other hand can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you haven’t cultivated packing a suitcase into an art form.

Packing strategically and efficiently for your travels can be the difference between having everything you need versus leaving items behind and having to make multiple trips to the convenience store or mall to replace items you forgot.  Strategic and efficient packing can also ensure that your items are organized and in good condition upon arrival.  Below are several tips, tools and techniques to help you navigate the task of packing for your travels.

  • Roll Don’t Fold.  How many times have you packed your suitcase only to reach your destination with clothes that have more wrinkles than a bulldog’s face?  We’ve all been there.  Rolling your clothes does two things: it helps to minimize wrinkles and rolled clothes can help maximize space in your suitcase.  When shopping in general and packing specifically, choose clothing in fabrics that tend to resist wrinkles.  If your clothes still have a few wrinkles after you arrive at your destination, try hanging your clothes in the bathroom while you shower and/or use a de-wrinkler for moderate wrinkles. 
  • Use packing tools such as packing cubes (great for rolling) and packing envelopes/folders (great for things like button downs which are better folded). These are also great tools to use to help keep your suitcase/travel bag organized.  You can organize based on undergarments (underwear, socks, hosiery), occasion (sports, dinner, events), day of the week and even color palette – whichever works for you.
  • Have a separate bag for soiled items.  Also, to keep things smelling fresh, use a sachet or even a dryer sheet inside of your luggage.
  • Begin and end with a packing list of items that you can always refer to when traveling.  This way you can plan before you pack.  This is also great if you are one to pack hours before your flight – you decrease the chance of you forgetting something important like your toothbrush or medication.
  • Use a toiletry bag (or Dopp kit).  Make sure you use TSA approved bottles to keep your skin/hair care in.  If you travel often, don’t unpack as you are less likely to forget these items.  TIP:  don’t fill the bottles all the way.  Storage areas of planes are not pressurized and can cause liquids to overflow if the bottle is filled all of the way.  Also, as a precaution, put bottles in a zip lock bag just in case something leaks so you won’t have a bigger mess than anticipated.  You can also put a small piece of plastic over the opening of containers to minimize spillage in case the top comes off.  Add a cotton round to items like foundation compacts to absorb shock and prevent breaking.
  • Leave extra space in your luggage for things you may purchase while traveling.  Also since most suitcases are upright, when packing, put heavier items at the bottom near the wheels to prevent the luggage from tipping over.
  • Keep jewelry from getting tangled by folding items like necklaces in gift tissue paper or 2 sheets of plastic wrap.  If you’re not one to keep the postcard that earrings come on when you purchase them, you can always use an index card or buttons to keep earrings (particularly studs) together.  Use a travel box, jewelry bag or small cosmetics case/bag to keep bangles and rings together.  You can also stuff these items in shoes to maximize space.
  • Use handbag dusters, large zipLock bags or even inexpensive shower caps to keep shoes from touching.
  • Put an identifying mark on luggage and travel bags for easier identification and pick up at baggage claim.  There is nothing more nerve wracking than to wait at baggage claim and realize that several other people have the same or similar luggage as you do.  This increases the chance of hurriedly grabbing someone else’s belongings and taking off in a hurry.  Use a brightly colored ID tag, sticker or even a ribbon to clearly mark your belongings.
  • Always pack an extra change of clothes, particularly underwear as well as important items such as medicine, feminine care, mints, snacks and ID in your carry onjust in case you and your luggage don’t arrive at the same time and place.
  • Wear your bulkiest clothes during travel so as not to take up all the room in your suitcase.
  • Know your airlines baggage fees so you can budget for it and not be surprised when you get to the airport.
  • Keep photos of ID and travel documents in your cell phone just in case you misplace these actual items.
  • Use a gadget organizer for things like chargers and earphones/EarPods.

Do you have a favorite hack that makes packing for travel easier?  Please leave your comment below.

Wardrobe Essentials Every Woman Needs In Her Closet

In fashion, style on July 18, 2019 at 7:40 am


Have you ever looked in your closet and felt like you had a closet full of nothing to wear?  Perhaps you had an interview or dinner to attend and an in a panic went shopping for the “right” outfit.  We have all been there.

Every season we are inundated with the hottest and newest trends off the runway that we are convinced we must have.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with indulging in said hot trends, it is important to have key or staple items in your closet.  Doing so will be be the difference between feeling like you have nothing to wear and feeling (and being) ready for almost anything.  This concept is also helpful when building or updating your wardrobe and although staples items (and colors) will vary from person to person, the right pieces increase wardrobe functionality as well as creativity when planning outfits.  

Below are 19 essential pieces to add to your wardrobe if you don’t already own them:

  • Jumpsuit.  This one piece can be styled multiple ways, and, depending on the material, can be worn year round.  Pair it with a blazer and pumps/loafer for work or strappy sandals and a clutch for a night out on the town.
  • Lightweight Neutral Blazer.  A blazer can be worn with anything at anytime.  Great for layering over a sheath dress or for wearing with a t-shirt and jeans/skirt.  A tuxedo styled blazer adds instant elegance if you are heading out after work or if you prefer to wear something that is edgy yet professional.  If suits are not your thing, it can still be a good idea to invest in one because you don’t have to wear it together but you can instead take the pieces and incorporate them into other parts of your wardrobe to create other looks.
  • Denim Jacket.  Denim jackets are great for in between temperatures or for when you want an outfit to take on a more casual vibe.
  • Leather Jacket. There is nothing like a leather jacket to add a nice edge to your wardrobe. Leather jackets are great for fall weather and look great with a scarf and of course a great pair of sunglasses.
  • The LBD (Little Black Dress).  It goes without saying that having an LBD (or two) in your closet will keep you ready for a multitude of occasions.  Know your shape for the perfect silhouette.  Keep in mind that styles such as the wrap dress is simple yet elegant and is flattering on most body types.
  • Dark Wash Jeans.  Creates a look that is polished and can take you from casual to elegant depending on what you pair them with.  Keep it simple by avoiding distressed styles which can distract from a clean, polished look especially if you are in a casual “professional” setting.  Pair with a chic blazer or blouse for work and a sequinned top and stilettos for a night out on the town.  If you want an option that is more dressy, consider a high rise, flare leg silhouette in a more flowy denim material.
  • Basic White T-Shirt/Tank top/button down.  These are great foundation pieces that create endless options for anytime and anywhere.  In addition to your basic round or v-neck t shirts, add one in a silky material or with embellishment for a dressy look.  Other basic colors to include in your wardrobe:  black, grey, and cream.
  • Black trousers and black pencil skirt.  Both are great pieces to take you from work to play and can be paired with various tops and accessories.  Again it is important to know your shape to find your perfect silhouette.
  • Hats and Head Wraps.  These items aren’t only for not so perfect hair days but can be that one piece that takes your outfit to the next level.  Include styles such as a classic straw hat and fedora as well as head wraps in black, leopard and pops of color.
  • Kimonos.  Nothing takes a simple outfit like jeans/shorts and tank top to the next level like a kimono.  Explore a variety of textures, colors, and prints to include in your wardrobe.  Want to level up your look, add a belt, head wrap and a nice pair of shoes/sandals to make your look top notch.
  • Pump.  A simple pump can take you from work to play and can be paired with almost anything. A platform pump is a great middle ground and creates great structure for many looks, including wide leg pants.  Pointy toe pumps make the legs look longer and leaner.
  • Loafer. An excellent alternative if heels are not your thing or for when you cant take another step in those pumps.  Opt for loafers in various skins (alligator), colors such as oxblood or even leopard print which can add a little pizzazz to an otherwise neutral outfit.
  • Sneaker/Slip on.  This footwear choice can be a more casual or sporty/athletic alternative to the above mentioned loafer or an addition to your shoe wardrobe.
  • Tote Bag and Clutch.  A roomy, well constructed tote bag is essential for carrying your belongings while on the go.  A basic clutch is the perfect add on for when you don’t want to carry everything you normally carry in your tote or for when you need to make that quick transition from work to play.

What are some of your favorite wardrobe staples?  Do you have go to pieces to keep you looking stylish or do you find that you have some opportunities in your wardrobe?  Please share your thoughts below.

Elevate Your Skincare Game With The Power Of Retinoids

In beauty, skincare on May 30, 2019 at 11:15 pm

Retinols, which are a form of retinoids, have long been the go to when it comes to skincare multi-tasking and anti-aging.  Considered to be the gold standard in skincare, retinoids are like your big sister who can do it all.  Retinoids have been around since the 70’s and were originally prescribed for acne concerns because they help to slough off dead skin and clear pores. Dermatologists and patients began to see that with regular use skin was more clear and smooth, with fewer pimples and less discoloration.  Skin looked better overall.

What Is A Retinoid And Where Does It Come From?
To first understand what a retinoid is and what it does, it is important to understand where retinoids come from.  Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A which occurs naturally in the body and can also be found in animal or plant sources.  Vitamin A is important because it is responsible for things like good vision and healthy bones as well as healthy cell turnover and collagen production.  

The term retinoid is the category name or umbrella under which the terms retin-a and retinol fall under.  Retin-A (aka tretinoin) is available with a prescription.  Retinol, the more common form of retinoid, is known by more familiar terms such as retinol palmitate, retinol acetate and retinol linoleate.  These forms tend to be more gentle and are a perfect introduction into the world of retinoids.   Retinols don’t need a prescription and can be found over the counter – in your favorite beauty stores.

How Do Retinoids Work And How Are They Different Than AHA’s And BHA’s? 

Retinoids, which work in the deeper layers of the skin, help to reduce the appearance of fine line, wrinkles, discoloration and enlarged pores.  They also help with cell renewal and collagen production.  The later two functions are important to note as they relate to anti-aging concerns because when you reach the age of 30, cell renewal begins to slow down, occurring evey 60 days or so as opposed to every 28-30 days when in your twenties. Slower cell turnover leads to dull, lackluster, congested skin.   In addition, collagen production, which is responsible for giving our skin, bones and connective tissues the structure they need, also begins to decline as well when we age.  This reduction in collagen production is responsible for fine lines, deep wrinkles and sagging, less plump skin. Retinoids work to increase skin thickness and elasticity in the deeper layers where wrinkles begin.  They also slow down the breakdown of collagen and curb the production of melanin (brown spots).

So what is the difference between retinoids, AHA’s and BHA’s?  AHA’s work on the surface of the skin to improve what we see while BHA’s work just below the skin’s surface.  Retinoids affect the deeper layers of the skin to push out permanently better skin and are more effective in the long run. 

How Does One Incorporate Retinoids Into Their Skincare Routine?

Start slowly and follow the directions of the brand you choose.  Directions usually instruct to use every other evening or 1-2x weekly, eventually working your way up to every evening.  Always use a sunscreen and keep in mind that results can take anywhere from 3-6 months of regular use to really see results.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Retinol Use?  What Precautions Should One Take When First Using Retinol?

Possible drying, peeling, or redness.  However, the new generation of retinoids deliver the same results with less irritation because these formulations include ingredients such as honey and jojoba to help soothe and calm irritation.   If you do experience any side effects, you can reduce dosage/usage but don’t stop completely because you won’t see the benefits.  Make sure you are using a moisturizer/oil to keep the skin hydrated and to counteract any possible irritation associated with retinol use.  Don’t use if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. 

Differin Gel.  Once available only with a prescription, Differin gel is the first FDA approved retinoid gel approved for over the counter use for the treatment of acne.  Differin gel contains adapalene, a form of retinoid that treats/clears acne.  Available in a 30 day and 90 day supply and has an accompanying cleanser and moisturizer. The highest dose still requires a prescription (.3% adapalene)

Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength 3% Retinoid Plus.  Perfect for normal, oily, combination and dry skin, this lightweight serum helps to get rid of the signs of aging.  A key ingredients include caffeine which helps with penetration and the buffering complex of symitive 1609 and symcalmin to calm irritation.

Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex.   This vegan, gluten-free eye cream is microencapsulated, ensuring potency of the retinol as well as better absorption into the skin.  Niacinimide, vitamin C and peptides help to ensure hydration, reduction of dark circles and plumping of fine lines.

Darphin Ideal Resource Youth Retinol Concentrate.  Infused with nourishing botanicals, this retinol encourages cell turnover, moisturizes and is perfect for face and eye.  To preserve potency and protect from light damage, this retinol concentrate is housed in individual opaque capsules.

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream.  This cream has the highest strength of retinol available without a prescription and works overnight to help reduce the signs of aging with pure RoC Retinol and an essential mineral complex.

Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster. This lightweight fluid is a slow release retinol that actually boosts the efficacy of your other skincare products such as serums and moisturizers.  It also helps to even skin tone and improve radiance.  Can also be used alone.

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum.   This serum which is perfect for normal, dry, combination and oily skin contains a 6.5% blend of retinoid ingredients to fight the signs of aging as well as Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol and ginger to help balance and soothe the skin.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream.  The key ingredients of Vitamin F, triple peptide blend and Retinol 1% work together to help target UV damage and other signs of aging while helping to firm and smooth the skin.

Are you a retinol user or is it something you have considered adding to your skin care routine but haven’t done so yet? Leave your comments below.