Category Archives: Uncategorized

10 things every traveler should do, by Pico Iyer

I’ve been cleaning out a lot of stuff from my apartment in recent weeks, which includes recycling years’ worth of (often unread) magazines. While paging through a 2009 copy of the now-defunct mine. magazine (a Lexus-sponsored periodical, which cobbled together other magazines’ articles, and Lexus ads, based on the subscriber’s personal preferences), I came across a Real Simple article titled “10 things every traveler should do.” The article discusses how to make sure you get properly acquainted with a new place – or one you’ve seen a million times. The tips are helpful and unique – and some of them are ones I’ve already been incorporating in my routine for ages, so I also got to feel good about myself reading it. 😉 Honestly, though, these are all great ideas for someone looking to make the most of their destination. I loved seeing the McDonald’s and newspaper tips because those are two things that have given me myriad details about various locales. For example, I’ll never forget picking up a copy of the local paper in Duluth, Minnesota on my first day there. The riveting front page feature? How the local college kids got along with the year ’round residents (with the ultimate answering being there weren’t really any issues)! What a refreshing difference from the headlines in The Washington Post!

I also appreciate that Iyer’s article encourages travelers to make a point to do the “touristy” stuff when visiting a destination, even if just to pick up some ideas or get your bearings. Yes! You should!

Here is the link to the online article at Real Simple (three pages): 10 things every traveler should do, by Pico Iyer, at Real Simple magazine


Travel stuff: Pilot and Captain

I like stuff. Some of my favorite stuff includes T-shirts. Pilot and Captain makes some of my very favorite T-shirts ever. No, I wasn’t paid to say this!

Since this is a travel blog, and I work in the travel industry, you won’t be surprised to see why I like these so much when you visit their site. Each shirt has a cool design with an airport’s 3 letter IATA code on the front. They come in nifty colors and are super soft and comfortable. I have the ones for LON, MSY, LAS, DCA, and DUB plus a fun postcard and a random BOS luggage tag-shaped magnet that they kindly included with my last order. I cannot wait to get the new AMS tee.

They also sell a ton of other stuff like vintage-inspired prints, mugs, notebooks, and totes, not to mention some really fun items like twistable/foldable paper globes and “vintage turbo flyers”!

There are also a few field guides to various U.S. cities.

I made this post on a whim, and all the pictures I am trying to take of my shirts are coming out terrible with our horrible overhead lighting (or lack thereof) so I’ll just skip the pix and tell you to check them out at (PS They have a new Texas collection! My husband’s family lives in Texas and I’ve been out there for work four other times so my house is covered in Texas stuff! Surprisingly I can’t wait to get more!)

Adam Yauch and daughter

Adam “MCA” Yauch and his daughter, Amnesty International awards, New York, NY in 2001. Credit: David N. Berkwitz

Beauty Try-It: imPRESS Press-on Manicure

I have been taking my time writing this particular review of my newest beauty try-it (which by now is the oldest) because I had so much fun with it. In fact, I haven’t had this much fun trying out a product in a long time!

Okay, so when Influenster’s VoxBox program sent me this imPRESS press-on manicure by Broadway, I laughed a little. Press-on nails? The last time I tried press-on nails, I was 8 years old. They were hard shiny gold pieces of plastic from the Juvenile toy store, with adhesive tabs you had to apply yourself. I was 8 and less coordinated than I am now … take a moment to think about how this went.

This imPress nails pattern, called TGIF, was decidedly wilder than any nail polish color I typically wear. I mean, if we rewound to my early 20s I’m sure I would be game. But I wasn’t a professional working woman back then. On the other hand, these aren’t THAT crazy – black nail polish is now almost as acceptable as red in the office – and the longer I stared at the design, the more I liked it. Look at it! It’s … strangely hypnotic.

Check out my flashy nails

Dancer/singer Nicole Scherzinger of Pussycat Dolls fame promotes the nails as a viable alternative to nail polish. Nicole Scherzinger doesn’t have to live a decidedly business professional lifestyle 5 days a week. Would these look good on ME? Would they stay on?

I had to wait for the right time to try these, when there were no board meetings scheduled, just in case I looked crazier than I imagined. In the meantime, I showed the package to the one other person that works in my section of the office, and he guffawed loudly.

The nails come in a plastic container shaped like a nail polish bottle. You pull the cap off, open the plastic, and then get all the nails out and line them up by size. Or that’s what you’re supposed to do. I just kind of fiddled around with mine and found the ones that seemed to be the closest fit to my natural nails, then put those in a pile. I am a rebel.

If you look behind the back insert in the box, you will find an alcohol prep pad. You’re supposed to use this pad to clean your nails before applying the imPress nails. I knew there was a prep pad included ahead of time, but because it wasn’t visible until I pulled out the insert, I forgot all about it and just washed and dried my hands instead. More rebellion.

Next, you peel the backing off of each nail, then carefully smooth it down onto the corresponding real nail, applying a decent amount of force for at least 15 seconds. Once you do this, the nail will be pretty firmly stuck, so don’t screw it up, fool!

This part was kinda fun.

I found that some of the nails were not a close fit to my real nails. In some cases, I went with ones that were slightly larger which was kind of dumb because every now and then I would feel a tiny prick of pain in the skin surrounding my nail beds from where the excess “nail” was poking it. The nail will also come off quicker that way, and it looks far more natural to wear the slightly smaller nail vs. the slightly bigger one.

Once I picked out the nails I wanted to apply, it took no time at all for me to put them on.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about them at first. They took some getting used to. I could tell that they were much larger than my natural nails and feared everyone would notice and point and laugh at me.

The very first day, my right imPRESS thumbnail popped off, probably because I removed it the first time (because I put it on upside down – be quiet), then pressed it back on. After it popped off, I replaced it with a smaller nail which looks much better.

On the third day, I was taking a shower when the imPRESS nail on my right middle finger came off. (The next day, my fiance goes, “By the way, one of your nail things is in the shower drain.”) I was halfway expecting this because that nail is kind of crooked thanks to my writer’s callus on that finger. I replaced it with a slightly smaller nail which, again, was obviously the smarter choice.

By the second day with these nails, I was feeling much better about them. People were complimenting me on them. I went out to dinner in Shirlington with a friend who said, “Ooooh, I love your nails!” She had no idea they were “fakes” until I told her. And my coworker who laughed at them? I showed them to him again, this time on my hands. “Hey, those look nice,” he said.

So I was feeling all fancy with my clever nails. But how would they hold up to 7 days of everyday life?

Patting a cat …

Patting another cat (more like ominously reaching for a cat)

Practicing my Claw dance moves

Opening a package …

Using my laptop …

Eating my lunch …

Playing with my hair … la dee da

For the most part, they held up very well! At times I forgot I was wearing them, then suddenly thought, “Oh no, I bet my nail fell off” (definitely a thought I’m not used to having ;)) only to find it was still right there. The nails that I had applied too close to the cuticle or that were slightly oversized were a little bit uncomfortable at random moments, and they also started to loosen (not noticeably, just during one of my random inspections) after about 3.5 days – underscoring the need to apply these correctly. The material is very firm, but still malleable, so you can use a nail clipper to trim a nail if you don’t like the length once it’s on.

To remove the nails, pull from the sides, not the top or bottom. If you’ve had them on your hands for only a day or two, it’s going to be much harder to remove them, so use a little nail polish remover to help.

The verdict? I dig ’em … a lot. I am imPRESSED by imPress nails. (I had to say it)

The details: imPress Manicure retails at $5.99 for colors and $7.99 for patterns. They come in 36 varieties which includes solid colors as well as prints and crazy patterns like zebra stripes (for real), and really pretty stuff like pale pink with delicate floral patterns. You can find them at CVS, Rite Aid, Duane Reade, K-mart, Walgreens, and Walmart to name a few. The official website is here – there’s a $1 off coupon, videos, and a cool app to “try” all the varieties!

Disclosure of Material Connections: This product was provided to me at no cost by Influenster in exchange for my honest feedback. The thoughts expressed here are my own and I have not been paid for providing this review.

Working Out at Work with Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Continuing my guinea pigging of workouts you can supposedly do in your cube or office, today I went through a small routine by Tracey Anderson, found in Bloomberg BusinessWeek‘s September 22 “How To” issue. If you don’t have a copy, you can view most of the same article here. Keep in mind that the purpose of these routines is not to get you in the kind of shape that Ms. Anderson is in, but rather for your good general health – as recent studies have discovered that even a small amount of sedentary time is very bad for your body, regardless of how fit you already are. And obviously that is definitely not good news for us desk jockeys.

This workout has little going for it compared to the Washington Post workout I reviewed last week. With just four moves, it’s decidedly faster than a full set of WP moves. Which is a good thing, because presumably you have to get actual work things done in the office, too, right? But the moves don’t include the number of reps to start out with. I found I was more likely to injure myself or bump into something with these moves – the first one in particular means balancing yourself on your rolly chair with both legs off the ground. The second exercise means you better wipe down your germ-laden workspace before planting your snoz on it. The third one is confusing – what is a “flick kick”? (“I don’t know, is it a kind of movie?” said my sister when I texted her with this question.) I did find the last move pretty satisfying; it’s a good stretch, and anything that gets us moving more during the day is a good start. With this one, that’s about all I can ask for.


I have a post about Murrells Inlet all ready to go; unfortunately, WordPress is doing this song and dance where it doesn’t want to put the captions on some of my photos or center them properly. I’m annoyed and don’t feel like fiddling with it, so you’ll have to hold on till a bit later … please try to contain yourselves. 😉


I fell out of a plane today! It was my first skydive ever, but it’s not going to be the last. I have lots of pictures (thanks Eric) as well as a video coming in the mail. I’ll make a post soon and tell you all about it. For now, I have the dubious joy of catching up on some work on my case study for school. Next weekend: Omaha.