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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Review: Sockwell's Graduated Compression Socks

As a person who travels quite a lot, walks a ton on each trip, and is on her feet all day when going to a day job, good footwear and compression socks are a must. Being short, my feet don't really reach the floor comfortably on the plane, so it's hard for me to maintain circulation in my lower legs. Not that I have great circulation in my feet in the first place. Sockwell's Graduated Compression Socks are exactly what I need.

Sockwell makes some of the best compression socks, because they've been doing it for a long time. Their aim is to the best. Achieving that, they focused next on stylish options. Just because you need compression socks, doesn't mean you want to look like you live in a nursing home. Heck, those people would probably love some fun styles, too! I know I would.

I picked up a pair of graduated compression socks from Sockwell when I visited their booth at the Travel Goods Show, where they explained to me why they are awesome, why people need them and how to put them on more easily. As long as I've been wearing compression socks, I've never been shown the proper way to get them on my foot. When you flip them inside out, get your toes situated in the toe box, then you can roll them up your leg (sort of like pantyhose), they go on very well, and don't need to be adjusted at all. 

Sockwell not only has graduated compression up the leg, but also the top and bottom of the foot, which you don't think you need, until you have it. These socks are pretty and make you feel taken care of. If, like me, you find that you tend to swell not only in your ankles, but also in your foot, then this is crucial. Swollen feet make for a miserable vacation. Ask me how I know. 

Wear these socks in all temperatures! Sockwell uses a merino wool and bamboo blend to keep your foot temperature controlled, keep your foot dry and shoe from trapping moisture, and not allowing bacteria to grow. This blend discourages odors, unlike other socks made from synthetics. And unlike cotton socks, which dry slowly and stay wet, these also help prevent blisters, because sweat and other moisture isn't trapped and creating unnecessary friction.

Not sure if compression socks are for you? If you walk all day, stand all day, jog or do other exercise, then compression socks can help you prevent blood clots and swelling, and even stabilize your muscles, meaning your legs and feet don't get as tired as quickly. I can attest to the fact that this works, as I walked 25 miles in four days while in Las Vegas, so my feet were, undeniably, in need of some TLC. 

I wore my new Sockwell's on my travel day home, where I flew on the plane and then took a three-hour train ride, all while dragging my luggage alone with me and I never feel like I wanted to just sit down and never move again. My feet were pretty happy and I didn't immediately rip off my shoes and socks when I walked in the door either. 

I find that a good pair of compression socks can really be the difference between having achy feet and legs partway through a long day of sightseeing and still being happy to walk a few more blocks to get dinner after you've gone back to your room to freshen up. Each day of your trip can feel like the beginning of your trip, because you don't wake up with lingering aches from the day before. To me, that's more than worth the extra money you're paying for compression socks over regular socks that don't really do much beyond keep your feet warm. They aren't bulky, so you can wear them with all your shoes and even your skinny jeans. 

Why wouldn't you own several pairs of these for your travel bag?
What's your favorite way to make your travels easier or more comfortable?

More Details:
How much are they? $26.99/pair
Where can I buy them? On the Sockwell website or Amazon
What colors/patterns do they come in? So many! but the ones I am wearing are the Teal Women's Circulator. 
Other specs: Spandex throughout sock, Turn Welt Top, Arch Support, Seamless Toe Closure | COMPRESSION: 15-20mmHG, Moderate Compression | CUSHIONING: Ultra Light Cushion Sole | CONTENT: 32% Merino Wool 31% Bamboo Rayon 32% Stretch Nylon 5% Spandex

Learn more about Sockwell and keep up with the new styles by following them on social:

Disclosure: I was given a pair of Sockwell graduated compression socks for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Review: The Winged Mask from The Barrier Method

I've had my share of spending all or part of my vacation on cold meds and being miserable, because getting sick is so easy when you travel. The plane is full of recycled air, meaning recycled germs, and you can't get away from it. Plus, wherever you go, everything has been touched by a million strangers. The Barrier Method brings you a scarf with a secret. It's a nice accessory, but it's also a face mask that keeps the germs from getting into your body.

The moment I saw this scarf, I knew I needed to try it! Nobody wants to travel wearing a surgical mask, because A.) they don't work and B.) everyone treats you like you have the plague, not like you're trying to avoid getting it. If you've ever been sick the moment you've made it to your destination, you'll understand why this product is so important.

The plane is disgusting and dry. No one's going to dispute that. Every time I fly, I am relying on lotion and lip balm and feel like my face is going to crack and fall off. A good portion of the passengers are coughing or sneezing.  The recycled air is no one's friend, and if you use the personal fan, you're essentially just blowing germs directly at your face. The Barrier Method was made for those that don't want to get sick on their trips (so, everyone), or those that have really bad allergies (*points to self*), and those that still want to look good while taking care of their health.

The winged mask (or the neckie, if you don't want a full scarf) has a built-in mask that blocks out germs, moistens the air you're breathing, and just looks cool. The fabric itself is lightweight, breathable, looks and feels lovely, is moisture-wicking, so you won't sweat, and hinders odor-causing bacteria. It basically does all the things, meaning you can wear it when it's warm out and when it's cold out.

The fabric is imbued with UPF 50, because did you know that the rays from the sun are even more damaging at 30,000 feet than they are on the ground? Yikes! I always wear sunglasses and sunscreen, but this means I have double protection on some of my most sensitive skin, as I always like to keep my shade up during the day time. It helps to feel like you've got a little more room than you do and allows you to soak up some Vitamin D. 

I also love how lightweight this scarf is. Wear it throughout your flight and then easily stash it in your bag when you reach your destination. It takes up hardly any room, so you can take it with you everywhere and pull it out when you need it. 

As someone who can't always get headphones and such to fit correctly, the adjustable ear straps are a lifesaver. They work like bra straps, so you can make the mask tighter or looser, depending on your needs. That means it works for men, women and children. I wondered if it might really inhibit my normal breathing, but it only takes a few minutes to acclimate to the feel of something over your nose and mouth. In fact, I wore this for several hours and after about 5 minutes, I forgot I was wearing it. 

If you have medium hair or longer, it's going to cover the ear straps, but even if it doesn't, it's not a big deal. You see someone wearing one of these and you wonder wear they got it, not what's wrong with them. 

When you concentrate on breathing normally with your mask on, you find that you slip a bit into a meditative mode, calming you down and allowing you to nap easier on the plane, train, or even in the car. If napping isn't on your list, it gives you more focus to read, work or whatever else you want to focus on. Quit taking time out to slather on 45 coats of lipbalm and arrive at your destination feeling more refreshed. It even helps with those weird food (and other) smells from people around you, so if you're sensitive to those things as well, here's your answer.

The The Barrier Method has really thought of everything, because not only are you going to look and feel good, but you're going to actually look good. The masks come in a bunch of colors and patterns, meaning you will find one that works for you...or several that you may want to rotate through. You can machine wash them on gentle cycle and hang them to dry. Did I mention they dry quickly? 
So, what about when you can't wear a mask, because you're eating or drinking or sleeping in a dry climate (though you can sleep with it on)? Check out the Barrier Method's Nose Goop. If you've ever felt like your nose was super dry or you're prone to bloody noses, and have resorted to putting vasoline or even lip balm up your nose to keep it from getting dried out, then you're going to want some of this! 

None of those things are good for you. Nose Goop is an all-natural, organic answer to both keeping the inside of your nose from drying out and those germs outside of your body where they belong. It's made from comfrey, olive oil and lavender, so it's safe and smells lovely and also relaxes you. It's wonderful for your skin and won't make you break out like those other things you've been using. It's perfect for travel, because you can use it as a germ barrier, an organic lotion, and a sleep aid. 

So, if you're hoping to stay healthy, look cool, and support a woman-owned small business who makes their products in America, you need a mask and goop. Your travels will never be the same, in the best way. These also make awesome gifts. Mother's Day is coming up, or you may have a graduation gift to buy for a kid that's hoping to travel (though these would be perfect for avoiding germs all over college campuses, too). 

Are you as tired as I am of being sick on vacation?

Other details:
How much is it? Winged mask in solids: $60 | winged mask in patterns: $70 | nose goop: $10
Where can I buy it? From the Barrier Method website {use code STC10 for an exclusive discount}
What colors/patterns does it come in? Black | White | Grey | Coral | Blue | Aqua | Blue Tribal | Camo | Hibiscus | Electric Palms | Maui Monstera (shown at top) | Maui Pineapple (shown)
More specs: Antibacterial, light weight, wicking, UPF 50, breathable, non-pilling, wrinkle-resistant, & inhibits growth of odor causing bacteria. Made of 100% Eco Polyester. Made in Hawaii & California.

Follow The Barrier Method wherever you socialize:

Disclaimer: I was provided with the Winged Mask in Maui Pineapple for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Streamline Your Travel Beauty Routine

As a person who travels often, I have figured out a way to streamline my travel beauty routine in order to keep my toiletry bag packed with all the necessities, so I don't have to repack every time I go anywhere. 

pillow spray | Neosporin | travel razor
At home, I have a ton of beauty and hair products, which I may or may not use. Sometimes I like to experiment with new looks, but that's when I have time and feel like it. When I travel, I want my daily routine to be as quick and efficient as possible. I want to spend more time out and about, exploring a new city, instead of getting up and spending an hour in the bathroom trying to look camera ready. If, like me, you want to get out the door faster and also pack less, here's how I do it:

Get a Gel Mani

If you're one that likes to have your nails painted and looking fresh, then this is a must. I've spent enough time trying to touch up chips in my nails while away from home, but it gets old. I'd rather just go with bare nails, because they're less maintenance. But sometimes you want to look more polished and put together. In those times, I make an appointment at my favorite nail salon to get a gel manicure. They last three to four weeks and are pretty chip-proof for the first couple. Choose a color (or colors) that will work for your travel wardrobe  and leave your polish, remover and top coat at home, so you can leave that space in your 3-1-1 bag for more important items, like a spare pair of contacts.

eyeko liner | Milk highlighter | Benefit concealer | Coastal Scents


Do you find yourself using the same few products every day at home? Or even when you travel? I do. Moisturizer, foundation or CC cream, powder, highlighter or blush, and mascara. If you're like me, then you already know the handful of products you use the most, making it easy to take those on your trips. Bring along travel sizes of these (or decant them into smaller pots if you can't find them), along with a your favorite eyeshadow palette for special looks, and then you don't have to worry about how you're going to look on your trip. {I like these little GoTubbs for moisturizer & makeup or lotion or coconut oil, which is multipurpose.}

Keep in mind that sometimes you're going to need different products than at home, because the weather is different. I find that my skin dries out more when I travel, so I take a heavier duty moisturizer and top with a CC cream or a tinted moisturizer to give my skin some extra help. I also look for all-natural products that I can get trial sizes of through Sephora or Birchbox, so I don't have to pack full-size items. You aren't going to use that much in a week or two, so big clunky product packages are only taking up unnecessary bag space. I skip anything that I keep in my purse on the regular, like lip balm. Add in your sunscreen and you're good to go. 

CC cream | moisturizer | sunscreen

Look for multipurpose products

I love a good tinted moisturizer, but I also love a combo lip and cheek tint. If you can find products like this that you love, then these are a go-to for your travel beauty bag. Keep it stocked and that's one less thing to worry about.

flat iron | hair serum | travel brush

Go small

Yes, there are all those fun travel sizes of makeup and hair products, but what about other things you use? I have a very convenient, small flat iron that also has a rounded edge in case I want a curly look instead of a straight one. It packs small, comes with its own heat-proof sleeve, so I can use it and immediately pack it up if needed, and it works almost better than my full-size flat iron at home. You can also find mini curling irons and hair dryers, though most places you stay have a hair dryer for your use, which can help you save even more space. I sue this extra space for a frizz-free product, since my hair can get out of control when humidity is involved.

makeup remover wipes | dry shampoo paste

Pick a solid

I'm all for a good shower gel, so much so that I use one that also works as a shaving gel for my legs. I mean, most solid bar soaps dry out your skin, which is not optimal, especially when you just want to be on your way. Instead of bathing in lotion, I pick something I know is tried and true. But when it comes to your hair, solid shampoos and conditioners might be just what you need. If I'm only traveling for a few days, I'll take a trial size packet of shampoo and conditioner, but most of the time, I have pack a solid shampoo and a conditioner so I don't have to bring along a bottle that inevitably leaks. 

Lush, Basin and other companies sell these solid options, and many have a variety of types for your specific hair needs. Now, I don't take the whole thing either. I chop off a bit of each, wrap them in wax paper, and feel better about myself, because a whole bar can last for months. That means I don't need to take the whole thing for a week or two, even if Eric is sharing with me.

What are your go-to beauty products for travel? 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you shop through them, I will receive monetary compensation and be eternally grateful. All items in photos are from my actual travel bag.
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