37 In Wardrobe Wellness

Travel tips: What happens when experts don’t follow their own advice

Santa Fe trip

Arriving in Santa Fe about to realize my mistake

 

Remember me, Brenda Kinsel, expert packer for her clients, writer of travel tips, teacher to other image consultants about how to pack clients for travel? Yup, me. Busted. I’m here to report that I have egg all over my travel expert face. Read all about it!

It takes a lot to get out of the house when you travel. Like for me in June when we were going to Santa Fe it meant being sure the cat sitter got called, the laundry got done, lists reviewed and items crossed off, the clock getting set for 4:30 a.m., and the praying before going to bed that traffic wouldn’t be awful getting to the Oakland airport.

This seemed like a pretty easy trip to pack for. I could pack for it in my sleep. I did something I do not believe in, discourage everyone else from doing, yes, you know what it is: I waited until the last minute to pack.

But I’m an expert at this stuff! I do it all the time for clients! If I break that rule just once how bad can it be, really?

To my credit, the clothes I packed were perfect. The problem was with my essential skin care travel items, the ones that never made it to Santa Fe.

 

Cosmetics and skin care get packed on BrendaKinsel website

Packing skin care items and my cosmetics

Travel tip #15: Restock your skin care and grooming products after each trip

Some wise person with the initials BK said:

When you get back from one trip, stock your skin care and grooming items so they’re ready to go for the next trip. Refill those little bottles that are nearly empty. Spend time now so you don’t have to spend time on this when you’re getting ready for your next trip. You’ll be glad you did.

I’d been back to visit my family in Minnesota two months before this Santa Fe trip. With utter confidence that I’d taken my own advice and restocked when I got home to Sonoma, I popped the two bags of hair, body, and skin care stuff into the suitcase at 9 p.m. the night before the Santa Fe flight and that was that. Easy peasy, I’m so smart.

A couple of hours after arriving in Santa Fe I wanted to get refreshed before heading out to dinner. That’s when I discovered what was missing.

 

Who moved the cleanser?

I went to wash my face and my plastic pour bottle that held my favorite cleanser was empty. Right, I’d used it up in Minnesota and hadn’t refilled it like that expert says to do. Luckily I had something else in the bag, a cleansing product by Clarin’s. Boy, was I smart to have a backup, I thought. Turns out, I was not smart at all. This cleanser was an exfoliator and those sandy, grainy particles meant to go great things felt extra sharp on my skin. No amount of watering it down kept it from hurting my face. I wanted the facial cleanser I left behind!

I told my face I was sorry and then I went to put on serum. I got about one drop out of the Algenist serum I had in my skin care pack. I guess that needed refilling too! And my moisturizer which lives inside one of those round plastic travel containers was empty as well. I had a backup, a little sample size of a Chanel moisturizer but that was truly a one shot deal. And I had five more days to go! Oy vey! Or if you’re Norwegian like I am, Uff da!

And now, it gets worse.

 

Santa Fe adventures

In Santa Fe but don’t look at my face; everything’s crooked!

 

Missing in action: 15X portable magnifying mirror

My 15X portable suction mirror wasn’t in the bag where it always lives. Where was it? Oh yeah! After ten years of service and losing one of the important suction cups, it had fallen on the floor of the upstairs bathroom at the lake house in Minnesota, hit the floor and shattered. I had made a mental note to purchase another one but gee, it must have slipped my mind.

The condo we rented didn’t have a magnifying mirror. I needed to apply my makeup but when I looked in the regular mirror on the wall, everything was blurry. My eyebrows, those important features that frame my face, were nearly impossible to make out. I’ve been filling them in every day for fifteen years, maybe more. I figured my fingers would have a sense memory of how to hold the pencil and apply the color.

I slipped my reading glasses down to the tip of my nose and peered up into the mirror at my brows to see how well I’d done. I’d missed by a long shot.

Without my portable magnifying crutch, I struggled with everything: the eyeliner pencils, the shading powders, even the blush. And I learned something else: you can’t blend what you can’t see. The result? I looked like the character of Norma Desmond, the aging desperate actress played by Gloria Swanson in the 1950 noir classic movie, Sunset Boulevard. What a lovely way to start a trip!

 

Travel tips

Filling in with travel necessities

 

Next stop: A Walgreen’s or CVS drugstore

So a shopping list began: a cleanser, maybe a serum (I wasn’t hopeful), a moisturizer, and a 15X portable mirror. I had to find a drugstore before the night was over. Luckily, Walgreen’s is everywhere!  I walked in, found the right aisles to look through under glaring fluorescent lights and began my search. Do you have any idea how many products they have on those shelves? I bet it’s a thousand! This was so not what I wanted to be spending time on!

I was picking up bottles and tubes and reading what they were supposed to be good for. I was on overload! After 15 minutes, I finally spotted something familiar: Dr. Hauschka products! I used to buy these at the health food store years ago. I’ve seen it in Whole Foods but I never dreamt it would be at Walgreen’s! The Dr. Hauschka Rose Day Cream is a favorite moisturizer. I love the smell and the texture. I decided to stop looking for a serum but already my face was happier! I located the portable mirror. I settled on a packet of Burt’s Bees cleansing towelettes.

(Memory flash!!! Have you ever watched the documentary about the founder of Burt’s Bees? You must! It’s called Burt’s Buzz.)

 

Travels to Santa Fe

Kicking up my heels in Santa Fe

 

Santa Fe travels

Feeling redeemed in Santa Fe

 

Once this crises had been handled, it was easy to enjoy the rest of the trip. I wasn’t too hard on myself about this travel faux pas but I knew I wanted to confess the error of my ways to you!

I’m leaving for Minnesota again to see the family and I’m not packing last minute. I’m playing by my rules this time. I’ve printed out my Travel Wardrobe Checklist from my website and I’m checking everything to be sure I have what I need.

I’m getting it right this time!

Do you have some travel tribulations you can share with us? Or favorite travel tips? We’re all listening!

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37 Comments

  • Reply
    Spags
    August 8, 2017 at 2:52 am

    I once arrived in a hotel to find I’d forgotten my underwear (took it out at the last minute to repack, never put it back in). Fortunately we were in a city with shops, but this was so not how I (and my husband particularly) wanted to spend the first evening. I grabbed the first things I saw that would fit and ended up with a bunch of bras and panties I never particularly liked. Moral: look around before you leave the house.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      You’re right about the moral of the story. It’s just always so hectic getting out of the house!

  • Reply
    Sandi Mcdougall
    August 8, 2017 at 3:51 am

    You are an excellent writer Brenda. I really liked this article and thought I was the only North Dakotan that said oy vey! And you will be happy to know, I spent all of Monday packing for our sixteen day adventure in Prague before meeting you at the HODO 🙂

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      How did that fact about your packing not make it into our buoyant conversation at the HoDo? That was so very much fun! Spontaneity looks good on us! Happy travels!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    August 8, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Gosh, I have three stories that reveal my ineptitude at packing but can only tell two of them if I’ve had a drink! So my third is rather lame. I packed an empty cosmetic bag and left the fully stocked one on the bathroom counter. When the airlines found my luggage after 3 days into our trip and got it to me….I cried tears of joy seeing familiar underwear but really cried when I realized I had absolutely no makeup. I too went to a drug store and armed myself with supplies but I just didn’t feel right. I felt off the remainder of the trip. Totally agree make the list and check it 5x before leaving the house!!! It’s so nice that at this age women share their mistakes, stories and near misses and laugh about it! In our 20’s and 30’s we were all so busy pretending to be perfect….what a relief to just be who we are!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      I adore your assessment of admitting mistakes at our age and having a big old laugh about them! You’re right, I too felt off a bit. I sure missed my favorite items! Thanks for the share and the wisdom!

  • Reply
    Geralin Thomas
    August 8, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Brenda, Brenda, Brenda
    If it makes you feel any better, a few years ago, I flew to TN to do on-camera work and forgot my not only my makeup brushes, but, my makeup. Long story short, my plane was delayed, the deadline was tight, and I ended up phoning a very dear colleague, who lived minutes away, and asked her to pretty-please buy me some makeup brushes and make up “stat” Fortunately, she was able to drop everything and run them by my hotel so I could show up for a meeting, before shooting, and look presentable. It was a really good reminder to use checklists and be mindful when packing. And, an even better reminder that we are all human!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Yes, human indeed! What quick thinking and what a great friend!!

  • Reply
    Brenda
    August 8, 2017 at 5:33 am

    Oh yes, uff da is right! I’ve been there. I now use your travel list exclusively. It’s so easy to leave something out of your bag – and then have that awful moment of “I can’t believe I forgot *that*” upon arrival. Thanks for such a wonderful story and so glad you found some great products.

  • Reply
    Susan B.
    August 8, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Thanks for the reminder to restock my travel toiletries! I love those Burt’s Bees towelettes for travel and use them to remove makeup before cleansing. I also like Fresh Soy Cleanser which is very gentle and is often available in a travel size.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 7:41 am

      Great tips, Susan! You’re such a pro!

  • Reply
    Alisa Free
    August 8, 2017 at 7:00 am

    Only after boarding the plane for a seminar in Denver did I realize I had on my prescription sunglasses. My eyeglasses glasses were still in there comfy spot in my car! I sat in my class for 3 days, looking like Stevie Wonder!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 7:41 am

      And everyone was probably looking at you and thinking you were SO COOL!!
      I can feel that moment when you realized what happened!!

    • Reply
      Jacqueline
      August 8, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      Similarly… we were taking a late night flight to Cozumel from San Francisco. My Mr. and I lay down for a nap before starting our late night schlep on BART (mass transit) to the airport. I got up a bit earlier than he did, so I kept the light off as I dressed and left the room and my prescription glasses on the night table. So when I couldnt see well while getting dressed, my brain was telling me it was because I was in the dark, and then when we left the house at night, brain was still in darkness mode, but when we got to the train station which was lit up…. uh oh! Too late to go back home. One week without my glasses! Duh!

      • Reply
        Brenda
        August 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm

        I had a mini panic on this trip to Minnesota just thinking I could possibly do that or break my glasses and not be able to see. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Gosh, I don’t know how you did it!!

      • Reply
        Spags
        August 9, 2017 at 2:37 am

        Ohhh, Jacqueline, this is my worst nightmare!

  • Reply
    Virginia from Alabama
    August 8, 2017 at 7:45 am

    After finding myself in similar distress on a business trip — with no car, and no Walgreen’s in sight! — I decided to never again let that happen to me, especially since I travel a lot. I now keep two sets of travel toiletries: one in my don’t-have-to-check-a-bag roll-aboard suitcase, with TSA-size-approved products; and another in my big suitcase, which is used for longer trips by car or when I do check a bag. (That bigger set includes full-size hair products; the travel sizes are so expensive and don’t contain much product!) I store each set in the appropriate suitcases between trips, and I make sure to refill everything when I unpack. If I didn’t travel so much, I wouldn’t bother with duplicates, but right now, for me, it’s a lifesaver.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      You get an A++! Bravo! I know you’re inspiring more than just me!

  • Reply
    KATHYSUE
    August 8, 2017 at 9:03 am

    You made me giggle once again about REAL life. Yes I have a travel packing story. I actually was quite prepared and had packed for a ladies retreat the week before departure. I had all my outfits l planned and hanging. One small mistake, I also had all my tops hanging on the door knob BEHIND the door. Yes you heard right I had no tops!! Luckily I had a room mate that helped me out. LOL. I will never forget that one!!!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      I don’t think I’ll forget it either!! All that planning…and it’s still easy to blow it!

  • Reply
    Telynau
    August 8, 2017 at 9:33 am

    UmmHmm Quite positive I know someone who has had similar experience(s). Rental car reserved. Boarding cats reserved. Vet records dog scheduled. Pet friendly hotels reserved. Husband’s clothing, suit & dress shoes, toiletries, etc. packed. Munchies & drinks assembled. Dog food & treats, dishes, too. And! household bills paid. Whew.

    Well. Pooh and Piglet, too. First night on the road… only had the clothes on my back . Mind you, this happened twice. Quite! I need better family emergency logistics.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      Yikes!!! How awful! And twice! There are just so many details to handle! I once got to a conference in Flirida where I was giving a two hour professional workshop to my image consultant peers (not on packing). I realized I had my entire outfit all packed on a hanger with a dry cleaning bag over it hanging in my office at home. It was going to be the last thing I packed to keep it from being wrinkled …only I didn’t! I called Russ and he FedExed it to me. Thankfully my talk wasn’t on the first day!

  • Reply
    jeanette sclar
    August 8, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    When you have a tiny sample packet of a skincare product, you can get a lot more than one use out of it: Do NOT tear it open. Instead, prick a hole in one side of it with a safety pin and squish out jus what you need. This can”t be re-packed, but, chances are, you’ll be there long enough to use it all! I often ask for samples of my faves to travel with because they take up much less room.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      That’s a great tip! It definitely works most times but I my Chanel moisturizer it really was a one and maybe a half serving.

  • Reply
    Christine Binnendyk
    August 8, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Oh, that magnifying mirror! I think I’ve purchased 30 of them in my lifetime because I almost always forget to pop it off the mirror when I leave my travel spot!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:08 pm

      That’s happened to me too! Hotels must have drawers of these!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      They’re probably chuckling at us as we walk away!

  • Reply
    Shelbi
    August 8, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Yup, I know what you’re talking about. I’m leaving for travels this Saturday also packing for my 3-year-old, and I’m a total mess. I’ll also hoping not to run into traffic on the way to the Oakland airport, but I’m not as far as you. 😉

    Shelbi

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 8, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      I’m wishing you a no drama trip to OAK and easy packing, but I know how it is!

  • Reply
    Liz Klebba
    August 9, 2017 at 9:57 am

    We should know better! My carry-on always has basic toiletries and clean undies. The last time we moved, I skipped the undies because there was so much else to carry… You guessed it. We arrived at 4 AM to find that they had lost our luggage (for a family of 5). We had an appointment with a realtor the next morning at 9 to see houses. Thank goodness for Target! We bought underwear, changed in the rental car, and went house hunting in the clothes we’d worn for 12+ hours of international flying. Never want to do that again!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 9, 2017 at 11:00 am

      Yes, I bet you were ever happier than to see those red circles of Target!!!!

  • Reply
    Sandra Sallin
    August 9, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Does losing things count? I may remember to bring my makeup but then lose the case with the makeup. I bring earrings and then lose one of them. I don’t remember traveling with out forgetting something or losing something. I’m still looking for that makeup case. I mean it was large enough. How could I not repack it? I’m definitely downloading your travel checklist. So glad you’re in my life. I ordered your book but forgot to check out! Shows you how my mind works! So just checked it out today and now can’t wait to read it.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 10, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      It’s so easy to do! I hate when that happens.

  • Reply
    Sue
    August 9, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Once my husband (who always packs the car) put his clothes in, but left mine in the closet! Luckily, it was only an overnight trip and Target furnished me with a sweater and clean underwear for the next day!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 10, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      Were there a few words said between you and your husband? I can imagine some in our house!!

  • Reply
    linda alden
    August 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    love your post, i always have a list. no berts bees for me , they test on animals.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 16, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Uh-oh, I didn’t know that!

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