Tips & Tricks · Travel

Overnight Flight Survivial

Today I am boarding my first overnight flight! In preparation, I ordered my husband and myself some items to help make our trip a little more comfortable. I just love having excuses to buy fun stuff from Amazon! 🙂

Carry On Bags
The one downside of getting a simple set of luggage is that there are not two of any size piece of luggage. I don’t know why, but it drives me nuts that although my suitcase and my husbands’ match, one is bigger than the other. I have plans to buy a second matching set so that we each have the perfect size suitcase (and when we have kids, they’ll match mommy and daddy, too!), but for now buying two matching carry ons will have to tide me over. Here are the bags I purchased.

My husband has ADHD. Diagnosed, unmedicated ADHD. He stopped taking his medication because as it wore off, it had extremely negative side effects and in the long run just wasn’t worth it. As he has gotten older, he manages it much better, but there are still times I want to kill him. When he drives, he bounces his leg because he’s bored; if he’s a passenger he is constantly complaining that he’s bored and how much longer. It’s a vicious cycle. Luckily, we have all the equipment we need to keep ourselves entertained while we’re awake; we each bring a laptop, mp3 player, phone and a book. I purchased these headphones specifically for our flight.

My husband likes to say that I can sleep anywhere, anytime. Although that statement is 100% true, if my head is not supported, I CAN NOT SLEEP. So I took this opportunity to buy two much needed travel pillows so I’m not a total witch when we land. 🙂 Additionally, I like to bring layers in my carry on because I freeze pretty much everywhere we go. This flights’ layers include: tank top, pullover sweater and a poncho (ponchos or shawls are good substitutes for blankets!).

Skin Care
Because our flight is leaving late (8:35pm) and we’ll be in the car pretty much all day getting to the airport, I am wearing absolutely no makeup. I know after all that time, I will not be in the mood to go through my entire routine, so for you couple strangers who actually care, Spongebob said it best: I’m ugly and I’m proud!

Overnight flights are not the flights you want to be wearing jeans and heels on. I don’t care how cute you look, it’s ridiculous. I picked up a pair of joggers, this super cute sweatshirt and a pair of compression socks to be as comfortable as possible while I’m trying to get some shut eye.

Most of my family has some sort of anxiety/paranoia issue and I will be the first to admit I am one of them. It’s nothing to be ashamed of – my belief is that 100% of the population has an anxiety disorder on some scale about something. One of my things airport security. I fully understand that I’m not doing anything anyone should be worried about and that these ladies and gentlemen are doing their job to keep everyone safe, but they scare the crap out of me! I don’t particularly like to bring snacks for this reason and we usually grab something in the after security shopping areas to bring on board. Call me a scaredy cat or whatever, it’s just one of those things. 🙂

The Morning After
You’re in another country (or back in your own)! What’s the first thing you want to do? EAT SOMETHING! For me, travel is a huge energy drain. As I like to tell my husband, “I don’t travel well”. Which sort of makes me sound like a sandwich, but hey. I will be the first to admit, I have issues when it comes to getting where I want to be, but there are steps I take to make it as pleasant for myself and everyone else as possible. When you step off the plane, find a bathroom and follow your typical morning routine: use the restroom, wash your face, brush your teeth and hair and get changed into street clothes. (Since we’re getting in a rental and driving for two hours, I’ll be doing my makeup in the car.) Secondly, finally and probably the most important tip: sit down and eat breakfast. I don’t care if it’s Burger King in the airport or you want to drive fifteen minutes down the road to a cafe, but order something, sit down and just unwind. This is the perfect time to really “start” your vacation.

Did I miss something? What are your tips?

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coffee break sweater joggers  compression socks  carryon travel headphones travel pillow

Tips & Tricks

What’s In My Bag?


Nine West Zipper Satchel similar here

My kitty, of course! (He decided he needed to be in every picture – behind the bag, beside the bag, on the bag!) 😀

Carrying a purse with me everyday is a recent thing. In high school everything was in my bookbag and I never felt the need for one. Lately, however, I’ve found myself carrying more things around and purses are for…..carrying things around! Go figure. I don’t think I carry around a load of unnecessary items like some women do, but I am well stocked – and more armed than most people think. Here’s the breakdown:




(don’t those nail clippers look like they’re smiling?!)

mints, gum or hard candy
mints & gum for breath, candy because sometimes I just like to taste something 🙂

here is the phone case I use

travel makeup kit
very basic items such as my manicure kit, compact ($0.50 at a thrift shop!), vaseline, lint roller & touch up items

feminine bag
a variety of tampons, liners, pads & wipes – you never know when someone may need one!

first aid kit
again, very basic items such as band-aids, headache medication, etc.

I just ordered this wallet to replace my broken one and I love it! (I even took the wristlet off it and use it for my keys now!)

small composition book
picked up one at Target for $1.99 and use it to write down important dates, lists, etc.

weekly planner & colored pens
this is a new one for me as I have a load of things to remember in a week and I’ve started to lose track of where I need to be when; here’s the planner purchased and the pens I use to color code everything

armory self-defense
stun gun that my father decided my sister and I needed while we were on vacation
one of the pepper sprays that my stepfather gave me for Christmas last year
a whistle (I actually bought these to help train our kitten but he could care less)
a pocket knife my stepfather gave me two Christmases(?) ago – this is not actually in my purse but tucked into my car

and I’m sure I’ll accumulate more given the past trends 😀

Right now all my little “kit” bags are in mismatched bags that I’ve picked up over the years, but I have plans to purchase these matching bags to store them in.

Now that I’ve shared, what’s in your purse?

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BLACK SATCHELphone case cosmetic bags mainure set wallet minimalist planner pens

Tips & Tricks

Saving Money at Ulta


The area I live in just got its’ first major makeup store – Ulta. Because of this, I had absolutely no clue about prestige makeup. None. Nada. Zip. I was perfectly content using drugstore brands and more often than not, going completely without makeup because nothing matched me perfectly. Then at long last that ultra bright white store took up residence in our lackluster mall.

I am one of those people who finds something I want, buy it and then adds another ten things to my list for next time. I am also one of those people who winces a little at the register when one little bottle of foundation rings up for $49 and those are the same times I swear I hear my wallet get a little nauseated.

So where’s the compromise? Unfortunately for me, I can’t just go pick another foundation – the only foundation I have ever found that matches my skin flawlessly is the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in Siberia (I’m a rare breed; super pale with lots of yellow undertone) . The only other thing I can do is save as much money as possible.

Sign up for Ultamate Rewards.
You’ll receive 1 point for every $1 spent as a regular member, but if you spend $400 or more in a calendar year, you’ll become a platinum member and earn 1.25 points for every $1 spent. You can start using your points once you reach 100 and points expire one year after earning them. Here’s a breakdown of how much points are worth:

100 points is worth $3
250 points is worth $8
500 points is worth $17.50
750 points is worth $30
1000 points is worth $50
2000 points is worth $125

As you can see, the point values and their respective monetary value aren’t linear so if you spend a decent amount of money at Ulta, think about hoarding your points for a shopping spree!

Sign up for emails. Seriously.
You’ll receive special emails for Ultamate Reward members only with offers for freebies, double and triple points offers (which have to be activated for your to reap the benefits) and even high value coupons such as 20% off an item.

Make sure they have your birthday on file.
This one is a biggie for me because last year around my birthday was when I first started my journey into high end makeup and I was dropping loads of money to get all the products I wanted. This helped take the sting out of my wallet – double points for the entire month of your birth. You also get a free birthday gift. This year mine was a travel size Smashbox Photo Finish Primer; I loved it so much I finished the tube and now it’s all I buy.

Clip those coupons!
In my area the Ulta ad comes out in the Saturday paper with all the other sale ads and there is usually a coupon for $3.50 off a purchase of $15 or more. Sadly, these coupons can’t be used on the high end brands but they can be used on brands like NYX, which has a few products I use on a daily basis that I absolutely love – NYX Dewy Finish Makeup Setting Spray, NYX Tame & Frame Tinted Brow Pomade and NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream.

Combine sales and coupons.
Coupons are great, but when you can use a coupon with a sale price? There aren’t even the words for my little heart. Let’s use the coupon from #4 as an example. Say NYX cosmetics are on sale for buy one, get one free and there’s an eyeliner you want with a purchase price of $5. If you buy 6, originally without coupons or sales you’d pay $30, but with coupons and sales watch what happens:

6 eyeliners @ $5 each = $30
BOGO sale = -$15
Ulta Coupon = – $3.50
$11.50 for all 6 eyeliners!
(and you’ll have earned 11 points on your purchase!)

Keep an eye out for free gift deals.
Ulta always has these deals going on. Things like “spend $35 on Benefit cosmetics and get a free beauty box” or “get a free sample with any purchase”. If you’re already buying that brand, get the free gift! Best case scenario you love the product and will continue to buy it even when it’s not free, worst case scenario it’s not your style and there is no shame in gifting it to someones’ style it is!

Buy a discounted gift card before you shop.
Use sites like Raise, Ebay, etc to purchase discounted gift cards to save even more! Say you find a $50 gift card for 10% off, you’ll only pay $45 for a $50 credit to Ulta. Every little bit helps!

Rules for shopping online.
First rule, don’t do it. Just kidding! While there are definitely better deals in store, sometimes it’s just more convenient to shop online. For example, my store doesn’t actually carry my foundation in store so I have no choice. If you have to shop online, make sure you’re spending at least $50 so you get free shipping, otherwise it’s a flat $5.95. Second, shop through a cash back site like Ebates or ShopatHome for cash back on your purchase. Right now the rate at Ebates is 3%, so if you spend $50 you’d get back $1.50. (Like I said in #7, every little bit helps!)

Watch for major sales.
In March and September, Ulta has the 21 Days of Beauty sale which offers extremely deep discounts on one item for one day only for 21 days straight. The Gorgeous Hair Event in May and October is all about discounts on hair products. Finally the Jumbo Event is when the big name shampoo and conditioner is priced crazy low and that only happens in January and July.

Ulta has awesome insurance.
You can return any 80% full product for a full refund within 60 days of purchase with a receipt. Boom.

Your new foundation causing breakouts? Return it. You hate the hair appliance you’ve been trying to love for 45 days? Refund. How many retailers have that kind of guarantee? This “insurance” helps me feel more secure in spending big bucks on high end brands.

Christmas = HUGE VALUE.
Retailers love boxing sets up for Christmas. A lipgloss, blush and a mascara retailing for $60 individually, retails for $30 when it’s in a box. Go figure. These are great for gifts, but they’re also great for keeping too!

These are rules I live by when shopping at Ulta. I hope they can save you some money too!

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