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Category : Travelogue

Your Guide To Travel Friendly Beauty Products

toiletry packing tips for summer travel

If you’re anything like me, traveling can have a way of forcing you into packing just the bare-bone beauty essentials needed for your trip. But what to choose? Your regular size beauty weapons or the mini versions of your must-have products?

Let’s talk logistics

Take hair products for example – a 1 oz mini bottle of shampoo isn’t going to last you two weeks in Paris, now is it? What’s a girl to do? A mini toothpaste, however, can go the distance.

When you’re checking luggage, it’s easy – just throw everything in and call it a day. But when you’re confined to a carry-on, things can get tricky. Even though we think we are familiar with TSA Guidelines we still get in trouble at security – Ever had all your favourite products thrown into the garbage right in front of you? (Is there anything more tragic than trying to make your 4:30am flight and having your YSL perfume chucked out before your very eyes?)

There is the option, at many airports, to store your products for, a fee, until you get back from vacationing in Bermuda, but if you don’t want to part with your essentials, here’s what you need to know.

Opt for sprays vs. liquids

I’d much rather have liquid than dry shampoo, but when you’ve only got a carry-on, what can you do? There are benefits to skipping the suds anyways, like creating volume and reducing the heat you use on your hair (hello, no more blow dryers). Yes, the dry version does the trick but if you’re really in need of a liquid shampoo the world famous, Philip Kingsley makes great travel size Jet Sets that contain a fantastic shampoo, conditioner and Philip’s award winning hair mask, Elasticizer, that are substantial enough to get you through at least 10 days.

Pack travel size makeup

Even though most makeup is travel friendly there are some brands that create everything in perfectly travel-size packages. There’s a brand that I know, love, and use called Stowaway, based in New York City, that makes all of their beauty products in exactly the right sizes. You’ll never have to worry about your foundation being over the limit again! Another plus to having your beauty products in smaller packages is that you’re able to actually finish a tube of lipstick before it expires. How often does that happen?

Bring a reusable water bottle

This isn’t something that comes to mind straight away when thinking of essential beauty products but water is an incredibly important part of your beauty routine – especially in flight. Water helps you stay hydrated and in return, makes you look and feel more beautiful – win, win! But don’t bring your own water because there are plenty of hydration stations around the airport to fill up on-the-fly.

Stash away a couple products for the plane

Beautifying yourself shouldn’t start when you land. It actually begins during the flight. With all that recycled air and drying temperatures, it’s essential to begin taking care of your skin while your seatbelt is still fastened. Apply a light face mask halfway through your flight. Heaven Skincare Silver Bee Venom Mask is my go to. You can apply it directly over your moisturizer and leave it on, it seeps right in with a dose of hydration. Don’t worry about getting strange glances from fellow passengers when applying your mask; they’re just envious of your well-packed travel kit. It is also essential to keep your lips moisturized. I’m partial to B. Kamins Lip Balm SPF 20. It can be applied right over lipstick or gloss and contains UV protection in case you are sitting in a window seat. You can actually get burned through the windows of an airplane.

Remember that less is more

All you super light packets out there, this beauty product is for you. Introducing the one and only water spritz you’ll need to pack in your carry-on: Vine Minus Ion Care Water. This high-tech water, from Japan, does it all – seriously. It can be used for a quick refreshing spritz while in flight and on the go, but it’s also a hair volumizer & skin moisturizer, a makeup remover and setter and can substitute for toothpaste in a jam. So while this product is only one small bottle, it can take the place of so many others.

If you’re really missing your full-sized beauty routine and need to work in an extra beauty boost, check out the many airport beauty services you can find in most airports.

Enjoy flying in style!

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Travel Beauty Travel Guide: Tel Aviv

Travel Beauty Travel Guide Tel Aviv Israel

One of my favorite international cities of all time is Tel Aviv. It ties for first place with Paris. I try to get there at least twice a year. If you have not been there in two years or more……you won’t recognize it. If you’ve never been there, you won’t recognize your vision of what you imagined it would be like.

Located on the Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv is a bustling global metropolitan city packed with some of the best restaurants, chic, luxurious hotels, museums, performing arts centers, shopping and the largest Bauhaus architectural district on the planet! It has the second largest economy in the Middle East, following only Dubai and is the 18th most expensive city to live in. So forget about notions of “the holy land”. Though this ancient seaport is drenched in tales of ancient history – my Tel Aviv is anything but a city out of the bible.

What To Do

  • Old Jaffa PortHead to the promenade and make your way down to the Old (now new) Jaffa Port in southern Tel Aviv. This ancient fisherman’s port has been turned into a modern promenade featuring beautiful shops, art galleries and cafes tucked into charming ancient stone buildings. From there you can also walk northeast into the Old City of Jaffa. You will find a winding labyrinth of alleyways dotted with shops and cafes.
  • Go for a walk in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus district by the sea. Art galleries, shops and cafes abound.
  • Tel Aviv Museum of ArtSince 1932 The Tel Aviv Museum of Art has been one of Israel’s leading artistic institutions of modern and contemporary art, and home to one of the world’s largest collections of Israeli art. Collections include painting, sculpture, prints and drawings, photography, video, installations and architecture and design. 27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd.

Where To Eat and Drink

  • Herbert Samuel, located in the Gaon House on Tel Aviv’s promenade is the best restaurant I have been to in a long time, including those that I have patronized in New York City. The food, wine, service and ambiance are world-class. The executive chef, Jonathan Roshfeld trained in Cannes and worked his way through Michelin star restaurants in France. The menu has a mix of French and Mediterranean influences. Make sure to be daring and try some of the specials. Also the pasta dishes are a must – all pasta is homemade. 6 Koifman Street.
  • Montefiorelocated on the ground floor of the ultra chic Hotel Montefiore, serves what it calls brasserie cuisine under a Vietnamese spell. The bottom line is the food is superb and décor is warm and inviting. At once I felt as though I were magically transported to a Parisian bistro. Every detail — from the leather banquettes and oversized mirrors to the elongated wooden bar and French/Hebrew menu — is utterly sophisticated. 36 Montefiore Street.
  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ha Zaken Vi Ha Yam). One of the oldest restaurants in Jaffa, this hyper local institution serves up some of the freshest fish and seafood around. Upon arrival you will find yourself bombarded with 90 different traditional salads. Make sure to order a whole fish or seafood special, all locally caught. Great for lunch. 85 Kedem Street.
  • And for die hard Shwarma fans, you must stop at Shwarma Shemesh (Sun Shwarma) It’s so divvy we actually ate in the car but the seasoning is sensational and they pack french fries into the pita sandwich. Nothing not to like there. 85 Jabotinsky Street.

Ivshin Jewelry Design Travel BeautyWhere To Shop

There are tons of pockets of great shopping in Tel Aviv including weekly outdoor crafts markets but I am going to focus on some of the standouts. My favorite place to shop is Neve Tzedek in southwestern Tel Aviv. Established in 1887, it can be likened to the meatpacking district in New York City. The area’s architecture was strongly influenced by the Bauhaus Movement. Start out on Shlom Shabazi Street and you can’t go wrong. In addition to some of the most beautiful Bauhaus architecture lined quaint narrow streets, you will find some marvelous shopping. Some of my favorite shops in this area include:

  • Numéro13 Concept StoreChic casual French fashions, accessories, baby clothes and home decor. 13 Shlom Shebazi.
  • IvshinMy favorite fine jewelry boutique in Tel Aviv. Owner Orit Ivshin makes the most beautiful designs – her workshop is actually in the store. She ships all over the world and will craft custom creations just for you. 54 Shlom Shabazi.
  • Mik An MorHandcrafted leather handbags, belts, accessories, jackets and jewelry. Fantastic one-of-a-kind pieces. 56 Shabazi Street.
  • HafatzimBeautiful home décorrugs, lighting, kitchenware, linens and accessories all characterized by simple, clean lines, natural fibers and materials. 27 Shlush Street.

One More Magical Stop in Central Tel Aviv

  • The PhotoHouse: Such a special spot – you will feel the magic as soon as you walk through the door. Opened in 1936, the world renowned PhotoHouse is Israel’s oldest photography shop. The collection of over a million negatives, all taken by photographer and founder, Rudi Weissenstein has won numerous awards and been featured in exhibits throughout Europe and the US. This is a not to be missed experience. A documentary film, Life in Stills, was just released on the life and work of the founder. 5 Tchernichovski Street.

I could go on and on but don’t want you to go home broke – so I’ll stop here.

Where To Stay

  • The Norman Tel Aviv, a brand new chic, elegant boutique hotel in one of the poshest neighborhood’s in central Tel Aviv. In close proximity to major art galleries, museums, Israel’s National Theater as well as to Shenkin Street and Rothschild boulevard – home to designer shops and fantastic restaurants. Also, just a 10 minute walk to the beach. The hotel is truly enchanting, a fusion of 1920’s grandeur and contemporary elegance. Do have a drink at the library bar before dinner and dine at The Norman Restaurant. The French and Italian influenced cuisine will not disappoint. 23 & 25 Nachmani Street.
  •  Hotel Montefiore is located near the Norman Hotel in the center of Tel Aviv opposite Rabin Square. The warm French décor made me feel as though I were whisked away to Paris. The rooms are elegant, modern and beautifully appointed. Each room features the artwork of an emerging Israeli artist. 36 Montefiore Street.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter: @AlyssaBarrie

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Turn Your Layover Into a Makeover

beauty spa services recommendations airport

I’m sure I’m not alone when admitting that sometimes there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to fit in time for personal grooming – but is pre-flight pampering possible when you’ve got hours to kill at the airport?

When I think of airport indulgences, I think of the long overdue and much needed airport wine. However, a couple of glasses will dehydrate your skin and make you feel not so beautiful – so, a spa is the way go to.

Or is it?

Airports are vying to be our go-to beauty destinations and besides beauty vending machines airport spas are the place to go to get a little pampering.

Here is a list of time-starved services that are springing up at airports nationwide. Let’s explore which options are truly viable.

Manicures and Pedicures (YES)

This could be the safest and best – as long as you have enough time to let your polish dry! To make this bet even safer, skip the manicure part and just go for a polish change. That way you don’t have to worry about when the tools were last cleaned, etc.

Facials (NO)

Facials at the airport could easily be a hit or miss. Having oily skin I look for pros that can empty out my pores like no one else. Great aestheticians have years of experience and training, plus a set of expert tools to make your skin glow. I don’t think airports can provide this experience, although Anne Bauso, contributor for Allure, had a facial at the airport and shared her amazing experience.

Blowouts (YES)

I am talking about a basic blowout – no cut, colour or up-do. This service would be best done when you get off the plane – nothing is worse than disheveled airplane hair! I recently wrote a handy list of airports that have blowout services for VANE Airport. It’s definitely safe to try a blowout at the airport at least once.

Waxing (NO)

Best to say no to avoid getting burned or a rash. Can you imagine sitting on a plane for 6 hours with a wax rash?! Plane seats are uncomfortable enough as it is… Bustle recommends “…go(ing) to a professional technician that only waxes.” You want someone who specializes in waxing and knows what they’re doing!

Massage (YES)

Massages are the best option if you’re looking for a little relaxation at the airport. Before and after your flight – this pampering option works anytime. There are also a few varieties of massage available at the airport:

  • Chair Massage: We are familiar with this service already offered at almost every nail salon in New York City. However, airport chair massages are usually done in the front of the store, are very public and not as relaxing because of all the airport distractions.
  • Table Massage:  I have done it before and didn’t regret it but I can’t be sure that others will experience the same treatment. Table massages and facials at the airport are slightly more expensive compared to spas outside the terminals but hey, so is everything else at the airport.
  • Coin-operated Massage Chairs: Although lacking in human touch, many airports offer chairs around their airports. If you have time to kill and are not wild about making more of a commitment, why not?

I am all about personalized services and prefer to go to my regular beauty teams who know my skin, hair and preferences but when you really need something done at the airport, there’s not much you can do. Having said that, a manicure, blowout and massage are low risk beauty services that I have experienced with success.

The pros of pre-flight pampering

These beauty services accept walk-ins (though reservations are welcome) and most places do have a separate treatment area in back for table massages and pedicures.

The cons

We may never know what we are going to get and most places are a little too noisy to be relaxing – which can be expected at an airport.

Maybe one glass of wine paired with a 20 minute chair massage is all I need to take off into bliss mode!

Cristina Alcivar is the Founder of Vane Airport, Twitter: @CrisAlcivar

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India Travel Diaries

places to visit in India

We published this travelogue by Fred Pirkey several months ago. We are heartbroken to say our dear friend Fred passed away last week, leaving a void in our hearts. Fred was an inspiration and true friend. He helped build the tremendously innovative New York City salon, Salon Ishi. He was also an incredibly talented interior and lighting designer. His passion for all things beautiful was rivaled only by his love for life and everyone that was part of his. India held a special place in Fred’s heart, so in tribute, we wanted to share again Fred’s India with you.

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My latest trip to India was to show a dear friend the India I love. The palaces and forts of Rajasthan are Romantic India. Once kingdoms, these forts are now surrounded by towns that time seems to have forgotten. They are changing, but there is an ancient feel; the stone construction is built to last. The local stone in some cities has a unique color that gives the cities their names: Jaipur, The Pink City, Udaipur, The White City, Jaisalmer, The Golden City. Jodhpur is The Blue City, but it gets it’s name from the indigo blue that is added to the paint of the Brahman, the homes belonging to the priest class. From the fort looking down on the city it appears to be endless shades of blue.

9 Cities In 21 Days

I arrived in New Delhi and went to the travel agent I always use. He arranged for car, driver, trains, planes, hotels and planned the best route to see 9 cities in 21 days. The first 15 days were with a car & driver. It’s important to interview drivers – they make the trip. Ours was great; he did much more than drive us. He knew the cities very well and brought us to important sights. A tip: there is a commission system in India, so any store someone takes you to gives him/her a commission on what you buy. It’s hard to work out great prices because of this. When you really want to shop, go out on your own.

Jaipur: The Pink City

Jaipur was our first stop – The Pink City. The old section is painted in a terra cotta color with details drawn on the walls in a lavender color.  Jaipur is known for jewels and handicrafts. It has several large forts, a lake palace and a city palace. You can get to the Amber Fort, the largest of the forts, either by car or elephant. It’s a grand palace with gardens and water elements. The meeting places are tiled with mirror in very intricate patterns.

Jodhpur: The Blue City

Jodhpur is The Blue City. The stone there is brown and is carved into a lacework that covers the windows. This was done to allow the women to see what is going on without being seen. It sits on top of a big hill and from there you can look down on the city that is painted shades of indigo blue. Jodhpur is known for shoes and antiques. There are antiques, but most of what you see are reproductions or reworked wooden pieces into what the current market would be interested, like TV cabinets. The festival of color, Holi, kept us in our hotel; people throw colored powders on each other.

Jaisalmer: The Golden City

Jaisalmer is The Gold City. Gold stone glistening in the sun, the city fort sits on top of a big hill. It’s far out in the desert and you pass many camel farms along the way. It was a trade route, so there are lavish havelis (merchants homes) with intricate carvings on every surface. About 5000 people still live within the fort. It gets extremely hot, so go at cooler times of the year.

places to visit in IndiaUdaipur: The White City

Udaipur, my favorite city in Rajasthan, is The White City. It has a large, wonderful city palace, forts in the hills for hunting and is known for it’s lake palace. There are several lakes, so it doesn’t have the same desert feeling. The current king here is very active and has made hotels within the palaces. You arrive via barge, and can easily walk this city. It has great shopping, especially gold.

Pushkar: The Holy City

Pushkar is a holy city. There is a tank and a small pond where priests dole out blessings. It’s completely vegetarian. It’s sort of a hippy town with lots of Israeli tourists who go there to party. There isn’t a fort or palace and the shopping is limited. I’ve been there 3 times and have never really related to it. It does have some nice hotels with gardens, though, so it can be a break.

The Taj Mahal

Agra – the city of the Taj Mahal. The city itself is a mess but the Taj Mahal and Red Fort are like nowhere else. The Taj is a mausoleum for the King’s favorite wife. It’s covered in white marble with details inlaid with precious and semiprecious stones. It’s been taken over by the World Heritage so the gardens are well maintained. We missed our train to the next city so we spent the next day visiting less well known places in Agra. The best is The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah better known to locals as The Baby Taj. It was built prior to the construction of the Taj Mahal and was the precusor for the inlay work found at the world famous monument. Wow! What a gem! Missing the train turned out to be one of our best days in India. When we arrived in Agra it was raining and we weren’t feeling our best. I’d met a taxi guy while trying to find a hotel for the night. He came early the next morning to take me to purchase train tickets and offered to take us around. We’d passed Fatehpur Sikri without enough time to see it so here was our opportunity to go.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri was built and later abandoned due to lack of water. It is spectacular! The king had 3 wives: a Hindu, Christian and Muslim. Each had her own pavilion and kitchen to prepare the different food styles. There are so many interesting architectural elements here. It’s built of red sand stone.

Midnight Sleeper Train to Khjuraho

We made our midnight sleeper train to Khajuraho. I’d never traveled by sleeper train before and the experience is what I imagine prison might be like. Small compartments with fold down beds, 3 on each side and 2 beds along the walkway. The beds are so close together that you can’t sit up. You slide in headfirst and arrange your belongings so you can keep an eye on them. The conductor throws you a pillow and sheets and everyone goes to sleep.

Khajuraho

Khajuraho isn’t a usual destination. It’s a very small city that is famous for its 1000 year old Hindu temples. Like many other temple or cave cities the temples were carved by priests. Daily life, the gods and kama sutra are the subject of the carvings that completely cover the structures, inside and out. There is no other reason to go here, but it’s worth seeing.  The temples are spread out around the city but the best is a large group right in the city.

places to visit in IndiaVaranasi

We took another night train and arrived in the holiest city, Varanasi. The kings built palaces along the Ganges River so that if they died there they would go straight to heaven. At sunrise you can take a boat out on the river. As the city wakes, you see everything possible along the steps that line the river: people bathing, washing clothes, pilgrims praying, the burning of the dead – all next to each other. It’s very clean compared to 20 years ago. Cows are holy and some of the most beautiful cows are well cared for here. An essential oil producer had gorgeous cows living in the rooms of the first floor of his home right in the oldest part of the city. The alley ways are very narrow so you have to navigate around the cows. There is also a large Muslim community here that is famous for their silk weaving.

New Delhi

Back to New Delhi. As India is being globalized Delhi is impacted the most. It was not built for the amount of cars that there are now. People are leaving the countryside to work in the foreign communication businesses. Entire modern cities outside Delhi have been built to accommodate this industry. It’s taking its toll on India…the country is losing its culture. The young are all dressed in western style clothing. The color that made India famous is disappearing. The crafts that were done for generations have stopped being made as the young look for work in the cities. Delhi has all the western brands in Connaught Place, a circular series of buildings that remind you of the Raj era, when the British were in power. India is still my favorite place to go, even though it’s changing so fast that parts are barely recognizable. For anyone interested in seeing India, I’d say go there fast. There is still some of the ancient India remaining, but another generation or two and it will be gone.

By: Fred Pirkey

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Travel Beauty Travel Diaries: Northern Israel

northern israel rosh hanikra bahai temple

If you’re spending time in bustling Tel Aviv and in need of a change of scenery, head two hours up the coast to the northernmost tip of Israel to Rosh Hanikra and the Bahá’í Temple in Akko. I took my family the last time I was there, and it made for an excellent day trip.

First Stop: The Grottoes Of Rosh Hanikra

Rosh Hanikra literally translated: “the head of the grottoes,” is a natural geological formation at the northwestern most part of Israel on the border with Lebanon. Cavernous grottoes have formed over thousands of years where the Mediterranean Sea meets white chalk cliffs.

The first thing I was struck by were the magnificent views of the coastline. We boarded a cable car that took us 200 feet down to sea level. (If you’re afraid of heights, cover your eyes. It actually looks much steeper from the top.) Once there, we meandered around the cliffs, making our way to the magnificent blue grottoes that lay below.

If you’re lucky, you might spot a rock badger scurrying through the cliffs, These mountain bunnies can only be found across Africa and parts of the Middle East in rocky terrain. They are elusive but very cute. (And were of significant interest to my nephews.)

Rosh-Hanikra-GrattoUpon entering the cave, the temperature dropped, the floor became slippery, and a 600-foot-long network of caves revealed itself. One artery lead to the right down a few steps to a natural
hole in the cave overlooking the first grotto. It was a spectacle of blues and purples, filled with a tumultuous watery floor drenched in sunlight flooding in from outside the grotto. It is such a beautiful and unexpected sight.

We spent a few hours walking the arteries of the cave, then got back onto the cable car for the ride back where we began at the top of glorious cliffs overlooking the sea. Truly magnificent.

Next Stop: The Bahá’í Garden and Temple in Akko

Forty minutes south of Rosh Hanikra is the port of Akko (also called “Acre”). It has been a marina and fishing port since the 15th century BCE, though its rich history stretches all the way back to the time of the ancient Egyptians. Today Akko is a melting pot of religions — Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and followers of the Bahá’í faith. This is a small town sitting on a little more than 5 miles with a population of 47,000.

Our First Stop Was Lunch

Seafood is, as can be expected, the cuisine to sample. We ate at El Babor on the port, overlooking the sea. In addition to the freshest, local catch in town, we ate an unbelievable spread of Middle Eastern salads and traditional flatbreads, amongst the best I have had. Ask what is fresh, be brave and order a whole fish. This is one of the best lunch spots.

Bahai-Temple-AkkoOur last stop was The Bahá’í Gardens. The Bahá’í faith, which emerged in Iran in the early 1840s, is based on the major monotheistic religions of the world and is primarily dedicated to creating a peaceful, more prosperous world through education. The complex, a 2008 addition to added to UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, consists of a magnificent, formal, symmetrical circular garden with the temple at its center. The garden includes pristine cyprus, sycamore, fig, and olive trees. The best times to visit are Friday to Monday, from 9 a.m. – noon when the temple is open to the public. (Word to the wise: wear sunscreen.)

Sadly, the temple was closed when I went as the entire excursion to Rosh Hanikra was an impromptu decision. Luckily the garden is so expansive that it was a treat on its own.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter @AlyssaBarrie

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