Friday 5: Jewelry Cases for Travel

I'm just sitting down Friday evening to write this post. I don't normally leave it so late, but the week has flown by, which seems strangely normal now. My first dress fitting went extremely well on Tuesday and I got up early this morning to drive down to Niagara for my hair and makeup trial. I'll be here for the rest of the weekend, and I'm looking forward to visiting with friends and family during my shower. I'm not used to all of this glamour and excitement! I will admit that I'm very tired, but also very happy and very thankful. 

So following this week's theme of glamour, today's Friday 5 is a quick post of five beautiful jewelry cases for travel. They're pretty, functional, and will help keep your baubles from becoming a tangled rats nest. Not that it's ever happened to me. 

If it was a beauty contest, the Lasco case by Ted Baker would be the winner for me. The interior is simple and open, but it includes a drawstring lining. It may lack the more robust organizer capabilities of the others, but I'm not sure I'd let that stop me.  

Clos-ette Too touts their Signature Travel Jewelry Case as the "Birkin" of jewelry organizers. I don't know about that, but I do know that it looks extremely functional. The exterior is waterproof. The interior features snap-in pages that allow you to mix and match each page to fit your needs. They even sell extra inserts for jewelry and earrings.  If I traveled with a lot of jewelry, this would probably be the case I would buy.

The Kendra Scott Large Jet Set case features a hanger and four removable velcro compartments for your various baubles. The iridescent exterior gives it an extra luxe feel to its functionality. 

This Julianna Jewelry Case by Stephanie Johnson would be my personal pic. I don't travel with a lot of jewelry, but I'm on the hunt for something that will keep my necklaces from tangling and my earrings from rolling around in a jumble. I love that this case is compact, but it has just enough pockets and features, including a section for earrings, to meet my needs. Plus, I don't think I would ever get sick of the classic pattern.  

Pottery Barn's small and simple leather McKenna Jewelry Roll looks more like a clutch than something you would toss in your luggage. The clasp can be personalized with an initial, which is a nice touch for the monogram lovers out there. I only wish the small roll came with a bar to separate earrings instead of zippered pouches. 

That's all for this week! I hope you have a lovely weekend. I'm off to have a lazy snooze on the couch before heading to bed!

Friday 5: Things to Leave at Home

I opened our mailbox on Monday and the first thing I saw was the bright red cover of this week’s Macleans magazine with the title: “The Evil Genius of Airlines.” The article went into detail about how airlines are doing everything they can to make more of a profit and not passing any of the savings from lower fuel costs onto passengers.

‘Our plan is not to pass any of it on,’ WestJet’s CEO Gregg Saretsky said during a recent conference call to discuss the airline’s record fourth-quarter profit, in 2014, of $90 million.

I bet you are just completely shocked about that. I don't have a problem with companies making profits, but I do have a problem with airlines making travel less affordable and more miserable for a lot of us. 

When S and I booked our honeymoon plane tickets, we ran into some of these issues. We had to pay to reserve seats. After weeks of watching fares and trying to find a flight with a Goldilocks layover (not too long and not too short), there was nothing we could do but pony up. I’m still not happy about it. 

I’m usually pretty optimistic about air travel. I love airports. I love the excitement of flying. But paying for the “privilege” of choosing a seat next to S when we’re, you know, already buying a ticket for the flight really angered me. Add that to the baggage fees, the terrible food, and the tiny seats; it’s getting harder and harder to enjoy or look forward to flights, even if you can’t wait to go on a trip. 

As travelers we have to do what we can to make it the best of it for ourselves and each other. One way to do that is to pack well. Not just to save space, but also to make your trips a little bit easier (and sometimes more fun). Today’s Friday 5 is a short list of stuff I leave home and why. 

Expensive Jewelry

The last thing I want to do is to worry about an expensive or beloved piece of jewelry getting lost or stolen. I generally wear anything remotely expensive on me everyday and travel with cheap, trendy pieces that I wouldn’t be upset about losing. 

Gadgets and tools

I’m not big on travel gadgets but I used to bring hair tools with me. Not anymore. Most apartments and hotels have hairdryers. Usually I just wash and go and pretend I have “cool French girl” hair. Evaluate your gadgets and tools carefully. Is it worth the hassle? Do you need extra converters and adapters to use it? What would you do if you accidentally fried it? If you don’t absolutely need it, then leave it at home. 

Certain Toiletries

Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash are all things I love to purchase abroad. I don’t have to worry about giant bottles of liquid things oozing onto stuff in my luggage and I get to test out stuff we don’t get in Canada. There’s a little bit of adventure in trying new things. 


This tip isn’t so much about saving space as it is stocking up on great items, especially when going to Europe. I love French sunscreen (like La Roche Posay, Avène, and Vichy), but it is quite expensive here. I’ll splurge for my face, but I can’t afford the full body versions. I generally travel with one of our drugstore brands just in case I can’t get to a store right away. But as soon as I can find a store that sells the sunscreen brands I love, I’m all over it. Time to stock up! 

Laundry Detergent

Aside from my beloved Soak for delicates, I never travel with laundry detergent if we are staying in a rental. It might be different if you have extremely sensitive skin, but it’s a lot easier to go out and buy a detergent that is proven to work well in the machines you will be using. 

What I think it all boils down to is being smart about how you pack and what you bring with you. There are a lot of things you can get on the road and fewer things that are truly necessities. Striking the right balance to make your trip enjoyable will be individual, but hopefully this list will give you a starting point to reevaluate your needs and wants. 

Happy weekend! Happy travels!

Friday 5: My Over-the-Counter Medication Essentials for Travel

No one likes to be sick on the road, but it happens. It only takes one bad experience away from home without your favourite OTC medications to realize you must never make the same mistake again.

I'd much rather spend my vacation exploring than playing Where's Waldo for that little green pharmacy cross. 

I'd much rather spend my vacation exploring than playing Where's Waldo for that little green pharmacy cross. 

It’s not very fun to visit foreign pharmacies, try to describe your problem in a differnet language and leave with medication you’ve never heard of, don’t know how to use, and sometimes doesn’t work. A little preparation and a few basics can make a huge difference. Even the CDC recommends having some basic OTC medication when you travel. They have some good advice too, go take a look. Here's the link again

With all of that in mind, today’s Friday 5 is a quick list of the OTC basics I take on every trip.*

1. Cold Medication

I’ve gotten a cold on my last two big trips. Both times they were from sick people on the plane. On the first flight, a woman sneezed on my head. Ugh! On the second flight, I sat next to a man who was so sick that he just kind of huddled against the window sneezing and coughing for 7 hours. So I know a thing or two about the nuisance a cold on the road. I also know how utterly terrible British cold medication is for me and how French cold medication makes me feel like I’m on a different planet. Lesson learned! I take a fresh pack of my tried and true favorite now. 

2. Imodium/anti-diarrheal   

Time to get real! I rarely leave the house without some Imodium in my purse. There is a special kind of terror and panic associated with the first rumble in your stomach that signifies gastro-intestinal distress. Immodium is a like a safety blanket and insurance policy against all the the worst disasters. I like the Imodium Complete because it has an anti-gas ingredient. It's like the Rolls Royce of anti-diarrheals. I mean that in the kindest way, Rolls.

Bonus: if a traveling companion happens to need some and you have it, you will be their hero, if only just for one day. Cue David Bowie.

3. Benadryl/antihistamine

Benadryl is my go-to choice if I can only take one antihistamine with me. In my experience, it works extremely well for so many different allergic reactions. The only downside is that it makes me very drowsy. So if I can, I take Benadryl and something like Reactine, which helps with my seasonal allergies and doesn’t make me sleepy.  

4. Antibiotic ointment

Neosporin or polysporin or whatever your favourite is. It comes in handy for cuts, nicks, and blisters—all the small annoying things that can become bigger annoying things fairly quickly if left untreated. I took a tiny tube of this stuff to a music festival a few years ago. I felt a little silly and lame for tossing it my bag, but when one of  my friends got a sliver of metal in her finger (don’t ask me how, I don’t know), my annoying mom-level of preparedness saved the day. 

5. Pain reliever and fever reducer

These might be one in the same for you. I find Advil helps with muscles aches and pain for me, but it has no fever reducing qualities. Tylenol, on the other hand, helps with fevers but does nothing when I have pain. So I travel with both if I know they might be hard to find at my destination. I also know that NSAIDs can be tricky for a lot of people, so be sure you know what is safe for you and talk to your doctor. 

*Note: It should go without saying that I’m not a doctor and I have no interest telling you what medications to take. Be sure to discuss any medications you take or plan on taking with your doctor. Do your own research and do what is best and safe for you. I’m sharing my basics because it could be a good starting point for you to figure out what you need to be prepared for travel. 

It’s also important to know the rules and regulations of the country you are traveling to. Be sure to check that the ingredients are allowed in your destination. Some countries can be surprisingly strict about certain medications and ingredients. 

That's it for this week! We might be stopping by the Niagara on the Lake Icewine Festival this weekend, so I'll try to take pictures and post on Monday or Tuesday. Next week might be quiet on the blog, I'm going to take some time to plan for February and do a lot of editing for the guide!

I hope you have a great weekend. If you have any OTC basics that you always travel with, let me know in the comments.