Hawaii Recap: Forgotten Beach Vacation Essentials

I thought I’d packed well for my trip to Hawaii last week, but it turns out I’d missed a few essentials. 

  1. A beach bag. I own approximately one zillion totes, and to forget to bring one for a beach vacation is practically inexcusable. The first day I found myself deciding between an oversized Vuitton duffel or a plastic bag meant for dry cleaning at the hotel to use at the beach. I had to go with Option B, and of course the bag immediately ripped and spilled all my sunscreen bottles into the sand. Tres chic.
  2. An insulated water bottle. I’d forgotten how cold drinks quickly become lukewarm drinks in a tropical environment. Ice cubes are fleeting. I longed for my S’well bottle. _9130571
  3. Non-leather flip flops. I brought two pairs of sandals: Birkenstock Gizehs and red leather flip flops from Abejas (the best flip flops ever). Except… neither of those performed well during the two days of torrential downpours and urban puddles that we experienced. A traditional pair of rubber flip flops would have held up better.
  4. A folding umbrella. See “torrential rains” above. This would have avoided the $10 drugstore version ($8 too much for what it was worth) that got left in the hotel.
  5. Spray sunscreen. I thought I was being clever by bringing a handful of high-end sunscreen samples that I received from various skin care gifts-with-purchase, but I forgot that spouse likes spray sunscreen. Even the cheapest spray bottle was $16 at the hotel. Bring your own!
  6. Face cleanser. This was really just an oversight. I have a ton of small cleanser samples (all those gifts-with-purchase that I dearly love), but somehow I forgot to pack one. Fortunately there was a Sephora right by my hotel and I picked up a Josie Maran Argan Oil  set for only $16.  I’ve been curious about this brand but this was the first time I tried it. I really liked the three products that came in it: cleanser, face oil, and moisturizing sunscreen. s1610294-main-grid

These aren’t forgotten items, but here are two other travel tips for Hawaii:

  • I didn’t want my wet leather flips flops to bleed onto other items in my (overstuffed) suitcase, but I was out of plastic bags as I packed up to head home. Solution: use the plastic liner bag from the hotel ice bucket. Perfect size for a pair of slim shoes. photo-79
  • Many flights leave Hawaii at night. My first leg was a red-eye to LAX that left at 9:30 PM. Most hotels are also not generous with late checkouts in Hawaii, which leaves you with the dilemma of how to spend the hours between checkout and airport time. The last day was gorgeous and I still wanted to hit the beach, but let’s face it, I didn’t want to be sunburned, sticky and possibly stinky when I boarded seat 2A. The solution I decided upon was to book a spa appointment at 4 PM, approximately 2 1/2 hours before I was due to be picked up for a ride to the airport. With a fresh pair of clothes in my purse, I stashed my stuff in the spa locker, got a massage, and used the (really nice) spa showers and facilities to get ready before I left. Later I found out that the hotel actually had a courtesy suite for this very purpose, but I thought my spa solution also worked out just fine.

Clown Face

This time of year, magazines and style websites everywhere seem to give the same boring advice when it comes to glamming it up for holiday parties and such.

Sparkly earrings! A sequined clutch! A bright red lip!

Ok, a few thoughts:

One, I usually don’t dig getting realllly dressed up in the middle of the freezing Minnesota winter. It totally goes against my grain to consider wearing something like a halter top and strappy heels under a knee-length down parka, a scarf (or two), a hat and mittens – because sometimes all of your fingers need to huddle together when it’s too cold for gloves.

Even if you can relatively strip down at the event, there’s bound to be a gust of arctic air that causes goosebumps from time to time and let’s also be honest: exposing pasty, dry winter skin (or orange fake baked skin, even worse) to the whole world is just impolite.

Second, getting dressed for formal events just feels like Grown Up Prom. No thanks.

And finally, no matter how many times I’ve tried, I cannot do a bright lip. Especially red, a color I don’t like in the first place. Hot pink? Yes, I love hot pink. And I really want to love a hot pink lip, and trust me, I’ve tried.

And failed.

The most recent experiment was “Happy Ending (#116)” by Marc Jacobs:


Thank god I had the good sense to try it on at Sephora instead of plunking down $30 for something that would have quickly hit the trash can once I got home.

It’s just that every time I caught a glimpse of myself in the store mirror, I felt like a clown. A clown with whorish fuchsia lips.

So I’ll stick to gloss. I love lip gloss! And I have a sickening amount. As a resident, I was notorious for having 8 or so glosses stashed in my white coat at any given time. Stethoscope? Nope, sorry, I’ll have to borrow yours. Gloss? Check! Stat!

I’ll do separate post about my gloss affair in the future, but suffice it to say, my heart belongs to Bobbi Brown here, too. She makes so many great colors that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but right now “Pink Tulle” is it:


“Pink Tulle” High Shimmer Gloss from Bobbi Brown

The photo doesn’t do the color justice. It’s subtle and would look great on anyone. Even over bright lipstick!