Pregnant paradise at home; creating your ultimate ‘zen’ retreat….

As much as I love getting away, it isn’t always possible for moms-to-be (especially towards the end of your pregnancy.) However, using some of my favorite products, I have found a way to create a personal retreat right in my home…..

Candles – There is no better atmosphere setter than a candle, and not just any candle. I am very particular about scent and aesthetic in my home. Alixx Candles candles artisanal craftsmanship, European elegance, and a refined sense of calm. Hand poured with delicate and refined French parfums, each scent transcends to the most beautiful and fragrant places in France. The artisanal glass vases in which the candles sit are mouth-blown in Europe and are in themselves pieces of beautiful art that smell and look wonderful.

Natural oils – Everyone has their own version of what oils or creams prevent stretch marks, and while there is no real sure answer, you can help your skin by keeping it supple and hydrated. Opt for the natural route (for you and baby) and pick up some products from Skinny and Company’s chemical free Raw Beauty Line. Raw Beauty will give you everything you need to moisturize, repair, and protect your skin naturally, and leave you smelling better than a tropical vacation!  All of their raw beauty products contain 5 ingredients or less, Chemical Free, and contain 100% virgin Skinny coconut oil.  

Pregnancy pillow – This one I could not live (or rather sleep) without. The Snoogle by LeachCo retails for less than $70 and will literally transform the way you sleep, sit back or relax. If you are like most people, one pillow throughout the night is just not enough. There’s the pillow that goes behind your back for support, the one between your knees for temperature control, the one for your head, and (if you’re pregnant) one more for tummy support. The Snoogle was uniquely designed to support your body from head to toe and make the pillow situation less complicated, and makes sleeping, sitting or curling up to read a book while pregnant, a million times more comfortable.

Essential oils/vaporiser – We do know that many mums-to-be find aromatherapy helpful in easing pregnancy niggles, and calming nerves… especially at a time when your sense of smell is so acute. A vaporizer is a great way to benefit from the affects of aromatherapy in a safe way when pregnant. Oils like lavender and lemongrass are a few of my favorites to set the ‘spa’ mood at home but only use a couple drops of essential oil at a time (they are strong) in your choice of vaporizer….And if you do use them in a bath, dilute the essential oil by mixing the drop with at least a teaspoon (5ml) of a base oil like Grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil.

A prenatal massage – It’s worth treating yourself to at least one of these while your pregnant, as your body and your mind will thank you. Massages are like mini-vacations in themselves but when your pregnant it’s crucial you have one catered to prenatal care, for safety reasons. My local massage spot, Earth and Sky Healing Arts, is the picture of ‘zen’ – not only evoking relaxation and wellness, but also catering specifically to pregnancy needs. Their prenatal catered massages are specifically designed with a focus on the hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders – to help cultivate a centered balanced state in preparation for labor, mentally and physically. Look for a spa location with WELL trained prenatal masseuses, where you can unwind in safe hands.

‘Momma’s to be’ On The Go – tips and tools to aid expectant mothers

As many of you may not know, I am expecting!
Five months into pregnancy, all the comforts become important, especially if you are like me, and always on the go. Many women work and travel right up until they are not medically allowed to, which can start to get tough as you stomach swells and your body changes. There are of course, tips and tools you can use to make any travel experience more comfortable, from your daily commute to jetting off on your ‘baby-moon.’ Below I share a few:

Give yourself time  – It’s not so bad being at the airport early anymore because they’re basically like big malls. Just do a little bit of shopping and go grab a light meal. Then (if you can) plan to take a nap on the flight, which is when comfort is key. GoTravel’s Ultimate Memory Pillow ($34.95) is well worth it and far cheaper than a flight upgrade. 

Create a spa experience – Whether you are arriving home after a long commute or arriving at your travel destination, creating a calm environment is essential when you are pregnant. Scent is particularly important so I suggest taking along some naturally scented travel candles. GoodLight makes a gorgeous range of natural travel size candle Apothecary Jars that you can light by your bedside, starting at just $8.99. Hatch’s Pocket Spa Trio for $68 is also a great way to carry a mini spa of ‘mama to be’ blended oils (ginger, eucalyptus and lavender) that do everything from energize to relax or aid morning sickness.

Bring a book/ download an app – Take along a book or download a meditation app that helps you zone out a little. There are a magnitude of books, e-book and apps on the market for expectant moms but you don’t want anything that causes you any more ‘expectant anxiety’ while you are in transit. One of my favorite books is Deepak Chopra’s Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives, which takes a soothing approach to pregnancy, focusing on the wondrous process of bringing new life into the world, as derived from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda – with an emphasis on body, mind, and spirit.

Comfort wear – Wanting to be stylish and yet comfortable when you travel is tough for the average person, never-mind pregnant. Luckily Hatch is well ahead of the curve with their maternity wear. One of my favorite travel essentials is their Slouch Dress which not only looks gorgeous but also weighs less than nothing, and takes up no suitcase space. Maybe get one in every color?!

Hydrate your skin – This is super key when you are traveling. The skin around your breasts and belly are especially susceptible as they stretch so be sure to keep these areas supple and hydrated. I love the $12 Belly Mask by Hatch – an all-natural hydrating sheet mask, made to help minimize stretch marks during pregnancy and help soften inflamed scar tissue postpartum. I am also now obsessed with coming home to the the Jua Essentials line of washes and cremes, which not only smell incredible but are free from harsh chemicals, petroleum, parabens, damaging sulfates.

Foot care – All this new baby weight is standing on one thing…. your feet. Aside of getting that regular pedicures and foot rubs there are other ways to make sure your tootsies are cared for. Compression socks are key for pregnant women traveling to prevent blood clots and aid circulation, and luckily Dr Motion makes a gorgeous range to choose from. I am also a big fan of  Down Girl Soothing Leg and Foot Relief $42 by Hatch – an anti-inflammatory gel-based cream that helps reduce swelling and invigorate tired feet and legs (perfect after a long journey or day on your feet.)

Take care of ‘down there’ – Over your pregnancy there is a lot going on ‘down there’ which can be more than uncomfortable, especially when on the go. Love Wellness does PH balancing, perfectly packaged ‘Do It All Wipes’  that fit right in your purse to keep you feeling feeling fresh and healthy wherever you are.

Record Breaking Holiday Travel – tips to survive!

I probably say it every year, but this year holiday travel is actually set to break some records!

Numbers released last week by AAA show that 112.5 million people are expected to be traveling in the air and on the roads; that’ s a  4.4 percent increase over last year’s number. Broken down by transport, 102.1 million people are expected to travel by car, 6.7 million people will travel by air and 3.7 million will travel by trains, buses and cruise ships.

So what’s the best way to beat the madness?

Timing is everything; the earlier you leave the better. That goes for every kind of transport. If your flying be sure to get to the airport at least two hours ahead of time. Drivers should note that data released by AAA shows that Thursday, Dec. 20 from 9:30 – 10:30 p.m. will be the worst time for travel in New York City. 

Get some handy apps stocked up on your phone, like WAZE, that use real time traffic data and also show alternate routes for you to consider based on traffic and time. 

3  Consider traveling on the actual holiday itself when there is usually the least amount of traffic and (for the risk takers who haven’t booked already) flights, trains and such can have price drops. Re flights in particular, be sure to download tracking apps like Hopper which will let you know when those deals strike.

4 Drivers, never hit the road with less than a full tank of gas, especially if you’re driving an extended distance. Its also smart to pack a driving kit with blankets and gloves, drinking water and flashlight with extra batteries, and healthy snacks for the journey. 

5  Keep update on weather reports, as this time of year weather can cause mayhem to travel plans. If you are driving, make sure you check weather conditions, have a working radio and your vehicle is prepared for any circumstances that may arise. If flying, be sure to keep an eye out for ‘winter storm warnings’ or severe delays,. This is particularly important if you have a connection somewhere that may be subject to temperamental weather you would not otherwise be. 

6  Stay calm, as he holidays can be stressful enough. Try and make the best of  journey ahead, no matter what it may bring (and know that a little extra preparation goes a long way.)

Saving money with holiday travel is possible!

Saving money with holiday travel is possible!

It’s not too late to save some money when it comes to traveling over the coming holidays. Here are some great money saving tips to help you save both on booking and on getting from A to B….

Sign Up For Flight Alerts and use your miles

Use flight tracking apps like Hopper and sign up for flight alerts which will email or ping you notifications as prices drop or when deals become available and ultimately let you know the best time to book. Also It’s never too late to become a frequent flyer. Take advantage of your unused points to get flights or hotel stays for the holidays. Some credit cards will even get you special rates on rooms and upgrades, and a points-purchased business class flight could even be a gift to yourself for the holidays.Posted On:By: misstravelguru

Don’t Fly Straight To Your Final Destination 

While a straight shot to your destination may seem like your best bet, you may be surprised to find out that it might be cheaper to create your own layovers using one-way flights. Consider building your own itinerary which can be cheaper than basic roundtrip fares and also consider surrounding airports. (Added bonus – if you cancel or change one leg of the trip you’re only dealing with the one way ticket!)

Be Mindful When You Rent A Car

Use rental sites to compare prices and book the cheapest car available, then try to negotiate for a free upgrade when checking in at the car rental counter. And you can skip the rental car insurance to save even more money. Many credit cards cover the cost of car rental insurance. Depending on your destination, this could save you hundreds of dollars.

Consider your travel days and return home

A big way to cut costs when traveling over the holidays is to fly on the holiday itself. Also don’t be in a rush to get back especially if you are looking to come back over a weekend (when flights typically run higher.) Consider as well taking your holiday days AFTER the holiday rather than before which will not only will it save you some money, but you could opt for slower travel options, like taking the train or going on a road trip.

Pack light

An easy way to save money on holiday travel is by not checking bags. You’ve likely seen swarms of people with stacks of suitcases and bags waiting to check into their flights. Instead, ask yourself a critical question before you start to pack – do I really need to bring all this stuff? Get smart with your luggage too (in every sense) and look at brands like Dagne Dover which create bags that are both stylish and perfectly practical for travel – like their Landon Carryall made of durable and light weight 365 neoprene.

The Best Flight Tips

The Best Flight Tips

This summer, many of you will be doing your fare share of flying. While flying doesn’t come however without its fare share of stresses and strifes, there are great ways to make the most of your transport time, and hey, even enjoy it! So here are some tips to help you get from A to B at your best.

DRINK BEFORE YOU GO

The humidity on planes is only around 10% and this dry air can cause headaches and groggyness, so down at least 10 ounces of H20 preflight. In flight consider some seltzer water with a splash of ginger ale to keep you hydrated and and travel sickness at bay.Posted OnBy: misstrave

CREATE A CATNIP KIT

Stow in your carry on a neck pillow, noise-cancelling headphones, and eye mask and a (lightweight) microfibre blanket. You will use them all at one stage, trust me.

EXERSIZE

Flying can cause feet to swell and the body to ache, so every hour walk the length of the cabin to rev circulation. Once at your destination, see what your hotel/accommodation has to offer fitness wise, rent a city bike to explore or utilize a national gym chain if applicable. Keeping healthy and fit when traveling keeps your immune system going and your mood positive.

SNACK SMART

Cut out the carbs which can make you bloated during pressure changes, and instead opt for nuts, dried fruits or cheese. If you do get a sandwich, pull out the meat and veggies for energizing protein without the drowsy causing refined carbs. Equally when drinking steer clear of the sugary drinks that will leave you tired on arrival.

MEDITATE

It can be tempting to watch your favorite series re-runs but flying can provide you time to do what you might normally put off or don’t have time for at home. Jot in your journal, go over your monthly calendar, or take some time to meditate (download tranquil music and from toes to head imagine each part of your body relaxing one by one.)

STAY COOL

Yes flying can be stressful but have perspective. Cancellations and delays can happen, but the most important thing is that you are SAFELY. Focus on extending love to other travelers even in the midst of small agitations or annoyances and offer assistance; it will leave both you and them with a smile and good sense of well being.

Holiday Travel Season – How To Keep Your Health Up!

Holiday Travel Season – How To Keep Your Health Up!

Whether you are visiting family or heading abroad for a vacation, it’s easy for your health to be compromised when you’re traveling. But is it really is possible to avoid all those travel germs, indulge in the holidays (all that food and fun) and get in some exercise in – without depriving yourself? Here I help solve some usual dilemmas, so you can make it through your holiday travels without compromising your health!

Weight gain – It’s super easy to gain weight several turkey helpings later or after that third piece of pie, but as long as you stay active you should be fine to indulge a little. It may not be easy to reach a gym while you’re away but try fitting in walking, hiking or promoting family outdoor activities (think flag football) that get everyone moving. If you’re on vacation somewhere new, site seeking is also a great way to get those steps in.

Getting sick – Pack Vitamin C and/or a multivitamin and no matter what you’re eating keep a note to drop in fruit and veg where you can. If you’re flying, pop some Neosporin under your nose (an old trick for warding away traveling viruses) and pack hand sanitizer. Also be sure to wash your hands when traveling under hot water for at least 30 seconds, especially before eating or after using the toilet. If you are going abroad somewhere that your doctor recommends getting vaccinated for, then do so. In general, prevention is always better than the cure so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Sunshine/Snow-shine – Ski trips and winter sun trips are popular over the holidays, but sunburn on the beach or the slopes can seriously ruin a good travel experience – so pack on minimum SP15-30. Also stay well hydrated if you are traveling in a country or region with a hot or tropical climate, and cover up with loose clothing or even a hat to prevent heatstroke.

Keep your immunity high – Getting enough sleep is key when traveling. If you are flying longer distances, comfort is essential so it’s worth investing in a good travel neck pillow. Be sure to adjust to the time zone if there is a change in your geography, and don’t overdo the booze (especially if you have to fly a long distance) which automatically knocks your immunity. Finally, keep your stress levels down, no matter how much holiday hustle and bustle there is, and you should be a much healthier and happier person altogether!

I need a vacation from my vacation’ – Self-restoration and travel

‘I need a vacation from my vacation’ – Self-restoration and travel

We’ve all been there. Long trip, maybe a delay, jet lag, dehydration….travel can be glamorous but it can also take a toll on your body. Ever heard of vthe phrase ‘I need a vacation after this vacation?’ Its a thing. So what can we do the other side of our trip or even in preparation for our journey to aid the above? Whether preventative or restorative here are some great options to aid your travel aches, pains and fatigues. 

HEAL YOUR BODY:

Hours in any position, never mind in an uncomfortable or unusual position can cause our bodies to cramp and muscles to pinch. Aside of hydration (mentioned below) a GREAT way to end your journey is with a massage. This will help relieve toxins, re-energize you and prep you for whatever lies ahead on your trip away or on returning home from your trip. A great option in NYC is Exhale Spa. Try a deep tissue which focuses on those overworked muscles living well below the surface with this intensely therapeutic massage. Designed to relieve pain associated with muscle knots, heavy physical activity, and everyday stress, this therapy is deliberate and customized, targeting specific areas in need of relief. Starting at $120 and WELL WORTH IT See exhalespa.com/

FIX YOUR LOOK:

You can do everything but no amount of makeup can hide a post travel-groggy feeling. However, there is one part of your look that can really change everything – your hair. Scrap the foundation and trying to put makeup on in an airplane toilet. Instead, buy some great sunglasses and get a blowout before your journey or on arrival the other end. It might sound crazy, but it will completely change how you feel about yourself traveling, and no matter what anything else looks like, your hair will be stellar and ready to go! A great NYC option is DreamDry where for as little as $45 and in 30 minutes you can choose from a selection of easy breezy blowouts. See dreamdry.com/


HYDRATE YOURSELF AND YOUR SKIN:

It goes without saying – hydrate hydrate hydrate. It will completely change how your feel the other side of your journey. Air travel in particular causes havoc on skin as it dries it out faster. Drink plenty of water throughout your journey, limit alcohol, or don’t drink at all, and carry some cleansing wipes to freshen up on arrival at your destination. A good, natural all-in-one cream for your hands, face or body is a great tool to carry along. Essentiel by Adele, is a new all-in-one moisturizer that can help you stay fresh-faced, radiant, and completely hydrated with essential oils to tone, balance, relax, cleanse and invigorate the skin, even at 32,000 feet. TSA approved travel  bottles starting at just $13 can be purchased at EssentielByAdele.com

Stay safe and calm this holiday travel season

Stay safe and calm this holiday travel season

Traveling over the holiday season can be a little overwhelming for many. Large crowds, lots of gift-filled luggage and general holiday madness. Staying safe is on the top of many traveler’s worries, so below I have laid out some basic travel tips and tools to put your mind at ease….

Make copies and secure your valuables

Share your itinerary with a friend or neighbor at home. Also make copies of your passport and your credit card and any other important documents. You can also get smart with protecting your electronics from hackers (yes cyber hacking is a thing) with certain bags and covers like these GoDark Farady Bags from Tarriss that protect phones and laptops alike ($40-$60.)

Tag your luggage

One way to stay safe during the holiday season is to use luggage tag covers or to put your office address on your luggage tag instead of your home address. And if you do decide to go for the carry on route, pack a few travel essentials in case of flight delays or such like a toothbrush and toothpaste. A couple of my favorites are GoTravel’s Sonic Traveller Toothbrush ($18.95) and Lebon’s Organic Travel Size Toothpaste ($10.50 from J.Crew.)

Check-in for your flight as soon as the airline allows

Checking in early can really make a difference whether you’re going to get on that flight or not. As more airlines are overbooking flights, making sure that your seat is secure is pretty much essential at this point.

Get to the airport early and un-flustered and please please pack a travel pillow!

It’s not so bad being at the airport early anymore because they’re basically like big malls. Just do a little bit of shopping and go grab a light meal. Then (if you can) plan to take a nap on the flight. The holidays tend to be crazy so this may be your last chance to catch those Z’s! GoTravel’s Ultimate Memory Pillow ($34.95) will make you feel as snug as a bug on that flight.

Lebon

Lebon’s Travel Toothpaste

GoTravel

GoTravel’s Ultimate Memory Pillow

GOTravel

GOTravel’s Sonic Traveller Toothbrush

Go Dark Farady Bags from Tarriss

Go Dark Farady Bags from Tarriss

Taking the anxiety out of Thanksgiving travel!

Taking the anxiety out of Thanksgiving travel!

More than 54 million people will hit the roads and skies this Thanksgiving, the largest number since 2005 (according to AAA.) In fact the TSA says it’s expecting more that 25 million travelers between Friday, Nov. 16 and Monday, Nov. 26 – which is nearly a 7 percent increase from last year.

So with all this hustle and bustle how can you make your Thanksgiving travel relatively painless?

When to travel

According to a good deal of travel sites, prices are lower, lines are shorter and crowds are lighter if you travel ON the holiday itself. The second most affordable day would be the Monday before.

When it comes to driving, the most clear on Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday, AAA reports. Roads are expected to be busiest on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when most drivers are returning home from the holiday. It also seems that the busiest destinations to fly to happen to be the warmest (except NYC) from Florida to California, Mexico and Hawaii.

Pack smart

Keep security in mind if you are flying, including your liquids are compliant with TSA standards. Be prepared to remove your electronics from your bag, and consider leaving bulky jewelry, scarves and jackets in your checked baggage so you have fewer things to carry through security.

Leave EARLY

Whether you’re flying or driving, make sure to allow extra time to go through security or sit in traffic. Keep an eye on the weather, which will impact you whether you’re on the roads or in the skies, so plan accordingly and check the forecast for both your current location and your destination. If driving, use an app like Gas Buddy or Waze to find the cheapest gas on your route.

Keep YOU and the kids busy

Bring a book, magazines, games, music, the iPad…anything that will keep you and your family entertained. Consider downloading a podcast too – there are some great ones out and it will keep you and them busy (especially if you are the designated driver!)

So you waited to book your holiday travel….now what?

So you waited to book your holiday travel….now what?
  • If you’re flying all is not lost – you can still track your flights using flight tracking apps like Hopper for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year to find the best deals and (AND if you have flexibility on where you would like to go – you can also explore the most affordable destinations for you.)
  • If you don’t make Thanksgiving travel bookings in time (usually the biggest travel day of the year) it’s still not too late to book Christmas or New Year’s travel. Use sites like Skyscanneror com to find some of the best prices on the web. Fares are currently averaging $307 round trip, down 19 percent from a year earlier, but beginning in mid-November, the cost is due to up about $3 a day and then spike in the final two weeks before Christmas according to tracking apps.
  • Consider booking your holiday travel after or even on major holidays, where you will often find the best deals. This year the cheapest day to travel is Tuesday, Dec. 18 and returning on Christmas Eve. However, if you don’t want to interrupt the actual Christmas holiday, the next least expensive day to return is Friday, Dec. 28. Also consider timing; flying at undesirable times like 4 a.m., instead of 10 a.m. will help you beat the holiday crowds and peak prices.
  • Consider compromising – maybe try traveling this year via car or train and choose ONE not all three holidays to travel for. No questions it’s hard telling your family or friends that you can’t make it for every part of the holiday season, or your family that the ski trip and trip to grandmas on Christmas day are just too much, but hey, getting out of town for even one of these holidays is a win!

Labor Day – How to find some last minute travel deals!

Labor Day – How to find some last minute travel deals!

Check for last-minute deals –  If you want to travel but you haven’t made plans yet, find last-minute sales on HotelTonight.com or the mobile apps Booking Now or Last Minute Travel Deals, and keep in mind that Hotels.com matches prices. If you don’t have a specific hotel chain in mind, try Hotwire.com or Kayak.com to save as much as 60% off regular hotel prices.

Track flights – Too late to fly away? Nope. Track flights using a flight tracking app like hopper which will notify you of when your ideal flights go up and down in price, and when the best time to book them is. It’s also a great tool for being able to explore different destination and seeing where if affordable for you to go this Labor Day weekend.

BUT be aware of the best dates to travel – When trying to pick which days to travel, generally your best bet is to leave on Sunday, September 3rd and return on Tuesday, September 5th. The most expensive day to travel? Leaving on Thursday, August 31st could cost you over $150 moreon airfare.

Compare car rental prices – Use CarRentals.com to compare prices on car rentals, and then review deals available through warehouse store’s travel sites. “Warehouse stores aren’t just a great place to buy oversized bottles of ketchup and a month’s supply of tissue paper—you can also use that membership to save on travel bookings.

Go camping or take a road trip – Forgo hotels and enjoy the outdoors while the weather’s still good, and/or make the journey part of the experience! You can often pitch a tent at a well-equipped campground for $20 to $30 a night. CampgroundViews.com is a great resource. Roadtrippers.com is also super helpful when it comes to planning your ideal road trip.