Top 10 Travel Products

Top 10 Travel Products!

I travel more than 100,000 miles every year for work (yeah, you read that number right) and after people say, “Uh, wow!” and “Uh, how does your husband feel about that?” people always, ALWAYS ask the same thing: “Uh, got any travel tips?”

Uh, yep. In fact, I have more than tips, I’ve basically distilled my travel regime down to a science. I know exactly what I’m taking, where it goes in my suitcase, and the fastest route to the airport lounge for one last glass of wine to fill up my water bottle and to check my email like the responsible person I am.

Because I’m asked so often what it takes to travel so much, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of my must-have travel products. There’s more to the process of professional business travel than a quick shopping trip can do, but these 10 essentials will get you moving in the right direction!

  1. The Sherpani Soleil bag. My friends and colleagues have joked that I should become a spokesperson for Sherpani, such is my intense love for this bag (uh, Sherpani? I’m open.) It’s a sturdy tote that’s professional enough to carry to client meetings, yet will sling over your shoulder or torso messenger style, and ALSO becomes a backpack when you suddenly have your hands full, a sore shoulder, or find yourself doing a little surprise hiking (what, it happens!) It also has a luggage strap, so it will slide onto the handle of a roller board suitcase like buttah. BUTTAH. Laptop sleeve, water bottle pockets, and just the right amount of space make this bag the best $100 I’ve ever spent on travel accessories. BUY ONE RIGHT NOW WHY ARE YOU STILL READING THIS.
  2. Bose noise canceling headphones. You know that roaring in your ears when you get off the plane? That ain’t happening if you wear these headphones. They cut out the ambient noise just enough so that you can still hear the world around you, but it’s just low enough that you can block it out. Crying babies and overly chatty flight attendants on Southwest, I’m looking at you. It also sends a subtle message to your seat neighbor to pretty please ZIP IT.
  3. Vaseline. This is really a life essential more than a travel essential, but I won’t get on a plane without it, so it makes the list! Vaseline replaces about 10 other things in a cosmetic bag, from eye makeup remover to lip balm, hand cream to soothing a cut or scrape. The travel size pot is about two bucks at Target and they are in every suitcase and tote I own, just in cases.
  4. Burt’s Bees grapefruit face wipes. These are a life saver, especially for international flights or long layovers. The grapefruit smell is lovely and can make even the most tired traveler feel a little more pulled together upon arrival.
  5. E-reader. I use a B+N Nook and downloading books from the library couldn’t be easier. I spend more time on planes reading than watching movies, and the e-reader makes it easy to carry thousands of books – or at least the complete Outlander series. (I cannot be the only person obsessed with these books, right? RIGHT?)
  6. Oversize scarf. I usually reach for my pale blue pashmina from Paris, or this giant tartan, but any big scarf will do. I use them as blankets on the plane, to bundle up in case it’s cold, and to jazz up the basic blacks and grays that make up 90% of my wardrobe.
  7. iPhone and extra charger. While I dream of the day we all get tired of screens and go back to typewriters and letters, it’s not happening. I have a little folder on my phone just for travel apps. My favorites are WhatsApp for free global texting, CityMapper for navigation, the United app for checking in and mobile boarding passes, the AirBnb app to keep in touch with hosts, and Skype Qik to send fun videos to friends and family!
  8. Glass water bottle. Fo much flying is bad enough for Mother Earth without buying plastic water bottles and effectively punching good old M.E. in the face. I try to combat this in a small way by filling up my glass water bottle pre-flight and saying no to all those little plastic drink cups from flight attendants.
  9. Eye mask. A must for international flights, but sometimes I want to get a head start on sleep coming back from the East Coast, when I might land at midnight or 1 am. Eye masks help you sleep like a champ and help you channel your inner Holly Golightly, too.
  10. Airport-approved footwear. With admission into TSA Pre, I no longer have to take my shoes off and it’s like traveling in 1992 (thank you, Baby Jesus) but in those rare instances Pre is closed and you end up like Shoeless Joe, you don’t want to be that schmo holding up the line trying to unlace your gladiator sandals. These fly slip on sneaks are my current fave. And here I thought Aerosoles were just for grandmas!

What are your travel must-haves?! I’d seriously love to hear!

Aerosoles slip on shoes

Linea evening shawl
$36 –


Bkr fragrance

Iluminage eye mask

Therapy lip care

Mura tech accessory

Hearty Fall Tabbouleh


Hi, hi, HI!

We are back from Italy and Greece and have begun the slooow recovery process of acclimating back into life as SF residents, rather than residents of Pyrgos, the charming Greek village we’ve been living in for the past week. Um, I mean visiting. We certainly didn’t pretend that we were Greeks who lived in a luxe wine villa with a hot tub, but who also had no noticeable way of making income other than going to the beach every day, nosiree nope not us.

Travel is so restorative, and being in Greece was especially amazing. It was my first time there and Santorini is for inspiration and dreams, I tell you. It was the most magic place I’d ever been, and among the most magical of things: FOOOOOOD.


As everyone knows, we at this house love to cook and eat. And yet, one of the perks of vacation is that you can pay someone else to do half of that equation for you for a few weeks and not feel even a little bit badly about it.

One of my staples last week was Greek salad, either as plain Greek salad OR tabbouleh! Tabbouleh = Greek salad + bulgar + a boat load of parsley – feta cheese. That there is called “salad math.”

Just because we’re back does not mean I plan on quitting my regime of Greek salad any time soon. I just had to San Francisicify it a bit, give it a little more protein and warmth for the chillier weather we’re having here. This may make the Lebanese shudder at the sacrilege of it all (sorry, Joya!) but it’s so delicious, let’s just hope they’ll make it and forgive us.

This tabbouleh calls for faro instead of bulgar, for extra heartiness, and cooked lentils for protein and to complement the nuttier flavor of the faro. The result is a hefty little salad that will fill you up without weighing you down, while also whisking you back to the best of Greece.

That last part might just be me…




. 1/2 cup cooked faro

. 1 heaping cup of chopping tomatoes (your preference as to what kind)

. 3 persian cucumbers

. 1 cup chopping parsley

. 2 lemons

. 1/2 small red onion

. 3/4 cup pre-cooked lentils

. EVOO, salt and pepper


  1. Cook the faro according to instructions.
  2. Chop the tomatoes, parsley, onion, cucumbers. Put it all into a big bowl, add the lentils, and mix mix.
  3. Once the faro is cooked, add it into the big bowl and top with the juice of two lemons and a very generous glug or two of EVOO, salt and pepper.

*Please note – you can play with all these measurements! This is how I happen to like my tabbouleh, but if you want more lemon or fewer tomatoes, or whatever – go for it!



Part two of our mediterranean journey takes us to Santorini. Thus far, our big plan is to rent a Vespa and scoot from one glass of wine to the next while wearing a giant sun hat.

That last part might just be me.


Viva Italia!


I almost can’t believe it, but our 1-year anniversary is just around the corner in September. To celebrate – and because we never took a proper Honeymoon, unless you count that overnight at ye most glamorous Westin in Park City on our drive back to SF – we are taking two weeks off and spending them in the Mediterranean. First stop, ITALY.

Recommendations? Places to stay, eat, and see? If you were landing in Naples and had absolutely nothing else planned yet (ahem) for seven days…what would you do?

Thanks a million


Cutting Board Pesto

Pesto on a crackerHey! Did you know you can make pesto without the food processor? Are you like, “Um, duh, of course you can!” Yeah, that’s what I thought, too! But then you think about it for just one second, and then you’re like, “WAIT. How DO you make pesto without a food processor?” EXACTLY. This, this right here, is how the jarred pesto people get you.

I could go on, and on, and on, about my mini food processor. And then I can think about how my pioneer ancestors would be so, so disappointed in me. At least, they would be if they knew what pesto was. Being Irish immigrants (or ex-pats, as it is apparently more PC  to say?) my guess is that they weren’t exactly one with the pesto. Or with the bathing. Or with the food in general, what with the famine and all. Aaaaand this just took a turn for the super depressing.

Either way, these were badass women who cooked with little more than two potatoes, a cauldron and a stick. Or so I tell myself while I whirred things away in the mini-chop. I simply should not be so attached to my food processor.

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Then, we took a professional knife skills class a few months ago and at the end of the class, our instructor taught us how to make a gorgeous pesto with just the ingredients + a kitchen knife. No food processor in sight. And I was prepared to be skeptical, until I tasted it.

And after that, I just feel bad for my immigrant ancestors, who WISH they could’ve gotten down with some cutting board pesto. They probably also wish they hadn’t gotten cholera and died while fording the rivers, but we can’t have it all.

What I’m really saying is, life’s short. Make this pesto immediately.



. Healthy bunch of basil, aka, large

. 2-3 large garlic cloves.

. Sea salt

. Nuts – walnuts or pine nuts are a great choice

. Wedge of hard parmesan, to be hand grated into your pesto (the processed Kraft kind simply will not do. Also, it’s 2015, so I’m guessing the Kraft train has left the station, Godspeed and good luck to it.)

. Bottle of EVOO. You won’t use the whole thing, but the amount you use is an individual preference. Don’t limit yourself!


1. Wash and spin dry the basil, set it aside to air dry for a few minutes. Once dry, remove the stems.

2. Smash the garlic cloves with the side of your knife, and add a healthy pinch of salt. Continue to mash and combine until you have a little dollop of garlic paste. Scrape it to the center of your board using the top of the knife (in other words, don’t scrape the bottom of your knife or it will dull faster.)

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3. Place the basil and nuts in the center of the board, grate a healthy dose of park over the top, and start chopping! While I absolutely am not qualified to give anyone pro knife skills tips (heh, see what I did there?) what I can tell you is that you want the sharpest knife possible, and to cut into the smallest pieces you can. Just. Keep. Chopping. Until it looks about like this:

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4. Scrape everything into a bowl and add as much EVOO as you’d like. The consistency will range from a thick paste to a swirly sauce, pending how much you add. We like it right in the middle.

5. Try really hard not to eat it with a spoon, but it’s okay if you do. Bonus points if you can put it on a little cracker action before shoving it in your mouth. It also tastes amazing swirled into minestrone soup, on top of pasta, or as the shining star of your charcuterie platter.

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Cinderella Inspired


{Cinderella for Grown-ups by gourmetstylegirl

 I’ll be the first to admit it: Cinderella never really did it for me. Not only was she way too passive, but I never bought into the idea that one so confined and brutalized could also remain so charming and positive. On my one free night out, instead of hitting up the ball, I’d have hit up the local constabulary – dress and all! – to see just what could be done about my living situation. Down with stepmothers! Up with minimum wage and keys to my own bedroom!

Plus, as all brunette girls of the late ’90s will attest, Belle is where it’s at. The reading? The sassy attitude? The bravery? YES. Plus, Gaston. Ick. Way to be a model for not succumbing to peer pressure, B.

All that said… and I do totally mean what I said…I’m still utterly, completely swept up in the Cinderella madness that’s everywhere right now. Oh to have worked on that marketing and PR campaign! Swoon. From  Lily James’ premiere dress to the many designer interpretations of the glass slipper, I am like a small child on Christmas waiting for this film to come out. Kudos, Disney PR, because heads up: I’M 30. And I’m STILL REALLY EXCITED.

Have courage

{Cindy’s new motto – I love it!}

There are also ways to embed a little Cindy flair into your daily life, whether you’re 3 or 30 – from a floaty tulle skirt that adds whimsy, to a little sparkle on your nails, to those sunglasses that are just the right amount of retro, in a nod to the original animated feature’s 1950 release date. I’m also swooning over that ear cuff. I’d like to think this updated Cindy might just have enough sass to rock an ear cuff…and if she won’t, then we know Belle definitely would!

Are you going to see the movie?

PS – more Cinderella-inspired looks – and other fun! – on Pinterest!

Scotch Cocktails



{The Selkirk Sparkler}

Some say that a Scotsman is only a good as his whiskey. Being a Scottish lady, there are some things I still can’t get behind, and drinking Scotch neat is one of them. It must be the intermingled Irish, but I’d rather a glass of champagne or a Guinness any day!

As part of our Burns Night celebration, we wanted to appeal to all tastebuds. Ergo, two cocktails in celebration of all things Scotchy.

The Bobby Burns is a strong, medicinal drink. As the boys said, it’s a drink to put hair on your chest. For those who’d rather a fizz in the mouth than hair on the chests (like we lassies), the Selkirk Sparkler proved to be the perfect party drink. My goal was to take a classic whiskey sour and liven it up a little bit, and boy did we! Though for a lively night of any variety, either of these drinks will do just dandily.

The Bobby Burns

2 ounces Scotch

1 ounce sweet vermouth

1 dash Angostura bitters

2 dashes Benedictine or brandy


The Selkirk Sparkler

2 ounces whiskey

3 ounces sour mix