Sunday Stories

Whew!  What a news week.  I don't know about you, but I'm kind of exhausted.

Not surprisingly, I am a media junkie, consuming news from TV, print and online.  Wherever you are on the political spectrum, you've probably had your fill this week.  So, in keeping with my Sunday theme of keeping everything positive, here are a few stories of interest from the last week.

A look at Michelle Obama's fashion legacy.

Photo from Associated Press.

Photo from Associated Press.

And in the interest of equal time from the same reporter - a look at Friday's Inaugural fashions.

So apparently, many couples (excluding yours truly) battle over bookshelf space in their homes.  Seriously?

None of these tips on getting sleep on airplanes works for me - but maybe they will for you.

I continue to believe all studies that demonstrate health benefits of drinking coffee.

Have a lovely week!


Bringing Healthy Back

Scott and I travel light.  Whether it is an overnight trip to see family or two weeks overseas, we each take one rollerboard bag.

For trekking around and sightseeing, I also carry a Healthy Back Bag.  The design helps avoid the shoulder or neck pain that can creep in when schlepping a heavy tote bag.  It is also hands-free, and easy to hang onto when walking around, keeping track of kids or standing while riding the subway, tube or Metro.  You can also wear it cross-body with the bag in front on crowded buses, streets and tourist areas where pickpockets tend to ply their trade.


I have found the smaller size is perfect for carrying the essentials for a long flight, along with sightseeing needs like maps, sunscreen and small water bottles.  The bags have tons of internal and external zippered and Velcro pockets.  They also have larger sizes, ideal for traveling with children or if you have more stuff to carry.

Mine is basic black - suitable for a New Yorker, but it comes in other colors if you are a bit more adventurous.  They also come in a variety of fabrics, and are easy to find on the company's web site or online at Amazon, eBags, Walmart, TravelSmith and other sites.

Next week - what's in that bag, and a few details about my much scaled-down beauty routine when traveling.  

What's In My Carry-on (Weather Whiplash Edition)

I stalk when planning and packing for TV tours. 

Especially on the cusp of winter and spring, when I can hit several seasons over the course of a few days.

What to pack?  Since I generally travel with a single carry-on bag - which houses a stockpile of makeup, charging cords, my laptop and gym shoes - space is kind of limited.

Over the years, I've learned to pack for the controlled climate in airports and on airplanes - which to my senses, is cold - plus a weather-appropriate outfit for each city.  

Yesterday morning, after a TV shoot in Syracuse, I headed to Phoenix.  From below-freezing to warm, summer sunshine.  Not that I'm complaining.

The biggest temperature swing I ever had in a day was 104 degrees - flying from 80 degrees in Phoenix to Minneapolis - where the air temperature was 24 below.  So yesterday was pretty mild by comparison.

Here's a typical look inside my bag for this type of trip:

For cold weather, I pack a colorful array of silk sweaters - along with scarves (rarely worn on-air, but perfect for keeping cozy on airplanes).  For warm weather shows, it's often one of my many Jane Summers dresses.

Then, a pile of cuffs and earrings.  Sleek but comfy black leather stretch booties for cold weather and running through airports. and my trusty nude BCBG "Carly" sandals - most definitely not appropriate for cold weather and rushing between terminals.

Next week's schedule involves a similar challenge - four cities, three time zones, various latitudes.

How do you pack for this kind of trip?

Flying Soon? How to Pack

I travel more than 150,000 miles each year. 

That means I go through TSA checkpoints, the lining up and boarding process and the scramble for overhead bin space almost 150 times each year.

Factor in the reality that most flights are delayed at least a bit, and it all adds up to a crazy routine.

With five million miles and counting on American Airlines - just writing that makes me tired - I've developed a streamlined packing routine

#1 - A Solid Carry-on

If you don't travel frequently, an inexpensive and well-organized bag is all you need.  Frequent travelers may want something more heavy-duty.  Bonus: carry-ons can have a long life, since you rarely check them and give airlines the chance to crush or damage them. 

I love this 21" Travelpro.  The only downside is that many crew members carry the same bag.  So, in addition to luggage tags, I use these hot pink handle wraps to avoid mix-ups. (Photos courtesy of Flight Attendant Shop).


#2 - Go Cheap on Handbags

I love cute accessories, but anything you stuff underneath an airplane seat will show wear very quickly.  My travel totes and purses are affordable and stylish pieces from places like Target, Sam's Club and Burlington Coat Factory.

#3 - Plan Before You Pack

Consider your schedule, and pack specifically for those activities - nothing more.  Better yet, create your own capsule wardrobe so everything will mix and match.  Pack scarves and jewelry to accessorize, and leave the bulky shoe wardrobe at home.  With this plan, my husband and I each took just one small carry-on bag on a 10-day trip to Israel last summer.

#4 - Keep the Laptop and Ziploc Bag Accessible

Don't be that person who causes a backup in security lines while you dig for your laptop and that bag of toiletries.  Even if, like me, you are part of the PreChek program for expedited screening, those lanes are sometimes closed and you end up in a line where you have to remove these items from you bag.

What tips do you have for packing and getting through the airport smoothly?

Pack a Good Attitude - and Other Travel Tips

A big "thank you" to USA Today travel reporter Charisse Jones for including several of my travel tips in today's holiday travel article!

Since I fly more than 150,000 miles each year, I'm a big believer in controlling what you can - and chilling out about the rest of it. 

The article quotes me in several places, but here are a few more ways I stay sane and productive when travelling:

#1 - Create a "Happy Zone" Around You

Be nice to TSA workers, gate agents, flight attendants and other passengers.  Smiles and calmness are contagious, and they will help you maintain a good attitude – even when faced with travel disruption.

#2 - Book the First Flight of the Day

It’s not fun to get up early, but 6 a.m. flights generally depart on time.

#3 - Don't Book the Last Flight

If you absolutely positively must be there in the morning, you have no backup if the flight is cancelled.  Since I always do morning shows, this is a big one for me.

#4 - Expect Delays and Cancellations

Assume that your flight will be delayed and that you will spend time on the tarmac.  I always check flight schedules to have a back-up plan in case I need to make changes.

#5 - Pack Water and Snacks

Don’t depend on an in-flight beverage service, especially on short flights.  Buy a bottle in the airport, or bring an empty bottle to fill after security.  My carry-on always includes packages of mixed nuts, Larabars or an apple.

#6 - Have Something to Read

I usually have a pile of work to do, but also have a Texture subscription on my iPad so I always have People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and other magazines at my fingertips.  

#7 - Bring Headphones

Essential for listening to music or watching movies, but they also help tune out the chaos around you.

#8 - Let It Go

For me, the key to stress-free travel is recognizing that the entire process is outside of my control.  If there are weather delays, flight cancellations or other issues, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  Control what you can (see tips one through seven), and try to simply go with the flow. 

What other tips work for you?