If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’ve been away in Atlantic City, NJ. My boyfriend scored a free room for two nights, so on Monday afternoon we tossed all our stuff (minus the cat) into his ride and hauled ass to the shore.
If you haven’t been to a casino let me school you on some things I learned the hard way.
1. You pay for practically everything.
Wi-Fi, gym pass, you name it and they’ll find a way for you to pay for it. On this trip my boyfriend and I paid $20 for each of us to use the gym and indoor pool. Granted, the gym and pool was lovely but paying to use the amenities in the hotel you’re a guest in is like having to pay a dime every time you use the toilet.
2. Everything is more expensive.
Case in point, when I went to find a Starbucks Tuesday morning. Imagine me, a little out of it from the night before (we played video poker and drank), wandering down the boardwalk in heels because I don’t like to wear sneakers unless I’m working out, in search of a place to get a soy latte. There was actually a Starbucks in the casino next to mine but I had no idea where it was and was not in the mood to look, so I walked about half a mile in totaling, searching for the bucks down the way. I ordered a grande and purchased a Kind Bar. The total price? Seven bucks and some cents. I know, ridiculous but I still forked it over. Later that night I spent $2.25 on an 8 fluid ounce bottle of water from a vending machine (no, I wouldn’t have paid that much if I knew the bottle was so small) and much later my boyfriend spent almost $5 on a liter of Aquafina for me.
3. Expect to get lost
Casinos in general are like freaking mazes. Half of them connect to one another and with all of the flashing slot machines and noise just accept you will become discombobulated. This is particularly true in places like Vegas, but even in Atlantic City you’ll find yourself wandering up and down escalators and hallways trying to find a bar or the gym or a food court. Go with it, memorize landmarks. It’s the only way. Sure, you can GPS yourself but then you look lost and you never want to do that in a strange place. Better to act like you know where you’re going and ask directions from a staff person on the low.
So that’s some of the annoying stuff we dealt with but on the plus we had a good time. The pool and gym area was an entire floor and really nice. We had a voucher for a free buffet and I was able to scarf down not one but TWO plates filled with salad, mashed potatoes, vegetables, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and of course, I did have room for dessert which was a moist chocolate cupcake and vanilla ice cream. I started and finished Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives which I loved loved loved. I slept late.
But my mini-vacay isn’t what this post is about.
Today’s post is actually about how to properly pack your makeup bag for such excursions. You know, the kind when you won’t be gone long enough to get a pet sitter but will still need more than the clothes on your back and chapstick?
It’s been extremely hot in New York and in general, when the temp rises I change my beauty routine up. Honestly, it’s not as exciting as my fall or winter routine but it’s efficient and simple.
1. Vanilla Coconut perfume by LAVANILA; Sephora, $58
As a rule of thumb I don’t share what perfumes I wear but this isn’t my signature and honestly, a beauty bag isn’t complete without some sort of scent. I love the ones from LAVANILA. They don’t have parabens or icky chemicals. This one is perfect for summer and has notes of creamy coconut and Madagascar vanilla. It’s very subtle and soft, works for day or night, and packs well.
2. Year round I tend to do the whole primer and foundation and setting powder thing. However, when the weather makes you drip sweat from the moment you get out of bed I skip all that muck and opt for BB Cream. It gives basic coverage and makes me feel like I put in the “effort” to look presentable. Dream Fresh BB Cream; Maybelline, $7.44. I only wore it once while I was away but I like to pack it “just in case.”
3. Contouring and highlighting means more brushes and sponges you have to pack. Skip it and focus on the brows. I like a bold brow. I’ve been using the Brow Envy kit from Anastasia for about a year. I’m not sure if they still sell the one I have which comes with eyebrow stencils but as long as you have eyebrow powder, a pencil, and some setting wax like this kit provides you’ll be good to go.
4. I didn’t feel like bringing my cleansing wipes, astringent, Clarisonic or any other device to remove my makeup so I opted for a creamy facial wash. My sister just gifted me the Checks and Balances cleanser from Origins ($21.50). One of my friend’s raves about this stuff and I see why. It’s super foamy but doesn’t leave a residue. It did a pretty decent job of taking off my mascara.
5. It goes without saying that you should always travel with your tweezers because there is nothing like unsightly stray brow hairs to wreck your entire look. I highly recommend the ones from Tweezerman ($25) which are amazing at catching those barely there under the skin hairs. If twenty-five bucks seems steep for tweezers you can find mini versions for half the price at Sephora and they work just as well.
6. I wear my hair natural during the warmer months but I still attempt to blow it out on occasion. Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream ($33.60) is my single must have hair product when I travel because it works to tame frizz but also can weigh down my hair just enough if I decide to straighten it. It has argan oil which hair loves. The first bottle I ever had of this stuff lasted two years, so it’s totally worth the upfront dough.
7. I know every blog and magazine says this but I’m going to repeat this important phrase: You must wear sunscreen. If you hate the idea of applying the stuff after you’ve made up your face get the kind that’s built into your moisturizer like this one. I wear sunscreen even when I’m just running to the grocery store, so obviously I pack it when I’m on vacay.
8. I’ve blogged numerous times about the power of retinol but I pack it on vacations for another reason besides warding off wrinkles and it’s because it also acts as an anti-acne treatment. As you noticed I keep my cleansing products to a minimal while I’m away, so a quick application of a retinol having serum ($22.99) before bed helps to ensure I won’t wake up broken out.
I’ll level with you ladies. I also packed a load of lip liners and glosses, liquid eyeliner, and some mascara. But for me, that is light packing. Anyway, I’m home now, unpacked, and gearing to enjoy some Netflix time. Let me know what you pack when you go away.