Friday, June 29, 2007

Look Out! Kathleen's Packing.

I haven't been to Romance Writers of America's national annual conference in four or five years, but I used to attend faithfully, was once quite active. But I'm going this year, even though Dallas isn't my favorite destination in July. Part of the ritual for me is packing exactly the number of outfits I need--no more, no less--replenishing the makeup kit, finding multi-purpose shoes, and making sure I don't forget the essential creature comforts, like the small Swedish whatever-that-dense-foam-is pillow.

Okay, start with the makeup. This zippered case is small, and it's like a book with see-through net zipper pouches for pages. I've had it forever, don't remember where I got it, but it's a gem. Went to Sephora last week wanting new eye stuff. It has to fit in one case. Don't want to open a bunch if pallets when I'm doing war paint. I use dark powder and a brush for eyeliner--hate fooling with a pencil so close to my eye--a highlight (pearl white this time) and 2 colors. So the silver square you see holds 4 round thingies, and they're seated with magnets. It was spendy, but I can easily change the thingies. Got that and asked for something to keep the lipstick from feathering. The recommendation? Reverse lip liner. That's a new one. It's very light in color. Tried it, and it seems to work. Mascara--Maybeline XX whatever with conditioning on one end. Cheap and good stuff. Models swear by Maybeline mascara. New brow pencil has a round brush on one end. I've recently realized that eyebrows need a bit of color. I've ignored them most of my life, poor things. (Mind you, the makeup regimen is not a daily thing for me. Far from it. Mama would be horrified, but the cleaning and moisturizing is generally all I do.)

On to the shoes. I live in Crocs in the summer, but I need something not rubber. I'll take 2 pairs of plain dress heels (medium high but spiky)--black and cream--but I need cute slides. What do you think of these? They have to be comfy and versatile. These are kind of copperish color, wedge heel. (Will have foot spa, fresh pedicure before I fly.) I've been breaking them in, and they seem to do the trick. I'll take one other pair--well-broken in--in case shoes turn cruel. Probably the Crocs. As for the outfits, suffice it to say that the one good thing about having the conference in July is that summer stuff is On Sale. And I love it that full skirts are in. I love to swish.

Finally, the away-from-my-nest necessities. Here are a few. I've come to use earplugs regularly, but started out as a hotel thing. (Then found that they helped block out snoring at home, but that's another story.) Sleep mask--you never know when you'll need a quick snooze. The "blister block" product is untried. Found it when I was looking for Band-aids. It's a paint-on thing that's supposed to prevent blisters from cruel shoes. Has anyone tried it? And, finally, the Desitin. No, I'm not wearing diapers again. Not yet. But having grandchildren around brought the Desitin back into the carry-on, and lo and behold, a dab of the stuff before you go to bed on what threatens to become a facial blemish by morning actually dries the thing out. It works better than toothpaste, which, according to some fashion mag encounter at the hair dresser long ago, is what models use. And Desitin is meant for baby bottoms, so it has to be gentle. (This was actually dh's discovery. Give credit where due.)

Now...What's in your travel kit?


Christie Ridgway said...

Way cute slides, Kathleen! I love that copperish color.

I'm looking for something to put in my travel kit that will de-puff my eyelids. Every conference I end up with puffy eyes. Tips, anyone?

And I'm looking for one more dress for conference. Must shop. Oooh, poor me.

Michele Hauf said...

Aspirins always land my conference travel kit. It take 'em before the headache comes, cause I know it's coming.

Safety pins. It never fails that I need to safety pin up some gaping bit (go cleavage!) at the last minute.

Comfy clothes for the flight home.

Wish I was going to conference this year! Have fun, ladies!

Debra Dixon said...

I travel so much I have this down to an art in terms of non-clothing packables. I have duplicates of everything I use and my toiletry bag is always packed. I leave my make-up in two zippered (smallish) clutches for everday use. They also get tossed right in the suitcase without thought.

I'm using one of those double application mascaras these days. It has a white/clear lengthener and then you flip to the other end of the tube and pull out the black top coat. It can be clumpy so you have to be careful you don't end up with spider leg eyes. (g)

And I never iron anything before packing anymore. I have to iron when I get there so I save myself the trouble.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Christie, the gel mask that you chill--either in the ice bucket or the mini-bar--works well for de-puffing eyes.

I'll never forget the time I was rooming with Tami Hoag and I walked into the room to find her sitting at the desk, back to the door, turning slowly, wearing the blue mask. "Don't be alarmed," she said ominously. What a hoot!

I like to do the mask while lying on the floor, feet up on a chair.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Deb, I keep the makeup in this case all the time. It's such an orgaizer for me. And the toiletries bag is always ready with the mini-versions of the stuff I use daily, but since I haven't been traveling as much as I used to, I had to update this week. I've changed hair stuff and face care stuff recently. Required a visit to the little plastic bottle and jar dept. at Target. Didn't have the right teeny containers for the new regimen.

Helen Brenna said...

Sorry, Kathy, I'm in denial about this too. Refuse to think about this today!

Esther said...

I use the blister block on my palms when I play tennis - it does work!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Here's what I really don't wanna think about, Helen. The front page of the Strib has been featuring stories about NW canceling scads of flights in the past week. The weather channel is reporting storms in TX. How high's the water, Mama?

I will have no fingernails by the time I get to Phoenix. Er, Dallas. (Trying to keep it light with music.) Good thing I can't get my toenails in my mouth.

Or can I? (I don't have much trouble getting foot in mouth much of the time.)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Thanks, Esther. That IS good news. As you can see, I haven't opened the package yet, but it's one of those new products you see in the store and you think, "Why didn't I think of that? Another chance to make a fortune gone to someone else."

FIONA said...

REI has the 3 oz bottles, with regular, spray and squeeze tops!

I am the WORST person to travel with. I am allergic to all sorts of things, so I take my own sheets (sleeping bag liner) towel and washcloth. I have to take my own soap/shampoo, too.

I do, however, have a very well-stocked first aid kit. :-)

I ALWAYS have a stash of chocolate, just in case.......

Keri Ford said...

You pack JUST the right amount of clothes????? People can actually do that????

If you can't tell, I've never been able to do that. I'm a clothes person, and depending on my mood depends on what I want to put on that day. More than likely, I'll pack 2 outfits for each day event, and 2 for each night event. Except for the awards on Sat. I'm not hauling around 2 gowns with me.

And something mandatory in my purse: a small sewing kit and an extra pair of panty hose if I'm wearing a skirt-nothing looks tackier than runners!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Keri, I'm much less meticulous in my packing when it's a leisure trip, but for a conference or tour I've found that the fewer decisions left for later, the better. I decide what I'm going to wear each day and each night , jewelry, shoes, etc. If I find that plans change, I can switch outfits, and I'll pack a couple of options for mix and match in case it's cooler or warmer than expected, but I find that removing some of the little decisions helps me relax.

I'm innately pretty shy. Mixing and schmoozing doesn't come easily to me. I love seeing people at these events, but I do much better one-on-one than I do at receptions. This year I'm going to miss most of the gang I used to hang with at these things (although roomie and I go way back to the first one I attended back in '83) so I'm anticipating a touch of bitter-sweetness.

That's another question I should have thrown out there. What are your tricks for relaxing so you can really enjoy these crazy events?

Vicki said...

Since I'm an options kind of girl I always pack more clothes then I need. I change my mind. It's a pain but I do. I've learned for me I'd rather have to many clothes then to be somewhere only to wish I'd brought that really cute black top. Of course I have a black top with me just not the one that I now want to wear.

And shoes, I'll have the ones everyone tells me I should bring but I'll also have the ones that I love. The ones that most people don't want to walk around all day in. I do. I work in them, walk across our campus in them and so I'm taking them. Still if they start to hurt I can always go back to the room and put on the flats.