Travel Beauty Essentials – Pack Up and GET Away

It’s not summer yet, but when it comes, we know you’re going to want to get outta town! When you’re getting ready to hop on a plane or pack that car tight for a road trip with your besties, make sure you’re prepared with the best beauty essentials.

Tiny enough to fit in any bag, these lightweight products are perfect for any beauty-obsessed person. From mini hair tools to “on-the-go” fast fixes, these products are so convenient and make summer packing a breeze. Don’t be fooled by their itsy bitsy packaging, these beauty must-haves are powerful enough to give you beautiful skin and hair for any photo-worthy occasion this summer. Summertime livin’ just got a little bit easier.

La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water ($9.99, CVS, Target, Perfect for refreshing your face while in flight! This Spring Water is formulated with selenium that helps to soothe and protect skin. The water incorporates anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-free radical, soothing and protective properties to help treat certain skin conditions.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios ($19.99-$42.50, CVS, Target, Clear Skin Dry Touch, a 100% oil-free formula, dry touch texture formula won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. My UV Patch (Available as a gift with an Anthelios purchase on & Amazon): Water & sweat-resistant transparent adhesive tracks sun exposure and provides a personalized report. Can be used up to three days during all outdoor activities. La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Dermo Kids: Introducing the first kid’s sunscreen in the US from La Roche-Posay! A safe and gentle (dermatologist, pediatrician, and allergy tested) broad spectrum sunscreen that is lightweight, with a comforting texture, free of fragrance, parabens, oxybenzone and Retinyl Palmitate.

Infusium Repair + Renew Leave In Treatment  ($6.97-8.49, Walmart, Target, Walgreens): Perfect for protecting your hair from the sun, the salt water and the chlorine, this leave-in treatment is infused with Argan oil and keratin to help build strength, elasticity and smoothness.


Bed Head Mini Ceramic Straighteners ($19.99, Ulta): 1/2″ or 1” straighteners perfect for small touch-ups, including bangs, roots and ends.


Revlon XL & Extra Thick Elastics (16 count/$3.49, Walmart): Ideal for full hair, these elastics will provide strong, comfortable hold without crimping or causing damage – because who wants to get their hair wet right before dinner seaside anyways, right?

Bring More Fun In Your Life – Flamenco Getaway In Seville

If you feel overworked and you are struggling with too much pressure in your everyday life, it’s time for a holiday. Take a break from your life and experience something new and different, something that will give you a new perception on life, on fun and on style. Seville, or Sevilla in Spanish, is the capital of the Andalusia region and it is famous for its fierce and free temperament. That sounds like the kind of place that could take your stress and tear it away in oblivion.  

Getting There Easily

If you are flying to Seville from the USA, you will probably need to find a connection in London, Paris or in Berlin, as there is no direct flight to Sevilla for long-distance travelers. Seville is in Spain, and you don’t need any visa authorization for visits that last less than 90 days, so this is an easy holiday to arrange. The best advice that one could give you is to choose a hotel in the town center, which you could reach with a taxi such as booktaxisevilla from the airport. This will allow you to pack your bag with all the essentials for a sunny holiday without having to carry it in the midst of public transport. If you are adventurous, remember to pack a pair of medium heels to have a go at flamenco moves in style.

Love Flamenco Until Dawn

You will find that Seville has a lot of entertainments to offer, especially if you love the idea of a Flamenco show at La Carboneria, a local favorite that offers rustic and authentic food with authentic dance show. La Carboneria offers free shows, but you will have to pay for your drinks and food, though. If you fall in love with Flamenco, try to find a Flamenco social club, which are called peñas in Spanish, where you can meet the dancers and maybe learn some moves! You will soon feel your worries melting away as you start tapping your feet to the music.

Find A Designer Boutique

While there are plenty of shopping options in Sevilla, and you will probably find your favorite Spanish brands Zara and Mango, try to avoid the known brand names. Go straight to local individual designers instead. You can find a former theater costume designer who has created a collection of women and kids exquisite clothes, for example. There’s even an ex-architect who has moved to fashion. Some designers even have open workshops, where you can assist with the creation of a dress or maybe even decide to upcycle an old number with the help of the professionals.

Eat Like The Locals

Finally, in Spain eat like the locals and look for the best tapas in town. While most tapas bars, when they are not overly touristy, are great, you will need to look hard to find this little jewel of organic cooking, Estraperlo. It’s a little organic shop hidden in the Alameda de Hercules district. They sell organic and locally produced foods and they also make their own daily tapas menu to enjoy in the restaurant, or to take away to eat in the sun.  

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New York City – Perfect Mini Weekend Break

If there’s one place that needs to be on your travel bucket list, it’s New York City. This is the one place that people from all over the world link to the United States. It features some of the most iconic sights, showcases some great unique neighborhoods and provides a striking backdrop for a fantastic weekend away. Of course, in an ideal world, most of us would have a lot longer than just a weekend to spend in New York City. But with a full time job to hold down, most of us are lucky to just get a few days of escape every couple of months. You might have shunned New York before and have put it down as being ‘too touristy’ or ‘too busy’. But, here are some reasons why we think it’s the perfect place for a weekend city break.

The travel system

Okay, so most people don’t pay attention to the local public transport when they are finding somewhere to go on vacation. But, when you only have a couple of days in one specific location, time is of the essence! Take an hour or so before your weekend away to familiarize yourself with the public transport system in and around New York City. As it is such as metropolitan place, it is relatively easy to get from one side of the city to the other on very reliable transport. You can travel by bus, by subway, by tram or even by boat down the Hudson River! If you are planning to travel quite extensively around the city while you are there, it may also be worth investing in a Metro Card. Plus, it would be a crime to visit New York and not take a ride in one of the famous yellow cabs – start practicing your hailing technique now!

The things to do

One thing is for sure: you’ll never be bored in New York City. There are way too many things to do to be able to get round them all in one weekend, so you will need to pick the very best to make the most of your time there. If you want a quiet, sophisticated activity that will take you away from the crowds of tourists, why not indulge in  wine tasting ny? Taking a stroll through Central Park is also a NY must-do, and if you want to go slightly off the beaten track, Brooklyn is a quirky neighborhood full of great independent eateries.

The places to stay

New York has some of the most diverse accommodation in the world, so you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to where to stay! If you like familiarity, you can simply choose one of the main international hotel chains that are within the city. Some of these are particularly close to the airports, which can come in useful when you don’t have much time to spend there. If you want something a little more individual, however, why not check out one of New York’s many famous hotels, or even stay at a bed and breakfast?

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Unusual Things to do in Santorini – Unique Travel Aspects

Santorini is a stunning Greek Island on the Aegean Sea just 200 kilometers from the mainland of Greece. Noted for its out of this world beauty, white buildings and churches topped with blue roofs; it is a city that you would expect to find in the best myths and fairy tales.

Although Santorini is a classic holiday town with sun, sand and blue seas as far as the eye can see, not to mention the luxurious Santorini Villas that are dotted around the island, there is much more to the place that meets the eye. So, if you are looking to do something a bit more unusual than topping up your tan on your next Santorini holiday, you might want to check out the following:

The Medieval Village of Emporio

The definition of quaint, Emporio is one of the places you absolutely must visit on your travels in Santorini. The village, which is perched above the popular Perivolos beach, is home to some of the most impressive medieval architecture in the world, including a particularly impressive castle, which is arguably the most interesting on the island.

Go in Search of the Santorini Vampires

You won’t find many packing tips that suggest you bring a stake, but if you’re traveling to Santorini, it might be a good idea.

If it’s unusual you’re after; you can’t beat the story of the Santorini Vampires. What few people know is that Santorini is thought to be home to more vampires than Transylvania. Legend has it that the bodies of Greeks who were considered to be creatures of the night were transported to the island, where they were buried a safe distance away from the mainland. 

So, if you’re a budding Buffy or a Van Helsing in training, a trip to Santorini could be your chance to finally come face to face with the foe!

Visit a Volcano

If you laugh danger in the face and you love nothing more than showing off just how brave you are to your mates, take a trip to Amoudi Bay, where you can plunge from the top of a huge boulder into the warm, clear seas of the Mediterranean.

With so much to do and see in Santorini, it is easy to miss out on the more unique and unusual aspects of the island. However, it is well worth seeking out odd experiences as they are often the experiences you remember the most about your holidays, rather than the usual sunbathing and partying, which you can do almost anywhere.


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Birthday Staycation – Ross Bridge Golf and Spa Resort

I celebrated my birthday at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf and Spa Resort. This beautiful hillside hotel is located (here) in Birmingham, Alabama.


Inside of Ross Bridge Golf and Spa Resort is intricate artwork along with Mediterranean inspired decor. 

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The Spa at Ross Bridge

I booked an appointment at the spa and received a manicure and pedicure.  When I have free time, I prefer spa nail services because they use all natural products. In addition, it’s an intimate environment and provide delicious refreshments.

Sitting in a bathrobe and inhaling essentials oils was very relaxing.  The Spa at Ross Bridge has several additional services including a quiet and steam room, boutique, and chlorine-free pools.

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Additional Resort Photos:


My visit to Ross Bridge Golf and Spa Resort was the perfect staycation.  I can’t wait to stop by again for an afternoon of golf or deep tissue massage!

A Toast to Travel – Holiday Celebration

It’s not too late to join exclusive bespoke trips for Christmas and New Years while visiting Tuscany. While most people are leaving milk for Santa, you’ll be toasting la dolce vita in Florence.

A Toast to Travel’s weeklong boutique experiences are lead by John and Natalie, an American couple who are THE experts in Tuscany. You’ll benefit from their time living in Italy when they discovered the best the region has to offer and cultivated relationships that ensure you will see Italy like a local. From meals at the best neighborhood ristoranti, to tastings at small vineyards with special access, and to special holiday bonuses like:

  • Christmas Eve Mass led by the Cardinal of Florence at the Duomo
  • A visit to Christmas Markets
  • A New Years Eve of the Eve dinner at a 1400’s castle turned winery where Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa
  • A special New Years Eve Dinner and Celebration

The holiday trips include all the food, wine, art, history and architecture that are hallmarks of A Toast to Travel experiences.  Guests enjoy:

  • Museum and city tours led by a native Florentina certified guide

  • A unique culinary experience at one of the oldest Florentine restaurants which has one of the last wood fired grills in the city

  • A gelato tasting at one of Florence’s oldest gelateria

  • Exclusive cooking class with the chef at a five-star hotel in Florence

A Toast to Travel groups are always small, ensuring good camaraderie and the ability to keep the schedule flexible to cater to the group’s interests and desires in the moment. All of our travel within the region is done via Mercedes vehicles-never, ever a tour bus!

For detailed information about Christmas in Tuscany please visit:

For more information on how to ring in 2017 in Tuscany, visit:



The private, tranquil luxurious beachside Blue Haven Resort offers the perfect backdrop for a life changing transformation during two impactful retreats from Retreats Unlimited.

Right at the time when most people’s New Year’s resolution is out the window, New York ‘s dynamo, “No Excuses” trainer Zack Schares, is ready to kick it back into gear with a 4-day/3-night Bootcamp from Feb. 5-8, 2017, featuring goal setting, a beachside obstacle course and a mini-marathon. But it’s not all work, as there is also a unique focus on food and fashion woven into the retreat.

In April, husband and wife team Drs. Michelle & Mark Sherwood bring their integrated functional medicine approach to health on a retreat designed to teach guests how to identify root causes of health challenges and take charge of their own health. Held April 2-5, 2017, participants will learn how to balance their hormones, build muscle and burn fat, and how to make nutrition and supplements work for their bodies.

One of TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Hotels in the Caribbean, Blue Haven Resort is an exclusive resort with a private beach and some of the newest, most spacious suites on the island. Facilities include a gym, Elevate Day Spa, market, two restaurants and whimsical hammocks swaying amongst palm trees on the beach. The resort is also adjacent to an IGY Marina, providing convenient access to world-class diving, kayaking, SUP and other marine adventures.

Both retreats include:

  • 4 days/3-nights in luxury accommodations at the magnificent Blue Haven
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner and non- alcoholic beverages included
  • All taxes and tips at the hotel restaurants
  • Retreats Unlimited Swag Bag

Both retreats are priced at $2,983.50 Double Occupancy /$3,369.00 Single Occupancy.  The retreats are curated by Retreats Unlimited. To make a reservation, review the detailed itinerary, or for additional information visit Retreats Unlimited or call 312-961-3280.


Blue Haven Resort

Voted one of the top 20 resorts in the Caribbean in 2016 by TripAdvisor fans, Blue Haven Resort has earned a reputation for offering fabulous service, and exceptional facilities and value.

Blue Haven Resort’s private beach, and its address adjacent to a five gold anchor IGY Marina, provides visitors with the ultimate combination of a relaxing and adventure filled vacation experience.  Resort facilities include two restaurants, an infinity swimming pool, a gourmet market and café, Elevate Day Spa, a 24-hour gym, and beach service and hammocks at the resort’s private beach.

Spacious air-conditioned rooms and suites offer contemporary décor, free Wi-Fi, flat screen tv’s, and free coffee and tea provisions.  Suites feature state of the art kitchens, washers and dryers, and private terraces or balconies.

For reservations and information, visit

Retreats Unlimited

Retreats Unlimited is a full-service retreat company offering fitness, self-improvement and wellness vacations. Unlike any other, our retreats and wellness holidays are in destinations that are unique. The resorts are luxurious and each retreat offers unique experiences.



“It’s difficult enough as it is to fit everything you need for a weekend getaway or midweek work trip into a carry-on suitcase so when it comes to your beauty bag, less is always more. To prevent lugging around a vanity full of products, look for things that can pull double-duty; a oil for hair AND body, a cosmetics bag that doubles as clutch – you get the idea. Also, keep in mind that paring down should not mean giving up quality. Splurge on luxe minis, you and your hair will be much happier. Here are 5 travel bag upgrades you should make asap.” written by 

Read more at Mane 

Round Hill Resorts with Shayna Hiller

Ring in the new year with one-of-a-kind coach, Shayna Hiller at the beautiful Round Hill Resort in Jamaica, January 19-22, 2017.  Shayna will take you through a practice of intention and goal setting and help you press the reset button as you ring in the new year.

Shayna is a one-of-a-kind coach who provides effective methods for integrating mind, body, and spirit. She supports people who have a desire to feel their best, physically and emotionally.

Guests of this transformational retreat will learn how to love their bodies, eliminate self-doubt and shame, manage stress, feel more confident, increase intimacy in their lives, and lose excess weight.

Great tools that guests can take home include:

  • Simple meditation techniques that they can use in their every day lives to reduce stress and increase energy and mental clarity.
  • Step by step guidance on how to visualize clear intentions and a game plan for materializing desires.
  • Guests will leave feeling stronger and more connected with their bodies through mindful yoga, and more peaceful and balanced in their minds.
  • Healthy food for one week will release stagnant energy and toxins in the body and leave people feeling light, refreshed, and inspired.
  • The art of conscious eating, breathing, and living.

This retreat will provide guests with the space to gain mental clarity, set meaningful intentions, create a comfortable game plan, identify your top priorities, and maximize your overall health.

Shayna Hiller is an expert in the fields of nutrition, yoga, and meditation. She is the author of ‘Don’t Judge Me By My Cover‘. She supports people in overcoming eating disorders, increasing intimacy in their lives, and discovering and actualizing their life’s purpose. Shayna offers first hand knowledge and expertise to gently guide people on their path to wellness.

Round Hill, in Montego Bay Jamaica, welcomes you with genuine Jamaican hospitality while captivating you at every turn. This beautiful 110-acre private enclave of luxury villas, boutique oceanfront rooms, award-winning seaside dining and an exquisite spa that lies nestled in a lush tropical hillside along a private bay of turquoise waters.

Josef Forstmayr, Managing Director at Round Hill Hotel & Villas comments: “We are extremely excited to be partnering with wellness expert Shayna Hiller to create a unique retreat that will help our guests feel completely re-energized after the festive season. The panoramic views of the ocean from our fitness centre/gym at Round Hill provide an encouraging environment to inspire and motivate guests as they exercise. The stunning location of our gym and yoga pavilion, combined with the positive energy that Shayna will evoke through her exclusive wellness programme, will no doubt make our guests leave the resort feeling completely rejuvenated both physically and emotionally. We look forward to inviting visitors to experience this wonderful wellness and mindfulness retreat.”

An Early Bird Promotion is available until December 10 for $2,662/double occupancy – shared room (per person) and $3,465/single occupancy.

The retreat does not include airfare, but flights can be booked through Retreats Unlimited.  For more information on the retreats, visit

The New Year New You retreat is curated by Retreats Unlimited. To make a reservation, review the detailed itinerary or for additional information visit Retreats Unlimited or call 312-961-3280.  For more information, interviews or photos, please contact Tammy Petersen at

Powerhouse Wellness Weekend – Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel

Why pick a retreat with just one expert when you can have four? The exclusive wellness weekend Sept 22 to 25 at Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills brings together Nikki Sharp, Kino MacGregor, Dr. Nigma Talib and Scott Schwenk, along with special guest speakers, for a life-changing transformational weekend.

The retreat is limited in size to allow all participants one-on-one time with each practitioner, and the opportunity to customize the experience to their personal needs. Additionally, the group will be treated to helipad yoga, meditation and breath work, intention and goal setting, and healthy dinners with featured guest speakers.

The iconic Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles, a long-time favorite of A-listers, is the perfect setting for this special retreat. Guests will enjoy luxurious rooms featuring private balconies overlooking Beverly Hills or the Hollywood Hills.

The program includes 4-days/3 night’s accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner each day, shuttle service to and from the airport, all taxes and gratuities, and a daily gift bag. An Early Bird Promotion is available until August 20th for 3,376/double occupancy and $4,006/single occupancy. The retreat does not include airfare, but flights can be booked through Retreats Unlimited.