An Inside Look at Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics

I've worked with Shawnelle Prestidge for the past few years at Amazon Fashion, both of us with a passion for organic, natural products and sustainability. That is why I couldn't be more proud to hear she has started her very own new skincare line, Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics.

If you want your skin to look clean and clear with an effortless glow (ahem Shawnelle, who looks 15 years younger than she actually is...), this is her secret my friends! Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics is the perfect complimentary product to any ODM on the go. 

And it works. And I mean really works. Shawnelle used her product to prep my skin, which had seen better days, on a recent shoot. A mix of stress, 'that time of the month' and having recently traveled, my skin was a bit of a mess. Within an hour, the red bumps were fading, my skin was no longer blotchy and all the swelling had gone down. Not only does it do the trick but it's also (thank god!) organic! The food we eat has enough toxins, preservatives and chemicals that we should try to eat organic whenever possible. It's just as crucial we take care of our skin, our body's largest organ and make sure it's being fed the healthy, nourishing ingredients it needs to thrive.  

And lastly, it's made by one badass mom who knows her stuff.  Thank you Shawnelle for solving all of our skin needs. Without further ado, Shawnelle Prestidge on how she started Prestidge Beaute' Active Organics. 

1) Tell us about your background in skin care and beauty.

I started out very early on as an esthetician—obsessed with beautiful skin and the idea of preserving it (and extractions)–but with a deep desire to be a makeup up artist working in fashion ‘one day’…and here I am many years later having come full circle. 

2) When did the idea come to you to create Prestidge Beaute’Active Organics?

I guess it started when I was forty, about to give birth, the economy had tanked, my skin was starting to change, and I suddenly realized that I was ready to make the 'organic serum of my dreams'! I wanted something that truly worked. Something I could use on my whole family, as well as all of my clients of any age and with all different skin needs: from healing rashes on toddler skin, acne on teenagers or reducing blotchy tones and puffy under-eye pillows to firming, plumping, and tightening mature skin or getting the perfect balance for oily, dry, and sensitive skin types. In the world of excess, I wanted one single universal serum to address and treat it all...and then the little love of my life entered the world...long pause! 

3) Tell us a bit about your perfect customer. Who are they, what do they look like, and how are you helping transform their skin?

My perfect customer is absolutely everyone.  All my products are for all skin types, ages and genders…POW!

4) Why is it integral to you to use organic ingredients?

I firmly believe that we as a society are suffering all sorts of allergies, ailments and far worse because of the poisons that we have been prescribed and encouraged to use in this ‘modern’ society, and in addition to putting clean nourishment into my body, I wanted to create something purely organic, that is highly effective, that will hydrate, heal, soothe, lift, firm, tighten, even out, de-puff, lift the spirit and bring our skin (the largest organ we have) into balance.

5) You use Miron Violet Glass for some of your packaging. What are the benefits of using this glass and how did you find out about it?

By doing my research, I discovered that Miron violet glass has outstanding proof of being able to preserve substances contained within it for long periods of time. Normal tap water, for instance, has been kept fresh in dark violet glasses for over 3 years without any problems and without any preservation or other techniques.

6) What does your daughter think about the new line? She must be excited to see you start and execute your own company.

To be honest, she's both excited and resentful…she loves the products and is very knowledgeable about the uses, but she would prefer that any time I spend on the business (particularily when it’s via my phone), be spent with her-and I agree…I am working on trying to balance my work/family balance.

7) You work with a lot of celebrities doing their skincare and makeup for events. What do they think of Prestidge Beaute’Active Organics?

Everyone is pretty excited about how their skin feels and looks…and often are floored by the results they witness within mere moments-it is one of the most thrilling part of this whole experience for me! It’s like they’ve witness a “miracle” or “magic”…and I sort of pinch myself, every time!

8) What makes you stand out against your biggest competitor?

Well I make this product by hand, and it is my own original formula, and results in an extremely effective, highly active organic skin care line that delivers results immediately!  I guess it can be said, the proof is in the pudding! And I have come up with some seriously supreme pudding!

9) You make all your products in your home, performing a Reiki ceremony to raise the healing vibration of your products, which I love! Do you think you’ll continue with hands on production in the future as you grow?

I would like to continue this process for as long as I am able…I have been putting a lot of thought into how to keep this going in this manner… 

10) How important is it to you to be sustainable and ethical?

Extremely!  The more companies figure out how to do it, the better off we will all be.

11) What are your biggest dreams and goals for the evolution of Prestidge Beaute’ Active Organics?

I would love to have everyone (who is drawn to what I have to offer) using the products and experiencing the incredible results that they’re certain to deliver, knowing that they are lovingly made with beautiful organic ingredients (and Reiki).

***BONUS***

USE CODE BB02 FOR $15 OFF YOUR AGELESS SKIN SERUM AND CODE BB03 FOR $15 OFF THE COLLECTION SPECIAL!! Join her mailing list and receive an extra %15 off your first purchase. 

Up and Down

All the glamour and dream building
Roller coaster soaring
High up in the sky, feeling light
More glitz, more glamour.
The rollercoaster stalls
Stuck in the middle trying to climb up
Sun begins to fade, she wipes away her tears.
Stopped in motion, friction, rejection, crowd pleaser.
Pinching and screaming and belittlement. Is it a nightmare?
Little girl lost, soul searching no where to be found.
Was the line up worth it?
Up and down.
Calm thoughts. 
The spark is lit. Carry on up, lift your chin up love, you have the world
High at the top. She is her best self. Authentic. She found her inner compass.
She’s living in the now. Detached from the screen. Fire blazing.
Soaring high into the heavens. 
When will the ride end..

Your Sustainable Guide to Fashion Week

Living in a big fashion capital like New York, it can often be tough to stick to sustainable habits. However, once we're properly informed, avoiding fast-fashion shops like Zara and Forever21 can become quite easy. Other habits are harder to form, especially as fashion week approaches. We see celebrities and models dressed in gorgeous new outfits every day. We’re bombarded with the new "must have" trends that models wear as they strut down the runway, some available for purchase before the show even finishes... and we’re invited to parties and networking events where food is left untouched and plastic straws and cups are littered about, most of which will not be recycled. It’s an exciting time when the city comes alive and everyone shows off their best-looking selves but why is it we forget what truly matters, our duty as human beings to be more environmentally conscious? Shouldn’t our utmost priority be to make sustainable sexy? Here’s how!

Going to an event? Not sure what to wear? Try some of these options below. 

Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway is a company that lets you borrow dresses and evening wear for those special events, then return it for free as soon as you’re done! You can order in multiple sizes so you can ensure you get the right fit and don’t have to worry about dry-cleaning post wear, they’ll do all that for you!

When you rent a dress, you’re saving all the natural resources that go into manufacturing a new piece of clothing. The average woman throws away around 82 pounds of clothing per year. Renting helps reduce this significantly. [1]

We often wear that statement dress only once or twice, so why not get something fab (they have 250,000 designer pieces to choose from!), wear it once and then return it? It’s about shifting perspectives of the consumer and letting your friends and peers know it’s okay to rent something that’s already been worn and it is so much more environmentally friendly. 

Have a clothing swap

I’ve written about it before on a previous blog post but I can’t stress enough how amazing a clothing swap party is! You can do it with as little or as many people as you want, and the whole thing can be done without spending a dime. Have some extra clothes laying around that don’t get worn? Bring them (or host) a clothing swap party where everyone brings a few garments and trade away! It’s the perfect way to revamp your wardrobe and get some awesome unique pieces that your friends no longer wear. The best way to ‘shop’ sustainably, and reduce waste is to reuse! [2]

Borrow from a friend

Sometimes, the easiest and most cost effective way to complete a look is to borrow from a friend. Rather than my friend buying a fancy clutch she’d only end up using once for an upcoming wedding, I let her borrow one from me. Now I know in the future I can count on her to lend me an accessory or even a dress if I need it. We all have way too many things in our closet so why not share and save a little money for some more drinks with your girls at the bar?;)

Second-hand shopping

Here in New York, we’re lucky enough to have some truly amazing second-hand shops. The stuff is already made and reusing that is, without a doubt, the most sustainable option out there, even more so than making new clothes out of sustainable materials. You can often find some one-of-a-kind pieces that will make your outfit so much cooler than whatever Zara outfit every other person is wearing. Then, when you get stopped by a street-style photographer asking where you got your blazer, you can be that cool, off-trend person who says they got it from the second-hand store;) Often, used items are less expensive as well. Beacon’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and even your local Goodwill are excellent options. 

Reduce the Plastic

With a plethora of parties coming up and with that, a decent amount of drinking, why not make a pledge to yourself to #stopsucking? The Lonely Whale foundation seeks to educate people about the oceans and our impact on them. From overfishing, plastic pollution and acidification, our oceans need us to live smarter and become more aware of our actions. In the U.S. alone we use 500 million plastic straws EVERY DAY, many of which end up in the ocean. Lonely Whale has set out to combat this pollution by not using any plastic straws and encouraging everyone to join them. Paper, metal, glass and bamboo are all MUCH more sustainable options. Take the pledge to #stopsucking on single-use plastic straws and challenge your friends! Going out to a fashion week after party? Order that drink sans straw. Or, if you prefer your drinks with straws bring one with you! Read more about strawless oceans here

Your Straw offers incredible bamboo straws as an alternative. They’re the perfect size for anything from coffees to smoothies and come with a tiny brush so you can keep them clean. Purchase your own Your Straw here.

In addition to straws, try and carry a tote bag with you everywhere you go. That way, if you get some cool gift bags from shows or have to do a quick grocery shop on the way home, you can skip the plastic bag! I also always try and carry a fork and spoon with me. It’s the easiest way to reduce the single-use plastic options and is great to have on hand as I run from casting to casting all over the city.  

Take Public Transportation

New York City Fashion Week is spread out with a conflicting schedule that makes attending a few shows each day near impossible. Traffic is always a mess and people are always running late. Why not take mass transit to avoid the headache of being stuck in traffic knowing you’re not doing the environment any good? “A bus with as few as seven passengers is more fuel-efficient than the average single-occupant auto used for commuting.” [3] Sometimes the high heels are too high to navigate the subway steps and grates, so if you plan on using Uber or a taxi as your main resource try and pool with as many friends as possible. 

Living sustainably is without a doubt more difficult. But taking positive action is not only beneficial but is necessary. If we stick to our current ways by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Our actions have a direct impact on our earth and we have the resources and knowledge to reduce this impact and live cleaner. Fashion is the second dirtiest industry after oil. We can make a significant impact just by shifting our consumption habits... even in small ways. So, as you get ready for fashion week try a couple of these recommendations and share some with your friends. Rather than buying the newest, latest thing, why don’t we all try and make sustainable trendy? Nothing is sexier than a cleaner, greener environment.   

Sexy, Sustainable Street Style Basics (Click the boot to see entire collection) 

Listen Up!

Recently, I've had the pleasure of sharing my stories and beliefs with two very good friends on their podcasts. It's special enough to be able to talk one on one with a likeminded individual but to be able to use their platforms and spread my message to even more people was a beautiful treat! 

Anne Therese and I met just before the climate march in D.C. She is part of the "model mafia" group I'm in, a group of models that get together to discuss projects, events, and get-togethers relating to fashion health and wellness. We bonded immediately and I was more than impressed with her go-getter attitude. She told me about a sustainable agency she had just started earlier this year, Role Model Mgmt, something I thought she had started years ago as they're already quite successful. She then told me that she had only conceptualized the idea last year and had made that dream a reality within a few months. Same thing for her podcast Hey Change; a mere hobby for most that turned into a success within a few months. We chat about finding happiness in new realities and how we both (try and) cope with change! 

Anna was one of the first people I met when I moved to Tokyo in grade 7. Since then, she has trained and run marathons, has become vegan, has her own podcast Running Vegan Radio and is quite the successful instagram/blogger in the vegan-marathon-running world. I was extremely humbled she wanted to have me on her show as we chatted about the Tokyo days, what it's like to model in NYC, overall health and wellness and then how I started my own company. Since our talk, she has also been one of my biggest influencers of turning into a mostly plant-based diet. For the best inspiration check out her Instagram and blog links below!

If you have 45-1 hour to spare and would like to hear about sustainability, fashion, loving yourself, treating your body right and what it's like to start your own company, make sure and check out both Hey Change Podcast and Running Vegan Radio

Anne Therese Bengtsson
Website: http://heychange.net
Social: https://www.instagram.com/annetheresebengtsson/
Podcast: http://heychange.net/episodes/014/

Anna Wildman
Website: https://runningvegannyc.com
Social: https://www.instagram.com/runningvegannyc/
Podcast: https://runningvegannyc.com/2017/08/21/48-international-model-sustainability-activist-britt-bergmeister/

Stay tuned for another podcast coming out later this month. My Canadian girl (and fellow model mafia member) Shivani Persad interviewed me for her podcast, More Than Model Radio! In the meantime, check out some of her previous recordings with models from all over the world. 

Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

    Ever get that anxious feeling inside your stomach, the top part just under your ribs that feels like you’re going to explode from the pressures within? The one that keeps your palms sweating endlessly even though it may be cold and the feeling of your heart beating in your ears, eyes, fingers and toes? I’ve felt this many times and it often comes moments before I’m about to jump out of my comfort zone. 

By nature, humans as we know are “creatures of comfort”. Most of us are attracted to life’s predictable moments that make us feel content and satisfied. Some evolutionary reasons being with comfort we are saving mental time and energy when going about our daily lives. [http://bigthink.com/think-tank/creatures-of-habit] Stepping out of that comfort zone, whether it be something as miniscule as changing your route to work or, on a grander scale, deciding to quit your job, can result in success or in discomfort and failure. And by nature the latter seems much less appealing.

While comfort can be, well, comforting, what follows may result in laziness and boredom. Think about how many routines you already follow in your daily lives. Personally, I wake up check Instagram, eat my oatmeal, go for a coffee, go to the gym, watch the same series every night with my same snack… Although it’s nice to be able to do these things, on a personal growth level what am I gaining by checking my Instagram feed over and over again simply because it has become a (bad) habit? What I’m currently striving for is foregoing the endless Instagram scroll, waking up with a meditation, stretching out my muscles and reading a few good articles before I jumpstart my day. The benefits of tuning into my mind and body at the start of my day will far outweigh the minor satisfaction I get from seeing what’s new on social media.    

On a grander scale, far bigger than breaking bad habits such as watching T.V before bed is the ability to get out of your comfort zones for personal growth. With respect to this topic, generally speaking there are two types of people and different ways in which they deal with the stresses of discomfort. Those who are resilient and open to change and those who are change resistant and stuck in their ways. [https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-main-reasons-that-people-stay-in-their-comfort-zones] Those who are resilient are striving for bigger better things and are on the path of constant self-realization. While I definitely fall somewhat in the middle, someone who seeks change but often holds back because of fear, I am aware that these bigger better things will never come from remaining comfortable. The goals that I have set and continue to set in life aren’t achievable by being lazy. 

With regards to starting my own company, a sustainable one at that, I knew that if I didn’t launch this past January of 2017, I would be waiting years in order to perfect myself and my vision (which is near impossible), and by that time those goals would be much harder to achieve. I chose to start a sustainable company without any prior studies in ethical or sustainable fashion, and found I was giving advice to my peers on something that I could barely understand one year prior. With trembling fingers and an Instagram picture ready to be shared, I declared my new venture to the world in order to hold myself 100% accountable. My friends, co-workers, and peers found out about my newfound obsession with sustainability in fashion and it was up to me, and my ability to step out of my comfort zone, to make that post a reality. 

In addition to the gratification of sharing my project with the world, I was also able to rediscover myself and instead became a leader not a follower. The power to learn new things and figure out how you handle difficult situations are not going to be learned inherently. [http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/6-reasons-why-your-comfort-zone-holding-you-back-life.html] Now, when I set out to accomplish bigger better things, with that same pit in my stomach, sweaty hands and accelerated heartbeat, I know the potential for achieving my goals is there. Whether I ‘get it’ the first time or not, I know it will be better than having not tried. It’s by no means as easy as sticking to what you know and you have to be okay with facing failure and rejection. Those who are truly resilient are able to let said negativities glide off with the rest of them and continue on their own path (not anyone else’s), to success.  

    

 

Healthy Light Recipes, Perfect For Summer

ZUCHINNI NOODLE SALAD WITH TURKEY MEATBALLS

INGREDIENTS

  1. 2 large zucchinis
  2. 1 lb ground turkey meat light fat
  3. 1-2 cans of tomato sauce (as little sugar as possible)
  4. Fresh garlic
  5. Fresh basil
  6. Cumin, smoked paprika, basil, oregano 
  7. Salt & pepper to taste
  8. Parmesan cheese 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Spiralize zucchini noodles until you get desired amount. Squeeze zoodles with paper towels to get rid of excess water
  • Mix ground turkey with spices in large mixing bowl
    • I like to use cumin, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, , smoked paprika and fresh garlic
  • Place cans of tomato sauce into large pot and begin to heat up
  • Roll into small balls and start to pan fry in 1 tbsp of coconut oil until browned
  • Place balls into pot with tomato sauce and let simmer for ~30 minutes
  • Top meatballs with fresh basil and parmesan if you like. Bon Appetite!

FRESH WATERMELON, MINT, FETA SALAD

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 Watermelon
  2. Fresh feta
  3. Mint leaves
  4. Balsamin glaze
  5. Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut watermelon into bite size chunks
  • Crumble feta into bowl on top of watermelon
  • Cut up some fresh mint and sprinkle on top
  • For a little more flavor, I like drizzling a bit of olive oil and balsamic glaze on top (not pictured below)
  • Enjoy!

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1/2 Cauliflower
  2. 2 Eggs
  3. Some non or light fat mozzarella cheese
  4. Light tomato sauce
  5. You can really top with whatever you feel like or have in your fridge! That’s what’s nice about your own personal pizzas

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Line baking tray with tin foil and spray generously with non stick spray (very important!)
  • Grate raw cauliflower with some type of blender until finely chopped (steam in microwave after grating. If you don’t have microwave, steam before on pan and then grate up in blender)
  • Squeeze all water out of cauliflower. I used a paper towel which was kind of messy and ripped up a bit. A thin, clean dish towel would be ideal to get all moisture out and ensure crisp crust
  • Mix in large bowl the raw cauliflower with salt, pepper, eggs (I used one yolk and just used the egg whites for the second) and 1/4 cup of cheese
  • Mix well until all is combined and then spread out on oiled baking sheet or tin foil until about 1/4 of an inch thick
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes on 450°
  • Take out and put all your ingredients on top, tomato sauce, maybe some more cheese, veggies, etc. and broil for 6-10 mins (watch so it doesn’t burn)

SMOKED PAPRIKA 'FRIES'

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1-2 Eggplants
  2. Olive Oil (or coconut oil) spray to spray bottom of pan and top of fries
  3. Smoked Paprika
  4. Stevia 
  5. Sea salt to sprinkle

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Cut up eggplant into thin strips about an inch wide and a couple centimeters thin
  • Spray pan with olive oil and cover pan completely with fries
  • Cover fries with smoked paprika (I like a lot of flavor so I sprinkle quite a bit on top)
  • Shake one packet of stevia over top- this will give them a bit of caramelization
  • Sprinkle with desired amount of salt
  • Bake at 450° for 15-20 minutes (the blacker they become the more bacon-flavored. I like them a nice dark brown but not burnt)
  • A side of reduced sugar ketchup won’t disappoint;)

INGREDIENTS

  1.  1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  2. 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  3. 2.5 tbsp maple syrup
  4. A pinch of sea salt flakes (to stir into chocolate mixture and to top cups with at the end)
  5. 1/4 cup nut butter (try and find one with no sugar)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Whisk cacao, salt, and maple syrup into melted coconut oil until smooth
  • Pour 1 tsp of choco mix into muffin/cupcake tin cases and place molds into freezer for 5 minutes until firm
  • Remove from freezer and place 1-1/2 tsp of nut butter into center of each chocolate. Then place back into freezer so nut butter can harder a little bit
  • Remove from freezer and top each with 1 tbs of remainder of the chocolate mix. Place in freezer for 30 minutes minimum. (Take out 5 minutes in and sprinkle with sea salt flakes if desired. Then place back in freezer for remainder of the 30 minutes.)
  • These are raw so eat immediately or store in an airtight container in fridge. (I made about 8 large cups with this recipe but you could use smaller tins and get many more.)

Vacation Planning-The Balancing Act of Neuroticism and Having a Good Itinerary

When planning a vacation, there are two types of people; those who plan almost all days down to the minute (raises hand) and those who like to live spontaneously and go with the flow (kudos to you!). I noticed my neurotic planning for vacations get to a new level when I started modeling full time. Our schedules are generally handed to us the night before so it makes planning ahead virtually impossible. If you have any model/actor/freelance friends, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There is a lot of cancelling and a lot of rescheduling when it comes to planning anything more than two days ahead for us. There are times when I’ve received an amazing job offer that I couldn’t pass on, that falls right in the middle of our planned vacation, so we’ve had to cancel and reschedule everything for next year. It’s expensive, it sucks, but work is work and I’m not about to give up an amazing job for another model to swoop in and grab. Therefore, when I plan my vacations I like to have full control of my off duty time to plan ahead, albeit cautious that I may have to reschedule.

When I was younger, I had the kind of dad who planned beautiful itineraries for us for any family vacation we took which I appreciated more than ever. We always knew where we’d be staying and what we’d have planned to see each day. I liked the regimen of having these guidelines so we wouldn’t get anywhere and potentially miss the must-see spots. On a different note, I also always liked having plans from anything as simple as where my friends and I would be going to dinner. It made sense to me, from my dad’s influence, to have a general idea of a place to see or go so you wouldn’t waste time not knowing what to do (I’m also half-German, can you tell?). 

In recent years, I’ve noticed my neuroticism with planning has sometimes gone too far. I’ve Yelped and researched every potential site, restaurant, and bar we’ve gone to in order to check things off the list, leaving out any room for the fun that comes with spontaneity. I’ve become frustrated if things haven’t gone according to my (super) detailed plan, which has definitely dampened the mood on what should have been a fun, relaxing holiday. 

After some thought I realized that over-planning was possible when mixed with a little spontaneity. I’ve recently talked about the importance of being open to change on my friend’s podcast, HeyChange! You can listen to our chat here. While we delve into change on a grander scale like the fact that change is what keeps life lively, in this article I try and tackle change in smaller terms, like planning a vacation. Here are some guidelines I tend to follow whether I have a month to plan a trip or a few hours. The act of balancing pre-planning and impulsiveness generally makes for an extremely enjoyable trip, work or vacation. 

  • Book your tickets well in advance, if possible!
    • For plane travel, I sometimes find it’s worth the investment to buy your tickets early with trip protection (only if the protection includes cancellation for any reason, not solely related to injury, death or sickness). Unfortunately, I end up having to book last minute which unfortunately costs a lot more… however if your work permits it, book ASAP! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a plane ticket price go down over time. Try checking Skyscanner to see best times to book travel. If you can be flexible with your dates this is a great option as they show you a calendar and how much each day would cost to travel.
    • I take the Amtrak train frequently and always book tickets up to over a year in advance for popular holiday weekends. If I have to cancel, Amtrak lets you get your money back or travel credit if you cancel up to a minute before your travel. That way I can book a roundtrip for ~$70 versus ~$500+ last minute.
       
  • Same goes for accommodation. Airbnb is my favorite way of staying in a new city. You get to live like a local and the hosts generally have cool city guides of their favorite coffee shops, restaurants and sights. It’s more personal and I like the coziness of staying in someone else’s home! I have a saved list for a bunch of popular cities of my favorite Airbnbs ready to go if I need to book last minute if they’re available.
     
  • Hotel Tonight is also a great way to save on an indulgent night at a nice hotel. This is a great option for a staycation or if you want to treat yourself to one or two nights at a nicer hotel. They let you book a room that day or up to a week in advance and you can usually get a great deal of ~$100+ off per night.  These are the rooms they couldn’t fill last minute so they are inclined to sell them for a lot cheaper!
     
  • Book a few restaurants in advance! The popular must-see restaurants are always booked last minute and no one likes to wait in line for an hour with a hangry girlfriend attached at their hip (guilty as the hangry girlfriend!) When I plan a trip, solo or with a friend, I like to book a few restaurants in advance so we have options where we want to go. I’ll book a couple different cuisines for popular days (Thursday through Sunday) so we can see what we feel like at that moment. And if you feel like being spontaneous and hitting up a place you stumble upon instead, so be it! Yelp lets you make reservations through Opentable and I find their app/website easier to use/more reliable than the actual Opentable website. Resy is also a great app for last minute reservations at popular restaurants in a select number of cities. Sometimes they have a fee but this fee generally helps you get into restaurants that may not take reservations and for popular times.
    • I also like having a bunch of ‘bookmarked’ restaurants under my Yelp account, that way if I’m in a city and am not sure where to go for the best ice cream or a cute local coffee shop, I can pull up my Yelp account and see what I’ve bookmarked in the past.
       
  • Have a small bag always packed and ready to go with the essentials; underwear, toothbrush & toothpaste, deodorant, t-shirt, passport and a charger. That way, if you need to run last minute you can just grab this bag, add a few things and be ready to go. This is the number one sanity saver I’ve finally learned as a model for 5+ years. It helps. Trust me! If you have a bit more time to plan you can still take these essentials with you as a base and add whatever extras you need. Although, it’s always so much easier and stress free to travel with as little as possible. (Which also makes me continually rethink my entire closet and how much “stuff” I actually need when I’m generally fine for weeks on end with a small suitcase filled with my essentials…)
     
  • If you’re heading to a new city for the first time, or if you’d like to see a city you already know in a new light, try doing a free walking tour on your first or second day of arrival. It’s a great way to get a gist of your bearings and see where you’d like to go back to and check out in greater detail on the rest of your trip. Just type in “Free City Walking Tours” into google for whatever city you plan to visit. Almost all of them have great options! In Europe, Sandemans Walking Tours are exceptional!
     
  • Look into best options for transit depending on your length of stay in each city. Some offer weekly metro passes while others have deals for the day. It will help you save a lot of money that you could spend on a drink or two instead;)
    • In Japan they offer a rail pass that is significantly cheaper if you plan to travel all over the country for a week or more. For seven consecutive days, an ordinary rail pass will cost around $260 USD for unlimited travel, while some trains last minute can cost up to that much for one trip. (For Japan specifically make sure to book well in advance, as they have to send it in the mail to you and you then get it verified at any Japan Rail Pass station once you’re there).
       
  • Ask your friends for their recommendations! There’s no better way to see how a local lives than by getting suggestions from your friends, family and friends of friends. With Yelp, you can rest assured you’ll find some incredibly tasty, trendy spots but to live a little off the beaten path ask around for some of your friend’s favorite spots. In some cities, Yelp isn’t even popular so it’s nice to get a list of must-see restaurants, bars and museums from a pal.
    • On that note, don’t be afraid to check in with friends about staying with them either. Of course make sure and not overstay, I find 1-3 days is plenty and can save you a ton of cash which leaves you room to book last minute, expensive plane trips. Always bring a gift; flowers or wine are a great option and I always try to leave another bottle of wine and/or a card to show my appreciation...and two bottles of wine are so much cheaper than some hotel options!
       
  • Similar to checking out a walking tour your first or second day of arrival, I also love getting my workout in by going for a run, sans map, my first day in a new city. You can get lost and explore, while getting a good sweat in and see what spots you’d like to check out in more detail later on. If you’re only there for a day or two it’s a nice way to feel like you’ve ‘seen’ the city rather than relying on a treadmill or no workout at all.
     
  • Last but not least, try your best to meal prep for the flight! It’s an absolute pain in the butt, but once you get to the airport and see the options you have (for upwards of $15+ for a bleak salad), you’ll be so incredibly proud of yourself for that little extra prep (your seatmates on the plane will be extremely jealous too!) With the Tupperware you bring you’re not only helping cut down on plastic but you can use that Tupperware later on in the trip for future meals. I always end up bringing oatmeal with me so I can use the container the next morning as a bowl for breakfast! And if you’re up for it, you can do a little grocery shop or take home leftovers from dinner with you on the flight back. Anything you can do to avoid buying food at an airport will be extremely beneficial on your wallet and your health!
    • I also have a banana case I got in Japan, yes, a banana case! It keeps them nice and fresh and perfectly shaped with no squish happening. I know you’re jealous!

I hope these tips help you with your pre-planning desires. Advance planning allows for seamless travel, but of course try to be open to change. Flights will be delayed and canceled, restaurants will be booked, you may even get sick, but being well-prepared and flexible reduces potential stress...which we all need, considering how difficult travel can be these days! Bon Voyage!  

Gearing Up For July 4th!

Getting ready for the holiday? Check out all of our recommendations, red white and blue of course, to help you fit in on the 4th! Happy long weekend!

Black & White; Beach to Brunch!

Black and white and sustainable all over! Check out our latest finds that would be perfect for a day at the beach or staying in the city with some friends over brunch. All with sustainability and transparency at heart <3