It’s In the Bag – 5 Travel Essentials I Don’t Leave Home Without  (Besides my iPhone of course)

 
1.  Sisley All Day All Year– This is my mainstay sunscreen. I love Sisley’s all natural botanical products. This one is anti-aging, hydrating and acts as a protective shield against UVA-UVB rays, free-radicals and external aggressors. Definitely a splurge, but a little goes a long way and unlike other products I’ve tried it has a light, comfortable texture and can last all day. I like to buy Sisley at their in-store counters where I have a relationship with their knowledgable reps- they are more than generous with travel samples and can send me products and keep me informed on new technology in natural skincare as well. (Saks, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus) Read more here

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2.  EO Lavender Wipes – One of the things I always SEEK out are products providing the purification and germ protection naturally- without slaying the healthy bacteria on your skin…and these hand-sanitizing cleansing towelettes smell divine, thanks to pure Lavender essential oils. Sugar Cane Ethanol is a disinfectant that does no harm when absorbed into skin or our ecosystem. 99.9% effective against most common germs. I love the individually wrapped wipes and the easy resealable 10-pack and I keep them in my purse and car. Available at Whole Foods or online.

 

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3.  Mophie Phone Charger. This external battery is an absolute must when I am on the go all the time. The Powerstation ‘all in one version’ with plugs attached is the easiest. I have tried the phone cases but they seem to provide too many pieces for me to keep track of- and one always seems to get lost. I plug this little charger pack in at night alongside my phone and it gives me a few extra charges on those days when I need it. If not me, there is always someone with me who seems to need a boost! All Mophie Products available here.

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4. Chanel Ultra-wear Lip Color. I call this a “secret weapon” that I discovered about 7 years ago. This is actually a stain that lasts for hours and includes a  lear gloss on the other end for shine. If nothing else, I have time to apply some in the morning to make me look alive- and it lasts nearly all day…through coffee, through meals, through hikes or workouts. I have a natural shade for everyday wear and a darker one for when I need to dress it up! It does not dry out my lips or feather. I have converted a number of people to a (healthy!) addiction to this one…give it a try. Available at department stores and Chanel online.

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5.  Host Defense (by My Community) My favorite immune boosting supplement to keep me healthy when I’m traveling. This product has been recommended by several of my naturopathic doctors and is great to have around for plane travel or when you feel that first sniffle coming on. Harnessing the power of immune building mushrooms (yes!) these capsules have helped me and my family avert viruses on countless occasions. Available at Whole Foods, Local Health Food Stores and online.

 

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Jean Arnold   Founder 479 Degrees Popcorn

I had the pleasure of meeting Jean Arnold last January through mutual friends on a wonderful trip to the British Virgin Islands. I was instantly engaged by her friendly demeanor, humor and energy. I was delighted, yet somehow not surprised, when I learned that she was the founder of one of my favorite popcorn companies. I have been enjoying 479° degrees popcorn since it first popped up in my favorite gourmet stores a few years ago! The fact that it is air popped (healthy!) and comes in mouth watering flavors (delicious!) makes it the perfect snacking popcorn in my opinion. Known as the guilt free, guilty pleasure, 479° boasts flavors like White Cheddar & Black Truffle and Toasted Coconut Caramel. Yum!

Jean’s company vision was rooted in her childhood memories of cozy evenings spent with family, enjoying fresh popcorn. Over the years she experimented with many flavors inspired by her international upbringing along with her training at Le Cordon Bleu in London. 479° refers to the optimal temperature for popping corn, and the name of Jean’s company reflects the careful attention to detail she has incorporated into every aspect of her business. Jean says, “Simple, honest pleasures are the most rewarding.” I think you will agree once you get to know her –and try a handful of her delicious popcorn!

 
Good advice is a gift — what is the best advice you’ve been given?

“Wherever you go, there you are”. It’s all too common to look outside of ourselves to make us feel happy, whole, and loved. It’s easy to blame others for failed relationships, lack of connections with our children, and strives at work/with friends. Our partners and relationships are mirrors of ourselves.

Own up to who you are, what you do, and how you affect others and your own life. Work on yourself. Take accountability. No doubt, this is hard work. It’s as mundane and grating as doing the dishes, taking out the garbage every day. But once you realize you are only thing standing in the way of you getting what you truly want in life, you start doing the work.

What is on the top of your bucket list?

Gosh, tough question. I’ve travelled extensively around the world as I was fortunate to live across 3 continents. Top experiences thus far: the solar eclipse in Zambian national park, blue voyage in Turkey, along with trekking in Nepal to base camp. What’s left as the top bucket list isn’t related to travel – it would be seeing the birth of my grandchildren. I presume it’s a top experience that exceeds the hype.

Who would you invite to your ideal Girl’s Night?

I guess that assumes someone famous? Richard Simmons and all my close girlfriends in 80s dance studio outfits.

What is your go-to piece of clothing?

Jeans.

What do you sing when you are alone in your car?

Bohemian Rhapsody! Doesn’t everyone? 😉

What was the best compliment you have received?

That my two kids are awakened, conscious souls.

How has your life been different than you imagined?

EVERYTHING about my life is different than what I’d imagined. At age 40, I didn’t expect to lose my husband and consequently become a single mom. I didn’t know I had the strength and the resilience to come out of this stronger and more grounded than ever before. Since early on, having children has never been a priority but being a mom is the best thing that’s happened to me. My children teach me so much about life, keep me in the present, and bring true meaning to “why we are here” (this is one question that plagues most of us at the end of life). If fact, we should ask this question now, every day. I think the answer is simple: it’s for love and connection. To love completely, give with everything, and receive unconditional love. To have deep emotional, spiritual connections with our kids, partners/lovers, friends, and (for those lucky few) the entire collective consciousness. I didn’t know I would become an entrepreneur. I certainly didn’t appreciate the level of passion, tenacity, intelligence, and luck required to seed and grow a company from ground up. Consequently, I feel equipped to tackle anything professionally.

As a result of my journey, I am now doing my best to focus on “intentions” and not expectations. When you “imagine” your life to be a certain way, it often leads to disappointment. Expectations place responsibility on external factors to fulfill your “imagined life” and can often underestimate the personal investments required to create the life you want. Intentions on the other hand acknowledge the role you play and places responsibility on you. Intentions projects ideal trajectories without limiting other possible paths from unfolding in your life. It’s flexible on how your life unfolds, how long things take, and helps you to embrace every moment as significant. I know, easier said than done – I am working on this every day!

What is your most-used word? (And what word do you wish everyone would stop using?)

“I think…”. Stop hedging. Just say it.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Jimmy Fallon! I want to have his babies 😉

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Caviar. Also, sleeping naked in my bed until mid-day. It’s so decadent. I don’t get to do it often.

What is your favorite museum?

Tate.

What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

Energy.

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People sometimes marvel at seeing photos of me on social media, in multiple locations, all in the same week — “you sure get around!”, I’ve heard. It’s true, I do ‘get around’, thanks to my husband Bert, who is basically obsessed with wings and rotors!  He has been a private pilot since 1985 when he first began lessons at the UC Berkeley Flying Club. Flying has been his passion, and joy, and Bert has logged thousands of hours in the air. He flies a helicopter, twin engine planes and a light twin engine jet — and is happiest, and truly at home, while in the cockpit. A bizarre concept to me. My dad always told me that pilots were ‘a different breed’, and he spent many hours with several of his best friends who flew…wondering – like me! – what the fascination was. “They can talk about flying and airplanes all day long with one another. Things none of us who are non-pilots can really relate to. It’s just how they are Jane, you have to understand”, he would laughingly console me. I have finally, over time, and as an empty nester, learned to enjoy the perks! We don’t fly in his plane everywhere we go- but it certainly makes it easier to visit more places!

Bert had always dreamed of attending the largest airshow in the world, AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After his first experience several years ago he came home and told me he couldn’t wait to bring me. Really? Well…. this year we were invited to go to Oshkosh with another pilot and his wife. They had reservations at the airport hotel for us, and an invitation to a special fundraising gala in a large airport hangar at the show. (This was my way to go, because most attendees fly in on their small planes and camp on what seems like miles of lawn surrounding the airport, which I didn’t think was quite my scene.) So, last week the four of us hopped into Bert’s little twin engine jet and flew to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for a few days of AirVenture.

Outcome: I loved it! I marveled at seeing all the little planes in expansive fields with tents under their wings. It was like an airplane city. I was thrilled to see my first nighttime air show, with a frighteningly spectacular reenactment of Pearl Harbor, complete with pyrotechnic bombs. That evening culminated with blinged-out, lighted airplanes performing aerobatics …followed by a fireworks show called one of the best in the Midwest. I was also captivated by the huge C-5 Air Force transport plane, and Bert surprised me with a private tour of the plane with a friends who actually flies it ! The last night of our trip we enjoyed one of the most beautiful and successful fundraisers I’ve ever attended, held in an amazing airplane hanger and museum. The evening was in support of ‘The Young Eagles’, whose mission is to inspire our youth to learn to fly and pursue the path of aviation. We met interesting pilots from all over the world and were thrilled to spend time with Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles, the pilots who landed Flight 1549 safely on the Hudson River — and their lovely wives, Lorrie and Barbara.

This was an adventure I will always remember, and I was glad to be able to share time with my husband in the midst of something that truly brings him joy. He was like a kid in a candy store! I am grateful that Bert’s passion for aviation has brought us fabulous and unique opportunities and experiences, and AirVenture gave me a new appreciation for his love of flying. It is a sound reminder that our passions can always lead us to amazing new places!

#pilotswifeslife

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Commanding the cockpit of the Airforce C-5!

 

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Walking through the huge C-5 Transport cavity

 

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Bert admiring the Icon A-5, a small seaplane that has wings which fold so it can easily fit on a trailer behind your car!

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The Monstrous C-5

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Enjoying the fundraising gala for ‘The Young Eagles’

 

 

 

 

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Schuyler Hudak   Founder  COR Media

When I reflect upon the many women who inspire me (and make waves), this lovely, bright, cutting-edge gal is definitely at the top of my list. I have known Schuyler Hudak for many years and whenever she has referred to me as a mentor, I am quick to remind her that she is also mine. I’m lucky to have friendships with younger women — and Schuyler has been a strong influence in my life…Always encouraging my choice to pursue my passion to support and empower women, alongside my beloved role as mother and wife.

Schuyler (my millennial mentor!) has been incredibly helpful in keeping me current on generational topics, and I am always in awe of her drive and determination. She recently founded COR Media, a modern media company which promises to change the face of news as we know it. Through relevant short form versions of 60 Minutes-like content, COR Media will bring news to the Millennials — eliminating misinformation, partisanship, mistrust, and the focus on the dark side of humanity, (the short documentary videos are fascinating for everyone: Baby Boomers to Gen Z!) The root of the word COR means courage, which Schuyler fully embodies as she embarks on the challenge of revitalizing news… creating a more informed citizenry, and redefining the issues of today, tomorrow, and the future. Welcome COR Media, and thank you Schuyler Hudak!

Good advice is a gift — what is the best advice you’ve been given?
When I was making the decision about what to do after college YOU told me “Pick where you want to live, move there and put down roots. You will have friends that move all over the world but you will be building a community”. It’s the reason I moved back to the Bay Area after college and now when people move to San Francisco, I love being able to connect them with other people whom I’ve met over the past 9 years of living in the City and I feel blessed to have such a strong community of supporters and friends.

What is on the top of your bucket list?
Going to the top of the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s my favorite landmark in the world, in my favorite place in the world. I love the symbolism of the Golden Gate Bridge. I think of it as the bookend to the Western side of the country and a gateway to America.

Who would you invite to your ideal Girl’s Night?
My sister, Whitney. Everything is better when she is there.

What is your go-to piece of clothing?
A navy blazer. My mom always told me that it was the most classic piece but as a little girl I insisted I knew that pink dresses were everything. Not surprisingly she was right (as she is about so much in life) and now I wear my navy blazer anytime I’m in doubt. It’s classic and timeless.

What do you sing when you are alone in your car?
I sing ALL the time when I’m alone in my car. I just drove to Simi Valley to support a friend and then drove back later that night so it was 10 straight hours of singing. Right now it’s the entire Hamilton soundtrack but typically there is a lot of Disney, country and really any ballad that I can sing at the top of my lungs.

What is the best compliment you have received?
I’m not sure about ever, but my boyfriend said this to me the other day in an email and I saved it for when I’m doubting myself: “Honey, you bring more value to the world than anybody I know. Both on a personal scale and a global scale. And to me, you bring all the value in my world.” I can’t think of a more meaningful compliment coming from someone I love.

How has your life been different than you imagined?
I think I’m far more independent than I ever thought I would be. When I was young, I was scared to get hurt, to fail, to struggle at all. And now I’m fiercely independent to the extent that when someone tells me I can’t do something, I say: “Watch me.”

What is your most-used word? (And what word do you wish everyone would stop using?)
Most used: “Yes” I say this word way too frequently. I think a lot of women can relate to that.
What I wish everyone would stop saying: Any and all words women use to disparage other women. We all have our own struggles and we need to stop making it more difficult on one another. We are on the same team and the success of one woman doesn’t devalue the success of another. Let’s be kind to one another.  

Who is your celebrity crush?John Oliver. He’s taking real issues and giving them a spotlight. His show is a mix between activism and journalism.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Lately it’s ordering Thai food from Postmates (Osha) and pouring yellow curry chicken over pad thai and eating it in one big bowl. #healthy

What is your favorite museum?
The Newseum in Washington DC, which honors journalists from around the world for dedicating their lives to telling the stories that help us understand our world.

If you weren’t starting this business what would you be doing?
I would start a company that makes everything at the DMV digital (including voter registration) and then eventually brings all government forms online and allows you to manage your civic life completely digitally through one app. If we can lower the barrier to entry for people to interact with government, then we can improve civic participation and lower the cost and burden of bureaucracy. Can you imagine if when you moved you just opened an app on your phone and suddenly your address was officially changed and you didn’t have to spend the next 3 years forwarding your mail, making sure you were re-registered to vote and standing in line at the DMV?

What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone?
Do they seem like they are genuinely interested in meeting me?  Or are they constantly looking around to see who else in the room might be more important. I immediately notice if someone is look at me or looking past me   IMG_8531

 

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One of the most challenging parts of midlife for me, and many of my friends, has been watching the nest empty, as our kids grow up and move on — but seeing our children fly can bring moments of great joy and pride (and opportunities to learn). As my sons emerge into confident, curious, and responsible adults I know my time with them will grow less, but I also know they are ready to take on the struggles and the triumphs that lie ahead. I usually try not to be one of Those Moms – you know,  the ones who can’t stop bragging about their kids – but I am making an exception in this case. I am truly inspired by my son Brian! I enjoy hearing from friends how proud they are of their children: how well their kids are doing with active college lives, their many friends and events and successes — and I love these stories! Our culture sometimes equates success and fun with extroversion: invitations and Instagram, social lives and Snapchat, and “doing” rather than “being”. I know it well because that’s exactly who I was as a young adult – I defined myself by being with others, and doing things in groups. To a great degree, I still do. I remember my mother telling me one of the most important things she realized from being raised on a rural ranch in Lodi: “I learned how to like my own company and to be OK with being alone with myself.” This is something I always remember, and have considered often over the years as I grappled with time spent alone. Today, I have learned to enjoy quiet time and appreciate my own company, and my best ideas and insights come from being with myself – I really try to embrace this personal time in my life now. As parents, acknowledging and highlighting the “quiet” successes are just as important as lauding the new job, the many friends, the busy life.

Back to the bragging! My 23-year-old son Brian just graduated from college and dreamed of a road trip journey across the country, on his own. My husband and I initially struggled with the idea of him out there alone, but he assured us he would be fine and this is what he really wanted – to enjoy endless hours spent in any way he chose, exploring the United States at his own pace.  (OK, and maybe playing a little Pokemon Go) He is only several days in to his sojourn, and has already seen places I’ve never experienced. I so admire the way he is comfortable in his own skin — this is precious time he is spending discovering our country, and himself, before he enters the working world. We are extremely proud of him, and I learn from him every day. Brian is grounded in who he is and what he believes, and wise in ways that astound me. (And we feel lucky that he’s invited us to meet him to share a bit of the adventure…I may even choose NYC, when I hope he’ll be ready for a little mom-luxury — Dinner at ABC Kitchen, Sweets at Dominique Ansel, a walk on the High Line and tickets to ‘Hamilton’? – Ha! my kind of road trip!)

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This adventure is a gift for Brian – but also for us. He’s sharing beautiful pictures, and stories, and even let us download an app called ‘my family’ which enables us to see where he is at any given moment. (I love seeing the balance of technology here being used for good!) We can all be in touch with him and yet he can still be alone exploring and experiencing wonderful new places, and people, in the confidence of his own presence. The direction of his road trip has been planned entirely by Brian, which is especially gratifying as the direction of his college plans were radically changed by his Lyme disease diagnosis a few years ago. The ‘normal’ college life he imagined, filled with rugby and parties and lots of fun (along with academics, of course!), was derailed, and life took an unexpected turn. But Lyme did not stop him. He accepted the challenge head-on and became a better person for it. I believe he recognized at this young age, and not by his own choice, that it is just as important to look within as it is to be outside in the world. He’s learned very early what I am still discovering — to be alone with yourself, and love what you see in the stillness.

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One of my favorite metaphors about raising children refers to parents giving them ‘roots and wings’. I feel that my husband and I have seen how deeply rooted our kids are – and it makes it that much easier to be able to watch them fly. I hope you will appreciate these photos of Brian soaring, the freedom and empowerment of his deep roots and strong wings!

I invite you to consider what your next journey might be… what will enable you to find stillness, comfort and joy – alone with your own amazing self?

 

You can follow Brian on his own blog, Inching Across America

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