Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pretty in the Air - Well, sort of...

I am writing this post in an airport mostly because I don't have anything else to do. But in light of the recent issue in Detroit Metro airport, I've been thinking about regulations for your carry on luggage... a lot. I've also been doing a fair amount of traveling lately and I've noticed patterns. This post may be a little boring, but I hope you will find it relatable.


Do you remember back when the announcement first came out that us innocent, beauty product obsessed people would have to fit all of our products into one tiny quart sized bag? I remember that day. I spent most of it on the message boards of MUA freaking out with the rest of the lipstick obsessed about trying to bring all of my products with me, and what I would have to sacrifice in order to get through security quickly, safely, and without casualties to the discard "No Perfume for YOU!" bins that awaited next to the scanners for those of us unaware that we had a bottle of Chanel #5 in the side pocket of our laptop bags we had forgotten about.

Ok, it so it wasn't Chanel #5... it was actually OPI Bogota Blackberry for me. And contrary to how I thought security would react, the Dayton International Airport security police kindly let me know that I had a "bottle of nail polish in my side pocket" and to "remember for next time".

I had gotten lucky.

The stories I have heard on MUA over the years have been everything from having to discard that bottle of Chanel, losing a favorite hand cream, and freak outs about if the beloved DiorShow mascara would qualify as a liquid, eyebrow scissors being confiscated. For anyone reading this wonder how women could freak out about this I guarantee at the time we all had at least one item we were terrified we would not be able to bring with us. We, and the TSA, have since learned.

In my experience I can tell you: No, your Diorshow Mascara does NOT qualify as a liquid. And even if it does, no one really cares.

Incidentally, neither does your lip gloss (which I now commonly have at least one in my pocket as I go through security, and three others in my makeup bag which I am carrying on), or your cuticle salves if it comes in a tin.

Travel Reality

To this day, my only scare has been that wayward bottle of OPI Bogota Blackberry. And even with the restrictions, even though I'm carrying on my luggage, I still usually manage to pack at least twice as much as I actually need to have with me. And I have never had anything confiscated.

So what do I travel with now? I'll show you:

My Quart Sized Bag of Products
(I try to keep this in my laptop bag until I get through security for easy of access)

This usually contains:
  • Liquid Foundation
  • Body Moisturizer
  • Facial Moisturizer (optional)
  • 1 Nail Polish Color
  • 1 Quick Dry Top Coat
  • Perfume
  • Travel Hairspray (please I wish they would make travel mouse)
  • Mouthwash
Ok, realistically, I can cut this down. I don't need the Aveeno Daily Moisturizer as most hotels usually provide a little travel bottle in the bathroom along with shampoo and soap. I could also probably ditch the Burberry Brit travel bottle in favor of a smaller vial sample size from my local perfume counter. But really, as you can see, not much in the way of actual mackup. I do really wish they'd sell travel bottles of polish remover, however.

I also carry on my medicines. I have a lot of them. Allergy Nasal Sprays, antibiotic creams for acne, foot cream for that phantom annoying case of athletes foot - it all adds up. Imagine how crazy it was for me to pack when I thought that these had to go in my Quart with everything else. Now, I can usually get them all into one container.

These prescription items don't need to be in a quart sized bag, but I do find keeping to the quart regulation helps me pack. I have so many medicines that are optional (hello pimple cream from the dermatologist) that this too could be cut down. Even traveling with the optional pimple cream I still manage to get "travel acne". It's just a fact of life.

Now for the fun stuff. My makeup bag!

Horribly Unorganized Collection of STUFF (Mostly MAC)

I usually pack for several looks, though there are always a few things that are MUST haves for me:
  • Foundation - I won't give up my liquid foundatione easily. Yes, this goes in my Quart, but I feel better having it with me. When presenting in front of NIH or interviewing neuroscientists, I want my fracking foundation! In a pinch, I'll swap my liquid for a MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural. I did this for most of the first year following the new regulartions before I realized it was unnecessary.
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion - I used to carry this in my Quart but I have since discovered that NO ONE CARES.
  • Mascara - again, something I always used to pack in my quart. I accidentally left it out once, realized no one stopped me, and have since carried it.
  • Tweezers - I was always afraid my Tweezermans would get confiscated. But really, no one has ever stopped me from carrying them.
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file (crystal, of course)
  • Lipstick and Lipgloss - at least one complimenatary set. Again, no one cares if I take them with me.
  • Brushes - Mac travel brush sets from Christmas are great for this.
  • At Least One Item I threw in thinking I HAD to have it and never end up touching (most of my bag falls into this category).
Tip: Mac Pigments are Awesome for Travel. Some may tell you otherwise, but I swear by my Mac Coco and Mac Sweet Sienna for business trips.

Now here's what's funny. In all of my travel and all the freak outs I have heard about people traveling and items that get confiscated, why has no one ever considered THIS item a "bludgeoning weapon"???

My Giant-Ass Curling Iron
(seriously, they never questioned these?)

In the end, my suitcase usually looks like this:

Wow, displaying that picture is a little like being caught with your pants down.

Yes, that is a travel purse you see sitting on top of everything. I've found it useful when I have short trips that span two nights to ditch the laptop bag in favor of having a purse. But that purse has to be packable, because I can't carry on my luggage, laptop bag, AND a regular purse. As a working woman, I really REALLY hate the "laptop bag or purse" rule.

Trust me, most of the room in the small case is taken up by:

Heeled Shoes
(Required to make ME feel like I belong in meetings with important people)


Trashy Novel About Demons/Witches/Werewolves or Vampires
(hopefully more than one book)

As you can tell, I have not yet learned to pack even though I have had many opportunities to practice.

I'm honestly not sure how they expect a plus sized girl to fit three days of clothing into a tiny carry on luggage with everything else necessary to make one feel comfortable - yet somehow I manage.

So really, that day way back when on MUA when we all freaked out was it really necessary? In the end, any restrictions they impose on, you can be sure we will adapt.

Now just imagine the wardrobe I could take with me if I lost weight! Bigger clothing means less room, sadly.