Travel Gear: Microsoft Surface Book vs. Apple Macbook Air

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Though I was raised as a good Windows girl, my first Apple Macbook Air I got for work changed everything. Seriously, this 1.5 pound machine was a literal weight off my shoulders after lugging my 6.5-pound Sony Vaio on and off of planes in a big ugly bag. Not only that, the machine stayed cool (no burning off my legs), the battery lasted forever, and the keyboard was super responsive. Plus the machine just looks sleek. I really haven’t looked back. Until now. I had the chance to try out the Intel-powered Surface Book for the annual gift guide I put…

What Business Travelers Really Think Compared to What Companies Think

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I’m betting real-life business travelers can relate to these scenarios, recently put together by American Express, especially “Wi-Fi or No Fly.” I’ve heard some company expense policies still treat airplane wi-fi as an un-reimbursable expense. That $7.99 really is going to break the bank for the three plus hours of productivity it will pay for… Denied! Check out some other myths versus realties below:       

Faster Security: TSA Pre vs. Global Entry

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The strollers, the girl that forgets she has a 5-pound water bottle in her backpack, or the guy that packed his full size shampoo and conditioner (true story)–the regular security lines are more than just a hassle for seasoned travelers. If you travel a lot, the last thing place you want to be is stuck in security. Thankfully government programs like TSA Precheck and Global Entry have made it easier to get through security faster for frequent travelers. Travelers can apply for either one these days–but which one should you pick? Here’s the pros and cons of each: TSA Pre✓ This program…

Spa Spotlight: Aroma Spa at Esencia, Mexico

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Long before I wrote about travel, my primary beat was beauty. But my favorite beauty stories were ones where I got to write about beauty ingredients from specific places. Whether it was blueberries from Maine or argan oil from Morocco, I love when an ingredient ties so strongly to the land where it’s from. So on a recent trip to Mexico, I fell in love with the spa at Esencia which grows the herbs it uses in its treatments. Before you even enter the spa, the staff offers a sage smudging to clear any bad energy. I was lucky enough…

5 Reasons to Shut Up About the Seating and Fly Southwest

Opening Day for New Terminal at Dallas Love Field

I always used to laugh when I’d reach the end of flights and the flight attendants would thank me for my loyalty. “We know you have a choice when flying, so thanks for choosing [insert name here]”. Hah! Like I really had a choice and like there was much difference between the airlines. I’d always just fly whatever was cheapest, and when I was travelling between Southern California and Colorado, that usually was America West (RIP) and Ted Airlines (also RIP, but was United’s less sucky budget airline). That all changed after I started flying Southwest Airlines a few years ago. Now,…

Good Food and Ghost Encounters in Mesilla, New Mexico

Double Eagle

A fellow travel writer once mentioned how important it is to recognize the “spark” of any given trip, basically that moment that glimmers in your memory long after the trip is over. These moments don’t happen on every trip, but when they do, you know you’ve found a special place worth writing about. This happened to me at the Double Eagle Restaurant in Mesilla, a little historic area within Las Cruses, New Mexico. As soon as we walked in and were escorted to the back room, I fell in love. The old, intricate wooden bar looked like something out of a…

A Natural Mascara … That Works??

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I worked for years as a beauty editor at a natural health magazine. We had the strictest standards around… no parabens, no sulfates, no petroleum. So, perhaps needless to say, I tested so many products that just, well, failed to do much of anything. Pretty much this: “Other brands work. Ours… are very natural.” Of course, there were plenty that did, though the general rule was the simpler the product (think lip balm and bar soap), the better it worked. One category of product where I could never find a winner was mascara. Apparently, getting eyelashes to get all voluminous…

Meet the Salvage Dawgs in their Native Habitat… Roanoke, VA

Black Dog Salvage Marketplace Exterior

Those of you that spend way too much time on the DIY Network or HGTV (who me?) may have come across a certain show called Salvage Dawgs, where two guys go around tearing out anything and everything you can imagine from old houses. Seriously–bathtubs, light fixtures, and even door handles are fair game for these guys, Robert Kulp and Mike Whiteside, who bring it back to their massive 40,000 square-foot shop in Roanoke, Virginia. Black Dog Salvage is one of the coolest stores I’ve ever walked into. It’s the kind of place I would have especially loved as a kid,…

Best Restaurants & Bars in Portland, Maine

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I love both Portlands… Maine and Oregon, that is. I even wrote about them in the same story once! But my heart will always belong to the East Coast sister (the original!). I grew up going to Maine for a few weeks in the summer every other year to visit my grandparents in Harpswell, and we’d always spend at least a few hours in Portland. Even at 8, I fell in love with the cobblestone streets, hard-knock docks, and of course, the Pirate store on Commercial Street. I’ve been back a few times since then, and only get more crazy…