I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Saturday, February 19, 2011


My new glasses were waiting for me on my desk when I arrived at work on Tuesday morning.

I opened the package with some trepidation, half expecting them to be the wrong frames, the wrong prescription, broken... something wrong. Instead I found exactly what I ordered, all in one piece, and they fit great. Pretty much perfect in every way. I highly recommend Zenni Optical for a much cheaper alternative to spending hundreds of dollars at the optical store. Even if they don't fit, you can take them in to somewhere like Costco or your local optometrist and have them sized.

It is going to be so much better going to the beach now - I will be able to read and watch the boats in the distance without having to switch back and forth between prescription sunglasses and a cheap pair. It's also one less thing to have to pack.

Speaking of which, I am losing sleep these days over a couple of conundrums, one of which is how to carry a significant amount of money when one travels (which I will address in a future blog post) and the other - trying to determine whether or not I can manage with just carry-on luggage for my upcoming trip. I really want to do it and, if I do manage, it will be a first for me. One of the main reasons I don't want to check luggage is that I have so many connecting flights, I am really worried it might get lost. Also, it wouldn't hurt to save the $25 to check a bag; on three legs of my trip that would save me $75.

The biggest hurdle is toiletries. I have so many. I have always said that if I could only take three things to a deserted island it would be Timothy Dalton (or Tom Selleck, or Colin Firth, or George Clooney - I am not that fussed as to which one), a pillow, and my hair products (yes, yes, I know it's more than one product but it IS one category so I count it as one). Also, while we are on the topic - if I could only eat one food while I was there it would be potato if I could have them prepared in all the different ways with all of the corresponding condiments. I mean, is there a more versatile food on the planet?!?

So many of the products I use every day fall into the prohibited list for carry-on. As we all know by now, no gels, creams, or liquids in a container larger than 3oz can be carried onto the plane. And for Canadians, this can be really frustrating as most of our products are labeled in metric so what exactly is 3oz in metric? I had to look it up and here it is: 3oz is equal to 85grams or 88ml, because heaven help us all if the manufacturers could manage to use the same unit for measuring.

Here is a picture of what I would pack if I was checking my luggage. As you can see, it includes a large can of spider killer because I am terrified of spiders. And yes, it is a lot of stuff in large containers, but remember - I am gone for just over 6 weeks. Also, the bottles of shampoo and conditioner would be the regular size but I would only buy that size for a trip so don't have any on hand for the photo. I forgot to put in bug spray, my nail polish, top coat, and remover in this photo. A word about nail polish remover; I found a box of six individually wrapped felt pads that are soaked in remover but I bought the small bottle of liquid remover as I prefer it. After trying to fit everything into the small baggie, I may go back and buy the pads as they could go right into my suitcase.

I realize that with the money I save on checking a bag onto three legs (to Yuma, to St.Thomas, to home) will more than pay for new toiletries but because I have a week in Mexico before flying to the BVI for a month I would need to buy two sets of everything and I don't want to do that. So I am trying to take enough for both legs of my trip, although I probably will need to buy more of some items, like sunscreen, once in the Caribbean.

I went in search of small packages of what I want to take with me and it was a frustrating experience. I found LOADS of toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo & conditioner, But the hairspray was nowhere to be found and the nail polish remover, sunscreen, and mousse were much harder to find. I finally found all three at Wal Mart (although the nail polish remover was not with the small sized toiletries in the shampoo isle, but in makeup with the regular sized bottles). One thing I find really frustrating is that a lot of creams and lotions that are not packaged for travel but just standard product packaging are 3.3 ozs or 100ml. It would be nice if the manufacturers got on board with the restrictions and started to package these items in 3 ounce containers so we could take our usual products in our carry on instead of cheap alternatives that may not perform as well.

Now I have to try to fit all of my small liquids and gels into a single 1 quart baggie. I bought the GLAD ones, as they are actually 1 quart. The Ziploc ones are either too small or too big. So far I can't fit everything in. But I understand that the screeners are becoming a bit lax and so mascara, concealer, and deodorant don't have to be in the bag anymore. And I was thinking that, if I spread my stuff out between several of those grey bins, perhaps I could get away with two baggies? Worth a try? Oh... I have no idea what to do.

I guess one thing I will be doing is using a flip flop on any spiders.

Below are photos of what I am trying to carry-on and then what fits into the baggie and what is left over. There is no perfume in the picture as my 3oz bottle of Warm Vanilla Sugar is at work. But it won't fit either. (OH! And I just noticed there is no toothpaste in any of the pictures. BAH!!)

Because it may not be clear what is in the photo, here is a list from left to right:
eye cream, nail polish remover, contact lens solution, Lise Watier Metamorfix, OFF bug spray, Sally Hansen Insta-Dry top coat, sunscreen, nail polish, hair mousse, moisturizer x2, face cream, concealers (two shades - one for under eye, one for face), Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion, mascara.

****UPDATE**** Here is a great article I came across today about how the rules for liquids and gels unfairly targets women travelers.


  1. I found nail polish remover pads (individually wrapped) at my local drug store and they worked perfectly. I put them in a separate case with my bandaids and they got through security no problem! Also, on my last two trips to the BVI, I found nail polish pens to be a bit less bulky than the bottles (about the size of the concealers). I don't know if they'll allow you to take anything under pressure on the plane so you may want to leave the bug spray at home and pick some up when you arrive (always need more anyway).

  2. I found bug spray to be REALLY expensive in the Caribbean - around $12 for a can that sells for $5 here. I did have a thought of loading up a suitcase with some and selling it for $10 on the beach!!

    I am still bouncing between checking a bag and just having carry on. It's hard to give up all the stuff I think I will need. But - much like an addict - I just need to take that first step and take ONE trip without all the crap and see how it goes. Gulp!

  3. try taking a dry powder shampoo ?

  4. Shampoo and conditioner is actually the least of my problems as most hotels provide it. It is more the cosmetics, sunscreen, bug repellant, hairspray, moisturizer, perfume, etc. that I am struggling with.


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