Survival Gear

This section is dedicated to stuff that I find handy, whether it’s for travel or life in general. I love gadgets, good products, and innovative little trinkets, especially if they make my life easier!


This stuff is the Nectar of the Gods (in my humble opinion.) Have you ever seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Remember how they were with the Windex? That’s me with The Aquaphor. And yes I must use “the” before it. It deserves that level of reverence.

It started with diaper rash as the gateway drug. Now, I use it in anyway I can. My favorite use: under eye night cream and moisturizer. I also carry a tube of lip balm. Give it a try! It will be the best thing you ever smeared on your kid’s butt and then your face. (But I would recommend doing that in the opposite order, or at least washing your hands in between.) And now on their website, I see they have a lovely spray version. Ooooooooohhhhhh 😍

Rodan & Fields Microdermabrasion Paste:

Let me start by saying no, I do not sell these products. A co-worker and friend of mine gave me a tub of this and WOW!

Have you ever felt like your face needed to be “taken down a layer?” Enter this gritty paste from the heavens. You can dilute it or apply to a damp face if you want to decrease the intensity, but I smear it on dry because I want the full facial effect. You just rub it on, then rinse it off and voila! Your face is smooth and soft as a baby’s butt. Easier than a trip to the spa and just as effective in my opinion. I use it a few times a week whenever I feel like I need to liven up my face a little.

I think it runs about $80 (?). Worth every penny. Mine has lasted quite a while, and I’d buy it by the bucket. My friend uses it on her feet, too, and says it’s great for sloughing off the nasty bottoms of your feet. (Hello, sandal weather!) Want some? Contact an R&F salesperson. If you don’t know one, I can totally hook you up with one of the many wonderful R&F entrepreneurs I know. Happy sloughing!

Lil Gadgets Connect+ Headphones:

img_0632Designed specifically for kids, these headphones have a couple features that make them ideal for traveling kiddos. First of all, they are volume controlled. So no more worrying that your kids are going to blow their eardrums out. Second, they have a built in SharePort(r) that allows one kid to plug into the other’s in the event that they are listening to the same thing (no additional connector or dongle required!). They’re sturdy and they fold up into their own little carrying pouch for easy transport. Caroline has the pink; Leo has the green, and these are a MUST HAVE if we go on any lengthy trips.

Sunny Tag Waterproof Case Phone Pouch:

This might be my Generation X version of the fanny pack, but I don’t even care. This little puppy has ample room for my phone (in its case), some $$, and cards/hotel room keys, so what more could I want when I’m lugging around kids/stuff? Oh, and it’s waterproof and floats. (Underwater pics anyone? I recommend the Slo-Mo setting on your camera phone to optimize usage.) We took these pouches on our Disney Cruise this year, and they are now part of our “lake/pool” bag we keep handy for impromptu trips where phones could end up waterlogged if not fully protected. Do I look a little lame with something dangling around my neck like an American tourist in Europe? You betcha! But, the pros outweigh the cons, and I have to do something to keep all the men at bay when I’m prancing around in my mom-suit and cover-up.

Brookstone Pocket Projector:

Remember how I said I used to travel a lot for work? Well, one of my favorite things to do in airports on long layovers was to shop, and my drug of choice: Brookstone. On one particularly long layover, I convinced myself that my husband would just LOVE one of these handy little gadgets. That was about 3 years ago (I think), and I can honestly say that, while it’s not really been used in the “man cave” way I envisioned, it has definitely been through many hours of family fun. Want to watch a movie on the wall “Drive-in style?” Not a problem! How about project a FaceTime call for your Floridian brother’s gender reveal so the whole family here in WV can watch together? Yep! Did it! It’s a very crisp picture and so easy to use. Great for projecting on any blank wall space, and my husband actually built a screen based on a Pinterest pin we found. (Well done, honey!) Now we can watch football games streaming outside by the fire pit. Win! Get the tripod stand and the case, as well as the HDMI dongle, if it doesn’t come with it. I also recommend getting an economical set of speakers to help project sound, especially for outside use.


Cool shoes. Need I say more? (Well, I will.) These awesome “kicks” come in a couple iterations. I have both the Fit and Kozi version, and my kids have the FitKids.

The “Fits” are great as waterimg_0416-1 shoes, and we wear them kayaking and tubing and all that fun water-sport stuff. My kids and my niece also wore the heck out of them on a cruise we took this year because the deck around the pool and in the splash are got a little slick, and these really helped the toddlers keep from slipping.

The “Kozis,” on the other hand, are slippers/house shoes on steroids. I’ve worn them outside from time to time because they have tread and look like a sporty shoe. I even wore them to the hospital when I had my gallbladder out! I have them in black and grey. They’re sporty and cute and COMFY! You can purchase them in multiple places, but my vendor of choice is the Cabell Huntington Hospital gift shop (benefitting the CHH Foundation). Pick up a couple pairs in fun colors for the whole family!

Zippy Sacks:

Making beds in the morning is a b-e-a-s-t sometimes. The 5-year old is not interested, and the 2-year old is overly interested. Neither make for a stellar bed-making job. zipEnter Zippy Sacks! The kids can literally zip their beds shut. It’s fun for them and easy for all. Check out all the fun prints! We have the Minnie Mouse and Dino. Bonus: they have a little pocket on the side that will hold a little gadget (i.e. flashlight or remote).