In My Bag: 5 Carry-On Travel Essentials

Since I just got back from a weekend jaunt, and this blog is supposed to be at least a little bit travel blog, I thought I’d share some of my travel essentials! These are the current 5 things I take on every trip that have made my journey that much better! They are also great if you plan on just taking a carry-on bag – like I did this trip.

Fave 5 Travel Essentials

1. Neogen Real Fresh Cleansing Stick Green Tea

I take this stick as my face wash because it bypasses the whole limited liquids thing if you’re only planning on taking a carry-on. Not to mention, it smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling so clean and fresh! It’s gentle, exfoliating, and no mess.

2. Lush Toothy Tabs

Listen, if you’re hesitant about chewing your toothpaste into existence, I’m with you. I was not into the idea, too, but I once I tried them, it was fine. Only one tab is needed per brush. You just crush it up with your teeth and brush as usual with a wet toothbrush to get the suds going. What helped me get past the weirdness of chomping my toothpaste was picking a classic spearmint for my Toothy Tab flavor. I’m pretty sure you can also ask for a sample at LUSH stores before you commit to a whole bottle.

3. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (with Sunscreen)

I love this light-weight moisturizer, and I take the version with SPF in it to further save space & time. This way, I take 1 thing that keeps my face moisturized and protected, and I apply everything in 1 go! Bonus, it doesn’t have a strong sunscreen scent & absorbs quickly.

4. Nature Republic REAL NATURE Sheet Masks

Sheet masks are all the rage right now, and part of that is because they are affordable, easy to use, and a nice way to treat your self at home or on the road. I’ve been making it a point to slip a couple into my suitcase because after a long day of fun, it’s nice to have a cold mask to put on your face before bed. There are many brands of masks to choose from, but I love Nature Republic’s line of “Real Nature” line because there are so many choices – from relaxing chamomile to soothing aloe to moisturizing rose. Not to mention, Nature Republic offers these in packs of 10 and often runs a buy a 10-pack, get a 10-pack deal. That’s how I stock up!

5. Amika: Perk Up Dry Shampoo

When your hair is feeling gross and you just don’t have time or energy to wash it, dry shampoo is a lifesaver! Amika is my current favorite & I usually pack a travel size version for those days when my hair needs a little help. It smells great, too.

And if all else fails, I just tie my hair back or put a headband on to distract from how blah it looks!

What’s always in your carry-on bag? Do you use similar products that you like more than these? Let me know in the comments!


I feel grateful every time I can make a post like this. January means it’s nomination time for the SFPA Rhysling Award for speculative poetry published in the last year. In 2018, I had 3 poems published. Here they are for your consideration – or if you’re new here or missed them the first time around, I hope you’ll check them out.

1) MY TEARS ARE NOT FOR YOU in L’Éphémère Review, Beyond the Shallows – April 2018

The poem was part of L’Éphémère Review’s National Poetry Month Anthology – Beyond the Shallows. I wrote it during National Poetry Month while dealing with some hard feelings. The poem is linked above, and I wrote a little more about it here: The Reclamation.

2) THE FOOTRACE in Strange Horizons – May 2018


I’m proud of every poem I sell, but I’m especially proud of The Footrace – probably because it fought me every step of the way as I tried to write it. I didn’t think it’d ever be finished. The poem is linked above, but you can read more about its inspiration here: Anger, Art, and Atalanta.

3) BEAUTY ROUTINE in Liminality, Issue #16 – Summer 2018

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It’s my birthday & getting older for me has been about identifying more with the powerful but villainized women of old stories- the luring monsters, reclusive witches, & wicked queens. I mean, whose POV is that stuff from anyway? So, for my bday, I’d love for you to read my poem BEAUTY ROUTINE (or any of my poetry-link in bio) & embrace your power. . . Also, I was blessed by the perfectly timed sending of some pretty photos @thisdorkynerdgirl took of me for her @templeofgeek review of @elhofferdesign Friendly Spirits Collection. . . AND I’m very blessed to discover IT IS ALSO @Taikawaititi’s BDAY!! 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 to him & my Number 1 birthday twin @vicesbyproxy!! I miss you tons & hope you have an incredible day! . . . #birthday #portrait #poetry #tbt #elhofferdesign #geekchic #geekfashion #spilledink #poetteers #writersofinstagram #poetryisnotdead #poetsofinstagram #fandomfashion #princessmononoke #blue #ootd #liveincolor #badasswomen #shopsmall #Leoseason #birthdayweekend

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The poem is linked above. I didn’t have time to write an individual post for Beauty Routine when it was published, so I’ll leave a few words here. I also wrote this poem in April, and it was inspired by my daily (when I don’t forget) skincare routine. The action got me thinking about the things we do for beauty but also how there are different perceptions of what it is. What is beautiful? What is monstrous? Are they mutually exclusive?

Thanks for reading, and if you’re discovering these poems for the first time (or rediscovering them), I’d love to hear what you think in the comments! And if you’re someone who nominates for the Rhysling Award, thanks for your consideration!

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Last year, I shared my Top 9 Grid here, and while I’m still going to do that, I also wanted to try something a little different – and then I’ll go into my Word for the Year. For a really in-depth review of my 2018, check out my year-in-review post at A Nudge in the Right Direction. It covers the good, the great, and also some of the real lows of last year that I rarely share on social media – but I do think it’s important to acknowledge the downs, too.

My Top 9 Grid

But here’s the something different I wanted to try this year. I loved this guide for finding the 10 Photos that Shaped My Year from Artifact Uprising. I’m going to share 10 of mine based on the prompts they gave. If you do this too, let me know in the comments because I’d love to see yours, too!

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Looking Glass: 2018 Highlights

It’s been a few months since I’ve posted, and we’re already on day 2 of 2019! How did that happen? I know I tend to say that at the end/start of every year, but I feel like 2018 has truly been a strange combination of very fast and very slow. A lot has happened since I last checked in, and I plan to write about some of those things in the new year.

For now, here’s a few highlights from the outfits (geeky and not) I wore in 2018. It’s a feature of this blog to show you how I use fashion to express myself and to take my geekery with me on my travels. So I hope some of these looks inspire you, too!

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Anger, Art, & Atalanta

February 2016 was productive for me poetry-wise. Two of the poems I wrote that month have already been published, but the other one I’d also started then languished for an entire year before I managed to finish it.

February 2017 felt very different from February the year before. The world had, if not changed, become unmasked at its ugliest places. I was tired and impotent and just low-key angry all the time. I told my friends I’d never been so full of rage, and all the words now were brittle and dry, fire and ruin.


Over a few days, I’d finished (a rough draft) of that unruly poem, surprising myself with how quickly it came together when I’d written and deleted so many stanzas before. It dawned on me I hadn’t been able to do it before because I hadn’t been angry enough. People think writing is about bleeding on the page, and it kind of is – but not all emotions translate the way you expect. Anger has always been draining to me; it’s not something that inspires my creativity. Or maybe I just never knew how to channel it until now.

Today, I’m so happy and proud to share THE FOOTRACE with you in its completed form.

It is one of the most difficult poems I’ve written, the one I’ve done the most revisions on, and it’s maybe my best so far. You can also hear me read the poem on the Strange Horizon’s poetry podcast.

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