Kicking the Chapstick Habit

For nearly a decade, I've never been more than 5 feet from a lip balm of some sort - ever.  There's one by my bed, another at my desk, one in my purse, a backup in my suitcase, and another backup in my car.  When one runs out, there's a Costco value pack under my bathroom cabinet.  It's bad.  And it wasn't good for my lips either.  

I switched away from Carmex in college after finding out about the damaging and drying effects of menthol-based lip balms.  Chapstick had to be better, right?  Not for me. The wax in lip balms like Chapstick are intended to hold the moisture in your lips in by creating a watertight seal on the surface.  The added chemicals used in the SPF version I wore during the day and the strawberry version I kept as a backup can cause an allergic reaction that actually makes your lips feel more chapped.  While Chapstick itself isn't addictive, you can get attached to the behavior of putting on a lip balm and the way it makes your lips feel.

I knew I needed to kick this habit.  It just seemed silly - there's no way my lips are actually that chapped.  And, it limited my ability to wear lipstick because I was always rolling Chapstick over it (and thus, removing it).

LipSense Roseberry, mid-workout.  Photo by DeepFriedFit.

LipSense Roseberry, mid-workout.  Photo by DeepFriedFit.

LipSense application.  3 coats in the morning and you're set all day!

LipSense application.  3 coats in the morning and you're set all day!

That is, until Lauren of Dressing Dallas introduced me to LipSense.  LipSense is a long-lasting, waterproof lip color.  Unlike a conventional lipstick that pushes up from a tube, LipSense is wax-free.  Instead, it uses a cosmetic grade alcohol (SD Alcohol 40) to transfer pigment onto your lips.  The alcohol does lead to a brief drying / tingling sensation which goes away pretty quickly.  3 coats of color (it's thinner than most lipstick with just one coat) + some of their vegan, no wax lipgloss and you're good to go - for up to 18 hours!  I've made it through sweaty workouts, pool days, and even a shower without impacting the color.  Craziness.

For the first few days of using LipSense, I noticed my lips were starting to crack.  I used a sugar scrub at night (recipe coming soon), and by day 4, I only applied the LipSense gloss a couple times a day when I wasn't wearing a color (I apply more frequently when pairing it with a color because I like the shine!).  No more Chapstick.  Ever.

I may be a little crazy, but I'm pretty obsessed with this stuff now - so much so that I signed up as a distributor to get a discount of my own.  You can now buy LipSense directly from me by going to this section of my website.  If you pick from the colors I have in-stock, you cut your shipping cost down by almost a week for colors I have in stock!  Have questions?  Email me or comment below and I'll try to get them answered for you!

Off to Cozumel

Y'all, I'm crazy excited.  Cody and I are always looking for ways to take advantage of our Southwest Companion Pass (perhaps the greatest airline perk EVER!) and now that Southwest offers easy flights to Mexico, we just couldn't resist.  With our wedding in less than a year, we knew we couldn't splurge on a big vacation, and at the same time, knew an escape, with just the two of us, was needed right now.  

Mexico is the perfect fit.  The flight is cheap (we booked on less than 20k Southwest points, equivalent to about $300), as are the accommodations and the diving.  As strange as it sounds, I can't wait to get back in the water and fight the currents off Cozumel.  It's such a great workout, and the views can't be beat!  Added bonus - you don't feel as bad about taking advantage of the All-Inclusive drinks and food options after a morning of flutter kicks and ab twists to stay buoyant!  

Want to gear up for your own Weird Workout?  prAna has teamed up with Organic Valley to giveaway 10 prize packs, each containing $300 in credit to use on prAna.com, a two-month supply of Organic Fuel, and free swag.  Hop onto Organic Valley's website to enter: http://www.drinkorganicfuel.com/promo.php.

If you haven't tried Organic Valley's Organic Fuel, I'd definitely recommend you pick up a bottle.  It's only 6f / 27c / 26p per bottle and tastes just like chocolate milk.  I've been drinking it after dinner as my dessert.  

NOTE: This post is sponsored by prAna and Organic Valley, however the recommendations are unbiased - I drank Organic Valley and wore prAna yoga gear before I was offered this opportunity!

Flights on the Cheap

Finding a reasonable flight these days can feel like such a daunting task! You have to hop from site to site, scan across multiple dates, and then still wonder whether the price you've found is the best available.  Even though someone else is usually picking up the cost of my flights (yay work travel?), I'm still conscious of trying to get the best deal I can.  Fresh off another last-minute trip we were able to make happen thanks to an amazing fare on a nonstop flight to Columbus OH, I'm rounding up a few options for searching for the best flight options.

KAYAK

Kayak is probably the best known option for flight searches.  The interface is easy, with lots of filters that can be applied to meet your preferences.  Unfortunately, it typically recommends round trip options with the same carrier or booked as a single ticket via one carrier or third party.  It also excludes flights from Southwest - and as a Dallas-based girl, those Southwest flights can save me a fortune!  Unsure of where you want to go?  Try Kayak Explore, where you can put in an activity or region, general time of year, and number of days, and it will pull up flight prices based on what others have found in their searches.  The one limitation of this is if you're looking pretty far out and someone hasn't searched that route, it won't pull up (like my trip to Hungary last year - no results!).  

GOOGLE FLIGHTS

If you like Kayak, then you'll like Google Flights even more.  Google Flights pulls similar data to Kayak, plus tells you if a cheaper price is available for booking two one-way tickets (totally possible, and has happened to me more than once).  Plus, if you click "show longer or more expensive options" the timing for Southwest flights to the same destination will appear.  They don't have prices for Southwest, but at least you can see if there's a comparable option, then follow the link to Southwest's site.  And, like Kayak, Google Destinations lets you map out different trip ideas and see where the best place to fly into might be.  Beyond the option to view Southwest flight options, I prefer Google Flights over Kayak because both their flexible date calendar and a header at the top of the resulting flight options show you how much you can save by traveling another date.  It makes it easy to see when to plan a vacation if you have a few choices!

ITA Matrix

By far the most complex of the tools available is the ITA Matrix.  The ITA Matrix is owned by Google (Google Flights runs off the same data), but gives you the option of adding advanced routing codes to plan for layover cities, layover durations, and specific carriers.  I use the ITA Matrix when I'm booking complex international itineraries and am looking for something specific. For example, I wanted to avoid the BA surcharge to London on a recent award ticket, so I used the ITA Matrix to search for tickets where the DFW-LHR leg was on American rather than BA.  I've also used it in the winter when I needed to route through a warm weather city to avoid the potential delays that a Philadelphia or Chicago connection can bring, and for a flight where I wanted a 24 hour layover in Phoenix to stop by my parents' house for dinner.   

What tips and tricks do you have for finding the best flight options? 

 
 

Kentucky in a Weekend

The mister and I qualified for the Southwest Companion pass {which is the BEST airline reward ever! - you can be almost halfway there by applying for the Southwest RapidRewards Premier credit card} a few months back, and have been using it to take some short trips for the cost of just one of us.  The trip was better than we expected.  We chanced upon live blues music at a late night bar in Louisville, learned how to make the perfect Old Fashioned at the bar inside the Kentucky Marketplace in Bardstown, and celebrated July 4th with a 5k through the grounds of Buffalo Trace - and took advantage of lots of behind-the-scenes tours at some of the country's best Bourbon distillery led by people who had worked for the companies for decades.  

Photos from some of our favorite spots are below, and our complete itinerary can be found at the bottom of this post for those looking to plan their own trip through Bourbon Country.  Did I mention the entire trip cost us less than $500, including meals and drinks?!

A rickhouse at Barton's 1792.  Each distillery has dozens of these buildings, which are constructed entirely of wood, have no electricity, and are often 8-10 stories high (with barrels 3 high on each floor).  

A rickhouse at Barton's 1792.  Each distillery has dozens of these buildings, which are constructed entirely of wood, have no electricity, and are often 8-10 stories high (with barrels 3 high on each floor).  

A spiced cherry Old Fashioned from the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace

A spiced cherry Old Fashioned from the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace

For the price of the bottle of liquor, you can dip your own Maker's Mark bottle following the tour

For the price of the bottle of liquor, you can dip your own Maker's Mark bottle following the tour

A rainy, but fun, 5k on the grounds of Buffalo Trace Distillery

A rainy, but fun, 5k on the grounds of Buffalo Trace Distillery

Woodford Reserve still uses barrel runs (look like train tracks) to roll barrels between warehouses and the bottling centers all over the distillery grounds

Woodford Reserve still uses barrel runs (look like train tracks) to roll barrels between warehouses and the bottling centers all over the distillery grounds

itinerary: LONG WEEKEND IN KENTUCKY

FRIDAY

Arrive Friday night via Southwest.  We booked my ticket for 30k RapidRewards points and $12 in fees, then added Cody as my Companion for an additional $12 in fees.  $24 for flights for two. Winning.

Pick up a rental car at the airport - you'll need it for this trip! You can register for National's Emerald program free online to get better pricing.  Driving between distilleries shouldn't be an issue.  Kentucky state law prohibits them from giving you more than two 1/2 oz samples following the tour.  You can always use Uber or call a taxi when you go out at night.

Make a few stops along the Urban Bourbon Trail using their iPhone or Android app as your guide.

Stay overnight at the Fairfield Inn in Jeffersonville, IN.  You can save a lot by staying across the river, and the hotel is still less than a mile from everything in Louisville.  We used a free night certificate from a recent Marriott promotion.  

SATURDAY

Stop into Wild Eggs for breakfast.  The menu is creative and healthy, and the food is excellent!

Grab a Groupon and pop into Kentucky Peerless, a craft distillery downtown, for their first tour of the day.  You'll get to see the distilling process up-close, with tours led by members of their production team.  At the end, you'll sample fun flavors of their moonshine, like Chocolate Pie! The Bourbon still has a few more years before its been aged long enough to bottle. 

Start driving south towards Bardstown, making a quick stop into the Zappos/6pm outlet in Shepardsville to see if you can find a deal!

Pick up lunch at the Beech Grove Market, where you can get potato salad and a HUGE sandwich for less than $6.  Take it over to the Jim Beam Stillhouse for a picnic on their gorgeous grounds.  If you want to stay for the tour, make sure you book in advance.  The wait when we got there was two hours, so we didn't stay.

Down the road, stop by Barton's 1792, which was recently purchased by the Sazerac Group who has invested heavily in expansion at 1792.  The tour is fantastic, and FREE! Hold off on buying bourbon here, though - it's actually cheaper at the liquor stores in town.

Head into Bardstown for cocktails and dinner at any number of adorable spots.  Make sure you try an Old Fashioned at the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace, made with Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters - it's the best we've ever had!

Stay the night in some cute B&Bs or if you're traveling with a group, an AirBNB option.  We stayed at the Hampton Inn Bardstown for less than $100. 

SUNDAY

Have breakfast where you're staying, then hit the road to Maker's Mark.  If you're planning a trip in advance, make sure you sign up as an Ambassador on their website for extra perks - but note, it takes 6-8 weeks to process your application.  The tour at Maker's takes about two hours, so be prepared for that.  

Continue the drive towards Lexington, stopping at the Four Roses Distillery (not the bottling warehouse near Bardstown) on your way.  We weren't impressed by the bourbon at Four Roses, but heard good things about the tour (we arrived late, so we just participated in the tasting).  

Eat lunch at any number of restaurants along the drive.  We chose a local chain where we could get chicken sandwiches and a HUGE salad - we needed the healthy food by that point!  

Run by a liquor store on your way into Lexington.  You'll find some great deals at the larger stores; just make sure they pack them in bubble wrap or Southwest will charge you $5 each for packing materials when you go to check your bag.

Stop by West Sixth Brewing and try one (or two) of their flights.  We enjoyed every one that we tried.

By this point, we had visited a LOT of distilleries, so we opted to take it easy and nap at the hotel for an hour before getting ready for dinner in downtown Lexington.

Stay at the Residence Inn Lexington North, near all of the horse farms (another great option for the afternoon).  We used another reward certification from a promotion earlier this year, so our stay was free.  Alternately, you can use Priceline to bid for a hotel downtown.

MONDAY

Eat breakfast where you're staying, then hit the road so you can make it to the first tour of the day at Buffalo Trace Distillery.  This was our favorite tour, due in large part to our guide, Freddie, who is the third generation in his family to work at BT.  Buffalo Trace also offers specialty tours certain days of the week - info and reservations are available on their website.

Drop into Woodford Reserve for a different experience and a look at some of the largest pot stills in the region and a tasting in their incredibly nice tasting room.

Head back to Louisville for lunch and your flight out that evening.  If you're staying another day like we did, consider dropping in on the Bulleit Experience or the Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse.  Or, make a few more stops along the Urban Bourbon Trail before snagging a cheap room via Priceline (we bid $70 and ended up at The Galt House on the river).

Have questions about other Kentucky options?  Comment below.   Safe travels!

 

NOTE: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS.