Spring fever is everywhere and we’re ready to take off for ANYwhere. Even if it’s just for work.

But whether you’re traveling for work or a fun weekend, your experience is better when you are prepared. After years of packing as a “global executive” for “short-notice” business trips, here are the essentials (concierges, executive airport clubs and personal valets notwithstanding) that you should have to keep things from crashing.

1. Priority Pass
App is free to download; Three membership plans available for additional benefits
Weather delaying your flight? Use the Priority Pass App (in the App Store) and find the nearest airport executive lounge and its amenities. Members of Priority Pass can use more than 700 airport lounges worldwide regardless of airline or class of travel. Pretty cool.

2. Belkin Mini Surge Protector with USB Charger
Outlet shortage at the airport?  A multi-socket power strip helps share the juice from a single public outlet. Never again forget any electronics in your hotel room because you’ll be plugging all of your electronics into the same place, thus, less likely to leave one behind. (Abroad, you’ll need to use an adapter and a converter though…)

3. J-Pillow
Plan to sleep on the flight? Traveling can be a real pain in the neck, but not with this travel pillow. Through a revolutionary design J-Pillow delivers perfect neck alignment and a restful experience, thus, well worth toting it.

4. Hammacher Schlemmer’s The Thinnest Backup Laptop Battery
Worried about running out of charge? This slim profile battery weighs less than 1 1/2 lbs yet packs a mighty 13,200 Mah battery for up to 3 1/2 hours extra laptop time – ideal for long, cross-country flights.

5. Mënaji ClearShave 3-in-1 Formula
Noon o’clock shadow and stuck on a plane? No worries. Mënaji’s Clear Shave 3-in-1 gel doesn’t require water and lets you see exactly where you are shaving so you can shave quickly and gently. Post-Shave — botanical extracts serve as a natural toner to prevent ingrown hairs, dehydration and razor burn. Perfect for sensitive skin. Oh, and yep, it’s regulation travel size.

6. Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Refreshing Gel Hand Sanitizer in JELLY WRAP™ Carriers
$3 at Walmart
Can’t wash up before you eat? Purell helps travelers stay germ-free with a snappy handle you can’t lose track of.

7. Sharper Image Travel Compression Bags
Can’t decide between which shirts and ties to bring? Bring them all! These convenient compression bags increase luggage space by up to 70 percent.

8. Crease Release
Ironing no option? Pack this travel size wrinkle-eliminator. One spritz and your wrinkles are gone, and you’re off to the races!

9. The World’s Smallest Automatic Umbrella
Hate unprofessional-looking hoods, raincoats and ponchos? With this item, there’s no reason to ruin your professional image or get wet! At only 8” long, this is the smallest umbrella on the market and can fit in your pocket, but it opens up to a 40″ diameter canopy! Designed by pros, its sturdy construction won’t collapse in a storm. Never get caught unprepared by a sudden downpour again.

And 10.  Patagonia R1 Pullover
Need an extra layer on the plane but don’t want the bulk?
A Patagonia classic, the R1 is breathable, lightweight, and crunches down to nothing to stow away. And in true Patagonia style, it’s design is flattering.

Honorable mention goes out to the B4 YOU BOARD App (Free) that allows you to order food from restaurants in select airports before you arrive and have it waiting for you at your gate so you don’t end up spending $20 on pretzels.

That’s it. Don’t forget your passport.

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Clinical nutritionist Donna Brown, M.S., offers a guide to healthy eating strategies. Look good and feel good this holiday season!

‘Tis the Season! Festive spirits abound, along with holiday parties, family gatherings, company celebrations and goodies galore. The groaning table of treats, favorite comfort foods and boozy drinks that we dream of all year long is back. We give ourselves permission to indulge now and believe we will lose weight in January.

Guys, try something else this year and avoid the Un-Fab Five by re-thinking our excessive tendencies. Try these tips instead:

  1. Use the 90/10 rule: Eat healthy 90% of the time and eat what you crave 10% of the time. This goes a long way in taking a few liberties and complying with a healthier eating plan.
  2. Don’t skip meals the day of the holiday dinner or party or you might as well kiss your self-control good-bye!
  3. Eat a protein snack before the dinner that will provide much needed energy and keep your resolve going until dinner is served. Grab an egg, a small handful of nuts, a cup of vegetable based soup, an apple with nut butter, or a plain Greek yogurt.
  4. Eat low-glycemic foods that will not cause your blood sugar to rise quickly and crash—making you even hungrier! Low glycemic foods include all vegetables plus protein and fat containing foods.
  5. Hydrate properly beforehand to keep up energy, mood, and self-control.
  6. Slow it down! Don’t grab every treat in sight! Retrain yourself to look over the buffet, fill your plate with veggies and lean protein choices first and then take smaller portions of starches and sweets, if at all!  Chew your food! Take two bites of dessert or a favorite food instead of the whole thing and you may feel satisfied.
  7. Weigh yourself in the morning.  Face your weight and keep the number you want to weigh in mind when the dessert tray or the next bottle of beer is passed around.
  8. Scare yourself a bit. Taking off five pounds is no picnic and much harder than passing up the pie!


Donna Brown, M.S., is a clinical nutritionist in private practice in Fairfield, CT. The Nutrition Kitchen offers personalized programs for nutrition and aging, healing nutrition, weight management, sports nutrition, food coaching and overall wellness with the goal of feeling healthier and more vibrant into the decades. www.nutritionkitchenusa.com

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Meet Mënaji Man: Shawn Punch

Fashion Photographer and Menaji Skincare Customer Shawn Punch

Life behind the lens is exactly where Fashion Photographer Shawn Punch would rather be. And when he’s not snapping photos of runway gorgeous models, Shawn immerses his talents as a pencil artist & hospital administrator.

A regular Mënaji Skincare customer, Shawn shares a few details about his unique life and his favorite Mënaji Skincare products.

What are 5 things you can’t live without?  Music, family, art, food, and learning. I am the consummate learner.

Who has influenced you the most and why? My friend Glen had a huge impact on my life. He’ s served as a mentor; helped me land my first job out of college; and guide d me through the challenges of the corporate world and life in general. He always stressed the importance of honesty and doing a good job.

What was the best advice you have ever received? It pays to be a winner.

Everyone has a teacher that made an impact on his or her life. Who was that person for you? Mr. Gotesman my sixth grade teacher. He encouraged me to draw and believed that I was a good student and child.

Do you have a favorite music genre?  Hip Hop, especially New York 90’s rap music. It gets me in a confident, energetic mental space!

Describe what your perfect day looks like. I experienced a perfect day a few years ago. I was paid to do a fashion photo shoot in a club in the Lower East Side, New York City. The designer loved my work and treated me very well. My girlfriend at the time was right next to me providing love and support. From that event, I met a lot of really nice people who wanted to work with me.

Which Mënaji Skincare product is your favorite and why? I love the Aftershave Hydrator because it gives me a nice cool, fresh feeling after I shave my head and face. The Lip Balm Agent is really nice too. It keeps my lips moist.

Shawn Punch Photography:

Web: www.punchphotography.com  Twitter: @ShawnPunch  Instagram:  ShawnPunch

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