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Packing List: Italy


Next week, I’m making my first-ever (and long-overdue) trip to Italy. (Squee!) My boyfriend and I are starting in Lake Como and then working our way through Cinque Terre, Tuscany, and Rome. I’ll be honest: I’m most excited about the food. That’s not to say I don’t want to wander the piazzas, explore the Tuscan hill towns, and wonder at the Sistine Chapel—I’m just planning to bracket all those delightful things with many quartinos of Montepulciano and cones of gelato. Here are some of the essentials I’m bringing with me:

Madewell Transport Tote: This roomy leather bag is tailor-made for travel. It easily fits my laptop, copious amounts of beauty products, magazines, and (of course) many, many plane snacks.

Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask: In Tuscany, we’re staying at La Bandita, an absolutely dreamy inn that is owned by my former Condé Nast Traveler colleague Ondine Cohane and her husband John. Ondine only had one request from New York: Rodial’s famed skin-plumping mask.

Number 4 Haircare Styling Foam: I’m a full-on mousse evangelist. I find that it’s the best/easiest/quickest way to give hair a bit of texture and wave. Number 4’s version smells incredible and dries without any tackiness. I scrunch it in and go—no need to blow-dry. 

Atelier Cologne Vetiver: Spoiler alert: We’ve got an awesome gift-with-purchase deal coming up with Atelier Cologne’s travel-size spritzes. Keep an eye out! Me, I’m taking this unisex one on the road.

Inika Mineral Foundation: I recently got a sample of this and liked it so much that I begged our brand team for a second (backup) sample to take with me. The formula is extremely light, dries to a velvet-matte finish, and blends gorgeously. 

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector: While I don’t plan on wearing much makeup, that doesn’t mean I can’t use a wee bit of highlighter over my blush—you know, to prettily reflect all those golden Tuscan rays. Right? 

Karuna Hydrating Treatment MaskBlame it on Birchbox, but over the years the list of things I consider travel “musts” has changed dramatically. After realizing how tough planes and travel are on my skin, I now consider a great exfoliator and a hydrating mask to be core trip essentials. I love sheet masks because they’re single-use—how great to return with less than when you started!

Davines Love Smoothing Conditioner: Can’t leave home without it. That’s all. 

And Sons, David Gilbert: I bought the hardcover of this novel after my friend (and consummate reader) Eimear raved about it. I’m looking forward to unplugging and doing some nondigital reading while I’m away.

Whew! Can’t wait to see you guys in a week!


See what all the buzz is about! #BBBuzz, that is—in our October Teaser video

Guest Blogger: Sniffapalooza’s Favorite Florentine Fragrance

Spezierie Erboristerie Palazzo Vecchio on Via Vacchereccia in Florence

Right to left: Sniffapalooza founder and director, Karen Dubin; Perfumer Alessandro Morsiani; Sniffapalooza executive operations manager, Karen Adams

This week we tapped Karen Adams, the executive operations manager of the event-based fragrance group Sniffapalooza, to guest blog about some of the best scents she’s discovered on her recent travels. Today’s excursion: Florence.

Recently in Florence, Sniffapalooza founder Karen Durbin and I walked through the narrow winding streets in search of the best gelato. Grom? Vivoli? Badiani? Gelateria La Carraia? We crisscrossed the city tasting them all, while walking and walking to offset the calories. Our true destination though was another treat for the senses, Spezierie Erboristerie Palazzo Vecchio on Via Vacchereccia. This tiny apothecary is always fully stocked with herbal cures for anything that ails you, along with dietary supplements, toothpastes, soaps, lotions, potions, and best of all, one of our favorite niche perfume lines—i Profumi di Firenze. Though some of these scents are available in the U.S., the majority are only sold at Spezierie Erboristerie. Like kids in a candy shop, we sniffed and sampled our way through this hand-blended small batch line. Perfumer Alessandro Morsiani explained that the original 16th century formulas commissioned by Caterina de Medici inspired these fragrant gems. Tuscania, which captures the Tuscan countryside with its lovely blend of citrus, spices, musk, and wood, returned home with us (bubble-wrapped, of course).

If we had traveled to Italy, we would have taken Benefit’s So Hooked on Carmella fragrance with us because of it’s sultry ultra-feminine scent.