Indulging on the Quantum of the Seas, Our Way

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasDid you see my Instagram pics from last weekend?  I was on a cruise!  That's right, Royal Caribbean launched a new ship, Quantum of the Seas, and invited Joe and I to set sail for two nights to check it out.  Let me tell you, I've been on Royal Caribbean cruises before with my family, but this ship is a game changer – especially for people like us – who like to indulge on vacation sans the calories.  Here's what I mean...

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasIt's the first smart ship – ever!  I had wifi the entire time out to sea so I was able to Instagram my journey.  While that's a huge plus, one thing that I always loathe about cruises is the inevitable weight gain.  Twenty-four hour buffets, ice cream bars and bathing suits.  Not my style.  The new Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas however, was a place Joe and I were able to indulge in relaxing and staying fit.

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasMorning FlyWheel classes were followed by hours at the spa.  Yes, the ship actually had a FlyWheel studio, which was one of my favorite parts.  Overlooking the ocean, the gym had many fitness classes you could sign up for like TRX and more.  We didn't miss a beat.

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasThe Vitality Spa offered everything from Botox to massages.  I indulged in a facial and massage, because with two days at sea, what else is a girl to do?  The massage was wonderful.

royal-caribbbean-quantum-of-the-seasWhen it came to eating, of course being that it was all inclusive, we could have been disgusting.  However, we found a juice bar and really enjoyed the restaurants the cruise had to offer.   One of them, Devinly Decadence, is run by "Biggest Loser" winner and chef, Devin Alexander.  She tailored the menu to ensure nothing is over 500 calories.


Of course, the wine was flowing and deserts were abundant, but a healthy lifestyle didn't have to be sacrificed on this ship.  The Quantum of the Seas is our kind of cruise.

5 Favorites

When traveling there are certain things I always need to have on me.  When traveling Italy and there's a constant flow of red wine, public transportation and long days that turn into even longer nights, the items in my cosmetic case change a bit.  Here's what was constant in every bag throughout my trip.  Whether you're going to the beach for a long weekend or transitioning from work to happy hour, you too, may want to pick some of these up.

H2O Plus Spa Hand and Nail Cream - I never leave the house without hand cream and am kind of obsessed with making sure my cuticles are hydrated.  This one is luxurious and the hydration lasted until the next time I washed.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir  - When used before moisturizer this facial mist acts like a toner and tightens pores.  I carried it around because it also acts like a pick-me-up and smells like a spa.

VMV Hypoallergenics ID Sweat Acne and Overall Anti-Bacterial MonoLaurin Gel - I used multipurpose, lightweight gel mostly on my hands when traveling and using mass transit, but it really helps to prevent acne caused by sweat and occasionally used it on my forehead.  It was 80 degrees some days in Florence.

Go Smile Touch Ups – The red wine was flowing and these Go Smile Touch Ups kept my teeth from being tainted.  They remove surface stains instantly and were super convenient to carry around.

 Neutrogena Revitalizing Lip Balm - Since it has SPF 20 it's one of my favorite lip balms, because not only does it moisturize, but it also protects.  I chose the shade Healthy Blush because it nicely brings out the pink in my lips, but looks completely natural.

When in Florence: Visit the Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

Founded in the early 1200's next to the piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, never mind Europe.  As I ventured on a tour of Florence last week with my family, the guide pointed it out as we passed as if it were just a landmark.  I made it my mission to go back as soon as possible.  The Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella was much more than I could have ever dreamed of!

Dominican monks are credited to starting the pharmacy by creating medications, ointments, balms and preparing medicinal herbs in gardens for the friars in the piazza.  In the 1600's, it became famous and in the 1700's the formulas spread throughout the world.

I entered into what appeared to be more like a museum than your typical European pharmacy.  Filled with fragrances, pomades, waters and balms everything inside was special.  After speaking with one of the sales women who spoke a decent amount of English, I learned that the most coveted product then and now is their rose water.

It was used for medicinal purposes back in the early 1200's.  Plagues and diseases corrupted Florence and people drank the rose water believing it would cure them.  Today, it's one of their best sellers still, as a facial toner.  Of course, I had to buy it and covet every swipe.  The scent reminds me of the rose garden at my villa in Tuscany.

Eat, Pray, Sniff... Exploring the Laura Tonatto Profumi in Rome, Italy

Ciao from Rome!  Our first day here, of course ventured around from Piazza to Piazza admiring scenes like the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps and stopping for liters of wine along the way.  In the Piazza Di Pietra I found myself separated from my family. As they were sipping espresso, I testing my way through the Laura Tonatto Profumi, a boutique owned by Laura Tonatto herself, who created Queen Elizabeth II's signature scent.  Allow me to take you there...

Experiencing each note offered one at a time through an interactive wall by spritzing some of the already blended fragrances and single notes I felt at home. Albi was one of my favorites as it struck a cord with it's spicy note of black pepper blended with fresh lavender.

The store manager was excited to tell me that a scent blended by George Clooney is a big seller and of course I was in awe to find out that Laura Tonatto is also the nose behind some of the Kerastase and L'Oreal Professional fragrances.

As I ventured to the back of the store, I found TVs with headphones attached set up like a museum tour that walked through decades of famous concoctions.  The experience was a beauty-junkie's travel must-do.  You can visit the Laura Tonatto Profumi online boutique to custom blend your fragrance.  After all, you don't want any else having your scent.  Do you?

5 Must-Have Travel Beauty Kits: I'm Packing Them All

Ciao!  I'm off to Italy!  Ten days away gives me a chance to test out new beauty loot and my PR friends were kind enough to send over a bunch of travel sized products to take along.  Even though I'm bringing travel sized products, I still think my suitcase will be overweight, because I'm bringing a ton of them!  As I was packing I fell in love with a few kits that stood out among the rest.  These five are worth taking along whether you're doing a beach weekend, road trip or a serious get-a-way.

Ahava Starter Kit for Men, $18

  • exfoliating cleansing gel
  • foam free shaving cream
  • soothing after shave moisturizer
  • travel bag
*Of course, Joe's bringing his Ray Bans.  I'm obsessed with aviators and often borrow his.  They're a bit big for my face, but it's what I like about this pair.  You can find them here.

VMH Hypoallergenics Vacation Kit, $28

  • Armada Sport 70
  • Armada Lip Balm 60+
  • Essence Clark Wash Hair + Body “Big Softie” Shampoo
  • Id Monolaurin Gel (mattifying anti-acne, anti-sweat-acne skin-cooling gel for face + body)
*This Jennifer Behr headband has been a summer staple of mine since 2007.  Here's a similar one by JB, double roped, just updated.

Cargo Route 66 Road Trip Kit, $34

  • Limited Edition Eyeshadow in Road Trip
  • Texas Liner Liquid Eyeliner
  • Lipgloss in Route 66
  • Travel size 3 Triple Action Mascara
  • Wristlet
*I picked up these metallic gold Penelope Chilvers to wear as we tour the country.  I'm also obsessed with these wedge ones.  They also come in metallic silver, here.  Next purchase!

H2O Sea Marine Must-Haves, $19.50

  • Revitalizing Shampoo and Collagen Conditioner
  • Purifying Shower Cream
  • Triple Butter Body Cream
  • Hand Cream
*I always carry a lightweight summer scarf, because I'm always freezing in air conditioning!

Molton Brown Frequent Traveler, $55

  • Warming Eucalyptus Bath & Shower 
  • Ultrasmooth Coco de Mer Body Lotion 
  • Travel-reviving Cempaka Bath & Shower 
  • Renew Ambrusca Wash & Scrub 
  • Relaxing Yuan Zhi Mist 
  • Skinboost 24hr Moisture Mist

My Cross Country TV Travels... The Real Deal

For the past two weeks I've been traveling the country doing TV segments in many different cities on fall beauty and fashion trends.  It's been such an incredible experience – living out of a suitcase, catching up on work in airports, meeting new people everyday while trying to keep myself looking refreshed and my energy up (the biggest challenge of all). So far I visited everywhere from Florida to Oregon and back again.  Luckily, everything was pretty seamless and I even managed to somewhat adapt to time changes with the help of two of my favorite substances – coffee and red wine.  It's amazing the little things New Yorkers take for granted like having convenience at our finger tips.  Imagine walking around downtown Phoenix for blocks in 104 degree heat in search of a nail salon and never finding one or getting so excited checking into a hotel in Indianapolis to see the word "spa" and realizing it was just a whirlpool.  And taxi cabs?  Forget about it.  This New Yorker doesn't rent cars because clearly she hasn't driven in years and flew her way through three cities in Florida.  It was the only way!

Now, I have one more week to go and will be visiting Dallas and St. Louis.  I can't wait to see what each city has to share as I've never been to any of them and can't wait to see what the news stations are like.  But I will say that after witnessing the country so far, there's no place like home.

*oh and the map above... my dad drew it to keep track of where I'm going.