In my Google Calendar, there’s a little notation for the week of April 22nd. It says in capital letters, “GOING TO CANADA PHOTO CONVENTION. (YOU HAVE TICKETS.)”

      Because, without that notation, I’d probably forget that I’m leaving the country?

      I’ve never been to Vancouver before! I’ve been to Kingston and Ottawa (and passed through Toronto’s airport) but this is a totally different area of the country. I’d never gone to any photography conventions before, despite wanting to crash WPPI in past years — I just never had the leave time while working at the state agency — and it occurred to me that I’d been doing this photography business thing for a while and hadn’t actually been to a large meet-up in a different city before.

      I heard about the Canada Photo Convention sometime last year, and after looking at the lineup of speakers, the early bird price, and finding out that many photographers I looked up to were also going to be attendees, I committed to the ticket.

      Honestly? I’m not sure what to expect. I’ve never been to a convention — and in my 2.5 years of doing this, I’ve only gone to one workshop — so I’m curious to see how much information can be packed into two 13-hour days with 13 speakers.

      One of the things I find to be calming, while I’m anxiously awaiting for something to happen, is to plan out every little thing that could possibly need planning. What book will I read in the airport during my layover? What pieces of my makeup collection will I keep in my carry-on? What meals will I eat while in Vancouver? What clothes should I bring with me?

      makeup and stuff

      So here I am, virtually packing my travel kit. Feel free to gloss over this stuff :) Into my Kate Spade Cobble Hill Leslie bag (yes, I bought a designer handbag for the first time in my life!) I’m planning on packing…

      [Just so you know, I’m linking to a bunch of stuff in this post! Full disclosure: the stuff linked to are affiliate links. Everything else — NARS, Urban Decay, etc. — are just regular links!]

      1. A screw-top pill bottle to store a glob of hand cream [TSA still allows this much, right?] and other odds and ends that usually end up lost in the bottom of a bag.
      2. I’m a believer in my Urban Decay Naked palette, but it’s too bulky to bring with me, so I got this cheapy Physician’s Formula matte basics palette from CVS. I was pleasantly surprised by the pigmentation and butteriness of this drugstore eyeshadow palette and would recommend it to folks who don’t want to shell out $27 for Naked Basics. CVS was having a sale on Physician’s Formula recently and I scored this for 40% off (about $4).
      3. I’m not bringing my bulky DSLRs to Vancouver with me, and instead decided to pick up a Fujifilm X100 as a traveling camera. Now that the X100S is out, people are unloading their used original X100 cameras so that they can upgrade. It’s a sweet little camera, and since I don’t have a personal camera anymore — everything I own is for my business! — and I’m also going to Mexico in May, I thought it was a good time to snatch up one of these beauties.
      4. I love my Revlon Just Bitten lip balm stains — they’re long-lasting, have no taste, and wear better than lipstick. Perfect for travel! I own a few colors but will probably just bring Romantic, my favorite pinky-purple shade.
      5. Passport, of course.
      6. My skin is not the best, so I wear NARS Sheer Matte foundation. I’ve used a lot of foundation brands and found that this one is gentle (MAC broke me out something awful) and provides great medium coverage. I’ll probably plop a glob of this in my screw-top pill bottle to avoid bringing the entire glass bottle.
      7. I love my Tarte blush! I own Dollface.
      8. Eyeshadow primer (I have a travel-sized tube of Urban Decay’s Primer Potion), and
      9. Blinc mascara — I love both.
      10. I read this book, With the Old Breed: at Peleliu and Okinawa, in 2006, loved it, gave it away, and realized I wanted to own it again, so I re-bought it! E.B. Sledge was a Marine who served in the Pacific theater during WWII. If you’ve seen The Pacific, the HBO mini-series, Joe Mazzello plays his part. I recently rewatched The Pacific and am back in a WWII kind of mood…
      11. I just discovered this stuff: Bag Balm. It’s such an un-romantic name and it’s made for vets to put on chapped cow udders… but damn if it isn’t the best hand and foot lotion and lip balm I’ve ever used. I’m used to more humid weather, so I’m a little worried about drying out on the plane, so I’m bringing a little bit of this with me!

      … as well as the usual smart things like gum and a toothbrush, my wallet and perhaps some Canadian dollars.

      I remember a mistake I made when I went on a school trip to Europe in ’06. On the way to the airport, my mother (who was driving me) asked me if I had any money. I showed her my credit card. She immediately told me to pull out all the cash she had in her wallet and exchange it for Euros. It wasn’t much — maybe about $50 altogether — and the entire two-week trip was total hell because (surprise!) a lot of places in Europe still prefer (or require) cash only. My workaround for the trip was to buy groceries at big-chain stores for my classmates with a credit card, and they paid me back with cash so that when we went to cafés and restaurants I wouldn’t be out in the cold. So now I’m wondering if Vancouver is like Austin — debit or credit all the way, baby! — or if the city prefers paper money?

      It’s currently 80 degrees here in Austin, and Vancouver’s high is going to be 60… and its lows will be (gulp) 45. I’m trying to figure out what to pack that will give maximum warmth and flexibility while also not taking up my entire carry-on (because I am not paying the airline to check a bag (she said stubbornly)). We’ll be in a hotel conference hall for most of the time, but I know folks will also go out for lunch and drinks and so on, so I want to be prepared with extra layers! Still working on that bit, though :)

      Any tips? It’s been a while since I’ve traveled!


      Oooo I have to try that Revlon lip balm! I have the Just Bitten marker type stain, but this looks even better! Have a fabulous trip!!

      Awesome! You guys are all great :)

      I live in Vancouver! Bring lots of layers (the dampness can really seep into your bones!), you’ll be fine with credit card for nearly everything (you pay an exchange rate either way – cash or credit – so just go with whatever’s easiest), and be sure to eat sushi here. Good and cheap! If you want any more info about anything email me.

      Pack a rain jacket for sure and lots of thin layers, like a tee, a cardigan, a sweater and a scarf. It’s been a little windy and crazy in the Pacific Northwest the last few days: pouring rain one minute, sunny the next. Don’t bring an umbrella, you don’t need one (and if you must, your hotel can probably loan you one). Bring boots or waterproof shoes of some sort. You’ll see quite a few people wearing boots and tights and skirts, spring is funny. I love Vancouver, there are some good spots to eat on the harbor, and really, the whole place is fab. Enjoy my northern neighbor ;)

      This is a really fun post :) I love traveling! I always pack gum for popping my ears and socks for cold feet in my carry on, plus some snacks. I also pack my stuff in ziplocks and squeeze the extra air out – that way I can fit more into my bag and it’s not such a hassle to unpack and find what I need.

      Don’t forget to call your bank and let them know you’ll be traveling so they don’t lock your card!

      Here are my tips and experiential observations:

      – The banks always have the best exchange rate esp when pulled directly from your account rather than exchanging physical dollars. Wait until you get to Canada and either pull out money from an airport ATM directly in the Canadian Dollar or go to an affiliate bank (like if your bank is Bank of America the affiliate in Canada is Scotiabank) and then draw money from an ATM or inside there.

      – Draw out just enough money for the trip and then you can draw out more if needed. You want to avoid having too much leftover since the exchange rate sucks going backwards as well.

      – Most Credit Cards have an international use fee. The BofA one I had incurred a per transaction international use fee. Avoid CC’s.

      – Pills can be separate from your liquids carry-on quart bag. If you don’t have enough room in your liquids carry-on bag separate that pill tower and put it in another ziploc quart and pull both out.

      – Put your liquids and pills bags in the same pocket you’ll keep your laptop/electronic device or a top quick access pocket in order to speed things along through security.

      – Wear slip-ons for security. Bring socks for the plane (my feet always get cold). My travel outfit is normally a stretchy dress, light sweater cardigan, tights, and slip-ons. I look nice and it’s the most comfortable travel wear I own.

      – Yes, TSA still allows hand cream. Just make sure the amount you’re bringing is less than 3 oz per type of liquid/cream/lotion you bring.

      – Don’t forget sunglasses (even if it’s cold).

      – Pack lot’s of cardigans, tights, maybe a pair of jeans, layer shirts. Easier to fit in a carry-on suitcase. I usually pack like this:

      Have fun! I’ve never been to Canada and I’ve always wanted to go so show me all the things when you get back!!! :-D