What I Used and Loved in Israel (and can’t live without now that I’m back home)

Packing for a two-week vacation that takes you out of your comfort zone is no easy task. The process can make even the most seasoned of travelers feel anxious. So when my inbox was flooded with questions about what I bought and brought to Israel it felt like a good time to make a must have list. And while a list of 15 would be more my speed given my tendency to overpack, for the sake of ease, here’s my true “Top 5.” Not only did I use and obsess over each of them while away in Israel, I continue to reach for them religiously now that I’m back at home.

1. Birkenstocks: If I had to describe my style in a few words, “feminine” is one of the first that comes to mind. I like flirty, sexy, and romantic. Even if I’m cooking in my SoulCycle onesie chances are if you unzipped it, you’d find a pair of lacey pale pink Hanky Pankies underneath Hee Hee Hee shhhhhh…

So I have no earthly idea what possessed me to purchase the following because they are anything but feminine, romantic, or sexy. 

Meet the ugliest footwear on earth that I now own, wear, and cannot live without; all with mixed emotions. For me, Birkenstocks conjure up images of patchouli oil wearing hippies and my beloved Nana Sylvia kneeling in her garden in them as she placed containers of beer out to craftily draw slugs away from her prized flowers. 

On a whim a few days before we left for Israel I ordered these and 24 hours later I stood in my bedroom trying them on in front of Bazz as he laughed and shook his head.

“This is not what I ever thought I’d see you wearing,” he laughed.

“Horrible?” I asked him; I felt a little shy. Even after 14 years of marriage I still wanted to look pretty for him. Feminine, flirty, sexy, romantic. His approval was important to me.

“No, not horrible, they look cute, I like them on you.”

SOLD. They felt like the perfect shoe for Israel. Flat, sturdy, sensible, comfy. And now I’m obsessed. Don’t get me wrong, I doubt you’ll ever see me wearing multiple styles of Birks, and the white leather ones make me taste vomit in the back of my throat when I see a pair, but these golden earthy shearling delights work with my favorite ripped jeans and my Cami NYC tops at night, my go to army green cargo pants with tees during the day, and delicate eyelet tops paired with gauzy ankle length skirts for Shabbat in the desert. I’m not gonna lie, I felt a little bit like Wilma Flintstone in them, but I loved them so much I just ordered them in another color. Yabba Dabba Doo! After all if they’re good enough for Arielle Charnas and Alexa Chung surely they’re good enough for me. The Bee!

2. Megababe Bust Dust: It’s possible that I might have mentioned once or 30,000 times previously that I’m not fond of the heat. On a SoulCycle bike for sure, but after a shower and at a lovely dinner, NO SIR! And while I’m fortunate that I’m not a real sweater, Israel can make a lizard feel sticky from the heat. 

Meet Megababe Bust Dust, the nontoxic, sweet smelling dusting powder in a pump meant to go inside your bra and all over your girls. I didn’t know I needed it either! But Heather McMahan raves about it and I kinda believe her when she talks about sweaty boobs. What better opportunity than a trip to the desert to try it out! Pump! Pump! Dust! Dust! Cool dry girls. You’re welcome! 

3. Natura Bissé ‘The Cure’ Hydro-Gel Toner: I have NEVER been a fan of toner. EVER. Even as a teenager in the 90’s with oily hormonal skin, I always found it to be drying and harsh; making my skin feel as though it has been stripped of all moisture. Until one facial this past August changed my mind, and now I’m completely hooked.

This has become my absolute must use in my daily skin care routine and often I use it twice a day. The best part is while not inexpensive, the bottle is the size of my thigh and shows zero indication of running low even though the writing on the bottle is now almost completely worn away from overuse. This is not your pre teen toner. THIS is youth in a bottle. This gently hydrating gel soothes, tightens, brightens, and leaves my skin soft and shiny.

I am completely into that summery glow-like shine and this delivers it. Even in November. After my skin is washed in the morning I pat dry with a towel and massage a small pump into my face, neck and chest.

From the first pump that my facialist used on me back in August, even with my eyes closed on the table, I immediately fell in love. I cannot get enough of this super clean, almost ocean like fresh smell. My skin drinks in the hydration and 5 minutes later I move on to my other skin care products. My facialist wasn’t kidding; this toner is like pouring your skin a tall glass of water. Ahhhhhhhhhh……

*Note: Don’t freak out! While the packaging has changed, the product is still perfect.

4. Wander Beauty Glow Ahead Face Oil: I have been very fortunate since starting my Instagram account almost two years ago to have my mailbox flooded with products from various companies for me to try. Some are good, some great, some are a total miss. You will only see me talk about the exceptional, the ones that I personally use, consume, and would purchase on my own.

Wander Beauty is one of those companies, and their “Glow Ahead Face Oil” is at the top of my all time favorite beauty products list. EVER. In the summertime I apply it directly to my cheek bones and use my fingertips to massage it into my skin in long upward strokes. Now, in the colder months, I squeeze a dime sized amount of their Dive In Moisturizer into my palm and add a few drops of “Glow Ahead” blending both into my skin using the same upward motion. It’s skin nirvana. Never have I received as many compliments about my skin as when I started using Wander this past spring.

Doesn’t hurt that this women run, women owned company, is filled with the warmest, loveliest humans on the planet. Go ahead and use JULETHEBEE at checkout for 20% off of your Wander purchases on wanderbeauty.com and get excited to glow. 

5. Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm: Did anyone ever tell you that one of the secrets to great skin is never going to bed without washing your face? My mom drilled this into my head growing up and now I’m gonna drill it into yours. It’s amazing to me how many women crash on their pillows without taking the day off of their faces. And here’s the thing; the day, meaning your makeup, pollution, even food (I know, gross) wreaks havoc on your skin and ages your face.

I am a big believer in shaking up my skincare, meaning the cleanser that I use in morning is not the cleanser I use at night. I don’t over complicate, but I do listen to my face. Correct! Your skin tells you exactly what it needs. And even though it means a bit more added weight in my luggage (sorry, Bazz!) I don’t skimp on my skin on vacation. You’re never going to catch me using a heavily perfumed hotel room soap on my face. No matter how nice the room may be.

After Lauryn Evarts of “The Skinny Confidential” told me about Elemis Cleansing Balm I immediately bought it and started using it right away. She’s a lover of the original yellow cleansing balm and while I love that one and use it frequently, my absolute favorite is the pale pink Elemis Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm. I love it so much that I have deemed it schlep worthy on vacation, even a vacation like Israel where we stayed in 3 different hotels over the course of 2 weeks. It’s that good. It goes on like silk, melts away makeup like magic and never dries out your skin or leaves you feeling greasy.

If you’ve followed me for a bit now, you know I always rinse my cleanser away with the help of a baby washcloth. And while I’m not nuts enough to bring my own washcloths (actually this nut bag may start packing them, come to think of it) I do use a hotel washcloth with my Elemis and just make sure to use it a little bit more gently. Now I feel like a clean, dewy, glowy little bee no matter where I am in the world! And you can too!

Xx Bee