Breaking with the Bad: Beauty Break Essentials

Packing is overwhelming. That goes without saying, especially the week before Reading Week when our daydreaming of beach destinations conflicts with a seemingly punitive amount of midterms. Most of us are seasoned packers – though we may not realize it. I’m not referring to backpacking across Europe. Past experience tells all in our weekend getaways to visit friends at other universities or even trips back to Toronto, Ottawa, or wherever home is. The experience is there in shoving all our essentials into our weekend duffel bag.

Though we may be girls with an excessive amount of shoes, accessories, and clothes, we are also single-handedly resourceful in limiting our Reading Week wardrobe to the bare essentials. From matching bikinis and versatile tops, we already know the obvious items that will accompany us on Reading Week. Thus, my list will avoid redundancy and will have a femininely focal aim in reminding girls what not to neglect. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but at least a few suggestions that will get you thinking about some overlooked items that girls tend to forget about. 

1. Sunglasses are practical and fashionable. They are inarguably a staple on a girl’s must-pack list. Though they may seem an accessory, sunglasses have many practical functions. Reducing our tendency to squint unattractively in the sun and helping to decrease our chances of frown lines are two of the perks of covering our eyes. More importantly, they protect us from harmful UV rays. Not to mention the very useful coverage of another kind; they allow discrete boy-watching, while also building an aura of mystery around ourselves to others, keeping our fatal embarrassment or social awkwardness hidden.

Why bring an inexpensive pair? For starters, the locals will hardly appreciate your sophisticated taste in expensive luxury items. You’ll also save yourself the heartbreak when an unexpected wave washes over your head and steals them from you. Actually, this happened to my co-worker’s new Gucci sunglasses when she was in high school and she still repeats this story with heartache. Save yourself the guilt and regret if and when your precious pair of sunnies go missing from your hotel room or sandy beach towel, especially considering our tendency to be a little forgetful of our personal belongings when inebriated.

2. SPF everything is quite the compact term. What do I mean by SPF everything? Ensure that all skin products are helping to minimize the harmful damage of UV rays. An often neglected source of sun damage: our lips. Chapped lips are incredibly unattractive in every season, but definitely one of the easiest avoidable problems. Pack one of these SPF loaded beauties:

Girls often take their skin for granted and neglect their beauty regime on spring break. Embarking on a week-long bender does not belie the fact that harmful damage can be done at the foolish cost of a much wanted tan. In other words, wear sun screen. You’ll thank yourself later. Considering the fact that there are so many options of sunscreen out there, it seems unnecessary to do your skin any damage. To avoid the greasy or oily effect of body sunscreen, opt for a tinted moisturizer. Look for products that don’t clog your pores and try to test them out a week before your trip.

3. Rollerball perfume – these little vials are lifesavers in terms of personal hygiene. Convenient to carry in the smallest bag and essentially weightless, they provide a much needed scent refresher. Apply them directly to the skin, especially at pulse points such as the base of the neck, inner elbow, both wrists, and behind the knees. Dab a little on both wrist and avoid the urge to press them together as you’ll bruise the original smell. Always let the scent dry. Remember, scent is a powerful thing. Mood changing and memory imprinting – they can essentially leave a lasting impression on the cutie by the poolside. One cautionary note: Learn to control the amount you dispense because no one wants a scent to be too overpowering.

Some other considerations: Disposable cameras – obviously the advantages are plenty for a digital camera, especially when uploading pictures to our various social media platforms can be accomplished in a few clicks. Yet, a disposable camera is the essential and foolproof backup. Opt for a waterproof camera and take underwater shots at the beach. At least one sweater – Bring at least one long-sleeved article of clothing because no matter where you are, the temperature inevitably will be cooler in the evening. Bring a cover-up that will keep you warm after your well spent time in the water. Light-weight dress shirts work wonders, actually any fabric that isn’t heavy when semi-damp is ideal.

What You Shouldn’t bring:

1. Textbooks – need I explain this one? I’ll just issue a quick reminder that peer pressure will inevitably force your textbook to become a doorstopper. Not only that, but you are just bringing yourself closer to the airline’s weight limit. Make room for the much needed tacky souvenirs for your friends and forget your textbook at home – where it’s better off staying.

2. Jewelry – Bring along your fun, beady necklace as long as the weight isn’t compromising for your luggage limit. However, leave your precious metals at home because your spring break getaway is all about relaxation. Bringing delicate and fine jewelry jeopardizes your chances at carefree tranquility. Nothing cuts the fun short more than having to rummage endless mounds of sand for your lost pair of pearl earrings.

3. Multiple footwear – The mentality that you can never have too many shoes proves false on this occasion. Shoes have a selfish tendency to take up a lot of valuable room space. Do yourself a favour: Flat sandals over wedges. Beach weather calls for a relaxed wardrobe. Play down the footwear and opt for sandals that are both fashionable and functional. Plus, we wouldn’t want your favourite wedges potentially ruined by the salt from the sea water or by any unfortunate coke and rum (or margarita or strawberry daiquiri etc.) spills.

Compared to six consecutive weeks of lecture, your vacation will inarguably feel like a rush of freedom, a time to catch your breath, and an excusable negation of responsibilities. Yet, one of the most essential reminders I can provide is a cliché. I’ll throw a cliché out there because of its resonance: Have no expectations. Often disappointment predicates itself on the bucket list people create for themselves with overarching goals to achieve fun in a dozen daring ways. By fourth year, the confidence is brimming. Self-assurance over your alcohol tolerance catalyzes with reckless abandonment, especially in the days leading up to Reading Week; we build the ultimate expectation of the last and final Reading Week as the end-all of vacations.

Take what your long deserved break rewards you with. Don’t place yourself in an anxious state trying to compensate for your last Reading Week. Divest yourself of the accumulated stress from the last six weeks and know the end of the undergraduate road is nearer with each Reading Week. Think of Reading Week as a marker – that half-way point to summer and this notion should eclipse the dread of pre-Reading Week midterms.

Happy packing – I know it will be all last minute.

Yours Creatively,

Jessica Chong, Online Contributor 

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