Monday, August 31, 2009

JSTD: Snack pack

Two words that are likely to gross you out: plane food. Whether you're dieting or not, airlines don't always provide the best options. Don't hesitate to pack your own healthy treats, especially raw veggies and fruit. Also, check out Hungry Girl's guide to guilt-free travel treats.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


New giveaway: Tepper Jackson Passport Wallet

Tepper Jackson, an oh-so-cool brand of travel and cosmetic bags, is sponsoring my giveaways for September! Their products are deliciously styled with major bursts of color (which you know I love!). Definitely check out their amazing designs.

Since I'm having so much fun giving away cool products to my fellow jet-setters-in-training, I've decided to up the ante. There will be 3 winners for this week's giveaway, and each winner receives 1 Mariposa Passport Wallet. Look how fab it is:

In addition to holding your passport, there are plenty of slots for your credit card and I.D. Very chic.

For this week's giveaway, I'm giving you 5 different ways to enter (max entries = 5):

1. You get 1 entry for leaving a comment below naming your favorite Tepper Jackson design (e.g., Mariposa, Mosaic, etc.).

2. As usual, you get 1 entry for leaving a relevant comment on any of my blog posts. (Spam and single-word comments don't count. And, as usual, comments posted before today don't count.) And not to worry, I receive an e-mail for each comment that's left on any of the posts; plus, Team Ava (my trusty crew) goes through the posts to ensure that we've gathered all of the contestant's names.

3. 1 entry for sending a tweet about the giveaway on Twitter. Be sure to reference my Twitter account - @avapierce - in your announcement so that you receive a bonus entry.

4. 1 entry for following me on Twitter.

5. 1 entry for adding me as Facebook friend.

The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada and ends on Friday, September 4, 2009.

Three winners will be selected using and will be announced on my blog and via Twitter on Tuesday, September 8. You must check the site to see if you've won; all the more reason for you to subscribe via e-mail or RSS! ;o) The winner must contact me by e-mail (ava AT avapierce DOT com) within three days of the announcement to claim their prize. If the winner does not claim their prize within that time period, another name will immediately be drawn for the prize.

Got questions about the giveaway? E-mail me: ava AT avapierce DOT com. Stay fabulous!


Giveaway winners for the Pretty Fly S.O.S. Beauty Kits

Drum roll, please! The two fabulous winners of the Pretty Fly S.O.S. Beauty Kits are...........................................Hurdler4eva and Susan Smoaks!! Each of you will receive 2 kits, as long as you send me your contact info via e-mail (ava AT avapierce DOT com) by Wednesday, September 2, 2009 before 11:59 p.m. ET.

Thanks so much to everyone for participating! I'm enjoying your comments and I hope that you stick around for more of my rants, raves and adventures.

A special thanks to Pretty Fly for sponsoring the giveaway. Be sure to order some S.O.S. beauty kits before your next trip. (They're only $7!)

There are lots more goodies coming so stay tuned!

Peace, love and fantastic adventures,


Friday, August 28, 2009

JSTD: Tailored chic

A neatly tailored jacket is perfect for dressing up most outfits. (Boyfriend jackets, anyone?) Board the plane in SoCal wearing a cute cotton top and jeans. Add a cute jacket when you de-plane in London, and you're ready for a new city, looking as fabulous as ever.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


Mid-life school days

Today's Annoyance: Being older than my professors
Mantra of the Day: I have plenty to teach and much to learn.

Depending on the person, the first day of school can elicit feelings of excitement, anger, fear or apathy. Getting over the first-day hurdle gives way to longer days filled with monotone instructors blathering on about seemingly (and often) useless information, cliques (The Jocks, The Nerds, The Pretty Girls, etc.), peer pressure and piles of homework. It's no wonder that education has such a bad rap.

Most people are more than pleased to leave all that behind after graduating college in their early 20s. Some of us obviously didn't suffer enough. I happen to be one of those people who chose to go back to school in my 30s. Talk about culture shock! Surprisingly, I wasn't the only student over the age of 30. In some ways, it wasn't as bad as I thought; in some ways, it was worse. Overall, do I think that it was the right choice? I'd have to say "yes" because, at the end of the day, I got what I wanted and more. Not only do I have a graduate degree (from a European university, no less!), I also learned a new way of life that I would have never imagined in my wildest dreams. Would you go or have you gone back to school in your 30s or later?

[IMAGE: Courtesy of Getty Images]


Thursday, August 27, 2009

JSTD: The Southwests of the EU

Aside from taking the train from one European city to the next, consider flying one of the local discount carriers, like EasyJet or RyanAir. A friend of mine actually booked a flight on EasyJet from the UK to Nice for £10 (that's around $16)! Keep in mind that they too are beginning to raise luggage fees, and they often use smaller airports that are just outside of the city.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


Climbing social ladders

Today's Annoyance: Snobs
Mantra of the Day: Nouveau riche is better than no riche. - Imelda Marcos

Let's face it. Social climbing has a pretty bad rap. One tends to think of rude, opportunistic people whose every move is strategically planned. We think of the kind of people who'll only talk to you based on the prominence of your family name, the size of your bank account (and related successes), and who you're wearing and/or dating. That pretty much covers a lot of places between Hollywood and the Hamptons.

Some of the bad rap comes from stories such as Will Smith's character in the movie "Six Degrees of Separation" or Baton Rouge-bred, New York socialite Genevieve Jones, who was exposed by a Wall Street Journal reporter in 2006 for lying about her age, upbringing and income sources.

However, social climbing doesn't have to be so...ugly. Professional networking is nothing if not social climbing, n'est-ce pas? I pretty much have the hang of professional networking but, to be honest, social networking sometimes makes me slightly nervous. It seems relatively simple, according to Liz Brewer, publicist to the rich and famous. She advises the upwardly mobile to have a purpose, be genuine and be subtle. Oh, and be sure to send "thank you" notes. (I can handle all of that!)

On a literary note, I've read mixed reviews on Beth Dunn's novel "Social Climbers". Have any of you read it? If so, let me know what you think.

[IMAGE: Courtesy of Beth Dunn]


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

JSTD: Duty-free shopping

Is there a better way to kill time on an international stopover than duty-free shopping? (OK, you're right; chatting up a hot guy ranks slightly higher.) These glorious little havens have great gifts for family and friends (and you!) like jewelry, perfumes, liquor, candy, silk, and more. Be careful though. Although local and national taxes and duties are not applied to duty-free purchases, the products are't always necessarily cheaper than at home.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


Girlfriend getaways and mancations

Today's Annoyance: Not having enough time to hang with my girls
Mantra of the Day: I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them. - Mark Twain

There are few things in life better than hanging with your crew. The food. The gossip. The countless bottles of wine. The ensuing laughter.

One of the coolest girlfriend getaways that I ever experienced was a train ride from Monaco to Lake Como, then on to Milan for some serious shopping. Fun, fun, fun! We had a backpack with food, loads of fashion mags, and tons of gossip to share. I've had a bunch of other cool trips, too. The Napa Valley trip, which involved wine (of course) and lots of spa time. The New York trip (before I lived there) which included a Broadway show, cannolis in Little Italy and a ridiculous amount of shopping. The Barcelona trip which brings back memories of cute guys along Las Ramblas and a flamenco performance. Hiking and a luau in Hawai'i. Oh yeah, how could I forget partying around the clock in Miami?! And most recently, there was the Las Vegas trip. If you're familiar with the Las Vegas slogan ("If it happens in Vegas,..."), you know that I can't tell you what happened. (wink, wink)

Thankfully, the travel industry is creating more packages that cater to girlfriend getaways and "mancations". (That word just makes me laugh!) If you're planning a trip for your fellow divas or dudes, check out these sites: Travel Channel, Girlfriend Getaways, Holiday Golightly, and

I'd love to hear about some of your group getaways! Where'd you go and what were your fondest memories from the trip?

[IMAGE: Courtesy of Getty Images]

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

JSTD: Bargain like a pro

Haggling seems to come natural to some people. And since it's pretty common in a lot of countries, a jet-setter-in-training needs to hone her skills so that she can stretch her budget. For those of us who struggle with haggling, the trick is to set the price that you're willing to pay, be prepared to pay in cash, stay calm, be polite and reasonable, and be willing to leave without the item. Lastly, if the item is fairly popular, check the prices at several nearby vendors before making your final decision.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


Ava's Faves: Dinner Parties

Today's Annoyance: Incompetent caterers
Mantra of the Day: Find me a man who's interesting enough to have dinner with and I'll be happy. - Lauren Bacall

Hosting a dinner party is wonderfully exhausting. Every element excites me, from the invitations to the menu, selecting a great theme, deciding what to wear, making the seating arrangements, choosing the music, stuffing the goodie's all pure bliss to me. Good food and drink, meeting new people and great conversation. These are the things that truly make life fabulous!

[IMAGE: Courtesy of Getty Images]


Monday, August 24, 2009

JSTD: For the vegetarian jet-setters

I have few dietary restrictions (no pork, no onions, and no foods that look ugly) but I have several vegetarian and vegan jet-set friends. Although most restaurants have vegetarian dishes, here are a few sites that cater to the veggie-loving road warriors of the world: Happy Cow's Vegetarian Guide and the International Vegetarian Restaurants Guide.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


Jet set life on the D-list? Maybe, maybe not.

Today's Annoyance: That nothing comes without risk.
Mantra of the Day: The beauty about the D-list is that people who are on it probably don't know they are. - Kathy Griffin

A few weeks ago when I was still Stateside, I watched a portion of an episode of comedienne Kathy Griffin's reality show, "My Life on the D List". I reached the conclusion that I'm most likely a D-list jet setter (for now!). However, her life makes the D-list look pretty good. Have you seen her house in the Hollywood Hills? Not bad!

Anyhoo, here are some of the challenges that us D-list jet setters are likely to deal with on a regular

1. Wardrobe disasters. "That blouse is so two seasons ago." "Darling, surely you had time to change before tea, n'est-ce pas?" "So, who are you wearing? Is it a new designer?" A jet setter has to be fabulous at all times. All the more reason to opt for classic styles versus five-minute trends, and accessorize with loads of attitude. ;o)

2. $€£¥...Money, moolah, dinero, l'argent. You get the drift. Life can be interesting when you've got private jet dreams and a Southwest Airlines budget.

3. Running into walls of exclusivity. That's right, ladies and gents. A limited pedigree and a non-existent trust fund can be a bit of a problem. But, a la New York socialite Genevieve Jones, there is nothing to hold back a woman on a mission. No gatekeeper will stop me from reaching my goal.

4. Unending small talk. Party banter has never been one of my strong suits. Don't get me wrong; I'm a regular chatty Kathy when I'm hanging with my girls (and, of course, my fabulous gay boyfriends). But, in a mixed group, I have been known to become quite the tongue-tied wallflower. And don't let an attractive guy give me the eye; my sense of speech completely evaporates.

5. Commercial travel. 'Nuf said.

I would add time management to the list but A-listers have the same 24 hours in a day that we have. Alas, so many cities to visit, friends to catch up with, parties and events to attend. Look out world!

[IMAGE: Courtesy of Getty Images]


New giveaway: Pretty Fly S.O.S. Beauty Kits

Today's Annoyance: Looking and feeling gross when I de-plane
Mantra of the Day: There's nothing like "a bit of calm and sanity" for the consummate traveler.

Even if you're in business or first class, lengthy flights can be grueling on the mind, body and complexion. And thanks to a handful of crazed fliers with super-bad intentions, we can no longer schlep our complete makeup kits onto the plane. Well, thank goodness for Katherine and Maggie @ Pretty Fly! The two jet setters have come up with natural, single-serving beauty kits to help us look fabulous when we de-plane. Each passport-sized kit contains Renewing Orange Blossom Soap, Restoring Grapefruit Dry Shampoo, Replenishing Lime Lip Balm, and Refreshing Lemon Zest Lotion.

There will be 2 winners for this giveaway, and each winner receives 2 Pretty Fly kits. See the rules below.


1. 1 entry for leaving a relevant comment on any of my blog posts. (Spam and single-word comments don't count. And, as usual, comments posted before today don't count.)

2. 1 bonus entry for sending a tweet about the giveaway on Twitter. Be sure to reference my Twitter account - @avapierce - in your announcement so that you receive a bonus entry. (There's a maximum of 2 entries per person for this giveaway.)

3. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada.

4. The contest will end on Friday, August 28, 2009.

5. One winner will be selected using and will be announced on my blog and via Twitter on Monday, August 31. You must check the site to see if you've won; all the more reason for you to subscribe via e-mail or RSS! ;o) The winner must contact me by e-mail (ava ATavapierce DOT com) within three days of the announcement to claim their prize. If the winner does not claim their prize within that time period, another name will immediately be drawn for the prize.

E-mail me with questions about the giveaway: ava AT avapierce DOT com. Bonne chance, mes amies!

[IMAGE: Courtesy of Pretty Fly]


Friday, August 21, 2009

JSTD: When a hotel just isn't enough

Some jet-setters just need more space than a hotel room or suite provides. When the need arises, there are several sources to find the right apartment, home, villa or chateau for your vacation. Try Interhome, Otala, WhereToStay, and Zonder.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


Swiss Fish

Today's Annoyance: That I have confused the meaning of the word efficiency for making life easier.
Mantra of the Day: Gold fish crackers are just as good as the real thing.

I am currently in Switzerland on what I like to call the "Ava Pierce World Tour". This tour is nothing official or anything. I'm just trying to make the world a better place by sharing my presence with as many people as possible. (hehehe - No, I could never take myself that seriously.)

Since I've been country-hopping as of late, I decided to have something familiar with me to add to my hotel room, which are all starting to look the same. Believe it or not, I'm searching for a gold fish. I was staying at a hotel in Chicago a few months back (Hotel Monaco) and they supplied every room with a goldfish for the length of your stay. The staff took care of it so it was no trouble to maintain, but it was such a nice touch that I started to get attached to the fish. He was my travel companion for the few days that I was there and I ended up being much sadder to leave than I care to admit.

Now that I'm in Zurich with some free time, I decided to buy a goldfish. Since I'll be traveling to my next few destinations by train, it would be cool to have a little pet that doesn't require the same upkeep as a dog. I searched the Internet for a local pet shop that sells them, but when I arrived, not only had it started to pour down with rain, they didn't have any goldfish, or fish of any kind for that matter. They referred me to another shop twenty minutes down the road and by this point, I was determined not to return back to the hotel with a fish in tow. When I got there, they did have fish, but no small fish bowls to put them in. When I asked about buying one, they said that they would only sell me a goldfish if I had a completely kitted out tank that was at least a meter long. Well, since this was apparently the only place in town that sells both fish and tanks, I could only buy the fish and not a home for him to sleep in. Fun.

Whatever happened to making the customer happy? When I was a kid, getting a goldfish just seemed so much simpler. I assumed that efficiency meant making your life easier, but I guess that is not always the case.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

JSTD: Take a piece of home with you

Bring something that reminds you of home - a favorite bottle of perfume, a scented candle or a framed picture of a loved one - to help take the edge off of constant travel.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


The ins and outs of oenology

Today's Annoyance: Drunken stupors
Mantra of the Day: What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile. - William Sokolin

WTF? Yeah, I had no idea what "oenology' meant either. It refers to "the study of wine and wine-making". I learned that in my search for an international protocol school.

Anyhoo, if you love wine or if you kinda like it but want to learn more, check out They have an amazing wine database and lots of forums where you can pose wine-related questions to other people, from beginners to experts.

[IMAGE: Courtesy of Snooth]

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

JSTD: Where art thou, o wireless?

Serious jet-setters are connected to the right people and the right technology. For the technology connection, we require constant wireless access. And to find that access anywhere on the globe, we have great tools like WiFinder and WifiFreespot. iPhone users can download Jiwire's cool app.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


Ava's Faves: Trina Turk

Today's Annoyance: Mediocrity
Mantra of the Day: Don't just look for rainbows. Be the rainbow!

It can never be said that designer Trina Turk shies away from color. Every one of her collections bursts with beautiful hues and classic style. Long live Trina Turk!

[IMAGES: Courtesy of Trina Turk]

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

JSTD: Waist monitor

African waist beads are a great way to monitor your weight while traveling and when you don't have access to a scale.

Jet Set Tip of the Day sponsored by:


Beads saved my waistline

Today's Annoyance: That tasty restaurant food can make you fat.
Mantra of the Day: I will not be a statistic quoted at fat camp.

We all know how hard it is to save your waistline from complete ruin when you're perpetually on the road. I've made a little discovery that may help us. Technically speaking, it is not my discovery, any more than Christopher Columbus "discovered" America when there were already people happily living there for hundreds of years before he arrived.

A few years ago, a friend of mine who was traveling through different parts of Africa brought back a simple souvenir that she passed out to all of her friends. They were a single strand of beads, each a different color and the strands were varying lengths. The idea behind it was that you take the strand of beads and put it around your waist, underneath your clothes. Even though they are cute and stylish, they are meant to be kept in the unmentionable category of your wardrobe. Wearing these beads day in and day out provides a great barometer for how your weight may or may not be fluctuating. If the beads start to get a little tight, you might want to skip dessert.

For me, it has been great since I am almost always traveling and do not always have access to a scale (especially one that gives my weight in pounds). Also, I'd rather not obsess over the numbers. (OMG, I can't believe that I'm 124 pounds today when I was only 121 yesterday!! Whatever.) Plus, if you've been working out, it is a good way to tell if you are losing inches and not necessarily pounds.

Last but not least, they're really ultra sexy!

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