Beauty queens help homeless kids in Zimbabwe

What could warm the heart more than seeing beautiful women helping out needy kids?

Samantha Tshuma, recently crowned Miss Tourism Zimbabwe, has been busy donating blankets to street children in the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. She was helped by her second princess Tafadzwa Mugazambi and Miss Tourism Harare Samantha Dika.

Tshuma is also organizing soccer and rugby teams for the kids. She says that Zimbabwe’s thousands of street children are looked down upon and that they deserve our help and respect.

Zimbabwe attracts many tourists because of its famous ancient cities and Victoria Falls, as well as lots of safari opportunities. The fact that Air Zimbabwe made it onto the list of the top ten safest African airlines probably doesn’t hurt either.

If you want to do a bit of giving back while you’re there, the charity Streets Ahead needs volunteers to teach homeless kids arts and crafts. You can read more about it on the Charity Travel blog.

Sadly I couldn’t find any public domain images of the lovely Miss Tshuma for this article, but Zimbo Jam, a Zimbabwean fashion site, has pictures of the beauty queen and her equally stunning princesses.

Air Repair for your travel-weary skin

Air RepairAir Repair Skincare is a relatively new collection of TSA-friendly products for men and women developed by Denise Spanek, a skincare expert with 25 years of experience in the beauty industry. I was lucky enough to receive a set of the products to try, including Rescue Balm (lip balm and hand salve), Facial Mist, Facial Cleansing Milk, Eye Cream and Beauty Balm (face lotion). I took them from NYC to the UK and Austria — there they are in my plastic baggie atop my un-unpacked suitcase — in lieu of any of my usual products.

My Face

For the sake of context: I have pretty good skin. I moisturize daily and use eye cream regularly. Facialists tend to tell me I have an oily T-Zone and dry cheeks (and try to sell me two different lines of products, as if.), but even with combination skin, I rarely get acne. I do, however, come off of most airplanes with clogged pores, which sometimes result in dreaded pimples. I don’t always travel with shampoo, but you’d never catch me without concealer.

The Experiment

To try out the Air Repair collection, I began on the morning of my flight to London by using the Beauty Balm (a “Complexion-Boosting Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid”) and Super-Hydrating Eye Cream. The Eye Cream went on smoothly and delivered a mild firming sensation. The Beauty Balm scared me at first; I thought the formula was too thick for the oily parts of my skin, but it turned out it’s just highly condensed (so the 2 fl oz tube lasts a long time), and when I massaged it into my skin, it was surprisingly light and natural. Neither had a scent. A+ so far.When I was on the plane, I started to get oily/dry as usual. I headed to the lav and reapplied the Eye Cream and the Beauty Balm. They felt fantastic, like a tall drink of water for my skin. I also applied the Rescue Balm to my lips. Unfortunately, it had a strong taste and odor somewhere in the family of Carmex (but different, more herbal/medicinal and less pungent), and I could taste it for quite some time. That part was less than pleasant, but it definitely softened my lips.

When I arrived in London, I reapplied. My skin felt pretty great, I have to say. During my layover (waiting for a flight to Manchester), I spritzed my face with Complexion Quenching Facial Mist. It felt nice — and was definitely part toner. The cool astringent feeling was very refreshing.

I eventually arrived at my final destination (Liverpool), and in the shower I tried the Soothing Facial Cleansing Milk with Chamomile and Arnica Extracts. I wasn’t sure my skin felt completely clean, but it felt soft.

Results

Throughout my various ensuing travels, I continued using just the Air Repair Skincare products. I’m now home, two weeks, seven flights and four train rides later, and pimple-free. I had just one blemish during the trip — but it was right at the beginning, meaning it was probably on its way before I started using the products.

Conclusion

On the whole, I give the collection a B+. The Beauty Balm and Eye Cream are phenomenal, and I will continue using them, even at home. They’re unscented and worked well on both the dry and oily parts of my skin. I’d recommend them for men and women. The Facial Mist is also an A-grade spray. The Cleansing Milk I’m torn about — it didn’t give me a clean feeling, but I didn’t break out, so it must have cleaned my skin as much as it needed to be cleaned. I did find myself exfoliating a little with the hotel towels, just to make sure it was getting into my pores. I give the Cleansing Milk a B. The Rescue Balm for lips worked, but tasted terrible. With my regrets, I have to give that a D+, which really pulls down the average — but there are a lot of better balms out there. I recommend Kiehls Lip Balm #1 with SPF 4 or CO Bigelow’s Mentha Lip Shine/Breath Freshener (mint balm that actually freshens your breath while you moisturize).

The whole Air Repair Kit is just $65, which is an absolute steal. If you just want the Beauty Balm ($28) and the Eye Cream ($29), which I highly recommend and will keep using myself, you can purchase them individually here and here. The Facial Mist is $12, so if you want that, too, it’s actually cheaper to get the whole kit.

Travel-sized everything: 3floz.com

Bag of liquids.3floz.com is a new website featuring the best of what comes in a TSA-approved size.

The site is a collaboration between two travelers with 11 years of experience in the beauty industry, Kate Duff and Alexi Mintz. They used to travel together, and Kate would check a bag with all her beauty products, whereas Alexi would carry her bags on — and then have to borrow Kate’s stuff. This wasn’t an ideal situation, and the two spent hours scouring beauty websites looking for 3oz versions of their favorite products. They didn’t exist.

And so, 3floz.com was born, with a brand list including Air Repair, Anthony for Men, The Art of Shaving, Avalon Organics, Go Smile, and Yes to Carrots. The products range from shampoos and moisturizers to teeth whiteners and facial serums for men and women.

As a frequent traveler myself, I’m delighted to see all this great stuff in one place — I frequently find myself relying on the hotel shampoo and conditioner, even their lotion. Some hotels in Europe don’t even offer conditioner. What is up with that?

The 3floz ladies add that these products can also go in your purse, your locker at the gym or school, your work bag and your car (I would add to that your boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s house). Tiny bottles of your favorite beauty and grooming necessities are helpful. Good thinking, Kate and Alexi.

If you shop at 3floz today or tomorrow (February 9 & 10) and use the code STYLEHOUSE, you’ll get 10 percent off your first purchase. Go there.

With a little luck, 3floz.com may help you avoid the following horror stories from the airport checkpoint…

Photo of the Day (9-2-09)

If life ever gives you the opportunity to drive through Wyoming, do it. Ash Crowe took this shot on a road trip to California, and reminded me of those feelings I’ve had in a car with miles and miles of visible landscape in either direction. There’s a sensation of awe and wonder at the vastness and beauty.

Once, when we were driving through Wyoming, my son looked about and said, “We are the only one here.” Isn’t this sky absolutely gorgeous?

If you have a gorgeous shot you’d like to share, send it our way at Gadling’s Flickr photo pool.

Photo of the Day (7-15-09)

Monday, when we passed through Moab, Utah as part of our Great American Road Trip 2009 from New Mexico to Montana and back, I was hoping to snap such a shot of the glorious scenery. In my dreams. Teewinot, however, took this one near Moab. The view is looking towards Fisher Towers and La Sal Mountains. “sigh” Everyone needs to drive through Utah. It’s simply stunning.

If you have any stunning shots, send them our way at Gadling’s Flickr photo pool. One might be chosen as a Photo of the Day.