I Have Vacation Hair, on Birthday Eve

When I used to travel as a kid, especially to Florida, my hair and eyes would change color.

With my nearly black hair under constant vacation sun, and with my hazel eyes that flash green in sadness and anger, it’s not hard to imagine those colorful possibilities. It’s perspective, colored with a little sun and air and change and YOU.

When you travel sometimes you remember all the things you don't want to remember about yourself, but sometimes use it as a chance to effect positive change.

The thing is, you’re different on vacation. It’s different air and water. It’s shared spaces or different shared spaces. I had four siblings as a kid, and have experienced shared bathrooms/bedrooms, but even that is different on vacation. It’s not a rambling, three-story, six-bedroom house to share. It’s often a condo or set of hotel rooms. You’re not in your own element, necessarily, and you don’t have your own elements of beauty and comfort. You’re trying to find space, or to fight for it.

And admit it – you’re also fighting against that vacation hair.

Unless you vacation in the west, in which case your hair is perfect. Or unless you’re one of those people who can achieve perfect salty, beachy waves with all that humidity. My kids have got that down like pros. Vacation hair professionals.

Sometimes, when you’re on vacation, you may slip back into your childhood self – fighting for space, attention, hair gel, and someone to want to walk on the beach with you. One footprint in front of the other. Two sets of footprints, side by side.

It’s endlessly fascinating. You see, I’m someone who can disappear. And I’m someone in bright color too. I’ll never stop searching for answers whether it’s super powers, being an ambivert, the super powers of being an ambivert, fears of abandonment, riding on the cusp between being a Cancer and a Leo, experiencing my father’s death, or growing up with four squabbling siblings – each one trying to carve their own square of happiness, and best position in the minivan/Suburban.

Maybe it’s all perspective, like hair and eyes and humidity, and wrinkled clothes out of a suitcase.

Maybe it’s space and time, and every skin you shed when you grow, and every skin you reattach when you feel threatened. Back into the cocoon, back into the molting, back into the regression, the abyss, the black hole – unable to see just how far and wide and stretched you’ve come. You’ve become. You’re becoming. You’re so colorful sometimes, and you can’t see it.

I remember traveling during those formative preteen years. I’d have my vacation hair (vacation bangs in vacation humidity!) and my not quite right clothing choices – having packed in a haste so as to be done with it – and I’d see other kids my age on vacation. I’d want to say, “I swear I’m cool in real life! I really am!” And they’d probably say back, “Suuuuure you are.” Just kidding. They’d probably shout back, telepathically, “I swear I’m cool in real life too but I’m somewhat freaking out because I have vacation hair and I want to know if my needs are being met, and if I’m being seen, and if I’m being swallowed up by my family in this crowded place, in this new place.” At least, that’s what I now imagine they’d say.

I used to think I was the most awkward, disoriented, fearful human alive. Turns out there’s lots of us. And we’re brave too.

I never actually struggled as much as you might have thought. I always had friends, vacation bangs and all. There’s always been a block – in which it’s hard for me to keep them close and for so long; luckily a few always slip through small filters.

Like tiny insects getting into the screens of our beach house! Only much nicer.

The thing about progress is that it sticks forever, but one small move, one small doubt, and you think it erases everything. I’m learning that they can’t see that. They might see a photographer, or a writer, or both. They might see color and brilliance and vibrancy and talent. I hope they see kindness and inspiration, or have at least once. Maybe they see charisma.

My kids? They see their mama. And nothing going on inside my head erases that.

When you travel sometimes you remember all the things you don't want to remember about yourself, but sometimes use it as a chance to effect positive change.

Even if I see an awkward girl – fading, hideous, incapable.

There’s never been a clear reason to feel this way, although most likely, the reason I do is as clear as day and night. And it’s funny how with vacation hair and vacation thoughts, I can’t see the progress, but I feel it in everything. Like when they sing “Happy Birthday” to me at the dinner table, and smile/entertain my kids while I doze with the new Jennifer Weiner book on my chest. It’s the way I might steal away for ten minutes to get dressed, and Des will say, “Where WERE you for so long?”

So I sneak here to write notes. Both kids come in and silently fold themselves into my embrace. The dog does too.

The thing is, I’m not invisible. I’m just partly hidden sometimes.

And I can’t wait to figure out how to make that feeling – and not myself – grow smaller and dimmer in the rearview mirror.

These are all iPhone photos, and camera phones shall follow.. one day(ish).

Can you relate?

Road Trip Snacks: Top 5 DO’s

Going on a road trip this summer/fall? Instead of committing any snack DON'TS, follow these top 5 Snack DO's for a great family trip #ad #BetterSnacks #clvr

Hey, you! Going on a road trip this summer? We’re packing for ours TODAY!

That’s right – tomorrow, the sands and sails of Cape Cod will welcome us with open arms. And we shall make the kinds of summer memories that my kids will one day tell their grandkids – “When I was your age, I had to sit in a car for FIVE hours to get to the beach house!” And yes, it’s true. Even though we’re traveling within the same state, it can take up to five hours when you factor in Mass Pike traffic, Cape Cod traffic, and bathroom stops. Luckily, we don’t have to stop for snacks! We have that covered in true fashion. As one can only have covered on such long trips and with such hungry family members!


This is where summertime memories are built – around campfires, in beach houses, in the sand, (unfortunately) in the car, and around yummy crunches of road trip snacks. We pack them for the car ride AND the beach house, which is especially helpful for snack breaks at the beach and roaming the beach towns. Now first, I introduce our favorites – delicious new Snyder’s-Lance snack packs. These are perfect for our home on-to-go lifestyle, and our travel on-the-go lifestyle too!

It’s rewarding to have the whole family snacking better with great-tasting, high-quality ingredients.


There’s a variety pack for everyone to love!

Premium Variety

Snyder’s of Hanover® Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces
Kettle Brand® Backyard Barbeque® Potato Chips
Cape Cod® 40% Reduced Fat Original Potato Chips
Late July® Nacho Chipotle Tortilla Chips

Non-GMO Variety

Cape Cod® 40% Reduced Fat Original Potato Chips
Late July® Nacho Chipotle Tortilla Chips
Snyder’s of Hanover® Mini Pretzels and
Kettle Brand® Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

Small Batch Kettle Chip Variety

Kettle Brand® Jalapeno Potato Chips
Cape Cod® Original Potato Chips
Kettle Brand® Backyard Barbeque Potato Chips
Cape Cod® Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips

Gluten Free Variety

Snyder’s of Hanover® Gluten-Free Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Sticks
Snack Factory® Minis Gluten Free Original Pretzel Crisps®
Late July® Jalapeno Lime Tortilla Chips
Cape Cod® Original Potato Chips

They are the perfect on-the-go snack for any occasions, including summer road trips, beach weekends, picnics, outdoor concerts, team sports, study breaks, and so much more! It’s so hard to pick a favorite but mine is the Late July® Nacho Chipotle Tortilla Chips from the Non-GMO Variety. Scarlet and Des favor the Cape Cod® Original Potato Chips from the Gluten Free Variety. And of course, when traveling to Cape Cod, that makes sense! The single-serve size allows for portion control and travel convenience. These are flavorful snacks for the whole family – with something for everyone.

And now, of course, my top 5 DO’s for road trip snacks:

1 – Bring simple items that don’t require refrigeration.

2 – Bring spill-proof cups for young children, as well as wet wipes.

3 – Enlist your kids’ help to pack and label their snacks/lunches. It makes them feel important and inspired!

4 – Bring fruits and vegetables in different shapes, colors, and textures.

5 – DO skip the sugary, messy snacks!

Snyder’s-Lance are available in-store at major retailers and at their online store, HERE.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.