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This is the Ostrich Pillow. You can get one of these and wear it on a plane. Seriously.  Photo by Kevin Hale on flickr

This is the Ostrich Pillow. You can get one of these and wear it on a plane. Seriously.
Photo by Kevin Hale on flickr

One of absolutely most important parts of traveling with pain is sleep. To manage my pain on the road, I must must MUST get enough sleep every single night.

I ran across this article in the New York Times today. The author tried out a number of supposedly sleep-enhancing apps and products. While the article is very smart-phone-and-tablet-app heavy, it’s also got a few serious sleep masks and funky pillows mixed in towards the end.

I haven’t tried any of these products. And I won’t be trying the apps–I wear earplugs to sleep, even at home, and they work for me. But I may give the masks a whirl. And if I’m ever feeling really brave/uncaring of how ridiculous I look, I might try the Ostrich Pillow for the humor value.

Have you tried any of these products? If yes, what did you think?

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pajama jeansLast week, on a marathon shopping trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, I saw a display of Pajama Jeans. I’ve been meaning to try the silly things out for a while so I could write about it here.

So without further ado–the Travels With Pain review of Pajama Jeans!

Material

The fabric of the Pajama Jeans really wasn’t what I was expecting. It’s stiff–more jeans-like and less pajamalike than I’d envisioned. I definitely couldn’t and wouldn’t sleep in these by choice. On the other hand, they’re soft and stretchy enough to wear on a plane trip or a road trip.

The box claims that the fabric is something new and special called Dormisoft(tm). The inner tag claims that Pajama Jeans are 95% cotton and 5% spandex. Whoopee.

Fit

I like the fit of the Pajama Jeans, for the most part. I bought a Small based on the size of my waist (which I am not publishing here–so there). They fit true to size, though I find them to be fairly tight through the thighs and rear. They definitely gave my behind a nice-looking lift, the way a good pair of women’s jeans is supposed to.

On the other hand, the waist is stretchy and does not dig in when I sit down and when I contort into funny positions to try to get them to dig.

Style

I’m not in love with the Pajama Jeans style. The stitching at the waist looks kinda funky–more like pajamas than like jeans. Which makes me hesitant to wear these pants to work or out and about on a travel day. I might wear them with a long sweater or tunic-style top, but not with any top I’d tuck in or as part of an outfit that would show off the funky-looking waistband.

Pajama Jeans don’t have front pockets. I know that this is a current fashion trend in women’s jeans, but it drives me up a tree. I need those pockets. Especially when I’m traveling–I put things in those pockets, darn it!

After an Hour

After an hour of wearing the Pajama Jeans, I was ready to shed them and get back into my yoga pants.

The Bottom Line

Pajama Jeans = Meh

I’ll wear them again, and I do think they’ll make decent travel pants. I probably won’t wear them to work. I certainly will not wear them to bed as jammies if I’ve got any other options. I probably won’t buy another pair until/unless they make some styling changes.

 

Photo (c) Pajama Jeans(tm)

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The Imperfect Traveler's Guide to Traveling With PainLooking for a gift for those people in your life who’s got chronic pain? How about the caregivers and spouses of people with hidden disabilities that make life a little bit harder–conditions like lupus, MS, diabetes, endometriosis, Crohn’s Disease, or cancer.

Get them each a copy of The Imperfect Traveler’s Guide to Traveling With Pain. This slim volume with the friendly letters on the cover can help people with all sorts of hidden disabilities out of their homes and enjoying great vacations. Traveling With Pain, which includes a lot of info that’s not in this blog, can take a new traveler with pain from dreaming of a trip to planning and packing, through the airport and rental car counter, past the hotel reception desk, and out to the beach or the mountain or the lake or the downtown shopping area.

The paperback, which runs only about 100 pages so that it doesn’t weigh a traveler down, costs $16.99.

For Kindle and Nook users, my publisher has a clue and provides a genuine bargain: all the same content for $3.99 (Kindle) and $4.99 (Nook). Younger travelers with pain who use iPads and iPhones can run a Kindle app to read the book. Because it doesn’t have bunches of graphics, it reads fine on handheld devices.

Valuable for years to come, The Imperfect Traveler’s Guide to Traveling With Pain is a gift that keeps on giving. For one thing, it’s filled with useful information rather than clichés like “the gift that keeps on giving.”

Oh, and when you buy Traveling With Pain, you’re supporting this blog and making possible the publication of new Imperfect Traveler’s Guides.

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Moon California & prescriptions

My big ol' pile of properly labeled prescription bottles. Plus a not-so-smartphone and a guidebook

“Leaving home at home” is fashionable for travelers right now.

But I can’t drop my pain in a corner of my bedroom and leave it there when I walk out the door. (Oh, how I wish I could!) Without some basic self-care gear, my pain will spike and ruin my trip.

Here’s a list of a few items that help make a traveler with pain not just more comfortable on the road, but able to hit the road at all.

Essential Packing List for Traveling With Chronic Pain on Matador

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Pile of jeans

We've all got to choose the pair that feels great and pain-free

So one of the sponsor/exhibitors at BlogHer 2011 was Lee Jeans. I went up to their reps on the expo floor and asked the Big Question:

“I’ve got chronic pelvic pain, and jeans dig into all the wrong places, especially when I sit for a long time. Airline flights especially. But I love jeans. Do you have any that you think I could wear on the road and still be comfortable?”

One of the booth workers…wait for it…had an answer for me!

She told me that I needed to look for a lightweight fabric–much lighter than the typical Levi’s 501 heavy-duty denim. She handed me a pair of Lee Skinny Jeans and had me feel the fabric. In fact, it was lightweight and very soft. Not Pajama Jeans soft, but much softer than most denim.

Next she told me that the Skinny Jeans will work because they stretch a lot. Stretch jeans don’t dig in.

She was 100% right, and did a great job of describing why I love my one pair of skinny jeans more than all the others. Mine are White House Black Market, very light and flexible denim-y fabric, and have enough Lycra in them to make them stretch way, way out. I wear these jeans when I travel. The waistband is minimally stitched, NOT riveted, and doesn’t dig in. They’re not quite as comfy as yoga pants, but they look good and they don’t hurt.

Not everybody likes the look of skinny jeans. But the same rules for looking for comfy jeans still apply:

  1. Lightweight material
  2. Soft material
  3. Wide waistband
  4. Rise that puts the waistband where it won’t dig into your most sensitive spots
  5. Minimal stitching at the waistband and inseam
  6. Minimal rivets, belt loops, or other decorations
  7. A relaxed fit (which isn’t the same as “relaxed fit” style) when sitting down–nothing so tight anywhere on your body that it squeezes or digs
When I find a style and brand of jeans that works for me, I stick to it like glue.
What’s your experience? What style and brand of jeans works for you? Do you wear them traveling?
Disclaimer: I’m not on the payroll for Lee, White House Black Market, or any other retailer. I have received no products, payment, or other consideration for writing this post. All opinions are my own.
* Photo by mbtrama on flickr

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Imperfect Traveler's Guide to Traveling With Pain cover

Haven't purchased a copy yet? Now's a great time--Traveling With Pain can help you make your summer vacation much comfier!

It’s a good week!

This Sunday, July 3, I’ll be featured in an interview on TravelTalkRadio. I talk with lovely and fabulous host Sandy Dhuyvetter about The Imperfect Traveler’s Guide to Traveling With Pain, what inspired me to write a book and a blog about traveling with pain, and why I decided to keep traveling after the pain began. (It’s fun, that’s why!)

The book is also featured as the Read of the Week on Tripatini.com, a travel social media site that features a bunch of awesome travel writers.

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At long, long last, the web site for The Imperfect Traveler is live:

http://imperfecttraveler.com

It’s small and simple so far, but look for it to grow as I add new pages and pieces to it. Most importantly right now, The Imperfect Traveler’s Guide to Traveling With Pain will be released on April 15. I’m so excited–this will be the first travel book written specifically for people with chronic pain. Please consider buying a copy! The book contains lots of new and different information–it is NOT just a copy of posts from this blogs. It’s a quick, easy read, lightweight and handy to carry while traveling. It’s also perfect for the back of the john. I don’t mind, so long as you’ll buy it!

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