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I'm Melissa!

A Food Network chef + mama obsessed with travel, and mouth watering food. I also own a gorgeous cooking school in Italy. My mission? To share the secrets of La Dolce Vita so you can create a healthy, beautiful, delicious life filled with joy!


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I’ve spent a lot of time in the air and living out of suitcases. Nothing brings me more joy than visiting a foreign country and exploring new and exciting places and trying delicious food.

But no matter where I go in the world…There are a few items you will always find in my luggage.

Here’s the stuff I never leave home without.

And most of these are faves I’ve used for decades from brands I know and trust.

I have rounded up my must-pack essentials. Give them a try and let me know if you love them as much as I do.


If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know I’m a wannabe mermaid. I spend hours swimming in the ocean and pool. But I struggle with melasma. So I was over the moon when my dermatologist introduced me to Tizo 18 years ago. I’ve been using their tinted Zinc sunscreen and primer every day since. It doubles as makeup and the salmon color conceals the brown spots. The best part is it is waterproof for hours. My whole family uses their sunscreens and I love their foaming cleanser, moisturizer, and PM restore.


The water is my favorite place to work out, think, meditate and manifest. And it is also the place I go to listen to chapters of my books, new podcasts, music, or meditations. I just load the sound files onto my finis duo and the sound waves travel through the water so I can swim and listen. You are going to love these waterproof audio players.


I’ve been taking this line of cold-pressed fruit, vegetable, and berry blends every day for the past 15 years. They make such a difference to my energy levels and overall health. I swear by them. The company was founded 50 years ago, way before juicing was a thing.

As parents, we want to make sure our children’s growing bodies and minds are getting all the nutrition they need. Juice Plus is committed to helping you bridge the gap between what your family should eat, and what they are eating, every day. They’ll send your kids free capsules at no extra charge along with your order. It’s hands down the easiest and most effective way to get more fresh produce into your family.


I love this 100% cotton robe. It’s relaxed and so comfy and breathable. I love the tie waist and 2 pockets. It makes me feel like I am in a 5-star resort no matter where my travels take me.


I love this lightweight travel mat. I can throw it down in my hotel room or overlooking some gorgeous view and flow through some sun salutations, meditate, do some pilates or just stretch my tired aching muscles.


I always make sure to stay hydrated on the plane and when trekking around a new place in the sweltering heat. This bottle goes everywhere with me and keeps me hydrated at all times. Cause drinking enough water really is the best beauty and weight loss secret. It flushes all the toxins and makes your skin will glow.


I love this lightweight cross-body backpack. It’s big enough to hold your phone, water, camera, purse, and sunglasses. And it frees up your hands so you can explore, hike, and enjoy the sights.


I love using these cubes to organize clothes. That way I don’t need to unpack the entire case when I am looking for something. They make your suitcase more compact and separate cosmetics, clothing, and technology. The mesh tops make it easy to identify what is inside each cube. They’re total game-changers. Once you try them you’ll question how you ever traveled without them.


This travel voltage converter has plugs for every country in the world. I love that this set has multiple ports so it’s ideal for charging all your devices at the same time.


I’m a huge book nerd, so this is the easiest way to bring as many books as I can on a trip without adding tons of extra weight to my luggage. I never travel without it. Before I leave I load it with a mix of romance, murder mystery, and inspirational titles and I make sure it’s charged at all times so I can always get my reading fix.


I love this gorgeous straw hat by Janessa Leone. I get compliments on it all the time and it protects my face and makes me feel a little like Sophia Loren.


Once the vacation is over the pictures and memories are the only things that remain. So I make sure that my camera is with me wherever I go so I can capture all the action, food, and gorgeous places we discover. I know one day Jade will be able to look back on all our amazing holidays and share the photos and stories with her children.


This was my favorite game as a kid. In South Africa it was called “Tile Rummy” but no matter the name it’s a Mayo holiday staple. We will pull out this set and play game after game wherever we are in the world. And Jade is the all-time champ. It’s also a great way to teach young kids math.


When Saul first gifted me these a few years ago I choked at the price. I just couldn’t fathom how he justified spending so much on a set of headphones. But then I hopped onto an International flight and was amazed at the way they canceled out all the cabin and airplane noise.

I’ve even used them a few times when Jade is having an all-night party and man do they work. They sync to Bluetooth so you can listen to music, movies, and audiobooks on your phone and PC. I can’t imagine traveling without these babies. And they are a great gift for any globetrotter.


I love my sunnies. And Rayban makes the coolest functional eyewear around. I’ve had mine forever cause they are made to last. And I can look stylish and protect my eyes at the same time with quality lenses.


I love this all-natural sleep aid when I am dealing with jetlag. It’s non-habit forming and reset the body’s internal clock by helping you fall and stay asleep.

So there you have it. A list of my all-time favorite travel finds.

Comment below and let me know if there is anything I missed.

Safe travels. Wishing you a magical journey where ever you wander.

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I'm Melissa, your host & tour guide.

A Food Network chef, author, mamma, eternal optimist, wannabe-mermaid, spice mixologist, and “dough therapist” (yep, it’s a thing)—

I'm also the founder of Susina Cucina, the gorgeous, Italian cooking school I manifested into my reality. I’m obsessed with Aperol spritzes, travel, and mouthwatering food… especially pizza and pasta.

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Food Netwok Chef, Melissa is dishing up delicious food and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your soul.

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