Traveling Under Pressure: Tips from Tranquil Tuesday’s Charlene Wang

Story by Anna M. Park

Charlene Wang knows what it’s like to be on the road. Based in Beijing, the Boston-born Chinese American travels to the U.S. at least three times a year, in addition to traveling around China to remote tea suppliers three to four times a year, for her luxe tea company, Tranquil Tuesdays. Before she founded Tranquil Tuesdays in 2010, Wang was a diplomat with the U.S. Foreign Service. Her posts included Bangladesh as a human rights officer, Beijing reporting on China- Japan relations, and the United Nations Security Council. She also headed a fraud prevention unit working on visa and immigration fraud.

 

But it’s not all glitz and glory, says Wang. “Diplomats also end up doing a lot less glamorous work, supporting the visits of U.S. government leaders like the secretary of state or the president. For example, I was in charge of coordinating First Lady Laura Bush’s visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing with the Chinese government, and one time I even woke up at 4 a.m. to monitor the handling of Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s luggage!”

 

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A pro at tight schedules and traveling under pressure, Wang gives us her tricks to staying fresh on the road.

 

    • Beating Jet Lag: I generally try to sleep as much as possible on the plane and then try to stay awake until at least 8 or 9 p.m., without any caffeine, wherever I land before I sleep again. Sometimes I purposely tire myself out leading up to the flight (staying up late packing, taking care of last minute errands) to ensure sleeping.

 

    • Hotel Sweet Home: For me, music is the number one thing I need in a new or unfamiliar environment to feel comfy, so if I have my own tunes pumping I feel great. The second thing for me is smell. I always travel with either a travel candle or some essential oils (my favorites are lemongrass or ylang ylang). Just put a few drops of your essential oil on a light bulb that has been on for a little while, and the heat from that will scent the room.

 

    • Beauty Secrets: Before boarding the plane, I love going to the duty-free, trying different perfumes and smelling great. Additionally, if I didn’t bring my own eye cream, night cream or hand cream, I try and test different products to moisturize up for the flight.

 

  • Light Packer: I’m a firm believer that the lighter you travel, the better, and the only real essentials are your passport and a credit card. When I can, I do like to bring a foot massage roller, essential oils, good tea (I always travel with my own tea), and this great travel tea brewing set so I can make proper loose leaf tea gong fu style anywhere.

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Charlene is all about moisturizing for the flight. “Flying really dries you out,” she says. Try these to keep skin supple.

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1. Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream.
2. 3Lab WW Eye Cream.
3. Take advantage of long flights with a nighttime treatment as you sleep. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II.
4. Sensai Cellular Performance Lifting Radiance Cream. 

 

This story was originally published in our Fall 2013 issue. Get your copy here.  

 

 

Fall 2012 | YoungSong Martin, Wildflower Linens

Dept: The Good Life
Author: Elyse Glickman
Photos: Adrienne Gunde

Wildflower Linen’s Youngsong Martin strives to make the world more beautiful, one gala at a time.

Though Youngsong Martin made a name for herself in fashion design in her career’s “first phase,” it was only a matter of time before her passion for designing unforgettable environments was reignited. This unique talent originated during her childhood in Seoul, where she constantly sought new ways to brighten the sur- roundings of her family’s small home. It resurfaced in 2001 when, while helping her niece make a bold wedding day statement, she found the fabrics available to her “industrial and bland.”
The attention to detail and refinement doesn’t end there. Guestrooms are sprawling enough to feel like a private Tuscan villa. The washroom is more spacious than most studio apart- ments I’ve lived in as a college student, and its gold fittings and crystal lamps made me feel like I was in Pretty Woman. And what does every Pretty Woman do? Take a bubble bath, of course! I have never felt so fancy taking a bath; the separate soaking tub is big enough to fit two comfortably (or in my case, me and my sizeable food-baby from the night’s eating (mis) adventures). By nightfall, I was nestled in exquisite European linens atop a bed that embraced the body just so. Oh, their bed ruined me for life; theirs is the beautiful carriage to my pump- kin back at home.

It led Martin to found Wildflower Linens, a company that revolutionized the field of special event décor and linens. Her stun- ning tabletop concepts and couture-hewn chair covers have since wowed attendees of the Vanity Fair and Oscars Governor’s Ball after-parties, a DreamWorks premiere at the Venice Film Festi- val, as well as numerous charity galas, weddings and Presidential Library events. “While much of the interior design field focuses on permanent installation, there is a certain artistic freedom that comes with designing interiors for a specific event,” she says. “It is the story of Cinderella, where you have the potential to make any- thing happen. Another advantage is that when I design something statement-making for an event, the chair I am creating the design for will not talk back to me.”

After all that rest and relaxation, I could have opted for an array of activities: a golf outing on the 380-acre, Tom Fazio-designed golf course; dinner at Addison, its AAA 5-Diamond restaurant, or even a complimentary limousine ride within 14 miles of the estate. (I contem- plated utilizing this service to dine at a nearby taco stop. Hey, whether inhaling cabeza tacos or nibbling on caviar, a true lady always travels in style.) Instead, I opted for a beautification day at The Spa, its award-winning, 21,000-square-foot, full-service day spa.
Youngsong Martin in her studio.

“When planning a look for a one-night event, I focus on what’s on the tabletop rather than the surroundings,” she says. Whether you have an apartment or a mansion, “figure out what things you want your guests to pay attention to at your event. Next, transform those decorative ele- ments into a sensory experience. Guests will be drawn in from the moment they see the flicker- ing of the candles, and colors of the tabletop. Once you have made a statement, guests will focus on that rather than the rest of the house.”

In the coming months, however, Martin plans to expand to a “third phase” of home décor, bringing the glamour of special events to the everyday home. “When planning a look for a one-night event, I focus on what’s on the tabletop rather than the surroundings,” she says. Whether you have an apartment or a mansion, “figure out what things you want your guests to pay attention to at your event. Next, transform those decorative ele- ments into a sensory experience. Guests will be drawn in from the moment they see the flicker- ing of the candles, and colors of the tabletop. Once you have made a statement, guests will focus on that rather than the rest of the house.”

Color is one way Martin likes to make a statement. “We are moving away from the natural ‘eco’ look, like burlap and natural fibers, and are moving back to bright colors like orange and fuchsia, but in a completely different way from a few years earlier when Indian designs were big,” she says. “Today’s patterns integrate black or white ‘non-colors’ with brights.”

From galas to the home to the community, Martin is all about beautifying her environment. Recently honored for her multi-faceted charity work on National Philanthropy Day in Orange County, Calif., Martin believes “that any solid business model should include social responsi- bility. We need to pay attention to other people regardless of how much our business makes. We need to be a part of the community as well as exist within it.”