Travel tip #2 - the mini fridge hack

Im a road warrior that cares about the food that I put in my body. I genuinely work hard at staying strong and healthy. I lift with a CrossFit community that helps me stay accountable for my fitness and not just slack off. Because the road life is super social, that often leads to lots of restaurants, bars, and just no sleep. And because the road life is super busy, that leads to airplane food, late night meals, and quick decisions. But I prefer grocery stores. So I need to be sure my hotel has a refrigerator. From there, yes I carry a small cooler with me on the road to keep fresh veggies and anything perishable, which the majority of actual food is.

Ever hear of “home sweet home”? My world is “home sweet Hilton.” So, here’s your Hilton property list with kitchen/fridge accommodations. (Not including the speciality stays.) You can find this info when you book your stay as well. Keep reading for the mini-fridge hack.

  • Homewood Suites - Full kitchen

  • Home2 Suites - Full kitchen

  • Hampton Inn & Suites - Always mini fridge, or options for suites with larger kitchen options

  • Garden Inn - mini fridge

  • Double Tree - yes and no. Check with your particular stay.

  • Hilton - yes and no. Check with your particular stay.

  • Embassy Suites - mini fridge

  • Grand Vacations - always mini fridge, or options for suites with larger kitchen options

  • Curio/ Waldorf/Conrad - I am not fancy or cool enough to stay in these to give you my advice.

Now, every so often I find myself at a hotel (Hilton Las Vegas), that for some reason even though you are spending ungodly amounts of money at their space, they don’t provide you with even a mini fridge. AND if you dare to put your 5.3oz yogurt in their mini-bar fridge in your room, that will kindly set off a weight triggered alarm which you will then be charged $50 a day for “storing your own food”. This is where dietary restrictions come in. I consider myself having dietary restrictions. There are certain foods that i genuinely cannot eat, and I don’t like that this is going to dictate the things I can put into my body. So, that being said, if you request a fridge based on dietary restrictions, they will be able to accommodate you with a mini fridge. I don’t guarantee there wont be an extra charge, but 90% of the time, I have found there is not.

-E

A Deep Breath of Cuba

Cuba’s has a deep heart that pours out into its streets like a tapped fire hydrant on a hot summer day. There is a spirit that engulfs every one of your senses, should you decide to accept the challenge. I say challenge because it is not as simple as what’s pictured in those typical photos, constantly chosen to show a “frozen” country.

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The old 50s American car may be a staple on the postcard, but not until you pop open the hood and visit the visual Frankenstein underneath, will you understand your first piece of being a Cuban. They may have to duct tape a fuel line, but it still runs with no complaints or excuses. There’s the common phrase, “if walls could talk”, but in this case if the Disney movie Cars came to life and governments could get along, our planet would be filled with far more Pantone beauty, mojitos muddled to perfection, and hugs that wrap you in immediate happiness.

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For the past 5 hours on a plane, I culled over and over trying to pick an image indicative of my Cuba experience. But I had to admit defeat. To pull a single image to represent this whole place is simply impossible. There are too many stories inside of stories that deserve more than just one image and one moment to shine. So I settled here. On an image that just barely scratches the surface of feelings in my heart right now. There was a constant contrast of modern meets past that I tried so hard to capture. And even more so, understand. As I was chauffeured around in our 1950s American car, outside were people on bicycles and scooters, next to giant tour busses and coche de caballos all sharing the same narrow dirt street. All using a system that they’ve made work for the drastically different modes of transportation. But that’s just it, they make it work! Cubans have decided to take the route of no excuses and live as much as they can without complaint and love as deep as they can with a beautiful sense of sarcastic humor. I admire the ingenuity, the brilliantly creative, the humble, and the humorous that makes Cuba, Cuba.

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And not until you’re there in real life, staring into someone’s eyes, sharing the same space, can you even understand an ounce of this important place. I dare you to see Cuba. See Cuba for everything poured onto those streets from that full beating heart.

-E

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Travel tip #1 - The Liquid Hack

How many of you pack your lunch for work? Well, just because we commute by plane and not by car, doesn’t mean we cant pack one too! Especially if you don’t feel like spending $25 on a pre-made box with a single piece of string cheese, an egg, and 5 grapes. If you’re lucky sometimes you get a rogue strawberry in there. Anyway, I tend to pack my meals for long travel days, more for health reasons than anything. I like being able to control when and what I eat. But with all the TSA regulations and restrictions, its far from a walk in the park to know what you can and can’t bring through.

For the longest time, I was packing my favorite Trader Joes yogurt, or Good Culture cottage cheese, and getting it taken away. Because it was inconsistent, I just kept trying thinking “maybe they’ll let it slide today”. And more often than not, I was having to toss it in the garbage, wasting perfectly good food, and money. Well, Im here to share with you my most recent find….

FREEZE IT! Because yogurts and cottage cheeses are more of a liquid base, technically they wont be allowed through security. By freezing it, its no longer a liquid and completely safe to go through! I grab it out of the freezer just before ordering my Lyft, and by the time I hear “please sit back, relax and enjoy your 4.5 hour trip to _______(insert random city here)”, my meal is ready to be had. It tastes just the same, and I can add in any fruit, or granola I brought as well. Don’t forget to bring your own empty water bottle! Of course water itself cant go through security, but there are no rules against the bottle. There are bubblers (Boston speak for a drinking water fountain), at nearly every restroom, so you’ll save money and help the environment by bringing your own.

Happy flying!

-E

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Everyone Else seems To Have Their Shit Together

“Everyone Else Just Seems To Have Their Shit Together”. Well, that was going to be the title of my first book, but I think its quite fitting at the very least, for a first post. ( Side note, I apologize in advance to my Aunt who is reading this and cringing, as her eyes scroll over what she would call profanity and I would call passionate expression. So to you AJ, my apologies.)

More and more Ive been learning that work flow is just not this single movement forward. Hence, flow. It has ups and downs, and alters every time some “thing” breaks the path. Like a clapperboard to start a new take of a movie. My problem - I want to do everything. And the problem with wanting to do every thing, is that each time one of those clapperboards breaks my path, I go down another road that leads to another road, that leads to another, and I end up taking the scenic route back to that original intersection. I do mean both physically and metaphorically. The entire US is my office, so my multitasking ability is quality A grade. Although I rarely know what day of the week it is, or what time zone I’m in. So what happens when I want to finish one thing? It takes 7 times longer than it should. (Just like writing this post.)

That being said, that brings me to…” everyone else seems to have their shit together, except me”. Usually, you’re not the only person in the room with the same thoughts on a topic, so I bet there are plenty of you that will agree with me on this. Well, in the age of “we only post online to show the world how we’re living our best lives”, its hard to watch everyone else seemingly have it figured out. Well, Im here to remind you that in reality, thats just not the case. We’re all figuring it out one step at a time. Whether thats in our careers, marriages, making babies, or making dinner. Sometimes what our society says is the socially correct way to go through life, isn’t your correct way. Now, thats not saying you should go rob a bank, because frankly in all societies thats still pretty frowned upon. But what it is saying, is that even though in our society we don’t eat chocolate covered grasshoppers on the regular, another society does. And when they say you’re supposed to get your bachelors, get married, buy a house, and have a baby in that order, maybe thats not your order. Lately, Ive concluded that Im quite okay with the fact that I don’t have it all figured out. Because once I do, what treasure is then out there to find?!

With that… keep searching for treasure my friends, and Im sure Ill have some road stories for you soon.

-E

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