Tag Archives: travel

Winter on Cape Cod

When we closed on our beach house last fall, I was longing for summer.  I looked forward to long days at the beach, warm evenings on the deck, and starry nights with our family.  While I know this coming summer will be wonderful, I can’t tell you how much joy and peace winter on Cape Cod has brought us.  It has been the best surprise.

We’ve spent nearly every weekend down the Cape since October, escaping the busy-ness of our (equally wonderful, albeit noisier) lives in the city.  There is something so calm and lovely about the off season.

WINTER ON CAPE COD

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Calm and lovely, indeed.

…And there’s plenty of beach parking.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s your favorite local escape?

Happy Weekend.

Happy weekend, my friends.  

happy weekend cape cod

I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for ages.  Today we’re showing the kids our new vacation home on the Cape for the first time (we closed on the property yesterday– this is the happy surprise I alluded to earlier in the month).  

Some of my happiest memories were made in Harwich; it thrills me that Grace and baby Nick will get to make similar memories finding hermit crabs at low tide, devouring Sundae School ice cream after dinner, swimming with their cousins, and racing around the backyard with Clark.  

I couldn’t feel luckier in this moment.

After a quick trip over the bridge, we’ll be back in the city for baby Nick’s baptism.  At 10 months and 20 lbs., I fear we might need several priests and nuns to help hoist him over the font.  We’ll see.  I can’t wait to share this occasion with our family.  Grace is especially excited for “wearing party shoes and being quiet at church!”  Again: we’ll see.

It feels so good to be occupied by happy things, and to have family and friends to share them with.  Wishing you and yours the same.

Also On Tap for Today:

What’s at the top of your gratitude list this week?

20 Hours in Portland, Maine

What better way to wrap up a week down the Cape than a weekend in Vacationland?  Or technically, 20 hours in Portland, Maine.  We were only there long enough to catch a ferry, enjoy a wedding on an island, eat a pizza, take a nap, drink a cup of coffee, buy a lighthouse postcard for a lady in Poland, and retrieve our car… but hey.  

I’m always game for a change of scenery, however short, especially if water and boats and beaches are involved.

20 hours in portland maine

20 HOURS IN PORTLAND, MAINE

Saturday, 1 PM: Check-in at The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront

After 3-ish hours on the road from Boston (we hit a little traffic, which seems appropriate for a summer Saturday) we arrived at our hotel, The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Waterfront.  My not-so-extensive research involved Googling the ferry line we’d be taking to the wedding, locating the closest hotel, comparing prices a bit (there are a few hotels within walking distance of the Casco Bay Ferry Lines), and checking availability.

We were really happy with the Hilton.  So, um… thanks, Google.  The night before we arrived, I was able to check-in using the Hilton Honors app and choose our room (something I’ve never seen before, making joining HH and downloading the app totally worth the 2 seconds each required).  I snagged the last room available with a water view, which felt like a triumph of sorts.  

We arrived well before check-in… but shortly before we needed to arrive at a wedding in all our “beach formal” glory, so we left our bags with the front desk staff and freshened up in the pool/fitness center area before making our way across the street to buy our ferry tickets.

20 hours in portland maine

Even the drain markers are cute.  Or whatever.

1:30 PM: Purchase ferry tickets

casco bay ferry maine

Super easy.  Round-trip tickets to the Casco Bay islands are $11.  They need to be purchased in person, however… so don’t do what I did.  (Which is spend an hour trying to figure out how to buy them online.  And another six minutes calling the terminal to ask how to buy them online.)

1:35 PM: Quick lunch at the Dry Dock

20 hours in portland maine

And by lunch, I mean… I ate onion rings and drank a Diet Coke at the bar.  That’s how I wile out on vacation.  Nick, on the other hand, had a lobster roll and an Angry Orchard. He’s my better half, and also, my more normal half.  It was relatively quiet at the bar, but there’s a bigger seating area out back, including a deck with views of the bay.  I think that’s where everyone else was.  Eating onion rings.  Or maybe an entire meal of food.  

2:00 PM: Board the ferry to Long Island

There’s a Long Island in Maine.  And that’s where we went.  I didn’t take many (any?) pictures on the ferry, but the 30 minute ride was comfortable and the views were extraordinary.  We passed several lighthouses, gorgeous sailboats and schooners, and a few smaller islands before reaching the dock and heading to the wedding.

long island maine

8:50 PM: Return ferry to Portland

long island maine sunset

The ride back to Portland took closer to an hour (the route is a loop, and so we hit more stops on the way back), but we got to enjoy the most spectacular sunset while waiting on the pier.  Once we got back to Portland, I grabbed our bags and headed up to our hotel room… while Nick picked up a veggie pizza from Bill’s Pizza on Commercial Street.  

Sunday, 8:00 AM: Breakfast at the Standard Baking Company

standard baking company portland maine

The next morning, we ventured out for a walk, but the skies opened up (and who packs an umbrella?) after a few blocks, so we headed back toward the hotel and grabbed coffee, tea and 9,000 calories worth of baked goods from the Standard Baking Company.  I highly recommend the gingerbread with lemon glaze.  And I want to go back and eat everything else they have to offer.  In the meantime, I’ve got my eye on their cookbook.

20 hours in portland maine

We stopped into a nearby shop for the aforementioned postcard (a postcrossing special request) and matching lobster pajamas for the babes before checking out and heading back to Boston.

It was a short, but sweet (extra sweet if you consider that gingerbread) visit to the Portland area.  I’m looking forward to heading back when we have a bit more time to explore and enjoy the area.

Also On Tap for Today:

Where’s your favorite Long Island quick getaway destination?

 

 

Today: Beach bag upgrades.

The sign of a great summer: My beach bag is getting more use than my handbag.

Whether you’re toting around a beach bag, a pool bag, a gym bag or a something-else bag, I’ve got a few upgrades to share.  Things that make my life a little bit easier and a little less messy.  

Beach bag upgrades

Some of these beach bag upgrades are technically baby items, but don’t let that scare you off.  And if you find yourself childless yet running to Babies ‘R Us after reading this post, allow me to either 1. talk you out of it (with one child and another on the way, that place still terrifies me) 2. offer you one of the 19 about-to-expire 20% off coupons I have crammed in my wallet.

A wet bag

This should really be called “a prevent everything else in your beach bag from getting wet… bag.”  We use this one from Skip Hop, which is on the small side, but is perfect for storing my wet bathing suit, Grace’s wet bathing suit, and at least one towel.  If you’re heading to the pool or a friend’s house, wet bags are a great place to store your change of clothes (which can be swapped out for wet suits).  This also works for sweaty gym gear.

I like the mesh pocket on the outside of the Skip Hop bag — it’s perfect for stashing keys and a few dollars, or an extra swim diaper or two.  The snap handle is great too — I often attach it to the outside of our beach bag if we need a little extra room.

A giant carabiner

I sort of wonder what life was like before I discovered stroller hooks. I also sort of wonder what I would get done if I weren’t wondering about things like life before stroller hooks. This thing is essentially a giant, glorified carabiner.  It’s padded on one side, allowing you to comfortably carry a bunch of bags or items that have been clipped together.  

During the non-summer (I’m just not ready to say winter, or fall even), I use our hook most often when trying to make a single trip into our condo with the groceries and Grace.  I keep one in my car, and another in or attached to whichever bag I am carrying.  In the summer, however, it’s perfect for securing extra items to our beach bag (sand toys, towels) or keeping multiple sets of keys from getting lost.

Reusable snack bags

I use these reusable snack bags to store small items that, like keys, have a tendency to go missing in the very bottom of our beach bag– my phone, lip balm, hair elastics, band-aids, and sunblock sticks.  Again, these work for your gym bag, too.  The larger size can take the place of my wallet (because who wants to bring their entire wallet… 20% off coupons and all… to the beach?) and the smaller sizes are great for collecting shells and other treasures.  They can be easily washed or wiped clean.  

Also: I am obsessed with the patterns on these bags.  They make me want to start designing fabric.  If I had any clue how to do that.  Which I don’t.  Mostly because I am busy thinking about life before stroller hooks.

A waterproof camera

This is a bit of a splurge, but I bought a waterproof camera before our honeymoon to St. John and I’m so glad I did.  We’ve been able to capture photos from amazing snorkeling trips and swimming in tropical caves to Grace’s first swimming lessons and days spent at the Cape with our family.  In my dreams, I am the sort of person who swims under waterfalls and regularly partakes in SUP yoga in the harbor… but um, it’s perfect for my less cool, less adventurous (real) life.

We have an older version of the Nikon Coolpix Waterproof AW100 series.  It is waterproof up to 100 feet, is shockproof and has built in GPS/world map.  It seems like there are more options available (and at better prices) these days, and the new Nikons have built in wifi to easily transfer images to your smart phones.  If you’re going to invest in a camera, I highly recommend getting a waterproof camera float, too.  This can be used to carry the camera… but also lessens the chance of your camera disappearing, sinking, or sneakily bodysurfing ashore without you.  

Speaking of bodysurfing, I’ve got a wave to catch.  Toodles!

P.S. This is not a sponsored post, but this post does contain several Amazon affiliate links.  As always, I greatly appreciate your support.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are you upgrading these days?  Has anyone figured out how to make laundry do itself?

Today: I woke up like this | Cape edition.

Who needs a vacation alarm clock (set for 3 hours earlier than you desire to wake up), when you have a toddler at the foot of your bed?

I woke up like this.  With Grace pinching my toes and yelling, “Hellooooo!”

In an effort to spare the rest of our family the 4:30 wake-up call over the 4th of July weekend, we snuck out for some early morning walks down to the beach.  The Cape might be my favorite place on Earth.  Except for the place where they make popcorn (I’ve never been to a popcorn factory, but I just know it’s magical).

Not a bad way to start the day.

We covered 3.5 miles on Friday on our own, and 2.5 miles on Saturday with my brother and sister-in-law and their own mini-human alarm clock, my niece.  

6 AM pajama parties on the beach are the best.

And with the entire world still sleeping, we had the beach to ourselves and our pick of the prettiest shells.

Any day we are lucky enough to wake up at the Cape (even if it’s at 4 AM), we are lucky enough.

Also On Tap for Today:

How did you spend your holiday weekend?

 

Today: One tough mother and a Ziploc® brand giveaway.

 

This post is sponsored by Ziploc® brand. I received product and compensation, but as always, the opinions shared here are my own. I truly appreciate your support of the brands that, you know, support On Tap for Today.

While I couldn’t be more happy and proud to be a mom, motherhood can be tough. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by tough mothers who serve as role models, advisors and middle-of-the-night “Is anyone else awake?” text-mates. I would be lost without the close-knit community of mothers we’ve formed since Grace was born. 

We benefit from the fact that we’ve grown up differently, have our own parenting styles, and our little ones are at various stages of walking, running, climbing, talking and, yes… biting. One mom’s tough day might be someone else’s proverbial walk in the park, but we’re all in this together. In that spirit, I’ve partnered with Ziploc® brand to share a few lessons I’ve learned over the past 16 months (some from friends, others from trial and error…there’s been a lot of that).

Whenever possible, plan ahead

It only takes running out of diapers on the road once before over-planning and over-packing becomes second nature for even the most disorganized crew. Though it takes a bit of energy (which can be tough to find at the end of the day), I swear by this rule: Clean out, re-pack and re-stock before going to bed. This works wonders for a diaper bag, but it can be applied to your gym bag or handbag (Side bar: Is it true that fanny packs are making a comeback?).

 

Ziploc® brand Freezer Bags Quart with Easy Open Tabs are the perfect size to hold 3-4 of Grace’s tiny diapers and a few wipes. I can quickly stash this bag in any handbag or tote to run errands or take a quick trip. The new Easy Open Tabs make Ziploc® brand bags really easy to grip and open, which helps because so much of parenthood is spent with one hand full.

Available in freezer, storage, sandwich and snack varieties (in a number of sizes), the new Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs can store food, art supplies and other household items. These are great for keeping an extra change of clothes (one for me, one for the baby) and keeping dirty laundry separate in the event of spill, spit-up or other excitement.  All Ziploc® brand bags can be recycled at your local grocery store.

 

At 33, not only did I just discover the merits of our freezer, I’ve also (finally) started putting some real effort into meal planning. Nothing beats waking up to a pre-prepped breakfast, or coming home to an effortless dinner. Tossing ingredients for fresh juice in a Ziploc® brand bag with Easy Open Tabs at night makes sticking with a juicing routine so much easier. The same goes for chopped vegetables for a salad or for roasting, soup that can be frozen and reheated, and a cool summer treat.

Take notes

Lately, if you tell me something (especially if I am in the midst of multi-tasking), there’s a chance I may forget it. But, what if I write that same thing down (or see it written down)? It’s trapped in my brain forever. With multiple schedules and social security numbers to memorize (seriously, I still can’t remember my child’s number… is that normal?), I think we could all use a break. Figure out your learning style (you likely know this already, you’re a grown-up after all), and do what works for you.  For visual learners like myself, we’ve got to take notes.

Other times to take notes:

  • At the pediatrician’s office: Both before and during visits. Our doctor encourages us to come with a list of questions.
  • Future plans: I keep a running list of books I want to read, movies I want to watch, and museums I want to check out (the Eric Carle Museum is at the top of the list for a summer visit). I also take notes for paintings or art projects while I am out on the go (because this is when inspiration most often strikes… not when I am actually sitting down with a blank page). 
  • The daily routine: Sure, it’s routine for us, but having notes on your little one’s “schedule” (whatever that means, these days) is really helpful if you need someone to step in for the day. It’s also pretty amazing to look back and see how this routine has changed. I have an iPhone note from when Grace was 3 or 4 months old that details every waking and feeding…we’ve come a long way, baby.

In the spirit of staying organized, I attempted to pack light for a recent work trip and realized I could keep my flight info and plane-friendly toiletries (I had electronic boarding passes and wanted to be covered just in case I lost my phone or whatever other imaginary scenario I had dreamed up) stored in a Ziploc® brand bag with Easy Open Tabs. I thought I was a genius.

Take care of yourself

I think it’s possible to balance both the importance of self-care, and the realities of life.  I couldn’t tell you the last time I got a massage or manicure.  My “me” time often consists of a quick trip to the grocery store.  And that’s okay.  But it’s important to do something for yourself.  It’s important to make time for the things that you love to do.  And it’s important, above all, to take care of yourself.

For me, that means having a little sketchbook on hand, traveling with little luxuries like cuticle oil (it’s easy to apply in the car before you start a trip and so good for your nails) and light, natural roll-on fragrance in a Ziploc® brand Snack bag with Easy Open Tabs, always having a great playlist ready to go, and keeping a stash of magazines to enjoy during Grace’s nap time.

The best way I can think of to take care of yourself, though, is by asking for help when you need it. Lean on your family, friends and fellow tough mothers for support. We need each other, and that’s a good thing.

“Team Tough Mother” at Tough Mudder events

To celebrate the launch of their new bags, Ziploc® brand is partnering with one of the most challenging events around, Tough Mudder, in celebration of moms who are taking on a whole new level of strength. They’re creating Ziploc® Team Tough Mother to compete at Tough Mudder events across the country to honor tough mothers everywhere. By the way, I love this Ziploc® Tough Mother YouTube video created to mimic real-life motherhood; some days I really do feel like I am completing an obstacle course!

New England friends: It’s not too late to sign up for this year’s Tough Mudder on June 6-7 at Mount Snow. You’ll find Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs at bag drops to store your gear during and after the event.

You can find more inspiration from Ziploc® brand and other Tough Mothers by visiting www.Ziploc.com.

Giveaway

To win your own set of Ziploc® brand bags with Easy Open Tabs, please leave a comment below. This giveaway is open to US residents and will close on Friday, June 12th.

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Another great use for your plastic bags: printmaking with Alisa Burke
  • Working on our summer bucket list
  • Potting this year’s first tomatoes!

When the going gets tough… let’s hear your best tips!

Today: 24 hours in Birmingham, Alabama.

I spent a quick 24 hours in Birmingham, Alabama two weeks ago, wrapping up my final few days of work with a visit to one of the city’s middle schools.  I was able to fit in a bit of exploring between meetings and thought I’d share a few highlights.

First and foremost, people in the city could not have been more warm and welcoming.  We tend to stay out each other’s way up here, so it always takes a minute to realize that when someone in an elevator wishes you a nice day… that’s all they’re doing.  They’re not trying to get you to donate to Save the Whales, or sell you something, or steal your handbag.  It’s a refreshing change.  (Though I do sort of prefer keeping to myself.)

Oh hi, Boston College.

The Tutwiler

I stayed Downtown at the historic Tutwiler Hotel, which is now owned by Hampton Inn (love that free breakfast and wifi).  It was a quick drive to the school and airport (less than 10 minutes to both) and was within walking distance of the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Civil Rights Institute, the Board of Education, and the Birmingham Public Library.  It was the perfect home base for my short visit.

The Birmingham Civil Rights Heritage Trail

The trail includes more than 200 detailed signs (each featuring photographs, historical information, and quotes from Civil Rights leaders) and connects 70 places of importance to the 1963 Birmingham Civil Rights Campaign.  The trail begins at the Civil Rights Institute, which was just a few blocks from where I was staying, so I made sure to check out a number of the signs after dinner — really moving and beautifully designed.

Dining

Being a vegetarian (and a rather choosy one, at that), I am not always the best person to make restaurant recommendations.  And in fact, I wouldn’t recommend the place where we ate dinner the night we were in town (can’t win ’em all!).  But, a bit of Southern hospitality at its finest: a gentleman overheard me and a co-worker chatting about dinner plans our connecting flight from Atlanta to Birmingham, and tracked me down at the baggage claim with two recommendations, Bottega and Hot and Hot Fish Club.  He seemed to know what he was talking about (which is more than I can say for myself).

Arlington Antebellum Home and Gardens

We stopped at Arlington on our way from the airport to our hotel.  The house is open for visitors most days, but I believe you need to schedule a tour in advance if you’d like to have a guide with you.  We picked up some information at the visitors center after buying our tickets and toured the house and gardens on our own.

Arlington is the only former plantation home still standing in the area.  The gardens were pretty, and the magnolia trees on the property were extraordinary.  Most of the furniture has been replaced and it seems like a number of outbuildings (including a reproduction of the original kitchen house)were added for weddings and other special events hosted on there.  I am not sure what I was expecting (and perhaps we caught things on an off day), but there was sort of a weird commercialized, scrubbed up vibe there.  

Birmingham Museum of Art

I saved the pots best for last.

One of my favorite places to go when visiting a new city is their art museum.  I was so impressed by the Birmingham Museum of Art and how accessible it is.  Both museum entry and parking are free, and the museum itself is bright, airy and really easy to navigate.  It was perfectly unpretentious (Detroit Institute of Arts is similar — I am obsessed with that place), which is how I like my museums. The African ceramics pictured above are from the collection of Birmingham artist Dick Jemison.  I just love how they are displayed; it struck me as a room full of personalities.  

There are several hands-on art areas throughout the museum, as well as a dedicated art space for children, making this a great place for families to visit.  They also have a restaurant on site, and a fantastic gift shop (I picked up a small sketch book and some Monks Meditation tea from Huntsville, Alabama’s Piper & Leaf).

It was a busy, but really lovely 24 hours!

Also On Tap for Today:

What is your favorite local (or far off) museum?

 

 

 

 

Today: Summer Bucket List and some sweet shades.

Let’s start with a question: Where did the expression bucket list come from? (Please pause while I Google…)  Hmm.  Not a fruitful search.  Ohhhhh….. it must have something to do with kicking the bucket, and like… things you want to do before that fateful day.  One thing that is not on my summer bucket list: kicking the bucket.

Morbidity (and flaky inner monologue) aside, here are a few things I am hoping to accomplish before Labor Day rolls around.

The coolest bro ever.

Summer Bucket List

  1. A little road trip with my little family – I’m toying with Montreal, would love to see Niagra Falls again, and have also been keeping an eye on the new Nova Star.  Oh, and I read about a library in Vermont that sits directly on the border and does not yet have a copy of Bobby Orr’s autobiography.  I feel like that’s a problem I can remedy with my dogeared copy.   Apparently, I’m feeling the call of Canada.
  2. Hiking in the Blue Hills – and by hiking, I likely mean the family friendly paved path… and a peek at the otters at the Trailside Museum.
  3. Yoga outside – and lots of it.
  4. SUP – Bonus points for SUP yoga.  Side bar:  I am convinced my sister, our cousin and I invented SUP.  We used to take our families’ ocean kayaks out on the Cape, stand up, and think we were incredibly cool (we were).  We called it “stand upon kayaking”… but maybe if we had abbreviated it to SUK it would have caught on?  No.
  5. See Wait Wait in person – Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is going to be at Tanglewood in late August.  I want to be there. Badly.
  6. Run a new race – my broken toe is nearly unbroken, so I think it’s time to set my sights on a new goal and get training.  Also, can I just say, broken toes are no joke.  I like to think I have a pretty high pain tolerance (hello, labor and delivery), but maaaaaaan.  You know when you stub your toe, and you get that feeling of I might throw up or I might pee?  And then the feeling goes away and you’re fine (and hopefully you neither threw up nor peed)?  It doesn’t go away when your toe is broken.  And you have to wear an ugly boot.  And suddenly this bucket list became a pity party.
  7. Tackle unfinished (or in some cases, un-started) home projects – I have grand plans for our pantry and a few art projects in mind for Grace’s nursery.  I’m looking forward to spending a few Summer Fridays getting crafty.
  8. Go to a hot air balloon festival – according to the Internet, there are a bunch in New England this summer.  This might be a reach, but I think it would be so cool to see a sky full of balloons.  There used to be a few that would float over our house when I was growing up.  It always felt like we were witnessing something magical (real magic… not the creepy, weird magician kind..).
  9. Volunteer – Clark and I took some time off from our pet therapy visits in the weeks leading up to, and following, Grace’s arrival.  I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of things at the hospital, and finding other ways to support our community.
  10. Track 12 weeks of food and fitness – I’ve only ever successfully tracked my food intake for more than a day, like, once.  It was back in my food allergy/elimination diet/what is wrong with my stomach days, and honestly… it was not fun.  At the same time, it helped me see the choices I was making and the patterns I had fallen into, and how food affects my overall wellbeing.  I think a bit of accountability and self-awareness will go a long way, especially as I try to make the best possible choices for me and Grace.

Welp, there you have it folks: my I hope I go to a ballon festival before kicking the bucket list.

P.S. I recently received a complimentary pair of Nectar sunnies.  They’re fun and a bit flashy and very reasonably priced ($30 for a polarized pair, $20 for non-polarized).  In other words, they’re the perfect accessory for checking off summer bucket list items.  They were a bit big on Clark, but fit me perfectly. Looking for a pair of your own?  Click here and use the code ‘lovenectar’ for 10% off

Also On Tap for Today:

  • Planting a few more herbs for our little deck garden
  • My new obsession: produce bouquets
  • Packing for a day trip to DC

What’s on your summer bucket list?

 

Today: My favorite travel apps.

I love the work that I do (and I know I am lucky to have such a fulfilling career).  I love connecting with likeminded folks around the country.  I like seeing new places, and understanding how things are done elsewhere.  I enjoy room service and small shampoos.  But I don’t love air travel.  It might be the claustrophobia (something I didn’t know I suffered from, until I realized all the places where I’ve either fainted or nearly fainted  in recent memory– namely: an overcrowded T car, the exam room at the vet, and an overstocked, overdecorated bookstore– are remarkably alike in their lack of an open escape route), but I just don’t like flying.

I spent most of last week in Michigan, and will be headed back there in a couple of weeks (my last trip before the baby arrives!).  As I search for flights, I can’t help but wish there was an app for teleportation.

While that’s in development (maybe?), I’ve got a few apps that make travel a bit more bearable.  Some help organize travel information, while others help pass the time between the beverage cart (ginger ale, no ice) and landing.

My favorite travel apps:

App in the Air: App in the Air is great for keeping track of travel plans, flight times, and other important details.  I tend to be a paper and pen person (I remember things so much better when I write them down, like… in my own handwriting), but I try not to lug my 16lb. day planner through security.  Having all my flight information in my phone gives me great peace of mind, and the tips from fellow travelers about various airports are helpful too. Though the app is free, you can make in app purchases to check in directly from your iPhone, etc.

Uber: Available in 50 cities and 20 countries (click here to see if they operate in your area), Uber provides on demand car service — perfect when you need to get to a meeting or event.  We often use UberX or Uber Taxi in Boston, especially when traveling to the airport at the crack of dawn (taxis can be a bit unreliable).  I wouldn’t say I travel to the most glamorous locales (did I tell you about the time I went to Texas and my hotel shared a driveway with a “gentleman’s” club?), so knowing that I can safely hail a cab from inside a building makes me (and those who would prefer I didn’t get kidnapped) happy.  All of your trips are logged in your Uber dashboard, making it easy to keep track of expenses.  I find that taking an UberX is cheaper than most cab rides, and the service on all Uber rides has been fantastic.  The app allows you to get a quote before you ride, gives you the option to split a fare, and all payment is processed through your smartphone.  If you sign up for an Uber account using this link, we both get $10.  #freemoney #sortof

Beautiful Belly Prenatal Yoga by Daily Burn: While I have approximately 9 million fitness apps on my phone and iPad, Beautiful Belly has been getting the most attention lately.  I used the app twice while in Michigan, in a little corner of my hotel room… and used the ottoman cushion as a prop.  Available exclusively for the iPad, this app includes full length first trimester yoga videos for free, with the option to purchase a series for second and third trimesters for $4.99 each (or $6.99 for the full program — a steal when you consider how expensive in studio classes can be).  All videos are led by Briohny Smyth and are specifically tailored for safe, healthy yoga practice while pregnant.  This app is the perfect complement to a regular prenatal yoga practice (since our bodies do weird things when we’re pregnant, I do recommend taking an actual class or two with a certified prenatal instructor before going off on your own).  I can’t get enough.

Infinite Storm:  Having lived in the city for years, I have trouble sleeping without a bit (or a lot) of noise.  At the same time, unfamiliar noise keeps me awake.  I’ve become dependent on Infinite Storm when traveling, whether for quick naps on the plane or for falling asleep in hotel rooms.  While you can pay for extra noise (that strikes me as funny), the free version has served me quite well.  I usually opt for “wind” (essentially white noise) or “storm classic” and set the timer to an hour.

Next Issue:  I have a magazine problem.  I subscribe to several, and never manage to read them all before the next issue arrives.  When I travel, I tend to grab a magazine at the news stand, only to end up leaving it in the seat back pocket by mistake.  Not only do subscriptions add up, those piles of paper tend to stack up too.  I recently discovered Next Issue and have happily cut down on clutter and subscription costs.  For $9.99 a month (the first month is free), you have access to over 100 magazines, both current and back issues.  The only disappointment I’ve encountered so far: Martha Stewart Living is not available (which is kind of a travesty).  Martha aside, the app has provided a great way to try new magazines and enjoy the digital editions of old favorites.  It’s available on the iPhone and iPad (reading is much more fun on the iPad).  You can learn more about Next Issue by visiting their website.

Hey, nerds.  How’s that teleportation app coming?

Also On Tap for Today:

What app makes travel more enjoyable for you?

Today: The 2013 Healthy Living Summit, Twosday-style.

It seems only fitting that I give you the run down of this year’s HLS Twosday-style, inspired by Heather.  She and Julie were the masterminds, master-organizers, and master-people behind the 2013 Healthy Living Summit.  I am so grateful to have worked with them, and the rest of the planning team, in the months leading up to the Summit.  They are simply wonderful.

Let my “surprise face” [frame 3] serve as a PSA: Not all surprises are good.             Some are quite horrifying, apparently.

Speaking of wonderful, a quick two-by-two peek at a wonderful weekend spent in Minneapolis…

Two pieces of reading that helped me pass the time during airport layovers:

  1. Taking the Light Rail from the Airport to the Hotel, written by Danielle and shared on the HLS website – I practically memorized Danielle’s easy-to-follow directions (clearly, this woman is a teachers) during my layover at O’Hare.  When I landed in Minneapolis, finding my way to the Light Rail, and eventually to the hotel, was a breeze.
  2. I started re-reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (will share more on this later, but I think it’s a must-read for introverts and those who are confused by love us) on my first flight home, and put a big dent in the book while my plane was delayed from Newark to Boston.  Surprising fact: Reading a book about introverts does not make one immune to the creepers that want to talk to strangers at airports.

Rude, Clark. Rude.

Two apps I downloaded while at the 2013 Healthy Living Summit:

  1. Infinite Storm: because a quiet hotel room, devoid of snoring Frenchies and city noise is a recipe for insomnia.
  2. Blog Pad Pro: for writing on the go (an iPad mini + a wireless keyboard is so much chic-er than my 600 lb. , 600-year-old MacBook).

Two indulgences I enjoyed while at HLS:

  1. An original dark brownie, courtesy of Kristen and one of the Summit’s swag sponsors, Just Good Chocolate – this thing was the real deal, Evander Gluten-field, but I enjoyed it anyway.  Sometimes the reward outweighs the risk.
  2. An extra-long chair massage thanks to one of the students from the Minnesota School of Business Massage Therapy Program – I think I became so relaxed that my face fell asleep.

Two bits of wisdom I shared:

  1. Pregnant women (and anyone else susceptible to occasional bouts of uncontrolled, raw emotion) should not watch the PBS documentary Animal Odd Couples  (Clark and I watched it together several weeks ago.  I am still recovering.).  All other segments of the human population, however, should add AOC (I’ve talked about it so much lately, I now refer to it as simply AOC…) to their Netflix queues immediately.  If not sooner.
  2. Say “no” to opportunities that are not the perfect fit for you.  This will allow you to say “yes” when the right opportunities come along (and they will come along, as long as you’re patient and stay true to your brand and values).  [For more on the Blogger and the Brand panel, which I was honored to be a part of, check out Lindsay’s post on the 360 PR blog and the live blog and tweets from the session.]

That my suitcase closed after #HLS13 was nothing short of a Minnesota miracle.

Two swag items I am especially excited about:

  1. OrthoLite insoles: I am just about due for a new pair of Kinvara 4’s and will definitely be swapping in these insoles, which I have loved for ages.  They provide a bit of extra cushion and sort of make me feel like a famous person who only wears custom kicks.  Sort of.
  2. Erba Vita Leg Light Gel:  Along with other samples from this Italian herbal medicine brand, we received several packets of Leg Light, which this ol’ pregnant lady is loving.  I’m finding my legs are feeling a bit heavy at the end of the day, and this soothing gel provides some nice relief.  So does laying down and pretending I am too tired to fold laundry… Shhh.

Two Minneapolis spots I would like to visit again:

  1. Pardon the blasphemy, but can I just say… shopping at Target on the Nicollet Mall (adjacent to Target HQ) was a religious experience.  I walked over there bright and early on Friday (I was there when the doors opened at 7 AM, as I had been awake since 4 AM #timezonesareweird) to pick up a few last minute cocktail party supplies (every good party calls for index cards and Sharpies) and…. wow.  South Bay Target, this was not.
  2. The Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge: We crossed this bridge on Sunday morning’s 5k-ish fun run/walk as a group, and I loved the John Ashberry poem that appears across the upper lintel.

Two does not do the weekend justice, but it’s a good start.

Also On Tap for Today:

What are two bits of wisdom you’ve shared (or learned) lately?