Tag Archives: travel

Mastering the Art of Eating Healthy on the Turnpike

3 Jun

Last weekend my husband and I took a trip across the great state of Pennsylvania to visit his family in Philly. The five hour trip itself isn’t terrible — especially when you’re not driving — but what is completely wretched about the journey is the food options available on the turnpike. Some awful “restaurant” called Roy Rogers dominates most service plazas, as well as Burger King and Sbarro. Yum. Keep eating healthy Pennsylvania.

Obviously eating anything purchased on the turnpike is simply not an option, so it’s up to us to come up with lots of car-friendly healthy snack ideas. Luckily I have an insulated cooler bag, so all I have to do is put a few ice packs in it and magically our healthy snack options are expanded. If you’ve ever tried eating healthy on a road trip, you know how hard it is to do so without a way to keep food cold!


Bring these healthy snacks along for the ride.

Healthy Snack Ideas for Road Trips:

  • Popchips

  • Pre-cut fruit (strawberries, melons, pineapple, kiwi, mangoes)

  • Hummus and baby carrots

  • Emerald Almonds 100 Calorie Packs

  • Apples, peaches, and any other non-messy whole pieces of fruit

  • Protein bars

  • Low-fat string cheese

Eating Healthy on the Road

When our Philly road trips start bright and early in the morning we always make sure to eat a nice healthy breakfast before leaving Pittsburgh. Sometimes we head to a local breakfast place that opens bright and early with the roosters, but usually my husband heads to the kitchen and makes healthy breakfast magic happen himself. Being nice and full when we leave town is great, because we’re fine to just subsist on our healthy snacks until we make it to Philly.

When we know we’re going to be on the turnpike at lunchtime, we come prepared as eating at Roy Rogers is just not an option. Our favorite thing to do is to stop at Philly grocery store, Wegman’s, on the way out of town for some to-go food. They have the absolute BEST prepared food section ever. Ever. Ever. So good! One time we actually drove half an hour out of the way to find a Wegman’s, but that’s a story for a different day…

Moral of the Story: While I cannot speak for most other states, eating healthy at Pennsylvania Turnpike service centers is not an option. I cannot image the situation is much better in other states. Bring your own food or risk having to shove a Whopper or a piece of Roy Rogers chicken in your face. Yuck!


Tips to Combat Post Summer Vacation Blues

6 Aug

I spent the last two days of my summer vacation at the Beverly Hilton. Waking up at home in the “tropical paradise” of Pittsburgh the next day wasn’t exactly a thrilling moment.

I love to travel. Whether it’s weekend getaways to a big city or a summer vacation to a tropical paradise, I’m there! I love checking out new places for the first time, and re-visiting old favorites. The only problem is the part where our summer vacation or one of our frequent weekend getaways ends, and then we have to go home. They say there’s “no place like home,” and as I live in Pittsburgh, I’m thankful this statement appears to be correct…

As I’m fortunate enough to get to travel multiple times per year, I’ve had to develop a few coping mechanisms to deal with my ever-present case of post-vacation blues. If you also “suffer” from a case of “I’m-not-happy-to-be-home” after weekend getaways to fabulous big cities or a summer vacation to an amazing tropical paradise, try these tips to beat the blues:

Ideas to Combat Post-Vacation Depression:

  • Make Play Dates: Immediately following your triumphant return to your hometown schedule a lady date, a guys’ night, a double date, or a visit to mom and dad’s – whatever makes you happy, as that is the goal of this exercise.
  • Visit Your Favorite Hometown Spot: Whether it’s a cute little cafe that serves amazing coffee, your favorite place to get a salad, or the bar where “everybody knows your name” a nice reminder of something you actually like about being home is sure to lift your spirits.
  • Enjoy Not Having to Live Out of a Suitcase: Regardless of my deep love for not being in Pittsburgh, I’m always happen to return to my closet, where lots of neatly unwrinkled clothes are always at my beck and call.
  • Plan Another Vacation: This is by far the most obvious solution, one that I try my best to always practice. Even if you can’t afford to book your next flight out-of-town immediately, it doesn’t cost anything to start planning your next trip. Get ideas, save your money up, and keep your eyes peeled for a great deal!

Trips to NYC are one of my favorite weekend getaways! The only bad part about them is eventually the weekend ends and I have to go home. Boo!

The Great Battle of Me vs. Jet Lag

23 Jul

Starting your vacation off with an early morning flight is awesome, dealing with a lack of sleep on your first day of vacation is not. For obvious reasons, when my boyfriend and I travel we typically want to get out of Pittsburgh as early as humanely possible, usually resulting in a flight departure between 6:30-7:30am. When it comes to needing proper amounts of rest to function and play nice, I’m a child. Lack of sleep makes me a cranky, disoriented pig.

As I don’t enjoy being an angry heifer, I do everything I can to avoid jet lag. Unfortunately none of my sleep-inducing methods have actually worked. No matter how hard I try, I end up having a really hard time falling asleep the night before a trip, never getting more than three or four hours of beauty slumber. Some of the ways I’ve tried to beat the system and avoid the inevitable lack of sleep that comes with getting up at three or four o’clock in the morning include:

  • Going to bed at 7:30pm.
  • Wearing a sleep mask.
  • Making myself get up at 5:45am and go to the gym before work, so I’m good and tired out by the end of the day.
  • Reading myself to sleep.
  • Blaming my lack of sleep on my boyfriend, and forcing him to pack his suitcase the night before. (Totally “rational” as folding clothes really makes a ton of noise. Or not…)

This sleep mask may not cure my jet lag, but at least I look  totally hot in it.

Our next big trip is to Chicago is in a few weeks, on a nice 7:30am flight, and I’m determined to not have to deal with a lack of sleep the entire first day that we’re exploring Lance Bass’s hometown in the blockbuster hit “On the Line.”

So since I can’t seem to figure out how to win the battle of me vs. jet lag, does anyone else have suggestions? How do you deal with a lack of sleep when you’re traveling?

Making a Vacation Workout Plan That Works for You

16 Jul

During the normal days of my life, I have no trouble keeping up with my workout routine. In fact, I typically enjoy it! Things tend to change a bit when I’m on vacation though. Although I know I need to keep up with some type of workout schedule in order to not feel like a big fat big pig. It’s hard to motivate myself when I’m on vacation to somewhere really cool and I’d rather be out exploring the area (and eating everything in sight). Since I already know my track record with actually visiting hotel gyms, I decided to come up with a workout plan that I might actually follow before heading off on my most recent vacation to beautiful Southern California.

My usual workout routine involves frequent trips to the gym and doing toning exercise videos that I find on YouTube. I knew that trying to keep up with this workout schedule on vacation wasn’t going to happen, (and it didn’t). Thankfully my boyfriend and I came up with a workout plan before we left home that helped us to burn some calories while enjoying the local scenery.

My vacation workout plan involved morning jogs on Laguna Beach. There’s no way any sane person could complain about that!

We spent a few days of our vacation in the most beautiful place in the world (or at least in North America), Laguna Beach, California. We got up early and went for a jog on the beach a couple of the days we were there. Not only did this make us feel better the rest of the day, we also got to run along the Pacific Ocean and take in the gorgeous sites!

Doing planks in my hotel room was an easy addition to my vacation workout routine. It only took a few minutes and made me feel great!

I had really good intentions of bringing my yoga mat with me, so I would be guilted into doing some toning moves in our hotel room, but that didn’t happen. Obviously I HAD to bring six pairs of shoes, five dresses, and three swimsuits, so my yoga mat didn’t make the final cut into my giant suitcase. Priorities people! Anyways, I found that a bath towel is a fantastic replacement for a yoga mat, when that’s all you’ve got. As long as it protects you from the grody hotel floor, that’s all that really matters, right?

Moral of the Story: Don’t try to make yourself keep up with your normal workout routine when you’re on vacation. This is your time to relax and enjoy being away from home! If you stick to a regular workout schedule when you’re at home, you probably will want to do something while you’re on vacation, because you’ll feel gross after days of doing nothing. That’s why it’s important to create a vacation workout plan that’s fun, so you won’t mind doing it!

Healthy Snack Ideas for Vacation

24 May

Save your calories for a classy brunch at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

When you’re on vacation, you don’t have the luxury of heading off to a fully stocked refrigerator (a mini bar doesn’t count) or pantry to fetch healthy, easy snacks. As a result, starving vacationers often go padding down the hall to the vending machine for a fat-packed candy bar or head to the hotel gift shop for a $7 bag of travel sized chips. Not wise my friends, not wise. Not only are you making yourself fat by eating dumb snacks, you’re also making yourself broke by spending too much on them!

When I go on vacation I always pack tons of healthy, easy snacks for my boyfriend and I. These come in handy while in transit, to satisfy that afternoon hunger pang and as a late-night snack. Coming up with healthy snack ideas that don’t need to be refrigerated and can handle being abused in a bag for days can be a challenge, but it’s definitely doable.

I’m a big fan of sampling the local cuisine while on vacation and not forcing myself to stick to my normal diet, but fatty snacks are not cultural. There’s no need to waste calories on Ho-Ho’s and Funyons, when they can be better spent on fresh crab cakes and authentic Mexican food. Priorities people, priorities.

It should be illegal to eat junk food on the beach.

Ten Healthy Snack Ideas for Vacation

1)      Emerald 100 Calorie packs of almonds

2)      Granola bars

3)      Apples

4)      Pop Chips

5)      Kashi protein bars

6)      Oranges or grapefruit (save these for your hotel room)

7)      Rice cakes

8)      Snack-sized packs of tuna and crackers (again, save this one for your hotel room)

9)      Cut fresh fruit (buy it at a grocery store when you get to your destination)

10)   Greek Yogurt (clearly only advisable if your hotel room has a refrigerator)


Looking for more healthy snack ideas? Check out these tips from fitness expert and healthy living blogger SarahFit.

Getting in Bikini Shape for My Southern California Vacation

17 May

Hollywood won’t let you inside it’s city limits if you’re not in bikini shape. Okay, that might be a lie, but still…

As you all know, because I never stop talking about it, my boyfriend and I recently booked a Southern California vacation for early July. Yay! Although I absolutely cannot wait to make my triumphant return to the most gorgeous place on earth (okay, at least in this country), I’m grateful that we still have a while so I have time to get in bikini shape.

The agenda of our Southern California vacation not only involves time spent in the homeland of some of the most beautiful people on earth — Orange County, Santa Barbara and Beverly Hills — we’re also going to be staying at beachside hotels for two-thirds of our trip. This is awesome both due to the obvious, we’re fortunate enough to get to stay right on the Pacific Ocean and because it gives me turbo motivation to get in bikini shape! If you’ve ever seen any MTV or BRAVO reality show, you’ll understand that starting a beach body workout immediately is an absolute necessity, as people in these places don’t look like your average Ocean City, Maryland tourist. Yes, I’m vain and I don’t want people to look at me and know I’m from Pittsburgh. Is that so bad?

Can’t get enough of Laguna Beach!

When I set my mind on something, I’m like a possessed demon, so obviously I’ve quickly become completely infatuated with my beach body workout. I’m lucky to have the goal of getting in bikini shape for a Southern California vacation to motivate me, but if your summer plans more closely resemble traveling to a kiddie pool in your driveway instead of a trip to the beach, don’t worry, you still need to look good! Vanity is important no matter where you go. Clearly.

I’ve been creating my beach body workout as I go, mainly combining Blogilates awesome Pilates moves with elements of the Self Drop 10 Workout Challenge. The latter has some really, really great ideas for cardio intervals that I’ve been doing, in addition to some lovely toning moves. I know I can’t stick to one specific diet and exercise routine, so that’s why I just pick and choose the workouts that I want to do, when I want to do them. My goal is to do cardio five days a week and toning exercises four days, so hopefully I can stick to that!

Who else is trying to get in bikini shape before summertime? Going anywhere special on vacation?

Learn How to Avoid the Germiest Areas of an Airplane

10 May

When you book airline flights, you  can choose many different options, but unfortunately you don’t have a choice as to who you sit near, or of course who sat in the seat before you. People can be really, really gross. Especially when you have to sit pretty still in super close quarters, for sometimes many hours.

When my boyfriend and I travel, I always get the middle seat, because he’s a giant and obviously needs the aisle seat to stretch his legs out a bit. Sometimes I get lucky and a nice quiet, clean smelling individual, who has no desire to talk to me sits in the window set next to me. Other times I’m not as lucky and the person laughs hyenia-style at movies they’re watching on their laptop, smells like they have a dirty diaper (an adult), or kind of freaks me out because they’re intermitently whispering to themselves. Anyways, while some people really aren’t gross, others are foul. And you never know what you’re going to get when you book airline flights.

Although I pull weird stunts like wrapping  my Louie Vuitton bag in it’s dust cover before putting it on the floor of an airplane, I never put too much thought into germ prevention while flying. Instead, most of my focus is typically directed on my anonymous seat mate. That is until I read this story from Budget Travel, explaining all the seemingly unassuming places, such as the seat pocket, that are totally gross and germy on an airplane. Eww! Check the story out before you head off on your next adventure, so you can avoid getting all germed up on the plane.