Hospitality

I have always done my best while on my travels to make it easier for those in the hospitality industry. I don’t make them fix up my room daily (because well why), I don’t mind taking my own trash “out”, and I don’t mind taking my towels and such to the staff and place the clean replacements in my room for them. I have found that many of these wonderful people have way more than enough to do as it is. I don’t feel that they are given enough credit and appreciation as they so richly deserve.

Course I know that there are some that will argue or disagree with me on this, and I understand your point of view. However, when you are staying in a hotel (especially on an extended basis) you find that the way the staff is treated is in some ways horrible and offensive. I have never understood those that will leave a room in such disarray with sheets all over the place, trash everywhere and just in a disgusting state. I would assume that those that do that believe they have “a right” to do that, or that “it doesn’t matter” and I have even heard some say “I’m keeping the cleaning crew employed”.

I also make it a point that upon check out I leave the staff money for their trouble. I know more often than not, people don’t do this but more really should start. Don’t just assume that “they get paid for this” means they are actually making what they really deserve to for cleaning up after some really nasty people. While they do get paid on an hourly basis, most spend way more time cleaning up after the weekend than at any other time and some don’t get paid for anything extra.

As I can not stop those that do such offensive things, I will continue to do my part to make their jobs easier.

 

It starts here

I was so excited when I realized that a popular gym was coming to my home town that I rushed out and wanted to find out more. Granted they were still in the construction phase, but were taking new members for the opening in a month. I signed up right away for the VIP membership so that when I travel if there was one close by I could use it as well.

While I was on vacation I realized that there was a location within three miles of my hotel, so I went to took a look. I was very impressed by they layout of the location, but still very intimidated. It seemed that everyone there knew what they were doing, how the equipment worked and how to use everything while I didn’t have a clue. I did purchase my workout clothes anyway and decided that I wanted to give it a try the next day. I showed up and wandered around for a short time. I did try a machine that I had been curious about and the staff was more than happy to help me with how it worked.

Now keep in mind that while I was using this machine I am also still doing Intermittent Fasting. So I was in a fasted state for over 22 hours by that point and while the machine was effective it was also overwhelming. I believe as it was my first time, I should have started off on the lowest level (which I didn’t) and then I might have acclimated to it much better. I was actually tired after I left the gym even after less than 20 minutes. Yes I know not long but when you’re doing IF you don’t really need much to get amazing results.

Went to dinner at TGI Fridays (yes I know again not the greatest choice but OMG it sounded SO good) and by the time I had finished the pot stickers I was feeling a bit more energized. I will continue to work out while still fasting (and did today for 26 mins in the hotel gym) but I think I’ll wait till my friend and I can use our local location together. I don’t like working out alone as it is, but not knowing anyone was very unnerving for me.

Making the most of a quick mini vacay

Chicago IL from Shedd Aquarium

Planning out what you want to do for a quick trip somewhere might seem counter productive if you just want to relax, but trust me you can find out some amazing things ahead of time.

I like to try and figure out not only the location that I’m going to, things to do and local places to eat but I love finding what I refer to hidden gems. I enjoy finding the hole in the wall locations or something historically significant to the locations that I travel to.

I love to find little known facts about the smaller towns that I travel through or stay in while I’m on my mini vacations. I have been able to enjoy things like a firehouse museum, farmers market and art museums that only feature local artists. Finding little parks and outdoor spaces is also a treat for me, weather permitting of course.

So next time you are taking a quick trip, do some checking into things and see what treasures you can find.

Amazing

I started fasting again on December 31 (no not part of a NYE resolution) and I have had steady loss since then. Granted not much weight, but as anyone who is trying to lose weight can tell you…I’d rather have slow and sustained progress then a large drop at the start and gain that back.

I am actually down 8 pounds as of this morning (I weight myself every morning just to give myself a “boost”). I haven’t changed anything about what I’m eating. For instance I don’t eat “clean” or healthy. I eat what I want and what sounds good but I fast for at least 18 hours a day every single day. I don’t eat after six at night as I have noticed that my body responds better.

IF is all about what works for each individual person and lifestyle. No I don’t consider this a “diet” but a lifestyle. Diets have never worked for me in the past and I have no reason to believe they would now, so I had to change my way of thinking about things.

Have questions? Want more info about this and a great community of women that can help with almost any question I don’t have answers to? Let me know.

All the roads to get here

I have spent years trying almost all fads out there. I tried the low carb thing when it first came out, I tried the starve yourself thing and so many others that I’ve lost track. What I haven’t found was anything that worked in the long term that wouldn’t make me regain all that was lost and more.

That is until now, at least I think so. I have been doing Intermittent Fasting (IF for short) for most of 2017.  Has been the easiest thing that I have been able to find that didn’t require special foods or costly supplements. You get to eat all the things that you normally would (within reason of course) but you just eat only during specific times or the day. How much more simple could that get right?!?

Now I know what you’re thinking, believe me I do. How can you eat “normal” foods and still lose weight? Well you start out by adjusting your “eating window” an hour each day and shorten your night time “eating window” so that you go longer at night without food. Many people do fast normally every day while you sleep, thus the first meal of the day is “break fast”.  The longer your body goes without an intake of energy (food) the more your body will naturally not only use all the energy from the last time you ate, but it will begin to use the stores of energy that you already have.

Now keep in mind, if you eat junk food and don’t eat things that are better for you the less you will lose. However the longer you fast the less you will want the “bad” stuff.  You will also notice a “lifting of brain fog” that happens when you begin to fast for longer than 16 hours. This is due to your body using ketones to fuel your brain, and your brain actually operates better with this fuel source. Some people notice a lessening need for caffeine just to “stay awake” during your fasting times than before.

If this is something you’d like to learn more about, or would like to know where I am on this process please message me and I’ll point you in the same directions that I took and the information that I’ve learned.

Back to Kankakee Illinois

Well this trip started off with long lines at DIA waiting for new training of TSA agents and new rules. I found out that now TSA requires (or suggests highly) that your change be kept in a clear baggy and set out so they can see it all and food will be checked that you bring into the airport just to name a few. Once again tablets have to be pulled out of your luggage just like laptops, although for a while you didn’t have to, basically anything bigger than a smartphone needs to be pulled out so TSA can x-ray it all. As you can imagine, the lines now at DIA to just get through TSA have increased exponentially and tempers have gone up for some as well. I understand needing to get new people trained before the holiday travel season really kicks into gear, but it seemed to me that if you are training new people, it’s just a concern that no additional lines are opened to deal with the increasing lines. Not only that, I’m concerned (and others are as well) that once the holiday travel season is over the staffing at TSA will decrease again and thus make the lines once again longer due to lack of open lines due to lack of staffing.

On to a much happier note now. Southwest flight from Denver to Chicago Midway airport there was an amazingly funny flight attendant named Nicholas. For those of us that have flown before (or many times), we have all heard that boring safety information that is given out at the beginning of each flight. Most people can’t honestly say that they really listen to it especially in this age of technology, but if you are lucky enough to be able to be on this flight with Nicholas you will want to watch his demonstration. He’s flamboyant personality made the announcement not only entertaining but irresistible to watch. After talking with him later on in the flight, I found out he has a background in theater and said he uses that to make the demonstration more enjoyable for all aboard, including himself. He is not only able to keep with the needed information but also make it perfectly entertaining for those that take the time to watch. Also speaking with him I found out that his husband is the voice behind the “rundown” and has had many people compliment him on his presentation of it. He informed me that it’s not done on every flight with Southwest, but he likes to do it on the flights that he’s on. According to Nicholas, others have tried, unsuccessfully, to imitate his flamboyant presentation but haven’t quite “nailed it” as he has been able to do. If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then Nicholas has totally got it in the bag!

While there isn’t much that I was able to see from my hotel room, it was nice that within walking distance I was able to get to a Dunkin Donuts, KFC/Taco Bell, Wal-Mart and a little strip mall. I took some time to get my nails done at the strip mall and while they were really fast, I did find that they weren’t really all that personable. The work was decent enough so nothing much to complain about I guess. I wasn’t able to get definitive answer from any of the locals regarding local food flair though and that was slightly disappointing. I did make a trip to Joliet, Illinois as well and the selections there were much more appealing. However, I was in the area for only a short time and for a specific item so I didn’t take the time to see much. So this trip while relaxing enough left me searching out restaurants that are found basically everywhere instead of seeking out the “hole in the wall” haunts that I like to find. I guess not every location will have it, and I’m okay with that.

A mother’s heartbreak

What do you do as a mother when the most toxic relationship that is in your life is one of the ones that means the most to you?

Right now I am facing that very question and knowing the outcome is heart wrenching to admit, even to myself. How can I just bring myself to walk away from someone that is toxic and destructive? How do I let them fall and find their bottom without trying everything I can do to prevent that pain? How can I walk away and not look back until they realize what they have done to myself and those that honestly care and love them?

I honestly don’t know anymore. I am not sure how much more as a mother I am supposed to keep taking. I don’t know how much more I should try and save them from, even when that very person is themselves. I’m not sure what more I can do except just continue with my own life.

As a mother….what can I do?

Rochester, NY

Well my 2017 trip didn’t start out like normal, but it was amusing none the less. The airport was having difficulties with the jet bridge so we had to climb out of the airplane with our carry-on baggage and down a flight of fairly steep stairs in the rain, then walk to the jet bridge and go up the outside stairs to get into the terminal. As that actually made me smile due to its rarity I didn’t see any problems with this unusual arrival.

The foliage in the area is at its peak and the colors are vibrant everywhere you look. The air is crisp but not really what I would consider cold, and believe me I don’t appreciate the cold. I loved that I could wear a light sweater at night and not get chilled but really enjoy the New England fall once again. I hadn’t been in this area of the country since I was 18 and really did miss the way that the seasons are in this area of the U.S. The hotel in Webster even complemented the location with a walking path and a lake just outside of the back. With my room offering full vantage of the majestic trees, lake and hill that surround this walking path I was totally relaxed and at peace from day one.

As Rochester is so close to a great friend of mine in Templeton, Massachusetts, I decided that I would rent a car and make the 6 hour drive to her house to spend the weekend with her and her husband. They couldn’t wait to take me to one of their favorite local brewery. The Gardner Ale House in Gardner, MA not only has a great atmosphere but great local brewed ales and great drinks. I couldn’t get enough of the Pumkintini, which is a seasonal specialty drink. The “bar food” was anything but what I know as typical bar food. I ordered the beef stroganoff and was not disappointed. After dinner, we decided (well her husband and I did. My friend was reluctantly included) to try a small “hike” just outside of town. However, the location was right next to a very old cemetery. The smells of the forest and only being able to see with just the lights from our phones made this a perfect ending to a wonderful day.

I was educated on apple picking the next day, which I had never done before. The day was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t have planned anything more relaxing and fun. Hollis Hills Farm was this quaint and openly friendly location tucked next to a hill side in Lancaster, MA. As I had never done apple picking before I had no idea what to expect, but the location was idyllic and everything I could imagine. The rolling hills that surround the farm were breath-taking. The soft breeze swaying through the trees as they slowly started their annual color change was complete perfection. To be able to taste an apple straight from the source was nothing that I can even form words to describe. The night ended with a bonfire in the back yard, drinks and homemade soup. I couldn’t have asked for a better New England evening.

Another restaurant experience was at Bazil Italian Restaurant in Rochester. Apparently I am on an Italian kick here as of late, but the food here was amazing. The views however made the experience just that much better. Outside of the back of the restaurant were full floor to ceiling windows and lots and lots of boats anchored outside in the harbor. This inlet was directly connected to Lake Ontario thus making the location perfect with not only an American flag flying but a Canadian one as well. With the lights flickering as I left, it made for a picture perfect ending to a great meal.

Fort Wayne, Indiana

While on my travels I was blessed enough to arrive in Fort Wayne during late summer of 2017 to view all that the area had to offer. I actually was driving through town and happened to stumble upon the farmers market, and was instantly hooked! All the different vendors and goodies made the farmers markets in my home town appear to be lacking. It was a joy to walk through the closed off streets to casually gaze at all the glorious colors from the fresh produce, baked goods and packaged items. Speaking with several vendors I found a general openness and conversational willingness to interact with everyone around refreshing and delightful.

The amazing architecture of the court house in down town was awe-inspiring on a grandiose scale. With the building and the grounds taking up 2 city blocks I couldn’t help by marvel at the attention to detail that this historic building contained. The etched designs included in the original building showed just how much the past was revered during its construction. The fountain in the front was soothing and calming but architecturally unique in its own right with multiple locations and flowing water throughout. The clock tower is still in working order and magnificent to witness, even from a distance.

The Foellinger-Freimann botanical gardens were a joy to explore and spend time at. I am still amazed that it’s right in the middle of downtown and yet while inside you felt like you were nowhere near a city. The colors of all the different plants and the fragrances were designed to help transport you to where ever you wanted to be. I was thrilled to find an indoor waterfall hidden within the building and well incorporated into the layout of the winding walkway. I was surprised at the outdoor space that was also part of this beautiful display. With several areas to sit down and just soak in everything both indoors and out make this location ideal to just “be” for a while.

While on my travels I love to find locations that aren’t the commercialized restaurants that you can basically find almost everywhere. Fort Wayne was no exception and didn’t disappoint. I was able to more than satisfy my taste for authentic Italian at a location called Salvatori’s Authentic Italian Eatery. The outside is set into a strip mall location, but inside is anything but strip mall quality. The design of the interior gives the appearance of an eatery in Italy with windows, balconies and music. The walls having what appear to be authentic Italian locations and views. The wonderful and gracious staff really seems to enjoy being there and always willing to offer suggestions if you would like. The wine selection is perfect and even that can be difficult for me as I’m not that great with choosing wine. Both times that I’ve dined here I have not been disappointed by the rich taste of the food. From the lasagna to the baked spaghetti I not only don’t have anything to complain about, but more than enough food and took some back to the hotel for later. While I had no room for desert at either sitting, I was never disappointed by the atmosphere or the gracious hosts.

Just take a moment

With all the holiday cheer and family around, please remember to take time for yourself. After all, family will go back to their homes and the decorations will come down but YOU are still around. Happy holidays to all!