Archive for the ‘Q&A’ Category

Nomadness Q&A with Evita Robinson

Friday, April 12th, 2013

EvitaWith graduation ceremonies fast approaching, many new graduates may still be unsure of their next step.  Whether they decide to join
the workforce, continue their education, or are still undecided, there are several options available to them.  What about packing up a bag and jumping on the road for an inspiring trip to see the world? This is exactly what members at Nomadness Travel Tribe decided to do.  Thousands of Nomadness participants have enjoyed unforgettable experiences through their trips across the globe. Leading the way is the program’s founder, Evita Robinson. We were thrilled to have had a chance to speak with her to hear just how Nomadness really came together.

1. How and why did Nomadness start?
After living in Asia for almost a year and a half, I came back to New York to find myself in severe travel withdrawal  When looking for groups that I related to, I didn’t find any that kept my interest or energy level. I decided to create one that bridged my lifestyle, with my type of traveling, and my background.

2. Why did you pick the name Nomadness?
I didn’t, it picked me. I was having a casual conversation with a friend, via Skype while I was in Japan. He wanted me to work on a project with him and I was explaining how much I move around. His response was ‘I know. I’m taking your nomadness into account’. I had just shot the first video and was actively trying to solidify a name. It stood out so clear to me.

Rio Nomadness3. What is the goal of Nomadness?
To have people think of urban travel, and think about us. Our physical goals are to become our own social media network in 2013 and to lock in a travel television show, all inspiring travelers with an urban background to get out into the world.

4. Why did you pick Facebook as the host of your online community?
Because I realized I wasn’t Superwoman and couldn’t start manning a social media network on my own. One of my close friends, and member, Stephanie suggested I start there and see what happens.

5. You are about to embark on a cross-country road trip with Nomadness travelers. What’s the end goal of this trip?
To spread the word of Nomadness to a group of students that I know no one else would do this for. The HBCU’s, like our demo in traveling, tend to be forgotten. I want to give them this opportunity to be a part of something great. They deserve to be inspired too.

6. How do you see Nomadness evolving and continuing to grow?
We are going to completely encompass the space of exclusivity and affordability in travel. We will be on tv, our merchandise will be in stores, and our members will continue to grow all over the world. I believe College Tours and speaking engagements will be a staple after this is done.

Thanks so much to Evita for taking time to talk with us about this great program!





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TSB Sits Down With Team Fenom

Monday, December 31st, 2012

This week I had the chance to sit down with Antonia Newman, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Team Fenom.Team Fenom provides sports coverage and connects a large and growing base of women’s sports fans through an online community. Team Fenom covers women’s professional and collegiate basketball, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field, and volleyball. In addition to sports stories, Team Fenom publishes articles on sportswear trends and fitness. Team Fenom uses Huffington Post’s model to source low-cost content. Plans for monetization include digital advertising, corporate sponsorships, and e-commerce. Read on to learn more!

How did you decide on Team Fenom’s name?

Fenom was derived from combining female and phenomenal. Team Fenom is an expression of the global community of individuals who support women’s athletics and lead active lifestyles.

In your career, you’ve traveled quite a bit. What is one of the more memorable experiences?

One of my most memorable experiences was traveling to Athens and Mykonos, Greece where the Deputy Minister of Culture presented me with a silver wreath “for valuable contribution to sport.” I was proud to receive an award previously only given to Olympians. Also, I vividly recall the mouth-watering Greek cuisine and Mykonos’ golden, sandy beaches with crystalline, azure waters.

What tips do you have for keeping your fitness routine while traveling?

Take advantage of fitness amenities at your hotel. Most hotels have fitness centers and many offer exercise classes and personal training sessions. Pack travel-friendly workout equipment such as a fitness DVD and resistance bands for a full-body workout. You can also hit the pavement for a long run; it is the perfect way to explore a new city. If you don’t have time for a workout, consider these options: opt for stairs over elevators, forego the closest parking spot and walk versus drive.

What are your three must-have items while traveling?

My three must-have items to take on a trip are a cell phone to keep in touch with loved ones and capture memories, my laptop to stay abreast of women’s sports updates for Team Fenom, and my Nike Zoom Structure running shoes for exercise and excursions.

What’s the most adventurous activity or experience you’ve done while traveling?

Kayaking the Laguna Grande in Fajardo, Puerto Rico at night was a memorable adventure because there are only a few bioluminescent bays in the world. It was fun navigating the pitch-dark narrow channels. Paddling for approximately 1 ½ hours burned calories and was good exercise for the upper body.

You love sports and fitness. What destination(s) do you recommend for sports fanatics like yourself?

Besides basketball, one of my favorite sports is tennis. The tennis majors provide an excellent opportunity to travel and attend exciting sporting events—Australian Open (Melbourne), French Open (Paris), Wimbledon, and US Open (New York).

As an Atlanta native with a Georgia based company, I also recommend experiencing the following:

  • Masters at Augusta National Golf Club
  • WNBA Atlanta Dream, 2010 and 2011 Eastern Conference champs, at Philips Arena
  • AJC Peachtree Road Race 4th of July, world’s largest 10K
  • BB&T Atlanta Open Pro Tennis Tournament at Atlantic Station
  • Atlanta Motor Speedway’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series over Labor Day weekend
  • Atlanta Half Marathon and Thanksgiving Day 5K
  • SEC College Football Championship Game at Georgia Dome
  • Chick-fil-A Bowl, one of the nation’s elite college football bowl games at Georgia Dome
  • SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament at The Arena at Gwinnett Center (2013 and 2014)
  • NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Tournament at Georgia Dome (2013)


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Q&A with Culinary Craftsman, Damien Schaeffer

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

In the spirit of food and family for Thanksgiving, I had the chance to speak with a good friend of mine, Damien Schaeffer.  Damien is a modern day Renaissance Man. Founder of the Four Coursemen (by the way – this link goes to some inspired recipes), the friends cooking for fun concept that sparked a Cooking Channel Hit is now on to a new project: Public Domain Dinners. I asked Damien about Thanksgiving, food, friends and his new culinary project.

Grass Fed Beef Cheeks w/ Summer Farro Salad, Peperonata, Bar-B-Jus

The Four Coursemen began out of a desire for good food and fellowship, which is exactly what Thanksgiving is all about – what do feel is required for a great Thanksgiving meal?

DS: To me, Thanksgiving was always a special day because it was the one day during the year that the entire family stopped what they were doing and focused on good food and each other.  We are all super busy and we often forget to dedicate a little time to important things like this.  More than any culinary ingredient, it is taking the time to truly savor a meal with friends and family that makes a great Thanksgiving meal, or any great meal.  Thanksgiving gives us a reason to do this.  The Four Coursemen has always been about taking this a step further and saying; “You shouldn’t have to wait for a holiday to do this.  You can do it any day.”

How do the Four Coursemen plan your menus and how do you decide where to source the ingredients?

DS: Planning our menus is the easy part because the menu is dictated by what is growing and available in town that day or week.  We know our local farmers and source most of our ingredients from the farmers market the day of the dinner.  This ensures we have the freshest possible ingredients.  I get very easily overwhelmed when given too many options and the beauty of cooking with ingredients that are local and in season is that your options are limited.  I never think of this limitation as a negative thing.  In fact, with food, this “limitation” means that you are cooking with ingredients at the peak of their flavor potential.  With fresh, seasonal ingredients and a little knowledge of how to put them together in a dish, it is hard to cook food that is not delicious.

How has filming the show changed the way The Four Coursemen prepare meals?

DS: The show didn’t really change the way we prepare meals.  In fact, it was meant to document our motivations and the process we follow when preparing our dinners, and inspire others the do the same. When I came up with the concept for the television show, I wanted to show viewers how easy it is to cook nutritious food for your family and friends.  For years, America has traded quality food for convenient food.  Unfortunately convenient rarely, if ever, means nutritious. If we could document ourselves going to a beautiful city, where we knew no one, and put together a meal for diners using local ingredients bought from surrounding farms that we discovered the day before the dinner; anyone in that town, or any other town in America, could easily do the same if they felt inspired to do so.  We are here to spark that inspiration.

Marshmallow'd Goat-Cheesecake w/ Blueberry, Sea Salt Ganache, Marcona Almonds, Graham Crumble

Culinary Travel is so popular now, is there somewhere that you have been or would like to go in the name of food and fun?

DS: Good food exists everywhere and there are people in every town who you can learn amazing techniques, tips, recipes, and more from.  I want to travel to towns all over and continue to learn and cook.  In the spirit of the television concept, I have started a new traveling dining experience called Public Domain Dinners that is all about this.  It is my excuse to travel, meet new people, continue to learn, and inspire others to do the same.  The Public Domain Dinners are much like what we did on The Four Coursemen. For each dinner I collaborate with a chef from the town I am visiting to pull off a dinner for anywhere from 15 – 120 diners.  The location of the dinners, menu, number of diners, etc. are all dependent on what the participating chef and I feel will make for the best experience.

With Public Domain Dinners I am visiting cities across America and inspiring people to cook and get to know their local farmers and producers on the way.  I kicked this concept off to great success in Charleston, South Carolina where I did a dinner for 32 diners at a small book store called Heirloom Books.  I collaborated on the menu with a talented chef, and owner of the restaurant The Grocery, Kevin Johnson.   I just wrapped up another dinner in Athens, GA at the beautiful farm Woodland Gardens for 120 diners.  My good friend, and very talented Executive Chef of the Athens restaurant Five & Ten, Dean Neff and I collaborated on a five course menu that showcased seasonal produce from Woodland Gardens in every course.  I am currently working on dinners in Birmingham, Austin, and New York.

If anyone reading wants me to do a Public Domain Dinner in their town, email me at and let me know!  While you are at it, go to the website ( and sign up for the mailing list and follow me on Twitter @eatpublicdomain

Happy Thanksgiving,




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Getting Excited For Formula 1 In Austin, Texas

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Formula 1 will be held in Austin, Texas from November 16-18, 2012.

Friday, November 16 marks the first day for Formula 1 in Austin, Texas. Lucky for me (and our readers) Vance Facundo and Tim Wood, from Friends of Formula 1 took some time to sit down with me and answer a few questions. Read on to learn more about the race, what Austin has done to prepare and more! Don’t forget to check out Friends of Formula 1 on Facebook and Twitter.

Q: What efforts has the city made to plan for Formula 1 racing?

A: Both the City of Austin and Travis County have taken some major steps to prepare for Formula 1. Road improvements have been made to help increase the traffic flow along major arteries and county roadways. Transportation plans have been developed to optimize the use of public and private transportation. Along with taxi cabs and city buses, shuttle services are being provided from remote locations to and from the race track. Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) has added an additional security checkpoint and customs facility to accommodate the increased traffic during F1 and the holiday season. Emergency planning has also been initiated to prepare EMS, fire and police services. The latest information from the City of Austin can be found here:

Q: Which streets in Austin should be avoided and are there alternative routes?

Major roads are expected to be congested as the F1 fans begin migrating to the race track. There are only a few roads that lead to the race track, but parking at remote locations should offer some relief. The best advice we can offer is “get an early start”. This is Austin’s first Formula 1 race and lessons will be learned. Come early and plan to stay all day. F1 is more of a festival atmosphere and there will be plenty to see and do.

Q: Based on your experience with other F1 events, please offer a few tips for travelers to the area (dining nearby, other attractions, etc.)

A: Austin offers top of the line dining and entertainment. Circuit of the Americas has taken a slice of the local flavor and brought it in house to share with the Formula 1 fans. You can consider the event to be all inclusive. We recommend visiting The Bullock Texas State History Museum to get the story of Texas as it can only be told by true Texans. San Antonio Texas is just down the road from Austin and offers many tourist opportunities such as the Texas Alamo and Museum, river walk, cultural art centers and authentic Mexican cuisine.

Q: What makes Formula One fun for the whole family?

A: The festival atmosphere will deliver a mountain of entertainment and fun for the whole family. Live concerts and music venues all over town will not leave you a moment to spare. The sport itself is something that will take hold of your heart and soul, especially when you share the fanfare with those close to you. This highly technical and advanced motor sport is like nothing else on the planet. Once you experience the thrill and rush of cars driving over 200 mph and stopping on a dime, only to take off again and achieve all of this in mere seconds, you’ll be hooked. Austin is a cool town and F1 makes it even cooler in our book. Looking forward to seeing you at the race!



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Tips for Accessorizing While Traveling from Jewelry Nut Auctions

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

I always try to pack light when I’m traveling by mixing and matching my clothes to get more out of a few pieces. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style in the name of a lighter carry-on. On the contrary, with the right accessories, you can transform the same outfit for days (although you may not smell as sweet). That’s why I’ve enlisted my friend, Victoria Wise, co-founder of Jewelry Nut Auctions, the first Facebook jewelry auction site, to share some of her favorite accessories and tips for looking great and packing light!

1. TSB: Jewelry Nut Auctions has gotten SO popular, how do you choose what items to auction?

JNA: We try to choose a mix of styles to appeal to a wide variety of tastes, but still stay true to a Jewelry Nut look.

2. TSB: When you travel, it’s hard not to over-pack, but accessories make the outfit; so what is your advice for packing for a trip?

JNA: I purchased an accessories hanging case that rolls up, then hangs on a hanger in your closet when you arrive. You can tuck it inside one of your dresses so no one can see all the hidden jewelry inside! Got mine at The Container Store.

3. TSB: What are the must-have accessories for Fall and Winter?

JNA: Scarves are a must! We have such an amazing selection, and in all weights to address the needs of colder to warmer climates. We think mixing metals are key to dressing things up, even when you may be casual. Bloggers have been wearing the J Crew pave link bracelet, and we have brought in our version so that everyone can rock that trend.

4. TSB: What are your favorite accessories that you can’t leave home without?

JNA: My boyfriend sized watch, a wrap bracelet, brightly colored earrings that contrast what I am wearing, and a scarf that I can use to look hip and keep warm.

5. TSB: What is your favorite destination? Why? And, can you share one specific thing that you would recommend to someone else when visiting that spot?

JNA: New York City. It’s where we, the Jewelry Nut Girls, go to charge our style batteries. We think it is fun to find the best restaurants (most recently Barbuto) and meet friends that live in the city or are travelling there at the same time. We haven’t made it to a Broadway show yet together, but plan to the next trip! You can’t miss the Guggenheim Museum, or the Museum of Natural History. For some spa time hit Moonshine Spa.

Jewelry Nut is a Facebook-based retailer and a leader in the rapidly growing social commerce trend. They provide fixed-price designer and designer-inspired jewelry and accessories at great prices. Auctions are held on Facebook every Monday and Thursday nights at 8 p.m. CST. Jewelry and accessory pieces are presented in an auction-style format showcasing a photo, price and quantity. Fans of the page are able to buy the featured pieces by entering their e-mail address in the comment box below the photo. The first to respond before the quantity sells out “wins” the item at the posted price. Jewelry Nut features 75 to 100 jewelry and accessory pieces per posted auction. Customers are billed through PayPal and shipping is free.



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Those Who Dream Most…Do Most! An Interview with Achilles International NYC Chapter Director Kathleen Bateman

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Inspire a Generation. That’s the theme for this year’s Paralympic Games, which begin next week in London. I am humbled by these individuals’ sheer determination to not only conquer life’s challenges but to dominate as athletes, too.

Achilles International is an organization dedicated to putting the “abled” back into athletes with physical impairments. I recently had the opportunity to ask Kathleen Bateman, director of the New York City chapter of Achilles International, a few questions. Her love of endurance sports led her to take over the paratriathlon team. She coaches weekly swimming, running, and cycling workouts, and facilitates athlete participation in triathlons and road races throughout the United States and abroad.

1. Achilles is such an amazing organization, what do you enjoy most about your job?

Every day I am surrounded by individuals who are passionate and fully engaged in their lives despite the challenges they face. Our athletes overcome obstacles to achieve what many people take for granted and other people could never dream of.

2. What is the biggest misconception that you think people have about people with disabilities?

Kathleen Bateman on her bike.

Society often perceives people with disabilities as weak and vulnerable. Achilles athletes challenge this widely held misconception. When you watch an athlete without legs complete their first 5k or cheer on a woman who was told she would never walk again finish her first triathlon, you cannot help but be awed by their strength, determination and spirit.

3. Traveling can be such a joy but what are some of the challenges that people with disabilities may have when taking a trip?

Non-accessible hotels, bathrooms, restaurants, and tourist attractions are unfortunately common. But perhaps the greatest challenge is constantly interacting with personnel who, while they may be well intentioned, are unable to advise or understand accessibility issues. I have heard hotels claim that they are accessible as there is only one step at the entrance. One step is like standing before a brick wall for someone in a wheelchair. Once a flight attendant informed an athlete she could be accommodated on the flight but her wheelchair would arrive the following day, which is like saying your legs will be arriving tomorrow.

4. What is your favorite destination? Why? And, can you share one specific thing that you would recommend to someone else when visiting that spot?

In May, the Achilles paratriathlon team traveled to Austin, Texas to compete in the National Championships. I loved the city’s laid-back atmosphere, charm, and the hospitality of its people. Anyone visiting needs to check out a live show from Austin’s music scene and should not miss Chicken Shit Bingo at Ginny’s Saloon. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like – you bet on a square of ground, and if the chicken “goes” on your patch, you win. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday!

Kathleen’s Travel Tips for a Person with Disabilities.

  1. Use online resource guides to research a location’s accessibility like or Disabled World News gives information on accessible travel for persons with disabilities with reviews of tours, cruises, flights and wheelchair accessible accommodation.
  2. Always call ahead to ensure that a hotel has a ramp, that the bathrooms and restaurant are accessible, and that the staff will be expecting them and ready to accommodate any special needs.
  3. Allow plenty of time to get through customs and baggage claim.
  4. Be aware of the American with Disabilities Act, which protects travelling with equipment like wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs from incurring additional fees.
  5. A successful trip means being your own self-advocate.

Read more about Achilles International in my spotlight on Paralympic competitor Richard Whitehead.



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The Travel Habits of One of the World’s Top Ski Mountaineer’s

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Kris Erickson has visited Nepal and Morocco among many other exciting places.

With the cold weather arriving and many people heading off to ski destinations and planning other exciting winter vacations, I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A with a renowned ski mountaineer who has climbed and photographed some of the world’s most breathtaking peaks!

For 10 years, Kris Erickson has brought his camera to the highest points, coldest reaches, and most untouched folds of the planet’s geography. What’s more, he is not merely a shutterbug who stands idle to the side of any expedition. Instead, he tackles the same challenging mountaineering projects as the world’s other top-flight climbers, often combining his abilities to ascend difficult mountains with a love and passion for true mountain-sliding descents.

1. How often do you travel?

I’m on the road 6 to 8 months per year, much of this time is for expeditions with The North Face that last between 4 and 8 weeks. Along with my family, I spend about 4 to 6 months per year in Morocco where we are in the midst of a multi-year historic preservation and education project. 

2. Do you have any favorite destinations?

We (my family) spend most of our time in the remote mountain regions of Nepal and Morocco. Despite their religious differences and geographical separation, we have found that the same things draw us to these countries; the honest and hospitable people, breathtaking landscapes with exceptional recreational opportunities, and a way of life that prioritizes family. We also enjoy exploring our home state of Montana and an occasional trip to Mexico for some beach time in Sayulita or Xcalak.

3.  Do you prefer to stay at a specific hotel?

In Kathmandu I always stay at Hotel Tibet and in Marrakesh I often stay at Hotel Assia. Both are affordable and clean hotels with great service.  

4. When given the option, would you rather stay at a hotel, motel, or bed & breakfast?

Most often, I stay in family-run guest houses or gites when in rural villages and this is generally the only option. When en route to or returning from a destination, I prefer a hotel for the privacy and ability to have a hot shower and recharge after a long flight or a long time in the mountains.

5. What’s your most memorable trip?

In 2006, my wife and I received a grant from The North Face to take a group of athletes to the Central High Atlas Mountains of Morocco for a climbing expedition and philanthropic project. The North Face team completed a new 700 meter rock route, restored dangerous sections of local trails, and put a new roof on the elementary school – all in three weeks. It was an amazingly successful trip that laid the foundation and local relationships needed for our current work in the country.

6. Any advice for people on the best ways to plan an outdoor-focused trip? 

Spend plenty of time preparing before you leave. Think about potential health risks and necessary vaccinations. If traveling to remote regions with small children, be prepared with oral rehydration solution in case of diarrhea. We always travel with acidopholous to replenish healthy intestinal bacteria. Also think about purchasing a rescue insurance such as Global Rescue, which is recommended by the American Alpine Club and used by The North Face for their athletes.



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Tips For Healthy Eating While Traveling

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

How healthy are you eating while traveling? (photo courtesy of

With Thanksgiving, holiday parties and all sorts of merriment right around the corner, I thought we could all use a few reminders on how NOT to gain 20 pounds this holiday season!

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, it’s important to realize that you can be away and still eat healthfully and mindfully.

I asked Elisa Zied, nationally recognized dietician and author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips, her best advice for healthy eating while traveling.  Here are her top two takeaways:

1. Don’t abandon all your healthful habits! If you do, you’re destined to come back from your getaway feeling worse—the number on the scale will be up, your clothes will feel more tight, and instead of being motivated to get back into a mindfully healthy routine, you may end up seeking comfort by eating more than usual.

2. Find time for fitness! Even 10 minute bursts of activity help you burn calories and help your mind and body feel strong and fit. Ms. Zied recommends:

  • Taking a few laps at the airport
  • Walking up and down escalators instead of taking the stairs
  • Scoping out walking/running trails or routes nearby your hotel
  • Doing some simple exercises in your room like lunges, squats, or push ups, jogging in place or dancing to music

How can we eat healthy when we travel?

It’s really critical to plan ahead in order to eat well when traveling. Having healthy snacks on hand will provide you with ammunition to help you think twice before grabbing a candy bar or some other vending machine treat to get your food fix. Consider homemade trail mix made with whole grain, crunchy cereal, dried fruit (with no sugar added), and your favorite nuts, preferably unsalted so that you’ll always have something on hand to give you energy and key nutrients to help you get through the day. It’s also a great idea to travel with a refillable water bottle (preferably one made of stainless steel) to stay adequately hydrated (pack it empty and refill when on an airplane or at the airport after you’ve gone through security).

What should we be looking for on restaurant menus?

When you read restaurant menus, it’s important to look first and foremost for calorie information if it’s available. For most people, 500 to 600 calories per meal is a good rule of thumb. Of course, we know that most restaurant entrees can have double or triple that amount!

At breakfast or lunch, having vegetables like mushrooms or onions as part of an omelet (made with one yolk and a few egg whites), and having fruit on the side or for dessert (berries, bananas, melons or citrus fruits like grapefruits or oranges) provides lots of water, fiber, and valuable vitamins and minerals; they’re also great sources of carbohydrate—the key fuel for your brain and body.

Planning ahead is particularly important before you go to a business dinner. Try to make it a rule to eat only half the appetizer and half your entrée. Look for a vegetable-based appetizer or order a colorful salad with dressing on the side (you can dip the fork into the dressing). These are great things to start with at dinner to provide key nutrients and fill you up.

For your main course, choose fish, skinless chicken breast, or some lean meat (like sirloin), but ask them to prepare with minimal amounts of oil, butter, and salt. If you choose to have bread from the bread basket, skip starchy vegetables like a baked potato, pasta, or rice. If you choose to have alcohol, stick to only one drink (for example, 5 ounces wine, 12 ounces of light beer, or one shot of hard liquor). Make sure to drink plenty of water – that can help fill you up and counteract some of the harms of too much sodium from your meal.

What can I eat to feel energized while traveling?

The best foods to eat for energy are those rich in simple or complex carbohydrates, and protein. For example, you can pre-make whole grain cracker sandwiches (each made with 2 whole grain crackers and some type of nut butter – like peanut , cashew or almond butter). If you’re traveling with a cooler, having small sandwiches, low fat yogurt, string cheese, and cut up fruit are other healthful, filling options. Making pre-portioned plastic baggies with 2 tablespoons each of cereal, dried fruit, and nuts is a great way to stay fueled and focused without overdoing calories when few options are available.

What should I eat if I need to sleep while traveling?

There’s no one food that will magically help you sleep. What can help is limiting alcohol, fried or fatty foods, and large portions or anything before you slumber. Limiting caffeine a few hours before you plan to sleep can also be helpful.

What do you find the most difficult thing about eating on vacation?

Not having our favorite breakfast cereals on hand certainly makes eating on vacation a bit of a challenge (sometimes I go as far as to bring a box or two with us)! We also don’t love having to go out for every meal, especially when the food available looks and smells so good. Sometimes we stay at hotels that have a mini kitchen, and that makes it easier for us to at least have healthful breakfast and snack foods and beverages (especially water) on hand. I try to be as consistent as possible in terms of my own eating and encourage my family to do the same when we’re on vacation.

Also, it’s critical to get plenty of physical activity. I know for my family that being active and doing fun things that we might not get a chance to do at home are often the highlights of our family vacations.

About Elisa Zied

Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN is a nationally recognized award-winning dietitian and the founder/president of Zied Health Communications, LLC, based in New York, New York. She is a regular contributor to and She’s the author of Nutition At Your Fingertips and co-author of Feed Your Family Right! and So What Can I Eat?!, both written by Ruth Winter. Visit her and sign up for her free e-newsletter The ZIED GUIDE at



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The Web’s Newest and Most Useful Application for Travelers

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Oscar Guido is offering Travel Smart Blog readers an exlusive opportunity to use the coolest, new travel application, Glass

Hey everybody! There is an outstanding new web application that the tech world is lauding as “humanizing the internet.”  In fact, it’s so new that they’ve created a special access code just for you, the readers of! Just read below to get it. 

It’s called Write On Glass and it can make booking travel much easier and more enjoyable, especially when you are collaborating with friends or loved ones. I interviewed Oscar Guido, COO and Co-Founder of Border Stylo, the technology startup behind Glass, and wanted to share his thoughts with you on how this works.

1. What is Glass?

It’s an application that allows people to have private conversations on top of any webpage. For example, you can leave your thoughts about a hotel deal you found on literally on top of that page, and the only people that will see that comment are those with whom you share it. Glass allows you to now point specifically to information online without having to leave the page. 

2. How does it work?

All you have to do is install an add-on to your web browser, which allows you to overlay a virtual layer of glass above the internet. This way, you can place your messages on top without having to copy a link, open a new tab, sign into your email, or create a new message. Glass saves you all of those steps. Why should you have to go somewhere else online to share stuff? This allows you to share ideas in the moment, on-the-fly, and in the context of what you are talking about. 

Here’s a short video of Glass in action.

3. How would Glass work for making travel plans?

I’ve used it to plan an entire vacation! Instead of copying links and listing them in a separate document, risking losing the context and photos of the place, I’ve used Glass. I simply leave my notes (or “slides” as they’re called) about destination hotels and resorts on top of the webpage. Glass makes it easy to retrieve those notes through a “feed” if you need to go back, and you can even bookmark special messages among the rest. 

For example, the last time my girlfriend and I traveled to Palm Springs it allowed us to compare different hotel room options. We would leave ‘slides’ on the list of varying amenities, by the different room types. We could discuss what was most important to us (pool view vs. bed size) in the context of the hotel room pictures. Then, we could link to video reviews that we found from YouTube about the hotel and its different room sizes right on top of that same site. In essence, we made our decision about what room to book by looking at the options through a conversation. In fact, we even went as far as to plan our dinners for the weekend getaway by commenting on menu selections of the best Yelp’ed restaurant reviews near the hotel. 

4. How can we start using Glass?

Since Glass is in beta, sign-ups are limited. But we’ve created the invite code “travelsmart” (all together, no quotes) for the readers of this blog to join Glass. Once inside, users can invite as many contacts as they’d like. In order for your contacts to see your messages, they will also have to be using Glass. It currently works for both Firefox and Chrome web browsers.

5. Where are your favorite places to travel?

Personally, as the product may have already hinted, I prefer privacy above all =) so my favorite places are ones where I can get away with my lovely better-half and not be bothered. That means privacy can be in the form of anonymity (by not knowing anyone else in the city or place we are visiting). A shoreline and a good selection of brews also help!

6. What’s your biggest traveling pet peeve?

Long security lines. I know, not very original, but I cannot wrap my mind around why people take forever to put their stuff in a tray. I mean, we’ve all been waiting in line for the last 15 minutes with the same purpose, right?



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An Inside Look At How Social Media Impacts The Travel Industry And Its Customers

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

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Fanscape CEO Larry Weintraub has 25 years of entertainment marketing experience.

As we continue to celebrate Social Media Week, I had the chance to interview Larry Weintraub, CEO and co-founder of Fanscape, a social media marketing agency. He was able to provide some great information about how the travel industry and its customers are being impacting by social media, which I’m happy to share with you here!

1. What is the best way for travel companies to measure ROI (Return On Investment) on their social media (SM) channels?

What works for one company does not always work for another. The real question is, what is important to you? If it is sales, then your ROI will be measured by how much revenue you generate from your social media channels. For example, if you are a hotel chain, you want to drive people to purchase rooms. But what you have to know is that if you simply push people to book rooms and you don’t engage them, you will be disappointed. You need to offer value. Value in the form of discounts, exclusives, inside information, special amenities, etc. Make it worth their while to come visit your social media channels. Do that, and you will see sales and your ROI will be properly measured as a result of your engagement and not by simply building a channel.

2. Are daily giveaways and incentives the only way for travel brands to attract new fans/followers?

No, not at all. The key is value. Daily giveaways and incentives are fun and do offer value. But let’s not forget about good communication. Your social media channels are an extension of you. If you are a travel professional, what makes you special? Usually it is because you have insight and knowledge that the average consumer doesn’t have themselves. You’ve been to all the places people want to go, you’ve stayed in all the hotels, taken cruises, rented cars. You know where to go, how to get there, and what to ask for.  People love to travel, but they are often confused by offers or worried about making a bad decision that isn’t realized until they reach their destination. If you communicate well with your customers and potential customers, answer their questions and provide them with your insight, that can be more valuable than a daily giveaway. This connection to your audience will result in people telling others. Word of mouth is the number one reason people buy something or try something, provide value and people will tell their friends.     

3. How can a hotel control the damage of an unhappy customer when his or her feedback is immediately published on a social media  site?

What you hope is that if a person has a problem, they come to you first. Even if it is in a public forum such as a travel blog or your Facebook page. If they voice their concern in that public forum, then you need to address it quickly and show that you care. For example, if someone complains about their hotel room or the service they received, you need to respond to that person, again, in public, on the social media site they utilized, and say that you are truly upset that they had that experience and you are looking into it immediately. Ask them then to respond to you directly via email or phone and offer to discuss the issue. Once you have resolved the issue, post again to let all those who read the chain know that you spoke with this person, you fixed any issues that related specifically to your hotel, and that this is an isolated experience. This is not a guaranteed fix. There are those who participate in social media that cannot be appeased. All you can do is do your best. If you participate regularly and actively in your social networks and you respond to discussions about your property in other social forums such as TripAdvisor, then the audience there will know that you do really care about your customers. Others will tend to discount the lone noisemaker if you are consistent with your participation and compassionate with your customers.

4. Will we ever get to a point where travel companies no longer need full blown websites because their customers would prefer to book directly through Facebook and Twitter applications?

The short answer is no. You will always need a website. That website will most likely continue to evolve and become more and more social in nature. Meaning, most if not all websites will continue to evolve and many of the features of popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter will become integrated into your website. Features such as sharing, commenting, uploading photos and videos, and many more.  Facebook and Twitter are the current favorite places to socialize, but tomorrow there will be something else. This doesn’t mean that they are going away any time soon, it just means you will always have to update your profiles on many places, but the one consistent will be your website.

5. With so many exciting new networks popping up every day, what is the best way for companies to keep up and ultimately use all of these tools as new revenue drivers?

You only have so many hours in a day and your resources are not endless. You can’t chase every new thing that comes up. Sometimes you just have to wait a minute and see if something catches on. Not every company has to be a leader. In fact, most companies will choose not to lead and will watch to see if revenues are being generated by competitors or others in related fields. Identify a handful of companies that do similar things as you and a handful that you aspire to be, even if they are not directly in your industry. If you see them doing great things or you read about them making money as a result of new tools, then reach out to the makers of those new technologies and ask them how they can help you. If you then do decide to participate, try to make your offering better for your customers. This could be in the form of discounts, deals, or the sharing of really useful information. No one is going to criticize you for copying someone else. It’s just up to you to make it the best for your business and the people who utilize your service.



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