Wanderlust Wednesday: Travel Apps

Chez Micheal

Call me old fashioned but as a girl who grew up with a love of atlases I still love exploring a new location with nothing but a paper map and my wits, but even I will admit that technology makes traveling easier. There are some great apps that can help you plan your trip or come to your rescue while you’re there. Here are a few of my favorites.


Duolingo: If you are planning on traveling abroad this is a great way to learn a foreign language. I went to Montreal last fall and this was a great way to brush up on my high school French. The lessons are quick so if you only have five or ten minutes a day to practice you won’t feel overwhelmed. The app will also review previous lessons with you as you go to help with retention. (available on iOS and Android)


Guides by Lonely Planet: Lonely Planet is my go to for travel guides on cities and counties. In addition to my love of maps I also still buy physical travel books when I’m prepping for a trip to somewhere I’m visiting for the first time. Lugging a guide around while you’re on the go during your travels isn’t convenient and it certainly isn’t discreet if you’re trying not to fly your tourist flag. This app is the perfect supplement when you’re on the go to look up things to do, places to eat, etc. It also includes tools like a currency converter and phrase books. (available on iOS and Android)


Hopper: There are numerous apps for finding flight deals but I love how simple Hopper is. You can search a by destination and the calendar feature is color-coded to make it easy to see when you can get the best deal. If you’re flexible with your dates you can score some true deals.  (available on iOS and Android)

Do you have any favorite travel apps? Please mention them in the comments.




Mindful Monday: Time to Wind Down


This is one from the archives from the old site that I’ve updated with some more tips.

In the past meditation like yoga was something that I didn’t really get. I tried it multiple times and dismissed it as not being for me. My excuses were 1. I’m too type A for this, 2. This is too New Age for me, and 3. I don’t have time for this every day. Like yoga, though I found that practice and finding what works for you makes meditation easier.

I started by taking yoga classes that had a very brief meditation component. By brief, I mean 5 minutes or less. I figured I could handle five minutes. Five minutes turned into doing 9-12 minute guided meditations through apps at home. Eventually, I started doing as long as 30 minutes of meditating either at home or as part of a yoga class.

I try to start and end the day this way. Does it mean always sitting in a meditation pose and imagining I’m on a mountain or a lake no, although I do sometimes meditate that way. I tend to alternate between mantras set to music, guided meditation, and sometimes even just reading or listening to something worth reflecting on.  

Have I gained spiritual enlightenment? No, at least not yet. What I have gained is some peace of mind. I’ve noticed when I have this routine I’m more patient with people and have an easier time sleeping. My office has a meditation group that meets a few times a week. I don’t make it to every session, but if I’m really stressed or feel like I’m “too busy” to go that’s when I know I should. 

I recommend giving some form of meditation a try. If you don’t know where to start there are a number of great apps out there to get you started with guided meditations. My personal favorite is Insight Timer

365 Project: Recipes 46-60


Here’s the next batch of 15 recipes. 60 recipes seems like a lot but I’m only 1/7 of the way to my goal…time to step it up.

46. Mutter Paneer 


Source: Subbu’s Kitchen 

Notes: I was inspired to make my favorite Indian dish after visiting an Indian grocery store and finding they had paneer cheese.

Rating: LOVED

47. Broiled Citrus Salad 


Source: Eat Pretty 

Notes: This is part cookbook and part beauty guide. This is a great source for seasonal recipes and learning about plant sources for different vitamins and minerals.

Rating: Liked

48. Blood Orange Lavender Protein Shake 


Source: Original

Notes: Two small blood oranges peeled, a tablespoon of lavender, two tablespoons of orange blossom water, hemp seeds for garnish, natural flavor protein powder (I used Plant Fusion) and filtered water.

Rating: LOVED

49. White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies 


Source: The Chunky Chef 

Notes: I used applesauce instead of butter which is a great baking swap if you’re looking to reduce fat and calories.

Rating: Liked


50. Zucchini Hazelnut Salad 

Source: Plenty 

Notes: Seriously I can’t endorse this cookbook enough! The recipes are simple yet creative. I love it. I added hard boiled quail eggs for extra protein.

Rating: LOVED

51. Salmon and Apple Farro 


Source: Blue Apron

Notes: The farro with cooked apples was amazing. The salmon was a bit too rare and didn’t have a lot of flavor even with the addition of fresh rosemary.

Rating: Okay

52. Falafel Salad with Sweet Potatoes 


Source: Blue Apron

Notes: This was great and easy to reproduce. It was falafels in pitas with salad, tzatziki sauce, and baked sweet potatoes slices.

Rating: LOVED

53. Mint Spirulina Smoothie Bowl 


Source: Exploregram 

Notes: I didn’t do the dried strawberries. Fresh fruit would have also worked with this.

Rating: Liked


54. Bird Nests 

Source: Cookstr 

Notes: The recipe said this makes six nests but I had enough pasta to bake nine.

Rating: LOVED

55. Roasted Pepper Salad 


Source: Plenty 

Notes: I added hemp seeds for some protein since I served this as a meal instead of a side.

Rating: LOVED

56. Beet Soup with Pumpkin Seed Pesto 


Source: French Market Cookbook 

Notes: This cookbook is a great source for vegetarian French recipes.

Rating: Liked

57. Chicken Tikka Sandwich


Source: Upstairs Downstairs Cafe

Notes: I studied abroad in Ireland and was obsessed with this sandwich at the local cafe so decided to recreate it. I grilled chicken in tikka spices and served it on bread with red pepper, lettuce, cheddar, and vegan Mayo.

Rating: LOVED

58. Aglio Olio e Peperoncino


Source: Audrey at Home 

Notes: This cookbook is also a memoir by Audrey Hepburn’s youngest son and features recipes she loved.

Rating: LOVED

59. Chocolate Cake


Source: Nellie Bellie

Notes: Even with buttering the pans the cake was very hard to remove.

Rating: Okay

60. Blackberry Sage Protein Shake  


Source: Original

Notes: A scoop of Vanilla Protein (I used Vega One), half a cup of blackberries, 1 tsp of chia seeds and more for garnish, and four sage leaves blended with filtered water.

Rating: LOVED