I ate a Star Trek meal today–it was awesome!

I ate a Star Trek meal today–it was awesome!

 So, when a coworker described the futuristic Eatsa experience to me, I knew I had to give it a shot. It was not a disappointment. I’m not the only one who thinks this is pretty awesome. The Yelp reviews tend to agree with me as well. The future is most definitely now. 

No interaction with people necessary 

You can order on an iPad or download the phone on your app. I decided to give the iPad a try first. I swiped my card, picked my bowl, and then put my email address in so they could send a receipt. Then I looked up at a big screen that shows the name of everyone who has ordered, and my location in the queue. After about 2 minutes, my name was highlighted and it put a cubby number by my name. 2 taps on the glass door with my name on it, and the food appeared. It was like magic! 

So, why not talk to people?

Of course people are working in the kitchen, and I generally like interacting with people, but this way I could interact with my friend while waiting for food instead of the person being paid to talk to me. Likewise, I’m guessing the people in the back don’t mind talking to each other instead of a new person every 2 minutes. 

Mostly it just feels like magic 

So, it isn’t magic, but it feels cool, and automated. And it’s healthy and cheap. I’ll definitely be back!

5 things that make traveling with kids easier

All three of my kids were born abroad, and traveling is one of our family’s favorite hobbies. Here are a few traveling tips we’ve picked up over the years.

1. Get a portable crib

Peapod cropped

I’m not talking about the old port-a-cribs. I’m talking about something that weighs 2 pounds, pops up in seconds, has a cover from the sun, and zips closed for mosquito protection. We bought a Peapod travel bed a year ago, and I can’t believe it took us so long to discover this. Amazing. We take it to the beach, pop it up in the walk-in closet, or whatever. If your kid can sleep in something like this, it is AWESOME. (The Peapod Plus is a bit bigger. We got the smaller one for our baby, but may upgrade to the bigger one someday).

2. Itinerary Management App

TripItFree_iPhone_SOHP_CroppedThese are pretty awesome. All you do is forward your confirmation emails to a predefined email address, and the app will organize all of your itinerary details for you. This is a must to keep straight your flights, hotels, car reservations, etc. all in one place. I’ve used both TripCase and TripIt. They both work pretty well. These also make it easy to share your travel plans with your spouse or anyone else that you may be visiting.

3. Stay somewhere with a kitchen

Maybe your kids are different than mine, but for us, going to a restaurant is usually not the most relaxing thing in the world. There are lots of ways to get a kitchen, but Airbnb is our go-to option. Not only do you save tons of money, but you often get a nicer place, meet locals, and have a tour guide you can email before you get there for some sweet insider tips.

4. Remember that kids operate on their own schedule.

When I was single, or newly married, I’d take whatever flight was cheapest and travel at the craziest hours. That makes for some fun stories and tired days, but it makes for ruined trips when you try to do it with kids. We try to do a few of the following in order to make our trips more fun with the kids:

  • Take flights during hours that are reasonable
  • Schedule time to stop off at the grocery store on the first day
  • Don’t pack the schedule too full
  • Take joy in the journey. Don’t focus too much on the destination, or you’ll stress the whole time and then wonder why you got there.

5. Get a hand-held luggage scale

We said goodbye to stressing over luggage weight after getting this. Just do it. Here’s the luggage scale we use. It’s light, amazingly accurate, and totally worth a few bucks.

I’ll post more tips later, but I though this was a decent list to start.

Product Review: Wunderlist

It’s been a couple years since I’ve tried to use software to manage my to do lists.  I’ve been using paper-based systems for awhile. Therefore I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered Wunderlist and how awesome it is.

Pros

  • Free (there is a pro version geared towards businesses)
  • Smooth interface
  • Seamless integration and sync between web app and iPhone app
  • Easy to share lists with others
  • Due dates, reminders, are easy to customize.
  • Organization of lists. You can make separate lists, make folders of lists, and my favorite of all:hashtags. Ive tried implementing GTD (getting things done) before, but I have a tough time with the number of lists. With hashtags I can make dozens of lists and keep them all in the same list very easily. For example, I have a work list. It’s what I should be focusing on while I’m at work. Sometimes I should focus on client work or a specific client. So, I just tag every to-do that has to do with clients with the client hashtag and a separate tag for each client name. That way I can click on client and get all my client to dos, or I can click on a name and focus on one specific client. This is awesome.
  • Recurring checklists are easy to setup.
  • There is a rewarding ding everytime you check something off. (Helps to compensate for the fact I’m not physically drawing a line through stuff, like I do with paper systems).
  • You can work on the lists offline.

Cons

  • Alerts can’t be customized as much as I’d like. If I set a reminder it gives me a pop up and an email. I can mute the alerts on a whole list, but I’d like to be able to tweak alerts a bit more.

Summary

If you are like me and haven’t tried online to do list managers in awhile, you should definitely give Wunderlist a try. It didn’t take long to learn how to use their interface. This is a great product.