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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hitting the Beach On a Budget

Got aspirations to go to the beach this summer? Well, you’re likely not the only one, especially since the kids are out of school and the sun is out and that makes people flock to beaches near and far. The problem with heading to the beach during the warmest months is that it is often quite expensive and crazy crowded. Considering most people are just lying on the beach on their trip, it makes no sense to spend a ton of money that you don’t have to. So, here are some tips on how to spend less than expected.

beach vacation

It’s summer, which means you don’t need to take much with you. Getting everything in a carry-on will save you checked bag fees and also get you on your vacation as soon as possible after your plane lands. Keep your travel wardrobe to a minimum by taking one nice outfit and then several tops and bottoms that mix and match. This way, even if you took only 3 tops and 3 bottoms, they could make two week’s worth of different outfits. I then suggest taking two pair of shoes that will work with your outfits as well. Normally, I take a nice pair of sandals that can also work with dress clothes and a good pair of walking shoes. This way, you will be prepared for anything. Throw in a pair of flip flops (which I don’t count as shoes, since they take up almost no space) and you’re set for bumming around on the beach or at the pool.

Change Location

Trade in the ocean for a nice lakeside location. Not only will it be a fraction of the price of an oceanfront property (or even an ocean “view” one), but you can do almost the same things you can otherwise. You can lay out on the beach, make sandcastles, go snorkeling, fishing, swimming, jet skiing and almost everything else you can do at the beach by the ocean.

Book a Rental 

Look for an apartment/condo/house rental instead of a hotel. I keep saying this, but it really can save you a lot of money. Many times you can find something for $300-400 per week, when most hotels you find are going to be well over $75/night, and that’s only for two people. On top of the savings per night and per person, you’ll also be able to shop for your own food and make as many meals as you like. I tend to like to buy breakfast fixings, because I don’t usually like to go out for breakfast and I don’t like to rush in the morning. I can eat a bowl of cereal or a bagel while I’m getting ready for the day and I’ve saved at least $8/day just for me alone. A lot of restaurants charge more than that. Heck, you could easily spend that much at Starbucks for a muffin and a coffee. And if you come back in the middle of the day for a nap or to rest your feet, you can make yourself a sandwich for lunch, too!

Go on a cruise

There are tons of deals going on right now, which means you can hang by the pool on the ship and then check out different beaches when you reach port. You also have the option of trying cool cuisines, saving money on food and accommodations while at sea and having a lot of shopping and sightseeing options.

Go South

Head to South and Central America where even during the summer, rates for hotels are pretty affordable. Places like Ecuador and Belize have wonderful beaches and budget-friendly food and lodging. Stay at a more luxury resort for a fraction of the price, which will help you stay on track with your travel budget and also give you more for your money. The beaches are just as good, plus you get to brush up on your Spanish or Portuguese.

Become Unpopular

Head to less-popular locations like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and other beachfront locations that have late summer travel deals. Many of these are located in the Southeast and in smaller towns, like Daytona Beach. While they may not seem very exciting at first, there are plenty of things to fill your spare time with, yummy fresh seafood and cool day trips as well.

So, if you’re hoping to work on your tan and enjoy some sand between your toes, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, your sunglasses and a bunch of sunscreen and start booking your flights, which will not be cheap this time of year. Where will you be headed this summer?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: Cabeau's Midnight Magic Sleep Mask

Have you ever been woken up at the crack of dawn on vacation  or even at home – because the curtains or blinds don't shut all the way and then you end up with that one slice of sunlight across your face that blinds you the moment you crack open an eye. Yeah, That's happened to me more than once. It's hard to feel rested when you don't get enough uninterrupted sleep.

travel sleep mask
It's because of mornings like this that I've taken to traveling with a sleep mask. And then I was so happy with how well I slept, I had one for home, too. The only problem is finding a good one. Sure, you can get a generic sleep mask, but why not spend a little more and get a really good one that will last and will give you the best sleep. Cabeau's Midnight Magic can do just that. 

A lot of people hate to have something against their eyes and, that's the reason they hate most sleep masks. I don't mind it, but Cabeau has made their sleep mask with an eye well that allows you to blink without your lashes getting crushed. It's great for those that don't enjoy having anything against their eyes and doesn't ruin your REM sleep.

One of the problems I have with maskes is getting a good fit. The whole point is to block out the light, wherever you might be and this has a black-out adjustability. The nose bridge is moldable, so you can get just the right fit around your nose and cheeks, blocking out all the light and making your body think it's night time, even if it's not. So, you can get a good night's sleep, or a good day's sleep if you're on the plane. 

Also hard to find is a sleep mask that doesn't wear out from putting it on and taking it off many times. Most just have an elastic strap, that is either too tight or too loose. I've actually had to tie a knot in one before, but Midnight Magic has a Velcro strap, so you can fit it to make it comfortable for you. It's got a low profile, making it easy to sleep on your back, because it doesn't dig into the back of your head. 

You got the darkness and the fab fit, but what if you can't sleep if it's too loud? I've been on the plane with loud talkers and crying babies, but I've also been in a hotel with kids running up and down the hall and near round-the-clock construction. That's fun, right? Well, Cabeau doesn't want you to be in the dark and still not be able to sleep, so Midnight Magic has a this nifty little built-in pouch with ear plugs. They are memory foam, allowing them to conform to your ears and block out more noises than regular ear plugs. These are my favorites and even my husband can sleep soundly while wearing these, and he's a pretty light sleeper. And I love that you can't lose your ear plugs, because they always have a home!  

Midnight Magic has just the right coverage for me, with a wide, comfortable head strap. It also lets your face breathe, which can be a whole different problem. It's hard to sleep when your face is hot . With minimal points of contact, it helps to keep you as cool as possible, but also feels secure. I didn't wake up in the night with it on top of my head, so that's a win in my book. 

Considering how well I slept at home with my Midnight Magic mask, I'm really looking forward to traveling with it. It's soft and comfortable and perfectly adjustable to make it ideal for relaxation and sleep, whether you're in a nice hotel room, bunking on the couch or traveling on the train. You'll want one of these if sleep is even a little problem for you, or you just want to enhance your rest.

Other Specs
Where to buy: On Cabeau website or Amazon 
How much: $19.99
Colors: Black
More Details: 100% polyester, with an 80% EVA foam/20% brass wire nose bridge, elastic-free adjustable strap

Like what Cabeau is up to? Learn more by following them online: 

Disclosure: I was provided with the Midnight Magic Sleep Mask for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

It's Farmers' Market Season!

Fresh fruits and vegetables are awesome, aren't they? I totally think so. I also think being able to get local produce is pretty awesome and there's no better place to get such things than at a farmers' market. We make a point to hit up markets wherever we are if we can. Sometimes, they are just cute little roadside markets that sell yummy things, but often there are many merchants gathered with their goodies in a formal market. 

Some are open everyday and some only sell on certain days. Our local farmers' market, which we are lucky to be very close to, is open only on Saturdays and then on Wednesday evenings during the summer. A lot of markets we've been to have limited days like this, but they are worth the effort if you can go to them.

Try new foods
I'm all for trying new foods. How else will you know if you like something? This is the next best thing to picking it yourself. It's super fresh and probably a better deal than getting it at the supermarket. Likely, it doesn't have pesticides on it either. Produce I buy at the farmers' market always tastes better than the same things I buy at the store, which is why I frequent ours two or more times a month. Local foods are a great way to learn about a place, too. Have you ever tried dragonfruit or fresh papaya? I have, in Hawaii!

Buy staples for meals
You're staying in a vacation rental, right? Of course you are, because you like having more room and saving money. Well, that means you have a kitchen and can make your own dishes. If it works out, head to the market near the beginning of your trip and then you have fresh veggies, spices and herbs to make dishes with. Woo! Not sure if you can make entire meals with what you find? You can, and soon I can show you as I'm currently working on a travel cookbook. It'll be full of recipes on things to make before your trip and while you're on it.

Pick up fixings for a picnic
Travel during warm weather deserves to be celebrated with a picnic! If you can't find bread, cheese and meats to make sandwiches with, I'd be really surprised. Grab a bunch of carrots or other favorite veggie to have on the side. Delicious! 

Find food products you can take/ship home
You know those fancy jams, pastas, dried fruits, candies and stuff people always bring home with them? You can do it, too. Sure, you can buy them in specialty shops, but at the markets they are normally all in one place and you can sample them to know what you actually like. If the items are liquidy, like jam or wine, put them in your bag and check it back home, unless it's cheaper to mail them back, then do that. It'll be like Christmas after you get home.

Food trucks
This might not be the norm, though I've seen food trucks and carts more often than not at outdoor markets. Ours has a few and also a coffee truck, which makes morning so much better when you're up early enough to find a parking space (people here really like the market) and aren't totally awake enough to drag around your heavy bag of freshness.

Meet with the locals
Engaging with the locals is a fantastic way to learn more about your destination. You can ask them questions about good places to eat (when you aren't making your own food) and cool places to visit. You may even make a new friend. If you're in a place that speaks a different language, this is a great way to practice, too.

Support the economy
Supporting the local economy is important. Even better than shopping small businesses is giving money directly to the growers and makers of things. You purposely chose your destination for a reason, so maybe spend more time going to local shops and restaurants than chains and you'll be doing your part as a good tourist.

Do you have a favorite farmers' market from your travels? Aside from home, I have loved Portobello Market as well as the small one we found in Orlando.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Why You Should Make Time for Travel

I love travel. I love seeing other places. I love meeting new people. Above all this, I feel better when I travel. I'm more relaxed when I'm on a trip and feel refreshed and ready for regular life again when I'm back home. I take those memories with me forever and recall them often. Travel is good for you and makes you a better person with better connections. Here's why: 

Benefits of Traveling

From Visually.
- See more at: http://visual.ly/benefits-traveling#sthash.5LCxyZOe.dpuf

If you've been putting off travel, use your vacation days now. Start planning future awesome memories. If you think you can't afford it, you can, eventually. Here are tips on how to save for your next trip. 

What's your favorite travel memory? Share with me in the comments!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Review: Travelsox Compression Socks

By now you know I'm a big advocate for compression socks. The good ones work and work well. The bad ones don't work at all and probably have a price that makes you wonder what the difference is between them and the expensive ones until you wear them. Of the many things at the Travel Goods Show, I was very interested in trying a new (to me) brand of compression socks and Travelsox easily agreed to be that company. 

If you find yourself with swollen feet and/or ankles when you travel, either from long flights or just extensive walking, then you need to get yourself a pair of good compression socks. We've finally gotten to the point where they are more common and therefore come in a lot of fun designs as well as the classic colors you want. They don't look like old people socks anymore, so you won't feel weird wearing them. 

The days at the Travel Goods Show were long with lots of walking the convention center and standing talking to vendors. I won't complain, because it's fun, even though it's work. Travelsox had a ton of fun designs, many of which are new, and I was interested to see how well they worked for my legs at the end of a long day of walking. When I got back to my room and settled in for the evening. I slipped these on and left them on, even after I went to sleep. They massaged my legs in all the right places and I could feel it helping to get my blood flowing again.   

My legs, ankles and feet all began to feel less swollen and achy (always a plus when you have more days of walking ahead of you). I left them on halfway through the night until I needed my feet to be cooler, but those hours of use really made my legs feel much better and ready for the next day.   

Since coming back from Vegas, I've been wearing these regularly on workdays where I'm standing for 8 hours at a time and they have made a world of difference. Usually, standing that long makes me feel like I want to cut my feet off too, but these help with the pressure, because they make sure that my legs and feet don't swell at all. 

And after a long day, my feet don't feel sweaty and they aren't stinky either, because Travelsox uses a patented fabric called Silver DryStat, that uses silver to make your socks antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-fungal. That's awesome, right? They also use  their own fiber called MICROSupreme to give your socks moisture-wicking properties. 

These hug your legs and feet in just the right way and aren't bulky at all, so you can wear them with all your favorite shoes, even slip-on ones like my work tennies above. In the cold warehouse they make sure that I'm warm, but not hot, and keep my feet happy even after hours of standing on a concrete floor. I don't know about you, but this is invaluable to me. I know that when I travel, I can wear them all day without issue and even if I just wear them when I'm back in the room, while I won't get the full benefits of wearing them while I'm actually active, they will they take down my swelling and hit all my aching points, so I have fresher feet the next day. And because of their anti-odor properties, if I can't do laundry for a couple days, I can wear them a second time with no problem. I'm guessing I'll just order another pair or two. 

Know someone who has bad circulation or do you need help on long flights yourself? These are half the price as some of their competitors and they are just as efficient, if not more. They come in fun colors and patterns or classic colors, plus you can get shorter socks if you aren't a fan of the knee-high version. Just know that they won't give you the great calf massaging benefits that you get with the taller ones, but maybe your issues are ankles and feet. If that's the case, then those shorter socks are perfect for you. 

Other Specs
Where to buy: On Travelsox website or Amazon
How much: $20-30/pair
Colors: Pretty much anything you're looking for. I'm wearing the TS1167 Travelsox Stripe OTC in brown.
Fabric: Composition: 75% Drystat, 15% Lycra, 10% Nylon, Care Instructions: turn inside out, machine wash warm, tumble dry cool, do not bleach, iron or dry clean.

Loving Travelsox's sock innovation? Find them online: 

Disclosure: I was provided with a pair of Travelsox compression socks for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Review: The Kameleon Ultimate Travel Dress

Don't you wish you had a piece of clothing that could morph into other things? Like one top that was actually 10 or more? Think of how much room you'll save in your luggage! I'm all about traveling light and an item like that would go above and beyond in helping me save space in my bag and maybe even let me take a smaller one.
convertible travel dress

Well Kameleon Rose has come up with your new favorite thing. It's the Ultimate Travel Dress. It's a great strapless dress, but you can flip it around and make it a bunch of different shorter dresses. I knew this was a must for any lady's travel bag, because it can transform into anything you need at the time, except for trousers really. It's perfect for beach vacations, city vacations, cruise vacations. 

poncho | draped top | strapless dress

The fabric is flowy, it doesn't snag (which I would have been able to do by now if it did) and it's breathable. I picked up my Ultimate Travel Dress (UTD) on the last day of the Travel Good Show and then I was ready to wear it that evening when I went out with family and friends to celebrate a cousin's birthday. Even though the weather was mild, I didn't find the fabric too heavy (though it's substantial, so you can't see through it like a lot of lightweight garments) and it didn't make me sweat. You can see the way I styled it as a top in the middle pic above. That's how I wore it out, because we were being casual and that seemed cute and comfy.

harem pants | midi skirt | tank

So, how exactly does the UTD work? It's a pretty easy idea. It has a series of buttons that you can use in different ways in order to get it to configure into different styles. I wore a top that had a lot of coverage, but you can switch it up to make it less modest. Make it a tank, let it hang off the shoulder, give it a deep v, make your own cold-shoulder top, have a higher neck. Really, you're only limited by your imagination.

one shoulder top | low back tank | tank dress

You can do the same as a dress just by pulling the waistband down to make a skirt (like in the 3rd picture above). Flip it over and wear as a midi skirt, pull it down further and make it a maxi mermaid skirt. Pull it back up, close all the buttons and make it into really comfy and cool harem pants. There's nothing about this one-piece that doesn't work on practically everyone. It comes in a range of sizes (I'm wearing the medium, though I could probably have gotten away with a small). 

I feel like this is how all Vegas pictures should look after a night of drinking (sorry to my family for posting this)

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of me out and about wearing the Kameleon dress that were any good, so you can have this "arty" pic that my camera took while we were all laughing and being very uncooperative.

I was leaving bright and early the next morning, so I took the UTD off, shoved it in my bag with no regard for wrinkles and it stayed in my bag for well over 18 hours that way. When I took it out, it barely had any creases, and the ones it did, shook out pretty immediately. Bonus! It is made to roll up and even comes with its own compression loop, making it easy to pack wherever you are.

The fabric is quick-drying, so if you want to wear it multiple times and need to wash it, it'll be dry by the time you're ready to put it back on. You can also leave your purse at home if you don't feel like carrying one, because this dress has a hidden zipper security pocket that will hold essentials for you (a credit card, some cash, your lipstick). It's big enough to hold a passport and it's pretty inconspicuous. This is one piece of travel clothing you're going to want to keep in your carry-on, because it can be almost anything you want it to be.

Other Specs
Where to buy: On the Kameleon Rose website
How much: $80
Colors: Red | Black | Khaki (shown) | Blue |  Sizes: XS-XL
More Details: made in Madagascar from smooth jersey of 96% polyester/4% elastane

Love the Ultimate Travel Dress? Find out more ways to wear it by following them online: 

Disclosure: I was provided with the Kameleon dress for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Easy Ways to Save For Travel

What's your number one problem with traveling more? Well, I'm going to guess that it's money, otherwise you probably wouldn't be here. I'm just like you guys. I have to pay for my own travel. We don't have unlimited funds. I rarely get "paid" to travel, though I know people think that, because I get asked about it a lot. I wish I got paid to travel, but then again, you probably wouldn't trust anything I said if I did, right? I know I wouldn't. So, how can you save for travel when it seems like you don't have any money to spare?

Believe it or not, it can be easy to save, even when you think you can't. I have a lot of ways I've used, with much success. I've lived paycheck-to-paycheck most of my life, too, so don't think you can't do it. You might also remember my best friend who has six children and live on one income (because they'd need 5 incomes to pay for childcare, so instead her husband stays home), they pay two mortgages, and vacation at least a couple times a year. When I last wrote about how they did a Disney vacation they only had four kids, which is still more than most people I know. They haven't slowed down their traveling and they are creative in how they do it. If they can do it, then you can do it!

Here are some easy ways you can save for your travel dreams:

photo credit

Pay yourself first

You know how when you invest in something like a 401-K and it gets taken out of your paycheck before you even see it? And you never miss it? Do this with your vacation fund. You know when you get paid, so set up an automatic deposit, either through work or on your own online, to go to that separate account. Even just $50 per paycheck can quickly add up and it's not so much that you'll notice it's gone. If you can afford more, change the dollar amount that goes, even if this is a one-time occurrence or permanent. A few dollars more is better than no dollars more.

Tip: Have a separate account is key. Don't make it the same as your regular savings account or checking account. Make it harder for you (and everyone else contributing) to spend it!

photo credit

Open a high-yield checking or savings account

Just like I say above, make sure it's separate from your everyday account. While your money is just sitting there, you could be earning more each month for doing nothing more but keeping it in the bank. Free money is good!

Use a fantastic saving app

I've just started using a new app called Qapital. It's really changing the way I spend and save. You set up a goal, or multiple goals, and then set up rules in order to save for them. I've been using this app for three weeks and have saved nearly $30 just by doing things I normally do. I have two rules set up (because I can't go too crazy and my "goal" is far off): One is the $2 round-up rule, so any time I use one of the cards on file, they round up to the nearest $2. That means if I spend $4.50, $1.50 will go into my Qapital account, to make up $6, which is the next denomination of $2 after $4.50. I also have an IFTTT rule that says anytime I check into a place and use the hashtag "coffeetour", it puts transfers another $1 to my account. 

You can change your rules at any time (and there are a lot of them to choose from), the app is free to use and super secure, you can take your savings out whenever you want/need, so you can use it at will, and if your balance on your debit card dips below $100, your savings are paused in order to avoid overdraft. You can use it on both Android and iOS. Start saving now!

photo credit

Make a list and stick to it

When I go grocery shopping, I make a list. I try to plan my meals around the same ingredients with some variety. Chicken, noodles, potatoes, carrots, beef and beans are all great staples, because you can make a ton of things with them. Buy enough to make twice as much as you plan to eat and freeze so you have dinners for future nights and can save money in the coming weeks, or have easy food to make when you return from vacation. 

Don't forget coupons and store rewards programs. Use those apps and coupons to guide your shopping for the week or month to save even more. Tally up how much you saved and put that money in your vacation fund!

photo credit

Keep the change

If you're like everyone, you have a ton of change just sitting in your car or the bottom of your purse. Make a jar or container at home to throw all that change in at the end of each day. You wouldn't know it, but all those cents can add up over the months and you might find you have a spare $100 or so that you can use as spending money!

Fill your free time

Do you find yourself sitting in front of the TV for an hour or two? Earn points through Swagbucks. You can use these points to earn money and gift cards. It's easy to accrue a lot of points in an hour or so and you can trade them in for travel cards, Amazon gift codes and even Paypal cash. Download the app on your phone to earn even more. It's super easy and totally mindless. 

Get cash back

You're going to buy stuff. You just are. Ebates lets you save money on your online purchases by offering you a set amount of cash back on participating retailers, including a lot of travel sites. If you're going to spend money, you might as well save as much as possible. Ebates sends you cash back payments four times a year, either by check or deposited to your Paypal account. It's super easy, and those payments can be used as spending money on your trips. Want to know more about how it works? I wrote a whole post on it!

Drive past the coffee shop

Getting your morning coffee can set you back $3-5, which easily adds up to $60-100 over the course of a month. I love a professionally-made cup of Joe as much as the next person, but I know they can really be expensive. If you want a fancy cup of coffee, think about investing in an espresso maker or French press and frothing whisk. You'll work the cost off by the end of the year and might even find you like your own coffee better. You'll definitely save calories. Don't worry, I think it's perfectly acceptable to break out once in a while and splurge on a grande triple macchiato with whip. (Yes, I know, I'm one to talk, but you aren't writing a blog post series, are you? Even so, I make my own coffee 85% of the time.) Maybe your weakness is fast food or going out to lunch. Plan your meals ahead of time and/or bring your lunch to work instead. You'll be surprised by how much you spend.

You don't have to totally turn your whole life upside down to save money for your travels. Once you do a few of these things, you'll find it easier to incorporate other ways to save without feeling like you're missing out on anything or being too restrictive. Maybe instead of going to the movies one night, you pick up a Redbox or find something old that's streamable on Netflix. Soon you'll have a little pile of money that grows into a bigger pile of money that will surprise you.

I'd love to know what destinations are on your travel wish list! What trip are you saving for next? 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which help me keep the blog running.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Review: The GSI Outdoors' Commuter Javapress

I’m a coffee snob. I fully admit it. You know this by now if you’ve seen my coffee series here on the blog. I love my coffee. I have three different coffee machines at my house. It’s true. Depending on how much work I’m willing to do to get a good cup of java, that’s the machine I’ll use. I’ve stayed in a bunch of places on my travels with horrible coffeemakers. It makes me sad.

commuter mug

If you’re a coffee lover like I am, a morning can be ruined by a terrible cup of coffee, or worse, no coffee at all. Since I can’t bring my full-size maker that I know works well when I travel, I have to improvise. Either I have to suffer through that bad cup of coffee or shell out $4+ for a cup at a nearby coffee shop. I put that on my splurge list and will indulge in one or two professionally-made cups on a trip. Well, now I don’t need to do that. GSI Outdoors has created the Commuter Javapress, which is like taking your French Press (yum!) on the road with you.

As the name implies, GSI Outdoors is specific for the nature loving folks, like hikers, campers and the like. Well, I rarely do those things, but I count trekking around a city seeing their landmarks and browsing the outdoor markets outdoorsy. While it’s not difficult to get a cup of coffee to go doing this, I don’t want to shell out the money. You all know I tend to eat breakfast in my rental and then save my money for lunch and dinner. I do like to finish my coffee while wandering city though.

The Commuter Javapress was made for someone like me (and, you know, those camping people who have to boil everything over a fire). You put a scoop of ground coffee in the bottom of you tumbler, add hot water (you can heat it in the microwave), and then let it “steep” for several minutes before adding your mesh inner sleeve and pressing down, much like a French Press, but without the plunger. The mesh keeps your grounds from entering your drinkable beverage and also keeps your coffee a bit stronger.

The colorful sleeve on the tumbler keeps it cool enough to hold and the double-wall construction keeps your coffee hotter longer. Because there's nothing worse than a cold cup of coffee when it started out hot.

So, I tried it, hoping for the best, because travel tumblers are usually meh at the best of times, but was pleasantly surprised. The Javapress is easy to use.  After adding my coffee and water (you can add up to 15oz of hot water), I put the plunging insert on top and let it sit for 5 minutes. Once I determined it was ready, I pushed the insert down, added some creamer, then plunged it a few more times to mix it well and save a spoon. Once satisfied, I put the spill-proof top on and gave it a try. My coffee tasted almost exactly like that made in a formal coffeemaker! Also, after an hour or so, my coffee was still hot. 

You don't have to just use this for coffee, but you could also use it for loose tea. The insert with the mesh would allow your tea to steep, but also keep the leaves from invading your cuppa. When your morning's done, rinse the whole thing out and use it as a water tumbler while you're walking around town. You can pack this easier when you travel, by stuffing the inside with a bag full of your favorite ground coffee (and maybe sweetener you prefer). 

Overall, the Commuter Javapress is impressive. It does what it says it will do, it's easy to use, easy to clean and doesn't leak coffee all over your pants (oddly, this is a problem for a lot of travel mugs). I look forward to taking it with me on my next trips, so I'm not forced to endure a crappy cup of coffee anymore. Even Eric, who claims he doesn't "looooove" coffee, is going to be excited when he can enjoy a practically free cup on the go. 

Do you have a mom, dad or grad who's a coffee lover? Buy them this and some awesome coffee and you'll be their favorite person that they think of every time they have a perfect "cup".

Other Specs
Where to buy: On GSI Outdoors website or Amazon 
How much: $22.95
Colors: Red | Green | Orange | Blue (shown) | Graphite
More Details: 15 fl. oz. press mug, sealable, spill-proof lid w/ loop, insulating sleeve, non-slip foot

Like what HydraPak is doing? Learn more by following them online: 

Disclosure: I was provided with the Stash bottle, Bottle Bright and Speedcups for the purposes of this review. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.
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