Monday, July 24, 2017

Music Mondays: Linkin Park

As most of you probably know - Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park committed suicide last week. I'm not going to go into any other details here, it's too rough. I've already struggled on whether or not I wanted to do this post. Linkin Park has always been close to my heart, and a personal favorite of mine. I didn't always publicize my love for the band the way I have with others because they helped me through stages of my life where I felt misunderstood and lost. And I wanted to keep that part of me private. I could relate to their music in a way that I couldn't with people. When I was in my room listening to LP, it gave me an escape, an outlet to just forget about the bullshit. They were the first band I ever loved with my whole heart and craved more. I could not get enough of their music, always had their CDs on repeat. Begging my mom to buy the CDs for me, even when she thought that me listening to their music was going to corrupt me. I cried when my cousins broke my copy of Hybrid Theory and laughed about it. It wasn't until Collision Course that my cousins understood just how big Linkin Park was. I, on the other hand, was never big on rap/hip hop because I didn't grow up with it. I was never really exposed to it. So this collab was disappointing to me at that time. I said Jay ruined the sound! Growing up after that though, I learned to like it. And while I didn't like the way some of their newer tracks sounded - I felt like they were changing their style too much - I can appreciate that it was their artistic vision.

I'm forever grateful that I was able to see Linkin Park perform live in concert, and while I am saddened that I won't be able to see Chester perform again, I can seek solace in their albums and hope that he is in a better place.

If you or anyone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. 

- L



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Travel Tuesdays: Packing Cubes

I know, I know. I am late to the game on this one. For as much as I travel, I was always against packing cubes because I felt that they would take up more space than they saved. But after seeing a few of my close friends using them, I decided to get on board. And I'm glad I did! I did a 6 day trip in my Delsey carry-on with the packing cubes and had space to spare. That also included 2 pairs of shoes (3 on the return trip!)

Normally anything longer than 3 days I will check my bag, but I wasn't flying on my airline of choice and was not in the mood to pay that fee. So I broke and started looking at packing cubes. While there are so many choices when it comes to cubes, I went with something on the cheaper end in case I didn't like it. I ended up with these JJ Power Packing Cubes in Tangerine. The reviews were decent, and I figured 6 cubes were better than the 4 most other sets had. Plus side - Amazon has a really great return policy. What I also liked about these, was that it had a printed guide on the inside of each cube to give you an idea of what to use each cube for.

Guide inside the small cube

I used the 2 Large cubes (17.8"x13.8"x4.7") and 1 Medium cube (13.6"x8.7"x3") inside my 21" carry on suitcase, along with my cosmetics bag in the main compartment of my suitcase. My shoes fit in the lid of my suitcase and I was all set to go! I was able to lay my clothes out pretty flat in the cubes with minimal folding in the 2 large cubes. I put my underwear and socks in the medium cube because there was no way my big ol' grandma bras were fitting in that small cube. HAHA. And I prefer to keep all my undies together. OCD and all that. At the end of my trip, 1 large cube held clothes I didn't wear, while the other one held my dirty clothes. The medium was folded up neatly inside the large cube, and I was able to fit in the pair of shoes I bought on my trip!

I would definitely recommend packing cubes to save space and keep your suitcase organized. I can see now how people can do 2 weeks in Europe with just a carry-on! With the price of checked luggage these days, we need to cut corners where we can.

Now faithfully pro-cube,
- L

**Everything was purchased by me. These are NOT affiliate links.**

Friday, July 14, 2017

MealPal Review: Financial District NYC

For the past few months, I've been using MealPal (formerly MealPass) and decided to do a mini review on it. MealPal is a prepaid meal plan, and depending on the plan you choose, lunches are roughly $5.99 to $6.99 each. It might seem like a lot to buy all of your lunches upfront, especially since you are paying the total cost. But if you factor how much you spend on average for lunch, MealPal is a deal. At least for me. I typically spend $10-12 on lunch - sometimes more - depending on the credit card or delivery minimums here in the Financial District. If you add that up for the month, that's a pretty penny on lunch for the month! I don't usually deviate from the places I get lunch from, and that's how I found out about MealPal. I saw more and more of my usual spots with MealPal signs and decided to take the plunge. I read up on it and saw mixed reviews, but signed up anyway. What's the worst that could happen?

MealPal Plans

When I signed up in the middle of May, there were only 2 options - the 12 plan or the 20 plan - but at the time of writing, there is now a 3rd plan for 6 meals. The plan and price breakdowns are pretty straight forward. You buy the meals ahead of time at the beginning of each 30 day cycle, and each night after 5 pm, you reserve lunch and done. BUT if you don't use all your meals within the 30 days, then you lose them. They do NOT roll over to the next month. From a business perspective, I get it. From the consumer side, I am miffed. Also - if you work on a weekday that happens to be a holiday, then no MealPal for you. I don't think that should matter because people still have to eat, but I guess MealPal doesn't think so.

There was a promo to get the 20 meal plan for the price of 12, so I started with that. I figured that if I used at least 10 of the meals, I would break even, anything over it would be a deal. After answering questions on food allergies, which foods I liked, etc. I ordered my first meal and waited anxiously to see how this would work out. I skipped out to lunch the following afternoon and was happy to see my lunch ready and waiting for me. Over the course of the month, I learned which places would have my food ready vs waiting for it to be made. I had a few crappy meals but was overall satisfied with the choices. By my second month, I was trying new restaurants and venturing out further into the neighborhood. While most of the places are within walking distance of my office, some were definitely pushing the boundary of how far I could do the round trip during my 30 min break.

Pros:

  • Cheaper meals
  • Plenty of options 
  • Found new places
  • Great customer service
  • Little to no wait time
Cons:
  • Some meals repetitive
  • Good meals sell out quickly
  • Meals not offered on holidays
  • Meals don't roll over
While I have a few gripes with MealPal, I'm satisfied enough to keep renewing my plan. At the end of the day, I am a creature of habit and don't change my lunch options often enough to care *THAT* much, although it would be nice if some more variety was added. Now if they rolled this out to more neighborhoods, especially in the boroughs, it'd hit the spot! 

- L

**This is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.**