Travel To New Orleans – A Day In Bywater

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One day in Bywater, you say? Great! Grab your camera and your purse (or pack) and let’s go…

First stop in at Satsuma for fresh juice, coffee and a bite to eat. Each morning I ordered a shot of celery and lime juice with lots of cayenne. After you’re fueled up, sift through the antiques, oddities and treasures in the shops on the same block.

Mosey around the neighborhood snapping photographs and marveling at the restored shotgun houses, murals and community gardens.

When hunger and heat strike, stop at the neighborhood bar, Mimi’s in the Marigny, for some tapas and cold brews. Always, always, always order the ‘Trust Me’ tapas. There’s a pool table and upstairs lounge as well if you’re looking to hang out for awhile.

After lunch, relax near the water in the lovely gardens of Crescent Park. I recommend entering the park at the Mandeville Crossing entrance at Marigny and N Peters Street and walking east until you see the rusty rainbow foot bridge.

For dinner you can keep it quick at Pizza Delicious or you can treat yourself at The Franklin. If you don’t make it to The Franklin for dinner though, you must stop in for cocktails. Try the Pompila or the G.N.T. Peel.

That’s that my friends. Hopefully you have enough energy to go listen to some live music after a full day of Bywater bliss.

*This post was inspired by a single film photo taken on my first evening in Bywater at the corner of Mimi’s in the Marigny. Take a seat on the balcony for sunset and watch Flora Gallery & Coffee Shop light up during the golden hour.

 

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The Upside of Quitting

This post was inspired by this podcast, which I listened to a long time ago and tried my hardest to ignore until I couldn’t anymore.

sarah schu by saleem ahmed

We all do it. Nope, not quit, I mean we all hang on too long. We grasp at various things in our lives as if we can’t go on without them when really those things may not be serving us anymore. Jobs, projects, relationships, material items..

This year has been really strange. To be honest, I feel like I’ve been in a fog since January. Lost. Confused. Paralyzed by options and decisions. Unable to move forward yet unable to stand still. Unsure of my path. Constantly telling myself that change is inevitable and good (I truly believe it) yet still uncertain about where the fuck I’m going. I know that’s okay. I tell myself that every damn day. I’m telling myself that at this very instant. I’ll tell myself that first thing when I wake up tomorrow and right before I close my eyes to sleep.

Over the course of the last seven months, I’ve shed most things. I’ve quit multiple jobs. Jobs that I once loved. Jobs that used to feel fulfilling, but suddenly seemed hollow. I basically quit this blog, a project I was dedicated to for over two years straight.. until one day I just wasn’t anymore. My boyfriend (and best friend) and I decided to break up after more than three years together. I moved out of the best apartment I’ve ever lived in. I gave or tossed away most of my things. I downsized.

I sheltered myself from the outside world and focused on making it through the weeks and weeks and weeks. Quitting, giving up, abandoning areas of my life that I once valued highly and dedicated myself to felt a lot like failure. It didn’t feel good, but deep down it did feel right.

It’s hard to manage when it feels like everything is churning, but eventually the sea will settle and everything will stop. Even then the calm is terrifying. Maybe more so than the churning. It’s like the silence after an enormous crash. Something, everything, has just happened, but now it is still and where do I go from here? I’m not sure, but I know there’s an upside of quitting. I can’t say for certain that I’ve found it yet, but I’m trusting in the process. I’m going with my gut and I’m pushing the fear of uncertainty aside each day until opportunity presents itself.

sarah schu by katherine albin

I hope when you are dealing with enormous change you will allow yourself the same space to heal and grow. I also hope you will take long walks in the woods with friends and allow others in so they can encourage you to come out once more.

These images were shot by Saleem Ahmed & Katherine Albin. Two wonderfully talented photographers and friends.

 

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A Farm Share & Summer Meal Planning

{I’m always raving about our farm share in real life, so if this is old news to you, I’m sorry that I’m still blabbing – I just really love it!}

This summer we have a farm share, and in many (good) ways, it’s consuming my life. I dream about it. Talk about it to anyone who will listen. Spend a bit of time planning my meals and then even more time chopping ingredients, based on our weekly delivery.

The challenge to signing up for a farm share is being ready to cook with whatever comes in your box that week and not knowing exactly what you’ll be getting next week, so you can’t plan too far in advance. Since we’re about a month into our share, I thought it would be fun to share this experience with you. I’ve been photographing our weekly deliveries as well as the meals that I’ve made with the produce and meat, and I’m going to share my meal plans here throughout the course of our farm share season.

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What is a farm share?

If you don’t know about a farm share, also known as community supported agriculture, let me explain. This is a farming business method where consumers are asked to sign-up and pay for their produce (and more) at the beginning of the growing season. The farmers use the investments from their customers to pay for the variety of costs they have to run their farm over the course of the growing season – anything from seeds and fertilizers to irrigation and labor costs. Then, throughout the growing season, everyone who has paid for a share in the farm receives fresh produce harvested from that farm as it’s harvested. The share composition will change throughout the growing season as different crops go in and out of season.

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By making that investment, the farms’ consumers are taking on some of the risk that goes with farming. If a big storm wipes out a particular crop, that loss doesn’t just fall on the farmer, instead it’s spread across all consumers and they will receive less or none of that crop. If it’s a great year for a particular crop, then all consumers will get more of that crop delivered in their share (two years ago I was overwhelmed by jalepenos and trying to figure out the best ways to preserve them).

This is also a great model if you like to eat seasonally and locally. You’re going to receive crops as they’re harvested, so the produce you receive will be as fresh as possible and it didn’t have to be picked before it was ripe because it doesn’t have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to reach you. As I mentioned above, the composition of your share will change throughout the growing season, this is exciting but can also take some time to get used to. It can be a bit boring when you’ve received a bunch of radishes each week for a month, (when really you’d only eat one bunch in a whole month!) but it pushes you to be more creative in the kitchen. Roasted radishes anyone?

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Our Share

As I had talked about two years ago when moving to Boulder, one of the things we were so excited about was moving to a place with such a strong local-food movement. We are surrounded by farms, farmers’ markets, and enough farm-share options to make your head spin.

This year we bought a share from Grant Family Farms. It’s one of the largest CSAs in our area, and we were already familiar with them because they delivered to the office where C worked two years ago, so at that time we had bought a small share. This year we decided to go big, and we bought their “all-in” kitchen share, and admittedly we feel so lucky that we were able to make that investment. For about six months, we’ll receive a weekly share that includes vegetables, herbs, fruit, meat (pork, chicken, beef, lamb), yogurt, cheese, eggs, mushrooms, canned goods. It’s amazing!

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Meal Planning – Month 1

This is the share that we’ve signed up for.

The chart below lists the variety of foods that we’ve received for the past month. I don’t know the exact quantity of vegetables we receive each week (it’s large grocery bag filled with veggies, and I would say it’s about 20 lbs), but it’s definitely enough to feed our family for the week. For the first month, the vegetables have been some combination of those on the list below. In the protein category, we receive about 3-5 lbs of meat each week, and thus far it’s been some combination of the meats on the list. The tofu and tempeh each arrive once per month. Under the dairy & misc. category, we receive the yogurt & cheeses each week, we receive 1 lb of coffee once per month, and approximately two canned goods each week. While in season, we recieve fresh fruit (so far it’s been a lot of cherries!), and some variety of fresh herbs.

veggies proteins dairy & misc. fruit & herbs
asparagus ground pork herbed goat cheese cherries
romaine lettuce smoked pork slice camembert mint
bok choy smoked pork shoulder yogurt lemon balm
radishes bacon coffee sage
green onions fryer chicken canned tomatoes thyme
onions pork sausage tomato sauce parsley
spinach ground beef pickles cilantro
summer squash tempeh fruit jam dill
mushrooms tofu
beets
chard
turnips
tomatoes

When I receive the share each week, I draft a list of menu ideas for the week ahead, trying to use up as much of that week’s share as I can, and planning for how I’ll preserve what we can’t eat (so far it’s just been putting some of the cherries and meat items in the freezer).

Over the past month, I’ve thrown herbs into salads, made my fair share of quiches, and had plenty of yogurt breakfasts, in addition, I’ve photographed some of the dinners we prepared and shared. Above each photograph, I list the farm share ingredients used for the dish and, where available, I’ve linked to the recipes.

Since I’ve photographed many of these dishes in the crazy moment between pulling them out of the oven and putting them on the table for starving boys, the photo quality isn’t the best, but I’m working on it :-).

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Lasagna : pork sausage, spinach, tomato sauce

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Vegetable Curry : tofu, carrots, scallions, summer squash, zucchini, cilantro

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Salmon with roasted radishes, chard with caramelized onions, and leftover rice from takeout : radishes, chard, onions

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Zucchini bread with chocolate chips, walnuts, and black sesame seeds : zucchini

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Mushroom tart & roasted vegetables : mushrooms, sage, goat cheese, carrots, zucchini, onions, turnips

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Roasted Root Vegetable Soup & Pork-filled Lettuce Wraps : ground pork, scallions, lettuce, beets, carrots, turnips, chard, beet greens, goat cheese

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Mushroom & Zucchini Galette : mushrooms, zucchini, onions, goat cheese

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Burgers & Salad : ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles

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Herb Meatballs & Green Couscous : ground pork, onions, mint, cilantro, parsley, dill. *Both of these recipes come from cookbooks by Yotam Ottolenghi that I love – Plenty & Jerusalem.

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Chicken, asparagus, and greens with black bean sauce : asparagus, chard, mizuna greens, onions, bacon

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Bacon & Eggs or Smoked Ham & Eggs have become breakfast staples

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This is just a snapshot of our first month with the farm share. Right now our fridge is packed with this week’s share, and I’m so excited about the menus I have planned. I’m going to continue to photograph and share. I know meal planning, especially with kids, can be tough, but I hope this will give you some inspiration, and if you really need a kick in the bottom, get yourself a farm share!

 

 

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Midsummer Magic

It’s the middle of summer, food is at its freshest, and the livin’ is easy, or at least it should be.

There’s nothing we love more at this time of year than the intense flavors and colors of fresh fruits, and there’s no easier way to enjoy them than to just throw them in whatever you’re making. Need some ideas? That’s why we’re here.

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Last week I put some fresh raspberries and cherries in my mojito – smashing them up just a bit in the bottom of the glass before adding the rest of the ingredients.

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berry_mojito

Serve cubed watermelon with mint for a refreshing treat on a hot day. If you like that combo, you’ll love our watermelon mojitos!

And if your garden’s still overflowing with mint, make some aqua frescas.

Add fresh figs and blueberries to your mocktails (or cocktails!).

Throw watermelon and blueberries in your smoothies with a tea-based twist.

What about watermelon in your gazpacho?!

Any ripe berry would go well in these yogurt-based popsicles. These lemon pops are another refreshing option.

Yesterday Alex asked to bake a cake (nothing makes my heart melt faster than his request to do something in the kitchen!). He wanted a cake with “a blue middle and red paint on the frosting”. I let him add some food coloring to our batter, but then transformed his idea for red paint into a splattering of berries and their juices across the top. This is a basic yellow cake with our favorite coconut milk buttercream (scroll down).

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Summer, and particularly July, is such a special time of year for us, and nothing tastes more like summer than perfectly ripe fruit; it’s pure midsummer magic. If you can get your hands on some, especially if you have the chance to get out there and pick berries, do two things : 1. eat as much as you can while picking, and 2. do something creative and special with the leftovers. You won’t regret it! xo

 

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Five Best Earth Friendly Products For An Outdoor Shower

This was originally posted on 8/26/15, but with a weekend at the beach coming, I thought we should all give it a look again. Be earth concious, but more importantly, enjoy that outdoor shower!

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Taking an outdoor shower is hands down one of my favorite ways to bathe.  A couple years ago, our father installed one at the beach and since then the whole crew has paraded in and out trying to wash the sand from our tootsies.  Because I would rather take all my showers outside under the moonlight, I thought it would be helpful to share our five favorite earth friendly products for the outdoor shower.  These products are all biodegradable and earth friendly, but what does that mean really?

Continue reading

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Dutch Oven Chili

We’re half way through JULY! I think Kate will agree, this is our favorite time of year. We’re both July babies so this month has always been special for us. Growing up, we would have joint pool parties together even though there’s a nine year gap between us! This year we haven’t managed to get together, but both of our Julys have been packed with outdoor adventure and ample family time.

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Last week, I took a family of Brazilians out into the mountains for the first camping trip of their lives. We had a wonderful time hiking, learning new skills, and hanging out at camp. I plan on sharing more aspects of that adventure in future posts, but for now I wanted to share a Dutch Oven Chili recipe that is perfect for a camping crowd. The way I make chili is incredibly simple.. So simple that it’s almost one of those recipes that’s not really a recipe, WTF do I mean? You’ll see..

Even though this post is entitled Dutch Oven Chili, you can also make it on the stovetop by following this recipe. If you’re making it in a dutch oven, you’ll want to get a great layer of hot coals going. Another option, and perhaps a more reliable one, is to light a couple dozen charcoal briquettes. For the first half of the recipe have the dutch oven sitting directly on a bed of hot coals or charcoal briquettes. The lid should be kept off while you brown the meat and cook the fresh veggies that way you can monitor the heat, ensuring you don’t burn your dinner. Once you add all the canned items there will be a good amount of liquid in the pot so you shouldn’t have any trouble with burning or sticking. Place the lid on the dutch oven, cover it with coals or briquettes and wait twenty minutes or so (this really depends on the condition of your coals and briquettes) until the contents of the pot comes to a bubble.

Dutch Oven Chili

Ingredients

  • Onion
  • Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeño (or a small can of Jalapeños)
  • 3-5 cloves Garlic
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 15oz can Kidney Beans
  • 1 28oz Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 jar of Salsa
  • Ann Schu's homemade Chili Sauce*
  • Chili Seasoning Packet

Instructions

  1. Start by cooking the ground beef over medium heat. Break up the beef into smaller pieces with a fork while it's still raw.
  2. Once the beef is cooking, begin chopping your onion, bell pepper, jalapeño and cloves of garlic.
  3. Add the vegetables to the meat as you chop.
  4. By the time the beef is completely cooked, the onions should be clear and the peppers a little soft.
  5. Drain off the grease if necessary - this is totally your call. When I make it in the kitchen, I drain the grease, when I make it in the Dutch oven I keep it because more liquid and flavor is better than less (usually it's a small amount anyway).
  6. Now it's time to work those arms - open all the cans: beans (drain off the liquid), tomatoes, jalapeño, salsa, and add them to the cooked beef and fresh veggies. Splash a bit of water in each can too, swirl it around, and add it to the chili mixture.
  7. Add your chili seasoning (or your own special spice mix) and mix well.
  8. If it's looking dry, you could add a splash of water or tomato paste and water to add a little liquid.
  9. Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover with a lid and allow the mixture to bubble before enjoying.
  10. If the mixture looks extra juicy, allow it to bubble a bit with the lid off, this should take care of some of the extra liquid.
  11. Serve over couscous or rice and top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
  12. *Ann Schu's homemade chili sauce is obviously optional and most times I don't have it, but when I do, I receive five times the compliments!
http://liveseasoned.com/dutch-oven-chili/

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There you have it. Super simple. How do you make chili? Do you serve it over rice or couscous? Are we the only ones?!

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Garden & Pond Update

I’m documenting the growth, successes, and failures in our backyard space. It’s been about a month since I introduced you to the pond, and two months since I introduced the garden.

We have reached the height of summer here in the mountains. This is our hottest month, and while it seems dry out there, August is usually even drier. As you’ll see in the photos, there have been some real successes here in the garden, but what you don’t see is that there have also been a few failures/areas for improvement.

Fist, a surprising success : look at this clematis!

clematis

That vine grows in a small bed, that’s more like a container built into a little nook in our deck. It doesn’t have any irrigation, so the soil is extremely dry if not watered regularly. Last summer I was so busy with baby Luc, that I completely ignored this area. I barely watered it, and I didn’t care that the vine never grew (seriously, it grew maybe 10 inches and then died). Fortunately, with ample water, it came back in full force this summer and is covered in beautiful blooms!

I think that it also serves as a great reminder of the resilience of plants, and about how lush a garden can be with just a bit of care.

coneflower

In the photo above, I’m showing off the echinacea that I planted this summer. I planted four of these around the yard (two in this bed and two near the pond). As you can see, these are successfully blooming, and I’m hoping to let their seed ponds fall into the bed for some self-seeding action. Unfortunately, one near the pond died – it suffered from a lack of watering and also an attack by our garden mice!…

The mice seem to be living in the beds along the deck, and I’m looking for ways to get rid of them or at least minimize their foraging. They’ve been eating some of the black-eyed susan flowers that I planted as well as the veggies in our veggie patch (so we haven’t been eating the vegetables, just to be safe). Any mice advice?

Behind the echinacea is an extremely large pot – I have two of these, and both are planted with a purple grass and those flowers. I’m totally blanking on the name of those flowers. It’s a nice combination that’s done well for me two years in a row.

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The photo above shows one of my potting surprises. I planted these violas and pansies in early spring when I wanted something to fill the pot but knew that only something cold-hardy would do. I expected to fill the pots with something more heat tolerant once summer arrived, but these beauties keep flowering! They do look a bit leggy, but really not that bad, so I’m going to keep them here for a bit longer and then I’m hoping to transplant them to a shade spot under one of our Aspen trees, and see how well they do there (the violas should come back as a perennial).

raspberries

As I surmised in my introductory post, we have raspberries that fruit on old growth (known as floricane-fruiting). Since I cut down all of the canes when we moved in (spring of 2015), new canes grew last summer and now they are all producing fruit! We have so many berries out there right now, only a small handful of really ripe ones so far, but more and more and ready every day.

I’m not sure what method I’m going to use for maintaining the raspberries. Part of me wants to cut down all of the canes again after this growing season (new and old growth), but that would meant that then we won’t have any fruit next summer. Or, I could go in and selectively thin the canes – cutting down the old growth and keeping the new growth. If I’m feeling ambitious and have the time, I may try this method… either way, I’ll keep you posted, and in the meantime, we’re enjoying this year’s bumper crop! 
pond

In the pond, our waterlilies are doing fantastic!… so is the algae! It’s a daily battle to go in and remove the string algae, but if I stay on top of it, the pond looks beautiful. We have these two lilies blooming right now, and I can see that the plants are multiplying – sending out new roots and plants within the containers. They seem to be such vigorous growers that I’m thinking about putting them in even bigger containers next year to encourage new plants.

The smaller plants floating around the lillies are the fairy moss. It’s growing well, but I think that next year I’ll order even more, because it’s not covering the pond as quickly as I’d like (I want it to cover the pond to help shade-out the algae).

A few of our other pond plants are doing well, but are still relatively small, so I’ll share updates on those in a future post.

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I’d still like to add a couple of fish to the pond, but without more plant cover, I think they’d be immediate prey for the birds and other wildlife around our house…

I’m definitely highlighting the successes, because that’s what makes the gardening fun, and these are the areas my eyes turn to every time I walk out the door. Maybe I’ll share more of my “eh” areas in the next post. There are a few spaces where I was hoping to see big changes this year, but I’m starting to realize that I may have to settle for a slower evolution of the space.

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Two Bits

We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned.

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Sarah Here :

Happy Friday! Today I’m prepping for a week-long camping trip with close friends, a family of goofy Brazilians. I spent all week making lists, buying supplies and packing bags. My guests have never slept in tents before which means this whole experience will be completely foreign for them.  When was the last time you tried something new? Were you nervous? Excited? Prepared? Worried? I’m trying my best to anticipate my guests’ feelings so I can make everyone comfortable to ensure a great time.

Here’s a rundown of how I began planning this vacation:

  • Find a great location – think of climate, beauty and accessibility to activities.
  • Reserve a campsite – I choose a rustic site, but you could search for a cabin, yurt, or decked out campsite if that’s more your speed.
  • Make a list of activities and natural attractions. If you’re headed to an area with limited cell reception, jot down important details like directions.
  • Make a list of meal ideas and ingredients.
  • Plan a schedule that incorporates the activities and meals taking into account the time and energy that will be spent on both. I tried to pair high-energy activities with nurishing, but easy meals and vice-versa.
  • Think through each activity and meal and write a list of supplies needed.
  • Borrow, rent or buy whatever you may need for your trip.
  • Pack your bags, while again thinking over each acitivity, and you should have all you need!
  • Remember, if you have a first aid kit, a reliable shelter, and a few basics, you will be fine. You can always pick up whatever else you may be missing on day one.

I’m off to pack a bit more. Have a great weekend and if you’re stateside, stay safe this July 4th!

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5 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Road Trip

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Hey there! In late spring, I went on a three-week road trip around the south-eastern United States. My companion and I hit up eight cities over the course of over 1,500 miles. I shared a few city guides already, but today I wanted to let you in on five easy ways to save a few bucks on your next road trip. There are plenty more ways to save, but here are the obvious and easy to get you started:

  1. Pack a Cooler – Snack attacks hit hard on road trips and most of the time it’s because you’re bored not hungry. Beat hungry street by packing a cooler with some hummus, dips, sandwich supplies, whatever you like to eat on the road. You’ll save money, time and tummy aches by skipping out on all the fast food.  Fun fact: We didn’t eat fast food or buy coffee from a chain at all – not even a single time – on our road trip.
  2. Pay for Gas in Cash –  Plenty of gas stations offer a discount (usually five or ten cents per gallon) if you pay for gas in cash. Sometimes these deals are advertised, but other times you have to ask at the counter. It never hurts to ask, you’d be surprised how often there is a discount. Since we’re chattin’ gas, make sure you’re getting the most of your gas mileage. Check the tire pressure frequently and stick to roads where you can drive under 70 mph. It makes a noticeable difference. Also, park in the shade and don’t idle your vehicle for too long.
  3. Use AirBnB or Camp – Instead of staying in overpriced hotels each night, try camping instead. Staying at local campsites is a great way to get your fill of nature, which can be challenging if all your destinations are cities (like ours were). After a few hours on the interstate highway, your brain will be craving the serene scene that a campsite brings. Camping out during road trips doesn’t require too much gear, really just the tent, sleeping bags, flashlights and camp chairs. Every thing else is a bonus. If you’re not down to sleep on the ground, search for a unique AirBnB instead. I love AirBnB and I have never had a bad experience. They’re especially great if you have young kids or a dog, as you can find accommodations that are right for your family.
  4. BYOB + C – Whenever possible, always supply your own booze and coffee. Having a big jar of cold brew coffee on hand was the best decision of the road trip. Each morning went so smoothly when we started off with some home brew. Once you have a cup of coffee, the cobwebs clear and the day comes into focus. Often times we bought afternoon coffees (because independent coffee shops are great places to hang out and experience), but without our cold brew to start things off we would have had some rocky mornings. As for the booze, whether it’s a local six pack or a nice bottle of wine, it will always be cheaper at a grocery store than a bar or restaurant. It’s also nice to sit at your campsite or on the deck of your AirBnB and sip slowly with your co-road trippers than to be packed into a crowded bar where you’ll pay more and miss half the conversation.
  5. Think Like a Local – Just be mindful of your actions and they’ll pay off. Sometimes we were on auto pilot, for instance we paid for parking on a Sunday. So dumb! We didn’t even realize what day it was or we could have parked on the street for free. That would have saved us $18. Brainstorm ideas on how you save at home and translate those tendencies to your life on the road. Instead of grabbing drinks at any old spot, why not look for a local happy hour? Instead of paying for a concert, browse around for a bar that always features live music for a small cover, etc.

That’s it folks. Nothing earth shattering today, but it’s always nice to save a little dough, especially on vacation. There’s nothing worse than coming home feeling tired and broke. Live within your means and make it fun. If you’re stressin’ about money during your trip you certainly won’t enjoy it as much as you could have. So, where are you headed next?

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