While planning a drive from Texas to Colorado, we knew we would need a place to sleep for a night to break up the drive. This is where Hotel Luna Mystica was found. “Hotel Luna Mystica is a vintage trailer hotel and starlight campground in the vast Mesa of Taos, one of the most mystical locations on the planet.”
One of a kind Airbnb
This was one of the wildest and exciting Airbnb spots we have stayed in so far. We chose the 1967 Avion Tourist, wonderfully named “Louise” for its private spot and unobstructed view. On the website, hotellunamustica.com , you can read all about the trailer you are staying in. Ours had a sister trailer named Thelma, obviously. This trailer hailed from the Texas Gulf. After a stint at a hippie commune in central Colorado, the sisters found their way to Luna Mystica.
The Amenities at the Louise Trailer
This trailer was spotless and updated in a beautiful design with all the amenities you would need…AC, shower, bathroom, refrigerator, outlets, microwave, sink, and an extremity comfortable bed. The view was wild. It looked out over the Mesa. We spent much of our time just watching the creatures running around and even enjoyed the few moments when a small plane would fly above us to land across the street at the Taos Airport. We built a fire, ate smores, sipped on whiskey, and got the much-needed relaxation we craved. Make your way to this incredible experience. It was everything I expected and more.
I travel alone…a lot. This can be tough. I will see a shot and wish I could be in it. Because who doesn’t like seeing themselves at the location they are in?
Villa Cielomar in Costa Rica
I was in Peninsula Papagayo in Costa Rica. My job had brought me to Villa CieloMar. This beautiful property had an incredible view. It cost more to be there for a week than I make in a year. I had finished up filming and realized I wanted a shot of myself. The architect had created that walkway for a reason.
Using DJI Phantom Waypoints
I was flying with the DJI Phantom 4. One incredible feature it has is fly via waypoints. What this does is use the GPS system to mark points on the map. You say which points to go to and in what order. Warning: It can eat up battery power since you need to fly the route to set the points. So it’s something to plan out prior to taking flight.
Have you used the auto pilot features on your drone? Which ones do you like using most?
Pinel Island is a must-see and experience when visiting the island St. Martin | St. Maarten!
How to get there…
1. Drive out to Cul de Sac on the French Side just north of Orient Beach.
2. Park in the free parking lot.
3. Board the Ferry which runs every 30 minutes starting at 9:30am (check the website for details and exact times)
4. Pay $12 for a round trip ferry ride
5. Rent a chair from either Karibuni or Yellow Beach (about $20 for two chairs)
6. Enjoy your day!
7. Grab lunch at Karibuni or Yellow Beach (Karibuni is featured in this video)
8. Remember what the captain said on the ferry for when the last ferry back is!
9. Post pictures on social media and make your friends jealous.
Pinel Island is an absolute blast and one of my favorite day trips in SXM. The beach has impeccable calm water, the sand is super white and the experience is like none other. I love going here so I can view St. Martin from the island. It’s such a different experience to be able to sit on a beach and look at the island rather than out into the blank ocean. Drinks are amazing, food is incredible and the service is absolutely amazing.
Have you experienced Pinel Island? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.
I started using HUEL in May 2018. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a “nutritionally complete, convenient, affordable food, with minimum impact on the environment and animals.” Yes, it’s vegan! (I’m not vegan, but not going to complain about being one for a few meals a day). I have been drinking two shakes a day, 5 days a week for a year and here’s what I discovered during this time and the results I have seen.
Number 1: Money.
I have saved sooo much money. These meals come to about $2 per meal. Which is just crazy. I was going out for lunches and even tried making my own food at home, and I never was even close to $2 a meal.
Number 2: Weight.
A year ago I was about 200lbs. The knowledge of knowing how many calories I was putting into my system each day was a huge factor in me losing weight. Depending on how much Huel you use per serving (I was doing about 300 cals per meal) you can lose weight. It’s not a DIET. I didn’t start it thinking it would be some savior and I would go back to my high school weight, but I wanted to know how many calories I was eating per day and this made it so easy. Today, thanks to Huel, and being smarter with my food in general, I fluctuate between 180-185 lbs. And I’m not a big exercise person, so it was mostly done by a better diet.
Number 3: It’s addictive. It’s fun. And it’s versatile.
I know what you’re thinking…Phil, that isn’t a shake in the photo. And yeah, you’re right. It’s waffles. HUEL WAFFLES! This product is so much fun to experiment with between the different shakes and being able to use it where you would normally use flour in foods. Mind blown. (Follow my Huel Instagram for more variations @philphuel)
And lastly, number 4: Travel.
I’m constantly on the go and this product always comes with me. It saves me a TON of money when I travel. Which can be spent on…you know…more travel. So that’s it. I just wanted to share with everyone this amazing product. If you’re interested in knowing more, I’ll gladly answer any questions. This is not a product placement, I don’t make money if you buy it…I just friggin love the stuff.
If you enjoyed this article and want to give a Huel a try, use this link for $10 Off. And yes, I also get a $10 credit on my next order. So it’s a win win for both of us.
Would you try Huel? Tell me your thoughts in the comments.
This past weekend I was in Las Vegas for a golf tournament and if you’re like me, you love finding ways to save money while in Vegas to reduce the pain from losing at the tables. So I knew just what I needed to pack!
I had ordered Huel Ready to Go when they were first having pre-sales but I wanted to find the best time to give it a try so I would be able to give a full response to my thoughts on it. I’ll save you some time in case you don’t want to read to the bottom…Huel Ready to Go is AMAZING and here’s why.
Huel Ready to go is perfect for being on the go, duh. The containers are solid and will not break in your bag. They are the perfect meal to go and travel well in any bag. I knew that I would be waking up early for the golf tournament and didn’t want to grab some fast food from the casino which would cost me $10 minimum. So I had one chilled and ready to go and would drink it while I was getting ready. I brought the second one in my golf bag, threw it in the cooler at the beginning of the round and by the back 9 instead of grabbing a hot dog or an expensive sandwich at the turn, I instead reached into the cooler on the cart and pulled out my second cold and ready to go, Huel. It was chilled on the ice and ready to drink while driving to the back 9. I didn’t even have to stop playing. By the end of the 10th tee, I would be finished and ready for the back 9 with a full stomach. It couldn’t be any easier!
So here is where many people might turn away. Each bottle is about $4. Seems a little steep, but when I consider the other options, it’s a huge money saving product. It completely fills me up and provides me with way more nutrients than a sandwich or burger ever could. So by spending $4 on the bottle of Huel I actually was able to keep that extra cash in my pocket, which I would later lose at the Craps table. At the moment, you are required to buy it in packs of 12, so the initial cost may seem steep, but you will still save so much money in the long run.
I was completely shocked by the smooth texture and incredibly tasty flavors. It comes in a Vanilla or Berry flavor. They are both very similar to a McDonalds MilkShake, but you know…healthy. They do leave a slight film in your mouth so it’s great to have a bottle of water nearby to clean your palate at the end. But that is a small price to pay for how good and nutritious Huel is. If you have enjoyed Huel at home and making it with the powder, this is VERY different but has hints of the same. When I make Powdered Huel, it always has a bit of an overnight oats type feel to it. But I don’t make it with a blender, so I never expect it to be very smooth. Huel Ready to Go is the opposite. It’s been blended to perfection! Oh, my…now I want one at this very moment…
400 Calories per bottle. Now, I normally make my powdered Huel at 300 calories, because I’m not very active when I’m at home working. But I am completely happy they made this 400 calories for on the go because it normally means I’m on the move and probably need the extra energy.
So in conclusion, I would highly recommend drinking Huel Ready to Go! But first, try the powder at home. The powder is cheaper per serving and is thicker which makes it feel more like food and less like a drink. But I will always keep a cold Ready to Go in the fridge for those days when I’m on the go and the remaining case will be in my closet for when I travel to help save that extra cost on food when away from home.
Now I can’t speak for this yet since it doesn’t start shipping out until December 28, 2018, but you know I’ve got my pre-order in! This is going to be a game changer for me…and here is why.
I travel…a lot. Whether it’s across the globe or just a few states over, I am rarely in one spot for too long. When I travel for an extended amount of time, I bring my Huel powder. It’s easy to travel in the bag, mix it with water in the re-usable bottle shaker. But I often struggle when I only plan to go somewhere for a weekend or even a day trip. It’s just not worth it to me to pack the powder and shaker since the shaker needs to be cleaned after.
These bottles are the perfect option for my fast trips. I can drink em and toss em (into a recycling bin of course!). So what’s to know about these? Well, here’s what they say about them on their website.
A delicious, complete, and affordable meal in a handy bottle, containing all 27 essential vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber and phytonutrients. Perfect when the time is short or you’re away from the kitchen.
Complete nutrition. On the go.
Vitamins & minerals
Ideal amounts of the 27 essential vitamins and minerals, to give your body all the precious micronutrients it needs.
Each bottle contains 20g of high-quality, plant-based protein, with a perfect amino acid profile.
Filled with low-GI, slow-release carbs to give you sustained energy throughout your day.
Essential fatty acids
Balanced omega-3, omega-6 and monounsaturated fats, creating an excellent fatty acid profile.
Made with soluble and insoluble fiber, keeping you full and your digestive system healthy.
Packed full of great stuff from plants, with proven beneficial effects on your health.
Back to me talking now…
Basically, it’s a meal in a bottle. So why do I bring this all up as the perfect travel companion? Well, for me it’s all about time and money. Back before Huel, my life was filled with crappy food when traveling. I would spend $10-15 on some #5 or a foot-long of sorts. It always was upsetting and made me feel like junk. This Huel bottles are less than $4 each and give me everything my body craves while also filling me up.
Now, when you are traveling somewhere new, I can’t tell you to just eat Huel. Defiantly try the local food! It’s the reason you are there. But many times when we travel for fun we have a few “throwaway” meals where we just eat to get to the next location. This is where Huel-to-go (yes, I renamed it) comes in handy because it’s not only easy but it will allow you to save a few bucks for that fancier local meal.
I can’t speak higher about this company (and they don’t pay me to say this…in fact, I pay them by purchasing their products).
If you are looking to give it a try, let me know. And yes, here comes the link to use which gives you $10 off your order and also sends me a $10 off coupon. But I can tell you, I don’t write this just to get $10 off. I write it out of passion and love for this product.
In the following video, I discuss how I shoot videos for real estate agents while showing you a recent video I put together in under a few hours for a real estate agent in Swampscott, Ma (HarborsideSIR.com)
What Order Do You Shoot in?
Aerial – Show the broad location of the home
Outside – Show the outside of the house. Treat it like a client would upon arrival.
Front Door – Go through the front door. Establish what it would be like to walk in every day.
Living Room – This is the area the clients want to picture themselves sitting in with guests.
Dining Room – Clients like to think they will have lots of dinner parties. Would this be a spot they would want to have people sitting in?
Kitchen – The #1 most used room in a house. Show off that kitchen!
Bedrooms – Go into each bedroom.
Bathrooms – Optional. Really make sure it’s a nice bathroom and try to avoid showing toilets.
Outside – Go back outside to establish the video is coming to a close.
Aerial – Re-establish the location of the home. This is how a client would leave as well.
Shoot in 1080 at 60fps – This allows you to slow down the footage if needed without it losing quality.
Unless requested, 4K is never needed. Always ask the client where the video will be seen. Most likely they are just putting it online and no one really needs 4K. Editing 4K is very difficult unless you have a computer that can handle it quickly.
You MUST carry your Drone License in order to be PAID to fly your drone.
This past weekend I attended the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy, New York City and let me tell you it did not disappoint. Let me show you a few solid reasons to attend this event…
From left to right you are looking at a hot pepper and sausage sandwich, giant fresh mozzarella sticks with a marinara sauce that will make you want to drink it like your morning coffee, a grill filled with sausage and peppers and lastly, some of the best Italian dishes you will ever eat.
TIP: Eat from only the locations that have a restaurant behind them. Skip out on all the fair food that can be found at any local fair across the country. Eat local. You won’t regret it.
What is this festival?
The Feast of San Gennaro is one of New York City’s most popular and longest-running street fairs. Now in its 92nd year, the festival attracts more than a million people annually to the streets of Little Italy. The 11-day festival includes live music, carnival games and most of all food. Fried clams, calamari, pizza, sausages, and cannolis are just some of the Italian specialties you will find along the route. The festival also features religious processions celebrating San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples.
So what did I do?
We were only there for about 2 hours which was plenty of time to take in the sites, enjoy as much food as possible and have a few drinks. We did not go on the awkwardly fast ferris wheel taking up the entire NYC street or listen to one of the many performances on the main stage. We also did not play any of the fair or carnival games. We mostly ate and drank a few beers at one of the many stops along the way. And of course, had some amazing conversations with the locals. Could listen to those accents all day.
What did you buy to take home?
Every single time I find myself walking through Little Italy, I always make a stop at Piemonte Ravioli to buy fresh pasta. It is seriously the best food to have in your cupboards and it won’t last long their with how fast you will eat it. Mix it with the fresh sauce from Alleva next door and you will be in pasta food coma heaven.
Does taking home some Henna count?
The festival is over this year, but make sure you check out this festival or one of the many others that occur in Little Italy. And if you really want to go festival crazy, take the 4-hour bus ride to Boston and check out all the ones that happen in the North End as well. You could be eating rice balls like a king/queen.
I started drinking Huel about 4 months ago and it has completely changed my life.
First off, a little as to why I started drinking Huel to begin with. I work from home in NYC and while there is obviosuly an amazing selection of food around me that is easily accessible, it’s also not easy on the bank account to be eating out for breakfast and lunch everyday.
And buying food from the grocery store has not ever been a skill of mine. So here I was eating a $6 breakfast and a $10-15 dollar lunch every day. So my day wasn’t even halfway over and I could be out $20. And yes, there were some days when I would make food at home which consisted of eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast and a boring sandwich for lunch. Still not the best way to spend money or eat healthy for that matter.
How much money can you save?
I spend about $60 every 5 weeks on Huel. An order of Huel is supposed to last about a month if used at the full serving rate. I do not need to use a full serving per meal because it’s about 500 calories per serving. So I have cut it down to two, 300 calorie servings a day. I have substituted my breakfast and lunch meals during the work week and I skip Huel for dinner and on weekends. (Although I will say, I crave it on the weekends!)
So if we do some quick math with this, it’s as follows…
OLD ME | Mon-Fri – 2 Meals a day – $15-20 a day, $75-100 per week.
HUEL ME | Mon-Fri – 2 Meals a day – $2.40 a day, $12 per week.
That is an insane amount of savings. Think about what you would do if you had an additional $80 per week? I have used this savings to enjoy better meals for dinner and on the weekends (and I am now drinking top shelf whiskey…shhh…)
How do I make Huel?
When I first started I made Huel with 3 scoops of Huel, almond milk, water and frozen fruit for flavor. I would blend it all up to make it extreamly smooth. It was a good way to start but often became time consuming having to use a blender and buy all that fruit.
Then I started making it the night before and leaving in the fridge in the morning. Woa, nelly did this make the Huel taste so much better. There is something about letting all the flavor soak into it and the Huel became thicker allowing me to actually start to crave it and enjoy it.
I then wanted to reduce calories and time. This is where I removed a scoop of Huel from each meal, switched to only using water, shaking it instead of blending it, and still leaving it overnight. And can you believe it? I still felt full throughout the day and was very much enjoying it.
With Huel, I still found myself dinking coffee as well. So now, I was drinking meals and drinking coffee. But what if, I could mix the two?!
My Perfect Recipe
My Perfect Serving of Huel: 2 scoops of Huel (one Vanilla, one Un-sweetened), 300 oz of cold coffee, shake. Leave it in the fridge overnight. That’s it. I have that two times a day, eat a few snacks in between and whatever I want for dinner because I have only eaten between 600-800 calories so far for that day.
Losing Weight with Huel
Let’s be honest. We all wish we could lose some pounds without having to increase our activity too much. I do not like to work out. I hate it. Something is not in me to be a gym goer or a runner or anything of that nature. Before going on Huel I was about 205 pounds. I needed to lose weight. That is where I brought in the Lose It App.
The Lose It app is an amazing calorie counting app that has changed the way I eat. You enter in all your body information, say how much weight you are looking to lose and it provides you with the amount of calories you need to intake each day to lose it. You can find most of the foods you eat right in the app, including HUEL! It pegged me at 1600 calories a day to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year. So after my 600 calories a day of Huel, I was still looking at 1000 calories of snacks, drinks and dinner. Not bad!
I am happy to say in the four months I have been drinking Huel, I am now down to around 190. Huel mixed with calorie counting mixed with basic workouts (gym 1-2 times a week and riding a bike around the city 1-2 times a week) has allowed me to better know how much I am putting into my body which has brought tremendous strides in my weightloss. AND I still drink alcohol, I still eat pizza and I still enjoy dinners out.
I can’t stop promoting this stuff. I tell everyone about it. I am that annoying person talking about their diet. I know. But with the results I have been getting and the money I have been saving, I’m a happier person. So why would I not promote it?
Want to try Huel? Use this link to save $10 and it will also give me a $10 savings on my next order. Win Win.
Have you tried Huel or a similar product? What has been your results and experience? Do you have recipes you want to share? I’d love to hear about it. My next experiment will be making Huel cookies…yes, you can replace flour with Huel…what doesn’t this stuff do?
But throughout the weekend, we ran into little issues with the house and it started the debate about how to leave a rating for a house rental. From certain areas not being cleaned right, to broken appliances, what makes a renter give less than a perfect rating? Is it fair to drop a star rating for small issues or does it depend on how the manager of the house solves the problems when it is presented to them?
Before we arrived at the house our host was very attentive giving us suggestions of places to go and even looked at the dates and found us different activities specific to the weekend we were there. The photos online and the description made me feel as though this house was going to be 5 stars before I even arrived.
Pulling into the house, it was gorgeous, just like the photos showed. Everything matched. So far, the house is still at 5 stars.
Now is when we start to add up some of the issues. I like to use a point system. For every issue, I decide how big of an issue it is and remove points based on that scale. For every 5 points, I remove one star from the “Five Star Rating” on HomeAway, etc.
Coffee Maker not Cleaned – This is a huge issue. Pretty much every person who stays at your home is going to use the coffee maker. Who doesn’t want to wake up the first morning in a cabin in the woods and make a big pot of coffee and sit on the gorgeous balcony and enjoy a cup of coffee? I have paid for a cleaning fee just like everyone else who is staying in the house. So if you didn’t clean the coffee maker, what else wasn’t cleaned? (-2 Points)
Cobwebs – This isn’t a huge issue. I’m staying in a house in the woods, so what can I expect. Cobwebs outside is fine, but when they are inside the house on the morning I arrive, it shows once again that the house was not thoroughly cleaned before arriving. (-.5 points)
Broken Activity Amenities – You offer a ping pong table/air hockey/pool table combo. Awesome, this will be super fun for our group to entertain ourselves with. Ping pong worked great and there are plenty of paddles and extra balls. Air hockey puck is broken and there are no extras anywhere. When we contact the manager, this the response “We don’t normally play anything except ping-pong.” Okay, but your listings claims you have air hockey. Now, had they offered to bring a new puck, I wouldn’t remove a point. But they didn’t. (-.5 point) Also, there weren’t enough pool billiards to play an actual game of pool and one of the pool sticks was broken. (-.5 points) Had the listing only claimed they have a ping pong table, they could have kept these negative points off. Don’t advertise something you can’t provide. (Total – 1 point)
Broken Treadmill – The listing claims there is some workout equipment. Before we arrived, we were informed the treadmill was not working. Because we knew this before our arrival, no points removed.
Total Removed Point – 3.5 Points.
Rating for this house – 5 Stars
So even though there were some issues with this house, it still deserves a 5-star rating. Now my negative points may have been higher had the manager not been so active in responding and providing us with so much information before our arrival. Making a list of activities for us, responding to emails and text and generally being a very friendly and engaging person. We were never left in the dark.
Here are some of my other example of where this house could have lost points based on the listing.
Please note, they provided all the following and these are just an example of issues and the points I would have removed had they not provided them.
Grill – Had the propane tank been empty without another backup tank to be easily found (-3 Points) (-.5 points if the manager provides one by the next day, 0 points if they provide one within 2 hours)
Sunset Views – This claim was in the headline of the listing. Had there not actually been sunset views (-5 points)
No wood for the fire pit – They claim to have numerous fireplaces and an outdoor firepit. Had this not been provided, (unless stated that firewood is not provided) (-2 points)(0 points if the manager brings firewood within a reasonable amount of time)
Wi-Fi – Had the wifi not worked after advertising there was wifi it would be some serious points. Some people rely on wifi because so many people need to continue to work while traveling. It’s a huge issue to advertise it and not provide it. One way to solve this issue is by purchasing wifi hubs (like the have over at Karma) in case there is a major issue at the house with the wifi. (-5 points)
Hot Tub – I once rented a house for the hot tub only. It was a major factor in choosing the house. I would easily knock off 10 points if a hot tub did not work and I was not informed ahead of time or offered any sort of refund. It can completely ruin a trip. (-10 points)(-3 points if offered a refund equivalent to 25% of the stay)
A/C – Advertise A/C but the A/C doesn’t work? (-10 points) Especially during the summer months. I didn’t pay a lot of money to sweat in my sleep. (-3 points if informed with enough time to rebook without fees)
So you can see how easy it is for a house to lose a star on a 5-star rating. However, a lot of factors need to be considered before one is removed. These listings rely heavily on their rating system so it should not be taken lightly. I will admit, I was very unhappy when the air hockey table didn’t work. I LOVE air hockey. But did it merit potentially ruining someone’s lively hood who had decided to open their home to our group? No.
Do you like the above house and want to rent it? Here is the listing. Just don’t rent it if you are an avid air hockey player.
How do you rate a house on sites like HomeAway, VRBO or Airbnb? Do you have a system or do you just run on your feelings? Tell me about it below.