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Tim Foolery

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Monthly Archives: January 2019

Stitch Fix Review – February’s Men’s Box

The email notifying me of my February box hit my inbox more than a week ago, but the box itself didn’t show up on schedule.  I assume the awful weather we were having in Chicago had something to do with it.   I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat this month. Despite having kept everything from my past two boxes, I was feeling a little blasé this month. Remember, I returned EVERYTHING from November, but kept everything in December and January.  While I wasn’t in LOVE with the January items, the 25% savings you get by keeping EVERYTHING made it worthwhile. 

Unlike in the past, I didn’t take the time to properly comment on my fixes. I was busy and I just wanted to move on to something else.  Well, let me tell you, that was a mistake. 

As a reminder, my focus for Stitch Fix is more casual clothes.  My office transitioned to a fully casual environment last year and after years of building up a solid business and business-casual closet, I needed some help.  I get all of my dress shirts custom made from a tailor in Hong Kong and they are perfect.  My pants are mostly from Banana Republic.

With a much more casual dress code now, I need to revamp my closet.  Enter Stitch Fix.  I’ve been using the service off and on since last summer, with relative success.  Read more about my previous boxes herehere and here. My fix arrived this week – let’s jump in, shall we?

Stitch Fix Men's Box
Anticipation and excitement. What’s in the box?

In The Box

  • Boconi – Barstow Casual Vegan Leather Belt – $38
    • First off, what’s a Vegan Leather Belt?  Secondly, the belt wasn’t sized right, it said it was a 36, which is the perfect size for my 33-34″ waist.  This belt was a bit tight, but I really was diggin’ the color and style — and the price.  Undecided
  • 01ALGO – Interval Stretch Poplin Shirt – $64
    • I love this shirt.  The sleeves and the waist fit perfectly. I loved this shirt when they sent it to me over the summer, just in a different color.  I don’t need the exact same shirt in purple. Return
  • GRAYERS – Falmer Vintage Flannel Workshirt – $88
    • This shirt reminds me of growing up in rural Oregon. I dig a warm flannel.  This one fit very well too.  The colors and the pattern were really rough though.  This was actually the first thing I saw in the box and I knew I’d be returning it immediately.  WOWZER. Return
  • 7 Diamonds – Siena Pique Patch Pocket Blazer – $150
    • This blazer was quite nice and fit very well.  The problem, I have a ton of blue blazers, plus, Stitch Fix just sent me a blue blazer last month.  Return
  • Mavi – Zach Straight Leg Pant  – $98
    • These pants fit great and the color is not like anything I’ve got in my closet now.  Keep
Men's Stitch Fix Box
My February Style Box from Stitch Fix

Initial Impressions

I wasn’t impressed initially.  So much of the same stuff. You’ll remember last month I got a hoodie that looked almost identical to the hoodie from the previous month.  I always say, you can’t have too many blue blazers, but I think I’m at the point where I have too many blue blazers!  Plus, sending me a shirt that I love in just a different color seems a little lazy.  The belt and pants really sang to me though and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have selected those pants on my own. 

The Decision

This month, I decided to KEEP the belt and pants while returning the shirt, blazer and that flannel that I find to be just plain ugly.   I’m not getting the 25% discount this month, but I’m OK with that.  I wasn’t digging several of the items this month and while I can imagine them working into my wardrobe (except that flannel), my goal with Stitch Fix isn’t to provide slightly different versions of things I like.

My results aren’t all that consistent with StichFix, but I’m still digging this whole process.  I was offered free styling for a year for $49.  Without this offer, each month, you must pay $20 styling fee, even if you return everything.

Do you use Stitch Fix?  Give me your Stitch Fix Review. Guys – what other services like this do you use and recommend?  Or do you just prefer to walk into your local Banana Republic and grab stuff off the racks?

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Travel Advice: Power Cables

How many electronic devices do you travel with? If you’re like me, you’ve got phones, tablets, cameras, battery packs, laptops – the list goes on and on. Also, if you’re like me, sometimes you forget a certain charger or power cables. Have you ever opened up your suitcase at a hotel and realized you forget a USB cable, or a wall plug adapter? Frustrating as hell right?

Well, generally, I’ve fixed that problem. I keep a separate small bag in my suitcase all the time. This small bag has my travel only power cables and adapters. These items live in this small travel bag and only come out when on the road.

In this bag, I keep the following items:

  • Three two-prong wall plug to USB adapters
  • Two Type-A USB Adapters (these are the older style that work for my 3-year old Samsung Tablet
  • Two Type-C USB Adapters (these are the new ones that connect my Samsung Galaxy S8)
  • Two Type-A to Type-C USB Adapters – just in case
  • Small battery pack with enough power to charge my phone 1.5 times
Power Cable Travel Kit
My always stocked cable kit

I personally keep these items in a 5+ year old Lufthansa Business Class Amenity Kit. I was pissed when I got this kit while en route to Vietnam. The small canvas bag is strong and has held my most important power cables for years. I love this setup.

The Gift

At work, we’ve got a couple new people who just started traveling more frequently. Deciding to outfit them each with one of these little kits, I popped over to Amazon and bought some Amazon Basics Power Cables for either their Android or Apple products. I even snagged enough wall adapters to open up my own shop. I found small canvas bags on Amazon too. Take a look for makeup bags – they work splendidly.

I also snagged this gift for my better half. It seems right before a trip he’s always running around the house looking for something. Now this just lives in his suitcase. For him, I splurged on a nice leather bag – some moderately overpriced, handmade pencil bag from a little shop in the neighborhood.

Power Cables
Gifted cable kit. Everything you need to leave in a hurry.

When he opened the box at Christmas, the look on his face was..well…disappointed. After I explained it to him, he seemed a little more pleased. It wasn’t until his first trip, when he was frantically looking for things that this gift made sense. I had already filled the bag with his needed cables and adapters. Since he travels internationally for work, I also threw in a European and UK converter. Easy breezy.

Now I always know where my cables are and I know that I am NEVER to remove these cables from the simple canvas bag if I am in Chicago. Hard Stop. Don’t Touch. It works great!

What little travel tip or hack do you have?

Park Hyatt Mendoza – Standard Room

Since we first started talking about visiting Argentina, we knew we wanted to visit Mendoza. Situated at the base of the Andes and one of the world’s best-known wine regions, this area was a must visit. Several friends had stayed at the Park Hyatt Mendoza and while it wasn’t the most modern hotel, it came with the best recommendations.

After finally making it to Mendoza, after flying in from Buenos Aires (and not realizing we needed to change airports) we made our way directly to the Park Hyatt Mendoza. The taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was about 25 minutes with limited traffic until we got very close to the hotel itself.

The Arrival

Stepping out of the taxi, we were approached by several bellhops offering to take our luggage. Since we were traveling light, this was a service that we didn’t need. We continued on into the grand lobby and directly to the check in desk, where there was no line.

Park Hyatt Mendoza - Main Lobby
The main lobby at the Park Hyatt Mendoza was very grand and welcoming.
Park Hyatt Mendoza
Park Hyatt Mendoza Lobby

Check-in was very quick. We have no status with Hyatt so there was no discussion on what sort of welcome gift we’d get. WiFi was included with all room as was the breakfast each morning.

The elevators up to the guestrooms and spa were near the casino entrance, which was enticing for me. I do love to spend some time at the craps table, when time allows. This trip, we just walked through the casino, not even slowing down to see what games were available.

The Rooms

The standard room had two twin beds, which is what we requested. The room was nicely sized for a standard room. We didn’t end up spending much time in the room itself as we were out wine tasting or exploring the area. I wouldn’t upgrade to a larger room or spend more money on a room at this hotel. The standard was perfectly acceptable.

Park Hyatt Mendoza - Sleeping Area
The bedroom area in our Standard Room
Park Hyatt Mendoza - Sleeping Area
The bedroom area in our Standard Room
Park Hyatt Mendoza Welcome Gift
Welcome Gift
Park Hyatt Mendoza - Vanity
The small vanity in our standard room
Park Hyatt Mendoza - Separate Bathtub
The separate bathtub in our large bathroom
Park Hyatt Mendoza - Shower
Next to the separate tub was the shower
Park Hyatt Mendoza - Bathroom
Toilet and Bidet

Breakfast

The breakfast was served in the first floor restaurant each morning. While not on par with a standard Asian hotel breakfast buffet, the Park Hyatt did a nice job. Lots of meats, cheeses and pastries to be found. A manned omelette/egg station offered a nice selection of custom ordered eggs. Plus, the key to any proper complimentary hotel breakfast: a nice sparkling wine. There was never a line for any of the food nor to grab a table.

Park Hyatt Mendoza - Breakfast
The breakfast buffet
Park Hyatt Mendoza - Pastries
Park Hyatt Mendoza Pastry Buffet
Park Hyatt Mendoza
Champagne, pork, tomatoes and cheese, a standard Tim Breakfast while traveling

The Park Hyatt Mendoza Pool and Spa

Since this was vacation, we made sure to build in some time at the pool and at the spa. We each had 90 minute massages, which were embarrassingly inexpensive. My masseuse was very strong and worked out kinks that I didn’t know I had. He was so good, I felt sore for the next day and a half. Maybe a little too aggressive.

The pool was located on the main lobby level and while it was a bit small, it was beautiful. The weather was stunning during our visit, so the pool was quite popular. We managed to snag some loungers pool side, near the bar, no less.

Park Hyatt Mendoza Pool Deck
The beautiful outdoor pool at the Park Hyatt Mendoza

While we knew we wanted to stay at the Park Hyatt Mendoza, our initial plan was to stay with points, but I completely forgot to book this hotel.  It wasn’t until about eight days before our departure that I realized we had no place to stay!  Unfortunately there were no award nights available during our stay.  We planned on transferring some Chase Ultimate Reward Points over to Hyatt.  Each night at the Park Hyatt Mendoza cost us 342USD.  I’d have rather spent points, but that’s what happens when you fail to plan. Considering we were using points for the rest of the trip, this high price tag didn’t sting so badly.

Final Thoughts

The Park Hyatt Mendoza wasn’t a stellar property.  It did remind me a bit of the Park Hyatt Zurich, but wasn’t as sophisticated.  That being said, I’d definitely stay at this property again.  The clean rooms and attentive staff made for a great first stop on our Argentine Adventure.

Have you stayed at the Park Hyatt Mendoza?  Did you think it was a bit dated?  Would you recommend this property to a friend or would you stay again? 

Workout Tips – No Really

I’ve written a few times about my journey on the Peloton. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Peloton, it’s a high end stationary bike. It has a large tablet attached which allows you to take live and on-demand classes. There are hundreds of classes on-demand and dozens of live classes each day. Peloton is more than a bike, it’s a community.

While having this bike at home makes it really easy to workout regularly, I still struggle. The easiest excuse I use to have for skipping a workout was that I didn’t want to go to the gym. Perhaps it was too cold. Maybe it was too hot. Too rainy? Really, I was just too lazy and hate working out. Now I just have to go to the basement. It is still very easy to find an excuse.

As I mentioned in my recent milestone post, I have been trying to workout each morning before work. I can’t bring myself to getting up early enough to take a full 45 minute class, but I push myself to take a 20 or 30 minute class before work.

Peloton Exercise Bike
The Peloton Bike! A beauty, isn’t she?

My mornings are very tightly organized. I maximize sleep and when adding a fitness regimen into the mix, I can be thrown out of sorts. I’ve come up with some tips that really cut down on my excuses and have really helped me maintain my morning workout routine. Take a look:

My Workout Prep Plan

Each night before I go to bed, I fully prep for my next morning. I find that if I can just get out of bed, make zero decisions, I can get a ride in. For this, I make sure these four things are set:

  • Filled water bottle in the fridge. I love ice cold water while riding.
  • Bluetooth headphones are charged. After my rides, I check the charge and plug in. Nothing is worse than not having proper headphones for an early morning ride. That’s just a way to piss off the entire house with you blaring spin music at 05h30.
  • Charged heart rate monitor. See above. While not as annoying to your household, it’s just as frustrating to me. I love metrics and heart rate is important to me.
  • Workout Clothes. I set out my workout clothes the night before. Actually, I set them out on the floor right next to the bed. I get up and actually step on the clothes. Just one more reminder not to be a lazy ass.

I keep my cycling shoes right next to the bike too, so there is no frantic searching for gear. That would be an easy excuse for me. I allocate about 30 minutes in the morning for a ride. That includes waking up, changing, grabbing water, gearing up (shoes, headphones and heart rate monitor) and a 20 minute ride. Then it’s off to the kitchen for breakfast.

Without these simple workout tips, I’d really have an easy time skipping my rides. What tips do you have for people like me who aren’t really fitness junkies?

LATAM Flight AEP – MDZ | Economy

We took three intra-Argentina flights on this trip. Two on LATAM Argentina and one on Aerolineas Argentina. I’ll be sharing a couple of different LATAM experiences in this overall trip report. You’ll also see a comparison to Aerolineas Argentina – a new airlines for us.

After our little snafu upon arrival, we managed to make it to to the right airport with enough time for some pizza before our 1 hour and 54 minute from to Mendoza. Like every other experience with LATAM, the check-in lines were long, but moved fairly quickly. Even though we were transferring from another flight, it was booked separately, so we were treated as a new customer, not a transfer.

Boarding

We were scheduled to leave at 15h55. We didn’t start boarding until 15h50. Adding to the boarding time, we were leaving from a remote stand. Unlike most airlines I’ve flown, the boarding process with LATAM Argentina is a little funky. Elite members board early, like every airline. Next, we were organized into two groups: small hand luggage and larger hand luggage.

We were traveling just with briefcases (or in my case a duffel), so we were in the small hand luggage line. I think the intent is board the small stuff first, which should fit under the seat, then everyone with larger bags boards and dukes it out. After our bus filled up, we were the first five people on the plane. We put our bags in the overhead bins and there we no issues. Easy enough.

I was in row three. The all-economy configuration was totally retro. These seats were the old formerly padded (now compacted) leather recliner style seats. No, these weren’t the first class style recliners. The pitch was awful. My knees were slammed into the seat in front of me from jump.

LATAM Argentina Flight
LATAM Argentina Legroom

This was only exacerbated by the guy in front of me who couldn’t get out of his seat without leaning back as far as possible, nearly dislocating my patella. At least he only got up about 10 times on this less than two hour flight.

Once seated, the flight would never be ready for departure. The plane was nearly full and all the “large hand luggage” people struggled with their bags. There was plenty of room for bags. Unfortunately most people wanted their bags up front, so they would move bags in the first couple of rows, to fit theirs in. I had to ask three separate people not to move my bag. One guy took my bag out and set it on the ground, put his in its place and walked away. I called him back and handed him his bag. Crazy, no?

The Flight

The flight itself was uneventful. We were served drinks and some nuts. There was no in-flight entertainment. I’m happy we charged our gear on the United flight, otherwise this would have been long and boring.

I’ll say that each time I fly LATAM throughout South America, I get a different experience. It’s never been stellar, but it seems like each of the planes is quite different. This one was so old, not to say that it was bad. The really new planes have the slimline seats that are like sitting on a bus bench.

Despite leaving nearly 30 minutes late, we landed in Mendoza right on time. We deplaned, at a gate this time and made our way immediately into baggage claim. The claim area was small, with only a couple of belts. Our bags were some of the last off the plane. Departing baggage claim was a mess. Security routed all passengers through an additional screening checkpoint. Most people ignored this and just pushed by. You could choose to wait in the line, or just walk around. We chose, initially to follow the rules. It wasn’t long before we made a different decision. We decided to just walked on by with about 100 other travelers.

LATAM Argentina Baggage Claim
Baggage Claim in Mendoza – Free For All

After a long day of work, travel, surprise airport transfers, we finally made it to our first actual destination in Argentina. Mendoza. Hopping in a taxi we were off to the Park Hyatt and a couple days of wine tasting and wonderful spring warmth.

Have you flown LATAM Argentina? How did it differ from LATAM in other countries throughout South America?