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Tim Foolery

A Dry and Vegetarian January

January 2019 marks the sixth year that I’ve chosen to have a DRY January and the fourth where I’ve given up meat. A Dry and Vegetarian January has become a standard for me. I don’t give up meat and booze for any particular reason – mostly just to reset and be more mindful of what I consume.

Cocktail
A smokey cocktail is great, but not in January. No booze for me!

Losing wait is not my goal (although that would be a nice benefit). I don’t even end up being all that much healthier as we eat more cheese than usual. After all the parties in the fall, I do find the booze-free aspect to be refreshing.

Fall is a big season for non-profit events in Chicago, plus all the heavy work dinners, conferences and holiday parties. At a certain point, a guy just needs to take a step back.

How I started this trek

I started off with booze-free January when a friend leaned over, at a New Year’s Eve event, and asked:

Friend: Tim, do you think you could go all of January without a drink?

Me: Of course. I don’t even think it would be that hard. Do you?

Friend: Uh. No. I don’t think I could. In all seriousness, I don’t.

Me: Well then, you and I must have a dry month. If you can’t stop, you need to.

I woke up on New Year’s Day, with a hangover, and skipped the booze of brunch. A few days passed and I called my friend who was on the booze diet, asking how she was faring. She said she couldn’t make it through the first day. Trying again on the second day, she failed. She made it through the third day, but split a bottle of wine on the fourth.

Each year, at the same New Year’s Party, she commits to having a dry January and each year she fails. She fails within the first few days.

I continue to plug through each January without booze and without meat (although, I will have a piece of fish or shellfish a few times a month). The booze never really crosses my mind (unless it is a miserably cold winter day and we are sitting by the fire – I just want a glass of wine then). I don’t think about the booze. I don’t think about the meat. My life continues as normal.

The Results

Ultimately, I do feel better at the end of January, but I’m not sure if that is because of improved health or a sense of superiority because I made it through the month.

Do you give up anything to start the new year? Have you tried to abstain but failed? What advice do you have for fellow quitters?

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Adventures in Argentina: Introduction

Argentina has been on our list to visit for a few years now. We finally decided to pull the trigger and spend our Thanksgiving break exploring three separate cities in Argentina. These adventures were a great break from a hectic work life.

Our goals for this trip were pretty simple – get away from work for a week and explore a new area of the world. Argentina is well known for it’s wine and it’s beef. As with almost all of our trips we built our experiences around food, wine and seeing beautiful spaces. Of course we had to couple these requirements with our need for a relaxing break. It is a vacation after all.

Andes Mountain Views from Argentina
Views of the Andes from Mendoza.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you my thoughts on the various flights, hotels, restaurants and experiences, including:

Not to spoiler the ending here, but we loved our time in Argentina. Next time we will do somethings a little differently though.

Have you been to Argentina? What was your favorite spot? Did you have to deal with the bird poop scam?

Twitter Engagement

When it comes to social media engagement with Twitter, I’m pretty passive. I join some Twitter chats and engage with some fellow travel bloggers that either mesh with how I travel OR are very different travelers than I am.

I don’t spend a whole lot of time on Twitter. But I do reshare blog posts several times a week and work on supporting (liking, retweeting, commenting) on some fellow bloggers, but it is limited.

Honestly, I don’t think much about Twitter.

I was surprised when I was notified yesterday that I crossed 1,000 Twitter Followers. It was a shock because I haven’t done much of anything on Twitter in December.

Twitter
Crossed the 1K Followers Threshold. Now what?

For all the other bloggers out there, how do you use Twitter? Do you see active engagement and traffic from Twitter? What drives most of your traffic nowadays? Do we follow each other? If not, we should – share your handle with me.

United Airlines Wifi Refunds

Remember the days when your time on a flight was yours? You were disconnected from the world with no internet, no phones, no connections to the world below? Well those days are over.

Unfortunately with in flight Wifi, you are often plagued with slow downloads and frequently dropped connections. Some airlines have made it relatively easy to to get refund when the internet sucks. Here’s how you get a refund when the United Wifi fails on your flight.

Fortunately, you can do this all yourself, online. No need to call customer service and wait on hold for an extended period. United made it so easy to get a refund now. Maybe it is because their in flight internet is so hit or miss (at least for me over the last six months at least).

The Refund Process

First off, head on over to United’s refund page. This page handles everything from flight refunds, food, drink, upgrades and wifi (plus many more). The process goes much faster if you log into your MileagePlus Account, as most of the info just pre-fills into the forms.

United Wifi Refund
United makes it so easy to get a refund online.
United Wifi Refund
Flight info and receipts needed for Wifi Refund

It takes just a couple of minutes to submit the refund. Surprisingly, each time I submitted a refund, it has been granted and credited back within two business days. Every time I’ve requested a refund it was for a time where I actually had an issue on board. I may not have notified the flight attendant though. Sometimes the wifi works fine for 30 minutes or so, but is then dead for 30-45 minutes.

Despite all the issues I’ve had with United Wifi recently, I still attempt to work a bit on the flight. While it isn’t a perfect system, the ease of getting a refund makes me much less frustrated. However, I do miss the days were I could be completely disconnected while on a flight, don’t you?

Stitch Fix Review – January’s Men’s Box

It’s that time again, time for a Stitch Fix Review.  I received my January box last weekend.  I had a pretty good box in December, so I was anticipating to get a dud this time.

As a reminder, my focus for Stitch Fix is more casual clothes.  My office transitioned to a fully casual environment a few months ago and after years of building up a 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 for a few months now, 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

  • Red Ale – Velasquez Washed Twill Shirt – $48
    • Really liked the pattern and color, the shoulder fit was funky.  Undecided
  • DL1961 – Avery Modern Straight Jean – $125
    • I do love some grey jeans.  These looked and fit great, plus the smallest amount of stretch made them move smoothly.  Keep
  • Hawker Rye – Rose Bowl Hooded Sweater – $64
    • Meh, this looks like the long underwear hoodie from last month, which I kept. Do I need two?  Undecided
  • Hawker Rye – 95/5 Cotton Cashmere Shawl Collar Sweater – $64
    • A great casual and warm sweater.  Keep
  • Cole Haan –  Ogden Suede Chukka Boot – $130
    • Immediately loved the shoes and they fit like a glove.  Keep

 

Men's Stitch Fix Box
The contents of my January Stitch Fix Box

Initial Impressions

Sometimes it seems like these boxes are arriving every time I turn around.  My last few boxes have been pretty good, check out December and September.  The first thing I saw was the shoes and I immediately loved them. Too bad the Chicago winters with snow, ice and salt aren’t the best to wear suede shoes.  Soon though.  Why would Stitch Fix send two light weight hoodies that look almost identical in consecutive months?

The Decision

This month, I decided to KEEP everything. I didn’t really want the hoodie – I liked last month’s version better – and the Twill Shirt had a lot going for it, but the fit was just a little off.  So why did I end up keeping everything?  It’s that damn 25% savings if you purchase everything!  Keeping EVERYTHING vs just the three items I really like cost me only $4 more this month.  Since I didn’t hate any of these items, I figured paying just $2 for the two shirts that didn’t wow me, did make sense.

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?