Starling Travel

January 31, 2007

Moab Walking Tour DVD

Filed under: Places To Visit,Utah,Video — Laura Moncur @ 4:04 pm

This is a different kind of travel video that is a walking tour of the Scott Matheson Wetlands Preserve Walk in Moab, Utah. It is film of a walk around a wetlands preserve. There is no narration or corny descriptions of what you can already see. All you have are the sounds of footsteps, birds singing and maybe even a little water (although the Utah desert is not really known for water).

Here is a glimpse of what the video is like:

Click here to see the video

I have released two similar DVDs to this in the past: Swami’s Beach and Sugarhouse Walk. This video was created to watch while walking on a treadmill, but it’s a great introduction to Moab, Utah.

Estimated Distance: 2.0 Miles
Estimated Speed: 2.3 mph
Time: 52:00 Minutes

I’m offering this workout DVD for $5 including shipping and handling in the continental U.S. If you live elsewhere contact me and we’ll figure out how much it will cost to ship to you.

Order Starling Fitness Walking Videos Here

You can see the route I walked here. The video goes around the loop twice. I tried to be crafty when I was filming it so you wouldn’t notice, but just now I realized that I have to tell you that I walked the circuit twice, so that you would know the accurate mileage.

Click here to see the walk on Google Maps

Video Description:

It was a hot day and the signs all over Moab said, “Did you remember your water?” I brought a bottle of water, but I was filming, so I couldn’t just take a swig of it. Halfway through the walk I could hear every swish it made in my backpack, wishing I could take a drink. The dry heat seemed to suck all the moisture out of my body, but the Scott Matheson Wetland Preserve was shady.

The trees protected me from the blistering sun. As I walked along the trail, I filmed wildflowers and I could even hear birds. I wanted to hide in the shade of the house at the end of the trail and watch the birds from its quiet solitude, but I was intent on walking. Investigating the little-known paths was a bonus because I found my way to Kane Creek. I turned around and walked it all over again. When I was finished, I enjoyed the red rocks and watched the off-roaders drive by.

Then I turned off my camera and gulped down all my water in one fail swoop. Should have brought two bottles…

Order Starling Fitness Walking Videos Here

For More Information about the wetlands preserve:
The Nature Conservancy in Utah – Scott M. Matheson Wetlands Preserve

January 29, 2007

Travel Essentials: Bagettes

Filed under: Video — Laura Moncur @ 4:06 pm


My secret to being able to pack a lot in a small toiletry bag is Bagettes. They are tiny ziplock bags that allow me to pack a wide range of medications in a small container. I also use Bagettes in my purse so I can carry pain reliever. I found these at Michael’s Arts and Crafts because they are also incredibly useful for holding beads, knitting markers or any number of other craft items.

Here are some tips for using these little ziplock bags wisely:

  • Label your bags: Using a Sharpie marker, write the contents on the bag. My vitamin bags aren’t labeled. If they weren’t so brightly colored, I might mistake them for a different pill. So many pills look the same that it’s safest to label the bags.

  • Label the instructions: If it is a drug you’re not familiar with, it’s essential that you include the dosage and instructions (like I did on the Mylanta bag shown).

  • Do not use these for prescription drugs, especially if you travel on airplanes. The TSA is searching bags and if they find prescription drugs that are not in their original prescription bottle, it could delay you or worse, you could end up investigated for drug charges.

  • Replace them often: These bags are cheap and come 200 in a tiny box. If you start to have a little bit of wear on the bag, replace it. There’s no point in letting them wear out completely and having loose pills all over your purse or toiletry bag.

Since I have found this package of Bagettes, I haven’t had to buy another. I only used about 15 bags total, so a box of 200 is basically a lifetime’s supply. I think I spent four bucks for that box, so it’s a great deal. I wish sold them so I could link you to them, but I did find them online in a couple of places:

January 26, 2007

Travel Essentials: Toiletry Bag

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 4:07 pm

Lewis N Clark Unisex Hanging Toiletry Travel Kit at Amazon.comI got my toiletry bag from Target over five years ago. It doesn’t really matter which brand you get as long as the bag suits your needs. For me, I needed something that would hold all of my essentials in a size that was smaller than my old Caboodles box. For you, a Caboodles box might be perfect or even a tackle box. The important thing is that the toiletry bag is always full and ready to go. Last April, I included a packing list to help make your packing experience easier:

Many things on that list are toiletries. Now, I have a toiletry bag that holds EVERYTHING I will need like shampoo, toothbrushes and contact lens solution. Anything that I use in my daily life is in that bag. I also include some first aid items like bandages and triple anti-biotic. I even include some drugs like pain killers and anti-nausea medicines. Now, if I have to go out of town, all I need to do is pack my clothes and grab the toiletry bag. It has made packing for a trip much easier.

My toiletry bagHere is a picture of my toiletry bag and a complete list of its contents.

  • Contact lenses: cleaner, saline solution, case
  • Binder clips
  • Facial cleanser (travel size YOUR way)
  • Multi-vitamin pills
  • Calcium pills
  • Perfume
  • Hair bands
  • Mouthwash
  • Lotion
  • Anti-perspirant
  • Shampoo (in a Sprayco Soft Touch Dispenser)
  • Conditioner (in a Sprayco Soft Touch Dispenser)
  • Hairspray
  • Hair brush
  • Earplugs and Eye Mask
  • Feminine Hygiene Products: tampons, pantyliners and napkins
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Razor and blades
  • Pain relievers: ibuprofen, Excedrin, acetaminophen, and aspirin
  • Allergy medications: guaifenesin, psuedoephedrine, diphenhydramine, eye drops
  • Stomach medications: Mylanta, Alka Seltzer, Dramamine
  • First aid supplies: bandages, triple antibiotic, Benadryl cream, sunscreen, lip balm
  • Fingernail clippers, tweezers and fingernail file
  • Condoms and lubricant
  • Bar of soap (travel size)

How did I get so many things in such a small case? The travel size bottles really help, but I also have another secret. Tune in on Monday to find out!

January 24, 2007

Travel Essentials: Ear Plugs & Eye Mask

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 4:08 pm

Sweet Dreams Sleep MaskI didn’t used to have ear plugs and an eye mask in my toiletry bag, but over the years they have been bought in desperation on trips and they just stayed with the travel items.

Eye Mask: This is a travel essential if you are traveling with someone else who has a different sleep schedule than you do. Mike doesn’t go to bed until 1 or 2 am, but I’m pretty tired at 9 pm. Rather than let him upset my schedule or have him stumble around in the dark, I use an eye mask. Then he can turn on whatever lights he needs and I can sleep as if I’m in a dark room. This is also helpful if you want to sleep late on your vacation. Light from the window can creep around the curtains and wake you up. Sleeping in is a luxury of our vacations that I don’t want to sacrifice to sunlight. If Al Pacino had packed an eye mask in his toiletry bag, he might have avoided shooting his partner. Hear that? An eye mask could save your life!

Soft Foam Earplugs (10 pair)Ear Plugs: My little box of earplugs was bought in the hotel gift shop at the Nevada Landing Hotel and Casino about seven years ago. We bought them because the people in the room next to us were partying hard and we were trying to get a good night’s sleep before a long day of work at Comdex. We were exhausted and desperate to sleep and the ear plugs helped drown out the noise of the partying folk next door. I have used them many times and in situations where I never expected to need them. They came in handy a couple of years ago when we visited my grandpa. Since our last visit, he had lost hearing, so the television was blasting at all hours of the day and night. Fortunately, the ear plugs allowed us to sleep despite the sound of Matlock solving crimes at all hours.

Ear plugs and an eye mask are items that just can’t be jury-rigged. If you have noisy neighbors or need sleep during a brightly lit time of the day, there is really no way to “hack” something to fix the problem. Ear plugs and an eye mask take hardly any space in your toiletry bag, but they are life-savers when you find yourself in a situation when you need them. That’s why they made my list for travel essentials.

January 22, 2007

Travel Essentials: Sprayco Soft Touch Dispensers

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 4:09 pm

Sprayco Soft Touch DispenserAnother essential for my toiletries travel case are the Sprayco Soft Touch Dispensers. I found these at Wal-Mart. They aren’t available through, but I was able to find them at a site called – Tube Dispenser – Refillable 4 Ounce Size

These have been the BEST refillable travel bottles for the following reasons:

They sit upside down, so the shampoo, lotion or conditioner is easy to dispense. There have been so many times when I have been in the shower, pounding a bottle just to get a pea size bit of shampoo out. With this one you just flip open the top and squeeze. If nothing comes out, it’s empty.

Adjustable indicatorThey have an adustable indicator to distinguish what is in each bottle. You don’t have to remember that the red container holds shampoo, it just tells you. When I bought these, I worried that the indicator would slide around and tell me it’s something different than what it contains, but after a year of using these, I have never had that problem. They kind of click into place, so they stay in place, even when they are bouncing around my toiletry bag. I used to go to the trouble of putting labels on my travel bottles, but now I don’t have to.

Wide opening for easy filling.They have a wide opening for easy filling. Some travel bottles have such an inconvenient opening that filling them is an exercise in frustration. It used to be so bad that I would just throw the full size bottle in the suitcase instead. Now, it’s just an easy squeeze into the mouth of this travel bottle.

I found these at Wal-Mart, but I have also seen them at Von’s Grocery and Smith’s Grocery. They might be a little difficult to find, but they are worth it. I haven’t had to worry about my travel toiletries since I found these bottles. That’s why I consider them a travel essential.

January 21, 2007

Austin, Texas Meetup

Filed under: Site News — Laura Moncur @ 4:10 pm

We are going to be in Austin, Texas from March 8-13th this year and we want to meet up with the readers of Starling Travel. We want to hear your ideas about the site, what you like, what you hate and how we can be better.

Here’s the problem: We don’t really know the town. We’re hoping that you folks can tell us the best place and day to meet.

Please email us if you would like to come to the meetup here:

We are excited to meet our readers face to face and hear just what you want from us!

January 19, 2007

Travel Essentials: The Oral B Indicator Toothbrush

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 4:11 pm

Oral B Indicator Toothbrush

I keep a travel bag that is fully stocked with all my toiletries in travel sizes, but I don’t keep a travel toothbrush in it. I use the Oral B Indicator Toothbrush. Because the toothbrush stays in the travel case, it doesn’t get used as often as my normal toothbrush. In fact, I have a hard time telling how often it has been used without getting out a calendar and marking off the days I’m out of town. That rule for changing your toothbrush every three months can’t really apply to a toothbrush that only gets used three or four times a year.

So, I let the Oral B Indicator Toothbrush tell me when it needs to be changed.

When I saw the original commercial for this toothbrush, I thought that it was just a silly addition to the toothbrush wars. I didn’t even consider that the blue band of bristles that eventually wears to white was a worthwhile feature in a toothbrush. I just change toothbrushes like clockwork, but my travel case is different. Now, that blue band of bristles is the perfect indicator to tell me when I need to change my brush. It has put this toothbrush on my list of travel essentials.

Here is the original commercial for the Oral B Indicator Toothbrush, just in case you’re unfamiliar with it:

January 17, 2007

Travel Essentials: Binder Clips

Filed under: Travel — Laura Moncur @ 4:12 pm

Binder Clips

Binder clips are used in offices all over the world to keep large groups of paper together, but they happen to be one of the most important travel essentials when you are staying in a hotel. Hotel curtains are horrible. It’s a rare occurence when you can find a hotel curtain that will open easily, close easily AND stay closed. The most irritating failings of hotel curtains is the inability to stay closed. I don’t want a crack of light streaming into the room. I don’t want a tiny peephole into my room for other hotel guests.

I want the curtains to be fully closed and stay fully closed.

That’s why my travel bag has binder clips. They are the perfect tool for keeping hotel curtains closed. It’s amazing how much peace of mind a little ten-cent item can bring me. When I’m traveling, I am already out of my comfortable environment. I don’t want to have to worry about peeping strangers. I don’t want to wake up at 6am with a sliver of a sunbeam in my eyes on my vacation. That’s why the binder clip is the most important travel essential.

January 15, 2007

Winter Camping

Filed under: Camping — Laura Moncur @ 4:13 pm

Mike and I don’t camp during the winter. Mike spent too many winter nights shivering in a boy scout tent and I refuse to be cold. That doesn’t mean that it’s not possible and that it can’t be fun. Here are a couple of articles that tell you in detail how to camp during winter AND enjoy it.

I love the introductory paragraph:

“Call me crazy, but I actually do camp out in the snow. I didn’t enjoy camping or hiking as a kid, but it has kind of grown on me throughout the years, especially as I work with Scout groups. For the boys, it’s a great adventure. And it doesn’t have to be unpleasant either. All it takes is knowledge and preparation.”

The first time I ever went camping was only two summers ago. I love to camp, and I hate the winter months when we put the camping gear away and stay in hotels. These articles make me curious about how enjoyable winter camping might be.

Via: Gary Thornock’s Weblog » Good information on winter camping


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