The Crunchy Cookie

Equal parts deliciousness and hippiness

With Labor Day approaching and many people fitting in that last trek of the summer, I thought I would share some of my favorite travel products and tips.  These are tried and true and will hopefully help make your next trip healthier and happier!

  • Once when I was at the airport, I saw a woman nearby who was getting sick and rushed over to help. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long but I was able to leave her with a pocket pack of my new travel favorite, Clean Well All-Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes. These toxin-, alcohol-, and triclosan-free towelettes are biodegradable, easy to pack, and unlike antibacterial sprays, they save valuable space in your one quart plastic bag for carry-on liquids. (Plus, as I learned, sometimes a wipe helps clean up unforeseen messes when a spray won’t.)  DG loves the herbal-infused original scent, while I can’t wait for Clean Well to make wipes in the orange-vanilla scent.  You can purchase the pocket pack of wipes for about $2.50 (for 10 wipes) at Whole Foods, Target, and drugstores everywhere.  They also come in large containers (40 wipes each) that are perfect for the office, locker, or home.
  • If you’re looking to pack a snack for the plane, try packing oranges!  Not only do they come in their own biodegradable packaging, but their high water content helps keep you hydrated while in the plane or car.  Also, they come in handy if you want to try the Orange Meditation while traveling to relieve any stress.
  • Want tame your curls away from home?  Try the Hot Sock Diffuser.  For less than $5.00, this easily packable diffuser slips on just about any hair dryer to help you fight frizz on the go!  It’s also great for your gym bag (why do gyms only seem to have hair dryer attachments for straight-haired girls anyway?).  The Hot Sock diffuser is available at or your local beauty supply store.
  • There was a time when I trusted my nails to any old nail salon.  Then, disaster struck: a bad manicure gave me warts, which I then spread to 7 of my 10 fingers because of my (former) nail-biting habit.  I know, I know: not cute and gross.  Not only am I now a big fan of doing my own nails, but I will walk right out of any salon that doesn’t live up to my standards (check back for more info on this subject soon!).  I now carry the Tweezerman Petite Manicure Set ($20, with me whenever I travel or visit a nail salon, and I find myself reaching for it at home time and time again.  This mini, extremely portable set comes with a cuticle clipper, a cuticle pusher/cleaner tool, and a file in a handy plastic case.  The tools are metal so they’re easy to disinfect by soaking them in rubbing alcohol for a day.
  • Packing for a trip but don’t know where to start?  Head over to for packing lists geared for your destination or trip type.  You can also upload your own list and refer back to it whenever you need it.  This is a great organizational find for someone like me who depends on lists to keep from losing her mind–thanks to Sandi P. for the tip!

Safe and healthy travels!

Do you have any travel favorites?  Any tips for other readers?  Please post them in the comments section!

I’m trying to incorporate more meditation in my life and I find that I’m afraid of not doing it right.  This, I have heard, is fairly common among novices who not only find stillness and mindfulness to be a challenge, but are used to accomplishment, not practice.  I try to keep this in mind (ironic, considering it’s meditation) but somehow in yoga class or during prayer, I find myself wanting to sneak a peak at everyone around me and compare myself: Am I sitting right?  Am I going too fast or too slow?  Do I look serene enough?  Am I the only one not getting this?

So maybe, I figured, sitting meditation isn’t for me.  Many people discover activities like washing the dishes or running to be meditative and I do enjoy the sense of quiet that can be found in day-to-day activities.  I’ve come across a meditation technique that is spot-on for me right now: the Orange Meditation.  Created by the founder of the Unified Buddhist Church, Thich Nhat Hahn, the Orange Meditation is a mindful eating technique that engages the senses and is helpful to me in that it has a beginning, middle, and end.  Here are the basic steps of the Orange Meditation (borrowed from

  1. Breath deeply three times, slowly and carefully, or until one feels connected to the self.
  2. Pick up the orange and hold it in the palm of the hand. Feel its texture. Notice its color. Spend some time examining and enjoying the orange.
  3. Slowly begin to peel the orange. Notice the change that occurs under the orange’s skin. Take time to smell the orange. Gently touch the exposed flesh.
  4. When the orange is peeled, pick up a segment. Bite into it, and close the eyes to concentrate fully on the orange’s flavor. Do not take another bite until all of the previous bite is gone.
  5. Pause occasionally to reflect on any new sensations from eating the orange.
  6. When the orange is gone, focus again on the self with several deep breaths. When ready, open the eyes.

If you want to try this technique, find a quiet space away from distractions like TVs, computers, and phones (which, let me tell you, is a challenge in my house) and give yourself at least ten minutes of uninterrupted time.

Have you discovered any meditation techniques that work for you?  Do you have any meditation stories you’d like to share?  If so, please add to the comments section below or shoot me an email at