Tag Archives: travel

Coffee: Keep Cup

Travel mugs. We all use them and no one really talks about them. Everyone has one that they think is the BEST ever, and they aren’t shy about telling you why theirs is better than yours. We’ve all been disappointed by one in the past. Well, at least in my circle of friends. I’ve gone through a slew of travel mugs over the years. Most of them I have destroyed through dropping, dishwasher, or some other mishap. The big problems that I’ve found with mugs is that they leak either through the sippy mouthpiece or from around the lid. Either way it’s shirt disaster.

I’m always on a search for a good travel mug, and I’ve accumulated a lot of them. Save 3 of them, they are in my cupboard abandoned. Occasionally, one gets taken to work and abandoned, mostly they sit and collect dust. I really ought to toss them in a bag and take them to the thrift store.melchiorThat brings me to today’s review. Keep Cups. I realize I’m slow on this product, they have been around for a few years but I was finally able to get one locally.

Keep Cups are plastic travel mugs with a lot of silicone leak-proofing offered in many color combinations. When ordered online you can get any color combination you want, which is nice. When I bought mine in person I had to make a choice between a few color combinations that I really didn’t like all that much. In the end I chose a blue cup, orange band, light teal top, with a green stopper. It is a bright, eye searing color combination, one I actually like quite a lot.* Everywhere I’ve used this cup I’ve gotten compliments on it, and people ask me where they can get one. In disclosure, mine was purchased with my own cash, at Equal Exchange on Causeway Street near North Station in Boston.

Mine is a medium, which means it will hold 12 fluid ounces of my favorite beverages. It has a line in it so that it can be filled with only 8 ounces if one so desires. The plastic is sturdy and doesn’t break when dropped. Yes, I know this for fact. The grippy textured surface of the plastic reminds me of old Tupperware cups, in a good way. I like it. It’s tactile and nice. It’s easy to keep clean too, it washes by hand or in the top shelf of the dishwasher with ease. All the parts and pieces disassemble to a thorough cleaning. I like this very much. One of the things that I hate with a travel mug is that sour stale coffee taste you get when old rancid coffee is held in the mug since the last time you used it. Gross, the Keep Cup’s easily separated parts solve this issue.

The lid of the Keep Cup is easily sipped through, and allows a decent amount of coffee through, large gulps and small sips are possible. The vent is hidden and seals as you turn the stopper. It doesn’t leak so I didn’t get a nose full of coffee as I walk and sip, or sat and sipped.

As much as the Keep Cup solves many of my travel mug problems- unbreakable, leak-proof, right size, and is lightweight, it has two main issues. The first is that it is made out of plastic. I really hate drinking out of plastic. HATE it. Plastic is gross, leaves a taste, and just blech. I feel juvenile drinking out of a mug that looks something like a sippy cup designed for my 3 year old nephew. If this thing was made out of stainless steel, oh baby, it would solve so many problems, not to mention, dead sexy. They do offer a glass version, but that defeats the breakable beauty of these cups. The second issue is that it is not insulated. A fresh hot cup of coffee quickly heats the body of the cup to scorching and it’s all cold from there. These cups quickly lose their heat. The cup’s warmth doesn’t last, and soon enough the brew is chilly.

Overall, I really like the Keep Cup. It’s small and light enough that I can toss it into my bag and not notice the additional weight. I don’t have to worry about dropping and breaking it.** It’s bright, and many of my friends (and a few Baristas) have complimented me on it. A stainless steel double wall version would still be lightweight, unbreakable, and insulated. It would be the perfect travel mug.

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School: Office in a Backpack

I decided to write a little bit on here about some of my school/study aides. Typically, I’m a pencil and paper type of woman, but sometimes I need technology. Being in graduate school means that I often have to write lengthy papers in APA 6th edition format. Carting around a heavy laptop is just not something I want to do, so I’ve found a way around doing so.

The first, and perhaps, most important part of my carry for school was to buy a quality backpack that can carry everything I need safely. For this purpose I bought a Tom Bihn Brain bag with a Brain cell insert. The bag is big enough to carry books, notebooks, tablet, and sundry items. It does the job well and is comfortable.

Rather than carry a laptop I have decided to use a tablet for my computing needs. Most of the time the tablet alone is suitable for reading PDF articles, but sometimes being able to edit or write papers on the go is a necessity. The on screen keyboard is crap for typing for anything other than short bursts. Getting a bluetooth keyboard has been a necessity. Originally I bought the AmazonBasics android keyboard and I loved it but I put it into a crappy case and tossed it around in my bag without enough protection and broke it. I bought a replacement  and it works well  enough, but it’s much louder. I plan on replacing it with another AmazonBasics when school starts up again, this time with a nice case.

Using the tablet as a word processor involves setting up Google Drive with blank documents and saving them to the tablet so I can work on them without wifi. The is important since many areas where I might want to work on my papers don’t always have the best or speediest wifi, like the commuter rail. Sometimes I get a seat near the wifi and it’s speedy and works other times I’m on a car that has terrible wifi. Or the coffee shop wifi is too slow to allow updates. Anyway, being able to work offline is a huge thing when I’m on the go. If you want to figure out how to make your google docs available on your tablet when offline go read here.

I make all my reading notes longhand in a cheap composition notebook. I favor the Staples brand because they are 50 cents at back to school sales and I can buy a bunch for low money. The paper is also acceptable for any of my preferred writing tools. Also, they are sturdy enough that I can cart them around for a full semester and not have them too beaten up. With 200 pages I can take copious notes on my readings, classes, and jot down the first outlines for my papers. (How I generate my papers is another post for the future.) Additionally I can cut pages out if I need to do so.

I use 2 different writing tools for notetaking. The first is fountain pens or gel inks, the second is soft dark pencils. I prefer pencils lately but often switch them out for a spot of color. Either allows me to make notes quickly and effortlessly. Fountain pens glide across the page as do soft dark pencils. The pencils I like range from B to 4B in grade. I keep a pencil box ready with a sharpener as well as an assortment of sharp pencils ready to go. This allows me to keep writing without pause if I need to, but generally I can stop, listen, and sharpen if needed.My first year I used fountain pens almost exclusively. This year I’ve been using pencils almost exclusively.*

I also carry a small pocket sized planner. I’ve been using a Bandit Apple Carnet PeeWee size but I’m transitioning over to the Field Notes Ambition planner in February. Being able to transfer over in February is the great boon of using an undated planner. Current I carry both in a leather cover by Davis Leatherworks. An additional way of keeping track of my life is another Field Notes in a leather cover along with a pocket. This acts as an idea/mind dump as well as a to do list and shopping list. Thus far it’s working very well. Though I  have to work better on my journaling.

Anyhow, all the above is what I use to not only keep track of my life, but to process and record all the stuff I’ve got going on for grad school. I’ve really needed to pare down and figure out how to use tools in a specific manner. This is, of course, a process and how I use tools changes over time, but for now this is it.


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Traveling with your Art Journal: 2 Videos

I've been working on my travel journal for my upcoming (no fun) trip to Maine. I'll be up there for almost 2 weeks. I don't usually take my acrylic paints with me and I know that I'm not going to have the time I often have to work on the pages with watercolors. I like to work on colored pages so I've gone through and I've collaged into the journal random images from Mother Earth News, Wine Enthusiast and some collage papers. I've gesso'd the pages then used thin acrylics to color each page. After that Iused watered down acrylics in 3 colors to tone down and grunge up the pages. I'll be doing a whole video on that soon.

Anyway, here are the videos!

When I finish filling this journal I'll be doing an art journal flip video. I may try to do some process videos too. I'll have my cameras with me when I'm traveling, so we'll see.