How This Multi-Hyphenate Entrepreneur Keeps Zen On A Whirlwind Business Trip To Portland


These days, it feels like everyone has a side hustle, but I'm proud to say that I've been doing side-hustles before they were a thing. As an account executive with numerous former lives and creative side projects — including a podcast, a career as a producer, and a memoir — burning the candle at both ends is an art I've perfected.

From juggling clients, to back-to-back business trips, I think I’ve made it appear easy ... maybe even doable. But plot twist — this summer I added a few new side-hustles to the mix, including moving out of my apartment of eight years and planning a wedding. To put it lightly, things are hectic, even for someone who's great at juggling.

While the chaos swirled around me, I've found my solace in wellness. Staying consistent with diet, sleep, and exercise has not only helped me get in the best shape of my adult life, but my focus on being healthy has also made my work trips calmer and more productive.

Of course, naturally, a business trip popped up within this exceptionally busy window of time. I needed to travel to Portland last-minute to clinch a big account. In the midst of all of this, what's a multi-hyphenate to do? I was lucky enough to partner with Hilton Hotels & Resorts, which helped me hack my trip to prioritize my wellness routine.

Solution number 1: keep doing what's working. Solution number 2: set myself up to not have FOMO while staying in one of the most eclectic cities in the country. I was lucky enough to stay at The Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotel, which made sticking to my routines easier. Here are all the ways I found my zen, at one of the most chaotic times in my life, while traveling to a city that's all about marching to the beat of your own drum.

1. I Set the Mood For The Trip

Liz Culley

This hotel might have the chicest music amenity I’ve ever heard of: a record player with your favorite records! Yes, you heard me correctly: You can pre-select records and The Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotel will set up a record player in the comfort of your room. In a city that's all about cool and creativity, there couldn't be a more Portland touch.

Image provided by Hilton Hotels & Resorts

I unpacked immediately — yes, I am one of those people — and lucky for me, the closet had plenty of hangers. Before throwing myself on the ultra-cushy bed, I threw on some classic '80s pop and answered a few emails that had come in while I was in-flight. When it was finally time to get ready, I swapped the '80s for the '60s, turned on some Motown, and kicked back. With some pep in my step, I popped down to the hotel's lobby bar Jackrabbit to people watch and enjoy the perfectly Portland vibe. I went for a Matcha Spring Southside Spritz (Gompers gin, matcha, lemon, soda, basil leaf). Does it get any better than this? I don't think so.

Image provided by Hilton Hotels & Resorts

2. I Enjoyed Spa Time… In The Room!

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On work trips, I usually try to maximize "me time" as much as possible, but often “me time” gets lost. I learned a great travel tip from a makeup artist to bring a “skincare kit” while you travel. I’ve always been super into makeup and skincare, so working a “spa ritual” into my travel routine seemed like a no-brainer. Plus, my hotel room's bathroom created the perfect atmosphere for the "in-room spa" feel.

After meeting my team for a quick dinner, I returned to the room, threw on some tunes, and used the complimentary “nip token” I was given at check-in to get a cup of tea. I quickly put on my plush robe, then layered on a brightening mask, and a rose mask, and felt incredibly fresh.

Liz Culley

Normally I’d skip the second mask, but given I had been on a plane that morning and was going to board another one in 36 hours, I thought it was a good idea to double up on the moisturizing treatments. Before I went to sleep, I threw my eye serum in the mini fridge so I could have a nice cold “roll” in the morning, put on a lip mask (I do this on the plane too!). Wash it down with a glass of water, and the travel scaries disappear!

3. I Stuck To My Fitness Routine

Image provided by Hilton Hotels & Resorts

To keep my travel anxiety at bay, I used the Hilton Honors App to read up on this Hilton Hotels & Resorts property before I booked. In addition to checking out their full-service gym, the staff told me at check-in that the hotel offers a weekly 5K run around the river for hotel guests and staff to join. For every mile, the hotel donates back $10 to Girls Inc. of the PNW. Fitness and giving back! Unfortunately, the run didn't fit with my schedule, so I played it old school and took a run on the treadmill.

The pool and the gym were, in a word, impressive! I linked up with my trainer ahead of time, and he gave me a quick routine to do to while I was away. If I'm being honest, I’d normally skip the work out, due to exhaustion and the fact that most hotel gyms — this one being an exception — leave much to be desired. But this time, no days off.

I ate a quick snack to get my energy going and put on a cute workout ensemble to get me out the door. The equipment was sleek, clean, new, and the gym had all the things I needed — weights, cardio, and a stretching space. I felt so proud of myself for waking up early and getting a workout in before my meetings. I was even able to stretch al fresco on the spa deck, which was really nice and peaceful. I had every intention of going for a dip in that pretty pool, but I was running late to a breakfast meeting and needed to skip it. Next time, I swear.

4. I Kept A ~Zen~ And Convenient Location In Mind

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Riding off of my post-gym exhilaration, I was excited to meet with some of my colleagues and prep for our big day of meetings around Portland. I pulled up the Explore feature on my Hilton Honors App, which showed that Portland’s Japanese Zen Garden was a quick cab away. With that, I grabbed a latte from The Duniway Portland, Coffee Lobby Bar and headed to the garden before my meeting. It was a bit overcast, but let me tell you, 30 minutes of quiet in a literal Zen garden really prepared me for the hectic day I had in front of me.

Liz Culley

After a long day of meetings, the last thing I want to do is take a 20-minute cab from my hotel to dinner. When booking a hotel, I always look at location. I chose the The Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotel because it was right in downtown Portland. In other words, the proximity to shopping and restaurants was really clutch. For dinner, we settled on a French Bistro I had read also read about on the Hilton Honors App, which was just a five-minute walk from my hotel.

Trying to blend in with the locals, we grabbed a seat at the bar and dined on escargot, salad and steak frites — just perfect!

When all was said and done, my business trip somehow felt like a quick retreat from reality. I can thank any combination of the Zen Garden, the commitment to balance, or my lovely accommodations, but one thing's for sure. Even when your life is steeped in being busy, a work trip doesn't need to feel like a chore.

For more content on making the most out of your business trip, visit our "Doing The Most" hub.

This post is sponsored by Hilton Hotels & Resorts.