Queer and There

Category Archives for Queer and There.

MoviePass + Theater Rewards Program = Heaven for Movie Lovers 🎬

My sordid MoviePass history

I had a MoviePass back when it first came out in… 2012? I was in New York at the time. And IIRC, it cost $30ish a month. But in New York, that was still a great deal… when it worked.

The service was glitchy AF. For one, you had to be within 100 yards of the theater to activate the card. That’s fine, except the GPS back then couldn’t locate me properly. Other times, I’d check in via the app but the card would be declined and I’d end up paying for the movie myself.

moviepass

It’s baaaack

If you have an issue, they say to “chat” them through the app – which simply is NOT practical when you’re standing in a line with a movie about to begin. Worse, if you call, they say to leave a voicemail. 🙄

A couple of times, I just went ahead and bought my ticket and asked for reimbursement later. But that was a days-long process that was tedious for something as small as a movie ticket.

The final straw was when – I remember it – I wanted to see Lincoln in Brooklyn. It was a cold winter day… Seriously, it was freezing. I got the GPS to work but had to go outside the theater in the gross snow.  Then the ticket machine inside kept declining the MoviePass card. So, on my phone, I brought up the theater’s mobile site and bought the ticket online. Somehow, the MoviePass worked.

But they knew. Like clockwork, the next morning, they told me my account was canceled. By that point I was so frustrated with the whole thing that…

…I said eff it!

And the whole thing left me feeling bitter.

A new MoviePass deal

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Is Marijuana Tourism a New American Trend?

I recently had the good fortune to visit Denver and Colorado Springs to hang out with some of the BoardingArea crew.

Marijuana Tourism

With Grant, Jeanne, Ben, and my awesome BA peeps

I also recently took a trip to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Prague (which I’m still trying to catch up writing about) but the key word in this sentence is… Amsterdam.

After that experience, I was looking forward to visiting some homegrown (American) dispensaries now that weed is legal in Colorado (and Washington, and Nevada).

In fact, there was one right across the street from the Sheraton Denver Downtown: Euflora. It got me thinking… would I go back to Denver just to smoke a bunch of weed?

As it turns out, the trail has already been thoroughly… blazed.

Would you fly to buy?

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Must-Haves of Travel: Sesame Oil

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When I was in Chicago in March, I wasn’t prepared for how cold it got. And, I’d forgotten my ultra-moisturizing coconut oil. (I also didn’t pack nearly enough layers, but that’s another story.)

In my quest for moisture, I headed to a drugstore for chap stick and… something. I didn’t want to get a huge container because my trip was only 5 days. I thought maybe they’d have a travel pack of coconut oil since it’s gotten so popular recently. No luck there, but they did have… sesame body oil

sesame oil

Curious little container

Once I got it back to The Drake, I popped open the little container and took a whiff. This stuff smells amazing. And I quickly learned a dab’ll do ya.

A quarter-sized amount in the palm is all you’ll need to cover yourself in the softest, sheerest moisture. Since that trip, I’ve added it to my arsenal as a supplement for coconut oil when I don’t want as much moisture.

Why pack sesame oil?

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Allbirds: The Perfect Travel Shoe?

When I saw an article with the kinda clickbait-y title, “The Most Comfortable Shoes in the World,” I rolled my eyes a bit but definitely clicked on it. Because I like to take one pair of shoes with me when I travel: the ones on my feet. So I was curious what had been singled out as “the one.”

My go-to for the past XX years has been New Balance, which are comfy as heck. But they do have that appearance of “casual athletic” and of course the big reflective “N” logo all over them. I’ve been comfort-over-style, essentially. When I spend hours a day walking, I’d rather be comfortable and dowdy-looking than the alternative.

Enter Allbirds (what a name, eh?).

allbirds review

Hanging in my new Allbirds shoes

The idea of a comfortable and attractive shoe lured me in. They come in a limited range of basic colors, they’re $95 a pop, and the founders are super committed to design, sustainability, and high ethical standards.

“What the heck,” I thought as I placed my first order. If they last 6 months, it’ll be worth it.

They arrived this week. Here’s what I think so far.

My Allbirds research Read More

Airbnb Hosting by the Numbers: 2017 Update

Also see: 

Thought it was time to do an update on my Airbnb hosting. And the state of it. Mostly because if the numbers look good, I might get another one.

Long ago, I started my Airbnb operation in New York, which was a smashing success. Until it wasn’t. I no longer have properties in New York, as of last month.

So far it’s going well in Dallas. I have two here. They’re easy to track and manage for what they are because they’re on two separate profiles.

airbnb hosting 2017

My downtown Dallas Airbnb

In my opinion, a side business is the best way to “manufacture spend” these days. I easily put $6,000+ of expenses on my cards each month – and the bulk of that is in bonus categories.

I recently found out some rent payments code as 3X for “travel” with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. So that’ll keep me with an extra ~20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per month – a handy ransom (if they all code as 3X)!

Airbnb hosting by the numbers

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Booking BAP: A $5,000 Trip to Europe for $238 & Points!

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In a few weeks, I’ll be in Brussels, Amsterdam, and Prague for the first time. I am calling this trip “BAP” (after the 3 cities).

This is the trip I booked waaay back in August 2016 for biz class seats with Etihad miles. At the time, I paid ~37,000 miles for round-trip seats from New York to Brussels on Brussels Airlines. Etihad has since raised the price to 88,000 miles – which can still be a good deal to Europe in Business.

That was about 9 months ago – the furthest out I’ve ever planned a trip. At the time, I figured I’d fill it in when the time came. Which is now.

brussels amsterdam prague

I’m coming for ya, Brussy

Here’s how I put together a $5,00+ week-long trip to Europe for $238 out of pocket.

Booking BAP (Brussels, Amsterdam, Prague)

1. To New York and back

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2017: The Year of Solo Travel (Ch-ch-changes)

I occasionally post personal updates here. Because I expect they’ll influence the way I travel and how I plan trips.

I wrote about getting a job at a PR firm in Manhattan, paying off my credit cards and starting FIRE, and leaving New York for Dallas: all personal things that influenced the scope of my thinking, and subtleties about how I travel.

So here’s another update: I’m newly single. The past couple of months have been pretty rough. Although I still managed to visit New York and Chicago to see Hamilton.

solo travel

“Sho,” by Jaume Plensa, at SMU in Dallas

Now it’s table for one, breakfast for one.

And with my trip to Brussels coming up in a few weeks, I realized I’ll be traveling alone for the foreseeable future. I started researching a RTW trip with stops in Hong Kong and South Africa (my first time in both places!) on brand new (to me) airlines.

I was also thinking of visiting Vermont in the fall to see the changing colors. And it hit me so hard that I’ll be doing all of this alone. So I’ve been gathering my personal power. It’s been good getting to know me more.

I’ve also never felt so alive. And I’ve never felt so alone. Solo travel.

Seven years

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Get $25 With New Accounts at Giving Assistant, Ebates, and BeFrugal Shopping Portals

When you shop online, always always click through a shopping portal to earn extra points, miles, or cashback.

I personally use Cashback Monitor to find the best payouts before I shop anywhere.

shopping portal bonus

Da best

I usually like to earn Alaska miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards points for online shopping. But occasionally, cashback offers are simply too good to pass up.

And competition is fierce. So much that they’ll sometimes give you free money to sign up and use their portals.

BeFrugal is a new one for me

BeFrugal is a new one for me

I thought I’d round up 3 cashback portals where the initial bonus might be worthwhile for a little shopping. And tell you what’s required to get the bonus AKA the cash in your hot little hand.

Note: I get cashback when you sign up for these portals, too. Thank you for using my links!

Get a shopping portal bonus

These bonuses are for NEW sign ups. If you’re an old-timer to points and miles, you likely already have accounts with all of these portals. In that case, check out my backlog of Every Single Out and Out post! 😉

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I’m Over Cashback Cards and Into Starwood Points

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There, I said it.

In 2013, I famously said (typed), “I don’t care about Starpoints.” At the time, my grievances were:

  • 1 point per $1 spent was too low of an earn rate
  • You have to spend so much to earn a meaningful reward
  • The earn rate with other hotel programs is better, so why bother with Starwood?
Starwood Points vs cashback

I like you now and I’ll be sad when you leave

But a lot has changed since then. The merger with Marriott opened a few cool new opportunities, like:

Nothing's fine I'm torn

Nothing’s fine I’m torn

And, I’ve been putting a non-bonused spend on my Amex Starwood card, to the chagrin of my previously beloved Fidelity Visa. (Although I still use the mess out of my Discover it card cuz I want that sweet Dublin!)

In fact, I think I’m…. over cashback cards. For now, at least.

Drinking the Starpoints Kool-Aid

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Comments Are Back on Out and Out

When you have a blog baby, getting an email from a loyal reader with this subject is pretty horrifying:

*Expletive* *Censored*

*Expletive* *Censored*

But then I thought, wait a minute, I’ve gotten some comments recently. But I took another look.

Come to find out, there were 2 versions of the site. The “real” version and a “staging” version.

WordPress uses the staging version when you migrate themes or redesign the site (I haven’t done either in 2+ years). But somehow, all my site stats and comments were on the staging version of the site.

Some comments did make it through on the staging version.

Don't stop telephoning me

Don’t stop telephoning

But comments on the real version (outandout.boardingarea.com) didn’t make it through. The BoardingArea team is working on combining both sets of comments into the current, real version of the site.

How long has this been going on?

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How’d I Do for 2016 Travel Predictions?

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Last year, I tried my hand at predicting… the fyoocha!

Travel Predictions

Go go gadget clairvoyance

So let’s recap and find out what happened in 2016 behind the smoky haze of palo santo and sage.

My 2016 Travel Predictions

1. Citi will add American Airlines as a ThankYou transfer partner

WRONG.

He's looking for Citi's new transfer partner. Good luck, buddy

He’s looking for Citi’s new transfer partner. Good luck, buddy

I don’t it’ll ever happen at this point. My hope is dwindling.

2. American Airlines will “get in bed” with Hilton

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Out and Out’s Top 9 Posts of 2016

It’s been an incredible year. I’m thankful for readers new and old; for all the comments and emails; and for all the support.

Here are the most-read posts written in 2016.

Out and Out Top Posts of 2016

1. My Experience Getting the $650 Phone Credit With Citi AT&T Access More Card

out and out

RIP

Readers were intensely interested in this card. And for good reason: 3X Citi ThankYou points on all online shopping, including payments through Plastiq, and shopping at Amazon and Costco. The card isn’t available any more, sadly. But I still use it regularly to bump up my Citi ThankYou points balance – it’s a wonderful complement to Citi Prestige.

2. My Last Chase Card: Just Applied for Chase Freedom Unlimited

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