my best advice

Tag Archives for my best advice.

A Scary Moment at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

I wrote my review of the Hyatt Zilara Cancun and how I’m an honorary Roman for how much I feasted there.

But there was a moment that was terrifying.

The beaches have markers every 100 feet or so, color-coded green, yellow, or red. They swap them out throughout the day and are intended to let you know how dangerous it is to swim in the water.

Jay and I got into the Gulf of Mexico in a yellow zone, next to a red zone. We were laughing and talking and suddenly heard a whistle that we’d gone too far. Jay swam away. But I had trouble moving – every time I made progress, I was pulled deeper into the water. And it was over my head before I knew it.

There was another guy next to me (and lots of peeps a few feet away) so I didn’t think any of us were in any real danger. I asked him if he was having trouble, too. He nodded. “We need help.”

“Yeah. We need help.” So we both started waving to the lifeguards on the shore.

Hyatt Zilara Cancun Index

Travel safety above all

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My Best Advice: BOOK THE TRIP

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Like most peeps, I am ready to put 2016 in the can. It was a good year. I visited many places for the first time, including:

Mmmmagick :)

Mmmmagick ūüôā

And I got to return to a few places, like:

I also left New York Рfinally! Рbought a house and moved to Dallas.

Moving into 2017, there’s a simple principle I’ll¬†apply when it comes to booking travel: BOOK THE TRIP.


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My Best Advice: Unpack When You Get to Your Hotel Room

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Something fast and simple I’ve been practicing lately¬†has gone a long way to change my mindset when I stay in hotels: unpacking.

It sounds so small – it is! – but I’ve found the effect is well worth the extremely minimal effort it takes. And, you end up saving yourself time in the end.

It beats living out of a suitcase, especially for stays of more than a few nights (and curiously, I’ve had a lot of 4-night stays recently thanks to Citi Prestige). Unpacking has made the difference between feeling transient or temporary and like I’m home for a little while. And that mindset carries over to how I interact with the place I’m in, albeit in a very small way. But, hey, it all adds up.

Why unpack?

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Must-Haves of Travel: Portable Travel Tubes

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Announcing the newest¬†entry of the ever-popular “Must-Haves of Travel” series lol. Stefan¬†remarked he’d run out of room if he took them all each time he took a trip.

But this one goes part-n-parcel with the others because it offers a storage solution. And a quite ingenious one!

travel tube

Introducing: game-changers

It’s one of those things that’s “duh” in retrospect – I should’ve looked on Amazon for these little guys ages ago: portable, squeezable travel tubes. But now that I have them, there’s no going back.

Hitherto, I’d been using little tubs or plastic sandwich bags. But travel tubes are a step beyond.

What’s a travel tube?

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Out and Out’s Best Posts of 2015

Wow. Out and Out made huge strides in 2015. A lot happened –¬†and even more will happen in 2016.

Blog traffic tripled this year. In fact December 2015 is the biggest month ever for the blog¬†(and it’s not over yet!). I’m thinking of how to improve things around here even more, and celebrating every step of the way because I couldn’t grow without your support.



You guys are awesome. I love my readers!

I’ve ironed out many ideas on here and found solid resolutions thanks to tons of community-focused comments. And meeting new peeps at the regular¬†Reach for the Miles meetup has been fantastic.

I hope to continue the momentum and keep improving.

But first, I want to take a¬†moment to pause and¬†look back at where we’ve been this year.

Best of 2015

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How I’m Using Todoist to Organize My Days and (Travel) Goals

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I wrote last week about 5 new apps that are revolutionizing my workflow, the way I approach my days, and overall helping me kick ass with goals and productivity.

I mentioned a to-do app called Swipes that has great reviews.

Come to find out, there are about a zillion apps that all attempt to accomplish the same thing (I know, duh, right?).

To that end, I explored a few more, and for whatever reason, Todoist grabbed me and swept me away.

todoist review


Not only is it a great place to store to-do lists, but it’s also helping me organize my personal and travel goals.

What’s Todoist?

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Clear the Clutter: 5 Apps to Organize Your Digital Life to Create Clarity

I had to take a stand. My digital life was becoming unwieldy.

I’d groan when another email came in. It took multiple clicks to find events on different calendars. Multiple email accounts.

Information spread out in too many places. Not enough good stuff, and too much trouble to find anything enjoyable.

I was beginning to stagnate in the sheer stuffness of it all. Actually, I was stagnating. I got there.


Ahhh, yes… Clean simplicity leads to increased¬†productivity, fewer errors, and a clearer mind

I pared my digital life down to a few basic apps. It’s been a few days now and I’m already used to my new workflows.

Better yet, the space in my mind allows me to think more clearly, make fewer mistakes, and get my work done faster.

I’m not a productivity blogger, but I do like to be productive. Maybe this’ll help you, or at least turn you on to a few new ways of doing things.

The clutter has GOT to go

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Must-Haves of Travel: Calcium Bentonite Clay

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This stuff is intense!



Labeled, “World’s Most Powerful Facial” with a tagline of “FEEL YOUR FACE PULSATE!”

But seriously, this stuff gets down into your pores in a way that’s really incredible, and perfect for clearing out any build-up caused by travel.

What’s calcium bentonite clay?

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How to Use to Track Your Minimum Spending Requirements

Thought this might be useful for peeps who need to meet minimum spending requirements AKA all of us.

This requires you to have:

My daily jam

My daily jam

Then, you can use simple tools on the website to show you clearly how much you’ve spent on a certain card, to the cent, including pending transactions.


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Must Haves of Travel: Rose Petal Water

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I know, I know. There are a lot of “must-haves” now. So much to keep track of.

I have to get super judicious about these.

Side note: the new Jewel album is SO GOOD. It’s called “Picking Up the Pieces” and it’s a throwback to 1995. ¬†It’s supposed to feel like it came right after “Pieces of You” (hence the similarity in the titles).

HER VOICE. Sounds so good. Some of it’s a little emo and histrionic, and has me in kind of a mood. But the songs are gorgeous. Please listen to it!

As another aside, there’s a plugin in¬†the right-hand sidebar so you guys can always creep on what I’m listening to. Feel free to add me there if you have an account!

Anyway, rose petal water.


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Must-Haves of Travel: Affordable Razors!

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So this is going to sound like an effing advertisement. And I guess it kinda is.


Yes, they are f***ing great

But. If you haven’t already heard of Dollar Shave Club, you should read about it now, they are all over, even the best beard oils reviewed mention and talk about them, they truly went viral.

That’s because they’ll ship you razors each month for really cheap. And they travel well.

What’s Dollar Shave Club?

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My Best Advice: “You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To”

I’m just read¬†through an old scrapbook from 1991 to 1993. Yup, I still have some things from nearly 25 years ago.

My little brother hadn’t been born yet, and I wrote a lot of letters to my family. Once I learned how to address envelopes and send letters, I sat down and wrote all the time. And when I got a letter in the mail, I’d get so excited. I thought it was the best thing in the world – to get a letter in the mail.

I was lucky to have a supportive family while growing up in rural Mississippi. My Mom was always there to take care of me, and I still talk to her on the phone constantly.

This letter from my Gramma is over 23 years old by now, and I still have it

This letter from my Gramma is over 23 years old by now, and I still think about it

My grandmother taught me about positive thinking early on. I’ll never forget a phrase I read in one of her letters.

“You can do anything you set your mind to.”

It was the first piece of advice that really stuck with me, and it was a good one. The letter came on June 4th, 1992. I was seven years old at the time.

The law of attraction

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