my best advice

Tag Archives for my best advice.

Todoist Review: How I’m Using It to Organize My Life and (Travel) Goals

todoist review

It’s about time I update my Todoist review. I’ve been using Todoist to organize my days since 2015 – almost five years by now! It’s an app and website I use every day and I can’t imagine life without it.

That’s because it’s a perfect place to brain dump. If I have more than a few things I want to get done, I find they form a circular loop in my mind until I put them into list format. And seeing them sequenced calms me and puts me back in control of my thoughts.

Over the years, I’ve used Todoist to keep track of:

  • Books I want to read
  • Movies and TV shows to watch
  • Yearly and life goals
  • Recurring tasks around the house and in life
  • Things to do when I travel
  • Self affirmations
  • Things to buy when I’m running low on something
  • And of course, daily tasks
todoist review

To say I love Todoist would be a huge understatement

Not only is it a great place to store to-do lists, but it’s become a huge part of getting ahead in so many ways. I truly spend my life in this app.

My Todoist review

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Earth Day 2018: Commit to Using Less Plastic!

a man sleeping on a blanket

Earth Day is TODAY – Sunday, April 22nd this year. And I have a new mantra:

The only plastic I carry is in my wallet.

Our earth is full of plastic in oceans, landfills, and accumulated litter. This past year, I committed to eliminating plastic from my life as much as I can by using refillable water bottles, steel straws, and cloth bags.

I’ve made so much progress that I mostly touch plastic to earn points & miles.

use less plastic

I believe we can interact peacefully with the earth and help it heal. There is too much plastic pollution

The travel and hospitality industries are incredibly wasteful. If everyone took a small step to offset plastic use, imagine how much we could save from ending up in oceans, hurting animals, or going into a landfill.

“The only plastic I carry is in my wallet.”

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5 Ways to Practice Self-Care at Conferences

a large screen with text on it

Once or twice a year, I make it to another city for a conference, like Frequent Traveler University (FTU) or FinCon. (I actually plan on attending FinCon 2018 in Orlando this September!)

I’ve seen lots of articles on how to get more out of conferences. The gist is: talk to everyone, go to social events, get involved, show up early, even go for a run to keep energy levels up.

That all sounds great. It also sounds freaking exhausting.

conference self care

Industry conferences come with amazing opportunities. But you need self-care along the way

There’s a point during every conference where my energy dips, I’m thirsty and/or starving, and talking to more people sounds awful because my voice is shot.

Here’s how I plan to prepare for my next conference: get more out of it by bringing self-care with me.

Take care of yourself first

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A Scary Moment at the Hyatt Zilara Cancun

a lifeguard tower on a beach

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

a blue text on a black background

Also see: 

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 🙂

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

I also left New York – finally! – bought 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

a closet with clothes on a rail

Also see: 

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

a group of plastic bottles

Also see: 

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

a colorful confetti and streamers

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

a screenshot of a computer

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

a white plastic container with red text and black text

Also see: 

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

a hand pressing a button

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

a hand holding a bottle of rose water

Also see: 

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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