Featured

Getting annual fees waived on travel rewards credit cards

posted by Russ | November 8 | 2 Comments

Over the years I’ve only had one credit card that had an annual fee, it was a middle tier Citibank card and the fee was $50. A few times I called to try to get it waived, but never had any luck. At the time it was the only credit card I had that was tied to an airline rewards program, and I wanted to keep it so I always just paid the fee.

I’ve followed The Art of Non Conformity website for years, and anyone who follows the site knows that Chris is a full time travel hacker, earning hundreds of thousands of free miles each year by working credit card travel rewards systems. I’ve never been that ambitious, but last year I decided to upgrade my cards and see what I could do. I didn’t go crazy, but I did decide to finally close the other card I [...]

Read More…
[links and styling have been removed in the excerpt, read more to see complete content]

2 Comments

The Driver

posted by Russ | July 9 | 1 Comment
The tuk tuk driver

The tuk tuk driver

We had arrived in Bangkok a couple days earlier, but clearly we didn’t do our homework. With our first class sleeper tickets booked and in hand, but only 40 minutes left to get to Hualamphong Station, things weren’t looking good. The original plan was simple, leave the hotel an hour beforehand and walk over to the roadside near Democracy Monument where we were certain we’d be able to find a cab for the five kilometer ride to the station. At the time it had seemed foolproof, and as we now rounded the corner from our hotel and saw some open cabs sitting in the traffic, we thought we were in the clear.

It was our first time in Thailand and we were heading south to Koh Phangan for the New Year’s Eve Full Moon Party. To make the [...]

Read More…
[links and styling have been removed in the excerpt, read more to see complete content]

1 Comment

A Few Notes About Getting What You Want

posted by Russ | January 16 | Add a Comment

The past few years have seen me thriving and doing some pretty awesome stuff, as detailed in my 2012 – A Year In Review article. It goes without saying that I’m pretty fortunate, maybe even a bit lucky, especially considering the current economy. Over the past year, both my fiance and I have taken a bit of flack (mostly in good humor) about how much vacation we take, and I’m sure some wonder how we get away with it, considering we’re both highly valued full time employees at our respective jobs.

Well, there are a few things I’ve learned over the past few years (and continually have to remind myself), and these are very important things that have changed me and I believe have enabled me to live my life the way I do and to do all the stuff that I’ve done.

It is very rare to get what you don’t [...] Read More…
[links and styling have been removed in the excerpt, read more to see complete content]

Add a Comment

2012 – The Year in Review

posted by Russ | January 12 | 1 Comment
Beach in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Beach in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

It’s been another fun and busy year, so now that we’re full steam ahead into 2013, it’s time to recap and reflect on 2012. A lot has happened over the past year, and I also managed to have quite a bit of fun.

Reflecting
When I stop and reflect, I’m really thankful for how well I live. Every now and then I get down on myself because there is still so much I want to accomplish and because I have personal goals that have remained unmet, but when I put things into perspective I’ve still got it pretty good.

Even though I’d love to work less and travel more, I managed to keep a pretty good balance between my home and personal life and my work life. I managed to tackle a lot of home improvement projects, while [...]

Read More…
[links and styling have been removed in the excerpt, read more to see complete content]

1 Comment

Juice Fast Days 5, 6, 7

posted by Russ | December 10 | Add a Comment

This was supposed to be a five day juice fast, but after Day 5 I was feeling good and decided to keep it going. I also did some reading to see if anyone else used bananas during juice fasting, and found out that using bananas during the fast slows cleansing and detoxing, I assume because of the fiber. This was part of the reason I decided to keep going beyond day 5, so I could do at least a couple days of straight juice and see if I noticed any difference.

I made it through the rest of Day 5 on just juice, then Day 6 just juice, and decided that after juice all day on Day 7 I would end my fast, at least for a few days, but will probably keep doing juice for a few meals. It’s not been that difficult to do this, but I’m ready to [...]

Read More…
[links and styling have been removed in the excerpt, read more to see complete content]

Add a Comment

Juice fast day 4

posted by Russ | December 7 | Add a Comment

I’ll make it quick and easy for Day 4 of the Juice Fast. I’ve had feelings today of feeling great like I want to keep going, and also like I want to give in and eat. Mid afternoon I got hit with some serious hunger but had some juice and it went away.

Morning
smoothie – juice of 1 grapefruit and 2 oranges blended with 2 bananas

Afternoon
juice – 5 carrots, 2 apples, 1/2 golden beet
juice – 1 cucumber, 4 stalks celery, 2 apples, 1/2 bell pepper, 1/2 lemon, bunch parsley/spinach/kale

Evening
juice – 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery, 1 cucumber, 1/2 red beet and beet greens, bunch parsley, clove garlic
juice – 1/2 small watermelon, handful mint, 1/2 lemon

Add a Comment

Juice Fast – Days 2 & 3

posted by Russ | December 6 | Add a Comment

Still going strong. The headache problem stopped yesterday, so it seemed to only be the first day, from caffeine withdrawal, and then very minor yesterday. For the most part I’m not hungry and feeling satisfied. But I get moments of just wanting to give in and eat, or times where I feel really spacey and like I want to sit on the couch and be lazy. My focus will just leave for a minute or I’ll feel nauseous, but then I get up or have a sip of juice and I feel fine again. All in all, feeling great, just miss the eating.

On the 2nd night I slept hard, close to nine hours and woke up sore and groggy. I’m hoping tonight is better.

The only other thing that’s hard is that at home, eating is sort of a ritual for me and my fiance, when we are both home [...]

Read More…
[links and styling have been removed in the excerpt, read more to see complete content]

Add a Comment

Five day juice fast

posted by Russ | December 4 | Add a Comment

After watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead a few weeks ago, and having since done a few intermittent days here and there of juicing, I attempted to start a 5 day juice f(e)ast this week. After lots of food experiments in the past, I’ve decided not to be overly rigid about sticking to it precisely, so I may snack here and there as necessary, but I think there will be a benefit regardless of how it turns out.

I’ve done extended raw food cleanses in the past, and have experimented with months of no dairy and no meat, and even months here and there of mostly vegan eating. But I’ve learned that food plays too critical of a place in my life to be rigid about how I eat. I know about the slippery slope of allowing cheats here and there when you’re trying to stay on a path, but I [...]

Read More…
[links and styling have been removed in the excerpt, read more to see complete content]

Add a Comment