A life in lists, a new series from Penelope Loves Lists. Appropriate, right? This list: the good life is… by Meredith Monday Schwartz.

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by Penelope Loves Lists Contributor Jennifer Ahearn

I have lots of lists when I get ready to travel. We all do, right?

I might have a list of the things we want to do on our trip and even a shopping list for groceries once we arrive.

Sometimes I need a packing list of clothes that are weather-appropriate to our destination. (Coming from Arizona, my current wardrobe is almost never what I’ll need when I get there, so I have to think it through.)

I even have a paper version of my important phone numbers and frequent flyer account numbers. I put that in my orange travel folder along with other travel info that I’ve printed out. Paper!

Those things I’ve got on lock. They don’t cause me much angst because they are the “givens” of travel prep. It seems so obvious to make these lists, right?

But, when I’m getting ready to go on a trip, I start getting truly anxious about the things I need to do in the 24 hours beforehand–like giving the house a good cleaning and emptying the fridge, making sure my garbages are ready for the weekly pick up  etc. There’s also the list of the things we’ll need in the actual act of travelling, like plane tickets, snacks and chargers.

You are not going to be surprised to find that I count on my travel checklist. Having these things on a list frees my mind from worrying that I’ll forget something in the last few hours. I keep them in a document with my other packing lists, etc. Having them all in one place means I can easily print them and also can refer to them together as a group every time a trip is coming up. This has saved me tons of effort over the course of time. We travel a lot!

Travel Checklists - Penelope Loves Lists

I print out the list a few days before the trip and keep it on my kitchen counter with a pencil. Some of the things on the list need to be done at least a day before travel. Depending on departure time, some things I take care of the night before and some I handle right before leaving. Checking things off makes me sure I’m handling what needs to be done and gives me that cheap, little “check!” thrill.

I thought I’d share my list with you. Feel free to copy and modify for you own use.

Penelope’s Editable Travel Checklist – a starting point for your own, customized version

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It’s taken me 41 years, but I think I’ve finally come up with a system that keeps both my body and mind feeling mostly good on most days. I’ve tried a lot of things: diets, meal plans, no coffee, lots of coffee, no exercise, way too much exercise. You get the drift. No extreme ever felt right, or worked for long. I needed something with some staying power.

Here are the 5 things that, if I do them, make me feel healthier each day:


1) Eat clean, with room to have some fun.
When I try to eat clean 100% of the time, I get stabby. But, when I eat like crap, I get…stabby. I’m a joy, I tell you.

The solution is a balance. 80% clean foods, few carbs, lots of fruits and veggies, but with some room to have a few treats. For me, that’s a glass of wine at night, or a few Cheez Its if Jackson has some at dinner. That little cushion keeps me honest.

5 Ways to Feel Healthier from Penelope Loves Lists

2) Drink lots of water. And put fruit in it.
Wow! You’ve never heard that one! I know. Super boring advice, but I swear, it makes all the difference in my energy level. And, if I don’t hydrate well, I get that low-level headache that just makes me no fun.

My latest hydration inspiration (cue the group groan) is an infusion water bottle. This one works well and looks beautiful when filled with mint, berries, oranges, limes, you name it. And, lots of times, I just throw some lemon in a mason jar with water and ice and call it a day. No special bottle needed.

I find myself less hungry when I’m drinking about 50 oz/day. And that’s my max. I’m not a 64 oz/day girl. Can’t do it. So, I stopped trying. 50 oz gets me where I want to go.

Almonds - A snack that is one of my five ways to feel healthier from Penelope Loves Lists

3) Snack.
I like 3 meals/day. Always have. I’m a terrible snacker. I don’t have tiiiiiiiime for snacking. It feels like additional calories. But, once I started eating “on plan“, I found snacks to be necessary to keep my energy levels high.

My go to, because I’m lazy, is a handful of almonds (for better or for worse, I like blanched, salted “marcona” almonds, not raw) and half an apple. It’s quick, easy and I can quickly make the same thing for my 3-year-old. We eat together when he gets home from school and use it as a chance to chat. I might also sip some of his chocolate milk. #truth

Earbuds for listening to podcasts while I run, from Penelope Loves Lists

4) Move for 30 minutes per day… in a way I enjoy.
So, it’s the second part of that sentence that’s key. We all know we need to move. The two things that have helped motivate me and finally make this into a habit are my Fitbit Flex fitness tracker and … podcasts. For some reason, I feel guilty listening to podcasts in my daily life. But I luuuuuuuuuuurve them. So now, I use that to get my booty out the door for a run. The new episode of Startup just loaded? Can’t wait! Gretchin Rubin is chatting with her sister, who I love? Let me lace up my shoes. It’s all about motivation for me.


5) Sex.
Yep. You thought I was going to say sleep, didn’t you? I zigged when you thought I’d zag. Sure, sleep is key. We all know that. But for me, sex with my man is the right start to our day. My mood is much better. And, many, many studies have shown that an orgasm a day is a key factor in overall health.

So that’s it. Those are my 5 ways to feel a bit healthier every day.

What are your key habits?

5 Ways to Feel Healthier...Today from Penelope Loves Lists

5 Ways to Feel Healthier Each Day from Penelope Loves Lists

2 nicely neat comments

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by Penelope Loves Lists Founder Meredith Monday Schwartz I went into a McDonald’s the other day (for the sole purpose of going to the bathroom on a road trip) and was annoyed to find that there was no place whatsoever to put my purse while I was in the stall. What do they think we’re […]

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