Tools, Resources & Books [Oz]
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A list of Oz's favorite tools & resources. Many of these products have affiliate links, which supports Oz's writing. None of this information should be taken as financial, medical or legal advice; it's only for entertainment purposes only :)
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NameCategoryWhy it's good:
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MailchimpBlogging toolsWhat I use to send newsletters. Mailchimp's free plan of up to 2000 subscribers WITH automation features is a no-brainer. Most important for me, almost every necessary plugin integrates with Mailchimp, which is something you have to worry about with smaller email management tools.
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Thrive LeadsBlogging toolsI rely on Thrive Leads to build an email list for both UXBeginner.com and OzChen.com. It's the simplest email sign up form plugin, with an interactive form builder. If you noticed that I have a email sign up box at the end of each blog post, Thrive Leads is what's automating that process.
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ThinkificBlogging toolsMy favorite new digital publishing tool, Thinkific is a course hosting platform that I use to host digital products like UX School. Super easy to use, and the free plan (with unlimited courses, just 10% transaction fee) is a no brainer if you want to test sales of a new digital product. I ended up happily upgrading to the $100/month plan for the 0% transaction fee and pro features.
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HostgatorBlogging toolsThe host that I use to host EVERYTHING. Simple, fast and cheap and comes with easy 1 click Wordpress installation. U.S.-based support with English speakers is a huge plus for me too.
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ElementorBlogging toolsThe drag & drop theme builder that I use to build OzChen.com. Very similar to X Theme, but in my opinion a tad more user friendly and easier to create complicated layouts. Also, it's free with a paid Pro option that gives you access to more content modules (super worth it).
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NamecheapBlogging toolsDomain registrars typically have terrible UX, but Namecheap is so well designed - and also have extremely competitive pricing.
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1and1Blogging toolsIf you're going to register a lot of domains, I recommend using a separate registrar just for safety & redundancy. This is my second option and 1/3 of my domains are registered here.
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X Theme (Envato)Blogging toolsThe drag & drop theme that I used to build UXBeginner.com. Super flexible design and extensible.
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Wordpress.com Blogging toolsIf you don't want to bother using a separate webhost, you can just host your site directly with the wildly popular Wordpress.com. You're limited to Wordpress's development environment and it costs more than running the free Wordpress software on a cheap host like Hostgator, but hey - the simplicity of this all-in-one setup can be compelling to some.
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NutriBulletNutrition & fitnessThis blender has single-handedly increased my intake of "healthy shakes" simply because it makes cleanup easy. Instead of reaching into and cleaning a traditional blender, Nutribullet reverses the design, in which the blade is attached to the blender cup itself for easy removal and cleaning. Didn't think this little feature could mean so much, but it does. Also blends really well - much better than younger sibling Magic Bullet.
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Rapid Egg CookerNutrition & fitnessEasiest way to make different styled eggs; hard boiled, soft boiled, medium boiled, the latter two being great for impressing people at dinner parties.
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SpiralizerNutrition & fitnessIncreased my veggie intake by 3x: spiralizers make "noodles" out of zucchini, squash, and any other veggies in an oblong shape. Tip: "zoodles" + pasta sauce = easy win.
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HelloFreshNutrition & fitnessSimple and delicious meal subscription plan. I was impressed with HelloFresh's UX - from their website to the professional packaging the food arrived in. Hard to say no to 3 free meals with the referral code, though heads up - remember to cancel 5 days ahead of your next delivery if you're just testing out the waters.
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Power CageNutrition & fitnessIf you have enough space for a home gym, get yourself a power cage.
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Gym Mat - 1' EVA Foam PaddingNutrition & fitnessWanna drop weights when you deadlift? Grab at least 1' thick foam like this one, lay a thick-ass yoga mat on top, and you won't be too worried about dropping this.
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Zojirushi MugNutrition & fitnessThis travel thermos actually keeps liquids warm for legendary amounts of time, as in still lukewarm 2 days later left in the car. Sleek, well constructed design, and increases my tea & caffeine intake.
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MyProtein Whey IsolateNutrition & fitnessTop-rated for quality and voted #1 "Best value" protein on LabDoor, MyProtein Whey. I went down the research rabbit hole and found that the top-rated flavors were chocolate smooth. You get 25% off automatically by going through my link - this referral discount code is the HIGHEST you'll find anywhere, even promotions on MyProtein's own site will offer coupons below this amount.
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CryptosheetPersonal financeA separate sheet that lists Oz's favorite crypto tools and links
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Chase - Sapphire ReservedPersonal financeThe mother of all travel credit cards. Hefty $450 fee offset by $300 annual travel credit, 3x points on dining and travel (HUGE!) and a legendary 100k points signup bonus. The best part is redeeming the points for travel at a 50% point bonus, which is only available with the Reserve and not any other Chase Card. Example: 50k points should get you $500 worth of travel, but you get $750 worth of travel on when booking with Sapphire Reserve. Huge.
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Chase - Ink Business PlusPersonal financeHuge 100k sign up bonus for first time cardmembers, and 5x points on office related expenses like utilities.
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BonsaiPersonal financeMust-have tool for freelancers; Bonsai has an entire suite of tools from invoicing clients to beautiful proposal/contract templates (so you don't have to write them yourself). I used Bonsai for all my UX design clients. Also helpful tool; automatic invoice reminder for those unpaid balances.
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LendingClubPersonal financeGet 5 times the return of the highest savings account you can find. LendingClub is peer to peer lending, but has an easy automation feature. Over the last 3 years I averaged 5.85% return after all fees. FDIC insured up to $250,000, including any amount you want to keep as cash (vs all in loans). Probably one of the best-designed finance tools I've used.
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Robinhood (free stocks)Personal financeI thought Robinhood was too good to be true when it first came out - 100% free stock trades. 3 years later, RH has saved me hundreds in trading fees compared to traditional brokerages like Scottrade. Now Robinhood is coming out with FREE CRYPTO TRADES (take that, Coinbase!) Use my referral link and we both get a free stock! (E.g. I got a free Zynga stock from referring a friend, he got a free Microsoft stock...he won in that trade).
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MetromilePersonal financeIf you work from home or don't drive much, Metromile's "per mile" insurance will save you tons of money. My monthly average for the past three years has been $40, compared to the $164 montly average Californians pay (source: ValuePenguin). Obviously don't get Metromile if you drive a lot, but if you do, you'll fall in love with it's high tech features. They give you a device that plugs into your car, and syncs with an app to tell you your car location (no more wandering around the parking lot) and car diagnostics. Even filing for claims all within the app/website has been seamless, compared to the nightmare of old insurance dinosaurs.
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MeetBeamPersonal financeNew FDIC-backed bank startup offering 2-4% APR on a regular online savings account.
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EbatesPersonal financeAutomatic cash back when shopping online; no reason not to use it!
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WikibuyPersonal financeWikibuy is my favorite "automatic coupon finder" especially when I'm shopping on Amazon. It's a chrome extension similar to eBates, and you can accrue a surprising amount of Wikibuy credit for spending less. Win-win no brainer.
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GumroadSoftwareThe most user-friendly service to host and sell downloadables, courses, etc. I used this to sell my courses for 3 years and it worked great, but ended up upgrading to Thinkific for more robust course-specific features (quizzes, exams, etc).
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SyncSoftwareSame as Dropbox, except more storage AND you can password-protect files fo' free. I use Sync to host blog downloadables.
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AppsumoSoftwareIf you're a digital entrepreneur and aren't on AppSumo...you've been living under a rock. This software daily deals site has the craziest lifetime deals around on essential business software; I've used it to pick up plugins, marketing tools and even a private business phone number.
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Timeout by DejalSoftwareA critical piece of software I use to take mandatory screen breaks from my computer. I personally set it to time out my screen for 1 minute every 20 minutes.
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FeedlySoftwareThe #1 RSS / feedreader tool that I use to curate a bunch of content, including a UX jobs board.
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BaselangSoftwareThe fastest way to advance in a language is to have conversations in it (immersive practice), so that's why I decided to try out Baselang, which is UNLIMITED live Spanish practice for a flat monthly fee. Their offer is pretty compelling: it's $1 to try for the first few weeks or get $20 back (not a typo) if you're not satisfied. This was such a compelling offer that I ended up signing up for the monthly plan - and my Spanish drastically improved.
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Ulysses AppSoftwareMy go-to writing software available on Mac & iOS. This Markdown editor works just like my brain works: the library view is a surprisingly useful feature that I use to make stuff.
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HeadspaceSoftwareWhat got me into meditation. Headspace's approach to meditation is super user-friendly and educational, with animations that explain to
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Screenflow Video Editing ToolSoftwareThe screen recording + editing software I use to create courses and video tutorials. I used to use Camtasia, but it kept crashing with larger files. Screenflow is optimized for the Mac and made for a much smoother video editing experience.
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DropboxSoftwareQuintessential cloud storage to store all yo' digital shit.
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Green Tea Extract with Vitamin CSupplementsI take "GTE" every morning on an empty stomach for it's antioxidant & fat-burning effects. This version comes with 100% vitamin C: studies show that complementing green tea with either citrus juices or vitamin C increases the amount of catechins by up to 5 times for the body to absorb.
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Fish Oil - Triple Strength Omega 3SupplementsAnother essential and well-studied supplement, Omega 3's support health & mental health, as well as stave off inflammation. I especially take Fish Oil after harder workouts.
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ZMA (Zinc + Magnesium)Supplements"ZMA" aids muscle recovery & strength, sleep, immunity and metabolism. I tend to get much more vivid dreams when taking ZMA right before bed.
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Travel Pillbox SupplementsCompact travel pillbox with multiple compartments that can fit 1-2 weeks of supplements (depending on their size of course).
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Melatonin + L-theanine mixSupplementsMelatonin is MONEY when you really need to sleep and recover - it's proved invaluable for jetlag or the occasional insomnia nights. The L-theanine helps with the grogginess that can come with using melatonin.
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Tortuga BackpackTravel Gear & ClothesThe backpack I upgraded to from the Tortuga; looks a bit sleeky with more compartments and packing space.
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Wigmam Men's Merino Airlite Pro SocksTravel Gear & ClothesThe best damn all-purpose socks I've worn for both travel and business. Lightweight, breathes well, wicks sweat to reduce odor, and just the right amount of thickness - unlike other performance socks that feel thin and clammy.
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Sleeping bag by Abco TechTravel Gear & ClothesIt boggles my mind that this sleeping bag costs under $40 - it's rated 4 season for warmth, is super compact (has compression sack) and is waterproof. This bag has already lasted me a couple festivals and camping trips, and it's the best sleeping bag for the price.
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Mogics Bagel: Universal Power StripTravel Gear & ClothesGenius design in which the charging wire wraps around itself, hidden in the "bagel" design. Has multiple charging ports and a travel converter cleverly tucked as the "donut hole" that pops out from the center.
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Timbuk2 AviatorTravel Gear & ClothesMy first travel backpack, which stored everything I needed on a 2 week trip through Colombia. Love the top-flap design for easy access to accessories and computer. Rugged, lightweight, has a hipbelt and all the necessary loops. Looks like new even after 5 years of use.
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Ministry of SupplyTravel Gear & ClothesThe best dress shirt and slacks I own are from MoS; these are highly engineered with technical fabrics that stretch, wick moisture, and look sharp for any occasion.
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Mizzen & MainTravel Gear & ClothesJust like Ministry of Supply, but especially dedicated to men's shirts - I love their athletic henly's.
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Carets Barefoot ShoesTravel Gear & ClothesThe best goddamn pair of dress shoes I own. My best friend Mountain Chang built these shoes for barefoot & paleo enthusiasts, but they're just sharp-looking shoes with a classic, sophisticated style. There's something about the footbed and the toebox that lets my feet breathe - compared to other dress shoes my feet never stink in these.
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Uniqlo Dry Ex Ultra Stretch PantsTravel Gear & ClothesThe best affordable athleisure pants you can buy. I wear these almost daily - wear these to yoga class or to a coworking space, look sharp everywhere. Material is stretchy, but not as durable as the more expensive options a la Ministry of Supply
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