Filtered by Category: Living

The joy of Friday Jr.

My friend Sally and I are kind of obsessed with Bitmojis. We send them back and forth to each other a lot, and delight in finding new ones that are particularly silly and/or useful.

For example, here’s our exchange from the first time I completed the New York Times crossword:

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And here’s the start of a Monday morning text convo:

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And one from earlier this week:

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But our all-time favorite Bitmoji, hands down, is the Friday Jr. Bitmoji.

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After Sally discovered it a couple of years ago, we started sending it to each other every week. One of us would text our version of it, and then the other would reply with her version of it. We do this pretty much every Thursday and it…never gets old. As Sally put it, “I feel like Thursdays were already just conceptually great, but in a way that we didn’t as a culture fully appreciate until Friday Jr. was invented.”

We also can’t get over the idea of calling the day before a different day “junior,” and have taken to applying the underlying logic to many other dates and events. Consider this: Christmas Eve is actually Christmas Jr. (And December 23 is Christmas Eve Jr.) Saturday is Sunday Jr. and May is Pride Jr.

The junior convention has caught on in our bigger friend group, and our partners now use it regularly too. (My favorite Friday Jr. exchange was the time I texted Sally the Bitmoji — fairly early on in our FJ history, if I recall correctly — and she replied that at the exact moment my text came through, her wife had said, unprompted from across the room, “Hey girl — it’s Friday Jr.” )

I enjoy Bitmoji unironically; I like texting, but sometimes it’s hard to communicate “I received your message, and I feel neutral-posi toward its contents” without having tone and body language to rely on. And if you text a lot, there are only so many times you can say “ooh” in reply to something before you start to worry it looks like you’re not paying attention. A well-deployed Bitmoji helps! Also, a lot of my friends have mentioned that they find Bitmojis are particularly helpful for communicating with parents — particularly parents whose first language isn’t English — and other family members.

I asked Sally to share her thoughts on Bitmojis as I was working on this, and here’s what she said:


"Sometimes Bitmoji express feelings that I otherwise wouldn't know how to express — like you know that joke where people are like ‘what is the German word for [complex feeling with five different distinct constituent feelings]’? This is a thing Bitmoji do SO well — encapsulate feelings comprised of a cool 5-6 distinct feelings.

For example you have 'I H8 U' with a pic of your Bitmoji smiling gleefully. You have 'I helped' and one of the E's is backwards which is perfect for expressing 'I tried to help and I fucked it all up, my bad, but give me credit for helping.' Then you have the ones where the Bitmoji is doing the reaction WITH the emoji of that reaction — so like laughing so hard you're crying and one hand is on the laughing-so-hard-you're-crying emoji.

Also the fact that there are three different versions of a hump day Bitmoji — so that you can express exhaustion, elation, or perseverance — is truly amazing because those are the three ways to feel about Wednesdays which I didn't realize till Bitmoji told me!

The other thing they are amazing for is if you are communicating with someone who REALLY GETS YOU, you can use a weird Bitmoji and the person will so get the spirit in which you mean it. It just gives you another way to express yourself."

I would love for some enterprising tech journalists to do a deep dive on how Bitmoji designs happen — the main people responsible for them, which ones are the most popular, which ones users hated, which ones caused the most internal debate, etc. — and I would love to know who is responsible for our beloved Friday Jr. and what inspired them.

Until then, happy Friday Jr.! ✨

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Make cut flowers last longer by putting them in the fridge at night

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Here’s a little tip for anyone who is giving or receiving Mother’s Day flowers this weekend, or who just can’t resist buying a bunch at Trader Joe’s every week: If you want a bouquet of fresh flowers to last for a while, stick them in the fridge every night (and/or during the day while you’re at work).

I’ve been doing this for years and it works remarkably well. Like, I’m always genuinely surprised by how fresh the flowers stay when I employ this trick, even when they are several days old. (It’s especially helpful in the warmer months if you don’t have AC.) I have a small fridge so it’s not always possible to put fresh flowers in it, but I’ll usually stick the vase in the door shelf where you’re meant to put milk and it works out fine.

Speaking of fresh flowers, I’m a big fan of The Bouqs and Urban Stems for fresh flower delivery to long-distance friends and loved ones! I’ve always been impressed by their bouquets, user experience, and customer service. (This is not an ad BTW — I just really like them.)

Anyway: put your fresh flowers in the fridge! 💐

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The best lemon candle is Williams Sonoma's Meyer lemon candle

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A couple of years ago, I went on a mission to find a great lemon candle. I tried two options — Mrs. Meyer's Lemon Verbena* and a lemon lavender candle from Target — and was super disappointed, as both smelled way too herbal to reasonably be called a lemon candle. (They are perfectly nice candles, but not what I was looking for.) I just wanted a pure-ass lemon candle! And much to my chagrin, no one on the internet could tell me which lemon candle was the lemon candle I was seeking.

I briefly entertained the idea of buying allllll the lemon candles from major retailers and doing a Wirecutter-esque test for a BuzzFeed post, but it didn’t actually end up coming to that! A friend suggested the Williams Sonoma Meyer lemon candle ($19.95), and without having tried any additional non-herbal lemon candles, I can confidently say that this is the best lemon candle in existence. TBH, I didn’t even know that Williams Sonoma sold candles, so I was genuinely surprised by this.

The Meyer lemon candle has a very lovely, very sweet lemon smell, and it’s not too strong. It’s my favorite candle to light after cleaning my kitchen or bathroom (one of my favorite little rituals) and just one of my favorite candles general. I also really love the look of the candle; the light yellow color is so pretty, and I just love the simple, label-free glass jar. I’ve burned through three of these since first discovering them.

Get the candle from Williams Sonoma for $19.95. 🍋

*I recently learned that lemon verbena is not lemon plus verbena (which for years I assumed — based solely on Bath & Body Works’ early 2000s Coconut Lime Verbena label — was some kind of green plant). Turns out, lemon verbena is an entirely different plant!

PS I can’t talk about candles without thinking about the viral “I MIGHT Boycott Bath & Body Works (RANT)” video and this reenactment of it, two videos my former BF team and I are lightly obsessed with. We probably re-watched those videos and cried laughing every other month, and still reference Angela and her rant all the time. So please put on your headphones and enjoy one of my personal “I think about this a lot”s!

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Here’s my little hack for using every last cent on a Visa/Amex prepaid gift card

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Prepaid gift cards from brands like American Express and Visa make a lot of sense in theory. Like gift cards, they release you from the psychological horror of handing your loved ones cold, hard cash, but you can use them anywhere you can use credit cards, so they offer the receiver more flexibility than a store gift card. Great!

However, if you’ve ever received one, you may have discovered that they don't work like store gift cards in one major, critical way: if you swipe, say, a $25 Macy's gift card when making a $50 Macy's purchase, it'll take the $25 off your purchase and then you can pay the remaining balance with cash or your debit card. But if you try to use a $25 Visa gift card on a $50 Macy’s purchase, the card will get declined — because you’re essentially asking it to go over its limit. The only way to keep this from happening is to tell the person ringing you up, “I want to put $25 on this card” before you swipe the Visa gift card, so they can split the tender accordingly. This isn’t ideal, but it’s fine for a nice, solid number like $25.

But! It becomes a much bigger hassle when your $100 Visa gift card now has, say, $14.77 on it. It’s highly likely that at some point, there’s going to be such a weird/small amount left on the card that you’re going to be too embarrassed to ask a retail worker to “just put $4.36 on this card,” so instead you’re just going to deprive yourself of the full value of the gift card. I’m not saying this is what Big Credit Card wants to happen, but I do think these little amounts of cash left on thousands of gift cards add up for them in a way that they…do not hate. The whole thing has annoyed me for years, ever since I was on the other end of the transaction when I worked in retail in college.

(Also: to even be able to do what I outlined above, you have to keep track of the exact balance on the gift card, which requires going to a website and inputting the card number and PIN every time you want to check how much is left on it.)

All this to say: Visa and American Express and Mastercard prepaid gift cards are way more high-maintenance than they should be, and even though this is a minor hassle in the grand scheme of things, it’s still a hassle at the end of the day. But! After receiving a high-value prepaid Visa gift card last year and getting sick of checking the balance all the time, I figured out a really simple and easy workaround that allows you to actually use every penny on said card: Once the gift card is down to a stupidly small amount that you don’t feel like fucking with, you can just go to Amazon and buy yourself an e-gift card for the exact amount on the Visa gift card. So if there’s $7.83 on the Visa card, you can simply buy yourself a $7.83 Amazon gift card.

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Once you’ve put in the exact amount and your personal details (including your own email address), add the gift card to your cart. Then head to check out, choose “add new payment method,” and put in the details of the prepaid gift card there (just like it’s a regular credit/debit card). You now have now successfully turned your prepaid gift card into a normal store gift card, and it’ll work as such — deducting that $7.83 from your next Amazon purchase, and letting you pay the remaining amount due, just as God intended. 🛍

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9 things that have made me a calmer, better cook

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I...did not grow up in a household where cooking for guests looked or felt chill in ANY way, so I really admire this quality in others and am trying to cultivate it in myself — whether I’m cooking for guests or just for myself. I’m not, like, Mrs. Doubtfire with her titties on fire when I’m cooking, but things like always knowing where the measuring spoon I need is, or not getting flustered or buried in disgusting dirty dishes while I’m cooking actually take work for me.

For the past six months or so, my thought has been, OK, if I’m going to cook, I’m going to really cook — because if I’m investing the time and money in making food, I want the food to actually taste good, and I find that being more focused when I’m cooking helps a lot in that regard. Also, being more focused when cooking also just...feels nice! Multitasking is bad and ineffective, while being present and accomplishing a task in one go is soothing and satisfying. I’ve found that I dread cooking a lot less now that I’m approaching it in this way.


Here are some tips that I’ve found helpful in my mission to be a less stressed cook:

  1. Actually read the entire recipe start to finish before you make it.

    This may seem obvious, but I used to just skim recipes before making them for the first time, and there was often a big gap between when I skimmed it (when I first came across it online) and when I actually made it (possibly weeks later). So now I read the recipe all the way through right before I get started to make sure I understand how I’ll actually be putting the ingredients together.

  2. Along with reading the recipe in advance, also pull out everything you’ll need in advance — so measuring cups and spoons, cutting boards, spices that are in the back of your pantry, etc.

    This step might seem kind of fussy, but it’s not like pulling everything out as you go saves you time (and in my case, I’ve found it actually takes more time).

  3. Take this a step further and measure/chop all your ingredients in advance.

    I recentlyish got into the habit of doing this with new recipes, when I wanted to be extra conscientious and careful so I didn’t mess them up. It makes me feel like a fancy TV chef, and is a reminder that all those cooking shows with their cute little prep bowls are really onto something. Again, doing this can feel kind of fussy, and it might actually add a little more time in the long run, but I think it’s worth it, especially if it keeps me from screwing up a recipe or wasting ingredients because I was rushing and made a mistake.

  4. Use your dishwasher as a holding pen.

    If you’re using a lot of bulky dishes (like mixing bowls) and your sink is filling up, but you don’t have time to stop and wash everything, just stick it in the dishwasher — even if it’s not dishwasher safe, or even if you haven’t rinsed it first. Basically, your dishwasher isn’t just a dishwasher — it’s also a fantastic storage spot. (This is especially helpful in a smaller kitchen.) You can always pull things out after the fact to hand wash them or rinse them. I hate when my sink starts to fill up with dirty dishes, and this helps so much in terms of maintaining a cleaner kitchen/an overall feeling of calm.

  5. Use a bowl to collect food scraps/trash while you cook.

    My least favorite part of cooking is chopping produce, and I hate being surrounded by the wet scraps as I’m chopping. But I recently watched my friend’s boyfriend cook dinner (this delicious Ina Garten pasta) and put all the scraps (stems, rinds, etc.) in a medium-sized bowl as he did. He’s a very calm/clean cook, so I was immediately very into this concept. I’ve tried in the past to use produce bags for this, and it was never super effective. But a bowl works so much better. (I think the fact that he used a genuinely beautiful white bowl helped too.) I realized later he was likely doing this so they could compost everything, but even if you’re not composting, it’s still SO nice to not have to keep going over to your garbage can every 60 seconds.

  6. Put your phone in Do Not Disturb mode so you’re not distracted by texts or other notifications while you’re cooking.

    This is particularly helpful if the recipe is on your phone and you can’t avoid looking at your phone when you’re cooking.

  7. Related: if you’re going to make an IG story while you cook, just save the photos/videos to your phone for later instead of posting them in real time.

    Here’s an embarrassing story: I once burned the butter for lemon butter pasta because I was posting shit to my IG story while the butter was supposed to be melting (something that doesn’t take very long at all, turns out). I had to throw the butter out, clean the pot, and start over. This was extremely dumb! Since then, I’ve stopped posting cooking stuff in real time, and in general I don’t take a lot of pics/video while I’m cooking unless I know that I have like a solid five minutes before the next step.

  8. Make time.

    I rarely try new recipes on busy weeknights, or when I am getting home on the later side. And if I realize the day of that I’m going to be rushed, I’ll often change my plans and make a recipe I’ve already mastered and save the new recipe for a different night.

  9. And maybe don’t try that many new recipes overall.

    I tend to limit myself to one new recipe per week (if that!) because I’ve found that cooking new recipes — even easyish ones! — takes effort. I get very cranky with myself* if I’m putting that energy in several nights a week. But doing it once a week feels challenging in a good way, and has the added benefit of helping me master other recipes. (Which is why I can basically make chickpea pasta in my sleep now.) 👩🏽‍🍳 

*Because I have no one to blame but myself! Literally no one is making me try new recipes!


A case for having activities instead of hobbies

Friends! Today we have a post from Terri Pous, who was my first hire at BuzzFeed, and whose work I had the pleasure of editing every day for three years. Like me, she lives by the mantra ABR (always be recommending). —Rachel ✨

One of my least favorite questions is, “So, what do you for fun?” I always imagine people expect me to talk about a stamp collection, or a passion for knitting, or some other kind of hobby that conveniently fills time and gives you something to show for it. But I’m not a hobby person; I much prefer activities.

And, I get it: depending on your definition of “hobby,” activities could easily count as the same thing. To me, though, all hobbies are activities, but not all activities are hobbies. Lying on the grass in the park on a nice day? Activity! Going to the park every weekend with your Nat Geo field guide to identify the birds chirping loudly overhead? Hobby!

I like that activities have almost no barrier to entry. It’s daunting to begin a hobby — the time, skill, or effort involved can be enough to stop you before you even buy that calligraphy set. A hobby is something you craft and pursue and, if you’re lucky, perfect over time. It’s often insular, something you could parlay into a side hustle (though you don’t have to). And unless you know something I don’t (and if you do, please @ me), you can’t really make a side hustle out of planning trips to the botanical gardens with friends.

But activities! God, I love them. If Doing Things is a personality trait, then I have it. It’s probably because I live in New York, concrete jungle wet dream tomato AND home of so. many. ‘tivities. You can just pick up and do almost any activity whenever you want to do it, and a lot of them cost zero money. That’s not to say you can’t try refining them the way you would a hobby, but you don’t have to to get enjoyment out of them. They’re no-maintenance and low-stress. So much of life is about staying on brand or doing things with purpose, but activities exist just for sheer enjoyment, whatever that means for you. Love being outside? There’s an activity for that! Can’t get enough of shoveling foodstuffs into your piehole? You can make an activity out of that, too! Activities are so easy to collect and return to again and again, which is a big reason why I’ll always prefer them over hobbies.

Here are some of my personal faves, ones that even a committed extrovert like me doesn’t mind doing alone:

  • Trying new restaurants (and then providing copious suggestions when people ask for recommendations).

    I’ve started logging all of my restaurant visits into a Google spreadsheet, so you could argue that I’m hobb-ifying this activity.

  • Going to Broadway shows.

    Once I realized you don’t have to pay $100+ to enjoy arguably the best activity New York City has to offer, I started going to a lot more shows. I use TodayTix, Stubhub, TDF, and the IRL TKTS booth. And when I do decide to pay full price, I go to the box office in person to avoid those $14 “convenience” fees.

  • Visiting museums.

    Thanks to the NYC ID, I can get into a lot of museums and cultural institutions for free. But I’d willingly spend weekday afternoons at museums even if I had to pay full price. A few of my faves: The Met, the Transit Museum, the Natural History Museum, the New-York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York, the Guggenheim, the Cooper Hewitt. I need to go the Frick. I have lots of time to do it now!

  • Attending live podcast recordings.

    I’m a maje podcast junkie, and luckily, a lot of them sometimes set up shop at venues like The Bell House, Caveat, and Union Hall to do it live. I’ve seen Who? Weekly, WTF with Marc Maron, Ask Me Another (I was a contestant on that one, too), Why Your Train is F*cked, and several more in person.

  • Playing bar trivia.

    I’m a big ‘ole nerd, which is why this is probably my fave ‘tivity. I try to play every week at Gael Pub on the Upper East Side (where I used to host), and even when we don’t win, I love ~ learning new things ~. It sounds cheesy, but this activity has taught me so much about playing with a team and meeting new people! Win win!

  • Reading, especially non-fiction books.

    Again, I’m a well-established nerd, so it’s no surprise that I love hunkering down with a good biography of Theodore Roosevelt. It’s not a revolutionary activity, but it is a good way to pack some new tidbits into my spaghetti brain and then regurgitate them to anyone within a 10-foot radius.

  • Doing jigsaw puzzles.

    Some people are intimidated by puzzles and would probably place them squarely into the “hobbies” category, but I disagree! They’re an activity for me, one best done while watching Catastrophe or Instant Hotel in the background. If you’re freaked out at the prospect of a 1,000-piecer, try a 250 and tell me it wasn’t fun, low-key, and something you want to do over and over again for no reason other than sheer enjoyment.

  • Hosting (and/or coordinating) group hangouts.

    I’m talking game nights, dinner parties, potlucks, recipe clubs, you name it. I love getting people together with a purpose (I’m as fun as I sound), especially if there’s food involved.

  • Playing board games.

    See above. I recently went to a board game cafe with a friend, and while we failed miserably at learning a new game and instead played Guess Who? and Candyland, it was still a ton of fun and a reminder of how great board games are. Some of my favorites are Codenames and Ticket to Ride, and I’m eager to learn backgammon, Settlers of Catan, and Mahjong.

  • Watching documentaries.
    I’m not a huge movie or TV person, but if there’s a good documentary, I’ll eat it up (and then proselytize about it to everyone I know). Some good ones I’ve seen: Seeing Allred, 20 Feet from Stardom, Three Identical Strangers, Icarus, Going Clear.

  • Just strollin’.
    A big advantage of living in New York (and suddenly having lots of free time) is being able to walk outside and see where your feet take you. Even though we’re currently in the midst of a fool’s spring, I’ll still pick a destination or neighborhood or errand, and just stroll around at a leisurely pace to get there. It’s a perfect way to listen to a podcast, catch up with someone on the phone, or just take out the earbuds and take in your surroundings. It’s not exactly nature, but it’s as close as New York gets, so I’ll take it. ✨

Terri Pous is a writer, editor, two-day Jeopardy! champ, and an Aries. She loves abbrevs, reality TV, obscure facts about the US presidents, and the 🥴 emoji. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @terripous, and on sidewalks @ petting every dog.

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Toward a more perfect home screen

When I saw this photo from Courtney Carver / Be More With Less pop up in my Instagram feed last August, I was...lightly shocked?! To be honest, I didn’t even know what I was looking at at first; my eyes needed time to adjust. After staring at it for a few seconds, I realized it was an iPhone with a home screen that had been entirely cleared of apps. I guess I could have reasoned that one could do this, if one wanted to, but I’d genuinely never seen anything like it.


This is what Courtney wrote in the photo’s caption about her setup:


“No apps on the home screen or placed in neatly labeled containers. Nope. All apps are in one folder (see lower right of my screen). I open my apps (when I want to) by swiping right and typing the app name in the search bar. That way I'm not tempted because I see an app icon.”


(BTW, the caption has several other tips for practicing good digital hygiene and is worth reading in full!)


When I saw the photo, I had already buried Facebook and Twitter deep enough in my phone that I essentially forgot about them / stopped using them, but this photo made me consider whether there were any other apps that needed to go. There was: Instagram. I was finding myself reaching for it more and more last year for a couple reasons. First, because it was there. But also because I’d turned on notifications after several years of not having them. I did it because I was getting tagged in more Stories, particularly from people who were posting about my book, and if I didn’t open the app for 24 hours, I wouldn’t see the story they had tagged me in or be able to reply/thank them. The problem was that I was now getting notifications about all my DMs, many of which weren’t that important but were still super distracting. (I am the kind of person who can’t stand having a notification badge!)

All that to say: seeing this photo on Instagram gave me the push I needed to move Instagram off my home screen and bury it in a folder so it was a couple swipes away. (I replaced it on my home screen with Headspace.) I didn’t turn off IG notifications but I didn’t need to; the effect was immediate and dramatic. Turns out, when the red notification badge isn’t on my home screen, it doesn’t bother me nearly as much. I really like Instagram (the main feed anyway) so I was genuinely shocked by how little I thought about or cared about it when it wasn’t just there.  

After moving the Instagram app, I also cleaned up my home screen a little bit. I figured I wasn’t going to achieve home screen minimalism overnight, but I could start moving in that direction. So I deleted/buried more apps and made two rows of additional space on my home screen. Here’s how it currently looks:

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(If I swipe right, the screen has just two rows of icons: five folders with apps + three standalone apps.)

It’s not totally minimalist, but I feel good about where things are / my relationship with my phone at the moment!

Some related things:

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So, you should really be using a rinse aid in your dishwasher

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Last summer, I was on Wirecutter, looking for their recommendation on the best dish soap. (It’s Seventh Generation BTW.) And somehow or another, I landed on an article they had written about rinse aid. I had never given rinse aid much thought; I didn’t know what it purported to do, but I assumed it was kind of a scam. I...could not have been more wrong.

Here’s Wirecutter (emphasis mine):

“As much as we might like to believe the claim, rinse aid isn’t just a money grab for detergent companies.

You need rinse aid because dishwasher detergents don’t work the same as they used to. If you’ve read our guide to the best dishwashers, you know that in 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency and other regulators made detergent companies stop using phosphates, a great cleaning agent, because they can lead to algal bloom.

Says Liam McCabe in our dishwasher guide:

‘Every new dishwasher has a rinse-aid dispenser because rinse aid is essentially mandatory if you want your dishwasher to work well these days, according to every industry person we talked to. Rinse aid offsets the limitations resulting from gentler detergents and stricter efficiency standards—it’s just part of the deal now.’”

Ex...fucking...scuse me????

And THEN I saw this sentence: “if your dishes are coming out of the dishwasher wet, or with food bits still stuck to them, give rinse aid a whirl.”

My dishes were coming out of the dishwasher SO wet AND with food bits stuck to them!!!!! (Truly: so wet, it was kind of ridiculous. After running the dishwasher — which includes a long heated drying cycle! — I’d still need to leave them in the dishwasher all day to dry before putting them in the cabinets.)

I immediately ordered rinse aid — I bought Seventh Generation, because that’s what was cheapest on Amazon Fresh — and it’s made a world of difference. I’m slightly annoyed that I didn’t know about this sooner! But if you’re experiencing something similar, it might be worth trying rinse aid and seeing if it helps.

Get an 8-ounce bottle of Seventh Generation Rinse Aid from Amazon Prime for $8.92 or Amazon Fresh for $5.99. 💦

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Tiny party tip: change your guest Wi-Fi network name to something fun/relevant before you host

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Here’s a cute idea that I picked up from my friend Tashween: if you’re having a party or hosting out-of-town guests, change the name of your guest Wi-Fi network and the password to something related to the event, and then give everyone the info in the invitation (and/or at the gathering itself).

For example, when I threw a potato party in March 2015, I named the guest Wi-Fi network Starch Madness, and the password was something like tatersgonnatate. More recently, I’ve just been making the network name the name of the party itself, and then doing a cute/relevant/easy to type but still secure password.

Is changing your guest network name absolutely necessary? Of course not. Is it silly and fun and a cute way to pre-game your gathering? It is! It’s also also a subtle flex, implying that you have your shit together enough to actually know your internet provider login information, and can therefore easily change your Wi-Fi password whenever you feel like it. Your parents’ “6hNq_27vhUo5nME” could never. ✨

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Don't sleep on friendship bracelets as a hobby

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After I attended The Compact summer camp last summer, I got very into making friendship bracelets. Using this Honestly WTF tutorial along with an $8 pattern I downloaded from Purl Soho, I’d put my phone in airplane mode, put on an episode of Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America's Best Idea *, and braid until my brain didn’t feel on fire anymore.

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If you’re looking for a new hobby or activity, making friendship bracelets is a good one! Here are a bunch of reasons I enjoy it so much:

  • The action itself — the braiding/knotting/etc. — is very soothing and meditative.

  • You don’t have to be creative or crafty to be good at it.

  • It’s cheap! You can make several bracelets for under $10, and possibly under $5.

  • The fact that it’s so inexpensive / that embroidery floss is so plentiful means there’s a lot less pressure to make every bracelet perfect, or to even finish. More than a few times now, I’ve started a bracelet and then messed it up, or got halfway done and decided I didn’t like the colors and I just...abandoned ship. I’ve also finished bracelets and not done anything with them afterward. You don’t have to give it to a friend or wear it yourself. Knowing this makes it easier to just sit down and do it, particularly if you’re a uhhhh….slightly-uptight perfectionist who hates being bad at things.

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  • But also: friendship bracelets are honestly pretty cute, especially if you choose a more ~sophisticated~ color palette.

  • It’s a very portable hobby and the supplies don’t take up a lot of space.

  • You can do it outside! I’ve spent a few truly lovely afternoons sitting outside on a patio, chatting with good people while working on a friendship bracelet.

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  • It’s a great travel hobby/activity. If you’re planning, say, a weekend at a cabin or some kind of family trip and need some fun and light activities to do by a fireplace or on a front porch, or for ~ family-friendly ~ things to do, this is a good one. You can stock up on a bunch of embroidery floss and a grab a pack of safety pins before you go and you’re...pretty much set. (You may also want to pack a small pair of scissors.) I like it for trips because you can do it alone (while, say, everyone else is reading or playing a game) or a bunch of people can do it as a group. In my experience, it’s something that most people haven’t done since they were young, so they don’t realize how fun it can be...but once they get going, they find themselves really enjoying it and/or easily being able to execute complicated patterns they mastered when they were tweens.

  • It’s a great way to not be on your phone. If you want to stop scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, you can pick up a friendship bracelet in progress and work on that for a little while.

Get the tutorials: DIY Friendship Bracelet, Honestly WTF and Classic Friendship Bracelet Pattern, $8 from Purl Soho. Also, I haven’t mastered this yet, but it’s lovely: Monochrome Friendship Bracelets, Purl Soho.


PS If you want to make your bracelets a little sturdier / less likely to fade, you can use knotting cord instead of embroidery floss.


*I definitely need to write a separate post on why Ken Burns documentaries are good shit.

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Tiny life tip: use your iPhone’s photo search function more

Here’s an extremely small tip that might make your life slightly easier if you ever find yourself scrolling through iPhone photos for a very long time trying to unearth a specific photo you know is on your phone somewhere: you can search your iPhone photos by date! The search button is at the bottom right whenever you’re looking at your photos.

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So, for example, if you wanted to look at all of your Christmas photos, you could type “December” in the search bar and be shown all the photos you took in any December ever. And if you wanted to look at your Christmas photos from a specific year, you could type “December 2015” in the search bar and limit your search results even further. As long as you know roughly when you took/saved a photo, it’s a super helpful shortcut.

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You can also search for things that are in the photos — like, say, “dog” — but I’ve found that’s far less reliable, and that searching by date is ultimately more likely to be successful! 📸

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These bamboo nursing pads are great for taking off your makeup

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I don’t know if this is true in other cities, but in NYC, cotton rounds are really expensive. Like, every time I go to buy them, I’m surprised by how expensive they are. I used them for years (with Garnier micellar water, one of my most-used products) to take my makeup off at night and then to wash my face in the morning. But I recently came across a cheaper and less wasteful option: organic bamboo nursing pads ($13.90 for a pack of 10 on Amazon).

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As you can see, they are pretty big; I can cycle through the different “petals” to take off my makeup at night, getting several uses out of one pad. And once a pad is fully covered in mascara and eyeliner, I just toss it in the laundry. I still buy cotton rounds to take off my nail polish, but now I buy them far less.

Get a pack of 10 pads on Amazon for $13.90. 💦

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