Filtered by Category: that's just smart

Two cheap and easy ways to upgrade your phone charger

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Here are two phone-related tips that I’ve found helpful in general, but especially during group trip season.

1. Get a 6-foot phone charger.

A long charger is just nice to have, but it’s particularly useful when you’re traveling, and may not be staying somewhere that has outlets near the bed/couch/whatever.

Buy a single 6-foot charger from Amazon for $7.99, or get a two-pack (which is what I did) for $15.98.

2. Label your charger/cord with washi tape.

When you have several people with iPhones staying in the same place, it’s natural that chargers will get shared or lent out from time to time. Instead of attempting returning chargers to their rightful owners based on whose is frayed in a particular way, you can just label yours with washi tape so you can easily spot it at a glance. (I also found it helpful to do this with my work laptop charger and the phone charger I kept at my desk!)

You can get a roll of washi tape in the scrapbook section at Target or Michaels for a couple dollars, or get a beautiful set of 28 rolls from Amazon for $14.99. 📱

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I just really love Paperless Post Flyers

I mentioned Paperless Post Flyers a few months ago in my newsletter, but because they got such a good reaction (seriously, very rarely do people reach out to tell me they liked a thing, but multiple people told me they found the Flyers mention helpful) and because I was just working on one last night, I thought I’d mention them again!

The flyers (which are free!) are perfect for casual parties/gatherings. The templates and available images/gifs are trendy and cute, and you can also customize them/upload your own stuff. And they look good on mobile! (You can view the live — far less blurry! — version of the example flyer shown above here on desktop or mobile. BTW, I turned off the RSVP button — since it’s a fake party — but every template has the option.) I also love that you have the option to text people the link to the flyer (vs. having of send it over email). Mainly, they offer a much-needed alternative to FB party invites.

Overall, they are just a bit cooler than regular Paperless Post e-vites — truly more like a flyer than a traditional mailed invitation. Since we’re heading into summer party season, I thought it was worth putting them back on everyone’s radar! 🎉

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A modest proposal: all office bathrooms should have a radio in them

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Image: Kiyana Salkeld / Just Good Shit

Not long after I started working at BuzzFeed, a CD player/radio appeared in the women’s bathroom. It was the kind I had growing up (which retails for around $25), and it appeared without any fanfare or information about who put it there or why. At some point, there was a brief conversation about the new radio in the Women of Edit slack channel (“So there’s a radio in the bathroom now!” “Do we know who put it there?” “I like it!” “Me too!”) and then it just...was. Eventually, I am told, the men’s room got their own. We eventually moved buildings, into a space with a bathroom on each of the seven floors, and all of the bathrooms had radios in them. It was such a small thing, but I loved it.

Aside from the fact that the office bathroom radio makes a lot of people way more comfortable, it was also just fun. Like, what a treat to walk in there and discover that a bop is playing! Because I don’t spend much time in cars these days, I basically never listen to the radio. I cannot tell you how much pop music I learned about solely from hearing it playing in the BuzzFeed bathroom. (Weirdly, many of us noticed that we each tended to have certain — discrete — bathroom songs during a given season that would always be playing when we were in there.) Sometimes it would be tuned to a different station, and I’d be subjected to a truly monstrous shock jock prank for the duration of my bathroom visit, but on the whole, I heard a lot of Cardi B, Drake, Taylor Swift, and that Justin Timberlake song from Trolls.

The BuzzFeed bathrooms may have had the worst, most unflattering mirrors known to humanity, but the radio did its part to make using the restroom a little more pleasant. I’m now convinced every office bathroom should have one. Anyone can put a radio in the bathroom, but I think it’s an extra-nice move if you’re a manager. (BTW, it doesn’t need to have a CD player; we literally never used that feature, and it just makes the radio bulkier. Also: if your office bathroom has an outlet, definitely look for one that has an A/C adapter so you don’t ever have to replace the batteries.)

You can get a cute little radio from Amazon for $19.95 or a super no-frills one from Amazon for $7.99. 📻

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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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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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PSA: Gas-X is a magic bullet when it comes to period bloating

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I come here today bearing excellent news for anyone who has a uterus and a body that balloons way up roughly once a month when the ol’ Aunt Period comes to town. Turns out, simeticone (better known as Gas-X) is a goddamn magic bullet when it comes to period bloating. I tried it at the recommendation of a friend and was genuinely astonished by how much better I felt. Like, I took two tablets the first day of my period and within the hour, my body had basically deflated — and it stayed that way for the rest of the week. I’ve used them several times now and I cannot get over what a difference they make.

PS If you’re going to try them, I recommend the minty chewable tablets!

Get a 48-pack on Amazon for $8.33. 🎈

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A modest proposal: Take notes when you’re hanging out with friends

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I’ve written before about my friend Julia’s Ladies Article Club, which I’ve had the pleasure of attending on a couple of occasions when I’ve been in D.C. visiting her. I love a lot of things about it, but one of my favorite aspects is that someone always takes notes during the gathering. The note-taker writes down anything that comes up during the conversation that warrants some kind of follow-up — so basically, if someone mentions a product or a recipe or a podcast episode or a good Instagram account, the note-taker adds it to her list. Then she’ll start an email thread with everyone later on to collect/share the items mentioned.

I’ve always thought this idea was so smart and efficient, and I’ve started doing it more when hanging out with friends — even, just, like, during a coffee date. I like doing it because it’s practical, but also because writing these items down in my journal creates a mini diary entry about the hangout/the conversation.


Last month, I was at my friend Emily’s apartment for a little friend dinner party, and when she mentioned a book she liked, I said, “Wait, I’m going to write down the stuff we talk about so I can look it up later.” I pulled out my notebook and pen and Jess said, “Welcome to Rachel’s meeting,” and everyone laughed. AND YET! An hour or so later, Emily asked me where my pullover and my socks were from, and when I told her, she said, “Wait, I want to write all this down,” and took out her phone and opened the Notes app. And later that night, after we’d all gone home, Jess texted the group and said, “Who is sending out the meeting notes?” And we all sent around the things that we’d discussed and made note of.

I always think I’m going to remember all the things I mention or that my friend mentions when we’re hanging out, but when you’re with smart/well-read/interesting people, that’s basically impossible. Just take notes! ✍🏽

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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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