I acknowledge time flying by nearly every week here, but I just have to say, I was asked about my plans for the fall today and nearly had a full-blown meltdown. I understand June is creeping around the corner but THE FALL? Please, don’t make me think that far. I can barely plan my next hour.
- Overdrive: An added benefit to voraciously reading Refinery 29’s Monday Diaries is that I often learn about apps and services to make life easier. It’s how I heard of this app, and “obsessed” is an understatement. Simply log in with your library card and gain instant access to thousands of options. It’s my first actual foray into e-reading, but I’m beyond excited to dig into more books than ever before.
- MealPal: While I’d heard of MealPal while living in NYC, I hadn’t researched or revisited it since moving here. Then I read yet another R29 MD and, well, now I’m its newest member who’s enjoying $6 lunches (instead of $20 salads). Want a promo code? Sign up here.
- Half-Price Mondays: Memorial Day was the perfect backdrop to join some girlfriends from Tampa at the A’s/Rays game. And wouldn’t you know it? The Treehouse — a beautiful, shiny stadium spot with a full bar and games — offers half-price drinks on Mondays. No mustache required, and it almost made a 13-inning game painless.
- “This Is America” – Childish Gambino: Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely already heard and watched this. Breaking news reporting over here, I know. But I haven’t covered it yet with WOs AND Cardi B brought it top of mind with her *shocking* discovery that Donald Glover and Childish Gambino are the same person. Pssst … the video is NSFW, in case you haven’t heard.
Buckle up, people. This week I’m on a rambling stream of consciousness while being raw, real and un-apologetically obsessed with these four finds:
- FinalStraw: The brainchild of a former colleague’s son is the world’s first collapsible and reusable straw. The campaign was trending on Earth Day and featured on BuzzFeed’s Facebook, so it’s no surprise they’ve exceeded their fundraising goal by more than 680%. But, they could still use any support — and couldn’t you use a nifty, Earth-friendly gadget?
- “I Want to Be Rich and I’m Not Sorry”: I loved this NYT opinion piece and felt the need to pay it forward to you. Jessica Knoll shares her definition of success. As a fellow writer, of course it resonated with me. But I think any woman can understand the confusion of “…conflicting messages of millennial womanhood: to be ambitious but never bossy, strong but skinny, honest but polite, supportive of my fellow sisters’ success while the culture gets off on girl fights.” Enjoy.
- A Sweet Treat: A mid-week and mid-afternoon slump is just about as good a reason as ever for a treat yo’self timeout. Luckily, my work husband is a certified genius and McDonald’s master: He bought a bunch of us the iconic Mickey D’s vanilla soft-serve and poured a bit of office coffee over them for makeshift affogatos. Delizioso! (Note: This photo is a stock image, not of the actual creation.)
- “Whatever Makes You Happy” – Jennifer Hudson f. Juicy J: Although I abandoned “Empire” after season 2, I still regularly listen to the soundtracks of seasons’ past. This earworm has probably the most simple chorus of all time, but it hooks me nonetheless. It could be J. Hud’s powerhouse vocals or Juicy J’s swag, but I think you’ll find it equally as entrancing.
Images courtesy of: KickStarter, Kate Blegvad, DreamsTime, YouTube
The fun part about being in meetings for five to seven hours of the workday means it flies by, often without even realizing how late in the day it is. Yeah, that’s the fun part.
- Coconut Oil: I feel a little bit like the dad from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” here when I champion how coconut oil is kind of a miracle cure. I’ve used it in the past to oil pull for whiter teeth, and a friend recently recommended it to heal a crispy sunburn. And with a nominal cost for a huge tub, I literally can’t get enough!
- Refinery 29 Money Diaries: To say I’m obsessed is an understatement. These peeks into anonymous women’s weekly spending is fascinating — they span all over the country (and some international locales), ranges of salaries, couples versus singletons, parents versus not, and so much more. Be warned, though: You will get hooked.
- “Crazy Rich Asians” – Kevin Kwan: With money on my mind, it’s no wonder I’ve fallen quickly in love with this fast read. The bestselling book will be released as a movie in August, so you have plenty of time to read it — and the subsequent two novels — before then. Enjoy!
- “Sorry Not Sorry” – Demi Lovato: This power anthem is yet another one for the breakup playlist, guys. I may not be turning into Demi anytime soon, but it’s a great reminder after heartbreak or even a friendship ending that you can stay true to yourself while still being strong.
In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should have…
7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age — and some money set aside to help fund it.
Money, money, money. We all love it. We all use it. But we don’t always love to discuss it.
After moving to Manhattan, and eventually San Francisco, I’ve become more comfortable talking about finances. Part of it is my age. Part of it is living in two of America’s most expensive cities, where you find yourself constantly chatting with friends about rising rent rates, cab fare and what you owe each other on Venmo.
Still, it was a relief to see this week’s passage, written by finance guru Suze Orman. She shares her five essential rules for getting on track financially — and feeling all the more empowered and beautiful for it.
- Come clean about money.
From my perspective, it’s been easy enough to nail this one down. It’s not pretty nor fun, but I’ve come to terms with my debts and set a plan in place last year to get as close to debt-free before 30 as I could. Some speed bumps have come along the way since then, but I’m still acutely aware — and realistic — about my bills and what lifestyle I can afford.
- Give to yourself as much as you give of yourself.
This rule is an especially difficult one for women, as Suze notes, “Women… give, give, give — to their friends, their significant other, their spouse, their kids, their pets, their plants — even to stranger on the street.” And while I do my best to donate to my favorite causes and help others in need, I’ve also been burned countless times from failing to see loans repaid, which only puts me in dire straits. Before giving to others, we must put ourselves (and our future) first by removing debts, paying bills on time and saving for our retirement.
- Know how to ask for a raise and get it.
I was speaking this weekend with a longtime friend about job opportunities and compensation packages. She hadn’t ever really had to negotiate for a higher offer, so I shared some advice: The worst they can say is “No.” I learned — sometimes the hard way — that $10,000 to a company is not often a lot on its bottom line. But to an individual, that’s peace of mind and the motivation to do your very best at a place that supports you. Whether it’s with more equity, a signing bonus or agreed-upon (and written-down) biannual merit reviews, do what you have to do to feel secure.
- Live below your means but above your needs.
Ah, the age-old problem of wanting to keep up with the Joneses. Or as our modern society knows it, Facebook Life. Do I envy friends who’ve traveled to Asia and Africa, who’ve purchased new cars or homes? Of course. But I also know 1) I can’t currently afford that lifestyle, and 2) I’ll go bankrupt if I try to live everyone else’s Facebook life. I’m content with my travels for now; I don’t currently have the bankroll to invest in a home or car — then spend $400/month on parking, let alone a car payment, gas, insurance, maintenance and paid parking for anywhere else but my building. Being realistic about what I can afford, treating myself when I can… those are the things that’ll get me closer to debt-free and financially sound.
- Be your own financial advisor.
This is Suze’s final point, and for good reason. She reminds us, “Nobody is going to care about your money more than you do.” She shares a personal example of how she invested hard-earned cash into an advisor, who turned out to be crooked, and the money vanished in a matter of months. How did she become the Suze Orman we know and love today? She took a job with Merrill Lynch and got herself back on track. It wasn’t easy, but it sure was worth it. Believing in ourselves, educating ourselves and trusting ourselves to take care of our money better than anyone else is the way to go.
Let’s make this topic a fun one — or at least one we don’t feel the need to whisper about? What are your best tips for saving money? What’s a money mistake you’ve made (and learned from)?