As Featured on News Cult: Suggested Baby Gifts

People insist on having babies, and according to social etiquette, you have to get them presents for their newborns even though why should you, it’s really not that hard to have a kid so why are they being rewarded for it, like maybe if they had just performed an 8-hour open heart surgery they would deserve a gift, but procreation is literally nothing extraordinary so I don’t get why we have to pretend like they’re doing anything special. BUT,  we do, if only because we don’t want to make family gatherings more awkward than they already are because we didn’t get cousin Rosie a swaddling basket–anything in the name of getting everyone to leave us alone. With that in mind, here are some ideas for what to get new parents.

Pumping bras

Medela Easy Expression Halter Hands Free Pumping Bra Breast Feeding Nursing

So practical! You can wear it as you’re jogging on the treadmill while talking on your Blackberry.

Just to make things uncomfortably intimate. For a bonus, insist she tries it on immediately after you give it to her, while you’re still standing there.

Stuffed animals

With a note: “For when you realize that you’re ultimately alone in this life and no one will ever truly love you.

This book

I’d even say take some creative liberties with the title–e.g. “All my your friends are going to be dead soon enough, just like the rest of us. And you.

Pacifiers

To shut your kid the fuck up.

And this book if they have another kid

Blankets

Accompanying card: “For all the lonely nights that are sure to be ahead–like 100% you’re going to be alone–the only warmth you’ll ever really know is that of your own body heat. And if you get stranded in winter, that’s not going to be enough to keep you from freezing to death. And neither will these blankets probably, tbh.”

Family grave plot

Just thinking ahead! And, actually, it was buy 3, get one free, so you might as well have another one while you’re at it.”

A DVD of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

Happy nanny-hunting!”

This card:

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/celebrating-new-life-9-suggested-baby-gifts/

Advertisements

As Featured on News Cult: Car Shopping for Dummies

The good thing about your car being totaled is that it forces you to buy a new one when you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing and couldn’t be more ignorant on the topic, so then you have to educate yourself and embark on a massive learning experience and this whole process really hammers home how you are alone and have no strong male presence in your life to help with these things but that’s ok because you’re just like really focusing on yourself right now and you have your dog even though she lives with your sister and her boyfriend but she’s totally with you in spirit and you FaceTime all the time and she completely recognizes you and acknowledges your presence, she just has a funny way of showing it.

From a former dummy on the topic of car buying, here’s how you buy a car when you don’t know how to buy a car. For me, it has been a pretty satisfying process, not only because I feel empowered and intelligent on a subject I didn’t really think I ever would, but also because every car salesperson I’ve dealt with (all but one of whom have been male) has been surprised at my display of knowledge, and hasn’t been able to answer most of my questions. And there’s really nothing more satisfying than the stunned silence and look of embarrassment on the face of a smug, assuming male as he realizes his stereotypical world has been turned upside down.

*Special thanks to my dad for helping me and being my instructor throughout this process. #whoneedsaboyfriendwhenyouhaveyourdad #thatsoundsnotgreat #Iwouldfitinwellinthesouth

Make an Excel spreadsheet to compare the following important factors on all the cars you’re looking at: Please note: I do not make spreadsheets–I’m not the person who makes spreadsheets. But I finally broke and made one in this instance because it made it easier to compare/contrast different makes and models.

  1. # of doors (i.e. 2, 4)
  2. whether it’s all-, front-, or rear- wheel drive (aka AWD, FWD, RWD–AWD will cost more to maintain over the long run)
  3. Transmission (manual or automatic, 5- or 6-speed)
  4. BHP (brake horsepower–the higher the better/more powerful engine)
  5. Torque (measured in lb-ft., the higher the better/more powerful engine–you want it to peak and stay consistent at a low RPM)
  6. MPG (miles per gallon for city, highway, and combined avg)
  7. Weight (of car, in lbs)
  8. Engine displacement (measured in liters)
  9. Cylinders in engine
  10. BHP/Weight (the horsepower to weight ratio–higher the better/more powerful engine)
  11. 0-60 mph (how fast it can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour, measured in seconds)
  12. Where the engine redlines (ideally around 7)
  13. % weight distribution front/back (want this to be as close to 50/50 as possible, although for example, with a FWD vehicle, that’s going to be impossible–it’ll be more like 60/40)
  14. Tires (e.g. all-season)
  15. Gas (e.g. premium only)
  16. Warranty (standard is 3 yrs/36,000 miles for bumper-bumper (i.e. everything) and 5 yrs/50,000 miles for powertrain)
  17. Cost to owner (overall, at 1-5 yrs and 1-8 yrs)
  18. Cost to owner (for repairs, at 1-5 yrs and 1-8 yrs)
  19. Cost to owner (for fuel, at 1-5 yrs and 1-8 yrs)
  20. Reliability
  21. Owner satisfaction (% owners who would buy again)
  22. Insurance quotes per 6 months (the easiest way to get these is to send sample VIN #s to your insurance co., for either the exact car you’d be buying or a similar one), and how much more or less that is than what you’re currently paying for insurance
  23. Kelly Blue Book fair market range of prices (this will be before taxes and fees)
  24. MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price–can get from dealer)
  25. True Car Estimate (i.e. the best deal you can get for the car)
  26. Above Market/”Great”/”Good”/”Unusually Low”/Average prices for the car (can find all of this on Consumer Reports)
  27. Factory Invoice (what the dealer paid for the car–can get directly from dealer)

*I’ve found the most accurate source for finding technical specs is Car and Driver, the best resource for finding info on reliability, True Car Estimates, owner costs & satisfaction is Consumer Reports, and a good resource for finding fair market prices of new and used cars is Kelly Blue Book.

If you have an AAA or Costco membership, go through their car buying programs to get good discounts.

I’ve heard Costco is the most competitive, but I would go through as many as possible to compare prices–again, you can also get True Car Estimates (from either Consumer Reports or directly from True Car), but a word to the wise about those: True Car Estimates are based largely on theoretical models. I.e. you get to build your ideal car, and the estimate is based on that, when that exact model may not exist in reality. For example, if you build the cheapest model, without any added packages, you’ll get the cheapest theoretical price. But most models don’t come with zero packages (I.e. more standard packages like rubber mats, first aid kits, and roadside assistance, to more specialized options, like lighting and driver assistance packages). However, a lot of dealers will still try to honor the True Car price or as close as possible to it, or if they don’t have the model it’s based on in stock, they’ll try to find you that model or a model that’s as close to it you can get. Remember to bring a printout of the certificate that shows the price quote you get from any of these car buying programs to the dealer.

Test drive a lot

Go into several different dealers to compare prices, and make sure you test drive all the cars you’re thinking about buying. While the information in the above Excel sheet matters, ultimately your choice comes down to your personal taste and how the car feels to drive.

Bargain

Perhaps the most uncomfortable part of the car buying process, bargaining is a necessary evil. The good news is, bargaining is the dealer’s job. They’re used to it. They do it all day, every day. And they’re going to be way sleazier than you, so don’t worry about coming off in an unsavory way. Every car salesman is pretty much the same: a chubby guy named Bobby who thinks that by slicking back his hair and wearing a button down that is accidentally only partially tucked into slacks that are too long and sagging (HOW HARD IS IT TO USE YOUR BELT CORRECTLY, SIR??), and talking down to people, honestly believing they’re buying what he’s selling, he can fool himself and everyone else into believing he’s a professional. But the hair gel doesn’t disguise who he really is: a middle-aged man who most likely still lives in his mom’s basement and spends his free time alternating between masturbating, eating Jack in the Box, and playing video games, and the stupid way his face moves when he’s talking to customers like they’re preschool children isn’t an endearing quality, and in fact he should probably wipe the stupid smirk right the fuck off his face.

Once you realize this is who you’re dealing with, the bargaining becomes far less intimidating, and way more fun. Basically, you get to fuck with Bobby, and he doesn’t get to fuck with you. He doesn’t want to lose the deal, so no matter what, he’ll keep trying to negotiate with you until you’re both satisfied. The other thing to keep in mind is if you’re worried about pushing him too far, don’t be, because he will tell you when he’s reached his bottom line. But because he wants so badly to gain your business, you may be able to get him pretty far before he can’t go any further. Dealers don’t make their money in car sales–they make it in maintenance–so they’re willing to move on sales prices.

Pull the trigger when it feels right

You can do all this research and bargaining, but ultimately, go with your gut. Personally I don’t believe in “gut feelings”/intuition, but I do think there’s something that sort of clicks when you find the right car for you. Again, this moment will probably happen when you’re test driving it. Your car should be practical and safe and economical and well-built and all that, but, above all, it should be your spirit animal. Things are going to get intimate between the two of you–so you may as well be comfortable. For some of us, this means counteracting our first inclination/urge. Like, apply the same logic that you’ve learned to use re: people you sleep with–historically, those you have jumped into bed with on impulse have turned out to be sociopaths, so maybe use a little more cautious approach. Like, the mustang may be really fun and sexy, but let’s be real–it’s impractical, unreliable, and won’t text you back.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/dont-person-idiots-guide-car-shopping/

As Featured on News Cult: Tips for Dealing with Rude People

If you’re like me, you have to deal with approximately one billion rude people every day. Rude people are like exercise–absolutely intolerable. Under no circumstance are they ok. But, they’re also like exercise in that they’re an inevitable part of life…. Nope. Can’t even buy that myself. But you get what I’m saying–they’re here, and we’re not happy about it, but we need to deal with them. Here’s what I do when I encounter or am forced to interact with someone rude.

Raise the pitch of your voice

Take it up a few notches–really turn on the “I’m so happy I could just die” tone of voice. It’ll drive them nuts. But they won’t be able to accuse you of anything–what are they gonna say, your tone of voice is too polite? HAHA, SUCKERS.

Ask them if they talk to their mother that way

Cover your ears and close your eyes

And when they flip out at you for doing so, just say, “I’m going to my happy place, which is wherever you’re not. Literally anywhere you are not. It could be barefoot in a dark alley full of AIDS-tinted syringes, and it would be perfect as long as you weren’t there.

Plaster on a smile

This, combined with the high voice, is the literal interpretation of ‘kill them with kindness’ (#hopefully #fingerscrossed #prayingforyou)

Start talking over them

And when they interrupt you, say, “Oh sorry, were you talking? I couldn’t hear you over the sound of bullshit coming out of your mouth. Just gushing out. An impressive amount, really.”

Tell them their attitude “isn’t working for you”

Just say it on repeat, in the most level-headed, calm manner possible. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy the entertainment.

Spray them in the face

This is why you need to carry a spray bottle of water around in a holster on your belt at all times. Have I taught you nothing? Every time they utter a rude word–SPRAY. Sassy cashier? SPRAY. Unhelpful nurse (is there any other kind?)? SPRAY. Sir, the fasten seat belt sign is ON, please return to your[SPRAY]Did you just spray[SPRAY]I’m going to have to ask you to[SPRAY].” You can change up the settings depending on their behavior, too–slight offenses deserve a spritz, but as soon as they start accusing you of not following the protocol when you KNOW you followed the protocol, don’t tell us what the protocol is we are very well aware of it and ALWAYS follow it so think twice before you question our intelligence and integrity–put that fucker on STREAM.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=60860

As Featured on News Cult: Mom Jeans: Let’s Discuss

Mom jeans… Means? The topic of hot debate in recent years. Forget the Middle East, abortion, and Obamacare–we know our priorities, and they are mom jeans. I’m certainly no fashion expert, but I do have thoughts on this subject. And by thoughts I mean questions. I would like to get into mom jeans for a moment. Congratulations to me for that fantastic pun. You’re all welcome.

So we all know what the mom jean is–that high waist thoughhhhh. But first off, why is it called the mom jean? I guess the answer is obvious–because historically it has been worn by stereotypical stay-at-home mom types, especially in the 80s/90s. But why did those women originally gravitate toward that cut of jean? As my brilliant best friend pointed out to me the other day, when I sent her an exuberant text message saying I’d discovered the solution to love handles–to just pull the waist of your pants up higher–it’s probably because the high-waisted style does contain all the jiggly bits. And, by virtue of them having born children, moms are more likely to have jiggly bits, especially in the waist area. Take note, men: the next time you exercise your shallow, sexist beauty standards, remember that you’re full of shit, and your body will never be burdened by pregnancy, so what the fuck is your excuse for your fat, sagging gut? Where are the dad jeans? Maybe you should get a pair.

Moving on, how did we get from the mom jean originating as a product of functionality in a certain period of time, to them now resurfacing as a trend? First of all, I just don’t understand trends. Frankly, they’re kind of sad, because they show how utterly unoriginal humans are. We glom onto them because apparently we can’t think for ourselves and be unique. Way to go, losers. But even if you accept that trends are inevitable, why are certain products considered trendy at certain times, and others not? Like why are mom jeans all of a sudden back in style? I get that they’re “hip” because they’re reminiscent of simpler times, and perhaps they’re even supposed to be ironically funny in a self-aware way, because, looking back from our perch high atop a more evolved society nowadays, mom jeans are just lol so funny omg i can’t believe anyone wore those what were they thinking?! As in, it’s now cool to be uncool. But what I don’t get is why it’s now cool to be uncool.

Why is it that people take something that was a product of its time, and try to re-purpose it in a way that says, “I know this is dorky, but I’m so boldly hip that I’m going to wear it anyways, and in so doing, stop being the lame underdog, and start being the really really cool top dog, but not like popular kid/jock/cheerleader/quarterback/prom royalty top dog, because I’m still uncool, but just in a cool way, you know? I’m still subcultural, man.” The problem with that rationale is, that eventually being uncool so that you’re perceived as cool establishes a rule that uncool is cool, and when uncool becomes cool, it’s no longer uncool. Are you following me?

In other words: ATTN, Hipsters: just because you wear acid wash mom jeans with your high tops, a fanny pack and Hawaiian shirt does not mean you have an ounce of hippie in you, or that you represent rebellion against mainstream culture, or that you’re just, like, so alternative and too school for cool. Here’s a thought: wash your hair, stop talking like you clogged your nose up with too much cocaine, take off your aviators because you’re in the housewares section of Target, build a bridge, and get over yourself.

If you’re going to wear mom jeans, wear them because you really need to tuck and tighten, don’t wear them because you’re so desperately self-conscious that you think you’re making a clever social statement, but really just latching onto the mainstream. Hint: if American Apparel is doing it, it’s not alternative. Personally, I won’t wear mom jeans because they actually do more harm than good for me in the love handle department, but I have no opposition to them on a purely technical level. Some people think they’re just unflattering or ugly–I really don’t give a fuck. I just don’t buy into the ‘hipster’ propaganda that seems to be the obvious engine behind the mom jean revival. And I guarantee you that the original wearers of the mom jean wouldn’t know or give two shits about what it means to be a hipster in today’s world. They’re too busy not being able to retire because of ow rapidly our economy is tanking, so forgive them if they’ve got more important things to focus on and aspire to than being Terry Richardson-bait.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/fashionable-unfortunate-mom-jeans-lets-discuss/

As Featured on News Cult: The Best Froyo Toppings

Frozen yogurt, AKA Froyo–the sweet, creamy nectar of what could only be God’s teat; or Betty White’s. It’s basically everything. And it can only be enhanced by toppings. Here are the best ones IMO (but let’s be real I know this shit like it’s the back of every guy’s head I’ve ever dated as he’s walked away from me I’ve got it down to a science and if there’s one thing IDFW, it’s this).

1. Waffle cone pieces

Hallelujah. I have no words for how delicious a waffle cone is. And when you get to break it up and have a piece in every bite? Dead.

2. Mochi

It’s all about the texture, people. These chewy little bits are so satisfying and provide a nice counterpart to the crunchy toppings.

3. Sprinkles

Again, a little crunchy, but without significant flavor or calories–if we can trick ourselves into eating without being painfully aware that we’re not consuming anything of significant substance, sign us up!

4. Fruit

ATTN: DEPENDING ON WHAT FLAVOR YOU GET. If you get a tart flavor, or sorbet, load it up with all the fruit you could ever desire. But if you get a dairy-based flavor, or creamier flavor, proceed with caution. I’m a big fan of raspberries, strawberries and blackberries–but I think when you move into mango/pineapple territory, you need to choose a little more carefully. Also, the fruit will freeze, so be prepared to bite into that–personally, I think that kind of takes the fun out of it, plus fruit is sort of healthy, and we don’t do healthy, so any excuse to avoid it.

5. Gummy Bears

Again, highly dependent on what flavor you get–I think these really only work with fruit flavors, the more tart/sorbet-adjacent, the better. These will also freeze, but we’ll put up with it because they’re not healthy, and also I personally like the tougher chewy texture that comes with slightly frozen gummies.

6. Chocolate chips

It’s important to incorporate a chocolate-based topping–this can be in the form of chocolate chips, M&Ms, chocolate shavings, or if you want to get a little crazy and add some peanut butter, spring for the Reese’s Pieces, or bits of Snickers, Kit Kat, peanut butter cups, whatever–go CRAZY.

7. A sauce

Caramel, milk chocolate fudge, regular chocolate syrup, or even that kind that gets hard when you drizzle it (that’s what she said?). This is a nice finishing touch that rounds out all the other toppings. Tie. it. together. guys. Exercise some grace and elegance–we’re not heathens, we know how to be polished when it really counts, i.e. when there’s food involved.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/lifes-short-plain-frozen-yogurt-best-froyo-toppings/

As Featured on News Cult: The 5 Sexiest Traits on a Woman

You mean besides being triumphantly majestic, emotionally intelligent, intuitive, logical, problem-solving unicorns straight out of a fairy tale in your wildest dreams? Women are obviously the best, but there are five characteristics that raise their sexy-meter even higher. Here they are.

1. A sense of humor

This is really the most attractive thing any human can ever have ever. Girls who can laugh at themselves, be self-deprecating without being self-sacrificing, and find the absurdity of life hilarious, are sexier than the sex scene in Atonement which was the only good part of that movie and can we just take a moment to talk about how horrific the little girl was and if I ever found myself alone in a dark alley with her I would not hesitate to give her an assertive kick to the shin (or two).

2. A body that tells a story

A body that is real and unique and imperfect. It has bumps and scars and curves; it is strong, powerful and vulnerable. It’s never boring, is inconsistent, and always changing. It has no expectations, and fits no mold. It does not define her, but supports her, is forgiving, and forgiven. It is beautifully mortal and always amused. Quite frankly, it’s a miracle.

3. An inquisitive mind

When a woman isn’t content to accept something that doesn’t make sense, something that is wrong, something that is shallow–isn’t vapid, but is constantly searching for answers, whether in the form of academic research, late night, hours-long conversations about the meaning of life, or a confident, calm objection to the mishandling of an insurance claim–that’s a huge turn-on.

4. Compassion

Of course we hate everyone and everything, but we still manage to summon kindness towards those in need of it. Compassion when it’s deserved, necessary, and helpful is important. There’s nothing sexier than a woman who feeds the children, or rescues the homeless rabbits, or simply smiles at someone who’s having a bad day. Because it demonstrates her selflessness–it shows that she’s not narcissistic, she realizes how unfair life can be and isn’t going to be a willing, passive bystander–she’s going to attempt to make a change with what little power she has, and going to do good to counteract all the bad. If nothing else, men, this means she’ll be GIVING IN BED ohhhhh got you there, didn’t I?

5. An adventurous spirit

You know what’s not sexy? Someone who’s boring. A lady who has wanderlust, on the other hand, seeks excitement and adventure, and isn’t afraid to take risks (men: please note this does NOT refer to her condom use decision-making), is definitely a panty dropper (boxers/briefs dropper?).

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=60082