As Featured on News Cult: How to Battle Homesickness

Even though being around family can be a challenge, being away from them can sometimes, surprisingly, be even worse. Being away from home will make you realize you have feelings you didn’t think you ever possibly could—love for other human beings, compassion, sensitivity, the need for close relationships, and all the other things that have historically made you gag.  Enter: homesickness. Whether you’re going to sleep away camp for the first time at 10 years old or living and working in a faraway city, alone, in your 30’s, homesickness is real. Here’s how to battle it.

Video chat

For some reason this is more fulfilling than other forms of communication, like regular phone calls, texting, emailing, etc. Probably because it feels more real since you can see each other, disappointing bodies and all. And the software continues to become more accessible. You can pretty much do it any time, anywhere—while you’re at the grocery store, sobbing on your kitchen floor, need advice while clothes shopping, watching the same TV show so you can discuss and commentate in real time, during holiday gatherings so you can at least be virtually present for the dysfunction, and so on. My personal favorite is to video chat with my dogs. I don’t even need to see my family—just position the phone so I can see the animal and then you can leave.

Group texts

Loop your family into a group text chain so you feel like you’re still part of the tribe, can easily get/give updates, and won’t have a sense of displacement or missing out. Of course, you run the risk that your family members won’t respond to you or engage in the chain, which will make you feel like you’re talking to a wall, except this wall is composed of the only people you could probably ever really count on, although clearly you can’t, and I bet they have a whole separate chain going without you because frankly your loud voice annoys them and even though they can’t hear it over text they basically can because it’s that loud, plus they find your passion for certain conversation topics off-putting even though you think it’s perfectly reasonable to demand that if someone is going to say that they liked Spotlight, and, furthermore, didn’t take issue with Mark Ruffalo’s facial twitch, which can’t even be made ok by his stellar real-life politics (#feelthebern), they should be prepared to defend their position.

Make a point of going home for holidays

As many as you feasibly can, given your work schedule and budget. Plan far ahead to save money and so you’ll have something to look forward to. This way you won’t feel isolated during  every holiday (just most of them—silver linings, guys!). Like, even if you don’t give a fuck about Easter, go home for it, because otherwise, I guarantee that when your boss comes back from lunch one day having bought a giant nesting egg set to fill with candy for his toddler, you’ll burst into uncontrollable sobs about how you don’t have anyone who cares enough to plan an Easter egg hunt for you and yes you’re almost 30 but that’s not the point it’s the thought that counts and right now the only thought anyone is giving you is that apparently you sound like an emotionally unstable elephant to your downstairs neighbor when you walk around even though you’ve explained to them that genetically you’re big-boned and you’re not sorry about it and furthermore your robust thighs are actually appreciated in certain cultures so MAYBE they should broaden their worldview.

Remind yourself of what a pain your family can be

If you meditate on this every day, you’ll be a lot more grateful for your solitude, and less homesick about it. Spend 10-20 minutes each morning (at sunrise of course) mindfully visualizing how irritating it was to live under your parents’ roof (seriously just because they’re subsidizing your existence does not give them the right to ask you how your day was), how painful dinners with your extended family are because everyone can never agree on just how much of an asshole your cousin’s baby daddy is, and how you have absolutely zero privacy when family visits or vice versa (locks on doors won’t stop them!). #here’stoneversharingabathroomeveragain

Be social

Ugh I know. I knowwwwwwwww. But I am only suggesting this as a last resort. If you’re feeling lonely because you miss your family and there’s no other immediate solution, (here’s looking at you, unanswered group texts), you need to put yourself in a social situation that will make you forget your homesickness. I’m sure if you search your soul hard enough, you’ll find a gathering you can attend for at least 30 minutes before coming to the conclusion that you need to be shot in the face, STAT. If all else fails, just go hang out in the freezer section of any given grocery store—that is where you’ll find your people. #icecream&frozenpizza #theHolyland

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/5-sure-fire-ways-get-home-sick/     

As Featured on News Cult: How to Save Money by Eating In

Eating out is so much easier than eating in. It requires no effort on your part and yields much better-tasting results. However, it’s also much more expensive than eating in. Which means we can’t afford to do it more often than not. So here are some tips for making eating in easier and more appealing, which will help you save that (aka, “dat”) money.

Microwave

The microwave is your best friend. Jury’s out on whether you should stand in front of it while it’s on, but other than the fact that it could give you cancer, it’s your best resource! Now, a lot of microwavable food is disgusting. So you have to choose wisely. I’ve found that, overall, Trader Joe’s selection of food for people who are alone in life heat-and-serve options is pretty on point. I’m also a fan of Amy’s. Plus, you can make things in the microwave that aren’t pre-packaged, also. E.g., pop a tortilla in there with some cheese and BAM—quesadilla. Pop a tortilla in there with some PB&J and BAM—PB&J-adilla. Pop some tortilla chips in there with black beans, salsa, and shredded cheddar layered in between and BAM—nachos. And it’s not just tortilla-related items you can make from scratch in the m-wave (we have nicknames for each other), but you can also throw in a sweet potato so you can tell your mom you ate a vegetable when she calls. #adulthood

Food that requires minimal-to-no prep

There’s lots of food that comes ready to eat, in case you’re feeling lazy, which you are, always. Like most fruits and veggies, cheese, hummus, crackers, bread, nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, etc. You can basically make yourself a picnic out of options like this. It will feel very European (especially if you add wine and ride around on a bicycle with a baguette sticking out of your messenger bag). This type of eating in is basically snacking all day, which is my personal favorite. Who doesn’t love snacks!? I bet even Jeffrey Dahmer loved snacks. Ok bad example.

And if by some stroke of luck, you feel like you can put in a bit of effort to your meal-making, there are still lots of options on the easier side. Like steel cut oats (if you get the quick-cooking kind, you only have to boil and then simmer them for 2-5 min—I like to add raisins, honey, and walnuts), smoothies (throw in some frozen fruit, yogurt, juice or almond/soy milk and you’re good to go! If you’re the person who adds leafy greens, crawl into a hole and die.), yogurt with granola, cereal, heat up some pre-made soup, pasta with olive oil and salt, eggs any way, etc. The world is your mother fucking oyster.

Try cooking

I know, I know. It’s so hard. But it can be kind of fun sometimes. Plus, if it turns out badly, you can just blame the recipe. Try to find some cookbooks that look interesting, and just have a go at it. Or, better yet, take a cooking class, where you’ll meet arguably the world’s most annoying segment of people. And, good news is, if you’re single, most recipes are for people who are loved multiple servings, so you’ll have lots of leftovers, extending one meal into four or five (or probably just one, but hey, we tried to try!).

Make your own coffee

You’ll save so much money if you don’t buy coffee or tea out! If you’re like me and you’re the sole reason Starbucks is still in business, it’s time to invest in a coffeemaker at home. And hopefully your office has a decent one, but if not, it’s worth it to bring your own there as well (but don’t be a dick and get the super eco-unfriendly Keurig or Keurig-adjacent machines). If you must, buy an espresso machine that can make all the fancy drinks. Worst comes to worse (or however the fuck that saying goes), get a not-completely-shitty brand of instant coffee for emergencies (where there’s a will, there’s hot water). And I find that keeping some simple creamer or milk and sugar on hand does just fine. Plus, if you’re a fan of flavorings, you can buy bottles of all of those syrups, regular and sugar-free, at most grocery stores or online.

Bring lunch to work

Don’t fall into the trap of eating out every day. It’s such a money-suck. Yes, I’m aware that all of your co-workers do it, but I’m also aware that they’re morons. Use any of the above methods of preparing your own food, and then just throw it into Tupperware that you can easily bring with you to work. I honestly loathe people who say they “meal prep” for the entire week on Sundays, but the idea of getting the next day’s lunch ready at least the night before isn’t completely terrible. If only because it affords you a few more minutes to sleep in the morning (in Sleep’s name we pray, amen), and prevents you from being able to use the “I don’t have time to make my lunch” excuse as you rush out the door (#butreally #don’ttrytoactlikeyoucareaboutbeingontimetowork #please).

If you leave your office during the day

Whether to go on a walk at lunch, just get some fresh air, drop something in the mail, or whatever, don’t bring your wallet, so that even if you want to stop somewhere and buy a snack or lunch or coffee, etc., you can’t. #becausewehavenowillpower #adulthoodonfleek

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/adulting-save-money-eating/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Deal with Getting Fired

At one point or another, you’re going to get fired. Everyone does (unless you’re balls-deep in nepotism). It’s just another shit fact of life to add to the pile. And it feels like a much bigger deal than it actually is, which is why you need some effective coping mechanisms so you can survive it. Here’s what I’ve learned about getting fired and the best way to deal with it.

Don’t take it personally

Even if it is personal. If you internalize it, you’ll shame spiral and that does no one any good. Of course, I suppose if you being fired is a result of your behavior, it could be a learning opportunity (excuse me while I choke down the vomit that the phrase “learning opportunity” induces)—but even that only goes so far before you have to move on and up. So whether or not it’s your fault, being fired is water off a duck’s back. It does not define you, it does not say some horrible truth about you, and it doesn’t have to prevent you from living your life. #rollingwiththepunchesrightthefuckoutthedoor #byeeeeee

Be cordial

While the chances are that if you’re being fired, it’s going to be a tense situation, regardless of the circumstances, try not to burn too many bridges. Whether your boss is the world’s largest prick or a nice guy who couldn’t afford to keep you on, be polite, professional, and unemotional throughout the process. If nothing else, this will up your chances of being able to get a good    reference out of them—and we’ll do anything if it benefits us, even if that means feigning politeness to someone we hope with our every waking breath gets hit by a bus, run over, and then backed over again by the bus, à la Suge Knight.

Ask for severance & a reference

If you’re not automatically offered it. The worst that can happen is they say no. Check your state labor laws to see if you’re legally entitled to severance, so that if you face resistance, you can back up your request with facts. And even if your employer isn’t bound by law to give you anything, I think it’s still worth a shot—you’ll never know until you ask. Likewise, ask if you can count on a good reference—ideally you’d get one in writing, but if nothing else, make sure you establish where you stand with your boss’ future recommendation or lack thereof so you don’t have to awkwardly reach out to them after you’ve officially cut ties (not that you can’t still reach out to them, but I find it’s easier to just get these things out of the way). And if they say they won’t give you a positive reference, at least you figured that out right out the gate so you won’t waste time relying on it and can game plan alternative references (and of course also how to ruin their life).

Make sure to document everything

Write down everything that happens and is said, and try to get everything in writing from your employer, just in case you have to file a complaint against them. If we’ve learned nothing else from Hillary Clinton, a paper trail is the best possible indictment. And also you don’t want to have to rely on your memory—it’s going to be really hard to recall exactly how many times your boss called you a “fucking cunt” if you don’t tally it as it’s happening (14).

Apply for unemployment

My understanding is that you’re eligible for unemployment if you’re fired/laid off, but not if you quit. Which is one of the perks of getting fired—we can outlast even the most untenable of employment situations if it means the difference between $0 and $500 per week. Sure, it’s never going to be as much money as you were making, but it’s something, and it will help tide you over until you find your next gig. #you’restillgonnaneedtocutbackonyourlattesthough #andyourbikiniwaxes #embracethebush

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/weve-deal-getting-fired/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Have a Good Relationship with Your Boss

Whether you have the boss from Hell or one who’s miraculously not the worst, there are ways to get along with them. Here’s how.

Remain positive

Your boss is going to ask a lot of ridiculous, maddening, aggravating things of you, and you’re going to want to throw them out the window and watch as their body splats into a million little pieces on the pavement, which is why you have to maintain composure, keep calm, and smile your way through all the bullshit. I don’t care how hard you have to fake it, just don’t let them see you sweat, break, or devolve into a homicidal maniac, no matter how much you’re tempted. Trust me, the time will come when you will have your vindication and you’ll be able to metaphorically smack their face with a baseball bat while you scream about how incredible their incompetency really is (or literally—no judgment here—this is a safe space).

Be yourself

You probably feel a lot of pressure to be someone you think you ‘should’ be, or the perfect employee, or fulfill a certain professional mold. But honestly, you will never live up to those expectations because let’s face it you’re mediocre at best, so you’ll crumble faster than blue cheese under that burden and end up worse for it. Your boss theoretically hired you because you’re you, so just be you.  And if they don’t like it, it’s probably not a good fit anyways (and of course they can go fuck themselves). Spending at least 40 hours per week putting on a performance is so unsustainable. Getting up each morning is impossible hard enough without the prospect of having to pretend to be someone else all day. So let’s not set ourselves up for failure (although when we fail, we do fail spectacularly).

Appreciate them

Look, there’s no doubt that they have a lot of shortcomings, and maybe even some just pure evil traits. But there’s something redeeming about everyone—so strap in, dig deep, and find it. If Jesus could do it, so can you. It may solely be the fact that they can’t resist donuts (and of course the plus side there is that they want to lose weight but never will because they can’t stop indulging their inner fatty, so we will take pleasure in their failure to become the svelte, vapid, vain POS of their dreams). Or maybe it’s that they give you things they don’t want, like that phone case they ordered but didn’t end up liking (one man’s “ugly” or “dysfunctional” is another man’s “IDGAF because phone cases are like hella expensive”), or the bottle of wine someone sent them but apparently isn’t to their liking (hey, we’ll take it—we don’t believe in “bad” wine), or the wedding gift from their in-laws, which, yes, is an atrocious bronze deer head, but could totally be repurposed as a coat hanger, and we’re poor so we don’t have the luxury of just running around buying real coat hangers.

Be honest

If you’re having a work-related issue, talk about it with your boss. Or even if you’re having a non-work related issue; like, I, for one, am pretty sure my boss is thrilled when I come into his office and announce, “I’m just going to go lie on my floor because I can’t deal with life. Isn’t it just really hard? Like, everything is awful.” You want to keep the lines of communication open, so that when there is a conflict, it can be worked through versus blown up to the point of a bigger problem going forward, or you getting fired, or you hiring a hit man to take out your boss. You just gotta be cool, man. Ride those waves, because yes there will be downs, but there will also be ups. Who knows, maybe your boss will admire your bravery when you tell them you don’t appreciate it when they yell at you and you would respond better to constructive criticism (or tbh no criticism at all because you’re a perfect snow angel), or they’ll appreciate your honesty when you own a mistake (or, as we like to call it, a “learning opportunity”), or they’ll come into your office with a box of Girl Scout cookies and talk about their own personal problems for an hour. Honesty is the key to a good relationship (or so I hear). And it’s also the only way to build trust (and you can’t abuse someone’s trust if you don’t have it in the first place).

Look at them as an ally

Like it or not, you and your boss are allies by definition. So even if you’d jump ship given the right opportunity, or even if you pray for their painful death every night, or even if it seems like their sole purpose in life is to make yours terrible, you do work for them and they do need you. So find a way to play nice. And maybe you’ll even realize that you can actually help each other. Even if your boss is basically Hitler, if you come through for them, the chances they’ll come through for you, whether it’s in a letter of recommendation, or cutting you some slack when you need to take a personal day, or giving you a nice bonus, are that much higher. And no one is saying you can’t still subtly manipulate and destroy them, should that be warranted—just don’t be obvious about it. Keep your strategic warfare on the DL, and maintain the appearance that  clear skies are ahead so that you can get the best use out of your relationship with your employer. #friendsclose,enemiescloser #anallyisjustanenemyyoucanusetoyouradvantage #thefirstpartofthathashtagjustlooksliketheword’anally’

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/good-relationship-boss/

As Featured on News Cult: What to Do When You Get a Flat Tire

Apparently my life motto is, “Alex Eason: taking on all of the world’s car problems so you don’t have to.” As a newly anointed expert on the subject of flat tires, here’s my how-to guide for dealing with them.

1. Panic

You learned how to change a tire once in high school, but oh are those glory days long gone, so you’re SOL up the creek on this one, sans paddle if you know what I mean. Call your dad, obviously. Then lament your misfortune while you cry, of course. Be heavily disappointed in yourself for reinforcing sexist stereotypes, but then remember that every guy you’ve ever dated/every guy you’ve ever worked for/every guy you’ve ever met can’t change his own tire either and feel smugly vindicated that their bitch asses are just as useless as yours.

2. Lie on the ground and give up, because there is clearly no point to living anymore.

3. Call roadside assistance

Because you’re a pathetic excuse for an adult. This is why you get AAA. Or, you could rely on the roadside assistance that came with your car, and 5 hours + 2 cancelled tows later, you’ll be on your way to the mechanic in a tow truck that feels like an earthquake simulator and a driver that’s high, but don’t worry, because he can show you where the only Fatburger in/around LA County that didn’t sell out and still serves wings in a sweet and tangy orange sauce is.

4. Ask if it can be patched

Usually, if the flat is caused by something like a nail in the tread, it can be patched, as opposed to damage to the side wall. Patching is way less expensive than replacing a tire and is totally sufficient. #webroke

5. If you find out it was not an accident, but that somebody slashed it…

Find out who that person is, and then exact revenge in ways they’ve never even heard of (their credit score? Decimated. Their name? On the No Fly List. Herpes? Contracted for the sole purpose of spreading; successfully spread). What they didn’t consider when they slashed your tire is that you’d be able to find out it was them, by means beyond their wildest dreams, and now you get to haunt their every waking moment, which will be plagued by the relentlessly terrorizing knowledge that you know, and you know they know you know, and any instant, a metaphorical bomb could drop (or a real one—just make sure you do it with the stealth of Obama in the drone wars), and BAM—poof goes their illusion that they could get away with fucking with you. Silly rabbit, we don’t get fucked—we fuck. #wedothefucking

6. Leave the shitty tow company that cancels on you a bad Yelp review

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.47.30 PM     Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 11.29.48 AM

Finally make good on your threat to leave a Yelp review.

7. Become friends with the mechanic

He’ll laugh at the “I ❤ MY PENIS” air freshener hanging from your rear view mirror, and you’ll tell him that it’s supposed to be a joke but also kind of a feminist statement, and he’ll respond with, “it’s cute,” and then he’ll tell you he’s impressed that you drive a stick because not many girls do, and you’ll be so tempted to point out all of the patriarchal things wrong with alll of that, but you bite your tongue because anything in the name of getting things for free, right? #it’shardoutthereforafeminist

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/7-ways-handle-flat-tire-like-adult/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Get Out of Jury Duty

I’m one of the few people who can’t wait to do jury duty. I find it fascinating—the whole legal process, fighting for justice, being a part of it all. Unfortunately, the only times I’ve been called to report have been in my hometown, where I no longer live, so I have yet to actually have the chance to serve my civic duty—every time I miss an opportunity to report for jury duty, a puppy loses its innocence.

I’m aware, though, that my outlook on jury duty is contrary to popular sentiment. So, for those of you who wish to shirk your responsibilities and have no interest in advocating for due process, the best way to get out of jury duty is to say something during the screening process that calls into question your sanity, potential bias, and/or intelligence. Thus, here are the best lines to use.

“I support Donald Trump—those Muslims have really got to go. It’s only logical.”

• “I don’t like Gilmore Girls.”

• “I’m going to go visit the mother ship just as soon as I’ve finished burning my next door neighbor at the stake—I caught her entering the local Planned Parenthood, aka Baby-Killin’ Sinner Factory, the other day—can you believe it?!”

• “I do CrossFit.”

• “I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton—obviously—she voted FOR the Iraq War and gave weapons deals to Clinton Foundation donors!”

• “Some of my idols are Tom Cruise, Will Smith, John Travolta, Leah Remini before she was possessed by the Devil…”

• “I’m not a fan of sweets…”

• “I’m not going to vote for Bernie Sanders—after all, he voted AGAINST the Iraq War and has served as a true public servant over his lifetime, failing to amass exorbitant wealth in the process—where does he get off, running for president when he isn’t a corrupt, greedy warmonger?”

• “I tried CrossFit once.”

• “I use the ‘pull out’ method.”

• “Climate change isn’t real. Nope—it’s just a buncha liberals up in the sky holding their space heaters down at us.”

• “I wear fedoras.”

• “I own a Confederate flag belt buckle.”

• “I don’t believe leggings count as pants.”

• “I don’t believe healthcare is a human right. Maybe if all you poor people would just pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and stop being non-white and be born into a wealthy family and shop at Whole Foods like me, you wouldn’t get cancer.”

• “I enjoy CrossFit.”

“I wear a Confederate flag belt buckle.”

• “I go to strip clubs and read Playboy and am in a fraternity/sorority and in favor of elective cosmetic surgery and thought MAD MAX was a feminist movie and generally support the degradation and subjugation of women in this society.”

• “I take selfies.” [yes I am guilty of this and yes I think just as poorly of myself for it as I do everyone else #myselfhatredknowsnobounds]

• “I juice.”

• “I’m proud to be a Millenial.”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/get-jury-duty/

As Featured on News Cult: 6 Tips for Doing Your Taxes

As someone who regularly does her taxes late and fumbles through them each time, I’ve learned there are several things you can do to make the process slightly less painful. And, as usual, if anyone else can benefit from my failures learning experiences, I hate them that’s a win. Follow these tips for doing your taxes so that you, too, don’t have to spend many-a-late night sobbing in a pile of receipts with your parents on FaceTime because you don’t understand what “depreciation” means and if you should itemize your deductions and the difference between a W-2 and a W-4 like why couldn’t they at least use different letters C’MON.

1. Get Turbo Tax

Good fucking luck doing your taxes by hand. And even with Turbo Tax, you’ll be crying tears of confusion, but it’s def the easiest way to DIY.

2. Take advantage of every possible deduction

So many things are tax deductible: charitable contributions (because you need another motive to donate besides just doing something nice), medical expenses, work expenses (including office supplies, miles driven for work, and even things like entertainment expenses–cable, movie tickets, iTunes, etc.–if you work in entertainment), etc. We’re poor so we’re going to claim the shit out of every deduction possible. GET THAT MONAYYYYY.

3. ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE, ORGANIZE

This means thinking ahead. Which we fail marvelously at. But it’s never too late to change, right? (Just vom’d a little in my mouth. Hate when people say that. FUCK people who say that).

So anyways, organize your receipts each year by category, starting Jan 1. E.g. “healthcare expenses,” “car expenses,” “work-related expenses,” etc. So that when it comes time to calculate deductions, you can simply tally them up vs. completely guessing and throwing random numbers out there that aren’t round in order to throw off suspicion. And keep all tax forms you’re given (like your W-2 from your employer, any tax forms related to your IRA, etc.) in one place so you can easily access them when tax season rolls around.

4. Start Early

Taxes are due April 15, so you should be starting in March at the latest, because they will take waaaaaay longer than you think. If you’re like me, though, and procrastination is your favorite hobby, you can always file an extension, in which case you have until October 15. HOWEVER: if you file an extension, you still have to pay any taxes you’ll owe by April 15, and if you don’t, you’ll have to pay a late fee come October 15. It’s kind of hard to estimate the amount of taxes you’ll owe without actually doing them, but Turbo Tax will help you calculate this. And if you won’t owe any taxes, obviously you don’t need to pay anything upfront and won’t owe a penalty. And if worse comes to worst, you’ll just pay the late fee, which isn’t horribly high (unless you owe a ton of taxes but we’re not rich so this is the one time being in the 99% pays off).

5. E-file

For both federal and state. So much easier than mailing in your returns. Then you don’t have to worry about a postmarked-or received-by deadline, or anything getting lost in the mail, or killing 5,000 trees by printing everything. Everyone wins.

6. But mail in your payments (if you end up owing taxes)

If you pay by credit card, you have to pay an extra fee, which is a percentage of your taxes owed, as opposed to mailing in a check along with a voucher slip to accompany your e-filed returns. And while we support taxes in theory, because they pay for public services, we also want to give the government the smallest amount of money possible. So fuck extra fees. And fuck tha police. 

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/becoming-adult-6-tips-taxes/