As Featured on News Cult: How to Celebrate Father’s Day

I had to Google when Father’s Day is (sorry, Dad). But luckily I’m way ahead of the game and it’s not until June 19; (completely forgot to do a post about Mother’s Day… sorry, Mom). And when you have your shit remotely together for once, it’s worth commemorating. So here’s a list of ideas for how to celebrate, with plenty of time to plan/pull one of these out of your ass morning of.

1. Make a list of all the parenting mistakes your dad has made

And ways he’s failed you. Handwrite it for extra personal effect before you gift it to him.

2. Do a nostalgic activity

Growing up, I was daddy’s little boy, so when I quit soccer, I believe that was the most disappointing moment of my father’s life. So for me, this would be playing soccer with him/losing my breath after 2 minutes and disappointing him all over again.

3. Don’t express too much emotion

Things will just get weird if you do something like say “I love you,” so just keep a lid on it. No need for a hug—a pat on the back or sturdy handshake will do just fine. Perhaps even a chest bump, or barbaric grunt.

4. Go out to dinner

His treat.

5. Bring your significant other to meet him for the first time

Nothing says, “I love you, Dad,” like introducing your piece of shit boyfriend to him on a day that signifies family togetherness and appreciation. I find it helps if your guy doesn’t have a college degree or a job, can’t drink whiskey straight or engage in substantive debate about the morality of war, and puts on a lot of PDA.

6. Tell him you’re pregnant

And that soon enough your child will be celebrating Father’s Day! With whom, we don’t know yet, but we feel confident we can narrow it down to 3 candidates, +/-.

7. Offer to join him in an activity he likes

Like golf—all dads like golf, right? Join him for a spastic bout of swinging the club and taking chunks out of the ground, never hitting the ball game. Or buy him some nice cigars—that’s another dad thing, right? Offer to sit in the den with him and choke while sucking on the wrong end smoke one by the fire.

8. Ask him for money

Parents love when you do that! Nothing says “I appreciate you, Dad,” more than, “I need you to bankroll my lifestyle.”

9. Get him a dog

And then take on zero responsibility in caring for it.

10. Give him comments on his will

Ask him for a copy of it, redline and annotate that shit, and get it back to him for countersignature. #he’swelcome

11. Get into an explosive, hysterical argument

It’s not a family gathering without one, right?

12. Move back home

#Surprise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If anything, he should be grateful, because someone is going to have to wipe his ass for him in his old age. #47isthenew74 #youmaythinkyou’reyoungandhealthy,butyouknowwhoelsethoughtthat? #StephenHawking

13. Make him a card

Nothing too flamboyant, lest you insult his masculinity. But maybe some neutral-toned cardstock with a navy blue or forest green accent, perhaps some plaid ribbon if you’re feeling courageous, and black or blue ink only.

14. Ask him to bail you out

“I used my one phone call on you! That’s how much you mean to me.”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/14-things-youre-dad-will-really-really-love-get-fathers-day/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Boost Your Mood

Our mood is perpetually bad. We hate everything, and with good reason. But, we’re stuck here, so we may as well try not to be miserable 24/7. Enter: mood boosting. A technique we use to delude ourselves into feeling a little less bad for a little while. Here’s how to do it.

Sleep

I find that sleep is the solution to every problem. Got too much to do? Sleep. Sick? Sleep. You’re unlovable? Sleep. Throw. in. the. to. wel. You’ll be less cranky the more you sleep. Mostly because you’ll have to spend less minutes in the day facing the sad pathetic reality that is your life and the terrible people who surround you. #here’stobeingunconscious

Change up your routine

You know what puts you in a bad mood? The same old bullshit drudgery of the day-to-day. So do something different. I don’t care if that means buying a different scent of deodorant (“powder” is only “fresh” for so long you feel me?), taking off on an unplanned road trip in the middle of your workday, or telling your company’s receptionist to blow you—just give yourself a jolt of newness. Something to upset the status quo and pointlessness that you live alldayeveryday.

Take a bath

Baths are such refuge—a place to escape physical & mental distress. Baths are like safe zones, where nothing exists—everything just vanishes and you become weightless. It’s really too bad you ever have to get out. I hate to make the womb reference, but I’m gonna go there—we can fuck with the womb. It’s when we leave it that everything goes south. #it’salldownhillfromthere #oruphill? #becausedownhilliseasy #uphilliswhattakeseffort #eventhoughupisgenerallythedirectionassociatedwithpositivity #butlikeforrealcansomebodyclarifythatsaying

Listen to music, watch TV or a movie

Good music is king. Or watch a funny TV show. Live in someone else’s world for a while. #areyounoticingapattern #ifyou’renotgoingtoletusdoheroinwe’regoingtoneedothermeansofescape

….. Exercise?

I mean…. because.. science? Ugh it’s so hard to try to act like I believe in exercise. Frankly I don’t care if it produces good end results. Like, the journey isn’t worth it for real. Fuck endorphins, man, all you need is Skittles and chocolate milk.

Do something just purely for fun

Do something that’s not stressful, but just plain hedonistic. Whether that’s riding a roller coaster, coloring with your BAMF metallic colored pencils, playing Cards Against Humanity, having not-terrible sex (#istheresuchathing), eating something delicious, skydiving, looking at pictures of tween Drake for 3 hours, starting a Twitter war with Deborah Messing, or reading Hillary Clinton’s emails, just revel in it.

Medication

I’m not a pill-pusher, but life is hard enough—add to that serious mood swings or depression, and then it’s just like BYE. If medication actually helps you, go for it. Plus, you’ll become BFFs with your pharmacist—NO ONE will experience your ups and downs quite like him. #andnoonewillknowhowmanyyeastinfectionsyougetquitelikehim #that’struefriendship

Volunteer

Doing good makes you feel good. Also being around those less fortunate than you snaps you out of your privileged malaise. Or, if you want to do bourg-y volunteering, then hang with some puppies. If puppies don’t boost your mood then you should probably just kill yourself.

Go outside

Get some fresh air, or, if you’re in a place like LA, inhale the disgustingly polluted and toxic smog that surrounds you! Rain or shine, just soak it in, take some deep breaths, and remember that you can always leave wherever or whatever is putting you in a bad mood and get back to nature. That is, until climate change destroys it, the sun explodes and engulfs us, and we all burn to a crisp.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/9-things-will-really-boost-mood/

As Featured on News Cult: A How-To Guide to Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is cleaning on fleek. It’s not just your regular dusting, vacuuming, washing and scrubbing. It’s a complete overhaul of your home and life, both physically and spiritually. It’s a time to reassess and decide what you no longer want or need. And there are ways of doing it that streamline the process so that you get the most out of it. So here’s your how-to guide for spring cleaning.

Go into it from a minimalist perspective

The goal is to get rid of a lot of shit. We all have too much stuff, and there’s no need to live like that. It takes a literal and figurative load off when you toss unnecessary material items. So be prepared to just PURGE.

Set standards

For how you decide what to get rid of. I think that if you haven’t used something in the last year, that should be the main criteria. Then, things that are too worn, broken, or otherwise obviously can’t/won’t be used should go next. Otherwise, go with your gut—as you scan your belongings, if you don’t have a strong feeling or justification for wanting to keep something, or it just pulls at you or gives you weird vibes for whatever reason, decide to get rid of it.

Leave no stone unturned

Go through your entire home—every closet, under every bed, the attic, every cupboard, every storage bin—and pull out things to get rid of, using the above guidelines.

Make categories

For how you’re going to get rid of things. Usually, these are along the lines of throw away/recycle, donate/give away, or sell. This will help you feel more productive, and not like you’re just wasting everything by throwing it in the trash. If you’re super anal and your spirit animal is the label maker organized, you can make cute, color-coded labels for your categories.

Do the trashing/recycling first

Get it out of the way. Throw away or recycle (if possible) everything you want to get rid of that isn’t nice enough to donate, give away, or sell. **Please note** Your neighbors will apparently go through your trash so don’t throw anything away you aren’t prepared to see on the front page of the newspaper.

Then move on to the donating/giving away

Choose a charity or cause that you’ve vetted and you’re passionate about, and donate everything you possibly can to it (and as many others as you’d like). The best part of this is that you are doing good, (unless you’re a Republican, and then the best part for you is that you get a tax write off). Don’t be an asshole and donate shitty stuff—only donate gently used or new things (or follow the rules of the place you’re donating to, if it has them).

Another option is to give away things to your friends, family, neighbors, or anyone else you think could benefit from or would appreciate them. If you have stuff you’ve bought that’s brand new and you ‘ve never used, you can also repurpose it as gifts. I know that etiquette people are going to jump down my throat for this one, but why waste more money/resources if you already have something that would make an appropriate gift? Plus, it’s handy to keep a “gift drawer” at home that’s stocked with some nice little gifts anyways, in case you come upon a last minute need for one (read: when you’re a shitty friend/guest and don’t think ahead).

Or, you could throw a swap meet, where you and a  group of friends get together and bring items you’ve decided to get rid of that you can trade each other for. This is just a way to make spring cleaning more fun—make a party out of it (read: any excuse for alcohol)! And so that it doesn’t completely defeat the purpose of decluttering, you could make a rule that for each item you trade, you have to donate another. At the end, you can all make a drunken visit to your local Good Will or another organization and drop off your donations together.

Any of these ‘give away’ options will make you feel better about the incredible amount of money you’ve wasted buying things over the years. #noregrets #YOLO #HAGS 

Then sell

I’m not well-versed in the selling used items thing, but I know that some people are successful doing it. If you’re strapped for cash, see if a consignment or vintage store will take any of your clothes (although I’ve heard a lot of them are pretty snooty and don’t take even genuinely nice stuff—like, you’re a used clothing store, you’re already out of elitism’s reach… GTF over yourself). Or see if you can sell stuff online (I’ve had some success with selling college textbooks on Amazon). If you live near the endangered species known as bookstores and record stores, try selling your books/CDs/DVDs/albums there. Or get a booth at a flea market. I also just tried using thredUP, and while I just sent in my first bag so can’t make a super definitive personal value judgment yet, from what I can tell, they’re a good service—I especially like that they recycle items that people send them but they can’t sell (read: the offensively unstylish P’s OS you send in that no one, not even a naked redhead stranded on a beach at high noon, would wear).

Avoid keeping things at all cost

If you’re like me, you have hoarder instincts, which lead you to hold onto things for no reason. You even hold onto sentimental items that make you feel bad, like cards from old boyfriends, jeans that no longer fit, or other reminders of how you’ve failed at life that you’re fooling yourself into believing are somehow motivational to you in a positive way. But why keep stuff around that makes you feel bad or that otherwise serves no purpose (which then just makes you feel bad anyway because it’s proof of your wastefulness)? I mean, I know we’re not as bad as refusing to get rid of our baby’s dirty diapers or collecting every toothpick we’ve ever used, but still, holding onto anything that is in any way excessive or useless just doesn’t make sense. So just let it go. In other words, rather than confront your demons, just get rid of them. #denial #ifpantsaretootightandthey’renotintheclosettohauntyou,aretheyreallytootight?

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/guide-spring-cleaning/

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 Get Over Being a People Pleaser

Even though we hate people, we still feel the need to please them. Because we are painfully self-aware, self-conscious, and apologetic, for no good reason. Except oh wait I can think of one—we live in a society that condemns assertiveness, save for self-important, over-compensational, egomaniacal men (although don’t get me wrong—P’s OS come in all genders). But just because we’re decent, humble human beings, doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our own well-being or sense of self. I, for one, am sick of giving people preferential treatment ahead of myself, especially because most of them don’t deserve it and wouldn’t do the same for me. So if you’re with me, here’s how to get over being a people pleaser.

Nip it in the bud

The next time you find yourself about to bend over backwards for someone, just shut. it. down. I don’t care if you’re literally bending over backwards—pick that shit up—or if you’re mid-sentence: “Sure, I guess we could go to that restaurant…” Just stop talking and turn it around: “… Actually no. That place is really expensive, awful, and I’m not going there at 10 PM on a Monday because they didn’t have any other reservations. That’s three hours past my bedtime and frankly anywhere that ‘trendy’ can blow me. And the horse I rode in on.” If it helps, carry around a spray bottle and spritz yourself in the face every time you start pleasing people (that sounds uncomfortably sexual but you know what I mean)—use pepper spray if you have to. Breaking yourself of this habit is going to take discipline, and if that means severe measures, so be it.

Use rage as your fuel

What I find particularly backwards is that, often, the people we feel the need to placate or appease the most are the people least deserving. For example, when someone is blowing their secondhand smoke in our face, we feel like we would be rude to ask them to stop, so we just breathe it in, even though they’re the rude ones for spreading their fumes. Or when someone is tailing us in traffic, we feel pressure to speed up and accommodate them, even though they can kiss our bumpers. So just let the rage that the intimidating person incites in you fuel your refusal to bow down, and, further, your insistence on standing up to them, telling them what’s what, and pulling the cigarette straight outta their ugly fucking mouth and sticking it right into their big fucking forehead. #WE’RENOTREADYTOMAKENICE #WE’RENOTREADYTOBACKDOWN #NEITHERARETHEDIXIECHICKS

Remember most people aren’t as accommodating

While you’re out there busting your ass to make everyone happy, they’re just looking out for #1. I mean really, how many people go out of their way to make sure all of your needs are met on a regular basis? What’s that, your loving boyfriend/girlfriend/life partner/mom does? Well how nice for you. But the rest of us are faced with constant disappointment in others on an unrelenting basis. So why bother? Quid pro quo, bro.

Know that people aren’t paying attention

As much as you think. You’re worried they’re as wrapped up in what’s going on as you, and that they’ll notice if you don’t go above and beyond to make their every wish come true, when, really, they’re thinking about how fat they do or do not (but do) look in that skirt. They probably wouldn’t even think twice if you didn’t add in that extra exclamation point at the end of your text message, or only had 3 instead of 4 gluten-free snack options for movie night, or decided to sit out clubbing because your pajamas sound more appealing. Trust that people are much more narcissistic than you give them credit for.

Know your worth

You are worthy, and are not obligated to chip away at yourself in order to make others happy or satisfied. You deserve your own attention, too. Now don’t go crazy, here—I’m not saying you should take care of your health by going to the gym or eating vegetables or anything ridiculous like that. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t put others before yourself. Unless they’re like your kid or something, in which case, it’s your fault they exist so don’t be an asshole.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/get-people-pleaser/

As Featured on News Cult: How to Talk to Republicans

Republicans are… the worst. They range on a sliding scale from really bigoted and greedy to slightly less bigoted and greedy. Some of them want to be selective republicans (i.e., “I’m socially liberal but fiscally conservative“), but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a fucking Republican; (news flash: thinking gay marriage is all good does not negate your insistence that rich people should pay the same amount of taxes as someone living below the poverty line. BLOW ME.). Needless to say, interacting with them without becoming homicidally suicidal is basically impossible. So allow me to help you—here’s how to talk to republicans.

Try to find some common ground

And cling to that. Do not veer onto other topics of conversation—stick with only what you can agree on. I.e.:

•”So, I bet you like ice cream. Everybody likes ice cream, right?”…… “Oh, you think it’s a gateway drug? Okay.”

•”Aren’t cardinals just beautiful birds?”…… “You don’t like them because they’re red, the color of grubby Communist leeches? Great!”

•”It’s so hot out today!”….. “Climate change isn’t real?… Awesome.”

Be drunk

Inebriation will just help so much with the whole being in their presence thing. It’ll be easier to let the awful things they say slide off your shoulders if you’re two sheets to the wind. But make sure to stay happy drunk—the last thing we need is to enter the belligerent drunk zone, where all will go to hell at the first mention of “pro life.”

Imagine you’re talking to a small child

Turn up the baby voice, use only simple words, and speak very slowly. E.g.:

•”Hi there! That is a pretty shirt you have on.” [Pinch their cheeks]

•”Well aren’t you just a little bitty cutie wootie! Yes you are. Yes you are!”

•”I bet you have a lot of cool toys! Let me guess—some baby dolls, toy guns, and a miniature Audi R8?”

Challenge them

If politics come up, you cannot stand idly by while they spout absurd nonsense. It is your duty to speak out and protest. So challenge them on their stances. Like, if they say they don’t think healthcare should be socialized, ask them if they think it’s a human right and should be accessible to all people, or only those who cheat on their taxes and hide their money in offshore trust funds so they’re wealthy enough to afford its exorbitant costs. If they’re a proponent of U.S. military violence and intervention abroad, ask them on precisely what grounds, demanding they explain starting from the inception of whatever conflict/war they’re attempting to justify (so at least a century ago). If they say they’re against abortion, ask them why they think it’s their right to dictate what other women can do with their bodies, when they’re perfectly entitled to control their own shitty body and decide whether or not to litter the earth with their own terrible offspring. And because undoubtedly their claims will be baseless, come ready with a printed and bound book of written sources that provide evidence to back up your assertions. And a mic to drop.

Don’t

Sometimes it’s just too much, because you can’t stand what they’re saying and you can’t change their minds—so just don’t talk to them if you can avoid it. If you can’t avoid it (which like why couldn’t you unless you willingly surround yourself with repubs, which says a lot more about your character judgment and integrity than anything else—meaning it says that you’re the problem, because you can’t just ‘agree to disagree’ with the most important people in your life on the most important issues in your life/the world/everyone else’s lives DON’T BE SO SELFISH AND HYPOCRITICAL), then just always have an excuse ready to get out of the conversation. Whether it’s that you need to grab some water [and never come back], are deaf, just got a call that your neighbor’s cat is in the ER, or that there are lots of homeless people dying on the streets who need your help because contrary to some people’s beliefs, they’re not just lazy drug addicts mooching off the welfare system, just bow out. #SEEYA #wouldn’twannabeya #orhaveyouinelectedoffice

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/how-to-talk-to-republicans/