Hannah’s Guide to When Shit Hits the Fan

Here is a story. 

We always had cats growing up. (For those of you who are now mad at me for being a cat person, we also had a dog later on.) My dream was to have a Cat named Cat when I grew up, just like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And so when I finally moved into an apartment without allergic roommates at 22, I was resolved to get one.

When I finally brought Caterine Hepburn home, it was probably one of the best moments of my life.

Part of it was the obvious cuteness of the new creature in my life, but a big part of it was also that this was the first decision I had really made for me, without anyone else’s input or encouraging. It was a self-constructed rite of passage; for years I had told myself that when I was an adult, I would get my own cat. It was a hallmark of independence for me.

Looking back, it was probably not a good idea to base the barometer of my ability to be a successful adult on the ability to keep a pet alive.

Especially because a few months later, she got sick with some genetic kitten disease. Completely panicked, I spent $2000 I didn’t have trying to figure out how to save her.

And she still died.

Look, I know what you’re thinking: it’s a fucking cat. And it’s not like I hadn’t experienced the death of a pet, or even of a family member, before. But something about this was different – not worse, but different. It completely shattered any of the confidence I had in myself. Because all of a sudden, when faced with the decision or when to put her down, I turned into a crying five year old begging for someone else to handle it. But there was no one. Because Cat was my responsibility. And it was my decision.

And I then had to live with that decision.

I binge watched The Haunting of Hill House in two days. I refused to sleep in the bed she cuddled with me in for a week. I cried daily. A month later, instead of having a birthday party, I decided to throw a Cat Funeral, where I got too drunk and cried during a slideshow primarily photos of her and my cat selfie-obsessed roommate.

Is it completely ridiculous? Yes, probably.

Will you find yourself in a similar position at one point, having to deal with something far before you expected to – whether it’s an unwanted pregnancy, an injury, unemployment, or a breakup? Will you find yourself feeling 5 years old again, crying and wishing someone else could handle things for you, only to realize there’s no one?

Definitely.

Will it destroy your image of your own capability; will it destroy the fragile confidence of being able to handle adulthood that you have built over the last couple years? 10000%.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t build up that fragile confidence; in all honesty, it’s the only thing that will carry you through everyday adulting. But I also want to caution you that even as you build it, you must know it will not be enough to carry you through when shit hits the fan. Which is, unfortunately, often what we base our idea of our own capability on.

Everyone falls apart when shit hits the fan. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re not an adult, or all your hard work at independence was simply a mirage.

What we should be building our confidence in ourselves on is our ability to handle the little stuff. AKA, just keeping yourself healthy and alive.

I think everyone feels this way right when they exit college, or move out on their own – this sort of, “oh, shit, I actually have to take care of myself.” I remember one of my roommates perfectly describing this: one night, she went out drinking. She came back and accidentally broke a glass in the bathroom. She was kind of drunk, and really tired, and all she wanted was to go to bed. Only we lived in a 2-bedroom, 1 bath with 5 girls. She couldn’t simply leave the floor littered with broken glass. And she could not call her mom or anyone else to come help her. We were all asleep, and it was her problem, after all. So she swept it up. 

Similarly, when I first moved into an apartment after college, food was no longer readily available. Oftentimes I would be too lazy or clueless or busy to cook, and then I would be starving with no food in sight. Maybe I’d had a long day, and all I wanted was some food before bed. But there was no one to make it for me. So I simply had to go to bed hungry or make dinner myself.

It’s tempting to use simple hacks. Maybe you’ll cover the glass with a thick rug until the morning. Maybe you’ll order takeout or eat 5 granola bars for dinner. Hey, whatever works – God knows I’ve been there, and am still there half the time. But I think dealing with that smaller stuff is the best way to at least know when the shit hits the fan that you are a capable adult outside of whatever crisis is happening. And one day looking back on things like break-ups and putting your cat down will hurt, but they will feel so much smaller than they did at the time.

Adulthood is far too big to ever conceive as a whole. Just focus on making yourself dinner, and the rest will come in time.

Hannah’s Guide to (Not Going) Back to School

One of the weirdest parts of graduating college is September coming around and nothing happening.

You don’t go back to school. Maybe the weather is getting colder, but otherwise it doesn’t feel much different from August. If you work in retail, your job may get less busy.

Yet you’re still bombarded with back to school ads and sales. It seems like people are setting goals and changing up their lives, and you’re just kind of….there…..

You no longer relate to Buzzfeed posts about going back to school. And you realize that, for the first time since you were a toddler, you’re not going to go to school this year.

Maybe you loved school. Maybe you hated it. But school is a great way to set benchmarks and milestones and make it feel like time is actually moving forward. You have designated breaks and times to be stressed. You know what to expect.

Out in the real world, it’s all just sort of….time. If you don’t work a M-F, 9-5, you’ll probably forget what day of the week it is. If you’re not working a lot with dates, you might forget what month it is. And if you’re living somewhere where there aren’t really seasons – like Los Angeles – you will literally feel like one season blends into the next.

Sure, there are still the holidays. But if you don’t live close to home, you might not even return to your family for the holidays.

Being an adult is VERY weird. The life you’ve known is wrenched away from you, and all of a sudden you’re expected to keep yourself healthy and alive. Which means making money, and spending that money well. You used to be surrounded by peers and family – now it’s just you alone in the big bad world.

Even if you hated school, it kind of sucks.

Here’s my advice: find a way to set your own milestones. Whether you check in in September, or after the New Year, or your birthday, find at least one time yearly (preferably bimonthly) to check in where you are and if you’re happy, or if you want to make a change. Because that’s one of the best things about adulting we often forget – you’re not really tied to anything. Not what your parents say. Not law (okay, yes you’re tied by the law, but now you’re a legal adult). Not teachers or a dorm or university or high school. It can be easy to get a routine and start seeing your job as school – you just have to keep moving through it and moving up indefinitely. But work has no real end except retirement, and that’s a LONG way away. So if you don’t like your job, or the direction your life is headed, it’s perfectly okay to change paths. You are literally not responsible for anyone but yourself – it’s a lot to be responsible for, but it also gives you the freedom to choose. You’ve got to look out for yourself, and not feel so responsible for people – especially in your 20s, when you haven’t really made any kind of commitments.

So take advantage of the back to school sales (Labor Day can be a great time to get cheaper furniture!) and don’t let yourself feel nostalgic about being in school – remember that when you were there, you were wishing you were here. This is what you wished for! And sure, it’s not what you expected – but nothing is. At least you have the power to change it.

You got this.

Hannah’s Guide to Getting Bangs

So you’ve finally decided you’re going to do it. You’re going to take the plunge and get bangs.

All jokes aside, some people look amazing with bangs. Of course, everyone cites Zooey Deschanel, but she’s not the only one.

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Plenty of other celebrities look amazing with bangs! Sure, they have stylists, but it is possible for the average person to get awesome bangs. You just have to make sure they’re the right style for you.

BARDOT BANGS

This is my personal favorite. The hair isn’t actually that short, or only a few pieces are, so it’s a great way to experiment with bangs.

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Image result for bardot bangs

You don’t have to always style them as bangs, but it’ll help you get used to them.

SIDE SWEPT BANGS

Sidebangs are out, but sideswept bangs are all the rage. Just look at Emma Stone.

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These are great if you have a more square-shaped head/jaw and don’t want to look too angular. The bangs are also longer and not as thick, so they’re not as much of a commitment!

CHOPPY BANGS

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These are a great more edgy, messy option if you don’t feel like you’re the “bangs type”.

BLUNT BANGS

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Look, I’m gonna be honest. There aren’t a lot of people who look good with these, especially if they’re thick/shorter. You’re really got to have a heart or diamond shaped face, and avoid making them ~too~ straight.

CURLY BANGS

These obviously only work if you’ve got curly hair.

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I’m obsessed with these. I wish I had curly hair so I could get these.

They also have the bonus of being longer, so if you straighten them they don’t really seem like bangs anymore.

MIDDLE-PART BANGS

These are basically Bardot Bangs, but shorter and a bit more blunt. But they don’t seem that way because they’re separated in the middle!

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I love these bangs, but my sister says they look like Dwight from the Office. They’re great if you have a more rectangular face, and I feel they highlight the cheekbones.

Those are basically it besides short bangs – which I hate so I’m going to ignore – but I just want to show that getting bangs may seem like a huge step, and yes it’s annoying to grow them out, but they can look amazing! Especially if you have a big forehead like moi. There are also different ways of styling them, especially if they’re long!

Plus, they look so cute when you put your hair in a ponytail.

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Image result for ponytail bangs

Hannah’s Guide to Fitness Without a Gym

So your building doesn’t have a gym, and you can’t afford a membership?

Not to worry – I’ve got you covered!

Now, I know this is expensive, but Classpass is a great option. Even if you can’t afford it, try it out for a month – the first month’s free! It allows you to take cool workout classes all around your city, like cycling or boxing, or trapeze! There are also other gyms that offer a free week (Corepower) or 2 to take advantage of!

But assuming you don’t want to even tempt yourself to pay for a membership, there are lots of great other options.

The first is, obviously, running. There’s a list of great running apps here, but I prefer MapMyRun because it’s very standard and simple! There’s a good guide to starting running here, but I suggest just starting out with one mile, running as much of it as you can, and doing that 3 times at week until you can build up to 2, 3, and 4. It’s all very personal – whatever works for you! Podcasts or books on tape are great to distract you on your run if you hate running, but I just listen to music! Finding a running buddy is a really big help, too!

Walking is also great. In Los Angeles there are a ton of easy hikes (my favorite is Fryeman – park at Wilacre Park and you’ll see the entrance!) but simply walking a couple miles every morning is a great way to start your day!

If you’re looking to do some strength training, it’s a great idea to invest in some simple equipment. I’d recommend 5lb dumbbells, oval resistance bands, long resistance bands, a pilates ball, an exercise ball, a kettlebell, and a yoga mat!

Here are some great exercises using these:

  1. Dumbbell exercises
  2. Resistance band exercises
  3. Exercise ball exercises (more here)
  4. Pilates ball exercises
  5. Kettlebell exercises
  6. Beginning yoga (good video here)

There are also some great apps for working out on your own, with or without equipment! I like the Nike Training Club App. There’s a list of good apps here! I also like Tone It Up, Ballet Beautiful, and Sweat By Kayla for women, but those can both be expensive. However, they offer some free workouts online! Insanity is also a great (difficult) workout that you can usually find free videos of online if you’re not willing to pay.

Youtube is a great resource to find easy at-home workouts. I personally like the blogilates channel, but popsugar fitness is another great option! There’s a good list of resources here.

And finally, if there’s nowhere in your apartment building to work out, working out outside without running is always an option! Monkey bars, scaffolding, and benches/ledges/stairs are great tools. Here‘s a good outdoor workout – here’s another – and here’s a bunch!

It’s totally doable to stay fit without a gym! You just gotta find what works for you.

Hannah’s Guide to Break-Ups

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on relationships here.

Obviously if you’ve been in a super long term relationship, you’re probably not going to want to break up with someone suddenly, after a “we need 2 talk” text. It’s going to be an ongoing conversation where you hopefully attempt to work on your relationship first.

But if you’ve been dating someone for a couple months and it’s just not working, read on!

Rejection is never easy – neither being rejected nor doing the rejecting. It can be simple enough if you’re rejecting an advance/a date – “I have a boyfriend” is always an option – but it’s different if you’ve been on a few dates. In a culture where ghosting is growing more and more common, I have found that honestly is usually received as refreshing. If you’ve just been on one or two dates, a simple text will do. If it’s more than that, it at least warrants a phone call. And if you’re actually dating or in a relationship with the person, you should really meet them in person.

But whether you’ve been on a couple dates or in a relationship with someone, and whether or not you meet them in person to do the deed, a lot of the same rules apply:

  1. Don’t put the blame on yourself. The whole “it’s not you, it’s me” thing can be tiring for both parties. If it’s a lie, it’s even worse – when they see you out next week with another guy, they’re going to see right through the “I just need to be alone right now” BS. Unless that’s actually how you feel – and sometimes even then – don’t say that. It also can lead the person to believe that you will be available later once you work on yourself. Even if you believe that too, it’s unfair to ask them to wait around.
  2. Don’t put the blame on them (unless they’re a really terrible person or they did something like cheat on you). This will lead to them becoming defensive, putting you on the defense, too. Things are likely to get heated and end messily. Or, they may accept complete blame and profusely apologize, and you may feel manipulated into taking them back. Being rejected is already hard enough, so if you still care for the other person, listing all their character defaults is not going to make it any better.
  3. Put the focus on your relationship – you don’t need to get specific, but it’s helpful for both of you to give actual reasons it didn’t work. “Our schedules are making it really hard to commit to each other”, or “our ways of showing affection are just too different” or “I realized I’m looking for someone who wants to travel with me and isn’t too tied down” are good reasons. There’s also those times it’s just not working, or you just don’t feel the spark or the romance, and you can say that, too. If you keep the focus on you and them together and not on the fault of either one of you, it makes things much more amicable.
  4. Respect them enough to give them space after. They’re probably going to be upset, and if this is someone you still really care about, you’ll want to comfort them. You might even want to hold or kiss them, but this isn’t going to be helpful. They need space to stop caring about you in the romantic way they once did, and they probably need to be around friends or have some alone time to process. You can’t be the one to help them through your breakup.
  5. Lastly, take care of yourself. Just because you’re the one doing the breaking up doesn’t mean you don’t have a little bit of a broken heart. Rely on your friends and try to have some fun – there are plenty of other fish in the sea, and this one relationship not working out is not an indicator that a later one won’t. After all, it only takes one relationship to work out!

What have your experiences in breakups been? Any tips to make it easier?

Hannah’s Guide to Cheap Makeup

So you like makeup, but you’re broke.

I can relate.

So where do I buy my makeup on a budget???

  1. E.L.F.: All their makeup used to be $1, but they’ve since changed. Still, they have a ton of options around $3!
  2. Colourpop: This is definitely nicer than E.L.F. I actually like their eyeshadow’s pigment better than MAC! They also have great matte lip paints that are comparable to Kylie Cosmetic’s lip kits.
  3. MAC: It doesn’t sound cheap, but their eyeshadow pans are actually really cheap! If you already have a holder, you can order the pans online for $7 each – even cheaper during holidays/sales!
  4. Morphe: They have a ton of great huge palettes for really cheap that are comparable to expensive brands. They also have awesome brushes!
  5. B.H. Cosmetics: I really like their contouring palette, but their eyeshadow is supposed to be good, too!
  6. Makeup Revolution and Makeup Geek are supposed to be good for eyeshadow pans and palettes, though I haven’t tried them before!
  7. NYX: I love basically all of NYX’s stuff, but especially their brow and lip stuff!
  8. Drugstore brands: I am not a huge drugstore makeup person, but there are some cult favorites people swear by, like Maybelline Falsies Marscara, L’Oreal True Match foundation, Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser, and L.A. girl concealers for highlighting and contouring.

Also, look out for holiday sales at places like Ulta and Sephora! But I promise you, it’s possible to be a makeup junkie like me on a budget.

Happy shopping!

Hannah’s Guide to Getting a Pet

Getting a pet, to me, is a rite of passage into adulthood.

It’s the first time you’re taking responsibility for something other than yourself (and, if you’re like me, you’re hardly taking care of yourself). Maybe you want the company. Maybe you want the protection. Maybe you need the comfort. Maybe you’re looking for a way to meet cute guys at the dog park – no judgement!

But getting a pet is a huge commitment! So I’m here to walk you through it.

First, you’ve got to find your pet. I’m only going to go over shelter animals, because we have way too many cats and dogs on the streets so don’t you dare buy from a puppy mill!!! (Also, who can afford that??)

My favorite site to find pets is petfinder.com. You can filter for the type of pet you want and its age and even breed! But another great way to find pets is through shelters’ facebook and instagram pages! If you just google local shelters, you can find look for their social media on their website.

My experience is with cats, but I assume it’s similar with dogs – kittens/puppies can be a lot of work – especially puppies. Both will need basically constant attention and playtime, and puppies you’ll have to train. Both will probably make a mess. My advice is to get an older animal that’s at least 1 or 2 – that way you can also get a feel for their personality, while it’s often hard to tell with baby animals. Remember, getting a pet can be a 10-20 year commitment, so it’s important you get along with your pet!

If you’re resolved to get a puppy or kitten, then you have to be willing to put in the money (if not in training then in protecting your furniture). Kittens do much better with other kittens, so you might want to at least foster a second kitten.

Fostering can also be a great idea if you’re not sure a pet is right for you. That way you can get used to their personality and experience what it’s like to have a pet without committing! However, if you foster a kitten or puppy, it can again be a lot of work.

It’s also important to keep in mind that not all apartments allow pets. If you struggle with anxiety, depression, PTSD or a similar issue, you can usually get an ESA from your therapist to register your pet as an emotional support animal, and then (unless the owner of the building has serious allergies) they’ll pretty much have to allow you to have the pet even if the building doesn’t normally. (This also applies to pet deposits and rents being waived if you have an ESA).

Other things to keep in mind:

-vet bills and pet insurance (both my cats got sick and needed lots of vet care – you have to be ready for this burden)

-if you get a dog, make sure you have lots of space in your neighborhood for them to walk

-if you get a dog, make sure you have roommates or a dog walker or some way they won’t be home alone all day

-if you already have a pet, make sure you introduce the new pet before committing!!

-keep in mind if you’ll be moving or traveling – will the pet have a place to stay?

The last thing you want to have to do is re-home a pet. If you give a pet back when they’re older, it’s much less likely someone else will adopt them. Make sure you know what you’re committing to!!

That being said, pets are a great way to reduce anxiety and bring joy to your life!!

I prefer cats and dogs, but things like guinea pigs, hamsters, and reptiles can be good if you’re looking for a cleaner, shorter time commitment pet. These are okay to get at somewhere like Petsmart, but don’t fool yourself that it’ll be like having a cat or dog – unless you let it roam free (and then be prepared for the mess), it’s simply not the same. They’re also much harder to rehome if you change your mind.

You with your new pets:

Hannah’s Guide to Cooking on a Budget

One of the hardest parts about adulting is cooking. It’s like, seriously?? I have to make myself food AGAIN?

Three meals a day is a lot harder to do when you actually have to cook them all.

It’s tempting to just do takeout. But it’s also expensive. And if you never learned to cook, it can be incredibly daunting.

The best transition step is to just get Trader Joe’s frozen meals that you can stick on the stovetop or in the oven. But there are much cheaper options if you’re willing to try them.

You could also just live off ramen (life hack: add some meat, eggs, and veggies to make it a real meal). But you might get a little tired of it.

And so without further ado – if you’ve decided you’re ready – I present your new grocery shopping list for the cheapest, healthiest, most varied options:

  1. Bananas: the cheapest fruit
  2. Tomatoes (Roma are particularly cheap)
  3. Eggs
  4. Zucchini squash
  5. tomato sauce
  6. turkey bacon
  7. frozen corn/peas/broccoli/cauliflower
  8. riced cauliflower
  9. cubed pork
  10. canned chickpeas
  11. sweet potatoes
  12. canned cream of mushroom soup
  13. spaghetti squash
  14. bread
  15. peanut butter (if you don’t mind the texture, the kind that’s just peanuts and salt is so much betterfor you)
  16. ground turkey
  17. olive oil (possibly the most expensive thing on the list)
  18. salt
  19. pepper
  20. garlic
  21. party pack of chicken
  22. your preferred shredded cheese
  23. breadcrumbs
  24. frozen chopped onions
  25. instant rice/quinoa
  26. spinach
  27. avocado
  28. milk
  29. oatmeal
  30. ketchup
  31. granola
  32. greek yogurt
  33. sliced deli meat
  34. tortillas

You don’t need to get all of these – this is just a good list of cheaper things to buy.

With these you can make:

  1. bacon spinach salad (tomatoes, spinach, avocado, turkey bacon, chickpeas)
  2. meat loaf (breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, tomato sauce, ground turkey, cheese, ketchup-you really don’t need Worcestershire sauce or other seasoning unless you really want it!)
  3. healthy meatballs and gravy (spaghetti squash – which mades a zillion servings and goes with any sauce, ground meat cheese and breadcrumbs for meatballs, cream of mushroom soup mixed with cream/milk
  4. oatmeal with chopped banana, granola, and peanut butter
  5. greek yogurt with granola
  6. banana peanut butter greek yogurt smoothie
  7. chicken parm (chicken, cheese of choice, breadcrumbs, tomato sauce)
  8. burger patties (ground turkey/beef and breadcrumbs) with avocado, tomato, and sweet potato fries
  9. frittata/omelette/scrambled eggs (eggs, milk, cheese, veggies of your choice, turkey bacon)
  10. avocado toast/egg sandwich (self explanatory)
  11. any variety of sandwich
  12. zoodles (zucchini noodes – spiralized or peeled) with tomato sauce
  13. baked chicken with rice/quinoa and roasted broccoli
  14. cauliflower fried rice with pork, egg, and mixed veggies (just stir fry it all!)
  15. roasted chickpeas (roast in single layer on oven sheet at 425! until hard!)
  16. sweet potato or regular toast with peanut butter and bananas 
  17. tacos with ground beef, tomato, avocado

Honestly, these recipes are really just the ingredients I listed together above. If they’re a bit more complicated, I linked recipes.

Some tips:

  1. Every (bigger; not things like peas) veggie is better roasted. Get oil and seasoning and lay the veggie out (if it’s something as big as a sweet potato, cut it into cubes) 1 layer thick. Put the sheet pan near the top of the oven and cook at 425 for anywhere from 30-60 minutes. It’s important to keep checking them depending on your oven and desired level of crispiness. You can get a ton of veggies for really cheap in the frozen aisle. Just make sure they’re defrosted first (microwave is fine) they won’t roast/season well starting from frozen.
  2. You can roast chicken basically the same way, even together with the veggies. But the fastest way to cook chicken is to slice up raw cubes and put them in a large pan for about 10 minutes, moving them around throughout. PSA: there is no such thing as “rare” chicken. If it looks raw inside, keep cooking it or cut smaller pieces.
  3. Zoodles can be cooked in a pan either with just oil, or with about 2 cups of water in the pan. It really takes about the same amount of time; it just comes down to a personal preference of wanting pieces to be browned/fried or not. Also, zoodles tend to be more watery than spaghetti squash, so they don’t work well with creamy sauces.
  4. If you’re squeamish about raw meat, there are frozen meatballs and rotisserie chickens you can buy instead that are a little more expensive.
  5. For meat, you’ll honestly be able to smell if it’s bad. I wouldn’t chance it past the expiration date – unless you freeze them before the expiration date. Just make sure not to defrost then re-freeze them multiple times. With eggs, they stay good long after the expiration date. If you’re unsure, fill a large bowl with cold water and place the eggs inside. If they float, they’re bad. Toss them. 
  6. If you don’t have a toaster, the fastest way to brown toast is actually to put some butter/oil on a pan and give it a few minutes on each side. You can also broil it in the oven but it’ll take longer.
  7. Anything you can make in the oven, you can make in a toaster oven as long as it fits. Sometimes you might need to cut down on cooking time since it’s so small, but it should be pretty much the same!
  8. Crockpots are a great investments and can be as little as $20. If you’re horrible at cooking, this is a great option. You can find a bunch of recipes here.
  9. Ground turkey will not stick together without breadcrumbs and eggs. If you are keto/can’t have breadcrumbs, you’ll need to use something like crushed pork rinds to substitute.

That’s about it! Obviously you can substitute pasta for any of the zoodle/spaghetti squash recipes. I’ve found if you meal prep once or twice a week you can get a ton of meals out of these options for very low prices and very little time commitment.

Happy cooking!

Hannah’s Guide to Odd Jobs

There’s going to be a time between jobs, or when you first move somewhere, that you’re going to be tempted to live off odd jobs.

Don’t do it.

First of all, most of them are scams. Please do not look at any of those “30 surprising ways millennials make money!” articles. Don’t get tricked by coupon or transcription or review sites, they are not worth it. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Yes, there are some apps and sites you can make some extra cash on. I’ll go into each below. But if you’re hoping to make some extra cash fast, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

  1. Uber/Lyft: This is a real job. Obviously, it’s a lot scarier to do as a woman. And you might have to deal with people throwing up in and causing damage to your car. But it is a legitimate job, and a good way to make money. Like with any of these, it will take time to build up a good rating, and you’ll have to work hard to maintain that. Also, you have to be careful about your hours. Remember that weekends will have the highest rates. Also, as you’re technically self-employed, you should definitely keep track of your mileage to write off on taxes, and get insurance for while you’re waiting for riders (not included in normal car insurance).
  2. Postmates: Don’t be tricked by this. If you like in a smaller, highly populated city and you have a bike you like to ride, it’s probably fine. But if you’re driving a lot, it won’t be worth it between the gas and the parking. Some of their sign-on bonuses are good, so it might be worth it to do a few deliveries, but overall you’ll be making below minimum wage.
  3. Wag!/Rover: This is sort of a luck-of-the-draw situation. If you really commit and you get lucky, you can get consistent clients who will keep coming back to you. But if you’re just waiting for jobs to come in, there’s not going to be enough work. The real money is in dog-sitting, so definitely try to build relationships with clients so that they’ll keep you in mind when they go out of town.
  4. Online Tutoring: Sites like VIPKid are actually good freelance jobs – but it’ll probably take more work and initial cost than you’re expecting. You’ll need training (which you won’t be paid for), a reliable Wi-Fi network, a professional headset, and an education background and props. This is a good option if you’re already a teacher or have experience with young children. It pays pretty well, but you will need to give undivided attention during the session. There will be no checking your phone or breaks. The hours will also likely be off, as many of these sites are for Chinese kids. There are American tutoring sites, but like Wag! they are more inconsistent in work and require building up a good clientele. They also often require high level math and science skills, rather than just basic english kids for ELLs.
  5. Babysitting: Again, places like Care.com will only really get you the odd gig. It’s best to build up clients or start sitting through a referral (ask your friends!) – it’s my experience that once you start sitting for one family, their friends all start to ask you for help. Again, this is a great job in terms of pay, but it can be inconsistent and requires a strong clientele! Also, you obviously have to like children, and have prior experience with them. It’s also much easier to become a sitter or nanny as a woman.
  6. Working in freelance writing, editing, or bookkeeping is going to really be more of a career and require a lot of training and schooling. These are good options if you’re really willing to commit the time to put into training, but they will have a long time where you make no money.

My recommendation is to work part-time somewhere while you figure out your career, or get an entry level job, or nanny for a family you’re referred to. More on all that later! But don’t waste time doing stuff you’ll be paid under minimum wage for – it’s not worth it! I tried it all so you don’t have to. Trust me on this one.

Hannah’s Guide to Apartments: Utilities

Here’s something that was a complete mystery to me when I got my first apartment: you have to set up utilities.

Even, oftentimes, when it is included in the rent and subsidized by the landlord. If you do not call and set them up, you will not have power or water or anything when you move in (well, you might the first day, but not after).

Basically, you need to set up the essentials: water, power, and gas. Now, these may be with 3 different companies, or all with one. Oftentimes it’s going to depend on your area. The best thing to do is to ask the former tenants or landlord what they use, or even your parents or a friend if they live close by. If you live in Los Angeles, your building probably uses LADWP for water and power and SoCalGas for gas.

You’re also going to need Wifi. Now, back in the day everyone packaged wifi with telephone and cable services – so just think of what company you got your cell phone at, or what company your family had cable through, and they probably have wifi. They’ll try to sell you on the packaged three, but in today’s age you really only need internet. You should be able to find this for about $50/month. I have mine with Time Warner but there are plenty of good options! If you really want cable you can package that in.

Utilities are annoying, and you can only have one person paying each. If you live with multiple people, a great option is for one person to just pay all the utilities and then charge everyone through an app called Splitwise. You just put in what you paid and who you’re splitting with and it’ll do the math! It also connects to venmo.

The person who takes cares of the all the utilities should definitely get a discount on the rent for their extra work.

Checking your bank account after paying utilities for the entire apartment: