You’re trapped inside your phone

Ok so everyone watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, and then everyone immediately posted on social media. Ya’ll are the dilemma. That’s how messed up our world is. Everyone was so passionate about this documentary that they did the one thing it told us not to do. Put down your damn phone. Social media owns us.

I miss the old days when the only forms of communication were the home phone and Chatroulette. At least the nice people of Chatroulette didn’t steal your information—they just left you with a slight trauma after seeing your first Russian half-chub. Tragic. Now every app has built-in filters that make thirteen-year-olds look like Angelina Jolie in Maleficent. Yeah, Maleficent is a ten, but those cheekbones are not realistic! Thanks, Walt.

I can’t even begin to imagine what Gen Z goes through—terrorized from all angles and platforms at such a young age. I thought it was the end of the world when someone called me “flat” in 7th grade on Formspring. Then, someone wrote that I stuffed my bra but I literally only stuffed my bra because someone called me flat! I’ll admit though it was bad strategy on my end because I went straight to a C-cup when a subtle B might’ve been more discrete. My point is, if that one stupid comment made me feel like I needed to change my body, imagine how much damage could be done on a global scale?

It’s as if social media was created for bullying –a place where you can judge people from the comfort of your own home. Major companies are capitalizing off of your bitterness. You salty tweens are fueling this economy. It’s every age, though. Even you, boomer. But even if you think you’re not being controlled by social media, you’re still being monitored every time you log on. Especially now with everyone working and learning from home. The screens are even more accessible than ever as we scroll aimlessly, ad after ad, like after like.

Every five minutes, a new gender neutral, vegan Gen Z is doing the seductive Macarena and thrusting to a song about sex, drugs and gang violence before they log in for AP English. I thought it was risqué when my friends and I did a provocative dance to a Nelly song in the middle school talent show. Think again, sweetie. It’s going to take more than a premature body roll to get this generation going.

I don’t see social media leaving anytime soon. How else would we post a pic of brunch or be notified when Kanye West tweets that he’s the next Moses?! And what about the exhilarating rush from getting a creepy DM from a man overseas? It’s just not the same when you slide into my iMessage.

The only solution is to all simultaneously throw our phones in the river. Which river, I don’t care, just make sure you get a boomerang of me tossing it from a skinny angle, preferably with the G6 filter and max brightness.  

Moral of the story, social media can be toxic, and we need to chill and get a hobby or something. Maybe people will even like you in real life. Probably not, but at least you tried. If you need to reach me, you can find me on LinkedIn. Just don’t @ me on Formspring. I’m still not ok.  

Real Housewives of the RNC: A Convention Recap Just For You

By: Ali Benz

The 2020 Republican National Convention was quite the show. I kept thinking I was watching interviews from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills but turns out it was just C-Span. There’s a lot to unravel here but keep reading if you want to ruin your day.

Let’s kick it off with Cissie Graham Lynch. Yikes. With a name like that, dare I even say more? She looks exactly like my American girl doll, Amanda, except luckily Amanda doesn’t speak. Cissie, on the other hand, knew all the right things to say to make the LGBTQ community hate her. Congrats, Lynch, you played yourself. This robot lady went on about how Democrats pressured boys to use girls’ locker rooms and participate in girls’ sports. She then said the Dems will force us to choose between God and Caesar. Tough choice. Both great guys.

Don’t get me started on Abby Johnson. I didn’t think someone could top Cissie Graham, but Johnson was out for blood. Literally. This anti-abortion activist came in hot. Abby J called Planned Parenthood racist and then went on to say abortion has a smell. She told her dramatic conversion story but all I could think about was the scent of abortion. No offense, Abz, but doesn’t everything have a smell? I’m sure you have a smell. Unless you have corona—then you can’t taste or smell. Wear a mask.

How much molly did Kimberly Guilfoyle take before her speech? She legit did not blink once. Kimmy’s passionate screaming could win championships. All I could think about was how Saturday Night Live’s Cecily Strong could’ve single-handedly created this character. When Guilfoyle started chanting, “The best is yet to come,” I got major Hunger Games vibes. Somebody is going to die. I’m scared, Kim. Drink some water, please. I hope her come-down isn’t too bad today.

Maybe Nick Sandmann brought her some drugs from his frat. Good thing schools are cancelled so this boy could show up to speak about cancel culture. Yes, being cancelled is toxic, but so is being brainwashed. I feel bad for this guy. All he has is his MAGA hat to hide from his haters. It’s going to be a rough few years, buddy. Maybe Tiffany Trump will at least take you to the Bahamas for spring break.

Tiff seemed like she just stumbled off a yacht blackout in the Hamptons to get some screen time. She was giving me Marilyn Monroe meets Lindsay Lohan vibes—and I mean that in the scariest way possible. She was wearing more eyeshadow than a middle school girl that just discovered Sephora with her dad’s credit card. Don’t you people have stylists? Anyway, Tiff, congrats on somehow blackmailing Ivanka into giving you her spot at the podium. Way to make Daddy proud. Maybe you won’t have to make an OnlyFans account after all.

Quick shout out to Mike Pence against various green screens. Mike, you handsome devil, what on earth did I just witness? All those expensive testimonials, couldn’t you at least have pretended to be interested? Also, stop referring to Lincoln’s house as his “boyhood home.” Just call it his childhood home, Mike, you’re freaking me out.

Not as freaked out as Donald must’ve been, though, when poor Eric got to the mic. Jesus, Eric, couldn’t you have just put it in a letter? Don neglects his son so much that he had to use his time as a cry for help, screaming to his dad through national television. Tragic. Can someone just give this man a hug?

Melania? Is that you? After Eric begged for Daddy’s approval for twenty minutes, Big Mel closed out the show. Honestly, Melania’s speech was the most natural and educated and that’s saying a lot. She even touched on the dangers of COVID-19. Her “Be Best” campaign has done nothing for me, but I’ve got to give this lady some credit. She came out looking military chic and didn’t miss a beat. She was being best af.

I’m not sure what I just watched or how to feel. I was happy to see all those women being honored and praised in the White House, but they seemed like something programmed out of Westworld. Can someone call Barron? We need answers. I cannot wait for Barron’s tell all to come out. For now, swipe up for ten percent off Melania’s Alexander McQueen drip and subscribe to Tiffany Trump’s GoFundMe for a makeup artist that doesn’t hate her.

The COVID: Total Madness

By: Ali Benz

This is not a drill. The rules of COVID apply. Play carefully. You are now living in an alternate reality. Nothing is the same and you will survive only if you follow the rules. This is season of the Rona, and you are Player One. Mask on, six feet, never touch your face. Play at your own risk.

You are automatically in the game so it’s time to isolate and adapt. Great time to be a nun, horrible time to be a swinger. A guy literally sent me his Corona test results to get me to hangout. Huge red flag but also is this the new equivalent to STD tests? Proving you’re clean? Thanks, buddy, I’m glad you’re negative for COVID but I’m sure you’re positive for something else. Anyone trying to hookup in these conditions is clearly unwell. Hate to break it to you but you’re not meeting your wife on Tinder today. Stay home.

I know, easier said than done. It’s nearly impossible to stay locked up with your family or roommates. I got in a fight with my dad last night because the avocados weren’t organic. We’re currently still not speaking. I know I overreacted but I fought so hard for those avocados it would be too awkward to back down now. We’ll probably speak once he catches me watching reality TV again and threatens to cancel the cable. Or worse, catches me making a Tik Tok, which is essentially just slutty sign-language. The deaf community should come for Addison Rae.

It would really suck to lose TV considering how many great shows are out right now. Listen to Your Heart? Oscar-worthy. The Challenge? Tear-jerker. So great to see TJ Lavin is still employed and I’m not. Do reality TV stars collect unemployment? I’ve been trying to collect mine for weeks and still can’t get in touch with the New York Government. Andrew Cuomo is too busy being cute AF to call me back. I get playing hard to get but like I need my money, Drew.

Not sure why they make it so hard to get paid. I just want enough money to buy a trendy face mask from a local rather than getting scammed by hippies on Etsy. I should’ve known ten masks for five dollars from someone named “Wild Flower” in New Zealand was too good to be true. That wasn’t my best move but at least I’m not taking shots of Lysol to stay pure. I actually love the mask look—super theft-chic and the narrow design does wonders for my jawline. My only complaint is the subtle mask-tan and some minor chin acne.

To be honest, I’m not ready for the Q to end. Don’t kill me for saying this, but I find it quite relaxing and I’m super busy. I don’t know where the time goes. It’s amazing we are living through a pandemic, and although it’s scary and your life is actually tragic, things will get better. For now, enjoy the time to yourself and the time at home. Give yourself a break. And remember, liquor stores are considered “essential” so there’s really no reason to complain.

 

The Corona Files

By: Ali Benz

If you get offended easily, this post isn’t for you. If you’re getting bored painting your nails quarantine red and sending pandemic nudes from your parents’ basement, carry on. COVID-19 is upon us and we need some comic relief during these dark times. Everybody copes differently. Some are blacking out with their cats while others are going ape-shit in a Costco. You decide who you want to be.

While we’re all on lockdown, it’s easy to forget what day or year it is. My oven clock is still wrong from day-light savings so I really have no idea. All I know is there are only a few rules for quarantine: calories don’t count, drinking doesn’t stop, and you can sleep with your socks on. It’s a different world.

I used to think that Corona was spread by the government to shut down the rave community. Every music festival has been canceled so that 12,000 wooks can’t share one camelback and clean themselves with their bucket hats. It was always dangerous, but the spread of a virus was the only way to get the bassheads’ attention.

After doing more research, I realized this conspiracy might not be true. It’s bigger than the rave. This virus was set out to conquer a whole generation. Perhaps millennials and Gen-Z are that terrible that we needed to be wiped out completely. The lord saw the future and it didn’t look good. It was all Tik Tok dances, vegan options, and a mediocre album by Justin Bieber. Of course the world was going to end. Or it’s just a test.

Everyone wanted to work from home so badly, and now it’s happening. Most people are forced to work remotely until further notice and I find it hilarious. Someone is currently auditing your taxes wearing a crop-top and drinking a Truly. A professor is virtually teaching a slew of degenerates that mute their screens to take bong rips.

Sadly, not everyone can work from home. If you work in the service industry, say goodbye to your paycheck. Waiters might actually have to become good actors now since they’re cut off from serving sangria at your local Olive Garden while “in-between gigs.” Tragic.

On the other hand, this is a fitness instructor’s dream. My whole newsfeed is just shirtless people working out in their basements and giving me unsolicited advice. Stop telling me to use a banana as a dumbbell. Gyms are closed for a reason: The government wants us to get thicc.

It’s great that coaches can virtually train, but it’s even greater that my therapist can virtually counsel. Now, I can show my therapist my childhood home and the people I’ve been complaining about for months! I bet this will speed up the process and I can even live stream my quarantine so she can fully assess the situation and take my side.

Don’t worry about how you’re handling it all. Everyone pandemics differently. Just be mindful of others. Stay inside. I know you’re freaking out that Coachella is canceled, but honestly, it’s not even cool anymore. Save your money and party through your phone. There’s nothing more fun than taking a shot with your friend across the globe at 2pm on a Wednesday in pajamas.

COVID Makes Cancelling Plans Fun and Easy

By: Ali Benz

If you’re worried about the Coronavirus, you’ve come to the right place. I know it’s an epidemic but we need to look on the bright side. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I have so many plans that I didn’t know how to cancel and now I can literally just chill. This disease is perfect for social anxiety. Sorry I can’t come to your bachelorette, Lindsay, I really need to put my health first.

Corona V is the perfect excuse. You can finally say no without the guilt. Now, when someone asks, “Can I hit your Juul?”, you can say ‘absolutely not’. Not because you’re a dick: you’re just super cautious. Duh. The girls from the Bachelor should’ve taken this advice. I don’t know how any of them are safe after Peter spent the whole season making out with everyone. Pilot Pete could spread that sh*t like wildfire. It’s best to date the Love is Blind way; through a safety-pod with an open bar and zero human contact. That show is psychotic but Nick Lachey is a toxic, romantic genius.

I’m also worried about the kids on mat. If you watch Cheer, you know the Navarro cheerleaders are relentless and there is nothing that can stop them from tumbling. Broken ribs, twisted ankles, Coronavirus? No problem. We have to make it to Daytona. Jerry’s mat-talk is the only thing that can overcome this disease. We can. We will. We must.

I’m dying to know how Coach Monica would handle COVID. Probably with an ice pack and a prayer. My immune system is trash so I’d probably need to be quarantined. Hazmat, but make it fashion. I have to be extremely cautious. My boss said I’m out of sick days for 2020. It’s March. I don’t know if I deserve a medal or a doctor.  It’s obviously impressive but also concerning. I can’t be as careless as I once was. Trust no one. I ordered Girl Scout Cookies but there’s no way I’m accepting. Never trust a G-scout. You will not be earning your Corona badge from me. Unless it’s samoas. Risk it all for samoas.

While I do advise avoiding dangerous Girl Scouts, there are some people you have to see. I had a friend from LA visit me in New York because she wanted to “experience Jaywalking”—because that’s all we do here. We hit the Jay no doubt but that didn’t help the fact that I let someone from NEWARK into my Corona-free zone. Yikes. Luckily, she’s an astrology-queen and told me that Mercury is in retrograde and water elements are getting affected the hardest because it’s in the water sign of Pisces but will be done by next week! So, I guess we’re going to be fine? To anyone I’ve wronged recently, please note that Pisces is in the water or whatever and I’m a cancer so please be understanding at this time. LA people are just the best.

If you’re still panicking about Coronavirus even after my comforting article, I totally get it. But, have you tried CBD? Just kidding. I don’t know the cure but we’re all in this together. They said it best in High School Musical 3. This too shall pass, so don’t let it get you down. Just make sure to never high-five your co-workers. Ever. And wash your damn hands. I’ll leave you with a tip a wise woman once told me. You must wash your hands for twenty seconds. Use the Happy Birthday song for proper timing. However, the typical HBD tune can get boring so it’s suggested to use the Stevie Wonder version. Please note, Stevie’s Motown version is only seventeen seconds so it is highly recommended to count it down with a spunky “3,2,1” with the water running to be considered effective, and jazzy, by the CDC.

 

 

New Year New Me

By: Ali Benz

New year new me. It’s resolution time. I just did a 2-week social media cleanse and wow, it was nice. I had so much freedom. I literally had no idea what was going on or where anyone was and it was amazing. A bunch of people couldn’t get in touch with me and that was the best part. Who knew so many people slide into my DMs that don’t even have my number. I had zero fomo. This is the life that I want.

Without IG, you never feel pressured to do anything. You don’t have to see your friends’ three-hour-long story of a DJ Khaled concert and think “what if.” You don’t have to watch a promo for Kylie Cosmetics. You’ll never know whose bachelorette party you didn’t get invited to. And you’ll never wake up in the middle of the night in a panic wondering what cringe-worthy content you posted at 2 am on your story. That was probably the biggest revelation for me. I’m used to deleting everything and then having anxiety for the next twelve hours, but no ‘gram equals no posts. You can finally rest knowing you didn’t post yourself serenading your Uber driver to Taylor Swift as you beg him to get you a McChicken.

It means no worries. However, it does mean sketchy af. After an event last week, a few people asked for my Insta upon leaving. When I said I didn’t have one they def thought I was a murderer. Then I started to think I was one, too, because who tf doesn’t have Instagram? That’s why I’m back on here. People without social media usually have something to hide. There’s nothing sketchier than someone in a job interview who doesn’t have Facebook. Yes, Facebook is wack af and tailored to your stalker aunt but it is a necessity. Group projects? Facebook. Background check? Facebook. Making sure the intern you just hired that only owns a Nokia won’t steal your HD scanner? Facebook! If you don’t have social, odds are you’re Joe from You.

Not to mention, you become extremely alienated. I knew none of the current memes and I had to hear from an outside source that Justin Bieber has pink hair. I should’ve been the first to know. Also, I thought Millie Bobby Brown was Halsey, but that’s another discussion. Honestly, none of this celeb stuff should matter but we have to stay on top of the hot gossip or else we’ll die at work. Selena Gomez put out a fire album and I need to like all her sh*t to make up for hating on her for the past ten years. She’s absolutely killing it and we stan. Her ex, Biebz, tried to outshine her album drop with his Lyme disease but we’re not going to let that happen. Sel legit had a kidney transplant—his tick bite can wait. Not belittling his disease, I know Lyme is awful but for real I need to meet the tick that bit Justin. That lil guy has some serious BDE.

I probably will never find that parasite, but be mindful that other parasites will find you. I deleted Instagram, as I’ve now mentioned six times, but there are other platforms and you need to be cautious. Without IG, I found myself posting on Twitter, because, duh. It’s in these moments that you realize just how psycho your ex is. I barely knew I had a Twitter account, but this stalker was one step ahead of me and seeing everything I tweeted in real-time. I’m flattered you’re so obsessed with me, but seriously Twitter should be a safe space. I never thought I’d have to block someone on an app that tells me my horoscope.

With Twitter unsafe, I finally downloaded Tik Tok. I said I never would but desperate times call for desperate measures and now I have so many questions. Is this app designed specifically for teenage girls to dance to trap music after they’re done with homework? I respect the creative freedom but wow, when I was in middle school, I was hardly able to learn the Cotton Eye Joe. The Cotton Eye J was way too controversial. Now, these people are body-rolling to Doja Cat. I barely know what a Doja Cat is and I feel old. This app made me sad and now I’m having a mid-life crisis. I’ll get back to that later—I need to learn the Renegade dance so my sixteen-year-old cousin will still think I’m cool.

All in all, social media is quite toxic, but in this society, it’s inevitable. We need apps to stay relevant. Plus, I miss all the paradoxes of Instagram, like when bottle girls have “RN” in their bio. No way I’d let anyone from Marquee put a needle in my arm, but I think it’s unique how you describe yourself as a nurse meanwhile your first ten pics consist of champagne showers and an ice luge. I also take pride in knowing I’m blocked by Bart Johnson. That’s Troy Bolton’s dad from High School Musical. So much clout. Sorry for bothering you, Barty J. We’re just dying for a spin-off

Enjoy your social media breaks while they last. It’s super refreshing and isolating. Just don’t post on your story that you’re doing an “Instagram Cleanse” and will be back soon because that’s obnoxious. You’re not Demi Lovato. No one is wondering where you are besides your mom and that one foreign guy in your DMs that keeps asking you to “send bobz.” Tragic.

 

Christmas Time in the City!

By: Ali Benz

It’s that time of year again. Time to get controversial. With the holidays coming up, everyone is high stress and loves any opportunity to complain. Everything is magical but this is New York—aka we need to be angry. It’s a perfect time to donate to the Salvation Army then immediately kick someone in the face. An amazing day to feed the homeless then cause a scene in a Popeye’s. Too soon?

The holidays are wonderful. I can’t tell if I’m seasonally depressed or clinically confused. All I know is that this Macy’s is beautiful. I want to spend every day in the Christmas Macy’s. Normally, I would need at least three Xanax to enter a department store, but not today. Today I am free and I will buy a faux fur on sale in the wrong size while listening to Michael Bublé serenade me as I try to locate a cash register in the Calvin Klein section. It will turn out to be returns-only and they won’t help me at the perfume counter but my spirits will remain high because the salvation army man is still dancing.

If you missed Black Friday because this is 2019 and you own a computer, fear not. Cyber Monday is just around the corner. If you missed Cyber Monday because today is Thursday, fear not as well. Every day is a cyber one with Amazon Prime. Instead of feeling pressured to buy your dog the perfect winter scarf that screams sexy yet elegant, just wait. The internet doesn’t sleep. Also, don’t cut corners with your pet. If you love your Schnoodle you’ll pay full price. Never settle for burgundy because they don’t have it in jet-black.

Fashion dominates the market this time of year, but we get riled up over the simple things as well. Starbucks has happy hour but we don’t care about that because their cups are so controversial. ‘Tis the season to freak out over a coffee mug. Oh, it’s red? Absolutely not. This establishment is racist. I’ll still take that tall blonde skinny vanilla latte though, thanks. I think the issue is that all this holiday cheer gives people a false sense of security. We suddenly think we’re invincible because there’s a wreath on the doorknob. I don’t get it. If plant-decor could make one feel so powerful, then why hasn’t my ficus been working? Someone please look into this.

Maybe there’s something in the air. Whatever it is, I keep catching it. I think I’ve been on antibiotics since September. Not a good look. I see my doctor so much she invited me to her Hanukkah for night three. It’s a bad month to be on medication. With all the holiday parties and such, I don’t get why they keep prescribing me things that say “don’t mix with alcohol.” I mean, could you be more specific? What else am I going to mix this with? Someone please let me know the wine pairing for Amoxicillin.

Cheers to making it through this holiday season. Make sure they put a Menorah up in your workplace because the tree is so banal. Hit up an ex to go ice-skating even though you hate sports. Buy your mom a Rumba so she can multi-task during hot yoga. And if your older cousin invites you to Ann Taylor Loft, remember that it’s not a secret rave in Brooklyn. It’s a literal clothing store from like, the 60’s. Tragic.

November: Doing the Least

By: Ali Benz

It’s that weird time of year again between Halloween and Christmas. A time where people do the absolute least. Everyone is exhausted from planning their slutty Halloween costumes and no one is sure if they’re on vacation or not. I just ordered a caesar salad and I’m pretty sure this girl just gave me mayo on romaine. No chance I’m eating it but I respect the minimal effort.

Halloween also lasted through November, and might still be going on now, but nobody knows for sure. I’m so pale right now I look like Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka so my costume is going strong regardless. Thank god the clocks set back because I need some time to recover from what I saw this spooky season. So many slutty Pokémon my childhood is ruined. Also, a guy asked me to be a pod to his Juul but I’m an independent woman who don’t need no man so bye Felicia. Find another pod.

Also, ‘tis the season to not shut the f*ck up about the weather. Why do people love to talk about temperature so much? Yes, Karen, the leaves fall around this time of year every year. Get over it. I once talked about the rain with a co-worker for thirty minutes. I will never get that time back and all I learned is that it was already raining. Next topic.

No one really likes to discuss Thanksgiving. TG is so random. No idea what pilgrim sorcery this is but I’ve already been invited to like six potlucks. I don’t even know how to cook and now I have to bake a pie for my best friend’s sister’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin. I really need to stop RSVPing to things. That reminds me, I also committed to a 5k Turkey Trot. After seeing the psychopaths who ran the New York marathon, I don’t know why I’d involve myself in this treachery. If I wanted to travel uncomfortably for 26 miles I would’ve just booked a flight on Spirit.

This run might be the most I do in November. I thought about booking a flight to Boca Raton to get some color and also visit my grandma, but that seems like effort. Also, I’m trying to partake in no-shave November and going to Florida will require a razor. This is a scary month for me because I have a fear of beards/ facial hair. Every guy is about to look homeless until December first. Thank god Emma Watson coined the term “self-partnered” so I can tell my relatives I’m technically not single. Someone from Harry Potter said I’m dating myself. Perfect.

While everyone looks like Hagrid this month, maybe you can focus on your career rather than your nonexistent love life. The only reason people have boyfriend’s in NY anyway is to afford an apartment with exposed brick. Sorry, that was kind of a dig at my sister and her boyfriend, but I’m just salty they got a new place without me to take their relationship to the “next level”. Not sure why they wouldn’t want to be roomies. I could’ve absolutely gotten them to the next level in a two-bedroom in West Village on top of a pizza shop where we all share one bathroom and the laundry machine is in the kitchen. Tragic.

Anyway, back to your career. Now that it’s cold, as your co-workers have alerted you every day, you can spend more time building your resume and less time blacking out on rooftops. It never hurts to check in with yourself and see what else is out there. I know I said November is about doing the bare minimum, but opening up LinkedIn is really not that hard. It might even be time to update your picture from a selfie to an actual headshot that doesn’t scream “I still do keg-stands on the weekend and have a really good relationship with my weed dealer.” It’s time to upload that psychotic smiling over the left shoulder pic with the blue backdrop that will let recruiters know you may have drank PBR through a funnel in the past, but now you sip martinis at a one drink limit and pronounce Barcelona with a “th”.

Whether this month leaves you in limbo or at a new career, just know it’s almost over and winter is coming. Mariah Carey saw her shadow so we’ll be hearing that Christmas song soon. At least I think that’s how it works. Just be grateful they’re not playing “Disturbia” in the lobby anymore and I can stop pretending I’ve seen Hocus Pocus. Don’t @ me. Now all the scary stories will be real, like T.I. taking his grown daughter to the gyno or the one about the Ukrainian orphan dwarf. Look it up.

Ballin’ on a Budget

By: Ali Benz

If you need budget advice, you’ve come to the right place. Not trying to brag or anything but I saved twelve dollars last week by switching to Geico. Just kidding, by practicing some self-control and discipline. For example, I decided to be a peasant and go to Dunkin’ instead of Starbucks. It was absolutely awful but I’m way richer now.

There are subtle ways to save money, you just have to get occasionally uncomfortable. Sacrifice where it makes sense. The other day I took an Uber pool downtown to cut the price in half. I realize this is the worst-case scenario considering the last thing anyone wants is social contact in a random car-pool. I wouldn’t even want to car-pool with James Corden. It makes me uncomfortable that he’d do karaoke sober. We can’t trust him. Anyway, it was a blessing that my driver spoke literally zero English. So far so good. Then, we picked up two girls from Murray Hill and do I really have to say more on that? If I wanted to be surrounded by Bud Light and Uggs I would’ve just went to Brother Jimmy’s. It’s cool though because I saved ten bucks on that ride and no one asked me to donate to their basketball team.

With all the cash saved on rideshare, you might be thinking you deserve to eat out. Relax P. Diddy, it doesn’t work like that. You don’t need to spend fifteen dollars on a bagel. There are better ways, like making your lunch order less dramatic. You can actually go somewhere like Chipotle and get a decent meal for under ten bucks, and even make it vegan or gluten-free if you’re into that sort of thing. Yes, I know guac is extra. I’d say you could pack a lunch but there’s nothing cringier than Tupperware in the office. That might be a personal phobia, but whatever. And let’s be honest, no one actually meal preps. Separating your leftover Bolognese into seventeen containers does not count as “prep”. You’re more of a hoarder.

In addition to food, people tend to spend ridiculous amounts of money on coffee. I think I spend fifty dollars a week on oat milk lattes and I don’t know wtf they are or why. I just do it without even thinking. Who even knows how to milk an oat. My suggestion is to leave whatever weird milk substitute you like in the fridge and then just buy an iced coffee. Sure, it’s going to look ghetto af but that should save you about a dollar per cold brew and by the end you can probably afford that fancy croissant you always hesitate to add but don’t because you just spent seventeen dollars on a latte with a foam heart in it made by a sexually ambiguous barista named Miguel.

Aside from the bombardment of street vendors, everyone is a huge victim of technology. Sometimes you need to delete all your apps. It’s way too easy to order literally anything. Take it from me: a recovering Amazon addict. There’s nothing I won’t prime. Also, definitely get rid of all food ordering apps. Immediate. If I had a dollar for every time I order Shake Shack on my way home from the bar, I’d have enough dollars to keep doing it.

Also, cancel subscriptions that you don’t need. I was once so desperate to watch Frozen I subscribed to Starz. Literally have no idea who uses Starz but apparently I did for four months. Control, Alt, Delete. You also don’t need every membership. It’s not that serious. I’ve been trying to remove myself from Massage Envy for years but I like their cucumber water. I think it would be more practical to buy massages as needed. Not to mention I leave there nine out of ten times feeling violated. I don’t get why they always tell you to drink a ton of water after the session, like why don’t you drink water? You’re the one that just worked for an hour. All I did was lay there wondering if these people are certified.

There are many little tips and tricks to save here and there. It just takes a little planning and self-restraint. Maybe you have to be obnoxious and ride a Citi bike. Maybe you have to suck it up and go on a Hinge date with a guy named “Seb”. Who knows. Just keep your confidence at a Lizzo and your bank account at a Gatsby. If anyone bothers you send them a Venmo request. Only donate to the homeless that have ~good vibes~. You can be in control of your finances.

In the words of Kylie Jenner, “Rise and Shine”, because you are now ballin’ on a budget thanks to my five-step plan. See you at Dunkin’ happy hour from 2-6 every day and on the 2 train that runs express except late night when it runs locally in Manhattan. Tragic.

Rave Blog

By: Ali Benz

I said I’d never go to the rave again, but then I definitely went to the rave again. And again. Strictly for research purposes, though. Music festivals are a dangerous place. Luckily, I was brave enough to go and can reveal my findings. All I can think about is how similar ravers are to therapists. I know that sounds weird af, but it’s true. Both are in my life and both are sending me love and light. I don’t really know what that means but I love to receive things, so send it.

First of all, can we talk about crystals? I mentioned that my neck was hurting and someone told me to just “throw some agate on it.” WTF does that mean? Apparently doctors aren’t a thing anymore. I don’t know who loves stones and crystals more, my therapist or everyone at Burning Man. Want good vibes? Here’s a crystal. Need a new car? Here’s a crystal. Want to murder your ex? Here’s a crystal! It’s amazing. The crystal industry is booming. Remind me to invest in Swarovski.

These festivals can also get very spiritual. People are always “realizing things”. Isn’t that the point of therapy, though? To discover yourself and have breakthroughs and sh*t? Pass the Ayahuaska . The only difference is psychologists deal with real Shaman whereas you probably met a guy in a headdress who calls himself “Starlight” and tried to sell you an Adderall. Tragic.

Both parties also have this fascination with dance. I’ve seen therapists do this energy/movement dancing. It kind of looks like a mating call but I dig it. The moves are proven to have huge mental benefits if you can get past looking like a tribal dancer at a human sacrifice. Don’t knock it before you try it. At least you’re not a shuffler at an Insomniac event. Don’t get me wrong, I think shuffling is cool and I’ve maybe done it by accident before (for research purposes). I just don’t like shufflers that are cocky. Like I get it you can stomp the ground hard in your Sketchers but like don’t be a dick about it.

If you don’t know what shuffling is, it’s this thing that was cool in 2012 that gave white kids the opportunity to break-dance to House music without having to appear in a Missy Elliot music video. Nowadays, it’s become another YouTube phenomenon where anyone can profit from recording themselves in their step-mom’s backyard on an iPhone4. People around the world literally post themselves shuffling and get more sponsors than a child-star on Ellen. These “shufflers” get so competitive with their stomping and such and then try to sell me pre-workout. This is not Crossfit. Please leave me alone. Just sell your Bang energy drinks and move on. At least all my therapist tries to sell me is her e-Book.

I know I’m acting salty. I swear I’m not mad. It’s just that I don’t know what costs more, a night at the Brooklyn Mirage or an hour with my shrink. This stuff should all be free. At either event, I receive unsolicited advice and a hug at the end. Maybe some tears, who knows. Music festivals can be an amazing experience, as long as you don’t get mono from sharing everyone’s Camelback. Therapy is also a great release. I just feel like, with all the wild/exciting stories I tell mine, she should be paying me. But this is America, so I will continue to pay $200/hour to tell someone about how I went crowd-surfing at a Diplo set and got in a fight with the man in the Halal truck at 4 am. Tragic.