Beginner’s Guide to Brooklyn

By: Ali Benz

If you’re like me and you’ve been to Brooklyn twice, you’ve probably had the pleasure of riding the L train. It takes some getting used to, but you slowly learn that on the L all you have to do is grab on to the nearest man-bun for stability. Never fails and there’s always one around which is super rad. There are always different types waiting for your grip, but my favorite is the ginger-red double-knot for extra support and style.

Do I hate Brooklyn? No. But it’s def one of my least favorite boroughs. If you’re going to cross that bridge you need to be ready. Vans must be strapped, but just loose and distressed enough to give that “I don’t care and sometimes I take my longboard to my job in a WeWork space vibe.” Check your Manhattan privilege at the door. BK is all about the local brews. If it’s not on draft, don’t even bother. If you go to a coffee place in Bushwick, which probably doubles as a thrift-shop or a yarn store, do NOT mention Starbuck’s. Immediately order the nitro cold-brew, demand oat-milk for an extra ten dollars, and get out. Paper straws only!

Same rules apply to any hipster bar you visit. Get a local home-brewed craft IPA stat! If it was wintertime, I’d recommend chilling in your rattiest Carhartt beanie with a little hint of man-bun coming out so they know you’re not messing around. Since it’s summertime, I recommend a flat brim hat that looks like it’s almost falling off your head but really you’re just too chill and present to care. There are more important things, like the environment, duh. Pair it with a random, super underground band-tee to really seal the deal. Maybe one that says “Joy Division”—whatever the f*ck that is.

Once again, I’m not hating on Brooklyn. How could I not love a place where everyone’s vegan and owns an Android? This place is sustainable af. Where else could I play competitive corn hole while listening to my favorite techno set in a brewery that used to be a factory that used to be an infirmary? It’s a beautiful thing, really. It’s the only grounds where getting f*cked up on kombucha and running around barefoot is admired and not a “cry for help” like your therapist says. Tell your shrink to chill and have some mead, bro.

If you’re having trouble connecting with “Brooklynites”, just casually mention Burning Man. I’m positive that everyone in this borough is attending. However, whatever you do, do NOT mention Coachella. Coachella is mainstream. That’s a dead giveaway that you don’t compost and you eat meat. To find a happy medium, I suggest the Brooklyn Mirage: a place to go when you want to leave Manhattan to see a bunch of people from Manhattan, but with the luxury of a “Williamsburg” snapchat filter. Just don’t come crying to me when the paper straw melts in your gin & tonic. Tragic.

 

 

True Life: You’re an Alien

By: Ali Benz

Do people even know what UFO stands for? It literally just means unidentified flying object. I consider a UFO to be that random scrap of meat the hibachi chef throws into your mouth and you just eat it no matter what because—showbiz. The term doesn’t directly relate to aliens, but it’s completely understandable if you grew up watching E.T. A UFO may be flying Japanese meat in my eyes, but to others, it’s the possibility of a whole other galaxy.

I’m down for an alien invasion just as much as the next guy. I just hope these slick extraterrestrials are single af. Everybody these days is either gay or married, so I’d take a handsome, tech-savvy E.T. any day of the week. My hopes are obviously up, but one can’t even be sure that the objects the Navy reported are extraterrestrial. The Navy is dramatic and prob just wants attention, or a day off from work. I told my boss I had tennis elbow to get a sick day, but I bet if I said I saw a UFO in 2015 he’d suggest a leave of absence for “personal reasons”.

Honestly, I think there are aliens all around us and we don’t even know it. For example, where in the world is Carmen San-Diego? Aka Melania Trump? I miss her so much. TBH Melania looks exactly like E.T. There. I said it. I am NOT bullying her. I know she is the obvious leader of the anti-bullying campaign. E.T. is super handsome. They both have that beautiful, copper skin, light eyes, and amazing figure. If they did a face-swap it would be the sexiest first-lady-alien alive, so don’t come at me like some alien body-shamer or whatever. I’m a fan. I just think it’s possible that Trump married an alien and was a huge fan of Steven Spielberg in the 1980s. Conspiracy theory people: Back me up here.

Everyone has their reasons for believing or not believing in intelligent-extraterrestrial life. The other week I was walking home from the bar and I was in a bind. My feet were too tired and Uber is unsafe so I made the obvious decision. I jumped on the back of a delivery man’s bicycle and asked him to drop me off on the Upper West Side. He pedaled me all the way home without asking any questions—and not just because he spoke zero English. As the wind blew through my hair on the heroic man’s handlebars, I realized that I was basically E.T. I’m clearly an alien too, or else I would’ve just taken a Lyft. I also learned that night that you shouldn’t drink on antibiotics. This was the year of realizing things, just like Kylie Jenner said! A modern Gandhi.

It’s rare that others will experience the spiritual awakening that I had. I think a lot of excitement around the UFO sightings is out of desperation. The state of the world is so wild right now that people want literally anything to believe in. From abortion bans to climate change it’s no wonder people are so quick to latch on to the idea of aliens. Maybe these UFOs are coming into awareness as our savior or a reason to give people hope. We all need something to put our faith in and honestly, I’m here for it. I thought Jonathan Cheban was our God, but apparently, he’s just a Foodgōd. Tragic.

This alien sh*t also could not have come at a better time. I just read an article about a new craze of people LARPing in the park with goats. Like there are humans literally role-playing as part of a goat fantasy at local farms in Connecticut. I hope the aliens abduct them first. As if CT needed one more reason for people not to visit. You really blew it, Nutmeg State. And yes, I’m from there. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be ~summering~ at Area 51. Montauk is for Muggles and my hometown is filled with LARP.

Your Diet Starts Here

By: Ali Benz

As Memorial Day Weekend approaches, many of us are scrambling to get in shape to drown ourselves in rosé in the Hamptons. I even considered observing Ramadan to lose weight, but I realized that was kind of ridiculous. It’s brilliant that they schedule the fast right before the first beach weekend of the year, but starving yourself is not the move. I stan a spiritual fast, but if you don’t even have the religious involvement or clothing, it’s not for you. Ramadan, but make it fashion.

You’re crazy if you think there’s such a thing as the perfect body. Seriously, like not even Kendall Jenner. I remember last year when she got shamed for having strange-length toes. Weird flex, but ok. Aside from imperfect feet, no one seems to ever be content with their weight. I always thought it was super annoying when boys would complain that they were too skinny.  Are you kidding me? The last time I complained about being too thin was in 6th grade when I couldn’t fill out a jean skirt from Abercrombie & Fitch.

Men are insecure about being too small while women fear being large and in charge. Can’t we just meet somewhere in the middle? Not to bring up the Kardashians again, but I’ve always admired their commitment to strength and fitness. These women work out like crazy and take pride in their thicc, muscular bodies. I find it super empowering. That’s how Kim landed her role in Paris Hilton’s music video for her new single “Best Friend’s Ass”. Obviously a very powerful, thought-provoking jam that you’ll be showing your grandkids. With lyrics like, “F*ckboys everywhere tryna get a pass / but I can’t stop staring at my best friend’s ass”, you know you’ll be hearing it at mainstage at your nearest music festival as you get knocked around in GA by girls shuffling in nipple-tassels and that one guy who consistently brings a glow-in-the-dark hula-hoop and asks if you want a light show. Tragic.

Speaking of music festivals, I am taking a hiatus (don’t quote me on this). I used to say if you want to lose a few pounds just go to EDC Las Vegas or something. Between sweating all night and walking around looking for your car for three hours in the desert, you’ll be shedding pounds in no time. I know it sounds luxurious, but this is also not a healthy weight-loss method. That’s like Ramadan but on molly and with no spiritual awakening—unless you’re that forty-year-old in the crowd that keeps tripping on acid and claiming he’s talked to God.

I will also be taking a break from these events because last night my friend said she was going to Alcatraz and I asked her who would be DJing. It’s a prison. Not a music festival. Everybody was disappointed that day. If you are worthier than me and attending an actual festy, I understand you might want to diet and look your best in the crowd—or in your pics taken in the crowd, I should say. Especially now, seeing as how Tinder has decided to make a “Festival Mode” because that’s exactly what we all needed after the Herpes outbreak at Coachella. Thanks, Match Group! I just googled who owns Tinder and it said Match Group if you didn’t get the reference either.

If you will be using Tinder Festival Mode, there are other ways to get fit for your future #RaveBae. Starvation and deprivation are so 1900’s. Both men and women should focus on eating a healthy diet and exercising in a way that is best for them. If you have a beer or five at a Yankee’s game it’s not the end of the world. Enjoy yourself and focus on being the best version of you. Women: don’t be afraid to go hard in the gym and lift weights—muscles are beautiful on every gender. Men: stop complaining about being too skinny because it’s f*cking obnoxious. Just roll with it and know that the entire female community is envious of your situation. If everyone would stop judging each other and their body types, the world would be a better place.

Who cares what it says on the scale. The number doesn’t matter, I’m pretty sure it’s random anyway. Super dramatic that my doctor must weigh me literally every time I see her. Get over it it’s like you’re obsessed with me or something. Then I always have to minus like ten pounds for my shoes and everything in my pockets like that one piece of gum and my hair tie. Forget about the number and hone in on how you feel. Treat yourself, and wear that bikini that your mom said was too smol. Just not to a work event.

Everybody is Depressed

By: Ali Benz

If you find yourself crying in your cubicle today, just know you are not alone. It’s mental health awareness month. Not sure if those are correlated at all, but I do know that everyone and their dog is sad. Stay strong. I thought I was in a deep depression last week when I couldn’t get out of bed. Turns out it was just the flu in the Spring. Tragic.

You may be thinking, there are so many exciting things happening in the world right now, how could anyone be upset? But the truth is, I don’t care if Meghan Markle gives birth to a boy, a girl, or a ginger. Nothing from the UK excites me besides Simon Cowell. Once I found out I had the flu it was a bittersweet moment because I knew exactly what was coming. G-d had blessed me with time off from work to start Game of Thrones. Now I’m on season four and can’t stop talking like the Lady of Winterfell.

Watching GOT may have cured my depression/flu, but you don’t realize how many people you know that are struggling every day. Sometimes it’s good to keep a zodiac friend around because they can always give you a little insight. For example, over the weekend I yelled at an innocent bartender and told him he’ll never work in this town again. Afterwards, I felt guilty because all he did was put regular olives in my martini instead of stuffed. Luckily my horoscope friend told me there was a full moon so it really wasn’t my fault. Case closed.

Everyone uses different coping mechanisms. I live by the mantra that everything happens for a reason and will fall into place. Therefore, if that bartender loses his job over the whole olive altercation, chances are it needed to happen, and I probably just changed his life. He was most likely too scared to quit his job and apply to med-school or whatever—but now he can thanks to me. At least that’s what I tell myself to go to sleep at night.

If you’re depressed and don’t feel like seeing your annoying friends, listening to music can help. Usually, I like to put on a sad song, look out the window, and pretend I’m in a music video—but to each their own. I don’t get what all the hype is about BTS. If I wanted to see a bunch of Koreans dancing I’d go to literally any place that sells bubble tea. But people seem to love these K-pop boys, so if watching them on the Billboard’s floats your boat, then so be it. Just don’t get too comfortable at the award show. It’s all fun and games until Paula Abdul moves better at sixty than you ever will in your entire life.

What I don’t recommend is seeking comfort in a past relationship. I almost unblocked my psycho ex on Instagram—mostly because I couldn’t bear to lose a follower. Then I realized I could do what every millennial girl does after a break-up and post a bikini pic captioned ~living my best life~. Guaranteed ten new followers by morning. Let that man-go. That’s why the mango was created. A gentle reminder that some relationships are meant to stay in the past. Rather than hit up a crazy ex, just do what I do and drunk-text your therapist. Very rewarding. Very safe. Therapists never screen-shot. Screen-shots lose trust. Shout-out to HIPAA.

In other exciting news to cure your spring depression, the Met Gala just happened. The theme was “Camp” and I for sure thought it meant Camp Rock. Not quite. No JoBro in sight wearing Disney-print or holding the hand of leading lady Demi Lovato? Sounds lamer than weekend two at Coachella. Once I heard that I decided #MetCamp wasn’t for me. Would rather watch the Ted Bundy documentary. Zac Efron: 10/10 would let murder.

Remember, depression comes and goes. We all feel it. We all live it. All you can do is keep pushing forward….and like/subscribe to my blog. I heard that helps too but I don’t know I’m not a doctor.

 

Smile!

 

 

You Can Work From Home

By: Ali Benz

‘Twas a Wednesday evening when Fifth Harmony’s jam, ‘Work From Home’, grazed my ears and changed my life. I heard the inspiring tune on my lunch break and immediately knew what I had to do. I would work from home. A few hours later, I got a call from my boss. Turns out: We can’t work from home.

It’s not Camila Cabello’s fault. If Fifth Harmony puts out a motivational banger, it’s going to be received. I realized I didn’t like my job, and ‘home’ was a metaphor for where the heart is. That’s what I needed to do–Work from ‘home’. You may be thinking, “wtf is she talking about? Isn’t that song about sex on a weekday?” And to all you ignorant folks, it is my duty to teach you the message they failed to get across.

You can work from home. I left my job that day. Not to sit around watching ‘90 Day Fiancé with my cat, but to figure out what I would love to be doing. It’s not that easy, given the only things I enjoy are sloth videos and happy hour. I’m still figuring it out, but everybody moves at their own pace. You don’t have to stay at a sh*tty job just so you can put “financial advisor” in your Hinge bio. I just “advised” my friend to buy a bottle of rosé rather than a glass because that would be fiscally irresponsible. Boom. Financial advisor.

Don’t feel pressured by the people around you. Some of my friends are getting engaged, while others are just trying to find a Juul pod.  It’s called balance. Everybody gets divorced anyway, so don’t rush into a relationship because you think you’re supposed to. Unless it’s Jeff Bezos. Marry Jeff Bezos. Boom. Billionaire.

Love what you do and the rest will follow. If you put all your value in a partner, you will never be happy. Just look at Ron from Jersey Shore. That smol guido has never found peace. His focus is on toxic relationships rather than personal growth. If Ron channeled his energy into his passion for Ed Hardy T-shirts and faux-hawks, he would find himself in a better, tanner place. Don’t be like Rahn. Boom. Roasted.

It’s also ok to take a break and live at home. Moving in with your parents doesn’t have to be all basements and video games. Taking time to regroup and save up can be empowering. If you can get over the stigma, you may find yourself in a more positive space and able to reset. You are not a failure. It’s easier to pursue your goals surrounded by more support and less stress. Your life doesn’t become Grand Theft Auto and Domino’s pizza with your hometown drug-dealer. Though it does sound nice. It can mean relief of financial burden, self-reflection, and free groceries. Not tragic.

Kim Kardashian-West is a great example of someone who took their time. She “accidentally” made a sex tape, became a stylist, model, amazing actress, etc., but it wasn’t until she moved back in with Kris Jenner that she was able to figure it all out. In 2016, Kim returned home, the same year Fifth Harmony released ‘Work From Home’. Coincidence? I think not. Now, Kardashian-West is studying for the bar exam and becoming the lawyer she was destined to be. You. Can. Work. From. Home.

 

 

Relationship Advice No One Asked For

By: Ali Benz

Cuffing season is over and spring has sprung. I said it. Honestly, people in relationships are annoying AF. Having a mate is fun and all, but have you ever tried not having one? Let’s get dramatic for a minute so you can stop whining about your break-up and start wallowing in your single-ness. Wallow.

Most importantly, and I can’t stress this enough, is your Instagram feed. Studies show that posting a pic with your s/o cuts your likes by nearly 50% (not yet confirmed statistic). If your likes/comments are that low, there’s no way swimsuit brands will reach out to you to become an ambassador with a 40% off discount code. Tragic. Boyfriends/Girlfriends make you poor via social media. It’s basic math.

If you are out at a bar with your man, there is absolutely no way the lead singer of L.M.F.A.O. will buy you a drink. This is a true story and I was the victim. I’m still working through the pain I felt when the greatest artist of our generation sent tequila shots to all my single friends as I just sat there, sober and afraid. Redfoo, if you’re reading this, I need you to know that guy was my cousin and you hurt an innocent girl that night.

Does anyone know if Facebook is still a thing? All I miss about that platform was its ability to remember my aunt’s birthday and put relationships on blast. Back in my day, you’d broadcast that sh*t immediately and claim your bae. Then, when your two-week high school fling came to a shocking end, everyone and their mother knew instantly. This was great because you didn’t have to tell anyone you broke up, Mark Zuckerberg handled that. A gentleman and a scholar! Nowadays, you’re forced to personally reach out and tell your friends you got dumped, or risk suffering alone.

Still not convinced? This one’s for all you club-rats. You cannot get into the clerb with your boyfriend. Stop trying. It’s embarrassing. You can beg the doorman all you want, but having a guy that can’t pay cover is not cute. Why stay home when you could be at Marquee covered in cranberry juice and Ciroc? A promoter once texted me “1 Oak with Lil Romeo tonight” and I had to give that up. Why? Because I was in a relationship. I had to sacrifice a night of partying in the presence of a king all because I slipped and fell in love. Lesson learned. Side note: this promoter still texts me every night to this day, and I haven’t lived in LA for six years. This poor guy must be like 40 now. “Justin Promo”, if you’re still out there, please disregard all previous advice and get married. Asap. You make us uncomfortable.

What the Smollett…

By: Ali Benz

I need to come clean: I walked around with a black smudge on my forehead on Ash Wednesday for personal gain. It wasn’t that serious, I just had to convince my trainer I gave up cardio for Lent. Genius, I know, but if I was a celeb it might’ve been cultural appropriation or some sh*t. It also didn’t help that I work out at the Jewish Community Center.

My little ash stunt wasn’t nearly as bad as recent scandals. I feel like we live in the Purge. Never seen that movie but I assume it goes something like this. There are literally no consequences for anything—especially if you have money. Jussie Smollett got away with his fake hate crime for the small price of 10k. Pretty good deal for a staged attack, don’t ya think? Must have been Black Friday (not a pun).

The Mueller Report essentially exonerated President Trump. This was a bigger let down than 7/11’s ban on Mango Juul pods. It’s fine that they found no collusion etc., but like why be so dramatic about it? There was this huge build-up for literally nothing. Does Robby Muellz just like the spotlight? Everybody is a star these days; My dog, hot lawyers, idiots on Summer House that blackout in the Hamptons—anyone. And it’s not even their fault. All of us want a story, so they give us a show. It doesn’t matter what’s wrong and what’s right, just keep it interesting.

Aunt Becky did not disappoint. Lori Loughlin bribed USC to enroll her daughter and now she’s more relevant than ever. She might even get a show! I tried to bribe a teacher once and he reported me. Still unsure how “If you round that up to a 90 I’ll cover your tab” is inappropriate, but I guess that’s what happens when you bump into your professor at a Ruby Tuesday. Although Loughlin’s “influencer” daughter, Olivia Jade, lost her make-up sponsors, she’s still winning in my book. I have literally never heard of her. Now I’m writing about her. I got waitlisted from USC and I slipped a twenty in my application but nobody wants to talk about that now do they? OJ (can I call her that?) slips a casual 500k with her Common App and all of a sudden she’s a BFD. Go big or go home I guess. Tragic.

Hate to bring up this rando again, but Jordyn Woods—WTF?! This girl dragged us through a devastating cheating scandal and now she’s America’s next top model? I fought for you, Jordyn! I cried and battled multiple strangers on the internet for you, Jordyn! Where is the loyalty? You played me for a fool, Jordyn! But you knew what you were doing. You caught the scandal bug. I respect it, considering you drop-kicked the Kardashians, shed a few tears for the people back home, then rose to fame overnight. I just wish some of us got the same treatment: When Woods blacks out at a party and hooks up with someone, she calls Will Smith. When my friends blackout at a guy’s party, we call Planned Parenthood. I just feel like it’s slightly unfair but whatever.

One minor step backward, two huge steps forward. Give us a good scam and we’ll sling you to stardom. I finally get why they say no publicity is bad publicity. Keep the people talking. I just wish my therapist understood. Every time I get kicked out of a bar she says I need to quit drinking. Jokes on her because all of downtown has been talking about me for weeks. If my calculations are correct I should be a star by noon.