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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

Casamigos On The Ice

By: Ali Benz

Reality star Brett Kavanaugh made it very clear that he likes beer. Boys and girls like beer. V cool revelation. I, however, only drink Casamigos. I could go on about its vanilla undertones and sh*t, but seriously, you’ve got to try this tequila. Life-changing.

If you didn’t blow all of your summer money on Juul pods and sparkling seltzer, chances are you’re back on your bullsh*t. With this cold weather approaching, we are all gearing up in our best liquor blankets. No coat-check necessary.

As I made my triumphant return to nightlife, strictly for investigative journalism purposes, I grew extremely disappointed. Finding: people are still ordering bottles of Vodka to the table. I don’t care that your Tito’s is gluten-free, Sebastían, I want some f*cking Tequila. More specifically: Casamigos.

When I asked if any good alcohol would be coming, this uncultured swine of a bottle girl offered me a shot of Patrón. Tragic. I mean, did I take it? Yeah—there are sober children in Africa. I’m not a monster. But it was awful. My palette is clearly way too refined.

At least it wasn’t Vodka. Tequila comes from the agave plant and is way better for you according to, like, science…and Pitbull. Dalé.

If only Casamigos knew how much (of other people’s) money I’ve spent on their products. Maybe then they wouldn’t have left me on read when I slid in the DM. Over it.

Anyway, if you don’t idolize Mr. 305 the way I do, then maybe you should know that this tequila was founded/blessed by silver-fox George Clooney himself. So, if you’re having trouble stomaching silver-sex-offender Kavanaugh this week, grab yourself a bottle of Georgie’s Casamigos, and try to black-out the way poor little Brettski never could.

Your Smartphone is a Narc

By: Ali Benz

I’ve never used a dating app before. It’s not that I’m against it, it’s just that my sister was cat-fished by a man with adult braces and I’m traumatized. The digital age is creepy.

After losing my phone in the Brooklyn Mirage, a place to go to when you want to leave Manhattan just to see a bunch of people from Manhattan, I realized just how useless people are sans mobile. You can’t split an Uber, postmate a churro, text your mom that you’re alive, pretend to venmo someone, cat-fish my siblings, nothing!

But, don’t be mistaken. These apps are not your friends. They are narcs and Snapchat is Public Enemy No. 1. Sure, you can try to sneak around with that guy you swore you were over, but Snapchat will literally expose you on a map—because this app was clearly built on the premise of love and trust and their mission statement definitely wasn’t “Send Nudes.” Right. You can say it’s a glitch, but your Bitmojis are literally laying together half-naked on a towel. Evan Spiegel is a savage.

Location services are sketchy AF. I don’t get why my ‘Spanish Word of the Day’ app needs to be stalking me 24/7, but, also, I don’t know why I have a ‘Spanish Word of the Day’ app. I do, however, understand how tracking is necessary for ride-share services. How else would I send my broke ex home in an Uber pool? Tragic.

The only downloads I want on my phone are my Starbucks app, since it’s linked to my dad’s credit card, and my UV app, so I don’t waste time outside if the rays are weak AF. I might just follow in my grandma’s footsteps and revive the old LG flip. I don’t know what kind of secret operations she’s running out of Boca Raton, Florida, but as long as I keep getting eighty dollars cash in a singing card on my birthday, we’re good.

Stop Glorifying Mental Disorders

By: Ali Benz

 

A wise, bi-polar man once said, “I’m a sick f*ck, I like a quick f*ck.” Due to his trendy, mental disorder, Mr. Kanye West was able to rap this line for a whopping two minutes and produce a chart-topper. Tragic.

The only people that I hate more than people about to go on Birthright are people that have just returned from birthright. No, Rachel, I don’t want to hear about your new found love for falafel or how you got felt up by an Israeli soldier on the back of a camel. But my hatred of pre and post birthright talk has recently been trumped by a new category: Our generation’s obsession with romanticizing mental disorders. I think it’s great that people are finally having this conversation and normalizing these feelings, but it’s being minimized into a hip fad just like double popped Abercrombie polos and cargo pants that zip off into shorts.

 

Leave it to Kanye West to profit off of being depressed AF. Ye recently described his bi-polar as a “superpower”, which I think is admirable that he was able to reclassify a negative stereotype into a positive, but unless he’s about to lace the new Yeezy Boosts with Prozac, he needs to be careful. The rapper has a giant platform and a huge support network unlike most. Those struggling with a mental disorder should be taught how to address it without fame, and those that don’t possess one should know it’s not something you can just catch and release like mono freshman year of college. You are not going to get a record deal and a Kardashian just because you’re manic. Shortly after West and other celebs opened up about their mental state, I got a text from a friend saying “Do you think  I have bi-polar?” To which I replied, “No, you’re just annoying.” But I’m not a doctor.

 

Speaking of doctors, I saw my physician the other day for my yearly every 5 year check-up (whoops). At the end of the sesh, she handed me a paper and said we should do a quick, regulatory depression test. Just for fun, I guess? She turned her back (for maximum privacy) and I looked down at the multiple choice quiz that would determine my mental health. LOL. The answers consisted of five levels of smiley faces that ranged from aggressive frowning to psychopathic grin. It felt kind of like a trick test, so I filled it in the same way I did every scantron senior year, “C’s” across the board, except for a few questions I found judgmental like, “Are you tired?” To which I chose a rare “E” for “Yes I’m f*cking tired.” Next question. Anyway, my point is, these doctors are so quick to diagnose and prescribe. I guess I thought the “C” smiley was giving more of a flirty smirk than a slanty cry for help, and now I’ve got a brand new Rx.

 

The glorification of mental disorders needs to seriously chill. So many struggle with depression and anxiety that can’t just be cured by the “Ye” album, even as soothing as Kid Cudi’s humming may be. This needs to be an open discussion and not a scapegoat or ambition. Also, WebMD is not your friend, it’ll just tell you that you’re dying, just like every time you dramatically search the symptoms of the common f*cking cold. Relax. You need to pay a hot, young psychiatrist $250 an hour to talk about your sh*t for ten minutes. Or you can, like, see someone ugly on your insurance. Either way. Handle it.