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tax day: a nightmare IRL

Though it’s a great creative outlet and gives me some extra cash for luxurious things (like traveling, new shoes, and manicures), freelancing isn’t always a breeze. Cue: taxes.

I consider myself to be pretty financially responsible. I have a retirement savings plan, invest in the stock market, pay my credit card bill in full every month, and thrive at department store clearance racks. But taxes are a whole other game.

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Luckily, my trusty accountant (known to me as “Dad”) has been Turbo Tax-ing for me for the last few years. I’ve previously gotten sizable refunds, so this year, I was shocked to find out I’d be getting nothing…and instead, owed the government a good chunk of change. I’d been planning to upgrade my computer with the return I expected, but, alas, I wrote checks to the IRS.

As a freelancer, I got a stack of 1099s in the mail, chronicling my earnings for the various media outlets I write for. I started putting money aside last year to pay my 2017 taxes, and ended up transferring those funds to a high yield savings account. I earned about $100 in interest in a year, so I highly recommend it. (I used American Express.)

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I feel like financial security is something that’s often overlooked, especially by millennials. My parents grew up pinching pennies, so they’ve always been frugal, a practice that has rubbed off on me a little. I have expensive taste and don’t think twice about the occasional splurge, but I get most of my wardrobe from low-brow retailers like Zara, bring my lunch to work 90% of the time, and have drastically cut back on fancy coffees.

Anyway, I guess the lesson here is that I should start saving for next year’s taxes right now. Sigh.

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binge-worthy shows

I love TV. Like, a lot. Whether it’s a seven-season sitcom or drama mini-series, if it’s quality television, I’m there. I guess “quality TV” is kind of subjective. There are shows that I like to watch (like Law & Order: SVU) that I realize aren’t in the canon of critically exceptional TV, but I appreciate them for what they are and consider them binge-worthy. Here are some others.

The Honorable Woman

Ok, I haven’t finished watching yet, but HOW HAD I NEVER HEARD OF THIS?! I’ve never been a big fan of Maggie Gyllenhaal, but this eight-part series is sooooo good. Everything from the cast to the script to the cinematography to the story. I promise you won’t hate it.

This Is Us

I hate cliffhangers and having to wait a week for a new episode, so this is a show that I have to binge-watch. I find Mandy Moore pretty annoying in this show, but there are so many other A+ characters that I’ve been a devout watcher.

The Handmaid’s Tale

If you haven’t watched the first season, do it now. I’ve been waiting for literally a year for the second season to come out, and this show deserves all the hype and awards it’s received. Television like this is a reminder of how powerful the medium can be.

Broad City

On a lighter note, Broad City is one of my favorite comedy series, and the short episodes (around 22 minutes) make for perfect bingeing. I don’t have cable, so I have to wait til these guys come out on Hulu to watch…which just means I can stream a whole season in one day.

Mindhunter

I love Criminal Minds and SUV, so this show was a no-brainer binge-watcher for me. I’m not a huge fan of the casting choice for the main character, but I appreciate the production value of this series. Plus, it’s fascinating to see how behavior analysis began at the FBI.

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excuses for canceling plans

I can’t say if I’ve used any or all of these, but when I’m feeling anti-social it’s always good to have an excuse stored in the back of my brain. Here are some of my best (?) ideas for getting out of an awkward blind date, a party for a co-worker you’ve never spoken to or 10am brunch when you’re hungover.

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1. You’re super sore from Pure Barre.

2. You forgot you promised your roommate you’d go to dinner with her for her birthday.

3. You have a Skype interview with a company in China (time differences, man).

4. It’s your time of the month.

5. You’re locked out of your apartment.

6. Your wallet got stolen and you only have $3.91 in loose change.

7. You have to stay home to let the cable guy in.

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8. Damn, you JUST ordered Thai food on Seamless.

9. The new Frank Ocean album is making you cry.

10. You ate too many free bagels at work and none of your going-out clothes fit.

Here’s to a Friday night in!

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last week’s links

I thought I’d share some posts from other blogs and lifestyle websites that I particularly enjoyed reading last week and this week. These links are funny bits from the web that I happened to stumble upon, as well as some recent posts from my favorite sites–I scroll through Man Repeller and R29 almost everyday on my lunch break, and have been following them on Insta forever.

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1. “Only in New York” stories from Man Repeller.

2. This recipe for Come Fuck Me pasta, c/o Refinery29. (Will probably make this for myself this weekend, tbh.)

3. An insightful post from Cupcakes and Cashmere, one of the blogs that has inspired me since I was in high school. I love how Emily has branched out her editorial team to include younger/non-parents/unmarried women who are more relatable for my demographic.

4. Any Broad City fans?

5. Pete Wells’s review of my least favorite Food Network star’s Times Square restaurant.

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what to do in NYC when it’s 96 degrees

The past few days have been brutal here in New York, especially in my un-air conditioned apartment. Taking the subway to work in 90+ degree weather = arriving at my office with my make-up melted off and frizzy hair. Even just sitting still in my apartment is sweat-inducing, so here are six great (?) things to do in NYC when it’s too hot to move.

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1. Sit in Starbucks for three hours “working.”

2. Eat ice cream.

3. Make new playlists on Spotify.

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4. Go to the movies.

5. Spend $100 at H&M online.

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6. Try to hang out with someone who has AC.

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confidence = major 🔑

For most of my life, I’ve been forgettable–and I’ve been good at it. Remember that scene in “The Princess Diaries” when someone literally sits on Anne Hathaway/Mia Thermopolis because they didn’t even notice she was there? That should give you an idea of how I felt up until a few years ago. In high school I was drafted as “shy” and “quiet,” two adjectives I would never assign to my current self. My freshman year of college I would go to parties and bars and meet lots of different people–but when I waved to them the next day, I’d be greeted with a lack of recognition.

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I feel that I’ve become more assertive over the past two years, with a tremendous change when I studied abroad. Amsterdam means SO much to me, and my growth in independence is one of the reasons why. I learned more about myself in five months of living there than the past three years of college. I did things I wanted, when I wanted. I made friends with the guy who freed my bike after I broke the padlock’s key…so the next time it happened, he volunteered to help once more. I dyed my hair blonde. I biked miles and miles. I looked at art. I ate lots of stroopwafels. I started drinking beer. I started liking beer. I constantly, consistently was in awe of the city’s beauty. One year later, I’m still not sure how it’s possible for a place to be so stunning.

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This past year, I’ve started being more confident in my career goals and skills. I learned to work on a team–on a professional level. I learned how to say no. I started asking for what I want. And now that a brand new, unplanned, simultaneously terrifying/exhilarating chapter of my life is beginning, I’m excited to continue growing.

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what to do while you’re waiting to hear back about a job

Waiting to hear back from prospective employers is bringing me back big time to senior year of high school, anxiously waiting for college decision letters. I remember checking my email as soon as I got home everyday (this was pre-iPhone, people), keeping my family on high alert for any mail addressed to me, and stress-biting my nails. This is kind of like that…x100. How the f*** am I going to pay rent?! I knew at least one college would have to accept me–what are safety schools for, amirite? But how do you apply for a safety career?? Anyway, I’ve been checking my email every 1.7 seconds, and it’s becoming a problem for my mental health. So here is a very helpful list of things to do instead of tearing your hair out 24/7, inspired by the show I’ve been binge watching for the past week.

1. Get your zen on at yoga. Save a couple bucks and try Yoga to the People for a “suggested donation.”

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2. Try out that amazing makeup tutorial on YouTube! #EyebrowsOnFleek #ContourGameStrong

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3. Go grocery shopping! Nothing will take your mind off of real life more than a stroll down the produce aisle at your local, grimy bodega.

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4. Try to pick up a guy. Why not, right? It’s 2016, be the boss betch you are.

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5. Hit the gym! That beach bod isn’t gonna sculpt itself.

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6. Have fun on Snapchat. So many filters, so little AT&T data.

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7. Hit da club. Get your grind on & turn off your email updates.

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All gifs from GIPHY.

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