On The Cost of Recycling

@steponitvelma That's why I hate the compostable cups/utensils unless a place is fully set up to dispose of them properly. They're generally expensive greenwashing (besides the issue of making yet more "sustainable" stuff out of corn).

Posted on April 1, 2015 at 10:15 am 0

On Broke With Bad Skin, UNTIL ...

@Clare K. R. Miller I have one, and I love it. I waffled for months because of the price, but I've never regretted it. I've been on Accutane twice for cystic acne and still get the occasional bad hormonal breakout (which I'm hoping an IUD and maybe spironolactone will help), so it doesn't solve everything, but it's made a huge difference. My skin is sensitive and tends to be dry (thanks, Accutane!) but somehow also breakout-prone. The Clarisonic gets the bacteria/grime and dead skin off without having to use the really astringent stuff or scrubbing that makes my skin irritated. It also helps the products I use soak in, since the layer of dead skin is gone. You can use it with a really gentle facewash and there are different strengths of brushes (I use sensitive or delicate), so it's pretty easy to find a combination that works for sensitive skin. I don't love how expensive the brushes are, but they're not too bad if you buy multipacks or wait for a Sephora coupon.

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm 0

On Broke With Bad Skin, UNTIL ...

@Gef the Talking Mongoose Yup! My dad is a doctor, and when I got an unexpected (luckily low) bill for labwork I'd had done, he told me to call my doctor's office and make sure they'd entered the various tests separately and with a medical reason for each. (For example, I'd had my Vitamin D levels tested, which is crazy expensive but can be covered by insurance if the doctor/billing notes that it's because I'm in an at-risk population for deficiency.) In my case, the doctor's office/lab company said everything was billed correctly and there was still a copay, but it was worth checking.

Posted on January 23, 2015 at 12:18 pm 0

On Label Whoring at Thrift Town

@tw0lle There's a thrift store near me that I kind of hate because the employees (mostly elderly volunteers) are obnoxious and most of what they sell is outdated crap. But I still go there because the employees are so out of touch with trends/brands and often too lazy to price even nicer common brands appropriately that I get crazy deals. I got a wool and silk Sonia Rykiel dress for $15, a heavy J.Crew fisherman's sweater for $3, a wool Lux swing jacket for $3, and found my mom a Vince sweater for $4. I also got a crazy vintage mohair/cashmere Lord & Taylor cardigan with faux-pearl buttons for $5. Last time I was there, they had a silk 3.1 Phillip Lim slip/dress for $8 (because it was consigned). Meanwhile, faded Tommy Hilfiger shirts from the 90s are priced at $13. There's a nicer thrift store a little farther away that does recognize good brands but prices things pretty homogenously. Last time I was there, they had whole rack of beautiful vintage French/Italian couture at really reasonable prices. But everything was at least a size too small. It was a very sad thrifting day.

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm 1

On Every Job I've Had: City Paper, Biking in Jorts, and The World's Largest Design Firm

@kellyography Yeah, this was very hope-inspiring! I live on the east coast, but I'm thinking of applying to jobs in the Bay Area because the job market for my field in my city is awful and the Bay Area has a ton. But I can't even get interviews regionally, so it's really daunting. I need to just buck up and apply for more.

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm 0

On The Nightmare of Being a Virtual Assistant

@snackcarts Me toooo! Luckily, most of my firm's clients are polite, even if some are a little nutty. Though the week I started, some clients who were getting sued had mailed us something and it hadn't arrived. Their solution to this was to call multiple times a day to berate me and the clerks and occasionally hang up on us mid-sentence. They refused to believe that the documents hadn't arrived and that we'd call when the documents came in. Because we'd rather take abusive phone calls than open the mail?

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 4:56 pm 0

On The Nightmare of Being a Virtual Assistant

@qwer1234 Yes! I have never had quite such a terrible job, but I've had a lot of customer service jobs, some of which were pretty awful. (No, you may not smoke a joint in a crowded no-smoking venue. No, flirting with me will not help. No, switching to being nasty because I didn't respond to your flirting will not scare me.) I'm pretty quiet/shy as well, but if anything I'm sometimes excessively chatty and smiley with cashiers and customer service people. I always feel terrible when I'm polite or patient about a delay or problem that isn't the worker's fault and they thank me profusely--I just imagine what the rest of their day is like.

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 4:53 pm 0

On How to Fix Your Bathtub That Won't Drain Using These 30 Easy Steps

I've been through this! When I was living in a crappy, recently-crappily-redone apartment in France, my shower drain got completely clogged with hair. Apparently, Parisians' solutions to clogged drains are: a. pour one of many caustic chemical solutions down the drain or b. hire a plumber. The crappy shower drain cover wouldn't twist off, leading me to believe it was permanently affixed there. I tried baking soda bombs and non-toxic drain cleaners to no avail. Being Parisian, my landlords were kind but incompetent at fixing anything, and "helped" by dumping extra-strength chemicals down the drain. I was prepared to call a plumber and then plead with my bank's insurance to pay for it when I accidentally fixed the problem myself. My weird wire snake accidentally popped the drain cover lid off, at which point I realized that there was a plastic cup right underneath it that was supposed to catch hair but had really just made a hair barrier. My landlady had basically dumped the chemicals into the cup. I then sent triumphant photos of the hairball to my dad. TL;DR: Sometimes the stupid drain cover just needs to be levered off. Also, Drano is terrifying.

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 7:02 pm 0

On How to Fix Your Bathtub That Won't Drain Using These 30 Easy Steps

@Beaks I have heard that those are amazing, BUT when I was dealing with a clogged shower drain, my dad warned me that he once had one break down in the pipe and get stuck there, further clogging the train (and angering my mother).

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm 0

On How Much Should It Cost to Fix My Shoes?

Yeah, that sounds a little expensive, but not insanely so. A lot of places automatically shine whatever they repair and charge you for that, too. I bought a pair of used wooden-heeled oxfords at a thrift store last year, and I think I paid about $20 for them to just re-sole the heels and file the wood down a bit. They told me that I had to resole them then, since any more wear on the bare wood would mean reheeling them, which was much more expensive. Shoe repair is expensive! I just paid $30 to get the heels on a pair of wedge flats resoled and the shoes shined after the previous re-soleing job fell apart. When I taught at a tiny town in France, the old-timey cobbler resoled my boot heels, sewed new leather to the lining, and shined the boots all for 42 euro. I miss him. While we're talking about shoe care, do not let your shoes get soaked through with snow! The same cobbler told me that snow is even worse for unprotected leather shoes than rain, especially when mixed with salt. I almost ruined those boots by trudging through snow in them.

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 4:39 pm 0