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How to Survive a Trip to Ikea with Your Boyfriend

It's the night before Earth Day and I'm currently sitting on the couch, nodding my head at what feels like the hundredth set of patio furniture my boyfriend has made me look at. Don't get me wrong, your girl loves to shop, but giving my opinion isn't very fun when it's the exact opposite of the person making the final decision.

I've been meaning to write about how to survive going on vacation with your significant other, but since I'm currently mentally preparing myself for what's about to go down tomorrow, this post took precedent.

Ikea is known as the furniture retailer that is most loved by broke twenty somethings and has won most likely to cause an argument every year in a row. Well, not really, but I'm sure it would if we all took a vote. Tomorrow I have to navigate holding my tongue, my wallet and my temper all at the same time. If you're nearing a trip to Ikea soon, or homeware shopping in general, this is how to survive with your relationship still intact.

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**update: we went, we had an argument, but we survived. Then we argued some more while we built it but it's all good, cause he bought me a Magnum ice cream, so we're even now.**

Go with a plan

Unless you're visiting Ikea just for the fun of browsing, you're better off making a list of the things you're looking for than wandering around and hoping you grab everything. Since we were visiting specifically for patio furniture, our plan was down to the item number. For smaller purchases, I recommended just making a list of the small items you don't want to forget to purchase. Our lack of a smaller list meant we left without grabbing the baking sheet we desperately need!

Know your measurements

We totally remembered to measure the patio, but never thought to think about the measurements of the furniture we were planning to pick up. This is where the trouble started. If you're looking for furniture, know the measurements of the space you want to fill and the largest size you can reasonably fit into the space. If you go online all the items have measurements clearly listed, and to make the whole thing easier, it's never a bad idea to take a measuring tape with you.

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Choose your battles

Because it was my boyfriend who was ultimately purchasing the patio furniture, the final decision was up to him, which is why I wasn't too thrilled to go in the first place. About two hours into the trip we were both tired, annoyed, and nowhere near a decision. At this point I decided to let go of my hate for dark furniture and just shop from his perspective, even though I personally wouldn't haven chosen the pieces. Not everything is worth giving the side eye over, so choose what's worth fighting over.

Don't shop while hungry

Thank god Ikea has a restaurant, otherwise one of us would have thrown a punch. My preference is to browse the floor room, eat a meal, then do the real shopping. This way you have time to look at what you might like, talk it over some good cheap food, then make your purchases.

Give yourself extra time

Living in the city means nearly no one own a car, including my boyfriend and I. For this reason we rented a ZipCar, and after a bit of convincing, my boyfriend reserved it for a total of 4 hours. In the end we extended our reservation time by an extra hour, teaching me that you can never give yourself too much time to shop at Ikea.

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Don't feel pressured to buy

Past the point of our initial argument and well into me ditching him to shop by myself, I realized my boyfriend was so over the whole experience that he was ready to leave with nothing. If you have a similar feeling, don't feel pressured to make a big purchase. Come back later, look online, and get all the second opinions you need. The good thing about Ikea is that their inventory is always the same, making taking some extra fine not a big deal.

In the end we did take home new patio furniture, built that and new deck floor the next day, and have yet to use any of it. I know, we're crazy. Hopefully the rain will stop so we can finally enjoy the stuff that made us wanna pull our hair out and possibly made me pull a muscle in my arm.

Okay spill, where's the last public place you argued with your significant other with? Also, any tips on how to not lose my mind for the next time we shop for furniture?

PS You can now sign up for the weekly newsletter, where you'll get tips, resources and motivation to help you make each week of 2017 better than the last. Signing up takes seconds so make sure you're on the list!!

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Everything That Happened When I Stopped Following All the Dating Rules

Here's the thing, I'm a very by the book kind of girl. I use crosswalks, read direction manuals and always make sure to follow the guidelines on every assignment. The same applies to my dating history, with me getting to know each guy slowly, not texting him too quickly and generally playing the game we all call dating nowadays.

Then this thing happened at the start of 2016, I was dumped on New Year's Day. On my way to see Sisters no less! (Great movie by the way.) After having the typical post breakup meltdown for a while I realized all my work in getting to know a guy left me where it always did, heartbroken, crying on the bathroom floor, wondering what I did wrong. And that's when I realized what exactly I'd been doing wrong, I'd been following this imaginary rule book as if my dating life was a game of Life. Except in this case the mess left afterwards didn't neatly fit into a box when it's all over.

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Once I was done mourning the end of my relationship and feeling comfortable on my own, I decided I wasn't going to waste any time trying to meet someone new. I did something completely new to me, I tried online dating for the first time in my life.

After a dozen boring conversations and one good date that went nowhere I was about to call it quits, plus the constant notifications at all hours of the night were not sitting well with me. Then an ordinary boy sent me a message, but unlike all the others our conversation was anything but ordinary.

One marathon date followed by a dinner date the next night led me to realize that maybe I have been doing it wrong all along. What if all those rules on how long we should wait to text and how available we should seem were made by people who are just like us? Single, at home, watching Locked Up Abroad with Papa Johns. It was during my Lyft ride home that I decided I was going to say screw it to all the rules that had led me to where I currently was, single after dating a guy who near the end showed no respect towards anyone, including me.

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To quote my HR manager, "I was a modern woman," and like hell I was going to start dating like one. So I text the boy I had dinner with immediately after it ended, thanking him for making me dinner and spending the evening with me. The next day we spoke about how the ridiculous facial expression I made tasting quinoa for the first time, and the next day we scheduled our third date.

The moment I stopped worrying about whether I would look too eager, too available, too clingy is the moment I was able to step back and just enjoy what was going on around me. I had my third date with a boy in the past 5 days and the more time I spent with him the less I care whether it's appropriate or not.

So here's the thing, sure I could have spaced out our dates and looked less available, but for what? So I could sit at home alone wondering if he was doing the same? My match may not be falling in love with me or even interested in seeing me exclusively, but by saying 'no thank you' to all the rules that come with dating, I've now discovered just how fun it can be to enjoy a date for what it is, a night with a stranger who may or may not lead you to smile as you walk your daily path to the train station. And isn't that what everyone secretly wants in the end, a reason to smile like an idiot on a Monday morning?

Okay spill, have you tried online dating? How did it work out in your situation?

PS You can now sign up for the weekly newsletter, where you'll get tips, resources and motivation to help you make each week of 2017 better than the last. Signing up takes seconds so make sure you're on the list!!

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5 Reasons Why You Should Wait Before Going to Grad School + Why I Didn't

Senior year of college was a whirlwind of events. Between interning in Washington DC and planning for graduation, the thought of attending more years of school was the furthest thing on my mind. Then it happened suddenly, grad school was all anyone was talking about.

Whether it was a genuine interest to advance their education or a desire to avoid the real world, people left and right were filling out graduate school applications and talking about it like it was the only possible option. In a moment of panic I too submitted a few applications, just in case I needed a back up to my plan to take a year off.

Two months at home made me realize a year off would feel like an eternity, which is why within a week I accepted an offer at my current university, bought a plane ticket and signed the first lease I could find. Was it a rushed decision? Yes. But without it I wouldn't be where I am today. With all that said, it's been a complete rollercoaster, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't wished I had waited a bit before jumping into more years of school.

Below are the five benefits of not entering graduate school immediately after college graduation, as well as my reason for doing it despite the reasons below.

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Gain work experience

It can be scary to graduate from college and begin to job hunt, especially when you have minimal work experience and no real clue of where to begin. As someone who had to get a job immediately after graduation I can completely relate, and trust me when I tell you that it's not impossible. Don't be afraid to take a job you feel your overqualified for, because some experience is better than nothing. Spending time in the workforce will give you skills you can't get in any graduate program, so don't minimize the benefits of skipping school and going straight to work.

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Determine the right degree for you

If you're in any way unsure of what to earn a masters in, it's better to take time to be sure instead of spending money on the wrong program. Graduate school is substantially more expensive than undergrad, so you want to make sure it's the right degree you're working towards. Spend some time researching various types of masters and the possible career paths each can lead to.

Learn about the various universities

Once you know what you want to study, make sure the school meets your qualifications. As much as I enjoy my program, I do have serious issues with my actual campus. Had I know then what I know now, I would have definitely picked a different university. Talk to current students, look up opinions of the program online, and don't be afraid to ask the hard questions to admissions counselors.

Figure out the cost

Did I mention graduate school can be expensive? Cause I think it's worth mentioning again. If your plan is to go right after college, chances are you'll need a loan to cover the costs, even if you work while in school. Compare the costs of different programs, as well as the cost of living in the city the campus is located. Taking time off not only gives you the opportunity to your research, but save money and apply for scholarships.

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Better your chances of being accepted

If your program of choice is competitive, it may be of benefit to spend that year off gaining work and volunteer experience. Most college graduates have similar resumes, but a year is all it takes to gain life experience that can set you apart from the crowd. Talk to people who have already been admitted about what they did before attending the school for ideas on how to boost your chances of being accepted.

Why I didn't wait

Often I say I started a graduate school immediately after college because I was bored at home and my mom was pressuring me to figure my life out. While that is true, the other side is that I've known for a long time exactly what I want to do with my life. If you're like me and have no hesitancy about your career path, go for it! My only advice is that you not sell yourself short. Don't attend a school just because it's the only one that let you in or that you can afford. Do your research, reach out to others and make sure to set yourself up to enjoy the process of earning your masters.

Are you considering grad school? Leave any questions or advice you have in the comments below!

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Things I Wish I Could Claim on My Taxes

Today's the day, Tax Day. If you're anything like me you're currently freaking out because you can't find your W2 or have completely forgotten what password you chose for your Turbotax account. Breathe girl. Me last year waited until the very last day to file, which led to a lot of cursing and frantic calls to my sister.

2017 Rubi? She did her taxes over a month ago, mainly because my boyfriend wouldn't stop nagging me to get it done before the deadline. Early or not, I can always relate to someone who leaves it to the last minute.

As I ate my dinner I did what I always do, scroll through my Bloglovin feed to catch up with new posts from all my favorite blogs. One of my new favorite websites is Twenty Something Living, organized by three badass women in their twenties. Their post, Other Things I Wish I Could Claim On My Taxes, inspired me to draft my own post. I definitely recommend you check out their post and website overall, and follow them on Instagram at @twentysomethingliving.

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Tech support to my mom

I'm writing this post immediately after getting of the phone with my mom. In one phone call she managed to have to reset her password twice, hang up on me once, and raise my blood pressure. Anyone with a mom who doesn't use technology much knows the stress that comes with trying to teach your mom how to use a new feature, bonus points if you do it over FaceTime.

My boyfriend's appetite

He may not eat much, at least not when it's actual food. Every night we bicker over popcorn, whether it's who popped it (always me) or who's taking too much (usually him). You know when you ask someone if they want something, they say no, then take some of yours?? Imagine that feeling every night. But seriously though, can I claim his cravings on my tax form somewhere?

Time lost to slow walkers

I may have grown up near the beach, but I walk like a New Yorker. I have what I like to call pedestrian rage, meaning I angrily weave through crowds, curse at cars and overall walk like I'm about to give birth. It's not my best feature, but then again, nobody's perfect. Time is the only thing we can never get back, so losing to to slow walkers is hard to cope with.

My cat, Max

One day I wholeheartedly believe pets will be something you can claim, here's why. Just this month I spent close to $400 on vet bills for my cat Max. On top of unexpected medical bills, pets require food, vaccinations and toys to keep them from chewing up your shoes. I'm not saying it has to be a big write off, but something would be nice.

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Money spent on aspirin

Ever since I became a therapist I've consumed more aspirin in four months than I had in my entire life. Most nights I come home with a headache due to processing all the information my clients' share with me. Going from never buying aspirin to never being without some has left a dent in my wallet, so it would be nice if I could claim this new necessary lifestyle item.

What's something you wish you could claim on your taxes? Let me know in the comments below!

PS You can now sign up for the weekly newsletter, where you'll get tips, resources and motivation to help you make each week of 2017 better than the last. Signing up takes seconds so make sure you're on the list!!

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