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.

You might also like: Everything That Happened When I Stopped Following All the Dating Rules

**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.

You might also like: My Secret Weapon to Finding Love Online

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.

You might also like: The 8 Important Lessons My 2nd Year of Grad School Taught Me

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.

You might also like: How I Got a Job Right After College Without a 4.0

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.

You might also like: All the Important Lessons My First Year of Grad School Taught Me

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.

You might also like: How It Feels to File Taxes as a Twenty Something

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.

You might also like: 2 Trips to the Vet Later

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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Feeling Safe When You Live Alone in Your Twenties

At the age of eighteen I transitioned from living with family to sharing a room with two strangers on a college campus. From there I moved off campus with a few friends in a house we all rented together. My first experience of being truly alone was Christmas 2011. For whatever reason I chose to not go home for the holidays. Okay, real talk, I didn't go home to avoid running into my newly ex boyfriend. It was stupid, I was stupid.

After having spent over three weeks alone, as in no human contact, I learned my level of comfort with keeping myself feeling safe in a home alone. I continued to live with roommates on and off for the next few years, until I made the ultimate decision to get my own apartment in Washington DC in 2015.

Getting my own apartment symbolized the beginning of the life I had always imagined myself having in the city. Once I was done celebrating I had to come to terms with the fact that I no longer had anyone to depend on, whether I needed a ride to the store or someone to blame a strange noise in the middle of the night. As a twenty something living alone in the city, here's what helped me feel more safe about living without roommates.

You might also like: 10 Lessons You Learn Living Alone in Your Twenties

Research your neighborhood

If you are currently looking for a new place to live, I always advise my friends to research their neighborhood for the types of crimes that are more likely to occur in the area. Another way to learn what it's really like to live there is to visit the location at various times of day, with my recommendations being mid afternoon, evening and late at night. Those three times of day give you a good estimate of how crowded the streets are, the type of people that frequent the area, and the overall feeling of safety in the neighborhood.

Talk to your landlord

If you're lucky, your landlord will be honest with you about how safe the neighborhood and apartment complex is. Questions to ask include if there are any problems within the building or others surrounding it, how loud the street can be, and if there is a lot of loitering in the surrounding area. If your landlord is less than willing to give you this informaiton, you can easily search reviews of most apartment buildings online for current and past tenants reviews.

Don't talk to everyone

Maybe this is just a city thing, or an antisocial thing, but I feel so much secure by not talking to all of my neighbors. Here's my reason. I live alone in an apartment in a city where I have no nearby family. To someone with bad intentions, this means they could easily break in or come over invited knowing that no one will be showing up unexpectedly. The less your neighbors know about you the better, including who you live with and your average routine.

You might also like: 6 Things Every Twenty Something Should Do Before Signing a Lease

Have a plan

I didn't know what it was like to be scared of where I lived until I moved to a house near the woods in Maryland. Sure I had neighbors, but because the area was so residential I really couldn't tell who was home and who was not. After weeks of being too scared to walk around my home at night, I developed a plan of where to go in case of emergency, what room to run into in case of an intruder, and who to contact first. Which brings me to my next point...

Pick a person

When choosing a person, I make sure it's someone who is typically available, knows to return my call or text quickly, and can calm me down in a stressful situation. In my life, I chose my good friend Victor. My friend Victor knows that if I ever text him a bunch of nonsense letters like this, "asghasghasg," that's the sign for him to call 911. My person has my address, emergency contact information, and the ability to help me feel safe when I suspect someone is trying to break into my house. True story.

Develop a routine

I was going to title this 'develop a nighttime routine,' but I believe we need to make safety a priority no matter what time of day it is. My routine includes locking both locks on the door as soon as I step in the door, never leaving my house without making sure the windows are closed and locked, and ensuring the bars on my windows are in good condition. Because I live in a studio, my routine is pretty simply. If you live in a larger space, checking your garage door, car or yard may be things you want to include too.

Do you currently live alone? What's one thing you do to feel safer about being on your own in your twenties??

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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My Secret Weapon to Finding Love Online

My boyfriend texts a girl named Anastasia at least once per day. He's been talking to her for months and I don't see him stopping in the near future. He regularly checks up how her day is going and asks if she wants anything from the grocery store while he's there. It would bother me more if not for one thing, Anastasia is me.

You're probably like thinking you've stumbled upon some weird ass post where I'm about to give way too many details about my double life, or our love for role play or some TMI shit like that. That's not what's happening, I wouldn't do that to you. What I will do is let you in on the thing I did that helped me date multiple people I met online without running the risk of them knowing anything about me I didn't want them to know. Which is extremely hard in 2017. Okay, here's the story.

About a year ago I came to the realization that I was never going to meet someone who I was compatible to with my current lifestyle. Since lifestyle was a big factor in the type of person I was looking for, I knew that if I was going to find someone similar to myself it was never gonna happen on a Friday night. Unless Mr. Right had a part time job as a pizza deliver boy.

After a night out with my girlfriends I was convinced to try online dating, with just one rule, I needed to remain totally anonymous. Oh, and never Tinder. To make this possible, I made sure to pick a username I've never used, upload a photo that wasn't online anywhere, and the one thing that was a game changer for me, I kept my name a secret. Here's why and how.

What's the first thing you do when you meet someone online? Take every bit of information you have about them and/or their name and research them like a grade depends on it. Sure this is fun, and I'm not against this at all, but I rather not be Googled prior to a date.

No, I don't have any sort of police record or some terribly embarrassing viral video attached to my name, but what I do have are years worth of blog posts, sponsored events and a very public Instagram account that serves as a window into my life. So yeah, I rather not be Googled prior to a first date.

To make this happen, I chose to never give my name to a guy who I wasn't going to realistically meet in person. For guys I did have a first date with, I gave them an alias, and don't worry, I was 100% honest with them about that name not being my actual name. Out of all the guys I talked to, no one had a problem with it, it's not like I was trying to meet them in a dark alley at night.

By keeping my name a secret, I avoided my privacy being invaded by the people I matched with, and somehow managed to create a sense of mystery in an era where people share everything from their trips to the gym to their children's first steps. If a guy was nice enough to go on a second date with, I dropped the fake name and let them know my real first name.

By the end of my online dating journey, a total of two guys learned my actual name, with only my current boyfriend getting a hold of my last name. To this day my boyfriend has me listed in his phone as Anastasia Beaverhausen, which serves as a daily reminder of the out of the box way we found each other. Oh, and he's lazy.

How do you manage dating online without getting searched prior to a date? Also, if you know where the fake name comes from, let me know where I can mail your best friend charm too!

PS You can now sign up for the newsletter for weekly motivation, confessions and resources written for twenty somethings like you! Signing up takes seconds, so why the heck not?

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Reasons I Didn’t Like Your Instagram Photo

Regular me wants to dive right into this post and start listing all the reasons why sometimes I purposefully keep scrolling without double tapping that screen. Then more clearheaded me reminds myself that if I don’t throw in a disclaimer everyone will think I’m a bitch who finds joy in not liking my friends photos.

Listen, I’m not a terrible person, I promise. Most of the time I’m actually very kind, but like all humans I have my moments, usually fueled by boredom and the fact that my boyfriend would rather stare at the FIFA game than into my eyes. So yeah, boredom with a dash of jealousy for a fake game of a sport I hate. And in these moments I usually turn to the one app I love most of all, Instagram.

Whether it’s the rejection or boredom, maybe the hangriness too, for some reason I find myself purposefully not liking certain friends photos. Do I love and care for these people? Hell yes. But the petty side of me refuses to give them my like when they pull any of the shit I’m about to list below.

At the end of the day my opinion matters 0%, and my ‘like’ should mean nothing to them. But we’re human and we like to post things online for self validation, I get it, trust me. If my cat gets anything less than 100 likes you might as well tell me you ran him over. It’s just not okay with me. And I’m sure I have been guilty of half of this shit myself, so let’s relax and enjoy roasting people for the crappy pictures they post online.

Your vacation photos are anything but scenic

We all have that person on our feed who goes to Costa Rica or Disneyworld, puts a dramatic caption of how much fun they’re having, then proceed to cover the entire view with their face. You are so beautiful, but can you scoot like 6 feet to the left so I can admire that waterfall for like a second? Thanks.

Posts for attention

I’m all for dramatic song lyrics, but dramatic song lyrics and a fire selfie of yourself? No. You just cant have both, especially not if you’re not willing to DM me what the hell is going on and who you’re directing this at. Otherwise you’re just teasing the rest of us with your drama but not letting us all in on the secret.

Posting more than twice a day

Okay, three times if you are having the time of your life. I’m talking a bad ass vacation that at least half of your followers cant afford, your wedding day or the birth of a child. But even on those occasions, learn some damn self control and space them out! People who post multiple photos at once should be banned, cause no one wants to see all fifteen of your GoPro shots first thing in the morning.

Anything less than HD

I’m sorry, but it’s 2017, we all have smartphones. Why do some people’s photos look like they were taken with a flip phone? I just cant. Please do us all a favor and don’t settle for the first photo you take.

Photos of family

I know, I’m a terrible person. For this one I’ll take the fall. But I’m sorry okay, I just don’t really care that it’s your grandpa’s birthday. I just don’t! Family is wonderful, but if I ignore mine what makes anyone think I wanna celebrate yours. Exceptions to this rule are adorable kindergarten gradations and kids slaying at prom. Otherwise, pass. I know, I'm terrible!

PDA photos

Please, make it stop! You’re in love and that’s soooo nice, but why do you think the rest of us wanna see you slip each other the tongue? You know what’s nice? A well thought out, heartfelt caption. PDA photos only get screenshotted and passed around.

Snapchat crossovers

I was going to list selfies but I know that I live in a world where selfies are becoming a form of empowerment, and I’m not quite hangry enough to piss all over that. But Snapchat filtered selfies? *hold my purse* Snapchat filters are for Snapchat and those rare  hilarious people who can pull them off on Instastories. But there is no reason to drag puppy ears and fake cheekbones onto Instagram. Watch a tutorial and come to slay with your real face, cause I cant pretend to act like this is okay anymore.

Shit I’m guilty of: hashtag hoarder

Just cause I like to pick apart other people's habits doesn't mean I can't or won't roast myself. If you’ve ever visited my account you might have noticed I have a tendency to use hashtags. Like no less than 30 of them. My blog and business friends totally get why, but everyday people? I don’t blame you for being offended as hell by the looks of them.

Do you think I wanna use 30 hashtags? I don’t okay! But that’s how companies find me, so can we all continue to pretend like putting them in the comments makes it like they’re not even there? No? Okay, I guess I deserved that since I’ve been purposefully not liking photos of your nieces for years. Does this make us even?

How It Feels to File Taxes as a Twenty Something

Last year was my first time filing taxes, and in true twenty something fashion, I waited until the very last day. What can I say? Old habits die hard.

As someone who has never earned an income that sends me a W2, I was completely clueless about the whole process. Because I waited until the last minute I ended up filing at work, as in during work hours when I was supposed to be doing probably a dozen other things. The process was brutal and with no one to call for help I was over it before it began, so I vowed this year would be different.


Bad Advice from Your Therapist

Recently after years of education and training I finally became a full blown therapist. Okay, technically I'm a therapist intern, but I'm trusted enough to have real life clients of my own. Basically I'm a therapist in training wheels, which makes everything about to tell you okay to say.

Anyways, I'm a therapist now. The majority of my clients are adolescents to early adults, either with mood or adjustment disorders. This means they have anxiety, depression, or are simply having trouble dealing with all the changes going on in their life.

Also, all of my clients are female. This one I'm not sure how it happened, but I'm not mad about it. Every week I get to spend up to an hour with these individuals, talking about their lives and seeing what we can do together to improve their quality of life. Most weeks I'm on it, prepared, and purposeful with the words I share. Others, shit like this comes out of my mouth.

The time I dissed God

One of my clients is 12 years old and experiences stomach pains due to stress. Together we've been working on loosening up and spending her weekends doing age appropriate things. Somehow we started talking about weekend events in the city, which is when I let her know the cherry blossom parade was this coming weekend.

Remembering that she attends church most weekends, my professional advice was to tell her, "yeah, you should just skip church this weekend. Honestly, I don't think God would even mind that much. What's one weekend, you know?" Since I obviously don't have a direct line to any higher powers maybe I shouldn't be speaking on behalf of her God, but hey, I'm just trying to get this girl to have some damn fun.

That time we bonded over our RBF

Another client of mine struggles with friends who don't always support her opinions. Whether we like it or not, we care what are friends think of us, it's a basic human need. In therapy we've been talking about her feeling as if no one understands her, labelling her as judgemental and too vocal. Some way or another something she said resonated with me, which led me to say this.

"Maybe you just have a dirty looking face. And I don't mean that in a mean way, I have a resting bitch face. It's just our faces. What are we supposed to do, smile all the time like fools?" With any other client this would have been interpreted totally differently, but thankfully this client and I have a great relationship where we were able to laugh at our bitch faces and move on with the conversation.

That time I went full on bad cop

If you've ever taken any courses on mental health you've probably heard the three things therapists need in order to be effective. Congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. Empathy, empathy, empathy! If you don't have it, switch professions, immediately. Typically it's easy to have empathy for a client, especially when I've formed a relationship with them and start to learn why they do the things they do. But when I have to hear that my client hit one of their teachers, empathy is out the door and waiting for the next train home.

Maybe it's because my sister is a teacher or maybe it's because I'm mad she was raised to think that was okay, but something in me snapped and all of my good vibes and understanding was gone. I literally told my client, "you're lucky your teacher likes you. Because had you hit me, I'd call the cops on you immediately and we would never work again. So maybe you should think of it like that before your suspension is over." My client looked at me like I was the biggest backstabber she'd ever met, but whatever, I'm her therapist not her best friend.

Have you ever had a therapist or just a really bad piece of advice? Share your experience in the comments below!

2 Trips to the Vet Later

I'm not a mom. I have no desire to be a mom anytime soon and I don't claim to know what it's like to have a responsibilities at that level, including keeping another human being alive. But I do know what it's like to be selfless for another living being, even when it requires I get my shit together and stop crying long enough to hear what the doctor is telling me.

I'm not like a regular mom, I'm a cat mom. I adopted Max exactly two months after moving to Washington DC, in an effort to give him a better life and bring some joy into mine. I'm dead serious when I tell you that for months Max was my only friend in the city. I worked two jobs to keep us both fed and healthy, mostly him really. Through moves, boyfriends and stressful situations, Max has been the only consistent thing in my life, so I get a little crazy when he so much as sneezes.

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Last week I had the flu, which basically knocked me on my ass for a full seven days. On day five of the flu I noticed Max was walking around, like a lot. And no, walking isn't out of the ordinary for pets, but it was starting to feel like he was circling me or something. And that's when I noticed why he was moving so much, he kept going to the litter box. One Google search later and small breakdown, I realized my rock most likely had a bladder infection, which is a super big deal with male cats. So I did all I knew how to do, I broke down.

When you get older you start to realize that things you once thought were mandatory aren't actually. Responsible things like taking yourself to the doctor and filling your prescriptions on time are totally mandatory, and most of the time you will bail on yourself. Growing up our parents were just trying to keep us alive, and we do much a much worse job about it. I didn't take myself to a doctor because 1) I'm lazy and 2) I didn't want to pay that bill. The moment Max got sick though? I UberX'ed us to the nearest vet, not even blinking at the bill I knew I was going to receive.

Pets are a major responsibility, and I 100% knew that when I adopted Max. I'm a firm believer that individuals should not own pets unless they are willing and able to care for them as well as they would a human life, which is why I may let myself be sick for a month but never my cat. One trip to the vet turned into two, which led to my tax return being soaked up by vet exams and medications.

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Yes, it sucks and yes, I needed that money, but that's the sacrifice I made when I visited the shelter on that rainy October weekend. If you're considering adopting a pet my advice is to always have an emergency fund for any unplanned pet needs. Based on my few years of owning a pet, the magic number seems to always be $300. Three hundred dollars is always the amount I need to pay the vet bills, cover the medicine, cab us to the clinic and pay for all the wet food and toys I spoil him with throughout recovery.

Today Max is doing a bit better, we're still waiting on his follow up exam to fully clear him. Until then he's milking this whole being sick thing, currently licking the stick of my Magnum ice cream with the excuse of calories not counting when you're sick. And who am I to argue, I'm eating ice cream at 11am?

Are you a pet mom? Do you hate the term pet parent? Let me know in the comments below!
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