Piggy Bank

it’s not cool to be poor anymore

please note: this post is all lowercase because i can’t afford uppercase. priorities, y’all.

this year, i’m turning 30.

i won’t miss much about my 20s. it’s been a minute since i last “partied,” and i can’t say i’m choked up about my inability to process more than one glass of wine. the college-aged crowd is welcome to take my place at the beer pong table while I head to bed at 9:30. peace. out.

i’m pretty sure i’ve actually been 30 for about 15 years, and i’ve spent all this time waiting for my body to catch up. my idea of a fabulous friday night has always been somewhere along the lines of binge-watching grey’s anatomy while eating copious amounts of pretzels dipped in peanut butter.

i hate bars. dating. roommates. house parties. “finding” yourself. basically all things that make your 20s, well, your 20s. but, i am pretty devastated about one tiny detail:

it’s not cool to be poor anymore.

remember when, if you were rich, you were kind of a jerk? like, if you couldn’t complain about your crushing student debt on the daily, you weren’t part of the “it” crowd?

remember when talking about vacations in xyz fancy-ass country was kind of a dick move? like, when going to florida for spring break was a big deal? now people take legit vacations and stay in hotels for chrissakes. (when did we start staying in hotels?!)

people in their 30s own real watches (and they didn’t buy them from target)! people in their 30s order wine at dinner—and not just the cheap house wine either. these folks have fancy gadgets that come in apple’s sleek packaging, loft apartments in parts of new york i’ve never even visited, and their furniture is not exclusively ikea/craigslist. what is my world coming to?!

and, if you’re rolling your eyes, i get it. i wouldn’t use “destitute” to describe my financial situation—even by a 30-year-old’s standards. the word “poor” comes to mind, but that’s not true either. perhaps, “monetarily unstable” is the more suitable term. as a freelance journalist, i make enough (look, y’all, i splurged for italics!), but not nearly as much as i’d like. everyone told us millennials to find our “passion” and, unfortunately, nobody mentioned i should consider take-home salary when i went searching. i blame overly supportive parents. *hi, mom! thanks sooo much for believing in me!

when being poor was cool, i truly rocked it. i remember:

  • doing my makeup solely with makeup samples
  • ordering the cheapest beer on tap
  • living with three roommates and their cats, dogs, ferrets (once)
  • smuggling in twizzlers, diet coke and tiny bottles of vodka into movie theaters
  • couch surfing
  • when my body could handle breakfastlunchdinner ramen without shooting my blood pressure through the roof from excessive sodium
  • wearing the same dress to three weddings
  • wearing the same shoes until they fell apart
  • bottomless brunches at the red derby, and just sitting there for five hours like a jerk
  • not tipping nearly enough (i know, i know, i was a booface in my 20s!)
  • walking around with a broken android screen because a new one was too expensive and my contract wasn’t up
  • living in a walk-in closet
  • buying dented cans to get the discount
  • sleeping on an air mattress on the floor until the day i moved in with my (older) significant other

with the big 3-0 fast approaching, i’ve decided to woman-up. it’s time to start paying for netflix* instead of mooching off my parents. it’s high time i order that headboard. time to get off the “family” plan on my cell phone. i’m ready to buy a wallet that doesn’t have hello kitty on it. and the second-cheapest beer on tap. and healthy groceries. and a watch.



*(Just kidding, Mom, I’m totally gonna mooch off your Netflix forever. Love you.)

Photo Credit: Fabian Blank



The Do’s and Don’ts of Starting a Passion Project

My passion project is DiverseSources.org, a database of underrepresented experts in science, health and the environment that addresses the lack of diverse perspectives cited in news articles. The database is searchable by expertise, language, location, time zone and other fields to help journalists more easily find potential sources.

I co-founded Diverse Sources so I could work with news organizations to increase the diversity in their sourcing. I provide training and consulting to reporters so they can find more relevant stories and better report those stories.

But all of this didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken years of preparation and hard work to get this far. That’s because passion projects are a lot of work. If you’ve got a passion project in mind but just don’t know how to get going, here are my tips:

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Top Things to do in Kauai, According to my Friends

The Significant Other and I loved Kauai. We had grand plans to do ALL THE THINGS, but (partially due to mudslides and partially due to our own exhaustion) we wound up doing nothing. And, you know what? It was AMAZING.

I’d highly recommend doing nothing. Maybe snorkel at Lawaii Beach or take a short hike to Secret Beach to watch the sunrise. Definitely eat Mexican food at Da Crack, Thai food at Craving Thai and grab some Kombucha at Kauai Juice Company (recycle your bottles for 50 cents off!). For coffee, check out Lappert’s. For açaí bowls and poke, go to Kukuiula Market. Other than that, relax, and enjoy the Garden Island.

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Best Free iPhone Games for Calming Anxiety and Relaxing

Stress and anxiety suck, big time, and they always seem to strike hardest when you need to be at your best. While it’s usually smart to address the issues at the root of your stress/anxiety, sometimes we all just need a quick way to relax and calm down. These are all free game apps that I find helpful when in a pinch. My research comes from personal experience and sites like Gizmodo and Mic.


OK, so Calm is not really a game—it’s a meditation app. The premium content comes at a cost, but there are lots of shorter meditation practices (10 minutes) that are free. The app will walk you through meditation specifically for stress, and there’s no experience required. I love this app more than others like Headspace because I swear it can read my mind. Every time I catch myself thinking “jeeze, I’m SO awful at meditating,” the app will reply “and if you think you’re bad at meditating, there’s no such thing.” How’s THAT for an awesome way to combat stress AND self-criticism?

Neko Atsume

This game is absolutely wonderful because it involves CATS! Everyone starts out with a yard that you can then fill with toys and treats. Cats will wander in and out of the yard as they please (because cats). You can read up on each cat and take pictures of them being pixelatedly adorable. Up your game by “purchasing” the coolest gadgets and highest-quality chow!

Rise Up

Keep a balloon from running into obstacles as it makes its way toward what I can only assume is space. This game is challenging, but in a way that you really don’t care if you win or lose so there’s no pressure. Instead, it’s just mind-numbingly calming.

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How to Host a Friend Speed Dating Event

Friendship is hard. Once you’re out of the friendship-incubator that is college, it’s tough to meet new people outside your own little bubble. I’m here to help! Friend speed dating is for awesome women who are interested in platonic friendships with other, similarly badass, ladies! It’s a speed-dating format without any of the awkwardness. I’ll be serving up huge helpings of coffee, tea, cookies, doughnuts*—and friendship!

How To

As I planned this event, I relied heavily upon this librarian’s site. She had a GREAT explanation of how the event should flow, and it was really helpful as I planned my own meetup. I made some alterations, like each “couple” got to talk for five minutes. In retrospect, if I’d had a smaller group (we had 16), it would’ve been great to let people chat for even longer!

I printed and cut out groups of ice breaker questions and placed one chunk of questions in front of each seat. I found the questions here and here.

I used yellow sticky notes with arrows to direct people on where to go after their time was up. Then I printed out this star and this arrow for the trickier moves. (See the librarians site above for details on movements!) Overall, the sticky notes and the arrows didn’t help so it’s best if you stand by at the end of each chat to direct people until they get the hang of it.

In case of an odd number of people, I had a “craft station” where folks could either draw or write letters. We ended up not using it. I just filled in to make it an even number until the latecomers showed up. (Note: If you do decide to fill in, make sure you rotate like everyone else! I didn’t rotate for a couple rounds, and it made things a little tricky toward the end of the meetup!)

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How to Make Homemade Fondant

I love baking quirky cakes, and I make all my fondant in my kitchen. Using store-bought fondant may be easier, but it’s more expensive, and it tastes, well, BLAH. Homemade fondant is delicious and pretty easy to make en-mass once you get the hang of it.

There are two ways to go about making the fondant. You can use fresh marshmallows or stale marshmallows (they’re kind of tough and hard). Fresh marshmallows are less likely to get burnt and easier to turn into fondant, BUT the fondant they produce can tear more easily. Stale marshmallows are more likely to burn (which can mean you have to throw the whole batch out, depending on the color you’re going for), but the resulting fondant is easier to work with.

That being said, ALWAYS use brand-name marshmallows. Yup, the more expensive ones just work better. Store brand is a no-no unless you’ve got mad skills, in which case, write to me and let me know how you did it! (Usually one bag of powdered sugar and one of marshmallows is fine for a cake, but I always have at least three of each on hand in case something goes wrong! You can always return what you don’t use—or bake extra!)

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