Friday, April 27, 2012

Adult 101: Apartment Hunting

Somehow in my group of friends I have earned the title of "The Responsible One." I have had friends' parents and sometimes strangers call me this before, even. It's a title I bear with honor and it is because of that title, I believe, that I have recently been contacted by many different people asking for advice on how to be a Responsible Adult. In response, I've decided to make a few blog posts on Adult 101, starting with the most requested topic: how to find/acquire a good apartment.

So, without further adieu, Ten Steps to Finding the Right Apartment

Sunday, January 29, 2012

You Can't Just Get an Apartment

As most of you know, in a few short weeks I will be moving from Chicago to St. Louis. This is mine and Casye's very first apartment and we're very excited to start on this new journey together. When I told my friends, their responses were almost always "I am so jealous." Many of my friends have since decided to either move out or start considering moving out in the near future. To those friends, I say: you can't just get an apartment, and certainly not a first apartment.

When you say "You're paying $360 a month for rent? I can totally afford that on my meager salary! I should move out!" I feel like you don't understand just how expensive a first apartment is. I want you to think about all the things you use every single day at home. Your bed, blankets, pillows. Your toothbrush and toothpaste. Your clothes, your dresser. Your food, your table, your chairs, etc. Now think about paying for all of those at the same time. On top of your first month's rent. This is your first apartment and I don't care how messy your room is, you do not have all the things you need yet. Your first apartment may be small and you won't need everything at first, but I don't feel like you understand just how many things you need. Now, in my situation, I was lucky because Casye and I have both been buying things and other people have been giving us things as well. That really helps. But even so, I've already spent some $620. And I'm not done yet. And these are just the things I feel like I need when I first move in, there are other things I'm going to get further down the road.

And don't forget, you'll also be paying for utilities. When re-watching an episode of Parks and Recreation today, Andy was talking about his newly acquired house and saying things like "you can use all the free electricity you want." Sometimes when I talk to my friends, I feel like they're saying the same things as Andy. You may not have had to pay for electricity before when you lived with your parents or when you lived in a dorm at school*, but you'll have to pay for it now. And water. And gas. I'm sorry, you wanted air conditioning in the summer? You have to pay for it. You may even have to pay for garbage. And get this, you have to pay for sewage, too. Yeah, you literally have to pay to use the bathroom in your own place. That shit ain't free.

You'll also have to pay for food. No more going to the fridge and grabbing whatever you want and no more texting mom to pick up some more ice cream bars. You probably don't realize how much you eat or how much it will cost you. When I first had this discussion, some of you thought you could eat on less than $100 a month. Please excuse me while I laugh at you, this will only take a moment. One really good resource I've found is the USDA's website, which calculates average costs for groceries, depending on your food style and how many people are in the household. And the thing is, for the first month, you'll have to buy a whole lot of stock items to start off your kitchen, like flour, sugar, and hot chocolate mix. There are things you are going to want on hand at all times, and then you buy your groceries on top of that.

If you really, truly want to get out on your own and move into your first apartment, I implore you to first create a cost analysis and projected budget. You need to know how much your rent & utilities are, how much you spend on groceries, and how much you spend on your other expenses, such as your cell phone, cable, internet, and very likely your student loans. Add all those together and subtract it from how much you make every month. Then you need to look at your savings and figure out if you have enough money to pay for all the things you'll need just to start, like plates and furniture. Once you've done all that, you can decide when you are financially capable of moving out. (Physically & mentally able are two entirely different matters, though)

Once you've taken all this into account, then you can start really looking at places. If you need any help, let me know.

*side note: stop telling me how dorm living is exactly the same as apartment living. It's not.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dash & Lily's Book of DaresDash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Was there possibly any better book for me to read over the Christmas holidays? No, I think not.

I loved this book. It was a beautiful love story in that it didn't feel like a big love story, the kind where you know from the beginning that the characters will be forced together, even if you don't particularly think they belong together. This one felt real, innocent, lovely. It was a story where I sometimes wanted them together, sometimes thought it would be okay if they didn't, but loved the final outcome. I also loved Dash. I mean, really, really loved Dash. I think he's the boy in my head. But maybe that's just because he's one of David's.

I start Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List tonight.

View all my goodreads reviews

Monday, August 22, 2011

Carpal Tunnel Coping Tips

It's no secret that I suffer from chronic CTS and that I'm hoping to have surgery before the end of the year. Some of my friends, however, also suffer, though (thankfully) not to the same extent. Still, just because they can't get surgery, doesn't mean they don't suffer. So I promised to compile a list of tips for you, some are obvious and often repeated, some aren't often included on carpal tunnel pamphlets.

  • The obvious: avoid activities that exacerbate the symptoms.
  • If you can't avoid something (e.g. it's part of your job), try to find a different way of doing it. Maybe hold the controller a different way, or use your other hand as often as possible.
  • Keep your wrist straight when typing. Adjust your keyboard. Use a wrist pillow. Keep your wrists up, like they taught you in school. Basically, keep your hand level with your arm. When you bend your wrist, it cuts off the tunnel more, hence the pain after hours of typing.
  • If your hand/wrist/arm/elbow hurts, raise it to heart level or above.
  • Ice, rather than heat. 30 mins
  • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs. Whatever will reduce the swelling. Use these in moderation, of course.
  • Massage the nerve running round your elbow.
  • Stretch your muscles, but slowly, as if you're doing yoga.
  • Avoid sharp, staccato movements.
  • Avoid the salty foods. They cause you to retain water, bloat, and constrain the pathway through your wrist.
  • Don't hold up books. Rather, place them on the tabletop and hold the pages down.
  • If you can carry things by balancing them on your palm, rather than gripping them, do it. This is especially important when you've reached the same point as me, as dropping becomes a major concern.
  • Take a warm shower.
  • Use a splint or brace when it's especially painful. Using one at night is also quite beneficial.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why Rose Tyler is a Fantastic Companion

First, we have the Doctor, who has come up with yet another brilliant plan that could save the world…but he hesitates. A war-torn timelord who has lost everything and has become a loner, a survivor, has found something to hold on to. He hesitates, because even with the entire world at stake, he just wants to save this one person, this one girl. And more than that, he tells her. He could have saved the world, or he could have saved Rose and everyone would have gone along with his plan, but instead he chooses to tell her why he’s hesitated. Basically, he’s opening himself up to her, telling her how much he cares about her.

And then Rose—beautiful, wonderful, fantastic Rose—tells him to save the world. Unlike the Doctor, she doesn’t hesitate. She just tells him to do it. She is so selfless and heroic. It doesn’t diminish what he’s doing by telling her, either. She recognizes that he’s saying he cares for her and she’s reciprocating by allying herself with his cause, by learning from him, by understanding what it means to be a timelord or a companion, what it means to be the savior. And she knows that no matter what, her life is not worth any more than the billions of lives they could save together. She doesn’t hesitate, she just tells him to do it.

Why River Song's Life Sucks

River has had such a terrible life. She’s kidnapped as a baby, we see her dying (and regenerating!) as a child, she spends the majority of her life in prison (even though she can break out whenever she wants)—but mostly her life is terrible because she hasn’t known her family and when she did, they didn’t know her.

When Rory shows up at the prison, she knows exactly who he is, but she doesn’t recognize him. I don’t think she’d met him yet, but here he was—her dad!—coming to get her…and he hasn’t the foggiest who she really is. All her life River has known about Rory, the Last Centurian, her father. All her life she’s been told that he would go to the end of the universe and stop at nothing to save her. And here he is, right in front of her, on her birthday.

For a split second, she’s excited: her dad is here! He came all this way to be with her on her birthday! But he didn’t; he’s not there to celebrate, he’s not even there for her, he’s there for the Doctor. It’s this crushing reminder that no matter how much she learns about her family or how much they will eventually know about her, she’s not a part of their lives and she lives out of order with those closest to her. Every day of her life she knows a little more, but everyone around her knows less: knows less of her. Slowly she watches everyone fall out of love with her, even her own father, even on her birthday.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Neil Gaiman Visits Second City to Promote City Underground Novel - Chicago Young Adult Fiction |

Neil Gaiman Visits Second City to Promote City Underground Novel - Chicago Young Adult Fiction |

2 chances to see Neil Gaiman in Chicago this week! Neverwhere is such a great book, it's possibly my favorite Gaiman book to date (but who could really choose?).

Also, check out my articles for the Chicago young adult literature section on!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Leviathan

The Lover's Dictionary is a wonderful book that tells an ordinary love story in a unique way. The unnamed narrator has organized his tale in a series of dictionary entries, giving uncommon definitions for words through storytelling. It is a novel comprised of flash fiction, set up alphabetically as a dictionary. That sounds confusing, but to a logophile like myself, it's love.

I found this book via twitter, when the webpage suggested I follow @loversdiction. On this page I found a series of very short entries similar to the ones in the book, and I was hooked immediately. One of the newest entries at that point was "appendix, n.: In the body, it’s in the middle; in the story, it’s at the end. I say, let’s live now, and let the charts come after." and after I retweeted it, I knew immediately I had to have this book. It mixed together a love for words, an unconventional and unique form, a love story, and David Leviathan--a combination I knew immediately I would love. I admit that I bought it on impulse, which is the downside of being able to use Amazon at any time of night (1 am, I think), but I'm glad I did.

In this multi-formed novel of flash fiction, we hear a love story not in the way it would unfold—that is to say, chronologically—but in the way it is remembered: pieces at a time, overlapping and conjoining until the story itself takes form. Each word and moment unravels a little more of the story, each story reveals a little more of the people, each person adds a little more to the relationship. In this rare form, we get an idea about the relationship as a whole, not just the beginning, middle, and end. The story is real, ordinary and familiar, and that's why we love it. The characters are even more-so, realistic right down to their taste in music or way of thinking. I felt absolutely that the unnamed girlfriend in this tale was someone I knew, as well as the narrator. Often times I felt I was the narrator, despite the second-person point of view. The book is structured in that the reader should feel like the girlfriend, or perhaps a friend secretly reading these notes written to her (for they are letters, in addition to dictionary entries), but I connected with the boyfriend so much that at times I felt like I was him, which is incredible and not altogether common in anything aside from great Literature.

Overall, I think this is a great book that any lover and any lover of words will enjoy. Additionally, as it is comprised of flash fiction, it's a quick read. At the end, you'll be left wondering exactly what happened, but I think it's possible to draw conclusions, though opinions may vary on what those conclusions are and mean. Whatever you decide happens, I'm convinced that by the end of the last page--at the Zenith of the book--you'll be wishing there were more to read.


Related Posts with Thumbnails