How Do You Celebrate Halloween in Your Thirties?

I don’t really celebrate Halloween much. When I was a kid I liked it a lot- I think it was my favorite holiday, mainly because it was cool. I liked the idea of dark things- they seemed risky and more fun. But I think I stopped celebrating Halloween as I got older because it seemed like a hassle- and too expensive to get things together for a costume.

So this morning I didn’t really think about Halloween much- I didn’t have any parties to go to and I  hadn’t dressed up all weekend. So I felt like I couldn’t claim this holiday as “mine” and in fact, forgot about it to such an extent that I was surprised by some “Happy Halloween!!!” texts this morning.

But then I went for a run. And all throughout my little Queens neighborhood, celebratory decorations were around.

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There was a witch that welcomed werewolves and a werewolf that was waiting for waxing.

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A couple that got old together. Very old.

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Not creepy at all.

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Some creatures were more friendly looking.

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Others made me want to stay far away, lest I get trapped.

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Some you could “like” on Facebook. Do it! I dare you.

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Some couldn’t wait to massage your aching bones…

  1. img_4754img_4747And then there were movie references. And much more.

As I stopped to take photos, proud house decorators waved at me. I watched trick or treaters go by. I laughed and felt connected and proud of my neighborhood for putting on such a good show. Halloween had become mine again, if just for a day.

Happy Halloween!!

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Will Male Birth Control Become a Thing In Your Thirties?

Let’s face it- the thirties are a time when we think about babies. If you haven’t had babies yet and want some, you might be thinking, ‘hmm, how old is too old to have babies?’ or ‘when can we get started?’ or ‘when will I find someone to get started with me?’ If you don’t want babies, you may be thinking, ‘wow, all my friends are having babies- how do I hide everyone I know on Facebook?’ or ‘what would happen if I accidentally had a baby? Would it ruin me financially?’ or ‘what’s the best way to stop from ever possibly having a baby? (Besides abstinence, duh).’

Whether you’re female or male, and whether you want kids or not, babies seem to pop up all around you during your thirties. I bet you have at least one friend who recently had a baby and at least 5 Facebook friends who are posting pictures of their little ones right now (I probably have at least 30 proud new parent Facebook friends…and no, I don’t mind. If any of you are reading this, I like it, seriously, post away).

If you’re female and don’t want to have kids- at least at the moment, there are many types of birth control options, including a pill that you annoyingly have to remember to take at the same time every day. This pill, a popular form of birth control, puts the responsibility of avoiding pregnancy squarely on the woman. The same can be said of BC options such as IUDs and Nuvarings, and patches and the like. But soon there might be another option.

I was reading an article just yesterday about a male birth control study done with human males (as opposed to mice males in the past), that used a new form of male birth control in the form of an injection. The injection was given to the males at set 8 week intervals for a certain amount of time, and after a few months, couples relied solely on the injections for birth control. The subjects were followed for about a year, and in that time about 2 in 100 women got pregnant. With regular, correct and careful use of condoms, about 3-5 out of 100 women will get pregnant, so the male birth control injections in this study have proven to be more effective birth control than condoms.

The problems the researchers are still dealing with are the side effects of the injections- some males complained of acne and mild depression…although female birth control methods like the pill can also have side effects- including crazy mood swings and weight gain- and those are out on the market anyway! 75% of the males in the study said they’d continue to use the method despite the side effects, so that’s promising, at least. And it’s nice to know the guys are into it.

As of now, there are bound to be many more studies before this form of male birth control will actually be out and useable. So maybe we won’t all still be in our thirties by then. But technology moves fast and I’m optimistic- so who knows?

If you’re a male reading this, would you take male birth control? Why or why not? If you’re female, do you feel like the burden of birth control rests too squarely on the woman? Or are you perfectly happy to be in charge of birth control?

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How Do I Get Renters Insurance For My Apartment in my Thirties?

Today I stared at a to do list item that has been on my list for many years, but has never before been checked off. That item is: Get Renters Insurance. And believe it or not, you guys, after all these years, I am now the proud owner of a year-long renters insurance policy!

Here’s why this achievement is important to me: this is the first time I’ve had a full apartment to call my own. I now live in a studio in queens. It’s nothing fancy, but I’m super happy with it and I love it very much. If something were to happen to it such as a fire or burglary, I’d be extremely upset. But I’d be even more upset if I then went into crazy bankrupting debt re-buying all my possessions, such as my bed and my couch and my desk and my computer and my clothing. I have more stuff than I think I have- a lesson I always learn again each time I move.

Getting renters insurance was both easier and harder than I thought. The hard part was that I had no idea where to start. I didn’t have a clue what company to go with, or even what companies were out there. I had no idea how much I should be paying per month nor how much I should be insured for nor what my deductible should be.

So I did what I always do when I’m not sure which direction to go: I googled. At first I just googled ‘get renters insurance’ but I just came up with a list of insurance companies touting how great they are, so I moved on to adding my favorite (mostly financial) bloggers to the keywords to see if they had any articles on the best of renters insurance, such as ‘best renters insurance ramit sethi’ or best renters insurance paula pant.’ Finally I tried ‘best renters insurance NYC’ and that brought up some good articles from websites I knew such as The Simple Dollar and Nerdwallet.

From these articles I got an idea of how much renters insurance should cost a month – IT’S USUALLY ONLY $12-$15 DOLLARS A MONTH! Not bad at all 

I also got an idea of about how much I should be insured for – around $25,000. That may sound high, but when you tally everything you own (bed, couch, desk, dresser, other furniture, tv, kitchen items, clothing, electronics, etc) plus possible cost of moving (yep, there’s all types of insurance and some even cover temporary stays if something happens to your permanent home), $25,000 is the recommended amount on average.

Then I got an idea of how high my deducible should be to keep my premiums low- the recommended amount is $500-$1000. I picked $1000.

Then I found a few websites that listed the best companies of 2016 for renters insurance- they all recommended different ones, but I looked up the companies that kept repeating on various websites: Allstate, State Farm, and Nationwide. I also checked Gotham Brokerage, specific to NYC.

Then I went to all four of those companies’ websites, and got quotes from all of them. I ultimately picked State Farm, which gives me the most coverage with the lowest premium, and I paid for it then and there- a grand total of $11 a month for $25,000 worth of coverage. This is not an advertisement for state farm though, or any of the above companies- I think rates and coverage are different for everybody.

But a major item on my to do list that has hung over my head for years was accomplished in about 40 minutes, including all the research and quotes and payment. Now imagine if I’d put renters insurance off longer and something had happened? I would’ve been pretty angry at myself.

So if you’re putting off getting renters insurance, I’d highly recommend going for it! It won’t take long and it’s cheap and will put your mind at ease. Here are some sites to get you started:

http://www.reviews.com/homeowners-insurance/renters/

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/best-renters-insurance/

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/find-best-renters-insurance/

http://www.toptenreviews.com/services/insurance/best-renters-insurance/

https://www.creditsesame.com/blog/insurance/best-renters-insurance/

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New Hobbies in Your 30s

When was the last time you took up a new hobby?

When people ask me what my ‘hobbies’ are – which is rare and mainly occurs on job interviews or awkward first dates – I usually have to pause and think. Does drinking wine and watching TV shows on Netflix count? Probably not. How about hanging out with friends? Nah, cause hobbies seem to imply having a skill. Does writing count? I would say no, because it’s not so much a ‘hobby’ as it is my primary career goal. So, I guess I don’t really have a ton of hobbies aside from reading. But I may have a new one…

Today my co-workers and I went to the craft store, Michael’s to pick up Halloween decorations for the office. We walked past the aisles of yarn and I was seduced by the colorful wool and cotton piles. I stopped and ran my hands over a container of thick teal colored yarn, and I knew I had to learn. I love chunky knits and I felt like this could make the perfect scarf or small cuddling blanket. Luckily, one of my co-workers is an experienced knitter so she promised to show me the basics.

When we got back to the office, she showed how to do a basic stitch, but it was hard! So it might be a little bit until I get the hang of this and can make something that vaguely resembles something. Guess that’s why it’s a hobby. It takes time to develop a skill.

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How do I Overcome Writer’s Block?

I was just listening to an amazing interview with the incredible Seth Godin on Marie Forleo’s Marie TV show on her website. Seth Godin is one of my absolute favorite bloggers for a very particular reason: he blogs every day and even when his blogs are one sentence long he almost always has something thought-provoking to say.

Hearing Seth talk in this interview was quite amazing, as he went more in depth on his philosophies on life and blogging than I’d heard before- or maybe I’d seen him write these things before, but it always helps me to hear brilliant people share insights once again, especially in a different format.

One of the things Seth said that stuck out at me was his solution to writer’s block. Marie asked him how he blogs every day without running out of topics and thoughts to write about and he said that he writes how he talks, and that works because no one ever gets talkers block.

Interesting! I guess it’s true that -unless you’re feeling social phobia when you’re talking in public- you don’t really get talkers block. If you were talking to your best friend, you probably wouldn’t get talker’s block. I definitely love the way writers sound when they write the way they talk- there’s an honesty and a rawness to that kind of writing that makers me feel closer to the author.

Here’s a link to the absolutely brilliant interview, filled with many words of wisdom including Seth’s advice about how finding your ‘true calling’ is ultimately bullshit, and how you shouldn’t wait around. I’m actually going to listen to the interview again tomorrow and take notes.

Hope you enjoy!

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Some Awesome New Finance Experts I’ve Been Following

After Suze Orman ended her amazing finance show (which I always listened to as a podcast) about a year and a half ago, I realized that almost everything I knew about finance I’d learned from Suze Orman. And I didn’t know what to do without her.

I still had Dave Ramsey’s podcast, which always amused and humbled me (he sometimes speaks to really down and out (aka completely broke) people who call in…and he always has pretty sound advice, even when I don’t consistently completely agree with him (he can get very religious). However, one of his best quotes is “you can’t fix stupid,” which I absolutely agree with). Another podcast I listened to was (and is) NPR’s Planet Money– which is a great podcast about money topics- but is more an exploration of economics in our lives than a ‘money advice’ show the way Suze Orman’s was.

In the past few months I’ve discovered some cool new finance advice podcasts (as well as bloggers…many of the podcasts are from bloggers that have decided to start podcasts). Nothing replaces Suze Orman, who had a distinct voice, but a lot of these are very good. If anyone wants some good and relatable finance podcasts and blogs for complete novices, here are some awesome recommendations:

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com –  J.Money’s refreshingly honest and totally down to earth financial blog. I’ve never read a finance blog that’s as open and genuine- J. Money tracks every dollars he has and he will give you exact numbers including his net worth, his retirement savings, his mortgage paid, and much more. He writes articles with titles like ‘What I’d Like to Teach My Dumb-Ass Tenants About Money.’ This blog is fantastic for anyone who doesn’t come from a finance background and just wants to understand all the basics a more, from someone who’s ‘just like you.’

http://affordanything.com/  – The Afford Anything podcast (which used to be called the Money Podcast) got me turned on to budgetsaresexy.com because J.Money (of budgetsaresexy) used to be the co-podcaster. However, he has since left the podcast, and his co-podcaster Paula Pant has renamed the show after her website: affordanything.com. Both the podcast and the website are really inspiring and useful – Paula Pant is in her early thirties and is completely financially independent and never really has to work again. She still works, though, and explains why in both her podcast and on the blog. Listen to the podcast from the beginning to listen to her and J.Money co-host together. They’re a great pair. Paula talks a lot about real estate and has made her fortune from it, so if that interests you, this is an extra good one (but it’s a good podcast even if you’re not into real estate- I’m not.)

Optimal Finance Daily – This is a cool podcast because each episode is a part of a different well known finance blogger’s blog- read aloud by the podcaster Dan Warren. It’s a great way to get familiar with lots of different finance bloggers – plus each episode is only around 8 minutes- so super easy to listen to!

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi – Farnoosh’s podcast is superbly edited and makes the listener feel taken care of (the way Suze Orman’s show always was). Farnoosh’s podcast is great to listen to because she’s a money expert interviewing other money experts! Super clear financial advice, and a very inspiring show as well.

Hope you enjoy some of these. As always, let me know what you think!

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Friendships Between Thirtysomething Women Are Pearls

One of my favorite places to spend time on the internet is Salon.com. They offer high-quality journalism in a world where there’s a lot of SEO click bait type articles and listicles of no real value.  Yesterday on Salon.com, I found this gem of an article written by Emily J. Smith: Breaking up with my type: How I learned to stop worrying and let myself loathe the men I once desired.

Emily talks about how she used to be attracted to hipster man-children with beards and skinny jeans who were self-centered and only interested in their own stories and lives. I’ve been there, so I could relate.

But what I loved most about the article was this part, about her friendships with 30-something females. She calls them treasures – pearls. I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s what Emily J. Smith wrote about that:

It was then, when I gave up on men completely, that I discovered the treasure — the pearls — that are 30-something female friendships. Around 30, I realized, was when single women got better and single men got worse. It’s the age when women have internalized and learned to deal with the injustice that comes with their gender; they get stronger and give fewer shits. Men, on the other hand, learn that their wrinkles are by some weird miracle considered attractive, as are their dad-like bodies, and that essentially the limits of time as we know it do not apply to them. They get spoiled.

My relationships with women were like a whole other species compared with my romantic flings. We traded honest stories of struggle. We empathized with years of pushing ourselves to be more aggressive with the men we worked with and more chill with the men we slept with. We’d learned to manipulate and contort our feelings so many times we were lion tamers of emotion. When we finished a bag of Kettle Chips in one sitting we reminded one another that we deserved it. We shared tips on body-hair removal and fears of infertility. I learned what real conversation felt like. We asked questions, admitted flaws; we listened to one another and let ourselves be vulnerable.

Beautiful. And don’t forget that the culturing process of a pearl usually takes several years.

 

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