Category Archives: guest writer

Living in small spaces.

marilyn monroe

Photo by J R Eyerman from LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.

Today’s post comes to you from blogger Kristen Costa.

My house is the perfect size for just one person- a great sized living area, decent kitchen, and two bedrooms that have plenty of space for a bed and office. While it’s big on charm and historic touches, it lacks in a big area- closet space.

One of the first tasks for me to figure out in this small house was how to optimize the space that I did have available to me. Organization tools and keeping things tidy is one of my secret strange enjoyments of life, so the task of figuring out how to put towels, household items, cleaning products, blankets, and other random items into one hall closet was a challenge I took on wholeheartedly!

Living in a small space with a lot of stuff is the first issue at hand- how many cleaners does one really need? How many extra facecloths should be clean and available for use at any one time? As I tried to organize the storage spaces, it was clear that I had to cut down a lot of the items that I was trying to fit in. Living on a small scale doe not mean going without, it just means thinking about the necessities and actual needs of day to day living instead of the convenience of having everything you want in one place. Plus, if items are pared down to what only needs to be available on a regular basis, there is much less frustration and time spent looking for something when you really need it. Nothing more frustrating than trying to search through a shelf of random medical supplies to find one Band-Aid while your finger bleeds!

Walking into any home improvement or décor store and going to their organization section can either fill you with glee at the options or make you feel overwhelmed by all the various storage possibilities. It’s important to go with measurements for your space, especially if you are looking for baskets or containers to fit squarely into a shelf space in a closet. It can also be helpful to make a list of what you want from your organizational tools- all the bottles organized in one easy to grab kit? Somewhere to hang towels? Whatever the issue is, there is undoubtedly a storage solution for it. And don’t count out other storage options not originally designed just for bathroom or closet- I use an over-the-door shoe storage hanger on the inside of one of my closets to organize medicines and first aid supplies, and a small pencil box in my kitchen to organize small utensils.

In my opinion, the best tip for organizing a small space is to have things serve a dual purpose. I get a lot of great comments on how much the decorative boxes stand out in my living room; many people say they would never think to use them as a décor element in a room. The best part about them is not that they are pretty (though that helps!), but also that they store various placemats, tablecloths, and other random dining items that I use every so often. Having elements in the space that multitask is the Holy Grail of organization!

In the end, it all comes down to what works for you and what makes you happy. If going into a closet or drawer makes you frustrated week after week, it’s time to change the situation. Being in our own spaces, no matter how large or small, should be all about us and the things that make us happy, so spend a few minutes purging and sorting to get your storage into its happy place.

Kristen Costa is a lover of all things history, books, and research. Her day job is as a museum curator but loves sharing her passion for writing and the written word with the world. As a freelance blogger, her clients include an apartment-finding service for those seeking Fort Worth Apartments. She lives in Massachusetts, but on the border of RI so calls both states home. She currently is living on her own for the first time (at the age of 29!) and loving every single minute of it. Her blog is Life By Kristen.


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Moving Home

cute couple

Today I bring you a guest post from a lovely blogger I met via the Bloggers In Sin City conference. Her name is Jenna Britton and she’s generally awesome. Enjoy!:

I moved home to Los Angeles from San Francisco in May 2009 and it felt a bit like failure.

I was still smarting from the pain of a nasty and recent breakup just months earlier, and days upon moving home I found out that my former love had already married (yes, MARRIED) someone else.

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Things about living with a MAN.


Above: Laura prepping her boyfriend for a video we made for Hello Giggles, which you can watch here, but keep in mind it’s a satire about girls and their PERIODS. 

This post is brought to you by Laura Kadner. Enjoy:


Once upon a time, I lived with my boyfriend. We moved to the worst city in the world and got a tiny studio apartment. Sometimes it was awesome and sometimes it sucked. Here are some things I learned about living with a man:

1.) Try to get an apartment with at least two rooms. In my cohabitational experience, we lived in a studio apartment. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to go in one’s own space. In a studio apartment when you get in a fight or someone’s trying to work, you’re basically trapped.

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Readers talk back.

A long ass time ago I said I would interview the 1,000th person to “like” me on on Facebook and I did and then I forgot to post it because I’m an asshole. Congrats to Hillary for being my 1,000th like and to Matthew for being my superfan. I interviewed them both. They’re hilarious. Thank God. I mean, of course they are!!! Why wouldn’t they be??

1. Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?

M: Well, obviously. I also often feel like one that is drifting through the wind. Wanting to start again.

H: Totally. Actually, not totally. Partially. Actually, I feel kind of like a paper bag sometimes. Like, a paper bag can’t really drift through the wind, but it can definitely roll around on the ground while it tries to make it’s way to some new life experience. Also, “Paper Bag” is my fave Fiona Apple song. Yes, Fiona Apple is still relevant to me. 


2. How did you find my blog?

M: Well you see, I know this poet person (she tweets like a tweet god @fartmaster5000, that’s not her real name. lol) and she posted a video of yours on her Tumblr, “How To Get Over A Break Up”, which is still my favorite video of yours. For a while, I only watched your videos and LOVED them. Then, I eventually found and read your blog religiously and told ALL my friends about you and your loveliness. 

H: If I’m remembering correctly, I found your blog through Filleosophy. I believe it was when you gals did that advice formspring thingy. Then I proceeded to read every single one of your entries. You think I’m joking? Is Mick Jagger your real dad? Yes. 


3. What do you order at Starbucks?

M: Tall Carmel Macchiato, because life is sweet!

H: Starbucks is so intimidating! It’s like going to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and the locals aren’t very friendly. I’ve only been once, and that was for a meeting with my boss. I didn’t order anything. Instead, I sat there clinging to my purse for dear life and making note of all the exits. What in the hell is a venti? Sounds like a type of car to me. 


4. What is your dream job? (It doesn’t have to exist!)

M: At times, being homeless in New York seems like it would be my dream “job”. I actually plan on attending film school, so I guess my dream job would be a film directing job. Or, you know, being a bum on the street. I’ll take what I can get.

H: This is really tough because I think I’d be content with doing nothing my entire life. Literally. I could sit and do nothing forever. BUT that is no way to live, so I think my dream job would have to be a professional people watcher. Is that creepy? I don’t mean it to be. I just want to go all over the world and observe. I don’t need interaction, just observation. Is that creepy? I think it probably is. Whatever, this is my dream and you’re all living in it. 


5. Someone is visiting your city/town. Tell them where to go and what to wear and what NOT to do.

M:  Hahaha! Well, I live in this little town called Paulding, Ohio. I think the population is around 8,000. So, as you might expect, fashion and culture isn’t exactly busting from every corner. I guess I would tell them to go to the nearest exit, wear whatever you please, and to NEVER come back again??

H: Welcome to Raleigh, North Carolina! We have something for everyone in this fair city! Would you like to go to a place where all the dudes are named ‘Trip’ and wear Callaway visors? Natty Greene’s, it is. How bout a bar full of flannel-clad men with beards and Buddy Holly glasses? Raleigh Times, it is. Better yet, want to go somewhere where you can drink three Long Island Iced Teas and ask the D.J.(multiple times) to play “Diva” by Beyonce and can he turn the fog machine on pleazzzz? Downtown Sports Bar, baby. (Yeah, I did that once. I love Beyonce. And fog). What to wear? Stick to skinny jeans, a tank top, and heels (or black flats, if you’re me). If it’s cold, throw on a blazer. I’ve also seen lots of girls wearing fur vests lately. I used to want one until I saw that lots of girls are wearing them lately. What NOT to do? There’s nothing you can’t do! Just like NYC. I will say this, though: don’t be from any other state besides North Carolina. I’m pretty sure smuggling cocaine into the country is easier than getting into a bar with a Virginia license. You think this i.d. with the pretty dogwood flower background is a fake, man? OKAY. WHATEVER. This thing has RAISED PRINT, dude. 


Follow Hillary here and read her blog here. Follow Matthew here.


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Best coast?

Today I bring you a guest post on the war of the best coasts from Doniree. I’ve said a lot about LA and NYC and LA vs NYC and how I love them both and I thought why not turn this over to someone else who isn’t from either place? Not because I’m an elitist jerk (though let’s be logistical, I am) but because I want to see the shoe on the other foot or the table turned around to face the wall or whatever.


Long ago, in a Midwestern town [probably not that] far, far away, I once heard someone say [something to the effect of],

You’re either an LA person, or you’re a New York City person.

The critic in me immediately questioned this, wondering why someone couldn’t simply be *both*. Were they really that different? They’re both big, coastal, diverse, culture-rich cities, right? Why can’t you love both?

And then I actually visited LA, and then I visited New York City, and I just got it. And I know, beyond a shadow of a shred of a doubt, that I am in that right-hand, East coast column: I’m a NYC person.

I don’t hate LA

It should first be stated that by categorizing myself as a “NYC person,” I’m not saying that I dislike LA. In fact, I kind of like it. (Kind of. I think). It’s sunny. I like sunshine. I like beaches. I like fish tacos. The Pacific Ocean is cool.

However, I hate [driving in] traffic. Like, a lot. I don’t even own a car, and here in Portland, Oregon, that’s totally fine. There’s no way I’d willingly subject myself to the clusterfuck that is the L.A. freeway system on any sort of regular basis.

I’m a total pansy, I know.

However, if I had to choose one over the other, I can safely say I’d choose New York City. Here’s why:

State the Obvious: The Traffic

I like to walk, and I’m totally down with public transportation. I actually think the Subways in NYC are kind of cool. Maybe because I’m always there as a tourist or for work, and the novelty hasn’t worn off, but still. I don’t have to drive anywhere? And I can get everywhere? SIGN ME UP.

Ooh! Shiny!: NYC is Sparkly

There is something absolutely magical and mesmerizing about the NYC skyline, whether you’re looking at it or smack dab in the middle of it, at any time of day. At sunrise, it’s kind of serene and lovely. During the day, it’s busy, bustling, exciting. Even the “quiet” neighborhoods are lively. And don’t even get me started about New York City at night. Maybe it’s just because I’m a fan of all things sparkly, but I LOVE city lights and New York City just makes me feel magical.

Om Nom Nom: The FOOD

There is absolutely no shortage of amazing restaurants in NYC, and I’m not talking about the fancy ones. I like the tiny little cafes, tucked in between cheese shops and boutiques. The coffee shops and bagel shops on the corner of an old brick building.

Before you stone me for implying that the food in LA isn’t amazing, wait just a hot second. I know that’s not true. But I can’t name a single restaurant in LA that I’ve ever been to (the closest I can come to remembering places that have impressed me is that there was once an awesome patio and mimosas at some place on a hill that Nico and I had lunch at once; oh, and the food trucks). On the flip side, I’m fairly positive I can name every single place in NYC I’ve ever had a single bite. Because NYC food is memorable.

Caveat/Conclusion: More time in LA is needed

Here’s where I admit the root of my complete and utter bias preference towards New York over Los Angeles: I’ve spent waaaay more time in the Big Apple than I have the City of Angels, so one might assume I’m simply more comfortable there because it’s more familiar. And sure, that might be true.

Here’s the thing though: I know a gut feeling when I have one, and I know that something magical happens on the inside, in my heart, in my pants (where it counts), when I get to NYC, and it’s different than the feeling I get when I get to LA.

New York City feels all romantic and like a first love, whereas Los Angeles feels like that cute guy you flirted with in middle school art class: it’s fun, it’s cute, but there’s not really a spark that’ll last.

Or maybe I’m just totally and completely jealous that my Scotch-Irish skin will never be California-girl tan. And this is my way of dealing with that.

Ok, your turn. LA or NYC? And if LA, tell me why and I’m totally willing to show up with an open mind next time I’m there.

Doniree Walker is a freelance writer/blogger based in Portland, Oregon. She spends her free time frequenting Portland’s farmers’ markets, training for her first 5K, and daydreaming about the places she plans to travel. She blogs at and, and you can follow her on Twitter @doniree., and her clients include UMoveFree, a service helping renters find Rockwall, TX apartments.


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This is Max Landis.

Max, like I, has a lot to say about relationships and dating. He wrote what I thought is a very interesting piece on dating from the male perspective:

If you make your move and she says no because:
1. She’s not ready for a relationship
2. She has “problems” and doesn’t want to hurt you/get hurt
3. She doesn’t want to date anyone right now


What’s worse is that 7/10 times what she really means is SPECIFICALLY SHE DOESN’T WANT ANYTHING WITH YOU. And she’s TRYING TO BE NICE.


It takes tremendous balls for a girl to straight up and come out and say “I don’t want to be with you” to one of their male friends, and most of them will do anything to skirt around it because they’re NICE (or just timid).

I’ve been in this situation MANY TIMES in my life and acted like a dumb ass. The most recent time was especially dumbasstastic.

I’ve been hearing a lot about this from both guys and girls in my life (WHY DOESN’T SHE LOVE ME?/why won’t he leave me alone?).

Girls, BE MORE FUCKING HONEST about how you feel. Put yourself first; don’t let another person’s adorable persistance trap you into lying to them to keep them emotionally safe.

Intrigued by this honesty and view I decided it was time for another Apocalypstick video post, but this time with a twist: Max will be there with me and now you will have both a male and female take on your issues. Send all your anonymous questions, personal problems, and adorable little insults over to my formspring. We will not read them until we turn on the camera. We will be honest but not cruel and maybe we’ll all learn a little something. Expect a video post with our answers by this time next week. I think you’ll enjoy it! I hope.

Lollipop Dreams (Lil Wayne vs. Hall & Oates) — My Sick Uncle


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Danny's Signs He's Not Worth It.

Please enjoy this piece by guest writer and friend Danny Artese:

So you’re texting/ g-chatting/ on your phone with/ great-Gilbert-Gottfried’s ghost!- having drinks in person with- your friend whose vulnerable little heart has once again been stepped on by a specimen of australopithecus jerkarensis. As you dab your friend’s tears with your monogrammed hankie (Handkerchiefs for repeated nose-blowing = why does this still happen? Handkerchiefs for dabbing the tears of a friend in need = approved) you say, “Don’t be upset. He isn’t even worth the snotty cocktail napkin you’re crying into (no way is your friend’s nose going in your hankie, after all)!” This could be one of those things you say to make people feel better like, “Maybe losing your job, your health insurance, and your Betta fish all in one day is a blessing in disguise” or maybe you actually mean it.

Why do we really mean it when we tell our friends a guy’s not worth it, but have such a hard time believing it when we hear it? Same with compliments, by the way. If only all the answers followed, but instead please enjoy whatever learnings this list of true-life examples of things boys have said and done to prove they are definitively not worth it (obvious proof in the style of only-periodical hygiene, violent tendencies, unhealthy addictions, and brown shoes with black belts need not be mentioned):

He says: I have commitment issues. This one is entirely context-dependent. If you have selected paint samples for the baby’s nursery and booked your hotel room in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Games before you’ve learned his last name, he’s probably entirely justified in telling you he has commitment issues. More likely, you have commitment issues. However, when a guy tells you he has commitment issues when you are trying to schedule a second date after an agreed-upon spectacular first date, he is not likely to be worth joining for a second date. Either he’s lying- but we never want to believe they are lying when they tell us a date we enjoyed went well- and is using this as an excuse, or he’s telling the truth. In the event he is an honest soul, there is no need to waste time pursuing someone who is so scared of the amazing time he had in his first outing with you that he can’t stomach the idea of another. The only possible route to redemption after such a disgrace is obviously if he handwrites you a love letter in which he explains that he was startled by how quickly he fell for you and lists all his favorite quirks about you: “the way you cut your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in three instead of two, how your freckled nose crinkles just above the bridge whenever the smell of yesterday’s pad thai wafts into the dark channels that are your nostrils, etc”.

He says: I get it. You’re (fill in the blank). Any way you slice it, this is a sign you’re dealing with a guy who is clearly beneath you. If he fills in the blank with a negative (gassy/poor/ancient) he’s just mean. Fill in the blank with a positive (brilliant/beautiful/hilarious) and it comes off sarcastic at best. The implication of his preface “I get it” is that you can stop trying so hard to convince him of your best attributes, even if they’re just shining through naturally. What is dating but an exercise in convincing and being convinced that high levels of brilliance, beauty, and hilarity are present? On the off chance that you really are trying too hard to communicate these qualities (ok, it’s an on chance), he can let you know he’s picked up on them with a simple, “Wow; how did I get so lucky to meet someone who’s so brilliant/beautiful/hilarious?”followed with a gentle, gentlemanly kiss on the neck, cheek, or possibly lips; I’ll take corny over tactless any day. I want to be electrified, not electrocuted, thank you.

One of my personal favorites a guy has ever said to me: I already feel like I know you well enough. Well enough? You know me well enough? You would rather not learn one tiny new thing about me, ever? Note to all the gentleman callers out there: when you’re with someone, whether it’s romantic, entirely platonic, or an encounter of the third kind and the other party says something along the lines of wanting to get to know you better, “I already feel like I know you well enough,” is never an appropriate response unless you are looking to halt production until a replacement can be found. In that case, proceed and enjoy your karma.

He’s ugly. If you’re embarrassed to be seen with him, it doesn’t matter how wonderful he is behind closed doors. If you must be with an ugly guy, keep things under wraps. Literally. Wrap that sucker’s face in gauze and tell him you have a mummy fetish if you need to. You’ll earn far more brownie points for dating a burn victim than you’ll lose for breaking up with a guy just because he’s not attractive. I fully support dating slightly beneath your own hotness to ensure you’re the better looking one, however.

Danny currently lives in New York where he spends his free time building tiny houses for goldfish crackers. He used to like Martha Stewart but doesn’t anymore. Danny knows a lot about fine cheeses and is a great person to watch American Idol with. When asked if Danny would write a piece for my blog, he laughed then paused and said, “Oh, you’re serious.”


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