This is exactly the kind of mindless consumption that could send our species into extinction.

Five Reasons to Love the Tiny House Movement

At times, our series on tiny houses ventured toward… scathing. Which isn’t even original, as evidenced by articles like this, this, this, thisthis, this, this, thisthis, this, this, this, and this. Jeez. Maybe this counts as punching down?

So as promised, we will conclude our series by refocusing our discussion on what’s great about the tiny house movement. As the movement begins its slow fade into obscurity, these are the five points I pray leave a lasting impact on our culture.

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Pets enter our lives not as idle playthings, but mirrors held up to ourselves.

So I Got Chickens, Part 2: Tragedies and Lessons Learned

I believe that in life, we meet the people we need to meet. Every person—whether you like them or not, know them intimately or only a little—has something to teach you. Sometimes the lesson is about yourself and sometimes it’s about how the world works. This perspective makes dealing with even difficult, trifling people edifying, productive experiences.

I think that pets are very much the same. They enter our lives not as idle playthings, but mirrors to show us our true selves. Sometimes those mirrors are harsh—like, dressing-room-at-a-foreclosed-T.J.-Maxx harsh. Every animal has something vital to teach us, should we choose to learn it.

I thought about this as I buried Edie, one of the six chicks I brought home three months ago.

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And that's when I strangled him, your honor.

The Subjectivity of Wealth, Or: Don’t Tell Me What’s Expensive

Wealth is entirely subjective. Depending on where you’re sitting on the great Staircase of Financial Solvency, your perspective of who’s wealthy and what’s expensive is going to vary wildly.

Because of this disparity, the definition of “expensive” truly depends on an individual’s personal money situation. Someone who makes $300K a year and can easily afford their rent and insurance isn’t going to think twice about buying cage free eggs, organic milk, and grass-fed beef. Meanwhile, their neighbor who makes $30K a year is going to be buying the practically expired store brand milk on sale. To them, the whole concept of buying organic, cruelty-free food seems absurdly out of reach even while their wealthier neighbor finds it “inexpensive.”

Which is why it’s about as irritating as a Spotify Premium commercial to hear people speak authoritatively about what’s expensive and what’s not. Especially when their version of “expensive” is a diamond encrusted dog manicure and yours is a Whole Foods grapefruit.

Lemme ‘splain.

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I'd like to avoid supporting labor practices that make Upton Sinclair's The Jungle look positively humanitarian.

Fast Fashion is Fucking Up the World

As you can tell from our witty banter on the Bad With Money With Gaby Dunn podcast, Kitty and I consider ourselves to be eminently fashionable gentlewomen. Look good, feel good! That’s our motto! (Just kidding that is definitely not our motto. We don’t have one. We’re still workshopping it. Do you even realize how long it took us to come up with the name of this blog? A long time… and many Excel spreadsheets.)

And yet, I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. I rarely go shopping for myself, and when I do, it is with all the precision and swiftness of a predator drone. Get in, get the goods, get out. I love me a good thrift store find, few things give me more materialistic glee than purchasing a unique garment at the flea market, and yes, I shop at fucking Target. But these expenditures are few and far between.

This is partially because of my frugal nature. I just don’t buy a lot of stuff. But it’s also because in recent years I’ve tried really hard to avoid an industry that is damaging to both the environment and to human rights on a global scale.

I am speaking, of course, of fast fashion.

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I'm proud to be a Millennial so fuck you.

I’m Proud to Be a Millennial So Fuck You

Lazy, entitled, freeloading, whiny, safe-space-inhabiting, impatient, thin-skinned, don’t-know-the-meaning-of-a-hard-day’s-work, precious snowflakes. Millennials. My generation.

Or, if you’re Time Magazine, “The Me Me Me Generation.” This is but one example of the current favorite editorial of the lazy middle-aged journalist, in which they trash millennials for everything they’re anecdotally doing wrong with very little empirical evidence about what’s actually going on in their lives. Writing indignant think pieces about how awful the young people are these days has been in style since Socrates was pioneering toga style in the amphitheaters of Athens. But this style of editorializing still pisses me off.

I’m tired of it. For one thing, the entire concept of “generations” is bullshit, as perfectly explained by Adam Ruins Everything:

For another, the Millennial stereotype is pure, unfiltered cockamamie. So setting aside for a moment the fact that generations are a nebulous concept devoid of meaning and that the popular stereotype of millennials is false, I’d like to take this moment to explain a thing at you.

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"Wealthy White Folks Welcome!"

Gentrification: Artisanal, Small-Batch Displacement of the Poor

I had just come home from work when three students from the college down the street approached my porch with official-looking clipboards in hand. “Excuse me ma’am,” (I’m a ma’am now? When did this happen?) “Can we ask you some questions for a school research project?”

Instead of hissing “Youths!” and retreating into the darkness of my lair, I obliged. I am a “ma’am” now, after all, and that comes with a responsibility to be magnanimous toward fine upstanding young people everywhere.

First question: “What does gentrification mean to you?”

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If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Romanticizing the Side Hustle

Ah, the side hustle. More commonly known as the “second job,” side hustles are a badass, creative, independent—yet completely romanticized—way to increase your income. They’ve become a symbol of entrepreneurial go-gettership, a way to show the world that your ideas and goals are far too important to contain in a single 9-5. Side hustlers are super humans with the energy and vision to Get Shit Done.

Or at least, that’s the rhetoric we all perpetuate by romanticizing the side hustle.

Let’s call a spade a spade. A side hustle is a goddamn second job, and if you have one it means either a) your first job is failing to pay the bills, or b) you’re willing to trade all of your free time in order to retire early because your job sucks and doesn’t pay enough to achieve this goal. Neither scenario is particularly inspiring or empowering.

I’m not saying we should all revolt against the concept of side hustles and give up our efforts to make extra money. You can pry my side hustle from my cold, dead hands, as a matter of fact. But I think a dose of realism is in order lest we get carried away romanticizing the side hustle.

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Within each INFP is a bottomless lake of love and compassion. Exactly what the fuck is an employer supposed to do with that?

Myers-Briggs Personalities and Income

There are two valid forms of personality tests: Myers-Briggs and the Sorting Hat—BUT ONLY the Sorting Hat as defined by the collective wisdom of the broader Harry Potter fandom. J. K. Rowling’s Slytherinphobia is as well-documented as it is inexplicable. Pottermore cannot be trusted.

If you don’t know your Myers-Briggs personality, you can find it out pretty easily. The internet is clogged with free tests of varying length and quality. I like this one, personally. It’s thorough but nowhere near as long as others.

In general, Myers Briggs judges personalities in four metrics: introvert (I) vs extrovert (E), sensing (S) vs intuition (N), thinking (T) vs feeling (F), and judging (J) vs perceiving (P).

If you don’t want to take a quiz, you may be able to guess what you are. Introverts feel recharged when alone, and extroverts feel at-home among others. Sensors like to take people at their word, while intuits tend to look for meaning between the lines. Thinkers are rational and logical, while feelers are empathetic and expressive. Judgers (not to be confused with the judgmental) prefer plans and orderliness over the perceiver’s more casual, open-ended approach.

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This is the "caulk the wagon and float it" method for getting a promotion.

Santa Isn’t Coming and Neither Is Your Promotion

Some people are told there is no Santa Claus. Their dick cousin tells them, as vengeance for a lost game of Monopoly Junior. Or they saw Gremlins.

Others figure it out on their own. I was one of these. It took me eight years of cognitive development to get there. The physical impossibility and the logistical improbability pressed at my young mind, but the biggest question I had was one of motivation.

At eight years old, I had recently begun to understand money. I’d come to understand that one Breyer Horse was equal to approximately one thousand years of untouched allowance. I’d also begun my education in the concept of Stranger Danger. I had a newly honed ability to scrutinize adults for their intentions.

And I found myself wondering, “If this old man has such limitless wealth and power, what is his angle in using it to buy presents for children he’ll never meet?”

So I asked my parents, and they confirmed. “Yeah, that’s a thing adults made up to incentivize kids to conform to behavioral expectations,” they said, in so many words.

The thing is, Santa Claus is not an isolated incident. False or greatly exaggerated incentives exist everywhere to compel you to behave yourself. I’d like to talk about one of those false incentives today. The merit-based promotion is a comforting myth that took me thirty years to unravel. Much like with Santa, it was a rude awakening, but I’m much happier knowing the truth.

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My parents always treated the topic of investing the same way they did the topic of sex: knowledge to be imparted "when you're older."

Advice I Wish My Parents Gave Me When I Was 16

My parents meant so, so well. And they were so, so right about some things (the relative unworthiness of all teenage boys, for example). But there are a couple of things I’m kinda pissed they didn’t tell me about when I was 16 and on the cusp of making serious decisions about finances and the next several years of my life.

It’s not that they told me nothing, or even that they gave me horrible advice. But I feel like my time as a 16-year-old was the last year of my life before I was expected to make monumental decisions that would affect my financial future in really, really big ways. And that future could have been drastically different (and potentially better) if only they’d told me some key things that would have influenced my decisions about college, a career, and investing.

I brought receipts.

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