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 life tips, let's share some
bird
 Posted: Apr 29 2016, 05:03 PM
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number one dad
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much like life, barbermonger is a rich tapestry! we all have our areas of expertise, unique histories of bad life decisions, weird experiences and so on.

i thought it'd be kind of fun/funny to share some of our nuggets of hard-earned wisdom -- tips & tricks & lifehacks (bleh) gleaned from school or work or otherwise that you think might be useful for someone else.

i'll start us off:

  
  • if you spend any time in the back country, buy an emergency blanket. here's mine, but there are lots of brands out there. it's cheap and durable as hell, and weighs basically nothing, so there's no real excuse not to have one. i have personally used this baby to make a shelter, as well as staying warm, dragging firewood, and a nice thing to put under your butt when stargazing. get one, keep it in a pocket of your backpack, and feel comforted that if necessary you could flag down a plane.

  • never buy clothes at MSRP if you can help it. if it's something really unique or it's an emergency, fine. but if it's just mall clothes, all of those stores have pretty quick turnover times and stuff will go on sale in 3-6 weeks. make a mental note of what you need and come back then!

  • online purchasing when in canada is awful but if you stick under ~60-80 bucks you shouldn't get hit with the tariff fees... which can be like 50 bucks on a 50 buck purchase. so be very wary


  • you can break in leather shoes with a hairdryer or rubbing alcohol on the inside but this will often damage the shoe. when i worked retail we always told people "it'll stretch!!!!" and that's kind of a lie for most things - your average shoe will stretch, at most, a quarter-size. maybe a half-size if you're super lucky and you let us do it in the back with the machine thing for you. but that's how we get you, since you have to pay for the shoes beforehand. so suck it up and just buy shit that fits. also, vinegar + water to get out salt stains from your boots

  • bears are more afraid of you than you are of them. black bears, anyway. just don't spook 'em, be cognizant of the fact that you're in their territory now (which goes for all wildlife), and don't keep food on you or in your campsite (stash it somewhere like a canoe moored downwind, or in a tree). when up north or in the field, the real danger is moose. unless you're really north, in which case polar bears are terrifying and prey on humans and will kill you dead, the life tip here is do not be around polar bears.

  • if you actually do want to see bears up close when you're up north, the place to go is the local dump

  • we all lie about excel skills to get jobs. yeah i see you, 'excel expert'. 99% of the time this is bullshit and you don't need to know anything you can't google, but it does help to know a few tips and tricks. notably, VLOOKUP and LOOKUP and CONCATENATE may be some of the most useful things and save you hours of time at your dull office job. because chances are... your boss doesn't know excel very well either, and they'll give you a dumb task that should take hours, and all you gotta do is whip out one of those babies. for science kids, excel is great for basic stats stuff (for everything else there's R, which is terrifying) and knowing it will make your undergrad 10000% easier

  • if you're using QGIS or GRASS, which are free versions (essentially) of ARCGIS, you can write very simple python scripts that will do a lot of the hard work for you



PMAIM
^
mellery
 Posted: Apr 30 2016, 04:24 PM
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-VPNs are great and increasingly necessary

-beauty is a prison! aim to be cool and nice instead

-calling people out on their bullshit is a form of kindness! you can be lovely and sweet and still not put up with horrible stuff, if only for the sake of other people around you

-intelligence is a construct!!! don't rank people based on this

-scotland is really cool and awesome and i encourage folk to visit if they ever get a chance

-morality has nothing to do with how your body is

-i can't speak for the results because i've not been using it long enough but duolingo is cool for gradually learning languages! it's nice to have a simple, daily goal

-give to homeless people

-when times get really bad i find this helps (http://philome.la/jace_harr/you-feel-like-shit-an-interactive-self-care-guide/play), it's for self care, executive dysfunction, taking things step by step
PMEmail
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Rica
 Posted: Apr 30 2016, 07:09 PM
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-Chocolate. Chocolate. CHOCOLATE. It encourages the production of endorphins (which feel really good and like love) and seratonin (which is a anti-depressant) and darker chocolate can help with your physical health as well. Don't be afraid to treat yo self if you're feeling sad and alone. Eat that chocolate bar my friends

-Don't be so hard on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn how to forgive yourself even for the big ones

-When buying anything digitally (video games, books, music, movies) ALWAYS do a quick google search to see if it might go on sale any time soon ( isthereanydeal is good for any PC games)

-Learn how to differentiate between what you want, and what you really want. It'll save you a ton of money the better you prioritize. (Lists help)

-Speaking of lists don't be afraid to make them. Lists for everything. There are many apps for note taking (my personal favorite is colornote) and if apps aren't possible keep a small notepad!

-Keep emergency hygiene supplies, snacks, and water. You don't want to be caught anywhere even for a few hours without things like this (This is part of why I use a backpack for everything)

-Keep emergency cash on you. $20-$40, enough for some food, gas, or other minor needs if you have no access to your debit card

-If you struggle with drinking a lot of water, buy a couple water bottles and keep them filled and in the fridge. It's easier to just grab a bottle of water instead of filling a cup every time you want some. If you need flavor of some kind, mix the flavor additive before putting the bottle in the fridge. Make it as easy as possible on yourself to drink that water
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Poette
 Posted: May 2 2016, 08:27 AM
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China Version

  
Don't Tip. It's considered rude in most places, except maybe very nice restaurants. Don't tip your taxi cab. Don't tip at most restaurants.

Haggle anywhere that doesn't have a price tag. And even if they have a price tag, they might be willing to haggle. Especially when they hand you a calculator and ask 'how much? / how much you want it for?' If you don't look Asian (and maybe even if you do??), and yes this is stereotyping, they will assume you have money and therefore when haggling, go at least 70% cheaper-- in fact, probably more since this is your starting negotiating price. Your other strategy is to start walking away-- they will scream prices at you, sometimes taking off up to 100 rmb or more (~ $15). It's really a pain...I hate it. I never feel like I am getting a good deal. You always feel cheated and harassed. Sometimes they will go so far as to grab you; I've found in Shanghai they are especially aggressive. The only other marketplace outside of Shanghai I've been to wasn't so nearly aggressive and the prices were more fixed shopkeep to shopkeep.

Bring tissue with you everywhere. You have two options that you will encounter: 1. Western-style toilet and 2. Squatting toilet. Consider toilet paper a luxury-- a gift from above, even. Because a fair share of places will not provide it. And even if they do, if there's a trash can that is where your tissue goes after it becomes waste. The sewage system cannot handle all the tissue here.

Additionally, bring a way to cleanse your hands -- sanitizer, alcohol wipes, baby wipes. I usually always have sanitizer on me at home, but here it is similarly helpful like tissue paper.

On the note of tissue paper-- most restaurants will not give you napkins. Some will, but don't assume you'll have access to napkins, so bring your own. Nicer places do, it's not all...

Learn the language if you can. Numbers are most important, but in Shanghai you can really get by just on gestures alone.

Check the taxi's starting rate, should be at $0.00. Always bring the address in Chinese (duh??) because they won't understand your other address.

Buy a SIM card. GPS is really nice to have, and it's not that expensive.

The metro is very English-language friendly. Use it.

It's likely you won't have a dryer in China. Heads up.

Eat only in places that look busy. It's a sign it is a good restaurant. Empty places should be avoided!!

Lots of restaurants have menus with English, or menus with pictures. Point and order.

Luxury goods are more expensive here. Don't buy them.
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alyeska
 Posted: May 3 2016, 11:08 AM
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Here's some beauty tips from years of schooling, bs'ing the industry, and 2 licenses:

hair:
  
*hair can stretch ~50% when wet, dry hair only stretches ~20%; always keep that in mind when self trimming or deciding length.

*as with the above, always cut bangs/fringes dry, and preferably with thinning shears, unless you want the hard lines.

*thinning shears are your friend and if you ever are interested in buying any professional tools but don't have the money for both, invest in thinning shears over regular ones every time, trust me.

*for cutting with thinning shears, always be aware of what direction the teeth are facing. Cutting with the teeth on top will flip the hair down and under, while cutting with the teeth on the bottom with flip it up and out a la 60s style. It's an easy way to introduce movement to a hair cut.

*anyone ever that is going to do your hair for the first time is not going to 100% understand what you're talking about, but you want to find the ones that are intent on understanding and will continue discussing it with you until they do.
(I know this seems like an obvious one but i've seen many people give up and shrug to my coworkers only to end up with something that barely resembled the idea in their head. I have fixed so many of these from other people over the years. It's not worth the frustration. Find someone to do it right the first time, even if it means walking out of someone else's chair)

*most hair cutting combs have rulers on the sides for easy eyeballing so you can always ask to see that if you're unsure. It's better than saying you want an inch off of your hair when you actually mean a half or quarter inch....
(we didn't take off more than asked most of the time, clients just asked for more than they wanted. An inch of hair is a lot longer than most people realize.)

*you can curl your hair with a flat iron but if you can learn how to use one, a Marcel curling iron will give you flawless spiral curls without fail every time.

*using a holding spray before and after styling with heat will help preserve the integrity of the style way more than just using a holding spray after.

*as with the above, use a heat protector as well before heat, and a smoothing/holding spray after. Heat breaks your hair strand open and can leave your hair frizzy and damaged.

*the above is the same reason why it's good to shampoo with warm water but rinse your conditioner with cool. The cold seals your hair strand back up, hence why people will claim rinsing with cold water makes your hair shinier. It actually does preserve the health of your hair.

*leave in conditioner is your best friend !!!!! I always recommend anything by It's a Ten, but Goldwell is a bit more affordable and also good quality. Put anywhere your hair seems weak or damaged, but if you don't have super dry hair, it's good to avoid the root area.

*for washing your hair, daily can actually be detrimental. Shampoo straps natural oils from your hair, and conditioner dumps oils back in. So technically speaking the less you wash your hair, the better your scalp will get about distributing the correct amount of oils to your hair.
-If you have normal to oily hair, use a soft brush to pull the natural oil build up through your hair (i suggest Mason Pearson brushes but they're v expensive, even though they last forever) and then shampoo only at the root, and condition only from the ends to about halfway up your hair strand. I personally love Redken's cleansing shampoo or Design Essentials shampoos. It's a Ten still has the best conditioner I've ever tried with their Silk Express.
-If you have dry hair, invest in a hydrating or moisturizing shampoo and be very gentle at the root. Use a hydrating or moisturizing conditioner and let it sit for longer, +leave in everywhere with a light layer closer to your root.

*DON'T BUY PRODUCTS FROM LOCAL STORES. seriously I know seeing "professional" stuff at target or Walmart or tesco or wherever seems like a great deal, but more often than not it is expired or discontinued product that is way below salon quality and often for the same price. (It's a Ten actually costs less at a beauty store than at a grocery one.) Usually these products are also cut with water and relabeled for sale, which is not technically illegal because water is an ingredient in the original product. So, seriously... dont waste your time or money. always buy professional products from professional places.

*speaking of professional stuff... dont trust hair color or bleach that you get from regular stores. However. If you have to use it, remember that coloring hair basically relies on the color chart. For example: if you have ash tones in your hair, any blue is going to turn green without the use of toner.

*always use the lowest volume peroxide with lightener. Hair color goes by level so it's good to know where you're starting at.
-From the level of the hair you're coloring: 10 volume for staying the same level, 20 volume for 1-2 levels lighter, 30 volume for 3-4 levels lighter, and 40 volume for 4+.
-the higher the volume and the more levels lightened, the greater the stress to the hair strand.

*demi to permanent hair color do stack on the strand, even after it looks faded, so be careful when retouching to only hit the new growth and not what you've already colored, or you'll end up looking like a tree stump with different level rings around your head.

*always read the manufacturers instructions



That's it for now but I'll come back w makeup and skin and nails and stuff.
PMEmail
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bird
 Posted: May 7 2016, 10:23 AM
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number one dad
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ahhh i'm loving these!

some money stuff from me, because i have never been good with money and have always been terrified of managing it! but i'm financially independent and have been for years so here's some stuff that's helped:

  
  • budget! seriously! GROUNDBREAKING I KNOW. and when you have little to no income it's frustrating if not impossible ("i'd budget money if i HAD ANY MONEY" - me, many times, at many points in my life) and you do what you gotta do to survive.
    but when you do get a little income coming your way, my advice is pick a percentage of your income that you can afford to save (after deducting your rent costs, food and clothing costs, and other necessities) and stick with it. 30% is a rule of thumb people seem to say but they also don't seem to live in places where 50%+ of your income gets spent on rent. in any case, the best plan, if you're anything like me: go to your bank, and ask them to deduct a certain amount from your account and into a savings account (pref one not linked to your debit card) every time you get paid. that takes all the thinking and anxiety and terror out of it.

  • mint is pretty good at tracking your purchases and seeing where they're going. i know US people get a lot of mileage out of YNAB as well. mint is free, though, but i think YNAB might be free if you have a student email address? somebody else is gonna have to verify this for me. i'll be honest -- i don't use either one regularly any more, but it is a good thing to use for the first 3-4 months so that you can understand where the lion's share of your money is going.

  • when budgeting, always plan for discretionary income! and i don't just mean for emergencies either, or big stuff like traveling. again, this sort of depends on how much you get paid, but i think that a lot of times budgeting fails because people are too hard on themselves. give yourself a little wiggle room to buy a video game when it comes out, or a cool new shirt you like, or to have a beer with friends! it'll keep you sane. when i was really poor all i could set aside was maybe five bucks for a beer with a friend each week, or some cool eyeliner or whatever, but just having that beer or that eyeliner was the difference between feeling human and okay with things, and feeling completely fucking miserable. you are human: you are allowed to have fun and treat yourself well, no matter how much money you make.

  • if your income is irregular, as it is for a bunch of people, try to see if you can't figure out an average amount that you get paid, or set a minimum amount that you put aside every week. irregular pay is really fucking tough because no matter how much you make, you're never sure how to handle expenses, but that makes it all the more important to save up so that you have a bit of a buffer when times get lean. if it's semi-irregular, in the case of regular pay + unpredictable commissions or bonuses, i try to budget based on the regular pay, and then set aside like 50 or 60% of the commissions or bonuses when they come in. YMMV though.

  • set aside an emergency fund in case you lose your job, especially if you live in a place where you don't have employment insurance, or you're ineligible for it. two or three months of rent + expenses is a good, if fairly tough goal (depending on where you live).

  • never lend money to a friend, partner, or relative if you're not okay with not getting it back. which isn't to say that they shouldn't give it back -- they absolutely should. nor is it to say that you shouldn't support your family, because you absolutely should. (and when someone loans you money, pay it back because it's the right thing to do!) but money stuff is also one of the fastest way to destroy relationships, and the tension of WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO PAY ME BACK is pretty awful for both parties. just... make sure your own needs are met before you try to take care of other people. this goes for other things in life, too.

  • be honest about your finances with your partner. this goes double if you move in together.

  • use credit cards for small, regular, consistent purchases like groceries and pay it off immediately. i hate credit cards and i only got one last year because i'm terrified of them, but it's important to build up a credit history and traveling is so much easier when you're not paying for everything in cash. you can get pre-paid credit cards, though, which can be a life-saver abroad.

  • for my canucks: max out your TFSA! if you don't have one yet, talk to your bank. if you're a canadian citizen 18 you've been able to contribute to this thing every year, and if you haven't added anything yet those contribution amounts do stack! the interest isn't huge but it's reliable, safe, and you aren't taxed on it, and it's about as good (or better) than you'll get in a savings account at a regular bank anyway. once you've maxed out your contributions for the year, you can invest in other stuff. i'm personally not a big risk-taker, especially when it comes to money (understatement of the century: i am terrified of money), so the stock market definitely isn't for me. but there are low-risk, fairly reasonable-return portfolios out there. full disclosure: i have done neither of these, because my goal #1 was to pay down my student loans, and also i would probably keep my money stuffed into my mattress if i had my way with things. but this is something i have been told to do, and i'll probably look into GICs or something similar once i'm working regularly again.

  • give to charity! once you're in a position where your basic daily needs are taken care of, and you can actually think about shit like GICs... you can afford to give back, goddammit. do your research and give regularly to causes you care about (since that usually does more good than lump sum donations) and volunteer! don't do it to brag to your friends about what a good person you are; do it because it's the right goddamn thing to do.

    if you get to eat regularly every day you're doing better than a lot of people.
PMAIM
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