Filed under Fun

Just Ask For It

The other day at brunch (because I live in the city now, and that’s how girls bond), we were discussing how to get what you want. The simple answer my friend put forward is to “just ask”. I’ve been testing that theory now, and am shocked at how far I can get by just having the nerve to ask for what I want. Here is my small list of things that work to ask for:

1. No bank fees. This one I’ve mentioned before as a suggestion from Ramit Sethi I got awhile back for my annual credit card fee. I just called, stated how long I’ve been a client, and that I didn’t want to be forced to go to a different bank. I’ve also saved tons of money in over-draft fees by just going into the bank, playing dumb and asking the fees to be taken off. I’m shocked at the amount of people who wont do this because they’re too shy to stand up for themselves.

2. Extras at restaurants. Most servers also think that having to pay $0.50 for ranch dressing is lame. I assure you there’s no person back there making sure all the condiments are being accounted for. Make sure you ask for this right away though, not after they may have already put it in the computer. Similarly, be weary of places that ask “or” questions. You usually can get both for free. A good example of this is at Chipotle where they like to convince you that you can only have black beans or pinto beans, or only one salsa. If you only get one, I will laugh at you.

3. Travel boosts. Because I have a silver medallion membership with Delta I often check a bag because it’s free. The problem being that I don’t like waiting for my bag after a long flight. Whenever I travel I ask the person who is checking my bag if they can put the priority tag on my bag, usually with some story about running late for something. This also works for other things while traveling. I find that because of my age, people will assume I’m OK with whatever I get, but will be more than willing to accommodate if I ask outright. I’ve been bumped to a cooler car at car rental places, given an ocean view at hotels where I was originally supposed to look out over parking lots, and allowed to “check out” Sky Club lounges while waiting for flights.

4. Free samples/coupons. Send an email to your favorite companies saying you love their stuff and if you can get coupons or their latest product for free. I started doing  this when I went gluten-free because everything was so expensive and I didn’t even know if I would like their stuff. Usually if you play on a company’s sense of pride in their product, they’ll want to prove to you why you should choose their product, or retain you if you’re already a client.

5. Medicine. The next time your doctor goes to write you a prescription, as if they have any trials so you can see how you react before buying a whole bunch of it. Also, ask your pharmacy if they’re giving your antibiotics out for free. They’ll often have extra samples of stuff. Of course, you have to actually have the prescription. This post is to encourage you to ask for things you need, not get you addicted to drugs.

6. Work stuff. Please, please, please also apply this mind set to your work. If you’ve been working at a company for awhile and doing well, put together a solid argument and ask for what you want. I used to be jealous of my friend who asked his work for things like, higher pay, mac (instead of windows), new office chair… even tracing paper – and got it! Then when I went to quit my job to move back to Minnesota, I asked for my most ideal situation – work the same job from wherever I wanted. Surprising result: my hard work stood up for itself and they obliged.

The most important thing to do is ask nicely but forcefully. Going into the proposal you should already have reasons why you should get what you want, and the mind-set that whatever you’re asking for is completely reasonable to get. If you don’t get what you want, no worries. At least you asked.

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Gifts for Millennials

Like most of America, I’ve been on the look out for Christmas holiday gifts. The problem I’ve run into is that I have no idea what would appeal to an 8 year old, a 15 year old or a 60 year old. When I try to look up ideas it’s usually ideas created by an equally clueless (but well meaning) person. I don’t want to hear what “Helen” thinks I should be buying a teenager, I want a teenager to tell me. In light  of that, I’ve compiled a handy list of things you could buy the millennial in your life:

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Picture Thursday: My Happy Place

Take a trip to my happy place.

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Where In The World Is Erika?

I’ve been neglecting this blog as I get settled back in Minneapolis, catch a stride contracting, and cross things off my to-do list. Usually people take a break from blogging when they feel uninspired, which couldn’t be further from the truth of my situation. I love being back in a city with it’s flurry of activity, the design shown in everything from the architecture to the bold outfit choices. In the book The Hours by Micheal Cunningham the character Clarrisa internally declares her admiration for the city, while simultaneously scolding herself for this love as one for the “dupped and the simpleminded”. I keep being reminded of this passage as a I go about my business. “Must be indifferent,” I tell myself, “or they’ll never take you seriously”.

Here’s a glimpse into what I’ve been up to:

1. My brother helping my cat and me move our stuff from Florida back to Minnesota. I know I shouldn’t be Instagraming while driving, but they just looked so cute.
2. Having just spent 2 hours climbing the tallest cliff in the world.
3. Visiting Fimreite – my homeland
4. Ran my first 5K, and managed it in a tutu.


5. I went to Portland where I hiked, went to the largest book store in the world, and saw Brian Posehn.
6. Did another 5k, this time with obstacles and a buddy (my brother). Not pictured – My third 5k – Warrior Dash in September. I never thought running was for me, so this was a BIG accomplishment.
7. There were a few trips down to Iowa to reconnect with old college friends. This picture is of the sunset driving down there. Reminds me of Don Quixote fighting dragons.
8. I went to New York to visit my friend Stephen. Here he’s pictured at Baby Cakes which is my favorite bakery in the world.

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Tuesday Kind Of Love

I want a Tuesday kind of love. The sort of thing that involves little dreaming and scheming; the sort of thing that comes paired with too-strong coffee and too-loud songbirds and the drone of the news at 6 a.m. or any time before the sky finds its identity, really. A Tuesday kind of love that isn’t indulgent, one that doesn’t stop the earth from spinning but maybe keeps us grounded in spite of all that uncontrollable movement.

I want to split the bill and pay the bills and not get lost in some unsustainable delusion where the rest of our lives become inconsequential. I want us to be human, I want to argue, I want to take too long in the shower. I want to hear about the horrific lines at the DMV, about a boss who doesn’t get it, about plans to pick up the laundry after work. I want stories of strangers on the bus, of a child who looked lost but turned out not to be, of chance encounters with high school classmates because these seemingly colorless instances are meaningful when filtered through the eyes of someone I care about. A Tuesday kind of love, breathing relevance into otherwise monotonous moments.

A Tuesday kind of love is this: commuting to work knowing that someone cares about what you’re going to have for lunch; understanding that you do not have to be your dynamic, charming, weekend self this time; this time you can butcher sentences and make bad jokes and trip over thin air and it won’t change anything. A Tuesday kind of love is when weekends and weekdays are one and the same, expanses of time where unpredictable, irreplaceable closeness exists, swells, bursts. Tuesday is directionless conversation about things that happened five hours or five years ago; it’s knowing where he keeps his receipts and when he has a doctor appointment; it’s ordering Chinese food or taking his parents out for dinner because they’re in town or forgetting to eat because you’re full of each other’s words and there’s just no room for anything else.



MTV Awards: Emma Stone

Was there an actress at the MTV Movie Awards last night that was cooler than Emma Stone? I flipped on the awards last night when Hulu suddenly decided to stop streaming Psych last night, and woah, am I getting old? Through the mess of men wearing pre-prohibition head attire (Johnny Depp), actors suddenly picking up a guitar and declaring their rock stardom (Johnny Depp) and awkward acceptance speeches (Johnny Depp) – only one thing stood out to be as genuine.

I’ve been a fan of Emma Stone’s for awhile (I think Easy A probobly sealed the deal), so this wasn’t like an epiphany, but her speech for MTV Trailblazer was flawless. Where most mumbled about their costars and tried to figure out something funny to say, Stone told an audience of riveted teenagers that what makes them weird might look like a burden now, but it’s actually the best thing about them. Not to mention, her list of trailblazing heroes included the likes of Bill Murrey and Charlie Chaplin. My girl crush used to be a tie between Mila Kunis and Zooey Deschanel, but I think this one just blew straight past them.

Also, how did Stone and Ryan Gosling not win for Best Kiss in “Crazy, Stupid, Love?” That movie was awesome.


Birthday Wish List

Today is my 11/12ths birthday, which means my 25th birthday is only a month away. Despite getting made fun of for it, I will be sending out invites. Want to get a sneak peek?

It’s also about that time my mom starts asking what I want. The top of my list includes:

1. Books. Preferably cool copies of my favorites like Alice and Wonderland.

2. Stuff for my upcoming trip to Norway, like this Patagonia Sunshade Hoody. It provides 30SPF, which will come in handy with all the hiking.

3. A puppy. This might need to wait until I find a new place up in Minnesota.

4. Cute outfit items that can be worn for casual patio brunches with the girls. This Doting Dots Skirt is perfect.

5. Platform heels. These two years in Florida have gotten me jaded from flip-flops. Shoes like these Jeffrey Cambell Litas scream city life.

For more of my birthday wish list, go here.

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Overnight Website Challenge

I wanted to take some time out to highlight The Nerdery, an interactive development firm that occasionally does this thing called an Overnight Website Challenge. What they do is volunteer to spend 24 hours fixing up nonprofit sites, and whoa, do they put that time to good use. Here are some of my favorites:









I’ve never really been into those home renovation shows on HGTV, but THIS I could get into.


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Music Festivals

I’m very excited for this weekend! My good friend Lindsay from college is coming down tonight, and we’re going to go to Sunfest this tomorrow down in Palm Beach. We’ll be jamming out to Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Third Eye Blind and Girl Talk. Even better, the weather looks like sunshine all weekend. Perfect for a Sunday relaxing at the beach.

In honor of Sunfest – and the various upcoming summer music concerts – I’ve decided to put together the perfect music festival outfit.

1. Friday Night Shorts

2. Twist Head Wrap

3.  Ray Ban Aviators

4. Ericka Bandeau Top

5. Beebee Shoes

6. Tug Of War Tank


“I always tell the girls, never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun, and if you ever get lonely, just go to the record store and visit your friends.” Penny Lane, Almost Famous

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And Remember: Be Brave

It’s the weekend! I’ll be spending mine curled up reading Smashing Magazine and watching Cougar Town. Of course, there’s also been talk of taking the jet ski out if it’s nice. I’m a little nervous though because I’ve been coerced into taking it out on the ocean before, and didn’t handle it too well. I know, real world problems. I just keep picturing myself getting flung into a group of hungry sharks. Somehow, when I’m just paddle boarding or doing activities at the beach, this never worries me. But, as the nice man who helped get me out of the stuck elevator last week said, “be brave”.

What’s the last thing you did that scared you?

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