Helping You Help Yourself #2

Here’s how to make a perfect omelet.

Before you go to bed tonight, do something that will make tomorrow better for yourself. Do all the dishes in your sink! Put all the papers you’re going to need into your bag! Think of it like someone you care about a lot is staying with you as a guest and you want to leave something nice for them to find when they wake up.

Still kinda lost on when to use commas vs. semicolons? Here, this explains it.

If it’s bumming you out that all your houseplants keep dying, maybe try one of these five and enjoy a verdant indoor wonderland.

This is the difference between a yam and a sweet potato.

If you work at a computer and/or look at a screen all day long, it’s probably causing you eye strain — if your eyes frequently feel sensitive to light, dry, sore or otherwise weird, that might be why. To combat this, look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes — try to look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Here’s an extension that can help remind you to do this, at least if you use Chrome.

When rabbits are very happy about something, they will sometimes engage in a practice where they run in circles and leap up into the air over and over again, kicking their legs out and twisting their body. It’s called a “binky,” and it’s literally just a happy bunny dance. See, here’s what it looks like.


Check the balance on your accounts today, even if you’re scared to, and even the especially intimidating ones like your loans. It’s better to know than not know! You’ll be glad you did!

Interested in cutting and/or maintaining a short haircut by yourself? Here’s how one person does it!

Laneia tells you how to fold a fitted sheet:

You just hold the sheet or lay it down whatever so that the side with the pockets is facing you, then you pick one side to be the receiver and one to be the giver. On the giver side (I usually do the right side as the giver) you turn that pocket inside out by putting your hand in it from the outside corner seam, then you take your hand, still in the inside-out-pocket, and put it in the receiving pocket. Then do the same with the other ones at the bottom. Then you do it one more time to get one set of pockets into the other, then you make it nice and flat and keep folding until it’s done.

There’s also this Real Simple guide on folding fitted sheets if you’d like a second opinion.

Put some chapstick in your coat pocket right now, and also the pocket of that other jacket you wear a lot and your purse, if you use one. End the terrible feeling of leaving the house for the day and realizing you don’t have any chapstick on you forever.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. I have so many chapsticks right now because I keep accidentally leaving home without it and thus obviously am forced to buy more so I can survive the day.

    hopefully Project Put Chapstick in All the Pockets will save me from needlessly growing my collection any more.

  2. The day I realized that chapstick could live in my wallet was a good day indeed. I also keep one within reach of my bed on my nightstand, and one in my desk at work. My lips have felt much nicer since the initiation of Operation: Have Chapstick Available And Use It.

    Did anyone else get the sample standardized testing passage about yams vs. sweet potatoes? This would have been… either in California or New Jersey? No? Was that just me? Did I dream it??

    Also, this is how to fold fitted sheets.

    Also also, I’m glad this has become a series, not only because it’s going to be a great series, but also because I was trying to send someone the scalp massage link the other day but couldn’t find it, and now I know what the name of the first article is! (Though the first one doesn’t seem to be tagged yet!)

    …All that said, sorry, Rachel, my paycheck hits my account at midnight on Friday and nothing’s bounced yet. I’ll check it Saturday. >__>

  3. I also have chapstick everywhere; on my desk at work, in my desk at work, in my car, on my night stand, and on my coffee table. That way I never have to worry about losing it when its on my person. It’s the worst when you forget it in your pocket and it goes through the wash.

  4. No but really my family has extensive dinner table discussions about yams vs. sweet potatoes and now I can be like “BAM cleared that up for ya”

    • I’m British so I needed that clearing up even more as I grew up in a sweet potato-less world. They are more common now but I’ve never seen a yam…and now I’m sure I’ve never seen one!

  5. Definitely read the caption as “the difference between yarn and a sweet potato” and was momentarily confused as to how anyone could mix the two up.

  6. I love the idea of giving myself a prep-for-the-next-day treat. I found a bar of chocolate on my work bag on Saturday afternoon and I was delighted as I’d forgotten that I put it there. So it’s even more exciting and lovely if you’re absent minded.

  7. I really, really love these posts.

    I wanted to share that I’m typing this while sitting on the couch I bought two weeks ago because I read your other post about making lists and doing The Hardest Thing first, which was the nudge I needed to do the damn thing and go to IKEA Brooklyn.

      • I wasn’t scared of IKEA until I read the article from Riese’s TIRTIL and now I’m not sure I can ever go back.

    • I need to cut out and tape the part about doing something the night before to my wall or something. This is advice I’ve heard before, but never with that kind of positive framing. Thank you!

  8. Really interested in those houseplant options! Any idea if plants can do ok with sun lamps or happy lights or things like that? There’s a couple rooms here where I live that don’t get tons of natural light via windows but that could probably stand to have a plant or two.

    • I’ve been wanting one of these for months, which I think a lot of people use for starting seedlings indoors before putting them out into the cold cruel world, but are probably good for grown plants too!

    • Not sure what you call them in the US but Grow Lights can be found at hardware shops and nurseries here in Oz. They work a treat. Also plants that require low light levels like those that grow on jungle floors usually work well in low light rooms.

      Happy planting!

  9. My eye doctor literally just told me about the “every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds” a few days ago. So that shit’s legit! Also I can testify that setting things out for the next day the night before is a lifesaving habit to make. Especially for those days when your alarm doesn’t go off in the morning and you had to be ready 15 minutes ago. 10/10 would recommend. ALSO thank you for the clarification on commas vs. semicolons and yams vs. sweet potatoes. Those two things have been seriously confusing me since like… forever. I’m so glad this has become a series!! :D

  10. Chapstick! So I always carry a backpack or a messenger bag and I never manage to remember to move everything between them, until I got that Safe Space pencil case. Now it has chapstick, reading glasses, advil, a manicure kit, hand lotion, and a cell phone battery. It moves between all the bags. Boom. I can take on anything. Especially now that I finally checked my bank balance. Loans…maybe next week.

  11. Just yesterday I found myself in the kitchen having a bewildered staring match with a mysterious root vegetable that was DEFINITELY NOT A SWEET POTATO despite what the sign at the grocery store said. Now, thanks to the infinite wisdom of AS, I suspect that it was a yam.
    Although I still do not know what do do with it.

    • Anything you would do with a potato! (Or another very starchy root vegetable) If it’s small, you don’t have to peel it before you prepare it, but if it’s big, you should peel it, and you can blanch it in boiling water for 10-20 minutes to make things easier.

      You can make mashed yam, roasted yam, process it and roll it into balls to float in your soup, even chips if you feel adventurous.

      • (I mean, if it’s small, please do remove the skin at some point, don’t eat it! You can just worry about removing it later, when it’s soft.)

  12. These posts are amazing; I hope they become a regular weekly thing. (Look! A semi-colon!)

    Thank you for reminding me of my debt that I will be paying off forever. But at least I’m getting a tax refund! And that leads to another piece of advice I have: don’t procrastinate on tax returns! I submitted mine today and the IRS accepted it literally 30 minutes later, which is the fastest turnaround time I have ever heard of, far better than when I submitted them on April 15th last year. (HEY my hard drive died and I was waiting on W2s!)

    Is there a cat version of a Binky? I swear my cat does something like that, except it’s usually when she’s irritated or hears a squirrel.

  13. Binky made my day so much better.

    The houseplant article is spot-on; I was looking for suggestions other than “fern.”

    Meals with my Southern family and one NY uncle:

    Him: These are good yams.
    Everyone, under their breath: Sweet potatoes.
    Him: Pass the yams.
    Under breath: SWEET POTATOES.
    Him: I think it’s quaint how you call them . . .
    Everyone: THEY ARE.

    And we’re right!

    • I am sorry, sweet potatoes, for calling you something you aren’t. It’s what I was taught by my parents and the grocery store. I won’t make the mistake again.
      But at least I don’t call tomatoes vegetables!

  14. “There’s also this Real Simple guide on folding fitted sheets if you’d like a second opinion.”

    The lack of faith in Laneia’s instruction lol.

  15. I checked my account balance and then I did a grocery shop and bought undies that have green elastic and the rest is pink watermelon with seeds omggggg quality!

    I also saw my doctor and am weening off meds that make me dead insidr to another that hopefully doesn’t as well as getting a referral to a psych.

    It has been productive.

  16. My friend communicates with her rabbit using bunny body language. It peed on her bed once and she moved it to the floor and did the cranky rabbit stomp at it and the bunny looked at her and did it right back.

    Functional times with chosen family!

  17. I’m already in love with this series.

    My eye has been twitching for like a month. I’ve installed that amazing extension and will try it out right now.

  18. This is the best, guys. I would be delighted at any time, but right now is especially great since I’ve just moved to a scary new country and feel like Autostraddle is a kind and lovely friend reminding me to care about my own well-being. Thank you!

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