Helping You Help Yourself #33

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A piece on one of my personal preoccupations: how individual drivers can help limit traffic jams.

Rules for making a to do list that gets shit done.

Your biweekly sandwich bulletin: how to make the best tomato grilled cheese sandwich.

Ever since I found these instructions for making DIY noise canceling headphones it’s all I’ve wanted to do with my life. (Although the comments are quick to point out that these are, I think, actually noise isolating headphones, if that matters to you.)

An explanation of what “X percent chance of Y” means in weather reports, and why there might be 50% chance of rain predicted for a week but you never see any.

I am haunted by the feeling that we have discussed how to pack a suitcase efficiently before, but I’m going on a trip this week and so it feels extra relevant again. Many more hardcore tips in the comments.

Woof, a little too real, Financial Diet: how to crawl out of the emotional black hole of being broke.

Need to stay at a hotel that’s sold out? This app will let you know when rooms open up.

Seven tips for overcoming email anxiety.

Remedies for avoiding burnout — perhaps not coincidentally, they are also good strategies for general wellness!

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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 read “bisexual sandwich bulletin” at first and I think that’d be a great name for a ‘zine, just throwing that out there.

    And now I’m going to make that sandwich. Thank you for caring about sandwiches for all identities, Rachel.

    • I’ve talked to my sister about it and I think she’s going to do a five-minute podcast called Bisexual Sandwich Bulletin where she reviews one sandwich per week for bisexuals.

  2. Days with Rachel’s Helping You Help Yourself and Laneia’s intros to Also Also Also give me such gentle confidence, like I CAN be the kindest, most BAMF ruler of a kingdom, be it academia at large or just a small potted plant.

    • When I was a kid, I used to call it “girled cheese,” which I guess should have been a sign for something for me.

      Of course, I love grilled cheese too. It’s the best!

  3. That Financial Diet piece is spot on! I can vouch for going through all the steps. It is stressful to be broke but it is also freeing. When I had literally nothing to lose, I managed to get jobs I never thought possible and took risks that I normally wouldn’t just to put food on the table. I really think the part about embracing the journey is really important too. Life is very fluid and ever changing, just like our financial state and it is easy to forget to enjoy life. You can always gain and earn money, but you can never gain back the time you spend worrying about your finances.

  4. That article on traffic jams reminds me of why I detest driving more than pretty much everything in the world and try to avoid it as much as possible (of course, even when you’re walking, you’re still not safe from drivers who ignore crosswalks or use sidewalks as passing lanes :p).

  5. Wow.
    I’ve never made a grilled cheese sandwich.
    I always thought it was just cheese slapped in between two pieces of bread and toasted?
    But this seems to be like, a science.
    Is there a recipe that’s a bit more basic, by any chance?

    • Simple recipe! Yes:

      Butter or Earth Balance in the pan

      A tad bit of mayonnaise or something creamy on the inside of the bread

      A bit of thinly sliced tomato (no need to dry if it’s thin)

      A bit of thinly sliced avocado

      Any and all types of cheese you have on hand

      As you grill, push on top of bread using spatula or the lid from a smaller pan

      Flip when browned


    • I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a grilled cheese right, so this thread is amazing. Thank you, queer girl & Riley!

    • It truly saddens me to know that there have been poor souls out there wandering around not knowing how to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

  6. Chock full of good links today! Loving my lil viridi plants from one of last weeks posts too, btw

  7. We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files…we’d like to help you learn to help yourself.

    Aw c’mon, someone had to do it.

  8. So many of these links were speaking to me. Thanks for sharing resources that help alleviate anxiety about life, Rachel.

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