Helping You Help Yourself #38

featured image via shutterstock

Hello let’s talk about VOTING, which is something happening next week in the US and which I believe is a way to help yourself (and also others). Please vote — and remember to vote downticket, not just for the President; learn about your local offices and figure out who you want to be in them! Here is a quick and easy interactive widget that will help you find your polling place and who’s on your ballot.

You can also look at a sample ballot for your polling place on Ballotpedia, where you can learn more about the individuals and initiatives you can vote for or against!

If you’re not registered to vote and aren’t sure if you still have time before the election on November 8, NYT has updated voter registration deadlines.

If you go to and scroll down to individualized states’ election centers, it will give you all the info you need to know regarding your state’s specific voting laws — whether you need photo ID, absentee ballot rules, early voting info, and more.

Please click! Please vote!

Back in our more regularly scheduled programming, here are two organization apps I’ve been trying out lately! Sortd is a “skin” that works over your current Gmail account and allows you to visually sort emails into different lists or categories, which for some people may be a more effective kind of spatial organization than tags. It’s not perfect; I feel like it makes my inbox lag a bit and it’s harder to gchat, but it’s easy to switch back and forth between Sortd and the normal Gmail inbox if I want to. I’m also trying Plan, an app that combines your calendar and your to-do list, and allows you to schedule to-dos so they actually make it onto your calendar and into your day. We’ll see how well it ends up working for me!

Advice from the Unfuck Your Habitat blog on how to actually accept help that people offer when you’re sick/depressed/otherwise need support.

If you need an EXTREMELY low-maintenance desk plant, or like me, your cats destroy any normal desk plant you have, Lifehacker has a guide to raising aquatic plants in a jar.

Are you terrified of someone turning your webcam on remotely and spying on you? (Or if you weren’t before you read that, are you now?) Here’s how to get a notification when your webcam turns on.

How to Grow the Fuck Up has published a guide to building credit the right way. KaeLyn has also written for us about how to build credit and how to deal with credit card debt, if this is something that’s relevant to you currently.

Bustle culled some responses on Reddit about what people with depression want to hear from those around them.

A brief guide to something that personally terrifies me: shopping around for health insurance to make sure your plan is the best and most affordable fit for you.

Lifehacker has published a big guide/infographic to haggling for things you didn’t know you could haggle for. Relatedly, here’s a more specific piece with tips for negotiating a lower rent.

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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’m in the market for health insurance so, timely help with that insurance link is much appreciated. <3

  2. The depression stuff is really helpful but I wish I had this info like a week ago. Really, I wish I had this info when I was way, way, way younger. It doesn’t matter now. As long as someone gets something out of this. Keep up the good work.

  3. An aquatic plant jar actually sounds like it’d make a really good gift idea for my Mom, since she loves plants of all kinds. And you can apparently put tiny shrimp in there to control algae?!?

  4. That is one of the best articles I’ve read on shopping for health insurance! I have one thing to add: if you run into any problems looking for health insurance on the Marketplace (or with Medicaid), or if you just want some hand holding, there are really nice and helpful people available everywhere in the country to help you for free. They are required to make themselves accessible to everyone, regardless of language or anything else. Go here to find the person closest to you:

    Or, if you’re near Conway, NH, come find us at the community health center here :)

  5. I’ve been terrified of someone remotely turning on my webcam to spy on me since that episode of Criminal Minds from like six years ago. Thanks for that notification link!

  6. If someone remotely turns on my webcam to spy on me all they’re going to get is long episodes of me lying on the couch in my pjs eating snack foods with one hand and typing Autostraddle comments with the other.

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