Peyton Stotelmyre / Daily Nexus

My new housemates are all Trader Joe’s addicts, so we all go shopping there every week. I have never shopped at T.J.’s before. Do you have any favorite classic Trader Joe’s items you could tell me about so I can gain some street cred?

First of all, welcome to the biggest and the only grocery store cult. Once you begin shopping there, you’re a lifetime member, and you will learn that grocery store loyalty is not just for people dealing with a mid-life crisis. I have some good news for you — there is no initiation fee, but only because you will be spending whatever little life savings you have accumulated up to this point at Trader Joe’s. That being said, this might be the most deliciously destructive endeavor you ever partake in, and I’m more than happy to be your guide into our world. 

Now, let me help you out with that street cred: 

First of all, NEVER buy their premade wraps, salads or sandwiches. A majority of Trader Joe’s products are amazing, but every experienced Trader Joe’s shopper knows to avoid those. So, if you find yourself veering toward those items, back away. 

Now that you know what to avoid, let me help you out with what you want to stock up on. 

If you’re like me and compulsively snack while working, I recommend getting their churro bites, plantain chips, dried mango, baked cheese crunchies and/or their chocolate-covered bananas. Whatever you do, do not forget those chocolate-covered bananas — that is a T.J. staple, and forgetting will only make you look ignorant. 

If you’re hosting, (safely, of course) and you’re looking for cute appetizers and snacks to put out, a bowl of chips with their famous Bloody Mary Salsa and/or their Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip will make you the favored host of your circle. Don’t forget their Mac & Cheese Bites. Just know that you might be hosting every gathering for a while. 

Also, while on your grocery run, if your friends forget to hit up those T.J. spices, you will get all the cred in the world for reminding them to stock up. Pick up some of their Everything but the Bagel Seasoning Blend and their Everything but the Elote Seasoning Blend. 

You’re welcome. 

My roommates and I just moved into a new apartment in Isla Vista, and the walls are especially thin. Got any tips on how to keep my housemates from hearing in on my hookups?

If you’ve had roommates before, you know that the relationship is full of difficult conversations. This is a conversation you’re going to have to initiate with them. 

Ask them how they would feel, if you let them know ahead of time that you’re bringing someone over, about stepping out for a little bit. I’m sure they would appreciate the candidness, especially since if they are bringing someone over, they’d probably want to know about the protocol as well. 

Of course, there’s the classic yell test: Get your roommate to stand on one side of the wall, while you stay on the other. Now scream obscenities beginning at a low volume. Keep getting louder and louder until the other person can hear you. Remember that this will not be effective unless done with every wall-like barrier in your apartment. Just maybe notify your neighbors; I’m sure they’d be very understanding. 

If you know that you’re loud, I might suggest investing in some gags from TooTimid — whatever floats your boat. 

How do I stop lying in bed all day like a literal slug?

My friend, you are not alone. Most of us have spent a large portion of the pandemic lying in bed and just screwing around on our phones. What we’re all lacking right now is a little bit of motivation. 

The reason why we aren’t having fun right now is because we’re so lost in the surrealness of our current situation that most of us just aren’t scheduling some time in for having (safe) fun. Responsibility, caution and awareness — these are the things we are all preoccupied with, and rightfully so. However, getting caught up in the seriousness of our current situation is only going to build dread and a lack of motivation. 

Schedule time for fun — whatever that means to you. If you’re a surfer, try to get out on the waves a few times a week. If you’re an arts-and-crafts type of person, take a trip to Michaels and pick up a new project. 

I guess my advice boils down to this: The world is fucking bonkers right now. You have the right to (safely) explore your interests and just have fun. I’m not saying shrug off all responsibilities, but unless you make room for a little fun, you are just going to want to stay in bed.

Got questions for AJ? Send them in to with the subject “Ask AJ.”


AJ is the advice guru of the Daily Nexus. Multiple writers contribute to Ask AJ. If you know who they are, keep it to yourself. Remember, snitches get stitches.