Must-Have Mods for Sims 4 City Living

Some of the best mods for the City Living expansion pack. With things like custom elevators, gaming enhancements and improvements, along with fixes for all kinds of annoyances, there’s something in here for all players!

City Living, by far, is one of my most favorite packs–easily top five for sure–but just like many other Sims 4 packs, it could use a few tweaks here and there to make the gameplay experience more enjoyable. If you share the same sentiment, keep reading for some of the most interesting mods for the Sims 4 City Living.

Beginners: If you’re new to installing custom content, check out this step-by-step guide.

While researching the mods for this post, I checked to make sure they were still working and being maintained by the creator, but the status could change at any time. Before downloading any mods, be sure to read the full download post and follow all directions specified by the creator. Mods tend to “break” after patches, so always check the creator’s website for updates.


General Gameplay Improvements
Gaming Enhancements
Autonomy and Other Annoyances
Food, Grocery and Market Stalls
Bug Fixes
Festivals and Sales Tables
Elevators (Mods and Custom Elevators)
Visual and Audio Effects
Neighborhood Changes

** Links are embedded in the mod’s title **

General Gameplay Improvements

Carryable Performance Stage plus Sing Songs! by littlemssam

Overrides the performance stage so that sims can place them in their inventory and perform wherever they want.

Visible Political Position Trait by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “visiblepoliticalpositiontrait”

Makes sims’ political position a visible trait in the Simology Panel.

More Followers Resolution for Everyone by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “morefollowersresolutionforeveryone”

Unlocks the “more followers” New Year’s Resolution for sims who are not in the social media career.

Wooden Instruments Disabled by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “woodeninstrumentsdisabled”

Disables the wooden guitar and violin from being used autonomously by sims at the performance stage.

Call and Visit Tweak by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “callandvisittweak”

Offers a higher chance for sims to get invited to opera and karaoke events. Whether or not your sim is invited to city festivals will now be determined by your sim’s mood and preference.

Barfly Karaoke by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “barflykaraoke”

Sims will autonomously sing karaoke at regular bars (if a karaoke machine is present) and their behavior will be more appropriate for the venue.

Gaming Enhancements

Longer Basketball Games by littlemssam

Adds new options to the basketball hoop pie menu for 6 and 9 round basketball and dunk competitions. The original is 3 rounds.

Online Gaming with “Headsets” by littlemssam

Applies a headset to sims playing games online.

Livestream For Everyone Videoconsole by littlemssam

Unlocks the “live stream” interaction on the gaming console for everyone.

Shorter Console Games by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “shorterconsolegames”

Shortens the duration of the online gaming sessions on the console, making it possible for sims to squeeze in a quick game before work or school.

Console Yourself by RVSN

A smaller gaming mat for sims living in not-so-large spaces.

Autonomy and Other Annoyances

No Bubble Blower or Talking Toilet Reactions! by simmytime

Prevents sims from autonomously reacting to bubble blowers and talking toilets.

Less Bubble Blower Coughing by lazarusinashes

Reduces the chance of failure when using the bubble blower.

Watch Speech Tweak by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “watchspeechtweak”

Increases the probability of sims autonomously listening to a speech given at the podium in Uptown.

Food, Grocery and Market Stalls

No Yelling Vendors by lotharihoe

Removes the “show off” interaction from market stalls, cafeteria stations, and craft sales table vendors.

Cook Experimental/Cultural/Jungle Food Without Tasting It First by claudiasharon

Reading these books will allow sims to prepare experimental, cultural, and jungle recipes without having to taste them first.

Cookbooks by littlemssam

Just like the mod above, allows sims to prepare experimental, cultural, and jungle recipes without having to taste them first.

City Living Food Retexture by UtopiaSims

Re-textures all City Living recipes making them visually appealing.

Spice Market – Chili, Curry, Saffron & Wasabi buyable by littlemssam

Makes the City Living spices: chili, curry, saffron, and wasabi purchasable on the PC.

For more food related mods, check out:

Better Quality Food MarketStalls by littlemssam

Food purchased at the market stalls will now be excellent quality.

Market Stalls | Toddler Can Order & More Food Options by littlemssam

Allows toddlers to purchase food from market stalls. Super useful for taking the family out to enjoy San Myshuno’s festivals.

Need family activity inspo for your gameplay families? Check out:

More Grocery Shopping by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “moregroceryshopping”

Adds vegetables, herbs, and other produce that should’ve been included in the produce stalls in San Myshuno.

City Life Ice Snacker by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “citylifeicesnacker”

Randomly generates townies eating ice cream in San Myshuno. Useful if you like having a little variety in the sims walking around town.

Less NPC Market Stall Orders by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “lessNPCmarketstallorders”

NPCs will order food from market stalls less often, leaving room for your sims to place their order and receive their food in a timely fashion.

Bug Fixes

Landlord Text Fix by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “landlordtextfix”

The landlord will no longer tell sims not to call him when he wasn’t needed, during visits where he was actually needed.

Karaoke Duet Filter Fix by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “karaokeduetfilterfix”

Fixes the bug that causes sims to be missing from the karaoke sim picker.

Festivals and Sales Tables

Sell More Self-Made Woodwork at the Flea Market by littlemssam

Allows more woodwork to be sold at the flea market. Items include: garden plant box, garden pot, toilet, bathtub, etc…

Flea Market Appears Every Sunday by littlemssam

Allows the Flea Market to spawn every Sunday. Comes in handy for starving artists and other sims who could benefit from a few extra sales a week.

For gameplay ideas, a few incorporating the Flea Market:

Craft Sale Table Fix by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “craftsalestablefix” or “craftsalestablefix_version2”

Fixes the bug that prevents sold items from disappearing from the sales table.

Thirst Tweak_Festival Tea by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “thirsttweak_festivaltea”

When sims drink Sakura tea at the Romance Festival, they’ll receive an energy boost that should help them stay awake and at the festival longer.

Stop Those Annoying Festival Notifications! by claudiasharon

Disables the notifications for City Living and Snowy Escape festivals.

No Festival Notification by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nofestivalnotifications”

Just like the mod above, disables the festival notifications for both City Living and Snowy Escape.

No Festival Notification Sound by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “NoFestivalNotificationSound”

Removes the sound from the festivals notifications for both City Living and Snowy Escape.

No Rain During Festivals by lotharihoe

Prevents rainy weather from ruining festivals.

Market Science Retail Stands by RVSN

Custom market stalls and displays that allow sims to sell everything!

Elevators (Mods and Custom Elevators)

Elevator Fix for Toddler & Pets by littlemssam

Allows toddlers and pets to properly use elevators in apartments.

Tiny Elevators For Pets by littlemssam

Custom elevators perfectly sized for pets.

WEE Working Elevators Everywhere by littlemssam

Custom elevators that can be placed anywhere!

Uplifting Elevators by RVSN

Another custom elevator that can be placed on any lot. Including homes!

Visual and Audio Effects

Keyboard Piano Sounds by littlemssam

Changes the keyboard sounds to match the piano’s.

Lot Trait Effects Hider by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “lottraiteffectshider” or “lottraiteffectshiderv2”

Disables lot trait effects, ie: the little light bulbs and plus signs that float over sims’ heads when benefiting from lot traits.

No Karaoke Effects by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nokaraokeeffects”

Disables the visual effects cased by singing karaoke.

No Festival Call To Action by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nofestival_calltoaction”

Removes the orange highlights around computers, curry, and tea fountains at festivals.

No Festival Tea Glow by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nofestivalteaglow”

Disables the glow sims emit after drinking tea from festivals.

No Mural Decay by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “nomuraldecay”

Prevents street murals from decaying.


Less Random Hats and Accessories by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “lessrandomhatsandaccessories”

Tones down some of the… interesting outfits that sims tend to spawn in. This mod technically isn’t related the City Living, but it takes care of City Living’s accessories too, so I thought it was worth mentioning.

Situations Outfits Be Gone by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “situationoutfitsbegone”

Tones down the outfits sims tend to spawn for City Living festivals.

Wear Costume Tweak by bienchen

Scroll down to or search for “wearcostumetweak”

Enables a user-directed interaction for sims to wear costumes when attending the Geek Con and Romance festivals, Spooky and Costume parties, as well as bar nights and acting gigs

Neighborhood Changes

Sim Spawn Overhaul by lotharihoe

Completely overhaul’s the walkby system. If seeing Nancy Langraab hanging out in San Myshuno, Willow Creek, and Sulani every. single. day is too much for you, give this mod a try.

BG-Walkby Overhaul by zero

Just like the mod above, completely overhaul’s the walkby system and attempts to keep sims in their home neighborhood.

Keep Sims in their Home Region by kuttoe

Same as the other mods above.

And that’s all for now. I hope you find these mods useful!


For more pack related mods check out the links below:

Must-Have Mods for Sims 4 Parenthood
Must-Have Mods for Sims 4 Seasons
Must-Have Mods for Sims 4 Cottage Living

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Episode 7: Boundaries and Stuff – Part 1

Salim attempts to change his friendship status with Camilla.


An opening in her weekend schedule was about as rare as a news site devoid of clickbait titles. She was booked, weeks in advance, for things she couldn’t get out of, but swore she would if she could. Weekend after weekend, one rejection after another, I persisted, in case she found the time, but her answer and the apologies that followed remained the same, until today.

We were on the phone, talking about the movie she saw with her friends last night, when an ad for this breakfast fusion place interrupted the video I was watching. It followed an enthusiastic waiter who was delivering an order to an equally enthusiastic family. The camera zoomed in as the youngest kid dived into his meal—a plate of red velvet pancakes smothered in hot fudge with a side of cheesecake ice-cream—according to the subtitles at the bottom of the screen.

My initial thought was one of disgust followed by concern for the kid’s teeth. My next, was motivated by my short-lived career in marketing, and had me curious about the restaurant’s target demographic.

As a joke, I said, “Can you believe there’s a place selling pancakes and ice cream together?” I laughed. “I wanna see the faces of these first graders they’re catering to when the bill comes.”

But then when she said, “Oooh! For real?” With just as much enthusiasm as the kid in the commercial, a memory of the time she ordered chocolate milk to wash down her ranch dressing drenched, barbeque chicken pizza, reminded me that her palate was right on par with those aforementioned first graders’.

“I could go for some ice-cream right now,” she added. “Pancakes too.”

Was that a hint to ask her out again? I pondered the details of her current situation. She was home, in bed, and since she called instead of texting, I could assume, alone and available too. This rare moment of down-time in her life could be my chance to finally get some time with her—off the phone and away from work—so I could tell her what I’ve been thinking… feeling…

“Yeah…” I decided to take my chances. “You wanna go get some?”

“Right now?” she asked.

I laughed. “It’s breakfast time, right?”

“Uh, right,” she said, through sounds of shuffling and other quiet movements. “Pick me up in 30 minutes?”

An hour later, we were seated on the restaurant’s patio with half-a-table full of food that should never be eaten together. My little section was safe, consisting of eggs benedict and a side of hashbrowns; but hers was another story. There were waffles with ice cream, fudge, bananas, and whipped cream; and for her drink, a kiwi banana smoothie.

She twirled a forkful of ice-cream dipped waffles in my face. “It’s sooooooo good, Salim.” She taunted. “One bite. You’ll like it. I promise.”

“Hell no!” I laughed, directing her hand back across the table. “You couldn’t pay me to eat that.”

She popped the tainted waffle piece into her mouth. “That’s because you don’t know good food.”

“I’m concerned you actually believe that.”

“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes. “Eat your boring ass eggs.”

I was prepared to dispute that good food comment, but she got a text that wiped the smugness off her face before I could.

“Ugh!” She slammed her phone facedown onto the table. “Can I change the locks and pretend like I don’t know her when she tries to open the door?”

This mood-ruining message must’ve been from her roommate.

I took a bite of my boring ass eggs. “I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.”

“What’s illegal,” she said, “is being so annoying all the damn time.”

This issue with her and Pandora was way simpler than she wanted to believe and had an easy solution that she didn’t want to hear.

“So, I take it you haven’t talked to her about it yet?”

She sighed. Her eyes diverting away from me and off into the distance. “No, ‘cause she’s gonna get all weird and sad,” she said, “and I don’t feel like all that.”

She’d rather it be her who feels weird and sad than deal with the temporary discomfort of her roommate’s feelings. It’s like for her, confrontation was punishment for making someone unhappy; and the threat of that was enough to make her do crazy things. This fear has to come from somewhere. Maybe her childhood? Growing up as an only kid or something.

I stuck with that thought. “Man, I can tell you didn’t grow up with siblings.”

She brought her attention back to me, a frown on her face. “Um, aren’t you an only child too?”

“Yeah, but I had cousins who were more like siblings,” I explained. “So I still had to do the arguing, sharing, telling them not to touch my stuff. You know, all the things you don’t wanna do.”

“Wait.” She raised an eyebrow. “How come you’ve never mentioned these cousin-siblings before? We’ve talked about literally everything. I mean, you’ve told me things from middle school summer camp— I even know the story behind your one and only attempt at playing the clarinet, but these sorta-kinda-siblings never come up?” Her suspicious expression grew serious. “I need some answers.”

I drew in a deep breath, and as she stared me down like I was hiding something huge, contemplated how to condense a story that was way more complicated than it should be.

“Alright…” I clasped my hands together, my throat a little dry all of a sudden. Things with my mom’s side of the family aren’t… great. There’s a lot of tension, resentment for things I don’t really understand, but still find myself caught in the middle of anyway. “Remember how I told you my mom went through some things after my dad died?”

She nodded, lowering her voice. “Depression and stuff, right?”

“Yeah.” I cleared my throat. “So, we moved in with her sister— my aunt and her two kids for a while.”

Okay?” She leaned into the table, her face rested on the back of her hands, like she thought there was some deep-dark secret on the way.

“And that’s it.” I shrugged, as if my relationship with my cousins—one more than the other—wasn’t a direct source of contention in my life. “We grew up. Went our separate ways. Did our own things.”

She rested in her chair. “So, y’all don’t talk, ever?”

“When we need to.”

Her eyes narrowed, reverting to that stare she gave me a few minutes ago. “I feel like you’re being intentionally cryptic.”

“And I feel like you should just talk to your roommate.”

Perfect deflection.

“You know what?” She rose from her seat. “I’m going to the bathroom.” And pushed my head as she walked past me. “I hope you have some better advice by the time I get back.”

I looked over my shoulder and watched as she entered the restaurant. She looked back at me and smiled, before disappearing into the dining room. This advice she claimed she wanted would stay the same no matter how often she asks, but I hoped to change other things like… our friendship status. There was chemistry between us that was present from the day we met. And not to sound like the love interest in a bad romance novel, but the smile she gave me when I found her employee badge told me she was worth getting to know.

She was quiet and let me lead our conversations, but witty and entertaining with her responses. She was cagey about the things she shared at first, but I know now that it’s just baggage from her old life. She wasn’t ready to date again—at least that’s what I got from her stories about her last relationship—so we became friends until the right time came around. Like today. I think today’s the right time.

I knew exactly what to say and was ready to put it all out there, but when she slid back into her seat, the cocky little smile she left with was gone, and the sides of her shirt were balled up tightly in her fists. Which only meant one thing.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

Her telltale sign. Arms folded so tight, I questioned whether or not she could breathe. It was the first thing I noticed about her, too. Even with a hand full of mail, way across the room, her nervous energy landed right on my desk.

She slumped into her seat. Her breathing much more shallow than before. “My parents’ll be here tomorrow.”

That explains the mini-freak out she’s having.

My relationship with my cousin was bad, but it was nothing compared to hers with her mom. And even with their history, this visit wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, but to her, there wasn’t much that could top it.

I rubbed her elbow under the table to remind her of that fact. A trick I learned when I was younger with my mom. “It’s not that bad, Camilla.”

She loosened her grip and pushed her plate away; a little pout on her face. “Says the person who hasn’t had the misfortune of meeting Bridgette.”

She was upset and knowing her, likely to stay this way for the rest of the day.

Maybe today isn’t the day after all.

If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!

Part 2: Summer

A sneak peek at what Camilla’s been up to during the two month transition to the next part of the story.

2 Months Later…


If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!

Episode 5: Stress and Stuff – Part 3

After experiencing what feels like her first W in forever, Camilla treats herself to the dinner of all dinners, but contemplates giving it all up when someone she’d rather avoid also chooses fine dining for their Saturday evening plans.

Secure a roommate, check. Pay off my back rent, check. Perform a celebratory dance in the street like no one’s looking because I’m finally debt-free, check, check and check! Ugh! This feeling of things going just the way I wanted was so euphoric like, the high it gave was better than good music, good food, good sex even — and that’s saying something. These once-in-a-blue-moon vibes were way too special to let waste away on the sidewalk, and with a whole hour on my hands before my ride was due to arrive, I took this party of one, down a few blocks, to this expensive sushi-noodle place, for the dinner of all dinners.

The inside was packed, just as you would expect on a Saturday evening, in a restaurant of this caliber, but it was well worth the wait. Everything on the menu, and I mean everything looked delicious. My original plan was to order a whole smorgasbord of appetizers, entrees, and desserts, because I’m celebrating, right? But the tables were on the smaller side and could only house a few plates and maybe a couple of bowls; so after a round of cuts, mind changes, and complete inner turmoil, I narrowed my selections down to my top four dishes.

Once my order was in, the stars aligned — once again — and presented me with the best table in the entire restaurant! It was right in the window, in the furthest part of the dining room, tucked away just enough to grant privacy from the other diners, but close enough to give me a full view of everything. The low hanging blinds blocked out all of the sun’s harsh lighting, allowing the dimly lit candle to illuminate things with its own soft glow — elevating the whole private-dinner-vibe from a seven to a ten!

I took a sip of my drink and as the waitress and her crowded serving tray approached, swapped my glass for my phone, and sent my fingers to work on a decoy text. Once that was done, I kept my head down, avoiding eye contact, as she struggled to arrange everything in the limited dining space. Eventually, she figured out a functional layout and after blessing me with a bottle of sriracha, disappeared from the table without so much as one judgmental look. God, love this place!

Everything I needed for this dinner-to-remember was right in front of me, but a little entertainment would take this celebration to a whole new level. Fortunately, I came prepared with ear buds and a phone, fully stocked with the newest season of my favorite show, Graylight.

Before the opening scene even had a chance to finish, I was face down in my bowl of Pad Thai, chopsticks in hand, with my eyes glued to the screen. The main character, Lux, had just been confronted by her dad, Nicky, who was pissed off after finding out the huge secret she’d been hiding for months. Right then, after receiving, what he considers, devastating news, he turned to her boyfriend, Dre, who he despises, and the look on his face said — something’s about to pop off! With all this drama happening so fast, I needed a moment to prepare myself for what was coming next; so I paused the video and took my eyes off the screen for a second. One second. And that’s all it took to ruin my appetite.

Over by the bar, was Salim, casually placing an order like he wasn’t impeding on my plans. There were hundreds of restaurants in this city — 346, to be exact; according to my pre-move research and he just had to choose this one on the one day I could actually afford to eat here? Guess I’m all tapped out on the good luck today. Before I could find something to be fake-distracted with, he spun around, and in his search for an empty table, locked eyes with mine, for a second. Just a second. But that was long enough for him to make the decision to walk over.

With the way things went in the elevator that day, I couldn’t see why he would even want to talk to me, unless… he didn’t want to talk at all. What if he was coming to pick up where we left off? To remind me of how wrong I was for making assumptions and then using those assumptions as the basis for accusations that weren’t even true? What if he goes off in front of all of these people and we get thrown out for disorderly conduct? How will I finish my food? Will they at least let me pack a few to-go plates first?

I wanted to break away from the table, find a hiding spot in the bathroom, and stay there until he realized that public humiliation wasn’t really necessary, especially for some week old drama, but his feet moved way quicker than the escape plan generator in my head, and I… didn’t know what to do besides… sit there.

“I take it you haven’t eaten in a few…” he looked over my assortment of dishes, “weeks?”

A joke? So, he’s not mad? Thank God.

My shoulders relaxed and my tightly folded arms fell into my lap. “I had a really good day so I’m celebrating.”

“Oh?” his eyebrow raised an entire inch as he slid into the empty seat across from me, “What are we celebrating?”

We aren’t celebrating anything,” I said, “You don’t have time for crazy, remember?”

That was kind of a low-blow, I know, but what can I say? His sense of humor is infectious.

“I did say that,” he laughed at my witty comeback, “but it’s only because you said we don’t have a spot.”

“That’s because we don’t.”

He paused, a smile appearing across his lips, as if he had taken my response as some kind of challenge. “That’s not the way I see it.”

Was that a flir—

Before I could break down whatever he may have been insinuating with that comment, the waitress, who must’ve thought we were together, returned, this time with his food. She rearranged the table again, to make room for his much simpler meal, and just like last time, whisked away without so much as one curious look about what was said before she arrived.

Speaking of which—

“I’m… sorry,” he changed the subject before I could get to it, “for what I said in the elevator the other day. I was having a really, really bad day and I took it out on you. You didn’t deserve that.”

Those words flowed effortlessly from his mouth like they had been rehearsed, thought over, reconsidered, and even changed a few times. His expression matched the regret in his tone and as he sat there awaiting my acceptance of his beautiful apology, I found myself drowning in his sincerity, which was something… I wasn’t used to… Not from men…

“Really, really bad days are sort of my specialty,” I passed him the sriracha, “so, how about we eat and forget about bad days, okay?”

Under the guise of my excellent advice, we moved on from the topics of arguments and bad moods to the stuff that really matters, like books, food, and TV shows. We debated the irrationality of his hatred for strawberries, the fact that Hot Cheetos are going extinct, the controversial ending of the Crisis Barn book series — and every. single. time, we ended up on opposite ends of the argument. So as our conversation moved into the subject of Graylight, which he happened to be well-versed in too, this trend continued.

“So you don’t think Nicky and Lux’ll make up?” he asked, again.

Of course I do!” I pinched the space between my eyebrows as I explained for what felt like the tenth time, “I’m just saying that the way things went down was his fault, so he should be the one apologizing.”

He leaned into the table, just as exasperated as I was. “But you’re not saying how it’s his fault though.”

“Okay, well, for one,” I held up a finger, “he’s way too overbearing. Two,” I held up another, “I get the surprise about the pregnancy, but he’s overreacting big time.”

He sucked his teeth, throwing his body back into his chair; a clear indicator of his differing opinion.

“And let me guess,” I rolled my eyes, “You don’t agree?”

“Nah, see, look at it this way,” he attempted to change my mind, again, “When Lux and Dre were teens, they did a lot of lying, a lot of sneaking around, right?”


“And it was so bad that she snuck off to a whole different city to spend the weekend with him when her parents thought she was at her friend’s house, right?”

“That was years ago though.”

“True,” he agreed with me, for once, “But from a parent’s perspective, I can see why Nicky feels like she’ll always be making mistakes as long as Dre’s around — and I like Dre, so don’t come for me.”

Okay, he may have made a few points — a few — but he would never hear that from me.

“So, I guess you gained this perspective from all the kids you’ve raised, right?”

“Nah, this all me,” he chuckled, “I’m not even thinking about kids right now.”

“Finally, something we agree on.”

Curious about the “show”, Graylight? Check out the story’s homepage.

If you enjoyed this episode of Camilla – Vol One: Impulse, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next one!

Episode 4: Plans and Stuff – Part 4

Camilla and her friends get her apartment ready for her online “roommate seeker” profile.

The apartment was clean and the ad was posted. By this time next week, this space’ll be co-owned by a stranger, an outsider, an alien, a random and I — was nowhere near ready for any of it. I had the whole night to think it over, weigh all the pros and cons, and as much as I hate the idea of giving up yet another thing, especially something as sacred as my privacy, my personal space where I can just be me, there was a silver lining; one that allows me to regain a semblance of the tiny piece of good that I left behind; the one thing I’ve missed daily since moving away and that… was my apartment… back home…

It was right in the heart of the city; central to anything you could ever want to do. There were restaurants, bars, clubs, even cozy little bookstores, all in within walking distance but even with all of that around me and the sweet temptation of city lights shining through my living room window, I chose to stay home because it had everything I wanted. I spent years, two years to be exact, saving and decorating — getting things exactly how I wanted them. My bedroom was like my own little fortress and the studio I meticulously placed right in front of it’s massive window provided the best lighting and even better inspiration. The things I would draw or write were far better than anything I had ever produced. Even my sleep was amazing — It was amazing — and that was something I wanted back. Loving my space again. Wanting to come home to my space again… so if a roommate will help me get that feeling again… I guess I can put on a smile and at least look a little welcoming in this profile picture….

On to the next week… (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});


Episode 4: Plans and Stuff – Part 3

After work, Camilla meets up with her friends to discuss possible solutions to her problems.

If you needed to skip the previous episode because of triggering content, check out the summary here first!

Our brainstorming session commenced in Jesminder’s living room over a large meat and veggie pizza, three cans of orange soda and our daily dose of Cassandra’s gossip. I filled my plate with another slice of pizza and grabbed a seat next to her on the sofa. I listened as she detailed all of the dirty secrets she learned about Coffee Bae’s coworkers today and found myself wondering how much of all this was actually true. Coming off of that argument with Salim earlier today had me questioning things — not about her or her trustworthiness — I didn’t doubt that one bit, even if she couldn’t keep a secret to save her life, but more about how the things we hear are usually a version of the truth and not the actual truth especially when they travel through the grapevine, like my mom would say. It was this realization that made his words stick, the ones he said right before leaving the elevator, the ones that shattered everything I had assumed about him — things I only assumed because of the rumors I heard.

I floated out of my thoughts and back into the room just as she was finishing up the last few details of her report. Things were too far gone at this point to fix with Salim, I knew that, but I could still clear my conscience by correcting the info that started this whole thing in the first place.

I tucked my body into the corner of the sofa, bracing myself for the barrage of questions that were sure to follow this huge announcement. “Did you know that Salim and his wife… aren’t together anymore?”

The maniacal grin that spanned across her lips the moment those words left my mouth — had me rethinking this whole conscience-clearing mission — but it was too late. The information was with her now.

“Oh-my-fucking-god!” She tossed her plate onto the coffee table as the news of their failed marriage tantalized her insatiable appetite for gossip. “I can’t believe he finally left her!” She shrieked as she threw herself across the sofa to grill me for more details. “When did this happen? How did you find out? Did he tell you? Did he seem sad? I bet he wasn’t. Was he?”

“I don’t know.” I shrugged off her incredibly invasive questions. “He just kinda mentioned it when I saw him today.”

“I bet she tried to stab him again.” She presented her own, most likely inaccurate, theory. “You know this one time–“

“Hold up –” Jesminder crashed the conversation just in time to prevent the inception of yet another rumor. “Who the fuck is Salim? And before y’all answer that, is he gon’ help pay this rent?”

At the risk of saying the wrong thing and pissing her off in the process, Cassandra and I both opted for silence.

“That’s what I thought.” She sat down in the chair adjacent to us. “So can we maybe get to, I don’t know.” She threw her hands up. “Figuring out how to keep your ass from being homeless?”

“For the record though.” Cassandra placed a comforting hand on my knee. “I would never let you be homeless.”

See, this is why I love her. Gossiping and all that other stuff she does is nothing compared to what she’s always willing to do for me.

“Thank you.” I smiled.

“Of course we would never let her be homeless!” Jesminder sneered at her, breaking up our little Hallmark moment. “But that’s besides the point.” She turned her attention to me. “You gotta figure your finances out and that shit runs deeper than where you sleep at, at night.”

And that’s why I love her. Even though she has a… way with words, she makes my problems her problems — and she doesn’t play about her problems.

“I know…” I nodded.

You know, I could just spot you the money.” Cassandra, once again, came to my rescue. “We can call it an early Christmas gift or something.”

As much as I would love to take her up on her offer and be done with this whole debt thing, I couldn’t. She spent way too much money on me already, always buying me lunch or paying for my drinks, if we add rent to the list, we may have to find a new label for this friendship and that was a direction I was not trying to go in.

“Cass, no.” I turned down her generous offer. “You already do so much for me already but thank you. It means a lot.”

“It’s not a big deal though.” She tried to reassure me. “Since I’m in good with my parents again, you know they’re taking care of basically everything which means I have way more money than I can spend and believe me, I’ve tried.” She sunk into the sofa, zoned out in some weird unfulfilled-rich-kid trance. “There’s only so many tarot decks and red bottoms a girl could buy…”

“And that only solves half her problem anyway.” Jesminder snapped her back into reality. “Next month, she’ll be right back here again. What she needs is some extra income — not a handout.”

“Ooh!” Cassandra sprang forward, pulling her phone from her pocket.” You could try freelancing. People are always looking for logos and stuff for their businesses.” She tapped the screen a few times then shoved it in my face. “See, look!”

This thing she wanted me to see was an app for freelancing creatives called Dollar Gigs. I scrolled through a few postings on the homepage which were mostly design and illustration stuff; all things I was familiar with but–

Jesminder joined us on the sofa to check out the app for herself. “All this shit right here.” She scrolled through the recent projects of one of the featured creators. “You already know how to do so use those skills to make you some money — maybe even enough to get you some furniture, set up a studio and quit that job you hate so much.”

Quit my job? In the mailroom? And be completely free from letters and packages and deliveries forever? The sound of that alone was enough to inspire me to dig out my sketchpad and for the first time in months, allow my pencil to leave its mark on at least one of the blank pages inside but I know it wouldn’t, even if I tried because no matter how many times I try, it doesn’t and at this point, I don’t think it will, ever again.

I looked down at the phone again at all of those portfolios full of projects by artists who hadn’t lost their passion. “I don’t know y’all.” I attempted to elaborate on these strange feelings of creative anguish. “I think I lost my mojo or whatever it’s called. I can’t even create for myself… let alone somebody else.”

“You ain’t lose it.” Jesminder took the phone from me, passing it back to Cassandra on her way across the room. “You just too busy worrying ’bout everything to let your creativity do its thing.” She reclaimed her seat in the chair next to the sofa. “You know, Cass used to be just like that too, ain’t that right?”

“Girl, yes!” Cassandra jumped to her feet as she relived her days of life in the orchestra. “Every time we had a show, I would get so nervous, I would straight up forget how to play!” She laughed as she continued her story, “So this one time, we had this show at the Elton Theater downtown and I just could not get it together–“

Hold up. Cassandra Goth — the girl who once took her top off at the pretzel shop just to make good on a dare from one of her Simstagram followers — had actual… fears? Moments of weakness where she couldn’t act because she was… afraid or confused or… lost? That was news to me.

I was nearly at the edge of my seat, still in shock by this revelation and needing to hear the rest of this story. “So, what happened?”

“The rest of the strings tried to jump me!” She burst out laughing. “For ruining their moment and shit.”

I relaxed into the sofa, struggling to picture a group of classically trained musicians going complete ape shit in public. “You got jumped by… the orchestra?”

“Don’t let them violins fool you.” She plopped back down next to me as her walk down memory lane came to an end. “Those girls can fight.”

“But that’s not the point.” Jesminder steered us back on track as usual. “The point is that you can get your creative mojo back too.”

Maybe she was right. I mean, if Cassandra found something that worked for her…

“So, how did you get yours back?” I asked in hopes of finding my own personal solution.

“Girl, I dropped out,” she replied in a tone that was just as lax as her body was in her seat. “Best decision of my life! The FREEDOM!”

“What the fuck, Cass!” Jesminder sent an angry pillow flying her way. “That’s not what she needed to hear!”

“My bad.” She shrugged. “I forgot we were on some motivational speech type shit.”

“The way… I want to strangle you sometimes,” Jesminder grumbled as she demonstrated the aforementioned strangling with her hands, “I swear to God!”

Silence took the floor as we each retreated to the realms of our own thoughts. Minutes upon minutes had passed and the only sounds in the room were those from the TV and the occasional word or two from Kaelyn who, to my surprise, had been quietly eating her pizza throughout this whole conversation. She has to be the most patient toddler in the entire planet. I thought for sure, we were done brainstorming, completely out of options for these problems of mine, until Cassandra leapt from the comfortable position in her seat again in another fit of excitement. “I got it! You need a roommate!”

A roommate?

“You know what? She’s right.” Jesminder replied in a rare moment of agreement between the two of them. “You have an extra bedroom that you’re not using so rent it out. Charge a deposit and first month’s rent upfront and that’ll cover your past due rent and leave you a little extra to carry you into next month.”

As good as the money sounds, especially the part about the extra, this roommate thing… I don’t know. My last roommate situation didn’t end well and she was someone I trusted but sharing my space with a stranger… with all my stuff…

My hesitancy must’ve been written all over my face because the girls were now demanding an answer.

“Sooooo?” Cassandra asked.

“Unless you have a better idea.” Jesminder joined in on the rushing along of my decision-making.

“I don’t… so…” I reluctantly agreed with this plan, “let’s do it…”

Author’s Note

This version of the story often includes themes or events that took place in the last one, just a little differently. If you recall, in the OG story when Camilla first moved to San Myshuno, she rented a two bedroom apartment because it was the first/cheapest thing she found with immediate availability, and since she was having trouble finding a job, she put out an ad for a roommate which gave her three potential matches, one being Cassandra. Since we were still doing gameplay at the time and the roommate thing was glitching for me, I had Cassandra back out of moving in with her but to make it up to her, she helped her find a job and they became friends. I had a lot of fun with the roommate thing the first time around and really wanted to see that come back but of course… it will be… much, much different! 😈


Introducing the Ladies of BLUV’D

A 90s inspired photoshoot featuring the stars of Camilla: Vol. One – Impulse as chart topping girl group, BLUV’D! Includes CC links for the things pictured as well.

I had this idea to do a 90s inspired photoshoot with these ladies based on a comment I got from one my friends about them on another post. Of course, me being me, I had to come up with a little backstory for this whole thing and it goes something like this:

In an alternate universe, Camilla, Cassandra and Jesminder were members of a 90s R&B group by the name of BLUV’D. They were hugely successful with their first, self-tilted album achieving double platinum status and with their subsequent releases performing just as well. They were seen as trendsetters on the hip hop scene and earned several endorsement deals from well-known brands which eventually led to them starting their own clothing line. Unfortunately, the girls outgrew music and went on to do other things but they always remained friends. According to unconfirmed rumors, an anniversary album may be in the works for their long time fans.

Some of my favorite pieces of CC are used in this shoot so I’ll list them below in case y’all want them too:

Cassandra’s Look

hair / top / bottoms / earrings / nails

Camilla’s Look

hair / top (same as Cassandra’s) / bottoms / earrings (by ebonixsims – unavailable) / nails

Jesminder’s Look

hair / top / bottom / earrings (same as Camilla’s) / nails (same as Cassandra’s)


I had this whole epiphany this other day about how to improve my writing process after reading some awesome advice on Tumblr (you can read about my struggle here if you’re interested) so I’m excited to say that the next episode of Camilla – Vol. One: Impulse will be out soon!

As usual, if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to stay on top of everything going on here!

20 Gameplay Ideas for Family Players of Sims 4

A breakdown of some of my favorite activities that keep my sim families happy, connected and having fun!

It’s no secret that I love family gameplay. It’s what I do. I create a sim, get their life going, have them fall in love, get married, have babies — not always in this particular order — but you get the picture. So one question I get asked all the time from other simmers who also enjoy the legacy lifestyle but can’t quite figure out how to keep their sims’ lives, well, lively is what my sims actually do when I’m in game.

Sims 4, compared to its predecessors, requires a lot of imagination from the player. This makes it kinda hard to keep the motivation going especially on weekends when the whole family is home from work/school and waiting for you to give them something to do. Fortunately, I have some ideas! 20 to be exact! So keep reading for a list of fun activities to incorporate into your sims’ lives.

Some of the activities listed here requires or recommends the use of mods and/or CC, so if you’re new to installing custom content, check out this step-by-step guide.

Also be aware that I own all of the packs (with the exception of Journey to Batuu) so many of them will be mentioned here.

1. Backyard Camping

Instead of traveling all the way to Granite Falls for the yearly family camping trip, pitch a tent (or two) in the backyard and have a little camping adventure right at your sims’ house! Grab some snacks, a radio, maybe even a few books and make it a memorable night with the family. If your sims happen to own a fire pit (or you hop in buy mode to get one for them real quick) they can roast hot dogs or marshmallows and tell a few ghost stories to get everyone in the campfire spirit.

Packs needed: Base Game, Outdoor Retreat

2. Lemonade Sale

So it’s Summer time and the kids are bored at home with nothing to do. On top of that, they’ve been begging for an allowance but their parents are not trying to hear it. Well fortunately for them, they have the opportunity to make their own money by running a lemonade stand! With this Lemonade mod by icy-spicy-scalpel, kids (or any other sim, teen-elder) can set up and run a lemonade stand just like they do on TV!

*If you really want the ability to give your sim kiddies allowance, check out the Allowance Mod by ScarletsMods. I personally use this one for my gameplay and I love it.

Packs needed: Base Game, City Living

3. Picnic in the Park

Pack up your family, some BLTs or veggie burgers and head to the park for a family picnic! After a full afternoon of play, have your family settle in for lunch using this picnic set by imadako. With cushions and shirts that function as chairs, your sims can enjoy the rest of their outing relaxing in the grass together. This set also comes with a custom drink tray which has options like: hot coffee, hot tea, cold water, cold juice and other various mixtures. For pre-lunch activities, your sims can participate in things like: playing on the playground equipment for kids and toddlers, basketball and chess for everyone!

Packs needed: Base Game, Backyard Stuff (for drink tray functionality)

4. Sunday Dinner with the Grandparents

Once my sims’ develop a schedule and have their routines down pat, I’m super guilty of neglecting the rest of the family. Days and days (which are like years in sim time) can go by before I even realize that its been a good minute since we’ve seen Grandma or Grandpa. If you’re guilty of this too, scheduling Sunday Dinners with extended family is a perfect way for everyone to keep in touch and get that much needed family time together. If you have Seasons installed, you can even place the dinner on the calendar as a non-goaled dinner party so that you and your sims don’t forget. Unless your sims have the ‘Always Welcome’ reward trait or you’re using a mod like, More Welcome (scroll down to ‘morewelcome’) by bienchen83, that prevents normal activities like cooking and sleeping from being perceived as inappropriate, I suggest having your sims prepare the dinner at their house and take it with them to Grandma’s. However, if you truly want the ‘made by grandma experience’, you can download Ask to Cook for Me by LittleMsSam which allows your sim to ask any other sim to cook a meal for them. This is very useful when you want to serve a meal that’s higher than your sim’s skill level.

Packs needed: Base Game, Seasons (for calendar functionality)

5. Sleepover

Sleepovers are a great way to keep the party going way into the night! Now, the sleepover mechanics in the game are a little wonky with sims almost never actually going to sleep or sneaking out before the night is over but with the Memorable Events Mod (one of my personal favorites) by kawaiistacie, sleepover guests will actually stay the full night and even participate in a few sleepover style activities. Have your child sim invite a few friends over to watch movies, dance, pull pranks, gossip, pillow fight (yes, that’s an actual interaction that comes with the mod) all night! Also perfect for adult sims who want to spend the night partying with friends or woohooing cuddling with their significant other.

Packs needed: Base Game

6. Class Field Trip

A perfect opportunity for a full day of education! Have your child or teen sim and at least one parent, take the day off of school/work and spend the day at an educational facility. This could be a museum, art gallery, library, park, basically anywhere learning can take place! This is another activity where the Memorable Events mod comes in handy but can also be pulled off without it. If you choose to use the mod, teachers and other students will automatically spawn at the location of the field trip for the parent and student sim to socialize with. If you don’t use the mod, just be sure to invite out other sims to the field trip location to simulate an actual field trip. And don’t forget to pack a lunch!

Packs needed: Base Game, Parenthood (for sack lunch capability)

7. D.I.Y. After School Club

Child and teen sims that aren’t into drama and wouldn’t be caught dead in a scouts uniform — still need something to do after school — but those, unfortunately, are the only two after school activities we have, meaning you’re out of options, right? Wrong! You can create your own using the club feature from Get Together! With your child’s interests in mind, create a club with or without requirements (like age, trait, skill, etc…), add a few friends or other sims within their age group, set a location, some club activities and you’re good to go! In my personal gameplay, (using this method) my teen, who has the genius and geek traits, is apart of the school’s S.T.E.M. program where they meet three times a week at the neighborhood library aka the ‘S.T.E.M. Academy’ and focus on building logic, rocket science and programming skills. For extra customization, I recommend using the More Club and Holiday Icons mod by Zerbu which adds additional icons (all extracted from the game) to the club icon chooser menu.

Packs needed: Base Game, Get Together

8. Bowling + Pizza Night

Bowling makes for a fun night — especially for sims a little on the competitive side. At the bowling alley, sims (kids-elder) can challenge each other to a few rounds of bowling with the winner announced at the end of the the game. Like most other skills in Sims 4, your sims will get better overtime and even learn some cool trick shots to show off in front of their friends. Once the game is over, treat the family to pizza! A whole pizza isn’t actually served at any of the community lots in the game so the easiest way to make this happen would be to 1) have a sim order a pizza before leaving the house and bring it with them in their inventory or 2) have a sim bake a pizza using one of the custom pizza recipes, which currently includes, Buffalo Pizza and Three Cheese Pizza, from the Grannie’s Recipe Book by LittlBowBub and bring it with them in their inventory.

To make this outing more enjoyable, I also recommend, the More Fun Stuff mod by LittleMsSam that allows sims to gain social and fun while bowling with each other.

Packs needed: Base Game, Bowling Stuff

9. Farmer’s Market

This one’s perfect for your country or off-the-grid living sims. Just plop a sales table down at the park and fill it up with your sim’s fresh baked goods. Things like bread loaves, cakes, muffins even roasted turkey dinners can be sold for a profit. You can also sell produce from the garden. Couple this with Idea #2 (Lemonade Sale) to get the whole family involved.

To start a sale, drag the items you would like to sell from your sim’s inventory to the sales table then click ‘Stock Table’. The items will then spawn on the table. Click the table to set the markup price amount (if you want to increase your earning possibility) followed by ‘Tend Table’ then ‘Start Street Sale’. For best results, place the table in areas that are crowded. It takes a while but customers will show up eventually.

Packs needed: Base Game, City Living (for the sale’s table)

10. Day at the Beach

A day at the beach is a great way to unwind and have some fun during the summer season! Toddler sims can play in the water, build sand castles and play in the sand while the older family members can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, riding on jet skis, combing for beach shells and all the other activities the beach has to offer. Idea #3 (Picnic in the Park) also works great on beaches and are a perfect way to end the day.

Packs needed: Base Game, Island Living

11. School Trip Abroad

Vacations are a perfect way for sims to explore and learn about other cultures and a school trip abroad is a great way to facilitate that. Send a few teen sims (with or without an adult) or a few child sims accompanied by an adult to the destination of your choice. Have them rent a housing unit suitable for the number of sims in the group then send them out exploring. Let them experience the local cuisine and participate in cultural events. Have them take photos and write in their journals to document their experience. When they return home, they can tell their parents all about the trip!

Packs needed: Base Game, Outdoor Retreat, Jungle Adventure, Island Living or Snowy Escape — Depending on the destination

12. Seasonal Festivals

One thing I reeeeaaaaallllly miss from Sims 3 are the festivals that came around every season. Sims 4, unfortunately, does not have seasonal festivals but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own! These Seasonal Festival lots by Moonlightowl-es have everything you need to throw your own festival each season. To have these festivals become a permanent part of your sim’s lives, add them as holidays to the household calendar. On the day of the festival have your family and a group of friends travel to the festival lot for a day (or night) of fun activities. This is another activity where the Memorable Events mod comes in handy as it allows you to throw ‘Seasonal Parties’ which are perfect for this kind of event.

Packs needed: Base Game, Seasons

13. Movie Night

Pop some popcorn, dim the lights and gather around the TV for a movie night! If the weather permits (and your sims can afford it, *coughs* motherlode) place a projector screen in the backyard for a change of scenery that I’m sure your sims will appreciate. Teen sims might also enjoy snuggling up with their crush while watching the premier of College Cram, during movie night at the park. To make this event even more special and unlock some cute interactions, plan a ‘Movie Night’ using the Memorable Events mod.

Packs needed: Base Game, Movie Hangout

14. Painting/Arts + Crafts Class

The Arts Center provides the perfect atmosphere for families to let go and fully embrace their creative talents! Kids can use the activity table to draw original works of art or make seasonal crafts and adults can try their hand at painting. Sims of all ages can work on their musical skills using any of the instruments available at the facility. To finish off the outing, sims can enjoy lunch together at one of the marketstalls located right in the Arts Quarter, if playing in San Myshuno. If playing in any other world, a marketstall of your choice can be placed right on the property. I recommend the Free Staff mod by LittleMsSam to make hiring a vendor free (also works for baristas, chefs and bartenders) or the Auto Employees mod also by LittleMsSam that automatically spawns employees on the property as soon as you arrive.

Packs needed: Base Game, City Living

15. Karaoke Competition

Sims with high singing skills deserve the opportunity to showcase their talents to the world! And this is exactly what the karaoke competition is for! Have your family head out to the karaoke bar on Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday nights to support the family star as they sing their heart out for the title and cash prize! Just be sure to make it there by 8pm to enter the competition.

FYI. Karaoke competitions aren’t locked to San Myshuno and are automatically held at any karaoke bar in any world on the above mentioned nights.

Packs needed: Base Game, City Living

16. Family Yoga Class

This one is more for adult sims with teen children since kids can’t use the yoga mats but a yoga class is a great way for families to bond while increasing their wellness and fitness skills. Have the family head down to the gym or spa (ones that include yoga mats) to participate in this event. If the weather is nice and your sims would prefer outdoor classes instead, place an instructor’s yoga mat along with a few regular yoga mats at any park and a yoga instructor will spawn automatically and host classes every 30 sim minutes.

Packs needed: Base Game, Spa Day

17. Ultimate Gaming Competition

The arcade is the perfect place for this kind of event! Geek sims (or non-geek sims) and their friends can gather at the local arcade and put their gaming skills to the test. Order a few snacks from the bar and play a few rounds to see who’s the real ultimate gaming champ!

Packs needed: Base Game

18. Family Reunion Celebration

One of my favorite things about playing a legacy is getting to see sims across different generations meet up and interact with each other. When caught up in the day to day though, with jobs and school and aspiration stuff, it’s easy to forget to take time out to have the entire family spend time together. To make this a regular thing that all sims can look forward to, add this special event to the calendar. Each season, have all members of your sim family spend time together doing something different. Whether it be an egg hunt in the Spring, vacation to Sulani in the Summer, family bonfire in the Fall or snowboarding in Mr. Komorebi in the Winter, your sims will appreciate bonding with each other throughout every season.

Packs needed: Base Game, Seasons (for calendar functionality)

19. Family Adventure in the Jungle

When you think of an adventure in the jungle, I’m pretty sure the first thing that comes to mind are adults, right? Well, did you know that kids can go on adventures too and are actually pretty useful? Finding hidden treasures in dig and other excavation sites is where they really shine and can help take some of the pressure off the parents who are hard at work clearing paths or solving puzzles. At the end of the trip, with personal and household inventories full of riches, your family of archaeologists will be proud of all that they accomplished together, as a family.

Packs needed: Base Game, Jungle Adventures

20. Backyard BBQ

Backyard BBQs are one of my favorite and one of the easiest summer activities for my sims! There’s barely any set up and it’s a perfect opportunity for bonding with family and friends. Just throw some burgers on the grill, play some music on the outdoor radio and place a few water activities such as: a water balloon bucket (for water balloon fights), water slide, pool or sprinklers and invite over friends and/or extended family. To make this a permanent event in your sim’s lives, make this day a holiday and add it to the household calendar. For even more fun (if space allows) place a dance floor and have sims challenge each other to a dance competition. Sims will enjoy watching and cheering on their favorite.

Packs needed: Base Game, Backyard Stuff, Seasons

And that’s it for now! What are some of your favorite family activities for your game? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Simming,

credits: icy-spicy-scalpel, bienchen83, imadako, kawaiistacie, zerbu, littlemssam, bienchen83, littlbowbub, moonlightowl-es, scarletsmods

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For more mod recommendations to go along with those suggested in this article, check out the link below:

Mod Recommendations

Episode 5: Phones & Stuff

Jesminder makes sure Salim’s on top of this proposal stuff; Later he finds himself in trouble with Camilla … again.

Downtown Shopping District | San Myshuno

There was something about deadlines that made the time fly by at unnatural speeds. Making the hours feel like minutes and the minutes feel like seconds and the seconds — pretty much nonexistent. It was this accelerated version of time that had Salim checking the clock over and over and singlehandedly fueled his anxiety about this proposal that was only four short days away.

He leaned against the wall outside the restrooms, as he waited for Cassandra, one third of his party planning committee, to finish up another one of her bathroom breaks. By his calculations, if they walked just a little faster and spent a little less time at each stop, they could get everything they planned done without sacrificing any future bathroom breaks all while leaving enough time for him to pick the girls up from his mom’s house and make it back home before Camilla even clocked out.

On the other side of him, Jesminder — who was just as anxious as he was — scrolled through her phone, rereading the contents of the checklist she put together in preparation of the pop quiz she was about to give him — to make sure he was really on top of the tasks she’d given him.

“The stuff at her job’s taken care of, right?” she continued scrolling, queuing up the next question on her list.

“Yeah, I spoke to her boss already,” he replied confidently, “We’re all set for the party space. She even has the other girls talking to her about dresses and stuff.”

“And the menus I sent you?” she glanced up from her phone like she was a teacher questioning one of her students.

“Got them saved in here,” he held up his phone.

“How ‘bout the songs for the playlist?” she asked with narrowed eyes, skeptical of his attention to detail.

“That’s in here too.”

“Inspo for the table setups? Pictures for the frames? Quotes for the—”

“Everything’s in here,” he chuckled, “I promise I’m on top of it.”

“Alright,” she said with her hands on her hips, “cause we ain’t half-assing no party that has my name on it. Not if you—”

The doors swung open and Cassandra emerged from the restroom, just in time to save Salim from threats of bodily harm in the event he drops the ball on this party. “What I miss?” she asked, looking back and forth at the two of them.

“Nothing,” Jesminder put her arm around her, leading her in the direction of their intended path, “Now let’s get going. We got a full list to get through and with lil’ man playing kickball with your bladder like he’s been doing all day, we ain’t got time to waste.”

Later that Evening
Salim & Camilla’s Townhouse | San Myshuno

On a typical weekday, commutes and dinner plans occupied the first half of Camilla’s post-workday evening. Once the traffic cleared and a parking spot was secured, she would toss her keys, strip down from everything that reminded her of the workday then spend a little while searching around the kitchen for something to eat but Salim being off work this week, meant he would finally make it home before her and be the one to take care of dinner or in his case — pick up dinner.

Having food waiting for her when she got home was one of her favorite things about Salim’s vacation, a close second to spending time together and all that stuff, but Yasmin didn’t seem to share her enthusiasm and was much more interested in the box of double chocolate chip cookies she somehow managed to get from the kitchen than her Happy Meal that was sitting untouched on the table.

“I have tookie?” Yasmin climbed over Salim, handing the box to Camilla.

“Um…” Camilla looked in the opposite direction, trying to avoid locking eyes with Salim who was watching her — waiting for her response, “Let’s eat a little bit of food first, then you could have a cookie, okay?”

“I no wan it,” Yasmin shook her head, “I wan tookie.”

This cookie thing — well not the cookie exactly, but her authority or lack thereof with the twins — was a topic that came up often. So often that lately, every instance in which one of them asked her for something — specifically something where the answer should be no — was used as an opportunity for Salim to assess her progress which admittedly, wasn’t much. She promised to do better though and was sure that one day, she would be able to say no without backtracking but that day — was not today and Salim somehow picked up on that too.

“Camilla…” he sighed, “We just talked about this.”

“It’s one cookie, Salim,” she pouted, sharing the same expression as Yasmin who was also giving him puppy dog eyes.

“One cookie now, ‘til she asks you for another one, then another one,” he took the box from her, “You just need to learn to say no.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s okay to say yes sometimes though,” she contested, “As a matter of fact, I read this article the other day that says it’s good for their emotional development and stuff. I’ll show you.”

She lifted his phone from the sofa cushion between them but was startled when he flung forward and snatched it out of her hand, like it was on fire or something.

“Wh— uh… where’s your phone?” he stuttered.

“Upstairs… on the charger…” she watched him slip the phone into his pocket, “Why? Is there something in your phone you don’t want me to see?”

“No— Of course not— I… I just think mine needs to charge too…” he proceeded to reopen that hole that had just been sealed up from his questionable behavior the other day.”

“Give it to me, I’ll put it on the charger for you,” she held her hand out in a calculated move disguised as a gesture of kindness. A move in which there was only one correct answer.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll do it… In a minute.”

And he — just chose the wrong one.

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Episode 92: Omissions

The Next Day
Starbucks | San Myshuno

With three back-to-back interviews at three different companies on three different sides of town already checked off on her to-do list for the day, Camilla was exhausted but proud of all she had accomplished in just a few short hours. And unlike the outcome of her interview at Webot — these were all positive — with each one going even better than the last. The interviewers — all of them — had nothing but great things to say and seemed to be impressed by some of the projects she had detailed in her resume. One of them even said she reminded him of his niece who was in college, studying to be an engineer or something. He said she was smart and ambitious, something Camilla gladly took as a compliment.

The way things were going made her feel like she could really do this, that Salim was right and she could bounce back from Webot’s rejection — but as her last interview came to a close and she made her way Downtown to meet up with her friends, she found herself feeling nothing at all like she expected.

She thought she would’ve been excited — thrilled even — barely able to contain herself. In pure disbelief that everything was coming together, all of a sudden — so quickly. That the clouds were finally parting and the sun was shining in her direction again. That she was so close to getting a job — not her dream job, but a job nonetheless — and no longer burdened by the weight of this huge secret she was keeping from Salim. That life was on its way back to good, back to normal, but she wasn’t — because Winterfest and Aahana and Salim’s mom, all of that was only a couple of days away — and the fear of the other two women in his life possibly joining forces and using their powers against her, took the place of any other emotion she was feeling at the moment.

When she arrived at Starbucks, Cassandra and Jesminder were already seated at their usual table, with three steaming hot coffees in front of them.

Camilla: [takes off her jacket and plops down in her chair] Y’all, guess who’s coming over for Winterfest?
Jesminder: [guesses confidently] Baby Mama!
Camilla, surprised: Yea- how did you know?
Jesminder: The babies’ first Winterfest- they’re spending the day with Salim- I just put two and two together.
Camilla: Okay then … guess who else is coming?
Cassandra: Your parents?

Camilla: Girl, my mama and Baby Mama in the same room? [shakes head] I am not crazy.
Jesminder: [laughs] For real.
Cassandra: I thought things were good between the two of you though.
Camilla: [sighs] They are- I mean, she’s not doing all that crazy stuff she was doing when she was pregnant and she doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that I’m there when Salim gets the girls so …
Jesminder: Sooooo, who is it then? I’m out of guesses.
Cassandra: Me too.
Camilla: [exhales] Salim’s mom.
Jesminder and Cassandra: Oh …
Camilla: That’s what I said! It’s a bad idea isn’t it? Think I should tell him I changed my mind? Imma tell him I changed my mind.

Jesminder: [chuckles] Why? You think they gon’ gang up on you or something?
Camilla: Well … yeah, maybe? Cause remember that whole thing when Baby Mama was staying at her house and they were all plotting against him and stuff? I mean, it’s obvious they like working together
Jesminder: [sucks teeth] They can like working together all they want but they’ll be at your house. They ain’t trying to start shit.
Cassandra: Yeah, I seriously doubt Salim’ll let that happen anyway.
Jesminder: He better not, unless he plans on unwrapping an ass-whooping for Winterfest.

They all laugh, each taking turns describing hypothetical situations in which Salim would find himself on the wrong end of one of Jesminder’s classic ass-whoopings and by the time they were done — Camilla was way less threatened by the idea of entertaining the two women in her home. Who would’ve guessed that laughs over coffee with her girls about imaginary bouts of violence against her boyfriend was like the best cure for first-holiday-with-his-family jitters.

Jesminder: I’ve been meaning to ask you too- what are you all dressed up for?
Camilla: Oh I had interviews all day … I’m so ready to get out these clothes.
Jesminder: Interviews for what? You ain’t tell me you were looking for another job. Did something happen with your other job?
Cassandra: She got fired.

Jesminder: You got fired?!
Camilla: Cassandra!
Cassandra: What? You’re the one that brought up interviews. [sips coffee] Kinda opened the door to that …
Jesminder: How the hell did you manage to get fired? You literally have like NOTHING else to do. You’re always home and your computer stays open, how hard is it to do your fucking work?
Camilla: [frowns at Cassandra]

Salim & Camilla’s Townhouse | San Myshuno

Sterilized bottles, washed onesies and folded bibs — check, check and check. The last few things on the before-the-girls-get-here checklist was complete earning Salim a little bit of free-time before Camilla returned and they left for Newcrest. He turned on the TV and stretched out on the sofa, attempting to relax until his space was intruded on by the sharp corners of some kind of papery object shoved in between the pillow and the sofa cushion.

He pulled it out and was about to toss it on the coffee table until the words past due — displayed right at the top corner — caught his attention. This has to be wrong cause none of my bills are past due. He sat up, unfolded the letter and was shocked to see the number 323.52 under the late fees and other charges section and almost choked when he saw 26,249.00 right under total balance. There was no way this belonged to anyone in their house — he was sure of it. Nobody would be that reckless, that irresponsible. Not him, not- he froze when he read the recipient’s name and shook his head in pure disappointment. Nobody would be that fucking irresponsible but … Camilla.

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