Friday, March 30, 2012

Hot chocolate is not manly

A male colleague of mine often looks like he's drinking coffee. Except that he hates coffee and loves hot chocolate. However, he couldn't stand the look his barista would give him when he ordered a hot chocolate. "They look at me like I'm a girl," he claimed. So he switched to a mocha. Problem solved: chocolate preference satisfied and manliness preserved.


I think money wedding-presents are the best thing. I know it's a soulless gift, but when people have everything, why give them more? Why not instead give them money towards an experience, like their honeymoon, or as I see it, pay for your meal at the reception, so that they might perhaps break even on the wedding budget? And why not save yourself the hassle of thinking of something and buying it and then wrapping it and then CARRYING IT, which I just hate so much because that involves public transport usually, and then trying to find the gift depository when you get the church or reception. $50 in a card: I'm a fan. And you can tie it in a bow.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Renting and buying interactive chart.

Elsie found this on Art of Manliness. I love it. I found that when I put in MY approximate numbers I get the answer:



On the bright side, I think this means my rent is good value. If you are single, sharing rent makes huge sense financially. "Better" means that you have to save the difference though.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A little bit of city music.

I've spotted a few buskers in the last week. Not normal buskers with amps and pop songs. I think it must be con students doing some kind of performance challenge. First I saw a couple of guys in Pitt St mall on Thursday night, setting up a double bass and something else. On Monday morning walking through Martin Place I heard a trumpet playing The Sound of Silence, really beautifully, and it was a guy with a bike just standing there playing. On Monday night I walked through Pitt St mall again and heard a girl singing something operatic. None of them had a big crowd, but it was something special to hear a random voice making music above the noise of the city.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rolling with it.

I read some articles yesterday at lunchtime about how Gen Y Americans aren't interested in buying cars. There is a significant percentage drop in the last 10 years and a dramatic change between generations. The article is uncannily true, it was like reading my own rants coming out of the mouths of marketing experts. There are pressures and there are choices. I want to live in a walkable, public-transport-serviced area and I don't particularly want to worry about parking, petrol prices, repairs, insurance. (“They think of a car as a giant bummer,” said Mr. Martin. “Think about your dashboard. It’s filled with nothing but bad news.”) It's funny because generational generalisations annoy me to death: Gen Y are usually called fickle, casual, tech savvy, etc, whereas I am frugal, go to bed early instead of staying up chatting on Facebook, eat "soup soup" instead of sushi, don't have a smart phone. But here we are, jelssie, fitting exactly into demographic after all.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Gonna miss. Not gonna miss.

It's my last week living within close proximity to Jess! I'm leaving the hallowed Eastern suburbs, as so many have done already.

Gonna miss my church family, my friends, the beach, the convenience and bumping into friends on the commute to and from work.

Not gonna miss the incessant humming and bright lights at night, and the long commute.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Birkenstock bliss

I love my Birkenstocks.

I used to wear them all the time, except in winter. Now that I work full-time in a corporate environment, I mostly wear flats (while commuting) and heels (while working). As a result, I have big, fat blisters on my toes :( My feet are not used to being confined and they do not like it! Oh, that my feet could be blissfully blister-free in Birkenstocks!

How to save money in a food court.

Does the world need this post? Aren't food courts already cheap? Well yes, but compared to home food they are still expensive, and thinking like this is first nature to me, I can't help it. In fact a colleague asked me to find the cheapest lunch near our office. I have not got a definite answer yet, but this post is a good start.

1. Order something small. Most things are too big and calorie-rich in terms of what a woman who sits at a computer actually NEEDS to eat, especially if you are like me, and eat snacks regularly.

2. Don't get a meal deal. The chips and the drinks are a waste of money. Carry a drink bottle. That will bring a lunch under $10 straight away.

3. Don't order something hot. Ready made sandwiches and wraps are a few dollars cheaper than a plate of noodles or fish and chips.

4. Share the order with a friend where there are quantity discounts or large portions. Like 1 wrap for $4.50 or 2 for $8 (you can get quantity deals on sushi rolls a lot). Or a big gourmet sandwich for $9, cut in half.

5. Wait for AFTER the rush. A lot of food gets marked down mid afternoon or when they are closing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Toilet cubicle dynamics.

There is a bathroom with 2 cubicles for all the ladies on our floor. It's locked, so only 3 companies share it. The left cubicle was my preferred toilet because the right cubicle has a strange door in the wall with plumbing or something in it, and the spotlight is pointed in the wrong direction so it is dimmer, and also, someone put a paper sign on the back of the door, typed up, telling you to BE CONSIDERATE and don't mess up the bathroom for the next person. So obviously I used the friendly, brightly lit cubicle over the insulting weird dark one. Especially, I hated that sign. So I avoided the cubicle on the right. But sometimes I forget, and see the sign, and feel rebuked, even though I don't mess up bathrooms. But then one day I took the sign down. That was a heady day.

Thinking about the 2 cubicles, I then reasoned that probably everyone was like me, and automatically avoided the dim lighting and the scary door in the wall. So if I switched to that one, I would virtually have my own reserved cubicle. So I have.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Oh no... not again...

Is there anything quite as microscopically worrying and annoying as finding a small screw on the floor? "Where did this small screw come from? has a handle fallen off my chest of drawer? I can't see anything… it has traces of white paint on it, what has white paint that might have lost a screw? I'll put it there and keep an eye out for something falling apart so I can screw it back in." And I'm pretty sure that the same screw keeps falling onto the floor and I find it and go through the same process over and over again. But if I find something without a screw, I really don't want to go and buy a whole packet of screws just for the one. So it's a worry. A tiny worry, but a worry.

Friday, March 16, 2012

It really works.

There were some spots of something, dried blood or hair dye or something, on a plastic surface and I tried water, detergent and exit mould and only got 30% of it off. Didn't want to scratch at it with anything so was using a chux. Then after a couple of days I remembered that vinegar and bi-carb are magical, and the carb soda would at least be a tiny bit abrasive but not in a damaging way, and the vinegar would at least be fizzy and fun, but it actually got the spots 99% off with just some steady rubbing. I'm just a tiny bit amazed.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Valentine and Glover were discussing moments that feel like eternity, and one of them is the time when you squeeze the petrol pump handle and no fuel comes out because you're waiting for the man in the servo to push a button and release the fuel. Why can't it just come automatically when I squeeze the handle, they complain.


I had to turn to the people next to me and ask them if they knew about this. Somebody googled it, and said "I'm flabbergasted". Too right.

Another fuel fact from the ABC recently, a caller ranted about the 15 cents that replaces the zero when you start pumping fuel. Like it costs 15 cents for the fuel in the hose*, or something ludicrous. Have you ever noticed the fuel starting at 15 cents instead of zero, quickly flashing past when the dollars start climbing?

I hope your mind is blown.

* Stingy people apparently don't just shake the drips out of the pump handle, they lift up the hose and drain the fuel that sits in the loop.

Useful little pots.

I TRY not to keep random junk JUST IN CASE it's useful one day, but when I see something useful I try to quickly match it up with an immediate need. I've had a bit of recent success with tiny little containers. I love tiny little containers.

I tipped out some yucky moisturiser that came in a bathroom gift pack present, peeled off the labels so it is now plain, and scooped some of my nice moisturiser into it from the big tub. Big tubs are good value, but I used to buy tubes so that I could travel easily with them, keep them at work and so on. Now I have a small one for the desk drawer which I can refill from my long-lasting, better value, tub at home.

Then there was a little blue pot of eye cream I bought once to see if eye cream really did reduce dark circles and puffy eyes. Not really but it was such a convenient pot that I now use it to keep a small squirt of medication cream in at work. Itchy fingers are now never far from cortisol calm, and I don't have to keep the big ugly chemist-looking tube around. Could also use this size pot for a squirt of paw-paw lip balm. In the past I have actually used it to squirt cosmetic samples into, you know the foil packets you rip open. Make free samples of eye-cream last longer!

This is a maggie beer quince paste tub. The lid fits well. I use it to keep a small handful of nuts at work, and I refill it from my big stash at home.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fake cull

Well, I'm moving, so it means culling, culling, culling before I move out. However it's not a real cull because I'm taking a lot of my stuff to my parents' place. It's what I call a fake cull: where I live will be minimalist (my dream!) but the reality is that the stuff is at my parents'. Ugh. Stuff. Here's a guide to creating a minimalist home.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Quick food #3.

This one uses the george foreman grill I love. One meat (suggest a chorizo, or a lamb or chicken skewer) and 2 vegetables (a carrot and a zucchini for example, although eggplant slices and sweet potato and other stuff is good too). Obviously put 3+ cloves of garlic on as well.

The trick is to put things on the grill in the order of how long they need to cook, so it depends on what you have. Carrots take ages, meat goes on next usually, zucchini or eggplant is pretty quick. Whole meal will cook in about 15 minutes.

I like to go MUFA with this one, and eat it with whatever I have in the way of olive oil, olives, avocado, cheese and some maybe sort of fancy bread. The cooked garlic is like a soft garlic paste, yum. It's nice without a meat, if you have enough cheese and olives and stuff to make the vegetables more friendly.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BOM love.

Probably the best thing on the internet, after all the essential social media stuff, is the BOM radar. Having the internet at home or on a phone is worth it just for this. All those morning questions: Will I be able to scoot to work or will it rain in 15 minutes? Will I need an umbrella? Should I wear gumboots today? Answered. I am obsessed with efficiency in weather preparedness.

Guys and Gals

An article I thought jelssie worthy, since we have discussed this issue before (calling guys men and girls women), but this is an option that never occurred to me before. And it's true in theory, "What I feel like most of the time is a guy. A female guy."

I Am Gal, Hear Me Roar - The Atlantic

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quick food #2.

I am surrounded by asian supermarkets and I am not afraid to use them.

Another meal using only one pot and 3 ingredients. The ingredients: carrots, frozen beans and a packet of frozen dumplings. You get about 20 I think, in a packet for less than $5.

Put chopped carrots in a pot with shallow water and bring to the boil. When boiling, put in beans and then dumplings on top, the water level should not cover the dumplings completely so that when you boil for another 5 or 10 minutes the dumplings are actually steamed. For flavour, roughly chop a few cloves of garlic and boil them in it too, and any sort of stir-fry or soy sauce you have handy.

I purchased a dumpling folder from Bec's garage sale, which I intend to use one day so that I can make dumplings with identifiable fillings.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Quick food #1.

Life has been busy while I've been re-routining my working day. But I have a few quick posts on the subject of really fast cheap dinners.

This meal I call "Soup soup". As the name implies, it is soup which you make mainly from soup as the main ingredient. You buy tins of soup on special, and stock up on other tinned veg or fresh or frozen veg. You heat up a in of soup as a quick base soup, and add the frozen veggies or whatever so that the soup tastes less tinned, and is better value. It's soup made mainly from soup, hence the name, Soup soup.