Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Winter wardrobe efficiency.

My winter uniform.
I've found the only outfit I need during winter. Jeans, brown boots over the top, any dark skivvy or jumper presentable enough for the office, plus a scarf and my grey wool jacket for being outside. It's practical, warm, nothing falls down or rides up or blows around in the wind, it's neutral colour-wise (without being all black). I can, and do, wear it all week.

I follow the uniform pretty rigidly, but I can vary from this outfit only one way at a time: like, I can wear a different coat occasionally—Blue Blanket Cape gets a wear. Or once a week I can possibly wear a long skirt and leggings instead of jeans. Or I can add a hat. But if I change more than one thing, I invariably end up badly dressed. So I've pretty much given up on fashion creativity, I'm going to stick with my winter uniform.

An extra advantage of a 'uniform' is that I can get dressed really quickly in the morning, without getting cold while changing my mind.

Why I need to CULTIVATE contentment.

What My Son's Disabilities Taught Me About 'Having It All' - The Atlantic

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Should I use the box cutlery?

I received a set of Maxwell and Williams cutlery from my parents for a present a few years ago. So I kept it in the box. I recently decided that I should have it handy for visitors, rather than in the top of my wardrobe, so I sewed bags and now keep them in the bottom kitchen drawer. My parents still keep theirs in the box, and get out the "box cutlery" on special occasions, but they don't have a very high standard. If you don't live there, you get the "box cutlery". If you live there, it's red plastic handles. That's pretty much how I've operated. If you are a visitor, I get out the nice set, if it's me or K it's yucky plastic handles.

But, what am I saving them for? I love the ad (which I cant find on youtube) for tea that is about not saving stuff for special occasions but making ordinary life special. I believe that. I try not to put things away anymore for some perfect future when I am married or have a really nice house or both. I might as well enjoy where I am and where I will be for the foreseeable future. So I've been working my way up to throwing out the yucky cheap cutlery and using the good set every day. Or at least, half the set, and keep some in the bags still because I don't want to waste the bags now.

And as a friend pointed out, unused cutlery will only go out of fashion anyway. I didn't think of that in relation to cutlery, only clothes, but it's true. I know a 70s steak knife when I see it. So that cliches that. Tonight is the night.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The secret of the challenge.

How exciting and mysterious is that title! Point made.

I'm currently doing a "don't buy clothes until the end of the year" challenge. It's not really about saving money for 6 months, it's about wardrobe efficiency. I want to refine my wardrobe over a few seasons so that in future I only buy what I need, and no longer end up with things I don't wear. Partly inspired by living out of a suitcase for several weeks, but also by Soph's post (see point 2) and by the women who have done things like only wear blue jeans and black tshirts all year. I've wanted to do something like that for ages.

You may have noticed that I do a lot of 'challenges'. This is why:
  • A change is as good as a holiday. I get bored with routine sometimes, and changing things around for a little while is refreshing.
  • A 'challenge' is a positive and exciting thing. It's more fun than just doing something hard. 'No clothes shopping' is not fun. But a 'wardrobe discipline challenge' is cool. It's way to spin a positive out of something that you might have to do (save money or eat less chocolate) which would otherwise be tiresome.
  • A challenge usually comes with an end date. I do 'one month no chocolate' or 'one month no supermarkets' so I know it's only for a little while. It might hopefully be long enough to change my habits, but at least it's doable because there is an end date.

Friday, July 20, 2012

What ABOUT internet dating?

A recent post on Challies about online prospecting. I haven't thought that much about it, other than to decide that for me, now, I'm not comfortable with going there. (But I'm not comfortable with anything romantic; even if Captain Wentworth himself said he wanted to have coffee with me I would be awkward.) Online match-making is a thing, to be sure. I was bridesmaid for such a wedding last year. But I haven't come across any Christian discussion on the wisdom of it, and my own conversations with friends have been more wondering than useful. None of us disapproves of it but there is some speculation and confusion. Challies doesn't have much to say either, just some generalities, but the first comment there is rather excellent and readworthy for some helpful specifics to consider.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The power of Jillian.

As a few more people have started doing Jillian, and it's almost like a virtual gym class now*, I've noticed something. We tend to talk about Jillian as though she watches over us, and her words come out of our mouths, and we are empowered by her. It's really noticeable how we talk about Jillian. She is practically a cult leader. One long-term Jillianer has recently introduced Jillian to her mum. Even this sensible grown-up lady was texting that "Jillian would scold!". Jillian is a projection of our conscience and the voice of our will-power.

* Is anyone interested in some kind of online group where we can schedule workouts and tick them off when they are completed? I am more motivated when I am accountable and encouraged by others. Don't know if one exists. And we do it verbally anyway.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I traveled to work this morning with NO BAG. Only my wallet, keys, phone and ipod in my jacket pockets. My wallet and phone are pretty small. I can still fit my hands in as well. I really like being bagless, it feels so fancy-free.

The things I can't fit in my pockets, that I have to carry in a bag when I need them are:
  • diary
  • lunch
  • ipad
But I'm going to try and go bagless as much as possible. No bag is:
  • lighter,
  • better for your back,
  • doesn't clash with your outfit (but outfit needs pockets).
I've always liked a minimalist wallet/purse. I generally avoid loyalty cards. My purse usually just has money, change, bus tickets, a debit card, and a drivers license. I've actually removed all the cards I rarely use, such as medicare, into a small ziplock bag. I saw an woman at church once pull out a plastic curtain ring filled with loyalty cards with holes punched in the corner. If I was going to do Flybuys and Spotlight VIP in a big way, a curtain ring is a cool solution.

http://au.bellroy.com/pages/slim-your-wallet has a whole guide to having a small light wallet. They obviously fancy their own wallet designs as solutions to the problem. I like the thought they put into it though.

Hydrating winter skin - Part 2

I've become very determined in my quest to treat my dry facial skin. I came across this Guardian article on products for dehydrated skin and it recommended glycerin and hyaluronic acid. I don't know why, but I ignored the glycerin and started looking for products with hyaluronic acid.

I remember seeing products in Daiso, Chatswood, that contained hyaluronic acid. I went to a Daiso outlet in the city, but couldn't see any of the products I saw in the Chatswood one. I did come across an Etude House face mask from an Asian beauty store. So I bought one to try.

I also remembered that I recently used a sample of an Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream and it didn't sting my face at all. So I checked out their Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Fragrance Free. I looked at the ingredients listing and realised it was just glorified Vaseline. I tried a sample and was really happy that it didn't sting my skin. But if it's just glorified Vaseline, then why don't I use Vaseline or the paw paw balm (similar in texture, also enriched with various oils) that I already have?

Anyway, I found that I could get the Elizabeth Arden product for quite a reasonable price online, so I've ordered one.

There is a Japanese drugstore brand called Hado Labo, which has products containing that h-acid. I will ask my sister to grab a couple of products for me. Apparently, some of the products in Aldi's skin care range also contain the h-acid.

So my new routine will be to use the rosehip oil twice a day, and applying the Elizabeth Arden protectant as needed.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Home Decor.

These are my new doilies, 4 for $3. I soaked them in napisan, and now drying them. I'm not sure what I will do with them, but I can't resist buying them.

Also in the picture is my new strategy for organising the messiest part of the kitchen. Bench space is so limited that the freezer (which is turned off and used as storage for TV plugs and vacuum cleaner nozzles) is about 1/4 of our bench space. It's the section with pens, shopping lists, garlic bulbs, and things that haven't made it into the cupboards yet. It is the section with the mess. I had an idea to get some storage drawers to put it all in. But then I remembered I've got this paintbox I made when I used to go to a craft group and do oil painting. I designed it myself. It's almost been thrown out several times, because it is so useless and ungainly. I recently painted it with leftover white bookshelf paint, so it looks rather Swedish now. I thought, I'll give it a go as a bench tidy. I'm putting some unused white coffee cups in one section to hold pens etc. It's really good, so far! I love that I have used something I thought was useless to conquer a really annoying area and make it usable.

TV has died.

Seasons have finaled. Crap has premiered (fortunately I was rewatching season finales and missed out). I'm going to have to find something else to do at night. Maybe read books or something.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hydrating winter skin

How does winter treat your skin? It makes my face go crazy-dry. I get dry patches around my face and dry, red ones around my eyes. I experienced the same problem when I went over to Tokyo during their most recent winter.

I wasn't sure if it meant I should start using an eye cream, and I didn't really want to step into the world of eye creams: there are so many out there, how do I pick an effective, reasonably priced product?

After doing a bit of research online, I decided to give organic rosehip oil a go. It's meant to be a really amazing product, according to Zoe Foster, a former beauty editor. Lots of people rave about it. There are some great brands you can get at the chemist, including Trilogy and Natio. I ended up buying A'kin because it came with a dropper, which means it's easier to control how much you use, and it was two-for-the-price-of-one...win!
I'm pretty happy with it: it's reasonably priced and is a simple product. I like that it's an organic oil: sounds a lot less complicated than an eye cream or serum.

My skin actually got even drier after a few days of using the rose hip oil (although my cheeks felt very smooth), so I decided to look for a moisturiser to wear on top. I tried some of my mum's Lancôme cream, and it stung my face like crazy :( I also didn't like that it was in a jar. I think moisturisers in jars are less hygienic because you dip your fingers into the product and it gets exposed to air.

I decided to give Avène's Skin Recovery Cream a go, to wear on top of the rosehip oil. It did sting a little bit around the eyes. I don't why I just didn't stick to sorbelene to begin with.

My regular face moisturiser is Redwin Light Facial Moisturiser.

So here's my current battle plan for dry, winter skin:

Cleanse as per usual.
Apply rosehip oil.
Apply sunscreen.

Throughout the day
Apply Avène cream as needed.

Cleanse as per usual.
Apply rosehip oil. Let it soak in for a while and apply Avène or Redwin afterwards. Unfortnately, the moisturiser stings, but the rosehip oil doesn't.

Seems to be working so far!

So what's your battle plan for dry skin? Are you on the rosehip oil bandwagon?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Warm fuzzy feeling.

An email from Myer.

They miss me! Awww! I'm so glad they noticed! Because I've been working really hard at not going there, and saving my money. They actually miss me. I feel validated as a non-shopper!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chocolate | Cheese.

My latest "Eat Less Chocolate" rule is not to buy blocks of chocolate any more. It's a fairly easy rule to follow. I can buy a single chocolate bar if I want one, but not 200g. Its a good system actually. I applied it to chips as well, when I had such a strong craving one night that I had to walk up to the shops, but I only bought a single serve package, not a big bag. Got my monthly chip hit, no leftovers to eat the next night.

Maybe as a result, or a distraction, from eating less chocolate, I seem to have swapped chocolate for cheese. There are so many nice cheeses! A square inch of cheese goes a lot further than a square inch of chocolate, so hopefully I am eating less fat overall. Possibly.

I am currently enamoured of the packaging of this new brand of cheese, Great Ocean Road. It really stands out on the supermarket shelf. It's just a sandwich cheese, not a fun cheese, but it looks special. 

The other cheese there is a fancy one, it is balls of fetta covered in dukka and swimming in olive oil. Goes well with bread and grilled vegetables and olives.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Inevitable collision.

I walk through the city every day, and cross Elizabeth Sstreet, which no matter where you cross it is the longest and most frustrating intersection ever. You can SEE your bus just on the other side! Wait wait wait. Green man!

Anyway, I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. When you cross the street amid a croup of people against another group of people coming the other way, it looks like everyone will bump into each other, but we all magically weave through. When I'm crossing alone, though, and I realise there is someone coming the other way and one of us needs to change path, it's awkward and personal and extremely risky.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Weekly shop.

I used to walk home from work with a backpack and pick up whatever I needed whenever I needed it from cheap Kingsford, or Randwick Coles. My routine has totally changed this year, and now when I get off a packed bus at night the last thing I want to do is dive into a crowded supermarket for dinner. So I've started shopping on the weekend, when I am much calmer. I actually enjoy the routine of sitting down with a pen and paper, and deciding what I will eat for lunches and what I will cook for dinner (I just eat the same thing every day for a week, so it's not hard), write it down, and then go and buy it on Saturday or Sunday morning. It's sunny and peaceful. Then I have almost everything I need for one week. I feel very Proverbs 31. I do sometimes go to the shops anyway for milk or chocolate, but it's a relief that I never come home on a Monday night and try and decide what to buy and eat, cos now the fridge is full and the plan is made.

Photo Finish.

It's a good show. A really simple concept, presented efficiently. I could imagine friends of mine going on it. While it's not really that interesting watching people hold cameras to their faces and squat down, the photographic results are edited in so you see through their cameras as well. It makes me keen to take photography a little bit more seriously. Which I never get an equivalent cooking motivation after watching Masterchef. Probably the best thing about the show though is that it is stripped back. It doesn't try and build hype or drama like cooking and singing shows do. Nobody is on a journey. It's just "here's the brief, here are your cameras, good luck". Andrew G, who used to host Idol, has hardly any hosting to do, and certainly never cuts to an ad break before revealing the final 3. He just says useful things about how to take better photos, and he actually knows what he's talking about. So overall, I'm impressed.  It's niche TV, smartly done, and probably the least annoying reality show ever made.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Just odd.

Today, big news on smh, a restaurant is shutting down. Not because of lack of customers, apparently, but because not enough customers are finishing their dinner or taking the leftovers home in their own tupperware. I totally love her policy! I have brought my own containers to Eat Street many times! It discourages food wastage and plastic takeaway container wastage. I also love that she is so tough that she would rather shut down than be flexible. I would never open a restaurant, but this is what would happen if I did. I want to be a scary person who forces people to not waste food or else go away. You waste her food, you waste her time and your money. If only more people shared her/my views. Well done for trying, anyway.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Cherry Dilemmas.

I'm not sure who Cherry is, but she does some interesting TV programs. Basically she gets alongside different women and talks to them about why they live the way they do, and goes along with them, a different topic each week. I saw one on dating, it was painfully honest about how hard it is to date until you find a husband—one woman was shallow and wouldn't settle for imperfection, another woman had a short life expectancy but didn't want to give up and die single. It was all kind of sad, and made me glad I have more to live for than getting married. Then I missed a few weeks. Then I saw one on body image. Then one, Money Dilemmas, which is on iview for another 2 days, and the variety of women is again the most interesting thing. The millionairess is boring. The other women are fascinating. Marry for money, riches to rags, freegan, and poverty-line. I had no idea that money shapes people so much, until they're compared up close.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fish markets.

A very Sydney thing was done on the weekend. I went to the Sydney Fish Markets for lunch. They are famous and somewhat trendy, actually they are a tourist attraction. I've always wanted to see what they are like. Long time passer-by, first time visitor.

Firstly, Saturday lunch is a rubbish time to get parking anywhere, let alone Pyrmont, let alone the fish markets. But it can be done.

Secondly, Saturday lunch is also a rubbish time to get seating there. It's kind of stressful figuring out what to get and then where to take it.

But once those hurdles are crossed, the fish was affordable, and tasty, although no lemon slices were provided. No lemon? From Doyles at the SFM? I expected more.

I personally wouldn't go back to eat there for Saturday lunch, cos it's just a grotty fishy food court on the water. Amazing that so many people in Audis want to go there, maybe they want to feel gritty. Although I don't think it should ever go fancy, because then it would be a luxury parody of a fish market. Like the "farmers markets" all over the place. They are the total opposite of the Newcastle fruit and veg markets my mum got our food from when I was young, which was a dark and scary warehouse with concrete floors, palettes of cardboard boxes, squashed fruit underfoot. I didn't like it much. But I say keep it authentic, fishy and grotty, and I won't go and eat there. I'll go to proper cafes and stuff. However, aside from a place to eat I would rather recommend it as a place to shop, to buy really fresh fish and produce in a bustling nonColes/Woolies marketplace to take home and cook. Personally, I'll shop closer to home, but if I lived near the fish markets I'd shop there.

Three years

I've noticed that a lot of my close friend are either 3+ years older than me or 3 years younger than me. What is it about the 3 year mark?

Tangent: on jelssie, we have the labels "ponderings" and "musings". I wonder what the difference is between the two?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jumpers and thermals

So the other day, I was running around, buying jumpers to wear on top of shirts for work when I realised, "Hey, why don't I just buy thermals to wear under my work shirts? Cheaper than jumpers and I don't have to worry about co-coordinating colours on the outside."

Still, good to have both jumpers and thermals: more options and more warmth!