Monday, December 30, 2013

Conversation that sums up how I feel about the word "hipster".

J1: That cafe is really popular now.

J2: It always was popular because of the doctors and people from the hospital.

J1: Well now it's trendy and has hipsters. Ugh I hate using that word but I mean cool young people who aren't working.

Being frugal on the bus.

I use travel 10s. I walk as often as I can, partly to save money and partly because I just generally walk as much as I can. I rarely use a MyBus 1 at all. I walk a MyBus 2 distance once or twice a week, so I usually manage to carry my MyBus 2 travel 10 over into the next week.

When the opal card comes in the cost works out differently. You get 8 rides at the full price ($3.50 each) and then any trips after that are free until the end of the week (cos it's capped at $28p/w for the MyBus 2 distance). So it won't save me money if I walk once a week, in fact if I walk I'm increasing the cost per trip. That's bad. I'll be able to get better value by taking as many bus trips as I can. To bring the cost under $28 a week I'd have to walk to work 3 times and then anywhere else I go on top of that as well. I've thought of one sneaky trick though, to go a MyBus 3 distance such as city to Maroubra I can get off half way (eg Kingsford) and get on the next bus to come along (they are very frequent), which makes two free bus trips instead of one paid trip.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Things I always do before I go away.

Eat the perishable food in the fridge.
Wash clothes so I have the full range to pack from and clean things when I come back.

Beach hair.

Swimming wrecks my hair. I need to find some cunning trick for salty water. Before I swim in a chlorine pool I've found that if I wet my hair in fresh water first, the chlorine doesn't soak in. So maybe that works for salt water too, or there's some other trick. Some have suggested putting conditioner in.

Anyway if I'm going to swim a couple of days in a row, there's no point washing my hair properly. I'll just give it a water rinse, because salt water doesn't dry at all. But it still keeps that salty stickiness which makes it hard to work with, and gets tangled very easily. I have found that once I do get it into a bun the salty tangles hold it together in a nice loose-looking casual bun. I'm treating it like a styling product rather than a problem.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Faking it

Whenever I feel unsure or insecure about something, I think, "What would a secure person do?" Then I do that.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Remember your own face.

Now I have BB creams it's been a long time since I have gone outside without one, mainly for the sunscreen factor. When I look in the mirror in the morning now though my natural skin is starting to surprise me with its uneven tone and light freckling and pores, and I never used to think it was that bad. I've just got accustomed to my BB face, and now my clean face is becoming a slightly disappointing surprise. I can see why some women describe their make-up routine as "putting their face on" because the make-up face is the face they are used to seeing in the mirror, and the clean face is unfamiliar. I must be honest with myself. It's kind of like Elsie's thing about not wearing makeup to church, because she wants people to see her as she really is. It's not a big deal, make-up or not, but it's good to like yourself as you are and face your fears. Haha pun.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Enclothed cognition

Half of this article is very good, the rest is about something called Lululemon. But I find the connection between the outside of the person and inside of the person very interesting. Lab coats make you smarter and workout clothes make you more energetic.

Friday, December 6, 2013

On parenting.

Several years ago when I went to church at the Cathedral in the CBD one of our pastors recommended this talk by Tim Keller called "It takes a city to raise a child". I found it very fascinating. A lot here about singles and their part in the church family.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Spotlight is terrible. So is Lincraft. But on Saturday, while standing obediently at a queue point which was actually not being served, I had time to reflect on the terrible retail experience that is a large craft shop, and I realised that it is in fact an accurate representation of craft itself. A place where creative ambition comes and meets reality. A lot of potential, but infinitely more disorganisation and mess.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Last burst of productivity.

I thought I blogged this last year but can't find it. Anyway I'm doing it again. Just as it seems the year is winding up and nothing more is going to get done, BAM BAM you sneak up on some bothersome job and tick it off the list!

This sounds like a stupid idea, because in a way we are already too busy at the end of the year. Carols are eating my life, for one thing. BUT! Because everyone is in a bit of a rush doing Christmas things in December, it's a great time to do other things without so much of a queue! Why not go to Medicare? Get your eyes checked? Or just do something at home, finish crocheting the thing you got bored of, or clean the windows, or shred some papers or something. Let me tell you it's a very empowering feeling to take a moment out from all the obligations of the season and shoot some random personal chore right in the head when it wasn't expecting you.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Soundtrack to a board game.

I think this should be a thing, finding the perfect soundtrack to a board game to heighten the drama. I had a quick google and of course a few other people on the internet have noticed it. I played Cluedo with friends a couple of weekends ago and I think an iPod was playing the soundtrack I call Gabriel's Oboe, which has lots of suspense. But it would have been quite different playing with the Gosford Park soundtrack which is a bit more vintage and Miss Marpley. Soundtracks are all about background music and creating mood. Tension and release and general drama. It really enhanced the game experience.

Look, you can get Sherlock Cluedo.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Real estate report.

I've followed real estate with interest since I was a teen. Window shopping for houses, basically. I liked the red-brick federation homes with wrap around verandahs and french windows and bay windows and so on. Those days are gone and I've realised I'm too poor for nice houses. These days I just love an smh article about real estate with lots of gloomy comments. I will spend my whole lunchbreak reading comments. Half the world things thinks Gen Y are lazy and live at home and spend all their money on overseas holidays instead of saving for a mortgage, the other half think property is genuinely too expensive and blaming everyone—the Chinese and the boomers and the government. People who think there are affordable suburbs in Sydney are pointing to half a million for 2br apartments in Hornsby. I leave that to the judgement of the reader, but I don't really think half a million is "affordable". I agree it's the cheap end of the market, but it's not cheap.

But I think both sides of the argument are have some truth.

"Generational" spending habits are an issue. I'm Gen Y, and I am relatively frugal. No car, no internet, no bought lunches, and I mostly holiday in Australia with friends. But I live in the Eastern Suburbs, eat out about once a week and I've had a nice overseas trip (after uni and 6 years of FT work, and it cost half as much as my braces). However my parents haven't had ANY overseas trip (or braces). And takeaways or restaurants were only for birthdays. My grandparents were even more frugal, buying a house with savings, or building a house themselves, growing food, recycling clothes. The generation before, I don't know, they probably thought themselves lucky to own a second pair of shoes and only got lollies at Christmas time. People have historically lived pretty lean lives and home ownership has never been a walk in the park. But the trouble is, when the bar is set too high, people don't try. If it was a matter of struggling to afford a unit, I would happily struggle to afford a unit. But no amount of struggle will afford me a unit in Sydney. The gap is too wide between what I could struggle to afford and what things sell for. And if there's no hope, why bother?

"In Sydney" is an issue. I think a lot of people are in my boat. I'm torn between wanting to stay where I am with the friends and church and the support of lots of single friends and stuff to do, and wanting live somewhere near my family where I can grow veggies. And the thing about my profession is there aren't many jobs in other areas anyway. I glance around from time to time when I feel discontented. Number of page views for a design job in Newcastle recently: 1600. That's slim pickings. There is some kind of grant paid to people who leave Sydney and go to a regional area, but what good is that going to do if you don't have a job out there? Decentralisation is a bigger issue than helping with moving costs.

Anyway, nobody ever said you can have it all. It's not some unfair conspiracy, just a massive supply and demand discrepancy. Baby boomers downsizing into units in the city at the same time as Gen Y want to get a foot in the market buying those same units in the city, and one of those groups has a lot more money. Meanwhile people with nice detached houses don't want their streets razed to make way for ugly flats. If the demand is coming from investors, which is apparently is, the bright side is that they'll rent out their properties, and the more rentals the cheaper the rent will be and we'll still be able to live where we want for the time being.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Review of 3 BB creams

I'm really into Japanese products, especially their BB creams. What I love about Japanese drugstore products are that they're cheap and very good quality, meaning you get excellent value for money. The Japanese cosmetic market is a tough one, so you have to be good to survive!

Here are three Japanese BB creams I've tried. You might find them in Sydney, at really expensive prices. I bought mine in Japan, or got them sent over to me.

Harikan Perfect Cream
Blah: I first discovered this in Japan about two summers (their winter) ago. I bought it on a whim, loved it and bought two as a back up. When I went back last summer, I couldn't find it anywhere! It's also really hard to find on the internetz. I only have one tube of this stuff left.  
Cost: Roughly AUD10
SPF: 33 PA++ (not sure about ingredients)
Coverage: Sheer.
Rating: 5 stars. If you are looking for sheer coverage, and your skin is in good condition, it will make your skin look more luminous.
This is the website on the back of the tube:

Heroine Make Protect UV Mineral BB Cream
Image from
Cost: JPY1,050
SPF: 50+ PA+++ (See Ratzilla for ingredient listing)
Coverage: Light to medium.
Rating: 4 stars. This only comes in two shades and I have the darker of the two (02 Natural - Natural Beige). This shade is not bad for winter, but lately, it makes my face look way too white. Lovely, creamy texture. I'd only recommend it if you have quite pale skin.

DHC BB Germanium BB Cream Foundation

Cost: JPY3,500
SPF: 20 PA++ (mineral, if it's the same as this one)
Coverage: Medium
Rating: 5 stars. This is a very close match to my skin tone. Probably my current favourite BB cream. Gives medium coverage, makes my skin more even toned. This is what I'm using now (as well as La Roche Posay in 02) since my regular BB creams are all way to light for me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

After a Living Single seminar.

My overall feeling is that singles seminars shouldn't happen just for singles. I think how singles fit into church is an issue for the whole church. Don't always put singles in a closed-off place and let them shout about their problems without bothering anyone. In the same vein, don't have all the marriage and parenting things off in their own seminars either. Encourage everyone to come along, because whenever I've heard anything about marriage, I mean gritty day-to-day stuff not ordinary sermon stuff, I don't feel jealous, I feel like I understand other people better, and marriage is sort of demystified. I think it'd be helpful for marrieds to be reminded of what it's like to be single, or to learn what it's like to be single at an older age. My church did a good thing at our 5pm weekend away recently. All women at different stages of life in one room, all men in the other, a panel of singles and marrieds and parents in each room, DISCUSS. It's that easy.

The way NOT to discuss singleness is to ask a single person why they are single. That's not something that happens to me often and I hadn't worked up any rage, but a single person rarely has an answer they feel good about. Unless they CHOSE singleness, the answer has to be "nobody loves me" or "there aren't enough men/women" or "was in a relationship for a while" etc etc. If the answer is "God's will", that begs the question why ask them in the first place? Why is anyone married? Why is anybody born? God's will.

Also, people can get really tense about negotiating dating. I haven't had many issues but I could see others feel extremely hurt and frustrated. The older you get as a single person, the more difficult it is. You've got a few rejections under your belt. You've got some scars and sensitivities. Behaviour of both men and women can be confusing. People get shot down for being too direct, too vague, too keen, too stand-offish. Guh. No wonder people stay single. There isn't this one formula that everyone approves of and feels safe communicating within... things that say "this means I like you as a friend" and "this means I'm asking you out for real". I guess there never will be, and that's why we have romantic comedies. I don't know if I've said this before, but a matchmaker would save a lot of bother.

And I think it's possibly harder to be a single man than a single woman. I've blogged this before, but last night reinforced it. I won't speak for them, you should ask them yourself.

Anyway, the big thing is breaking down stigma to care for each other better; less pity, more understanding; the little niggly details of singleness aren't something I'm going to spend time on, because I'm going to let go of my hang-ups and be awesome, as per my earlier blog post.

Review of 5 BB creams.

I have tried some of Elsie's BB creams. There have been times when Elsie has been into something like, say, oils, and raves on and on about this oil for hair and this oil for hands and I'm nodding on the outside and on the inside I'm thinking "oils are oily, whatever". But this time, our obsessions have aligned and we rave at each other about BBs and both of us are interested! It's amazing. I haven't gotten deeply into the world of makeup, I feel like makeup has branched out and met me where I am with something practical and easy.

I'm looking for BB creams that have sunscreen, and make my skin look better without looking like makeup, and that stay OK all day. You might have different needs. This is a summary, but there are plenty of lengthy reviews around the www, with videos and stuff. You're probably not that interested though.

Cost: $34, yikes.
SPF: 30+ (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, so physical sunscreen not chemical)
Coverage: Good, but clings to dry skin and makes it look flaky.
Rating: 5 stars. The smoothest and lightest thing I have ever touched, not at all greasy. Pure magic.

Loreal Nude Magique
Cost: $16-27 (depending on Priceline sales)
SPF: SPF 12 (not a real sunscreen)
Coverage: Not enough to my liking. More of a tint than a proper cover, but smooth.
Rating: 2.5 stars. Not enough sunscreen for me in summer, but good enough in winter. Available everywhere though.

Canmake Perfect Serum
Cost: 800yen (try ebay etc) about $10
SPF: 50 (chemical I assume, ingredients list is useless.)
Coverage: Good.
Rating: 4 stars. Feels creamy. Very happy with this product, great for the price if you can find it.

Skin79 Chiffon BB Mousse
Cost: I don't know
SPF: 30
Coverage: Good.
Rating: 3 stars. Elsie gave me this because she has better ones, and I think I have better ones too, but the whole point of reviewing this is that it squirts out as a mousse and it smells chocolatey so it's like spreading cupcake cream on your face. That's funny. It's not easy to get smooth application though.

La Roche Posay Uvidea Melt-in
Cost: $18-30.
SPF: 50 (I think a mix of physical and chemical)
Coverage: Good, but when you look closely it's not super even
Rating: 4 stars. LRP is a skin care company as opposed to a cosmetic company, so I trust the ingredients more than Canmake. It's also available locally. Texture is like Invisible Zinc sunscrean, sort of greasy. If you're fussy about having a greasy face, Elsie suggests a light brushing of setting powder. I normally need the lightest shade of a BB but with this brand the lightest is rather ghostly, it's basically a grey sunscreen, so Elsie and I think the second lightest is a bit better, it's distinctly golden.

For funs, I stitched together two face halves. A face from a few months ago when I wasn't wearing BB cream or lipstick (and had a bad skin reaction to something but that's the less puffy eye, but that's why I look sad and bleagh on the left) and my face today, with Elsie's La Roche Posay and some lipstick. I don't think the colour is accurate and the lighting would also be different on different days so this is a bit exagerated, but I think you can get an idea of how "made up" I look with BB, ie, not very. It just evens skin tone or something. I should do a same day photo experiment actually.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How I'll be single.

I had a revelation today. I'm single, and yes that is a bummer cos if I had the choice I would want to be married, but:

I'm going to be single in such a way that people don't feel sorry for me, and I don't feel sorry for myself. I'm going to be self-reliant, loved by a lot of people, live life to the fullest and make the most of every opportunity. I'm going to try and not moan about the disadvantages, not blame all my problems on being single, not be jealous of people who are getting married (esp young cute people), and generally avoid thinking and speaking negatively. I want people to look at me and see someone living a valid and fulfilled life. I've lived almost 30 years as a single, and I'm used to it, and it's fine.

Some catalysts:
  • Bec's blog on Crazy Cat Ladies that made me angry at the disdain our culture has for single people.
  • Single people I know who really hate being single. I want to love being single, and I want others to love it.
  • One line from the speaker at Engage this year: "marriage isn't singleness plus some better married stuff, you lose singleness when you get married", I forget the exact words but it was about not idealising marriage.
I just wanted to sort of declare it somewhere. Neither marriage nor singleness is without difficulties, but neither is without blessings either, and I'm going to focus on really thriving in singleness and blasting away that corrosive pity, or whatever it is, with the rest of my awesome single life, God-willing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

List that amused me today.

This is a weird list: what straight men think is handsome in other men. Never heard of a lot of them. But I like the things they've put under the photos. Like "Just the right level of salt and pepper". And "The kind of man that will chop down a tree, make a table out of it, and then pull out the chair for you." And I like the fact that they don't even bother to learn the name of the guys they vote for. Poor "Guy who plays Bones in Star Trek". I know you were Eomer in Lord of the Rings.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Healthy ad.

I love this ad. It's my favourite ad since the Kangaroo Island one with the Eddie Vedder song. I'm a little bit disappointed that it has a corporate voiceover and it's for private health cover and not just some kind of "Life: Be in it" campaign, but it's still 45 seconds of happiness in the ad breaks of my life. I think it's nice that it doesn't feature fit, tanned, shiny-toothed beautiful people being "healthy" by doing cartwheels on the beach in bikinis, but instead it's normal-looking people. That resonates. Lovely footage, perfect song, I go along with it.

On a related note, I'm really enjoying oranges at the moment. They've always been the least of the fruits, the only fruit more boring to me is pears, but I'm really into them now, they are up there with nectarines.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Age numbers.

Everyone is always surprised at how old everybody else is. People don't seem old, but they have old ages. I think the reason is that an age sounds old, because it's a big number. 31. 45. 60.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giftcards on sale.

This is a website that tells you what gift cards are on sale. I subscribed to the rss emails, which is good because every week or two, not often, I get told where the iTunes cards are on sale and what percentage off they are. It's really useful and not spammy. I told my flatmate and she loves it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

My favourite snack that I have not yet had

I love thinly-sliced biscotti with lots of nuts. If only I could buy it dipped in chocolate. That would be my most favourite, most perfect snack. Dipped in fondue. Dipped in Nutella. Dipped in ganache. Yum!

Music lover.

Listening to Tom Odell on Spotify. If I needed to go to more gigs I'd go to his. But I find gigs noisy. I can enjoy music better through my headphones sometimes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Getting out of the house on my own to do something fun is hard.

I enjoy doing things on my own, but I find myself unmotivated to actually get out of the house and do things unless I have an appointment to meet someone to do it with. Like, whenever I think "I could see a movie this Saturday" I just never get round to going. That happens all the time. But if I've made a plan with someone, I go. I'm happy to go by myself, but sigh, when Saturday comes around there's a 99% chance I'll stay home and read a book instead.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Jelssie loves BB creams.

In fact you might call it an obsession. An obsession we share.

First, an explanation of BB. It's a face product that is basically an all-in-one thing. A single squirt rubbed on your face and you've got moisturiser, sunscreen and makeup on. You can see why I love this concept, SO EFFICIENT!!! It's unlike me to be interested in beauty products. Except Burt's Bees and nail polish. The beauty counters at Myer are a foreign and baffling place to me, other than as a shortcut from Pitt St to George St. And now here I am with a mini-encyclopeadic knowledge of BB creams. And Elsie too.

Different BB creams have different strong points. So you pick one that does the things you need. Options:
  • Covering (light foundation)
  • Tinting
  • Moisturising
  • Sunscreening

They're basically the things. They'll say "9 in 1!" but there isn't much more to it than those things, they just say it with more words. "Mattifying" "brightening" etc etc. I've cut through the faff for you.

Then you decide what's most important, because different BBs have different strengths. My favourite BB cream is from Tarte; it's a very natural-looking coverage (hides pigmentation pretty well), with an SPF30 mineral sunscreen. It's so good I never use my actual makeup anymore. But it's not very moisturous. Looks bad on flakey skin. And it's expensive, I got a friend to buy it in the US for me and it was $35. But I love it. It has a wooden lid! It feels like silk! It's made from diamonds! My LOreal BB has inadequate SPF12, but better moisturiser, a slight tint, thinner coverage, and is cheaper (cos Priceline has really good sales sometimes). The Body Shop BB (I had a sample) is basically a thick tinted moisturiser with vitamin E and healthy stuff in it. I'd like to get many more BB creams, but tiny bottles last forever! So anyway, in Summer I use the high SPF one mostly, but in Winter I save money and use the cheaper BB that focuses on moisturising. That's my jessenomics system.

So that's that. Google around and find one that does the things you want, read some reviews, and give it a go. Or Jelssie is a fountain of knowledge, Elsie will have her own favourites. Or fruitybeauty is a good place to learn more.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Just ask

Jelssie appreciates Leona Edmiston dresses. The other day, we were at a department store trying on a few. There was one I semi-liked and it was already discounted, but I didn't like it enough to purchase it at the discounted price. I asked the sales assistant very nicely if there was any further discount on the dress, even though the discounted price was already marked on the price tag. She checked for me, and there was a further discount! Something as simple as that, yielded a cheaper price. Asking nicely doesn't hurt.

Another time, when I ummed and ahhed over another Leona dress in a department store, the sales assistant offered me a further discount on an already reduced item. Though sometimes, it doesn't matter how discounted a dress is - if you don't love it, don't buy it.

Little jobs.

I did some little jobs in the last few days. I defrosted the freezer. I repaired some linen cushion covers my flatmate got second-hand with some free cushions. I brought paperwork to the office and shredded it. Things that aren't urgent like washing clothes and buying food, they're irregular and often unpredictable. It's quite satisfying after you've defrosted the freezer and you don't have to worry about it for ages again. But at the moment I'm getting a real noticeable sinking feeling whenever I find a new little job. When I saw the holes in the cushion covers my heart sank because sigh, now I have to get out the sewing machine and sew around the edges before we can use them. You either do it straight away, or leave them there and constantly see a job that needs doing. Unless you live with someone else who does them for you. That's rare.

I've just invented a new way, "Mad Jobs Monday!!!". Note the fun name. Monday night is a quiet night, I don't do Jillian, there's nothing on TV, I never go out. So last night I punched through some admin after work and did a few chores. I wrote down something to do next Monday: clean the fan. Now I don't have to feel annoyed when I see the dirty fan, I can put stuff off til next Monday with no guilt at all.

Also, I've just spent 99cents on an app called Recur. You enter stuff after you've done it. Then you can see how long it's been since you did it, or set a reminder for when you think you should do it again. Nothing fancy, you could use iCal. But for periodic chores/events, it's very clean and simple. You can't enter something in the future like "next month I should go to the movies with ***", it's more for the "Phew! I should never let the **** get so dirty again" or "must be time to do another bush walk" moments. I'm open to other suggestions of apps people are using for chore/event management. You can use Mad Jobs Monday for free.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Moisturise and barricade

Dry skin is a bugbear of jelssie. I've got three stubborn dry, flaky patches on my face at the moment and whatever I'm trying is not working. So I went and had a chat with a pharmacist and she reckons it's due to the weather (refer to jelssievision season 1 episode 4 for what I blame most things on). She recommended I moisturise the flaky patches with QV cream and then barricade the skin with paw paw ointment (refer to jelssievision season 1 episode 2 for Jess' explanation of paw paw ointment). I've decided to add the step of gentle exfoliation with  konjac sponge at the beginning, to get rid of the flaky skin.

This is not the first time I've talked about dry facial skin on jelssie, but I am too lazy to link to my other posts, so you'll just have to trust me on this one.

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Bathroom "Go Bag".

Yes. I am proud of this. I have organised my travel toiletries! It's fully set up independently of my normal bathroom supplies. If you're going away a lot, you ought to have a ready-to-go pre-packed bathroom bag. It's a lot quicker, you won't forget anything, and when you get home at night and you're tired, you just want to jump in the shower without realising halfway through that you haven't unpacked your shampoo yet. Also, if you do the little bottles thing it's lighter to carry, and OK for airport security when you go carry-on.

The frugal thing is to put in your almost-finished things***, and your little samples of things, and your second best things. Almost empty toothpaste tube or sunscreen. Hotel shampoos. The crappy nail clippers and tweezers. And then after you've collected as much of that stuff as you have, go out and buy anything you don't have, like little bottles to fill up from your big shampoo or whatever.

I've got one of those roll-up bags you can hang on a hook and see everything. I think it's called a valet. It's got 2 small pockets for things like bobby pins and tooth stuff, and one biggish section for bottles of things. I used to fit just 2 x 200ml shampoo bottles plus bodywash but now with smaller shampoo bottles I fit the whole kit and kaboodle, sunscreen and deodorant and hairbrush etc.

*** How can such little bottles last so long? And especially at the nearly empty stage, when they no longer squirt and you have to stick your finger up the neck or cut them open? And I'm so BORED of them and I've got a newer, better sunscreen/moisturiser/hand cream and I don't want to spend 2 months finishing the old things, but I'm frugal! I feel like letting everyone know whenever I finish a product. It's a triumph worthy of a facebook status at least.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I'm looking forward to filling in one of these Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes this year. I'm mindful of filling it with good quality, long-lasting gifts, even if it costs more than the cheap stuff. I wonder if any of these children work in factories, making cheap stuff for the West. Imagine the irony of sending back gifts that they spend hours each day manufacturing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Organising paper.

This is how I keep my boring important papers. One expandafile. It lives in a cupboard. I usually just quickly open the cupboard and chuck the papers on top of it then periodically open it up and put things inside properly. I've got everything important in here, from birth certificate to warranties to superannuation stuff. Once a year, at tax time, I get what I need for taxes and I go through all the sections throwing things away.

On the weekend I was looking in here for my cheque book and throwing out old statements and warranties, and I found a cheque for $125, on the bottom of a boring letter that I hadn't read all the way through but luckily I had filed it instead of just throwing it out. Saved by the system!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jelssievision Episode 4!

Bec has made another Jelssievision! She is so good to us. Hug her when you see her.

We met up on the long weekend at Lakota Trading which is a second hand stuff shop with a coffee machine and baked goods. So all of that furniture you can see is for sale!

We proudly present episode four. It's my second favourite I think.
  • How to tell someone they have food on their face.
  • Obsessions: snacking (rant), hats (rant), lipstick (but not all the lipstick).
  • Why we love being obsessed.
  • What is tractor beaming. (HINT: there are no tractors.)
  • What is a "true friend".
  • Teal isn't aqua: it's on ducks.
  • New Year's Eve: good time to use the dryer.
  • Benefits of bladder control.

Jelssievision ep 4 from Bec Jee on Vimeo.

 ** We haven't mentioned Ben Beilharz this time. Maybe if he starts a podcast, we'll have something to say.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Ginger is one of the BEST ingredients to totally zing things up. Whoever invented ginger in fresh juice is my hero. I have now discovered ginger honey. It was expensive in the honey shop but surely you can make it. I've googled and there are several recipes. Basically you put lots of slivers of ginger in honey, either cook for 10 min at a low heat or just don't bother, and then leave it for about 5 days to infuse. Then you have a couple of weeks to eat it. It's nice in tea, on fancy bread and cheese, general gourmet dribbling.

I heard some devastating news on the radio this week though. Honey shortage in Australia. Bees are starving. I forget why, maybe the warm winter means less pollen or something. That's a shame. So stock up now.


To me, the last minute is not the best minute or the ideal minute. It's the last chance minute, the back-up minute, the fall-back minute. If something is due on Friday at 5pm, I print it out the night before and hand it in on Friday at 10am. If there is a printer disaster, I've got a whole day to fall back on. I'm writing a list of Christmas presents for family now, so I can buy things in November. I'm not stressing early, I just like to avoid stress at all.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why The Bachelor.

 I don't like this show much but I love a shared TV experience, and this has mass appeal.

Why you might want to go on the Bachelor.

You are obsessed with roses. That's normal in this context.

To score some free tourism. That's basically what the show is, it's Sydney Weekender for girls.

To wear clothes that aren't yours and have your hair done by a professional, every time you go to a farm or drink wine. That's a real perk.

To make some BFFs. Most of the women seem really nice.

Why you shouldn't go on the Bachelor.

To find love. How can you find love in an environment where everyone is dressed in clothes that aren't theirs, doing tourism activities they never normally do, and basically being fake TV people? How can you find a genuine person? You might be impressed that you go on a date and there are 200 candles, but he didn't light those candles, a TV crew did. None of the romantic gestures are real, they're all constructed. Let alone the fact that you "make a connection" on your date and then he goes and "makes a connection" with another girl the next week.

You have pride.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Emma has started!

PLUG: start watching Emma Approved now. It's a twice-a-week weblog based on Emma by Jane Austen. It's sugary sweet but charming. The real joy of it is hanging out for the next video, following it in real time. You miss out on the suspense if you watch it all later in one binge. This is the first week so jump aboard with me now! I'm bursting to see Mr Elton and Harriet and Miss Bates. Esp Miss Bates cos they never have old people in these, the Lizzie Bennet Diaries never showed the parents or Lady Catherine except via dress-ups.

Emma's twitter: will link the videos as they are posted (follow the the character twitter accounts if you are so inclined). Or subscribe on Youtube or like on Facebook.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

"What about him?"... I dunno, what?

I don't find it helpful when people suggest single men to me. Neither does Elsie. We speak for ourselves, but just in case we also speak for others too, here is our reasoning for why we don't like it when you suggest single men to us.
  • I know who the single men are. I don't need help speculating.
  • Presumably they know who I am. 
  • What am I supposed to do about it? You suggest a man and I'm supposed to say "yeah I've always had an unrequited crush on him, now you mention it... I'm going to go and ask him out!" That's never going to happen. I've got very delicate sensibilities. (They've never been helpful in progressing matters of the heart, but I'm stuck with them.)
  • Alternatively, if I don't like him, I can shoot him down publicly behind his back. That's not gracious. Don't ask me to share his faults.
  • If I don't KNOW him, that's even more annoying because now I'm speculating about someone I haven't met yet. Totally fruitless. Maybe you expect me to sneakily throw myself in his path somehow? Arrange a "meet cute"? It's exhausting.
So in the end, suggesting single men to me isn't as helpful as you think it is. Actual helpfulness = 0.

I don't know whether men get women suggested to them much, I guess they probably do, but at least the ball is in their court. They can say "Happy being single thanks" or "I dunno" or "I don't really know her well enough" or "Yeah, but would she go out with me?" or whatever, but still, if you're a match-making type, I think that's the end you want to work from first. I really don't think ANYTHING useful can be achieved by just randomly asking single women who they would/wouldn't date.

Myths about snacking.

The thing is, I feel lied to by The World. EVERYONE out there is pro-snack. All the TV doctors and personal trainers, including Jillian, tell you why to snack and how to snack. Now I've done some googling and found other points of view, and I've lived without snacks, I feel like I've discovered THE TRUTH. I'm an obsessed conspiracy theorist type crazy person now, evangelizing everyone to the better way: Nacking.

These are the things I used to believe:  

If you feel hungry it means your body is going into starvation mode and you're storing fat for times of famine! Seriously, 3 hours is a famine? Only in the first world.

And then you'll be so crazed with hunger at your next meal you'll overeat uncontrollably! This is just false. You'll just eat whatever you put on your plate. What's more likely is that if you snack you won't remember to eat LESS at your next meal, and eat whatever you put on your plate regardless of your supposedly controlled appetite.

Your blood sugar will drop and you'll lose concentration! Um, unless you are diabetic or borderline,  your blood sugar probably just returns to normal, and if you snack it goes temporarily high again. Normal blood sugar would probably be a better thing. And I haven't felt sleepy. Except yesterday when I had a massive lunch. Which suggests that a FULL stomach decreases alertness.

I'll run out of Nacking rants soon.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pimples and acne in adult life

Pimples and acne in adult life are annoying because you tend to associate it with the teenage years. "I'm an adult already! Why am I still getting pimples!"

I think of mild acne in adult life as God's way of stopping me from going completely vain and putting security in my appearance (e.g. "if I had flawless skin, I would have an exciting life!"). That's what advertisers try to do - make you feel inadequate and then sell you a product to make up for the perceived inadequacy.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Why would anyone buy new? what I kept saying all holiday long, as we bounced from rubbish dump shop to vintage shop.

Relaxing at the Armidale tip shop. Great place to get a bike.

Well, there are definitely a lot of things you want to buy new. I'm sticking with new shoes, even if the vintage ones look cool, because I think standing in someone elses footprint feels creepy. But if you go to op shops and even tips, there are many useful bargains to be found. Country op shops are the BOMB, because the old ladies who run them don't realise how much things are worth these days and also they're a long way from the richest op-shoppers, ie, not the needy but rather the hipsters. The frugal holidaymaker can get quite a cheap haul from country town. This is a list of things I keep an eye out for either locally or as a tourist:

Kitchen stuff.
  • Pans, glassware, and anything else breakable that regularly need replacing. I'm not gonna buy new stuff just so my flatmate can burn the bottom of it or I'll drop it and break the handle off. But never coffee mugs. They multiply at home.
  • Vintage teacups, biscuit tins or anything cute AND useable.
  • Interesting cutlery, like old salad tongs.
Clothes, obviously...
  • Blouses and skirts are my main areas of success.
  • Pure wool jumpers.
  • Clothes with a brand you like. I snap up Colorado.
  • Bags and belts.

  • Usually not anything you want to treasure forever, but an enjoyable "holiday paperback", usually a mystery, I'll read then donate or lose along the way.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

No snacking update.

I'm really enjoying no snacking. Nacking for short. The things everyone says about eating every 3 hours or your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolism slows down seem to be a bit of a lie. Humans have survived fine without snacking for a long long time.

  • The desire to eat between meals has been reduced.
  • Hunger pangs, when they DO come—usually after I've walked to work or something that used up my breakfast energy—are just something I acknowledge and ignore until lunchtime. You don't starve to death in an hour.
  • Money saved by not buying nuts and biscuits.
  • NIGHT CRAVES GONE! I don't have that overpowering desire to gobble sweets after dinner anymore, I just eat a biscuit or two with some tea and that's it. This is unexpected and I don't know how it's related to nacking or if it even is related, but it's great. I'm less likely to eat after 8pm now, which is supposed to be good.
  • Teeth stay clean for longer than a couple of hours.
  • Overall calorie intake is probably lower, although I'm not counting. But the fact that I haven't eaten from the packet of bickies in my drawer for about 3 weeks is pretty good evidence.
If you are a snacker and try to stop, it is a significant physical and mental adjustment. Your body has to change the way it uses energy, and stop relying on constant sugar input. Your mind has to break the mental habits of boredom = food or whatever. It's been a positive experiment. Even on holidays I rarely snacked, because I just enjoy nacking now.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Messies and Cleanies.

One of the books in my parents bookshelf is The Messies Manual. It says that people naturally fall on a spectrum, 0 being a total chaotic Messy and 10 being an insufferable Cleanie. Messies and Cleanies. My mum admits to being a Messy. I'm a moderate Cleanie. If you're anywhere in the middle, it doesn't matter whether you're an M or a C, it's a basically a liveable land. If you are a 10C, you won't let people in your house because they'll mess it up. If you're a 0M, people can't get into your house because the mess covers all surfaces and probably blocks the front door. The 0M people get TV shows made about them. There aren't any TV shows for the 10C people, cos they are probably beyond help. But there are plenty of helpful books for the low M people or middle people who want to improve organisationally. Mum found the Messies Manual quite a relief actually, cos being born a Messie doesn't make you a failure, it's just the outworking of your personality*, and she's moved up a couple of notches on the scale over the years.

I've been slowly listening my way through another book, Unstuff Your Life, I got it on special from Audible. I don't really need the room-by-room decluttering guide but I've found the simple rules helpful, like A Place For Everything, or noticing the feeling of guilt and failure when you throw something useless away and remembering it when you are tempted to buy something useless.

Organisation is it's own reward. I'm really proud of that saying! I made it up. It motivates me to see organisation as a self-care thing, rather than a boring thing. I have gradually got more organised. It's taken years since I moved out of home to work out how much to own, and how to store it. I have regular declutter binges and improve a bit each time. I still have messy areas, the kitchen table and dresser are dumping grounds, and the bathroom is only ever passable, but I can sit on chairs, access books, cook conveniently, store all my clothes, find sewing stuff when I need it. It's like "this is the messy stationery drawer" (applied A Place For Everything), rather than "I'll put these sticky tapes in this handy drawer with some bank paperwork from last year and some iTunes cards and a gift bag I can reuse and my passport." All just things floating around randomly. Entropy is not a good system. (I made that up too!)

* I'm looking up different Myers Briggs types and how they relate to messiness. It might be to do with P/J. Ps would be more likely Messies and Js would be more likely Cleanies.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Obsessed with lemongrass.

I really want to grow lemongrass. This is the take-home application from my holiday… I really like tea made from ginger and lemongrass.

And mint.

I think these herbs are pretty hardy/weedy, so I could probably grow them in pots in my own kitchen which hasn't got ideal gardening conditions, and then I could have my own supply of fresh tea.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Why delayed gratification works better than denial when not snacking.


I want the ice cream.


But I want it.


It's in the freezer. I need to defrost the freezer soon. I should eat the ice cream.


But when? If not now, when?

I don't know.

I'm going to have to eat it eventually, I might as well eat it now.

Good point. Might as well.

(Evil smile).

Delayed gratification:

I want the chocolate.

Wait until lunch time. That's only two hours.


Now to the untrained eye it looks like both outcomes ultimately end in eating the food. But I think delayed gratification does cut the snacking because if I didn't delay eating the chocolate I would probably eat chocolate both then and AGAIN at lunchtime.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Big Brother and love.

I found myself watching Big Brother nominations last night. I don't know why. The housemates have a very TV understanding of love. They nominate someone because they don't get on with them or they are jealous of their popularity, and say "I love her, but she acts one way to some people and another way to other people. She exploits her emotions. But I really love her!" "I love him, but he's such a manipulator." "I love them, but they are too nice." Love was literally just lip service, the preface for nastyness, like saying "No offence but". And then I beheld all the fake horror and sympathy when the evictees were named. Well, der, you all just nominated them like 30 minutes ago. The only one I liked was someone who nominated some girls for not doing their cleaning. Yeah, that's what evictions are ACTUALLY about in the REAL world. Not "love".

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Why must they be pink?

I have four Japanese BB creams (two of them are the same brand). Why must the packaging be pink? What is it with the Japanese and pink packaging for BB creams?

Friday, September 13, 2013


I heard the end of a panel discussion on the ABC two nights ago. It seemed pretty good. A pro-con chat with talkback, relevant to the Australian context. I was home schooled, but I'm not great at summing up a pithy answer when people ask me what it was like and would I home school my hypothetical kids. If you wonder about home schooling, you can listen.

If that link didn't work it's here.

Also an article George found recently,, which seems to be in favour of self-directed learning.

Horses for courses. Whatever that means.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

One dessert a week rule

Jess loves rules and habits. I think habits are great, and rules are only good if they serve you in achieving goals (rather make you want to do the thing you're not supposed to).

I have a friend who lives at college and gets fed three meals a day plus snacks and dessert. He told me about his "one dessert a week" rule, to keep his diet healthy. I think this is great rule, especially for me. Even though I don't live at college, I do eat out a lot and I do like dessert. So this is a rule I'd be happy to implement. But often, there are treats and cakes at work, and some of those things are equivalent to dessert, so hmmoooooooo.

An alternative dessert rule is: all desserts must be shared, so that helps with spreading the richness of dessert.


Further to my sunscreen post... hats are excellent sun protection. No chemicals or nano-particles or products to remember to reapply on your face. Keep the sun/glare out of your eyes as well. Yes, I know, hat hair. But still, the advantages are considerable.

Here is a beautiful lady dressed for the Australian sun this week. Broad brimmed hat. She isn't worried about hat hair, obviously.

Personally I find hat-wearing easiest when it's a soft scrunchable hat that I can carry around in a bag. They don't look as nice as a what Angelina wears, but the convenience means I'm more likely to have it with me for the day and therefore wear it when I'm out in the sun, but I can take it off and stuff it in my bag when I'm on the bus or indoors. The parasol, as we have mentioned before, is an excellent way to prevent hat hair sans sunscreen, but it's just not convenient.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New acronym

I have a new acronym for life: NMP i.e. Not My Problem. It's not about not caring, but putting boundaries in life and realising that some problems are not yours to solve or fix. If I start to overthink things or get too involved, I remind myself: NMP.

The easy habit.

The most important thing about setting up a good habit isn't how wonderful the activity is, the wonderful exercise machine you're going to use for an hour a day. It is how easy it is. So the ideal exercise to do every day might be a 10km jog or something hardcore. The realistic exercise to do every day is probably something heaps less. You really want the bare minimum as your new habit, like 15 minutes of yoga before you have a shower (plug for the yoga studio app). Or 15 minutes walk around the block after dinner. Cos you can probably manage that, whereas 45 minutes of hard sweat is something you'll find an excuse to avoid, and the habit will die.

The other thing you might notice I've done there is ATTACH the habit you WANT to the habit you ALREADY have. So you don't have a shower until you've done yoga. The shower habit is already strong, you're just adding a step. It's only 15 minutes of yoga so it's not that hard to manage, and it isn't so much exercise as "prelude to a shower".

Habit's I've got are, whenever I need to wash my hair, I do Jillian first. Hair is half dirty so I might as well get a sweaty workout done and get value out of the hair-washing, and then be all clean for a couple of days. Also, with bible reading, I now use the Daily Reading Bible, which takes about 10 minutes so it's not hard, I find the questions really good, and I do it at lunch time because I need a break from screens and noise anyway. I used to scoff a bit at the idea of short devotionals when I could just read a chunk from the bible, but there is psychologically an advantage in having a short convenient reading.

The important thing is, sustaining it. When you start doing something, imagine yourself doing it for the rest of your life. Yeah, that's hard. So 10-15 minutes every day for the rest of your life works out heaps better than 45 minutes for two weeks.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The pessimist bachelorette: be prepared.

Yes, I'm watching The Bachelor, and I hate it, but I enjoy the shared experience of watching a TV show at the same time as other people and discussing it. That doesn't happen so much these day. I can't watch the trendy shows cos they aren't on free to air. I'm really enjoying Upper Middle Bogan and It's a Date, but I only know one person watching them. So segue The Bachelor into my singleness post. The thing in common is the odds of getting married, approx 25 to 1. Actually maybe those girls aren't so stupid after all because an exactly 1 in 25 chance of marriage to a handsome nice guy with a job is possibly better odds than in the real world.

Maybe I've always been a pessimist, or maybe I take a logical view of romantic things, but I've always prepared myself for singleness. I never assumed that I'd get married. I sort of hope I do, and I've generally admitted a slim chance, but I've made plans for my life based on the assumption of singleness. Apparently some girls (on The Bachelor and in cliche) plan their wedding in detail from girlhood. It's not that unusual to look around and all the adults you know are married so it's fair to assume you'll also get married, I know women like that, and maybe also they were more optimistic people than me, or they were more surrounded by potential husbands than I ever have been. I've had no boyfriends, and a number of dates I can count on one hand. Did I say hand? That's being generous. In these circumstances, assuming singleness is natural. But I'm possibly also just a gloomy pessimist. True, most people get married, but why ASSUME something you can't PLAN? You can't PLAN to meet someone at age 19 and marry at age 22 and have your first baby at 26, so what good is it to assume?

But even so, even if you're a really cute dainty fun girl surrounded by sensible yet amusing young men who ask you out, I think it's worth assuming singleness. Because you really don't know what is in your future, so make sure you're a well-rounded person with life skills and a savings account and a relationship with God. And then if you DO perchance get married, you'll have a bit more to bring to the relationship than your dream wedding. But if you don't, you'll be fine, and hopefully a little less disappointed. Things have worked out exactly as I expected so far.

Speaking of pessimism, on the weekend I mentioned that I assume singleness to some women from my church, and one of the married girls came up to me and said that she used to as well. Even when she was engaged she was pessimistic enough to keep her hopes checked a little bit in case her fiance changed his mind or died. So its probably a personality thing or an anxiety thing, as much as a wisdom thing. And they say that optimists are more likely to get what they want out of life. So don't listen to me! I shall assume I will have a four-poster bed one day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Breathing through nose.

I am now an OK nose-breather. It was a big adjustment, it was hard to deprive myself of oxygen at first, and I can't do it at night, but I've got days under control and my hanky/tissue use has dropped 80%. I've been breathing through my nose all day, including when I walked to work and haven't used a single tissue, which is pretty unheard of, I'm famous for my nose-blowing at work. So if you are a sniffly person, it's worth trying.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jane Eyre quote for resisting temptation.

There is baking in the office today. Fresh cinnamon scrolls and herman sourdough rolls. Temptation to snack! normally I would pounce. But now I have to wait until lunchtime. I am reminded of the quote from Jane Eyre that Emma Thornett used in her singleness Briefing article.
“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation; they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? … Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by; there I plant my foot.”
There you go.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Why I don't need Twitter.

I have Elsie, my own private Twitter account. Any time a tiny thought pops in my head and I want to tell someone, I usually send it to Elsie.

To: Elsie
Subject: nails

I painted my nails pearly pink.  I normally like it but meh. It's highlighting all my xma damage bumps. I need to go back to a strong colour before engage.

To: Jess
Re: nails

LOL, I love this about you. That's how I think about lipstick. But at least you can wear a strong nail colour at Engage - a strong lip colour is just a bit woah for Engage.

To: Elsie
Subject: Re: nails

That's why I like emailing you! Obsessive details are nor
mal to you. Actually I think I'll take my stuff up there and do them on Saturday. I'll have more time.

What an insight into the daily unblogged life of Jelssie. Twitter isn't really missing out on anything.

Monday, September 2, 2013


I'm a swinging voter. I've swung about 4 times since the election started. And I'm in a marginal seat now so it actually matters! Woohoo!

I always decide on the day, and then walk in and realise there are TWO pieces of paper darnit, the little easy one I just decided and the big other confusing one that I always fluff. This time, however, I have gone to like a nerd and cleared up that big confusing sheet. I've made that decision in advance for the first time EVER! The little groups are very interesting. I feel so responsible.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sunscreen for summer.

I have to rave about fruitybeauty. Elsie put me onto it. This is a useful and amusing beauty blog. Now, I am not a high-maintenance beauty person. I have makeup, I wear it occasionally, but on the beauty spectrum I'm pretty much down the end that wears lip balm, sunscreen and moisturiser, washes hair every second or third day, and that's about it. So fruitybeauty is for me. She talks about products like BB cream and foundation, which doesn't go over my head, but she spends as much time talking about actually useful things like what makes a good lip balm and how to get maximum days out of washing your hair. These things have changed my life. Also, by happy coincidence I'm pretty much the same hair type as her and have the same skin problems, so following her rules actually works for me and has made my life easier. And it is great to hear someone talk about pigmentation. Oh how I hate pigmentation.

I'm plugging this because we're going into summer and she's written a helpful post on sunscreen. I think sunscreen and moisturiser are the only anti-aging products that work. Especially sunscreen. This is a true fact. So I reckon it's worth spending money on a sunscreen that works and which doesn't feel gross on your face so that you wear it every day. Also, your face is a fairly small surface area so a small bottle will last a long long time.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why I like my rules.

Rules make life easier. If I have rules, I don't have to spend as much brainpower evaluating every situation. Cos decisions are hard. Having a rule for a situation doesn't mean that I can never vary my behaviour, but I have a default I stick to.

So I have a rule that I never buy lunch at work. I sometimes buy lunch, when I eat with my colleagues, or there is something new to try, but it's pretty rare. My default is to bring lunch.

And I have a "bedtime". And when it's about that time I go to bed. I don't go to bed when I've finished watching TV, or when I feel tired, or any other arbitrary thing, a different time each night and a specific decision each night. My default is, bedtime. No discipline or thought required.

So that's how I see rules. I'm free to do what I want, eat what I want, go to bed what I want, but all that choice is exhausting. A good habit is a huge relief. And rules help me prop my behaviour until good habits are set.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Update: Stopping Snacking.

I'm still obsessed with this.

So basically I'm eating the food I normally eat, but I've shifted it to mealtimes only. Which doesn't sound that radical, cos still eating M&Ms is still being unhealthy. It's not really a "diet", as such. Which is fine, I'm not looking for a "diet", I want to challenge my eating habits. So M&Ms at lunchtime. However. Something happens when you eat snack foods only with your meals instead of when you get bored/hungry at 9.30 am. The meal has already filled you up, so you don't eat M&Ms like a pig who has just been given a trough full of M&Ms. You just eat a dainty number, and then go and clean your teeth and that's it.

Last Monday, first official day, was a little unsuccessful, because after I scooted to work I didn't eat enough for lunch, which meant I was calorie deficient and I got seriously hungry in mid afternoon, so I ate almonds. Cos the aim isn't to starve in between meals. The next day I counted calories to make sure I ate enough for lunch. I haven't had hunger problems at all today. My body is used to it.

I've switched boredom eating into boredom drinking. Like tea. I also got Miso soup sachets. Technically probably a food, but I think of it as salty tea.

Anyway, it's been really good. I prefer not-snacking to snacking. I snacked heavily on the weekend and I'm glad to be back at work in no-snack land.

Envelope recycling.

Work had a pile of C5 envelopes to get rid of. I took them and thought I'd spend a day thinking about what I could use them for. If nothing comes to mind, I'll bin them. I have thought of something! Sandwich bags. Paper sandwich bags. Instead of gladwrap. I have to trial one.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Subject: Dishwasher announcement!

(This is an email I sent to some of my colleagues today. I feel so much better after making this decision. So many annoyances are now outside of my area of responsibility!)

Hello! Relax, this is not a rant, you can all go on using the dishwasher as you were before.

I am no longer going to use the dishwasher. I will not

1) put things in the dishwasher,
2) turn the dishwasher on,
3) empty the dishwasher, or
4) handwash everything the dishwasher didn't clean (which is now happening every day).

I am going to go back to the pre-dishwasher days and I will wash and dry my own cup and plate and put them away.

Just letting you all know. Dishwasher Club no longer includes me. As you were.


(I really don't like the dishwasher. I don't like any part of it. Grovelling inside it amongst the stinky old coffee cups, unpacking it, trying to solve the mystery of why things come out completely dirty. It constantly undermines my tranquility and godliness. And then I realised that I don't HAVE to use it. Why is the obvious solution sometimes the hardest to see?)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bank accounts.

So I'm going to be supremely boring and talk about banking. Actually, money is one of my favourite topics, I'm just shy.

Due to my own triplicate stupidity* earlier this year I went a week without any access to my money and then another 3 weeks without a PIN for cash withdrawals. That was a really inconvenient month. I cancel my card about every 18 months and during that time I'm always kicking myself for only having one accessible bank account, because when that's unaccessible I'm totally stuck. And then I forget about it. I just hate having more than 3 cards in my wallet—ID, Visa, medicare.

Last week one of the Spotify ads for ING finally sunk in. You get 5% back on all paywave transactions <$100 for 6 months. I use paywave! I love it. So it sounds like easy money to me. That's finally the incentive I needed to open another bank account.

I've also overcome my hatred of cards and signed up for Flybuys. This is a big ideological breakdown for me. Of all cards, loyalty cards like this annoy me the most. They track your spending and clog your wallet. But I'm going to try and make money out of it. We'll see.

Here is my new card. I opened the account on Friday and it came on Wednesday and I used it at the chemist today.

Look! I've cut the barcode off my temporary paper flybuys card and taped it to the back of my new card. So I don't have THAT piece of plastic in my wallet!

* (First stupid thing: I like to keep my wallet slim, and minimise the number of cards I have, so I only have one card to access money. Second stupid thing: I stuck my only card into an ATM one night and it didn't suck in, so instead of taking a step to the left and trying the other ATM, I kept pushing my card in, and then when it was all the way inside but nothing was happening on the screen I got my drivers license out and stuck that in the crack to give it an extra deep poke. That ATM broke. I had to cancel the card. And due to the first stupid thing I had zero access to my money. Third stupid thing, I then destroyed my new PIN before I memorised it accurately. That cost $10 for a replacement PIN and another new card.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


This guy is like me. Except instead of calling things "challenges" he calls them "everyday systems". And instead of doing something for a while he seems to sustain it. So we are quite different I guess.

I like old things.

I just always have. Maybe because I read a lot of books set in long ago places, I like things that look like they are from long ago places. I like things that have a history. I also like the look of them and the make of them. Made from wood, rather than plastic, say.

I noticed, the last time I caught the bus from the east to the inner west, a whole heap of new vintage shops. A HEAP of them. And they seem to have fairly ordinary things in them. Not fancy antique polished hall stands, more like beaten-up kitchen tables and old suitcases and wooden crates and random industrial things. I thought how interesting it is that all the old stuff from the houses of my grandparent's generation are now being expensively traded up to inner-city young people. Example: a photo I took of my grandparent's back verandah (recording it for posterity). Arrows to all the things worth money in Alexandria or Newtown.

If you chart the value ($$$ and desirability) of an object over time it's basically a U-curve.

It starts out expensive and new, and the owner is proud of it. Then it gets a bit dated but it's still good and the owner doesn't really think about it one way or another… the value declines. Then it starts to get a bit embarrassing. Maybe it goes to a room in the back of the house, or it gets given to the kids when they move out. Then it hits the bottom of the chart, it has no monetary value at all, it's ugly and worn out and it probably goes to Vinnies or the dump or just sits forgotten somewhere. Then all of a sudden, it's retro! The value swoops back up the chart and it's worth money and people who buy it are proud of it because they had something just like it when they were a kid. I'm looking at YOU, cyclops scooter for $750. I put the turnaround at the 30-year mark. Which means junk from the early 80s is now worth not throwing out. But who knows.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Stopping Snacking.

Last week I decided to stop snacking. I read something about the fasting fad and I thought "hmm, maybe I don't need to put food into my stomach every couple of hours". Snacking is just a normal part of modern life but not so common in past generations. So I'm going to eat 3 meals a day but no snacks. And turns out that's not an original thought (I don't think it's possible to have an original thought about food, it's such an anxious topic in our society). "No pleasure is denied, just unobtrusively delayed and contained. Served up on the platter of limited opportunity, each pleasure becomes even more enjoyable than it was before." I like that. But I mainly like the simplicity. So I want to just have 3 meals a day. It's going to be better for my teeth as well, cos after each meal I'll clean my teeth and then that's it for the next 6 hours. Although I do still want to have fruit and I haven't decided whether to not count fruit as a snack or be consistent and incorporate it into meals. I'll aim for the meal thing I think.

Every challenge needs an end so that you can opt out without shame, so I'm working on this challenge until the end of the month. If I'm too hungry in between meals, I'll snack again next month.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Ben appearing

Jelssie has long been fans of Vanishing Point but neither of us have had the opportunity to meet the illustrious author and illustrator, Ben McLaughlin. Until now. Until today. You see, Ben and I work in the same neck of the woods and one of his colleagues is a friend of mine and today! today! I met Ben randomly at the local pub!

So dear Ben, the big question Jessica wants to know is: were you as excited to meet me???

Diary bought.

Me, with my new 2014 diary and a lot of trepidation.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My best year yet???????????

So I think I want this diary, it's just the right size and has the layout I want, but I find "My Best Year Yet" deeply disturbing. Deeply, deeply, disturbingly disturbing. I am not joking about this, I've literally written a list of things that could make a year really really good, but I'm not optimistic about the reality of them happening. On the other hand, someone could die, and that that would be the worst thing to happen. I want to hope for the best, but I don't want to be taunted by this hope if I end up with the worst or the meh. THIS IS ALL THE ANGST OF TURNING #) THAT I WAS WORRIED ABOUT. #) is 30 in caps lock. I probably should buy this diary after all the emotional effort I've already invested in it. Why is my life so hard.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Diary indecision.

The Kikki K email came today announcing that 2014 diaries are instore. I rushed off at lunchtime to look at them. I spent 20 minutes agonising with 3 different sales women, and finally decided to go away and think about it. Diary-buying is one of the most difficult purchases, every year. I like the paper at KK. And the fonts. I like A6, week to a spread. But after that it gets hard. One style has an elastic, but it has lines to write on and costs $5 more. Another style has nice spaces to write in, but no elastic, and too many cutesy pictures of cherries and ice-creams. Another style is cloth-bound and has nice writing spaces, it's almost my favourite, but the front cover says "2014 My Best Year Yet", which just feels like a lot to live up to, a lot of pressure on me. It'll be a sad joke if it turns out to be a mediocre or worse year. What to do!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Frugal tip: rag bag.

When something cotton wears out, ie a towel, a piece of clothing, or a sheet, don't throw it in the bin. Chop or tear it up into hanky-sized squares and keep them in a bag or box. Obviously, then, you can use them for cleaning. We haven't bought paper towels for the kitchen for ages, because we just use these scraps of cotton for cleaning the sandwich press and everything. They're disposable single-use cleaning cloths, for free!

The other thing I've just discovered is that when you are sick, this giant supply of old cotton squares serves as free giant stash of disposable hankies, saving you from buying tissues or washing a pile of gross hankies.

Monday, August 12, 2013


My mum is so lovely and thoughtful. It was sunny yesterday and I'd been out all day in nothing more than a t-shirt and flimsy cardigan. But it turned chilly in the afternoon and I was feeling the cold.

I'd come straight out of evening church and we were making plans for dinner on the phone. She had a hunch that I wouldn't have time to pop home to grab a jacket. "Are you cold?" she asked. "Do you want me to bring a coat for you?"

"Yes, I'm cold! Yes I'd love a coat!"

My mum is the best :) She knows me too well.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ugly furniture.

Frugal decorating tip!

There is plenty of old furniture for free or for very cheap. I get minutes of joy from standing in my loungeroom and pointing at everything and saying "free, op shop, op shop, free, free, op shop, free, free, free, free." Free usually depends on luck: like driving past a hard rubbish pile, or knowing someone getting rid of stuff when they leave town. Cheap means you know a good op shop and check regularly, or you can access a trailer and can collect things off Ebay or Gumtree.

The hazard of frugality, however, is ugliness. That's usually why nobody else wants it. They are replacing 90s pine with IKEA, for example. Or getting rid of something they bought while at uni. But you don't HAVE to keep the 90s pine look. It can be cunningly disguised!

Example of actual cheap bookshelf on Gumtree

Think about how much work you are willing to put in. Stripping and sanding pine so that you can revarnish it, for example, is hard work. I've done it. Do that if you REALLY care about having a nice wood finish or matching it to an existing piece of furniture. It's really hard to match wood, though. I totally failed. But it still looks nice.

But the fastest and easiest way is to just paint it white. My bookshelves, which were free by the way, started out as 1 raw pine book shelf and 2 matching dirty white particle-board office bookshelves. 1 tin of paint made 3 clean white bookshelves. It just takes one or two messy weekends. Flatmate and I took turns doing coats.

You don't have to do boring white, you could do something distressed, or coloured on the inside. But simplicity always looks nice. Plenty of ideas on the internet if you're clever.

Be aware that a lot of furniture isn't solid wood or wood-product, it's chipboard with plastic laminate. Stuff like IKEA Expedit or Billy. It is possible to paint laminate, with the right surface prep products. Maybe it's worth it, but I don't bother with it. But if it's wood you pretty much give it a quick sand and just slap paint on it.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Jelssievision episode 3!

 This episode features some introductions, because the 3rd episode isn't too late to introduce ourselves. We assumed all the viewers were our friends, forgetting that a) not all our friends are mutual and b) Bec tweets the videos so some viewers know neither of us. So here we are. Us.

Speaking of Bec, she does such a fabulous job. I go away from a fun brunch with Elsie and the camera feeling all stupid about all the stupid things I said which I've already forgotten, and thinking this will be a dull stupid episode, and then a week later she has magically cut out all the chewing and the boring bits so it's 10 minutes of jelssie goldish. Gold-panning, or sieving, you might say. This is really her idea and her project, Elsie and I just two opinionated gals who don't mind eating on camera. So thanks Bec. This is a match made in heaven.

Back to episode 3.
  • What is the definition of toast? 
  • Are strawberries as great as everyone thinks? 
  • What are the limits of friendship? 
  • Is there one perfect beauty routine? 
  • How is Elsie similar to a Tim Tam but not a Gaiety? 
  • What are the dangers of napkin etiquette? 
  • How much money COULD you make from an avocado tree? 
  • With bonus Jess!


Jelssievision episode 3 from Bec Jee on Vimeo.

Single anthems

A conversation between me and Jess:

E: Do you know John Mayer’s song Perfectly Lonely? It’s my singles anthem.

J: I don't know it. Actually it sounds a bit familiar (spotify hooray!) My singles anthem is The Carpenters' Goodbye to Love. It's very melodramatic. Not as cool. Yours is good.

E: You’d think Single Ladies by Beyonce would be an obvious one, but I think our choices reflect our personalities and musical preferences.

The lyrics I love from Perfectly Lonely are:

Nothing to do
Nowhere to be
A simple little kind of free
Nothing to do
No one but me
And that's all I need

I'm perfectly lonely
I'm perfectly lonely
I'm perfectly lonely (Yeah)
'Cause I don't belong to anyone
Nobody belongs to me 

Edit from Jess:
Here is my song! How awesome is this karaoke version. All the lyrics you need. But here's the first verse to give you a taster.

I'll say goodbye to love. 
No one every cared if I should live or die.
Time and time again the chance for love has passed me by
and all I know of love is how to live without it
I just can't seem to find it.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Snacks at work.

I'm a big fan of snacks at work. I have a banana, some almonds, maybe a biscuit or 2, each day. Sometimes there's chocolate or muffins or something in the kitchen to share, but when there hasn't been junk food for a while I get a bit bored of banana, almonds, biscuit. And of course cups of tea.

I've added Miso soup to the mix. Cheap, compact, easy to make, salty broth. Sachets are in the Asian section of the supermarket. Add boiling water. Tasty savoury alternative to tea and biscuits.

DIY ugboot refurbish.

The sad thing about old ugboots is that the wool on the inner sole wears out but the top of the foot and ankle are still thick and fluffy. Your feet are no longer cushioned by delightful fleece, they are simply standing on a balding foam sole. But you still have warm ankles. It is really a waste to buy new ugboots just for the sole.

You can actually buy new sheepskin inner soles. I've seen them at that sheepskin shop on the side of the highway in the blue mountains. Which gave me an idea. I can be frugal, and cut up some old ugboots to make my own sets of inner soles for my newer ugboots!

I finally got to do that this week. I've been keeping my old ugboots for years, waiting for the moment of need. Their time has come!

I made a template by drawing around new ugboot sole. I then drew a line inside it a bit smaller so that it would fit inside. (I just fished a cereal box out of the recycling for my template material.)

Then I cut the sole off my old ugboot. Sheepskin is a bit hard to cut, I suggest doing little snips through just the skin, not through the wool as well. The wool pulls apart once you've snipped through the skin.

Drew around my template on one side of the boot, using a texta.

Then I flipped the template over and drew around it on the other side of the boot. You have to flip the template over so that you get a left and a right foot.

Here they are! They are a perfect fit and my feet are happy.

Not much left over from the old boot. I'll cut a spare pair from the other boot and put them away somewhere for when I need to replace again. If you have a family of ugboot wearers, you could do this all the time and share out new inner soles whenever a pair gets holes in it.