Link love (the TMI edition)

So far, Project Me First (2016) is going well.

I find it fascinating – from a dispassionate, observational perspective – to see the effects of stress ebb and flow, manifesting physically. Eczema, fatigue, the crimson tide … they’re a surprisingly reliable barometer. (I’d also bet my blood pressure has been on a wild rollercoaster, not unlike the stock markets.)

This week’s links

Control and codependency – on struggle in relationships

You can’t read/watch/do everything

Lies my anxiety told me

You’re an impostor but so am I

Beating the employment blues

Taking a sabbatical – the best call ever

Kesha and feminism

Luck vs smarts

The price of politeness

Questions to ask before changing careers

Living off the grid

Travelling while married

I still don’t get contouring…

What’s your price?

The best money I’ve spent lately

Bliss - calming sunset

I’ve got half a rambly post brewing about how much I love money and how much better it makes life. But you’ll probably get the idea if I just tell you about the best things I’ve bought in the last few months.

New bras

I’ve seriously had a total awakening on this front (look out for a whole post on this in the future)!

Electric toothbrush

Game changer. Life changer. My mouth is so much happier.

Decent shoes

My feet are just too damn sweaty for synthetics.

Link love (the gluttony edition)

NZ Muse Link love

It’s been far, far too long since I wrote about food. It may be some time longer, but for now i must share a few new finds:

Kampung Style, Glen Eden
– good homey Malaysian food, up on the train station platform

Divino, Parnell – a humble cafe/restaurant with surprisingly great Italian dishes (thanks to the blog commenter who recommended it!)

Baduzzi, Wynyard Quarter – crayfish meatballs – that is all.

This week’s links

The Toast’s Mallory Ortberg talks about money!

How to actually wear everything in your closet

Planning your career for babies

When you don’t want to stay home with kids

Do good work and the money will come – if you have enough followers

The one thing ruining your relationship

Freedom from frugality

Life is short, etc

And a few highlights from this great Dear Artist linkup:

Vocation =/= exploitation

It’s not the struggle that’s interesting

Creativity is your greatest asset

Forgiveness is a funny beast

Snowy plants close up in field

Recent events have brought me closer to and further from various people in my life.

It’s gotten me thinking a lot about forgiveness.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve known the power of words. I can barely recall a time before I could read and write.

It’s strange, the things – actions and words alike – that I never thought I’d forgive. But looking over my shoulder, I realise that somewhere along the way, I did. It wasn’t a conscious choice.

And conversely, there’s the words that have actually stuck with me for decades and that I don’t think I’ll ever let go of. The funny thing is, I don’t think the people in question realise what impact those throwaway comments had. That’s why I’m so careful about what I say (and write).

Then there’s the things we say in emotional moments that are actually quite manipulative or malicious. We are all flawed, but it’s deeply disappointing  to see this in those closest to us.

Words matter.

While actions do speak a million louder than words, for me it’s words that actually stick in my memory, that have lasting impact, and will refer back to when the actions start to fade from memory.

There’s a lot of things I need to start to forgive and let go of, before they eat away at me.

Or failing that, in the words of Emily Yoffe, I must accept them and move on.

Link love (powered by sun and sweat)

I may be the only person in Auckland enjoying this current heat wave. (Yeah, 30 degrees is scorching for us.) This weather was made for:

  • beach trips (except to Mission Bay, since the sand is annoyingly shelly and I spotted a condom in the water last time I was there. WEST IS BEST)
  • homemade punch (sheer deliciousness, and sneaky fruit intake is a bonus)
  • movies (I have greatly enjoyed The Big Short, The Good Dinosaur and The Force Awakens)
  • fun, frothy books (latest: Walking on Trampolines and Out to Lunch)

This week’s links

Everything is fine

Our worst gigs ever

Career off-roading

I’m a disgusting sleeper

Will I ever feel financially secure?

When we’re not on the same page about money

Career conversations we should be having

Money and happiness

Be more successful: stop believing things are permanent

The post I wish I’d read about earning more

Daydreams and wanderlust

Wanderlust (or bust)

I’ve been finding myself daydreaming a lot about escaping to the other side of the world – the Americas in particular.

There’s the Galapagos Islands, with their incredible wildlife.

There’s Bolivia, with its otherworldly, eerie salt flats.

There’s Cuba, with intensely colourful architecture and history in Havana and beyond.

But I think it might be North America I especially want to return to. There have been so many great deals on flights of late and they’re bound to get better – Air NZ now flies to the south as well (Houston) and American Airlines is due to enter the fray this year. I’d love to do another road trip across the US. Returning to New York, of course, to explore more boroughs and gorge on deli sandwiches. Heading down through the southeast, and then zigging up to the Pacific Northwest to see Portland, Seattle, maybe even up to Vancouver. (Yeah, it’d be a loooong leisurely trip.)

At least dreams are free.

What travel destinations are you dreaming of lately?

When life gives you lemons, buy lipstick

When life gives you lemons, buy lipstick
By: Filter Forge

Have we decided if the ‘lipstick index’ is for real, or not? (That’s the idea that people keep splurging on lipstick in times of recession – little luxuries, yo.)

Well, on a micro level at least, it’s certainly rung true for me of late. I literally never buy makeup except to replace the one lippy I wear. My annual beauty budget is probably under $200, including skincare and haircuts. But some months ago I got a weird fixation with finding this particular shade that I was absolutely convinced I needed in my life. Sort of a dark vampy red, with maybe a bit of a plum/berry twist. Along the lines of Mac Diva, for those who care.

I spent hours online in the name of research, and far too long in stores lurking around counters and fiddling with the testers. Once, a strange man even peered over my shoulder just after I stepped out of a shop – I had probably close to a dozen swatches smeared on the back of my hand and was eyeing them up in the natural light – and hissed ‘they all look the same!’

I wound up buying probably around four (that’s a massive spree for me) and now I actually wear different colours on different days, sometimes. Crazy.

And at the same time, I dug out some stuff that had been sitting around forever (throwbacks to my days of magazine freebies) like amazing pore-blurring primer powder and electric blue eyeliner (turns out to be a nice pop when you have hooded lids, or in my case, one normal and one hooded). For the first time in probably 15 years I started spending downtime at home playing with makeup for no reason other than I wanted to, even watching YouTube tutorials and stalking beauty reddits.

Related, and possibly also a  reaction to the whole forced austerity thing, I’ve almost grown a little bit of a shopping addiction – at least by my normal standards. I haven’t bought much – a dress here, a pair of pants there – but I can definitely now understand how people might get out of hand.

I think this probably stems from a deep-seated need for control. Not having it in other areas of my life, having my sphere of influence drastically reduced, has manifested itself in a new obsession with my appearance.

I’ll never ever be the kind of person who puts on a full face every day. (Or any day. My wedding being the one exception, and that wasn’t by my own hand…). Yet there’s something weirdly calming about being alone in front of a mirror, going through the ritual of making yourself feel a little more beautiful.

Travel on the cheap

Auckland cruise
By: Aah-Yeah

Self-employment has never really held any allure for me. But when great last minute travel deals pop up on my Twitter feed or email inbox, I gotta admit, I feel a bit of envy…

My office happens to be in an amazing heritage building, all wooden floors, exposed beams on the ceilings, raw stripped walls. There’s massive windows with a view straight across the road to the sparkling harbour – and the spot where cruise ships pull in every few days.

Going on a cruise isn’t at the top of my bucket list but it’s definitely something I want to experience once in my life. Where, exactly, I’m not sure. There are definitely lots of deals out there, like from Planet Cruise, and I often see pretty sharp prices on short cruises over to east coast Australia from Auckland. (Maybe a cruise calls for somewhere more exotic, though?)

I may not have the flexibility to take advantage of most last-minute travel deals, but here’s a few ways I do save on travel that I’ve picked up over the past few years.

Free entry days are your friend

Admittedly I’m not much of a culture vulture, so saving money on museum entry makes me very happy. Lots of museums have free or discounted visiting hours. Being under 26 and in Paris on a Friday evening meant we got into the Louvre for nothing!

Mid-week flights are your friend

Flying on, say, a Tuesday, usually makes a significant difference in price. And don’t forget to clear your cache when searching for flights, or use an incognito window.

Slow travel is your friend

Some trips do lend themselves to cramming a lot in, but rushing around too much is both stressful and expensive. Seriously.

Link love (the keeping busy edition)

NZ Muse link love

So much is going on right now, I don’t even know where to start! It’s probably easier just to wait till some things start to fall into place. In the meantime, highlights of my summer break included seeing dolphins randomly at the beach, and wild pigs in the bush. And as of this week, active relaxation seems to be a good addition to the sanity arsenal.

This week’s links

A manifesto for 2016

A year for rebuilding

7 perks money buys you

The perfect life triangle

Giving long terms goals the middle finger

Quote of the week – this hit me like a ton of bricks. “Love was not enough on its own, nor could it conquer all. It was something that could be corroded by numbers in a bank account.”