Adventures in the kitchen: Mexican madness

mexican food Even before we left to travel, I knew we were missing out on good Mexican food here. Mexican Cafe and Mexicali Fresh? Blah. Mexican Specialities also underwhelmed us. Ahsi Itzcali closed down awhile ago. There are plenty of trendy new-ish Mexican restaurants in town, many of which I’ve tried and been impressed by, but they’re all at the gourmet end of the market. I just want a simple big plate of rice, refried beans, salad and a burrito. That ain’t gonna happen here, though. (Those closest we’ve gotten to scratching that itch, if you’re interested, is with the burritos at new chain Mad Mex.)

Seriously, if anyone is keen to move to Auckland and start a humble Mexican neighbourhood joint (nothing fancy; a beans’n’rice type place, as a worldly acquaintance of mine puts it) you would have no competition. Would the margins work? I dunno; the hospitality business is a lean, tough one. But T and I would be your most loyal customers and I’d take it upon myself to spread the gospel and convert newbies.

Anyway, in the meantime I’ve been forced to try to learn to make good Mexican at home. I’ve found pinto beans at East West Organics, around the corner from my house (they also sell other interesting things I’ve read about online but never seen in shops here, like steel cut oats). Alas, they are permanently out of stock of dried pinto beans, though at least they always have canned ones.

But try as I may to make my own refried beans I can’t seem to get the flavour right (we’ve been experimenting with the likes of garlic, lemon, chili, cumin). The best version we had included copious amounts of salt and three grated cloves of garlic. How do I season them properly? What spices do you use?

(I could just buy premade refried beans but simply refuse to pay $4.50/$5 for a can of refried beans when plain pinto beans are at least $1 cheaper.)


Winter is coming…. Dreaming of a tropical birthday getaway

I’ve been lucky to have spent my last three birthdays abroad. Rarotonga, 2011. Sydney, 2012. Prague, 2013.

Alas, that streak eventually had to end. Seeing as I managed to skip winter entirely last year, I’m finding it abysmally cold  right now (by Auckland standards, obviously) and it’s not helped by the fact our little house has the chililest tiled floors ever known to man.

So here I am, dreaming of tropical island escapes.

Maldives water bungalow
By: Sarah_Ackerman

A water bungalow in the Maldives, maybe?

Vanuatu Eruption
By: U.S. Geological Survey

Getting close to the action at Mt Yasur, Vanuatu

By: Philippe AMIOT

Or some French flavour in New Caledonia.

And of course, Niue is still on my bucket list. I’ll never forget the look the travel agent gave me when I first enquired about Pacific Island holidays back in 2011. “Niue is very … natural,” he said, appearing to dampen what might have been a smirk. Fine by me.

It’s just over one month till my birthday. I have no idea what I’ll be doing, so universe, I’m open to options!

Finding your work style: A little self-awareness goes a long way

disc - your work and communication style

One neat thing about my current workplace is that there’s a focus on career development, learning, that kind of thing. On day four I attended a workshop on personal development and training opportunities, and in the second week my team had a group workshop based around figuring out our different communication styles and ways to collaborate better.

I’m an ISFJ. While that’s been interesting and vaguely helpful in relation to my personal life, it really hasn’t shed much light for me professionally. But now I have another lens to look through for that.

For this workshop, we used the DiSC model, which is a workplace-focused assessment. The four pillars are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientiousness. Turns out my preferred communication style/work style is of course, a near perfect blend of two.

I’m an SC, which roots me in the steady, and perhaps more importantly, sociable quadrant.

That’s not because I’m a typical outgoing people person (far from it, I’m decidedly not gregarious at all) but because I’m sensitive to other people’s needs, feelings and vibes. I’m diplomatic, often struggle to say no and hate conflict. Quite literally, it gives me the sweats and a stomachache. And while I don’t like to admit it, I do want to be liked. I get little pangs when I observe people at work who effortlessly chat to anyone and everyone, who have friends all through the office, who stop by other people’s desks to chat throughout the day; a little bit of me wishes I could be a warm, universally loved person too.

But like the Force, the C side is strong in me. I’m basically on the cusp of the two quadrants. Work is work. I do mostly enjoy the basic level of required social contact; at times I even appreciate the small talk. But overall when I’m at work I want to get on with the job, and I’m greatly frustrated by incompetence and inefficiency. My working style is just as much about achieving end results as it is about attempting to ensure harmony.

I am happiest behind the scenes. I’ve always thought that my personality is better suited to something totally hidden away in the back room – apparently there are a lot of Cs in finance, strategy, etc. I have some pretty deep seated perfectionist tendencies. However, working in online, I embrace the ‘done is better than perfect’ philosophy and kick ass at getting stuff out the (figurative) door, fast.

Ideally, though? I need time to think about and absorb things – to have reports and presentations and notes emailed to me to study before a meeting – and that’s one of the biggest things I took away from the day. That some of us don’t like being forced to make snap decisions in a meeting, and want to weigh all our options based on as much evidence as we can get.  A quiet comment was made about how another individual with a similar profile to mine tends to go a bit ‘blank’ when initially presented with issues, and whoa did that ring true for me. T feeds this back to me all the time and I’ve become a lot more aware of how cold and expressionless I can come across as.

That said, when it comes to our relationship I’m definitely the default D. When it comes to running the household and our personal affairs my type A comes out. Two equally chilled out people, in my mind, is recipe for domestic disaster, so I compensate.

Are your personal and work personas the same?

Link love (Powered by chores and big books)

nzmuse blog link love

It’s funny how rapidly one’s reading habits can swing from one extreme to another. A couple of years ago I suddenly lost all desire to read YA and cheesy chick lit, and delved deep into literary fiction.

And then I finally got around to reading John Green. And I couldn’t get enough of him. Now I’m back on the YA trail with a vengeance (and since I may soon be getting into mentoring a high school kid, it’s probably good timing). Alas, I think Gus has been miscast in The Fault in Our Stars; he looks nothing like what I expected, and now I’m not so sure I want to see the film.

This week brought some record low temperatures to Auckland; it almost makes me nostalgic for the punishing heat and dust of Cambodia - if it weren’t for the fact that country broke my heart and I could frankly never bear to return.

 Onto the links…

A prime example of the madness that is our housing market (I’m only hard on you because I know you can do better, Auckland!)

I must confess I never knew much about Maya Angelou and I have no time for poetry, but this is a beautiful piece of writing

Trust me, this post about coping in dying industries is not what you expect. (Think … mugging, instead.) Just click the damn link!

An unusually contemplative post over at Get Rich Slowly ponders the different ways that we dream

It’s doubtful I will ever get to this level of investing savvy, but here’s a cautionary read on the risks of investing in different currencies than your own (obviously relevant to us here in NZ)

A poignant take on the drudgery that makes up adult life and living the hell out of it

Lastly, the deadliness of misogyny is hot right now. Here are three of my favourite takes on the topic:

Shamed to death for saying yes to sex, murdered for saying no

If you have sex, you won’t be respected, but if you don’t have sex, you still won’t be respected. It’s an impossible paradox. This week, that paradox became deadly. This week women have died for saying yes to sex. And women have died for saying no.

Your princess is in another castle

Men are taught that women are things to “earn,” to “win.” That if we try hard enough and persist long enough, we’ll get the girl in the end.

Our sexual assault problem is … not easily solved by a hashtag

We want men to be sensitive, but when they are, we make fun of them for being soft and “crying like a girl.” When a man chases us down the street and we’re attracted to him, it’s sweet. When a man chases us down the street and we’re not attracted to him, it’s harassment….

Mothers and fathers put much less of a box around girls. They are encouraged to use their imagination — if they want Legos, their parents are not worried about what it means; they simply give her Legos. God forbid, a little boy wants to play with a Barbie — most parents are not evolved enough to see that just because their boy wants to play with a Barbie does not mean he’s anything except curious and imaginative, as children are wont to be. However, this suppression of natural urges is struck down very early on, from how they should play to how they should act to how they should talk to how they are supposed to present themselves to the world.

(I have a few mixed feelings on this one but overall found it thought provoking.)



A mini Auckland food tour, my way

nzmuse auckland food tour

I’ve had the pleasure of some pretty mouthwatering meals over the past few weeks. That got me thinking – where would I take you out to eat if you were visiting me (assuming, of course, we share similar tastes)?

The frugal food tour

Breakfast: Muzza’s Piesbecause pies are awesome and Muzza’s is the real deal.

Lunch: Dominion Rd for delicious Asian food – whether it’s silken noodles at Shaolin Kung Fu, spicy pork mince dan dan noodles at Eden Noodle, dumplings at Barilla/New Flavour, or something else. There is no shortage of mouthwatering choice.

Dinner: Burger Burger – the best damn burgers I’ve ever had in my life. Bun, patty, vegetables, cheese, sauce – every ingredient is pitch-perfect and together create a completely scrumptious symphony in your mouth.

 The fancier food tour

Breakfast: Parnell French market - goodies of your choice.

Lunch: Seafood by the waterfront -  down around Wynyard Quarter, probably somewhere around the Fish Markets.

Dinner: Cazador - homey, unpretentious and consistently good, though caters more for the meat eaters among us.

We’d also have to make at least one dessert stop at some point – Kohu Rd for gourmet, artisan goodness, or all the way out to somewhere like Kumeu for fresh fruit ice cream. Be a crime not to.

What would be top of the must-eat list if I was visiting your city?

Auckland is good – but it could be great

auckland nzmuse The one change that strikes me most about Auckland since being back is the traffic.

Granted, it may not have necessarily happened in the last six months. I’ve been working in the suburbs for a while so it’s been about three years since I regularly commuted into the CBD every day. Either way, our roads are getting more and more congested and unless change is initiated from the top down, things aren’t going to improve

The single frustration I have right now with work is the commute. I don’t mind spending more money and time on the bus. I quite enjoy working in the middle of town again – it’s buzzy, inspiring, and a lunchtime run along the harbour is the kind of thing that makes you pinch yourself in joy.

But getting there in the morning is sheer insanity. At least once or twice a week traffic holds us up and doubles the journey time. It can take anywhere between 45 to 90 minutes – and the bad days are totally random. Much as I hate getting up early, I think I’m going to have to suck it up and just make a habit of getting the early bus. I’ve noticed – and so have others I know – that nowadays it’s the people who live in the suburbs furthest out who make out the best. They get express buses that whiz along the motorway, while those of us who live a little more central inch up the clogged arterial roads minute by painful minute. Until all these main roads have bus lanes, uninterrupted by traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and intersections, we are screwed

It’s probably not a coincidence, then, that I’m noticing a hell of a lot more people cycling to town in the mornings – and that’s awesome. It’s still not that many, though, and I can’t blame them. You have to be pretty brave to jump on a bike around here. Even if I wasn’t horribly uncoordinated, and even if the weather here wasn’t as fickle as a hyperactive toddler, there is no way I would dare to bike to work. I think back to the time we spent cycling through small town Germany and how unbelievably terrified I was through it all – even though I honestly can’t think of anywhere safer and less crowded to cycle. At one point when we got into a village I was thisclose to bursting into tears, hopping off and walking the bike along, so panicked was I about being on a road with actual cars occasionally passing by. No way could I handle it in Auckland.

auckland nzmuse

I complain a lot about Auckland … but I don’t think my writing here accurately reflects my true feelings for this city. If you’ve been reading for awhile you’ll know I’ve concluded there is nowhere else in the world I’d rather live – there is no perfect city. We’re an understated lot here. I’m also a pessimist at heart. Yet while I know I can’t have it all, I DO – I want absolutely everything, the whole package.

Auckland is good. I can’t believe I used to complain about the weather so much – it’s freaking sweet, I just didn’t know how extreme the seasons were in most of the rest of the world until I left and experienced it myself. The weather can swing in an instant and it rains a little too much, but it’s stunning when it’s not. It’s never too hot. Winter is too chilly for my liking, admittedly but I’m a wuss – it doesn’t even get cold enough to snow. If that ever becomes a thing, I’m getting the hell outta Dodge. Climate-wise, we live in a little microcosm of paradise here. And of course, it’s relatively clean, safe, and close to every kind of landscape/environment you could wish for. (Proximity – it’s one of our top selling points as an entire country, as I’ve learned.) All the good ingredients that money alone can’t buy – environmental, social, cultural, political – are in place here, in my opinion. We are blessed.

But it could be great. It really could. We’re getting there – Auckland’s grown in leaps and bounds just in the last, oh, five years? There are so many great new eateries popping up, new public spaces, and cool developments have sprung up on the waterfront, in Ponsonby Central, at Cityworks Depot and more. We might even get bona fide Mexican food at some point. That’d be the day…!

Sadly, there’s more to do. Our two major pressing concerns are housing and transport. Both are fixable, of course. We have to tackle the standard of our housing, which is shocking on a world scale. And we need to reverse the unaffordability problem. At the same time, we have to invest in public transport. No way are we going to get people out of their cars in rush hour when buses and trains suck so badly. I’m not even particularly hopeful for an awesome, comprehensive city-wise network in this lifetime; I imagine this is always going to be a city where you’ll want a car to be able to hop in on the weekend and head out to the bush or beach – but surely we can sort out weekday peak time public transport. There are people with vision and ideas - we just need action.

Our population is growing, our land is narrow and limited – the city is changing. Like other cities around the world, we’re growing up. Whether this is a good thing or not – whether we should be encouraging growth in other parts of the country instead, that have the space for it but where fewer people want to live – isn’t something that really interests me. Other people can get into that debate.

What rights does being a local afford you? I’m not sure locals are entitled to anything more than newcomers to a city, but personally I think all residents deserve the bare basics. I don’t think growing up in Auckland entitles me to a mansion, but I don’t think a warm, dry, affordable place to live is an outrageous thing to hope for. (I don’t think that I’m entitled to home ownership, either, but given how terrible the rental market is, the traditional option certainly seems the lesser of the evils.)

Despite the twin issues of transport and property – which admittedly are not small ones – people continue to gravitate here, and I can definitely understand why. But if we really want to claw our way up from third to first most liveable city in the world, we can’t stop striving for improvement. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling our leadership isn’t moving fast enough.

I love Auckland – not blindly, but with eyes wide open. I want to live here for the rest of my life, barring some monumental change in fortune that would enable me to spend half my time travelling. I want this city to reach its full potential. I really hope it will.

What are the biggest issues facing your city?

The art of selling yourself: Let’s talk behavioural interview questions

When I interviewed for this job, I was pretty confident I had the skills required. I was mostly concerned with how to figure out whether it would be a good fit for me.

Rather than rehearsing answers, I spent a lot of time thinking about what kinds of questions I could ask to pinpoint whether this would be the right move and what the culture was like. I was quite conflicted about whether I should even be interviewing for it.

Did I mention I’m not experienced at interviewing at all? My last job was a warm lead; I already knew them well so the interview was informal and there were no reference checks. My first job grew from a part-time job, which in turn grew out of an internship. So I’d never been through an actual structured interview before.  

Some of the questions I struggled with:

Discussing projects and my role in pulling them off

I don’t come from a project-based background. The nature of my workflow means that it’s pretty constant. I suppose on a micro level, you could say I go through a lot of mini projects – every newsletter, every piece of writing, every photo shoot I coordinate. Luckily, I have gotten to work on a couple of initiatives over the past years – the joys of a lean team – that were often a pain in the ass but provided valuable work experience.

What I said: Rambled a little about one initiative I was a part of, struggled to quantify my contributions.

What I should’ve said: Next time I’d prepare and practice with one or two examples and try to put some numbers or specifics to it. My workflow will be much more project-based going forward so I plan to keep notes along the way for my own records.

Describing my communication style

What I said: I described my communication style as collaborative – I’m good at taking on board and weighing up various perspectives.

What I should’ve said: In hindsight, and after doing a little research, in the future I’d also add that I listen more than I talk, am stronger in written communication, and while I value input from others I often do my best work alone.

Describing my ideal manager’s style

What I said: My ideal manager provides clear guidance/objectives upfront, offers support when asked for and when they sense it’s needed, and champions their team and their team’s work. (The best bosses are the ones who trust you to get the job done and leave you alone to do it, IMO.)

What I should’ve said: I’m still thinking on this one. I feel there’s plenty of room for improvement, but not sure how specifically. Any thoughts?

Describing the kinds of people I get along best with – and the ones I don’t 

What I said: I get along with most people. I am not a fan of close-minded types who are always convinced they’re right and aren’t open to other viewpoints.

What I should’ve said: A better answer in the future, especially in a professional context, would probably be that I take issue with the type of person who is a talker and not a doer, a ‘not my job’ type, who isn’t committed to going the extra mile when needed. In short, people who don’t share my work ethic. Coming from a background where resources are always thin and passion plays a big part, I expect the same sort of standards from others. I’m big on work-life balance, but when you’re at work, I think it’s important to do what it takes to get the job done.

What kinds of interview questions do you struggle with? Any thoughts on answering some of these?

Link love (Powered by orzo and pancetta)

nzmuse link love

Lately, it’s been feeling like one step forward, one step back, financially speaking.

A Reduced to Clearance shop has opened up near us – as in, a store that sells items approaching their best-before date. It’s AMAZING. 30 cents for a box of tampons? 50 cent drinks? Cheap toilet paper, milk, stirfry sauces, canned veggies, cereal? I’m in frugal heaven there.

 T’s tendency to ignore mail majorly backfired. We had to back pay his motorbike registration – it’s currently on hold and has been for awhile but earlier this year the ‘hold’ expired and it started accruing rego charges for a few months.

I got my first full pay from my new job. While it doesn’t really affect the finances, I’m back to a fortnightly pay cycle for the first time in a few years. What does matter is I’m taking home more, and I’ve also accomplished a goal that’s been languishing for a while – increasing my Kiwisaver contributions to 8 percent. A down payment/retirement is getting a minuscule bit closer. Speaking of which, I didn’t realise BNZ’s Kiwisaver scheme allows you to convert Fly Buys loyalty points into real dollars to go into your Kiwisaver account – ingenious.  I’m happy with my Kiwisaver provider but I tip my hat to them on this.

I don’t drink coffee, and hate to spend money on drinks, but I’m trying to head out with coworkers once a week on their coffee runs.  (I get a hot chocolate – $4.50 for a small.) Bonding is important, etc. And on the topic of small but regular expenses, I restarted our Spotify premium membership. It pains me to pay for something every month but it’s $12.99 a month – less than four bucks a week, a little over $100 a year. It’s worth it to have music on my commute. If I had lots of data on my phone plan I would stick with the free version (and live with only being able to shuffle tracks) but I don’t, so I’m sucking it up in exchange for offline access and total playback control.

Blast from the past

This time last year we were in … Bangkok! For longer than anticipated, too, thanks to that hospital sideshow.

This week’s links

For those who missed my post on the clusterfuck that is currently the Auckland property market (in a nutshell – buying sucks but renting in many ways is worse long term)
read this New Yorker piece, substitute all mentions of Vancouver for Auckland and you will get a pretty accurate picture of what’s going on

A traveller’s guide to New Zealand slang

And a stunning chronicle of an autumn road trip through the South Island

I love that the Wireless is consistently tackling issues relevant to young NZers’ lives, whether it’s how we’re screwed financially or whether we’d be better off in Dubai (you could not pay me enough to live in the Middle East for any amount of time, but YMMV)

Everyone is totally just winging it, so don’t stress!

What does self love even really mean? Via Yes and Yes

Little Miss Moneybags articulates the problem with found money

Ways to make your entry level job better, at Life After College

Stop asking me where I see myself in five years, says Gen Y Girl (AMEN!)

Finally, while I’ve taken a step away from publishing, I still I loved this interview with ex-Jezebel editor Anna Holmes:

I know many people freelance successfully, but I have no interest in making that my primary source of income. It’s too stressful, constantly having to try to think of stuff to pitch editors. The older I get, the less I want to write stuff that I’m meh about…

I don’t know what my next job will be, but it will probably be in media. A lot of times I’m just like, “I’m going to move to Namibia and work with orphaned elephants. Fuck this stuff.” I don’t have a five-year plan. Maybe that’s dumb, but it is who I am. I can’t pretend otherwise.

Ways to make money from home

If you are interested in working with a stress-free schedule and having the freedom of being your own boss, the best thing about this is learning how to make money from home. There are many ways to transition from a full-time job, put in extra time on the side after working your main job, and if you are a stay-at-home parent to earn income.

From health, tech, and creative industries, good at-home jobs are springing up everywhere, notes Jenna Goudreau of Forbes online.  First of all, you would need to find out what specialty you would be interested in working for and what is worth your time to suffice your goals and desires. Becoming aware of what type of skills you have is a great start in making sure that you get in the right field of work. You do not want to be dissatisfied while working from home as that defeat the purpose of being happy with your own schedule. Take charge now.

Writing your way to freedom

Are you a writer? Well, freelance writing is a great way to go and you can manage as many or as little projects that you want to work on. Picking up extra money via online freelancing is certainly doable, but you have to put in the time and effort to develop a solid platform. Being creative is a big role in the freelance writing world. You have to be able to take a subject and make it come to life, whether it be selling a product or simply writing an essay. Your job is to get the point across no matter what and always follow the simple instruction that comes along with the job. You can also start your own blog about a particular niche that stands out and get people’s attention. In return you get your name established a well-known writer/editor and people get to hear from your own point of view.

Working up a sweat

Having a passion for working out is a healthy way to work from home as well. You ever thought about teaching online training classes? This is a very flexible way to go and you can create your own full-time or part-time schedule as needed. It is very easy to promote yourself on Facebook, via email newsletters, LinkedIn, Google+ and creating a personalize website to advertise your services and any other things that may relate to your classes. Social media is very powerful in this day and time and is highly recommended to expand your business. This is a great way to stay connected to your clients as well as keep up the consistency of your branding. This definitely beats going through traffic and trying to get to a studio to teach a workout class.

Creating a masterpiece

Speaking of studio, would you like to create your own gallery and artwork from home? Try selling pieces right from your living room or dedicate a specific room to have exhibits and artwork displayed. This is a great way for artists to get more in tuned with their creative and artistic side and sell your passion all over the world. There are a number of sites online that can help you establish a low cost website where you can display and sell your art pieces to clients from around the world. There may be a fee involved when your item is purchased so make sure you do your research on the requirements of selling on different sites and webhosts.

Giving them what they want

Running your own online retail store gives you the freedom of reaching thousands of buyers from all over the US or Nationwide. With more consumers shopping online than ever before, it’s a great time to get in on the action. You would still need to promote your products and services so that you keep people informed of what you sell or provide. It really helps if you sell products that people are looking for. You want your customers to come back and purchase again so you would need to keep your online store up-to-date. Make sure that your website has a great layout that brings attention and a shopping cart that is easily accessible to your clients. Remember you want customers to return and even if it is to the point where they browse and do not purchase but return the second time and purchase. This keeps the customer interested and intrigued on your presentation, product, and ability to provide for their needs.

Other great ways to make money may include telecommuting from your own home, tutoring student from your home computer or mobile device, or becoming an online juror. As you can see there are many ways to make money from home but the key is to find your niche, keep you happy, and suffice your income desire. It is important to not overload yourself as well being that you still want the freedom to do other things that may interest you. The different job opportunities help to maintain job security, spending more time with family, and being your own boss. Now that you have had a chance to explore some ways that may benefit you, it is time to take control of your financial future.

ClearlyContacts: Is buying glasses online a false economy or genuine bargain?

Confession: it’s been about four years since I got new glasses.

I got my eyes checked and got a new prescription last year, but figured I’d deal to it post-trip. That time came a couple of months ago, hastened by the breaking of my current pair.

My eyes are a lot more sensitive than they used to be (age? allergies?) and I can’t bear the thought of wearing contacts everyday. Laziness and comfort wins over vanity. has a great offer – first pair free – but with my terrible vision, my first pair was still gonna cost about $120 with shipping and high index lenses.

In comparison, getting new frames and lenses from a brick and mortar place would cost at least $400. However, I’d have the peace of mind knowing that those glasses would fit perfectly.

That’s a big difference in cost and a hard saving to pass up, I know. But I can’t overstate how important fit is. I’m one of those people who will be driven crazy if my glasses don’t fit just so and sit just right on my head. Which is easier said than done.

I have a freakishly wide head that rules out the vast majority of frames, which pinch into my temples. I need nosepads because of my pancake flat Chinese face, as I can’t just perch my frames on the bridge of my nose. (I wonder if this is why I have such trouble with snorkelling masks…)

Did I mention I’m also super picky about colour and style? I’ve only found one pair offline that I really like and that also fits well.

Most frames look and feel wrong before I’ve even got them all the way onto my head, so I’m very wary about buying frames off the internet. Even if I find a frame looks good on the virtualthat is a perfect numerical match on all my measurements (did you know those numbers on the inside of the arms of your glasses actually correspond to the length of your lens, bridge and arm? I didn’t!) and thus theoretically a good fit, and looks good in the ‘virtual mirror’ on the site, that’s not necessarily a guarantee that it will work in real life.

Everyone says they’re the real deal; I’m not concerned about quality or legitimacy. The only issue is true fit – something that’s hard to determine online. But since Clearly Contacts has a 365-day refund policy, I figured it was worth giving it a go. After all, it could only go one of three ways:

Outcome 1: Pay $120, find the Clearly Contacts pair fit like a dream, and voila, I’ve saved maybe $300

Outcome 2: Pay $120, find the Clearly Contacts pair don’t quite work for me, return it, and then buy the full priced pair in store. Once I get my refund, I’m no worse off financially.

Outcome 3: Pay $400 or so for the full priced pair in store and rest in peace with the knowledge I have a pair I love that fit perfectly (but wonder if the Clearly Contacts pair might have sufficed)

My first pair from ClearlyContacts just weren’t right. Technically they should have been more than comfortable – maybe even a little wide, on the loose side – but they pinched in. I thought they might wear in like a pair of shoes after a few days, but they didn’t.

Returning them was pretty easy – I just had to repackage them and send the box back, and my money was returned to my Paypal account not long after.

I thought I’d give it one more go before throwing in the towel. The second pair cost me a bit more – I couldn’t find any other frames that qualified for the ‘first pair free’ offer that a) I liked the look of and b) fit my measurements. But what do you know! It fit like a dream; the only downside is that this frame feels a lot flimsier and I’m not sure how long it will last. If it manages at least a couple of years, I’ll be okay with that.

Have you bought glasses online recently?