• A day in my life (one of the more interesting ones)

    A Day in the Life: A Linkup by Break the Sky


    Honestly, a typical day in my life would be pretty boring. Get up, go to work, sit at my desk for 8 hours writing and editing, maybe a short break for cakes and other goodies from the ladies on our food mag, come home, blog/read/watch TV and sleep.

    Some days are a bit more interesting. Behold:

    7.30:  Up early  as I actually have to be at work at 9am today, so no catching the later bus as I usually do. Wolf down a bowl of cereal. Get dressed and head to the bus stop about 8.

    a day in the life nzmuse

    It’s cold and windy – almost coat weather! I regret not taking my outfit photo indoors. This is one of my favourite dresses, I believe it was a Target find in the US – and my power shoes. This is about as dressy as I get, but because I have a fancy lunch to go to I’m making the effort.

    a day in the life nzmuse

    I’m glad I stashed tissues in my bag before leaving; with the drop in temperatures my nose is dripping like a leaking tap. But we’ll wait and see – the sun might come out and turn the day sweltering (by Auckland standards) in minutes, like it has the last few afternoons.

    8.45am: Traffic is horrendous. Finally get off the bus, commence walk to the office. This is my favourite part of the journey.

    a day in the life nzmuse

    8.50am: Deal to important emails. Check scheduled tweets for the day, and check site traffic. We had a big story preset to publish first thing this morning. Embargoes are a pain but this company wanted Techcrunch to break their news in US time. It’s happening more often – NZ tech startups that are truly international are giving stories to Silicon Valley media first, which I understand even if I don’t like it.

    a day in the life nzmuse

    9am: Down to the photography studio to assist on this photo shoot. Turns out I didn’t have to worry about being on time, since our art director doesn’t turn up for a little while. I notice one designer still hasn’t sent stuff over as he promised (sigh) but it’s okay, we have plenty of stuff to work with anyway. I had a feeling about him!

    a day in the life nzmuse

    Between 9am and 11.30am: Bounce back and forth between studio and my desk upstairs – fetching stuff, packing and unpacking stuff, checking emails, etc.

    a day in the life nzmuse

    11.45am: Hop in a taxi and head into the CBD. Have an interesting chat with the driver about our experiences of racism in NZ.

    Noon: Arrive at the Hilton for lunch. It’s mainly accounting types, and mostly pale males in suits. Sigh. It gets a little more interesting when somebody I interviewed last week arrives and we get to meet in person for the first time (Auckland is a sprawling city geographically but it’s tiny in that sense).

    The dude across from me (from one of the Big 4 firms) actually utters the words “post-acquisition synergies” at one point. Take that corporate bullshit and choke on it. That moment aside though, lunch isn’t too bad overall – three course meal with decent food and amazing dessert, plus interesting speakers.

    a day in the life nzmusea day in the life nzmuse

    The bathroom is nice, too.

    a day in the life nzmuse

    3pm: I’m back in the office. Dash to check on emails and site traffic, then back down to see how the rest of the shoot went. Pack everything back up and lug the boxes over to dispatch to be returned. Photographer praises me for taking care of a thankless task – which it is, but it’s gotta be done, and that someone should probably be me since I’m responsible for coordinating the whole thing (and am the one who’ll be in trouble if anything happens to the products). If only we had any interns right now …

    4pm: Clear emails, take care of some admin. Make sure things are lined up for two interviews I’m doing tomorrow. Publish a couple of stories (preloaded interview, a couple of syndicated posts).

    5.15pm: Leave work and head to the bus stop. Go back and forth about my plan to go donate blood for the first time – I just had a flu shot this week, will that matter? Decide even if I get turned away, I only have a 15 minute walk home from the venue.

    6pm: Find a whole ton of people at the church where NZ Blood has set up for the day. Fill in some forms and wait. They eventually test me for iron levels (I was a bit worried about this – mine have always been low, but apparently I pass muster) and ask if I’m over 50kg (I was at the time of my last medical appointment – I don’t own a scale).

    When I finally hop into the chair, they have some trouble finding my vein. That initial prick of the needle is sharp but bearable, no worse than the anaesthetic injection I had when I got my wisdom teeth out.

    a day in the life nzmuse

    7pm: After some water and chocolate biscuits, I’m off. As I walk through New Lynn, a guy calls out my name. I think fast – I don’t recognise him, but upon a second look (I’m terrible with faces) thankfully I remember who is he, despite his totally new hair.  We used to work at the same company and  always got along well. We talked for probably at least 15 minutes on the footpath and could’ve gone longer. 

    8pm: Home! T’s still out (we talked briefly on the phone earlier) but thanks to my huge lunch and the biscuits I’m not ravenous like I normally am. Have a quick shower then call him again. Turns out he already made dinner and it’s in the microwave. Score. It’s almost 9pm by now, which is insanely late to eat, but it’s actually  the second day in a row this has happened – yesterday I was in town catching up with a friend over drinks and nibbles.

    10pm:  Catch up on some blogs in Feedly and some of my regular reads through Flipboard. Start a new book and get through a couple of chapters.

    a day in the life nzmuse

    11pm: Lights out.

  • Link love (Powered by cereal and tamarind water)

    nzmuse link love roundup

    Inspired by Save Spend Splurge, let’s get to know each other a little better. Answer in the comments or on your blogs! Or if you just don’t care (wave your hands in the air), scroll down to get to this week’s links, of which there are plenty to get your teeth into.

    1. If you could change something about yourself, what it be and why?

    I would like to be less socially awkward and more verbally articulate. I’m okay with it and accept it, but it would make life and work SO much easier if I weren’t. .

    2. What’s the farthest you’ve been from home?

    I think Edinburgh is the furthest from Auckland we’ve been. Either that or maybe Iceland.

    3. What is your motto?

    Everything works out … eventually

    4. What are your hobbies?

    Food, travel, books, writing.

    5. What is your favourite ice cream flavour?

    IMPOSSIBLE to answer.

    The answer would be different every day.

    Right now I could go for a bit of salted caramel…

    6. What two things could you not do when you were a child, but you can do now?

    Stand up to my parents / stay up late at night to read.

    7. If you could travel anywhere in the world – where would you go and why?

    Still on my bucket list are parts of Australia’s east coast, the Pacific Northwest, Galapagos, St Petersburg, Spain, Portugal, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico … Right now I’d probably pick Russia, since it’s the most difficult to get to.

    8. Have you ever met a famous person?

    Erm … the most famous is probably Alec Ross (who worked with Clinton and Obama).

    9. What is your least favourite thing about yourself?

    Hmm. Probably my general lack of energy (I’m not the kind of person who can handle taking on a whole lot, and I need a TON of sleep).

    10. One word that describes you?


    11. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be & why?

    Red – my favourite colour.

    12. What is the weather like right now where you are?

    Rather lovely. Early-mid 20s and sunny.

    13. How tall are you?

    I think I’m about 5’5. Maybe 5’6.

    14. When you were little – what did you want to do “when you grew up?”

    Psychologist. (Also, rock star.)

    15. Toilet paper. Roll with paper coming off the top or bottom?

    Over the top.

    16. Favourite sport you like to watch or participate in? 

    What are these sports you speak of?!

    I hate watching sports. As for playing … I guess running doesn’t count? Either touch rugby or tennis.

    17. What kind of food do you prefer eating when you are out?

    Malaysian, Mexican, or Italian.

    18. Last movie you watched?

    Cloud Atlas.

    19. Would you like to be famous?

    I wouldn’t mind people knowing me by name, but by face? I wouldn’t want to be celebrity famous, that’s for sure.

    20. What book are you reading?

    I just finished How To Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe and An Abundance of Katherines. Both recommended!

    21. If you had $5 million to spend in 5 days, but with the clause you could not spend any of it on yourself or your family, what would you do with it?

    I’d seek out causes that are important to me – around women, new migrants, hunger/poverty, disadvantaged youth. The older I get, the more I realise this is something I care about – I didn’t have a perfect childhood and I haven’t had all the advantages in the world, but I definitely had a lot more than some.

    22. If you knew that you could try any kind of work/employment and that you would not fail, what would you attempt doing?

    I’d still write, but I’d want to try writing in different formats. Being able to call myself a novelist would be rad (though of course I’d need an idea first…) And I think I’d like to write songs;  I consider good songwriting an art. I haven’t done it for years and while it no longer interests me, in this hypothetical scenario why not go back to it, especially if I knew I was going to be successful? (This inspired me to go dig out my old scribblings, actually. Am posting them to Tumblr for posterity; head over if you wish to have a giggle at my adolescent angst.)

    This week’s links


    Sneaky travel fees you’ve probably paid at some point

    The Asian Pear pays a visit to New York

    Amanda details the language of food in China

    Daisy explains how moving away from home changed her life and so does Jessica, taking a different tack and discussing both the positives and the downsides


    Funny About Money is undergoing some creative angst

    Via Life After College, how to earn the  respect of your new boss

    Gen Y Girl lists five ways to fall in love with your job again

    Leslie Beslie recounts her time as a factory worker

    Anyone else (for no real reason) always get nervous when their boss wants to have a chat?

    The three conundrums of doing what you love

    On Buzzfeed – can the intern hamster wheel be stopped? (I am personally doubtful.  I’m currently working on a feature about the pervasive culture of working for free in the creative industries which isn’t giving me much hope…)


    Should you take big risks in your 20s or focus on saving?

    Apparently the living wage in Auckland is now calculated at $18.80. At this rate it won’t be long before that completely catches up to me :X


    What it means to be a woman today (hint, it’s complicated)

    Nicole lays out the truth about living healthy

    The fallacy of unconditional love

    And the key ingredient to deeper relationships


  • Friday Five: Things I can’t get enough of


    If only payday could be every day. Alas, next week marks my last payday for the year. When’s yours?

    Putting money into savings

    I transfer my whole paycheque into savings every month, then transfer out money every week thereafter as needed (rent, groceries and the other big expenses are all weekly) – so actual savings transfers only occur when I have extra income. And damn, those feel good.


    Fries, potato chips, veggie chips, prawn crackers, corn chips … doesn’t matter what it is, I lose all self-control around them. It’s not pretty. But it’s worth it while it lasts…


    Especially when I’ve just made it through a challenging read (cough Anna Karenina cough), there’s nothing like rewarding myself by devouring the equivalent of literary fast food. Best found on the recently returned shelves at the library.

    Running in the breeze

    One foot in front of the other. The sun on your back, warm and familiar, but not oppressive. A light wind that keeps you from sweating. Light shorts and a tank. Bra-less, if possible. This is about as free as you can feel while outside and clothed, IMO – and it’s glorious. End with a masochistic sprint – deliriously lovely in that brief feeling of near-weightlessness, terribly painful when you’re forced into a premature stop, wondering if you could even manage a sub-20 second 100m today and knowing you wouldn’t dare time yourself.

  • Friday Five: Performers I’d like to see live

    Friends, I have made one last outrageous expenditure. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are coming to Auckland in January. I tried to get tickets to their last gig in 2007, and failed. This time, I would not be thwarted.

    I’m paying $160 apiece for the privilege … and it burns even more that this is a lineup sans Frusciante, who is about 75% of the entire reason I love this band, but now that I’ve seen Metallica, the Chilis are the only other group I want to see before I (or rather, they) die.

    That said, here are five other performers I wouldn’t mind seeing in concert:

    Elton John

    Would need to be up front in a fairly personal show, or else what’s the point? But I would DIE if I could marvel at the legend himself up close.

    Michael Buble

    I find it hilarious that there is a Facebook group called Michael Buble’s voice makes my clothes fall off. Forget Barry White.

    Maroon 5

    I only recently realised Maroon 6 has been around for a decade. Can I get a WOAH to that?! I have fond memories of a lazy summer afternoon practising for the high school talent quest at our drummer’s house and bashing out a rough version of their first big hit, Harder to Breathe. And now look at them, all Jaggered up. Adam Levine would put on a damn good show, I can just tell.

    Michelle Branch

    The artist who made me want to write songs and play guitar. An artist who actually inspired me to buy an album (Hotel Paper, which I picked up in Singapore).


    The diva herself. Granted, there are plenty of her songs that I really dislike, but anyone with a vocal range of five octaves is, quite frankly, superhuman.


    I’ll leave you with my five favourite Chilis songs.

    Who are you hanging out to see live in concert?

  • Friday Five: Fun factoids

    Ah, I do love a good alliterative headline!

    Today you get to learn five new things about me.

    • I have a double eyelid on my left eye. But not on my right.
    • I entered a poetry contest when I was 13 and won a trip to the US. Only it turned to be a scam – and a pretty lame one at that. What’s the point?
    • One year, I was placed in the second-lowest reading group in the class after being assessed reading a chapter to everyone, rather than the usual one-on-one reading comprehension test (I HATED that particular teacher, not least for this!). Usually I was always in the top group, easy. That was the level of disconnect between my reading and verbal skills.
    • One of my first gigs was writing for a website for uni students (I don’t think anybody still uses the term “online magazine”, but that’s what it was). One of my assignments was to write a tongue in cheek piece, “You know you’re drunk when…” And the editor LOVED  it – she asked for more in that vein. I was still in high school. I was 15. Or maybe 16. I’d never been drunk in my life; I was a geek; I’d had one sip of dark beer in my entire life, and hated it.
    • I have never tried (nor do I intend to) chicken feet. Renounce my Chinese badge already.

    What’s one thing I don’t know about you?

  • Places I have lived: A rundown of my renting history

    As I mentioned in this post, the housing market in NZ is rather unique. Crappy stock, sky-high prices.

    I thought it might be fun (in what sense of the word, I’m not quite sure, actually) to recount all the places I’ve lived in since leaving home.

    Student life is, of course, meant for building up horror stories about bootstrapping. Two-minute noodles. Walls of beer bottles. Bongs and one-night stands and other awful flatmate escapades.

    The boarding house

    My first place was .. an experience. Along with one of my best friends, we set out to find somewhere we could both live. Nobody would rent to 17-year-olds, and no flats were advertising two empty rooms at once. Eventually though, we found a special situation: a six-bedroom townhouse/boarding house where each tenant paid the landlord individually. And he didn’t mind if we weren’t 18. (He actually also proposed us living in the basement apartment of his own house, with cheap rent in exchange for help with chores and cooking. That was a bit too weird, though.)

    The first night my cell phone was stolen off the coffee table. Everybody locked their rooms when they weren’t home. Flatmates came and went, including the P-addict who used my soap and shampoo, the crazy old lady who threw dishes into the bin if they weren’t washed immediately, the girl who slept with the middle-aged body builder who lived next door, the guy just out of jail, and more.

    The family townhouse

    Next was another terraced house, with my friend and her grandad. Nothing much to report there. It didn’t last long; her mother came back to the country and I got the boot so she could live there instead.

    The quiet suburban house

    This is the furthest I’ve ever lived from public transport – a good 20 minute walk at least. Very inconvenient. Again, only lasted a few months.

    The old bungalow

    This was the oldest house I’d ever lived in, but it did have mixer taps (this is a requirement for me in any house). Flatmate had a few dope plants growing in the cupboard, but otherwise was sweet to live with. My first experience living on a main artery road, in which I learned to factor in road-crossing time in my walk to the bus stop, T had a major car accident just outside, and I vowed I would never buy a house on a busy road.

    The suburban apartment

    Apartments are rare outside of the CBD, but this was one of the notorious blocks. We were here for about a year. You pretty much couldn’t make any noise; the big communal rubbish bins were always overflowing and the pool was usually kinda grotty. Our dishwasher was home to cockroaches and for some reason half our mail never made it to our letterboxes, which were inside the lobby (I was a student then so had plenty of correspondence from Studylink to deal to … or I should have had, anyway).

    The ghetto house

    Nobody would rent to students. So we ended up in the ghetto. Our street was nice at one end, but at the other end was a state housing enclave – and that’s the end we lived at. Our room was a converted garage. There was mould in the closet, on the ceiling, and I could see my breath in front of me in the winter. Our landlord lost his job and when the hot water cylinder went, he took over a month to fix it. That was coming into winter, too. He also then tried to pin a bunch of things on us when we left, like the roof caving in. Oh, and we got burgled… three times?

    Other fun things: nightmare flatmate still owes me nearly a grand from this. He was a terrible drunk and broke a couple of panes in our door while on the piss. Similarly, the boys used to wrestle all the time and managed to break a couple of windows doing so. I got half decent at painting/puttying. Nightmare flatmate also got his car rear window smashed several times, mostly by the shits down the road who also burgled us, and once by his girlfriend.

    The thoroughfare house

    Weed got sold. People came and went. One of the flatties literally had a walk in closet for a room. Another had a bit of casual polygamy going on. Lots of Naruto was watched.

    The bottom floor studio

    A really nice small place, albeit a tiny kitchen with old cupboards. But brand new bathroom, gorgeous built in cupboards and drawers and a cute little patio-type thing. It was a quiet, affluent neighbourhood handy to everything – and really cheap.

    The bad: the yard was always in the shade so I hardly ever used the patio and our clothes took forever to dry on the line; it got a little too small for our liking (even the apartment we lived in had a living room); the landlord’s kids upstairs were often loud and the floor was thin; it was always dark because we were on the bottom floor and surrounded by fence/trees; T’s first bike got stolen, after which he hated the place; and it was just that little bit too far away from the west, where everyone he knows lives.

    Current house

    Also on a main road, but not at the same level as the other bungalow. We have a garage, a deck, lots of sun, a 20-minute walk to work for me and a spare room for junk, among other things. After moving in, we also found the previous occupants had been growing cannabis in the space between the roof and the house, hacking a power point to run electricity up into that space, and apparently using the hall cupboard (now my wardrobe) for drying.

    The house itself isn’t all that nice, I’ll be honest – it needs work and it’s very much a rental (but all the cosmetic things, like the carpets and walls, are pretty well hidden once you move in with all your stuff). It’s at the low end of my standards, but it does well enough.

    The house itself is split into two dwellings; the back one is a one-bedroom, and the tenant is a lovely older lady who’s rarely home. In fact, we haven’t seen since Christmas and just found out she’s down south caring for her sick mother. Hope she can continue to pay rent and keep her place – quiet neighbours are great!

    So, that’s my woeful housing history from 2005-2012. What does yours look like?

  • I may never win an Oscar or Grammy, but…

    via GIPHY

    I sure would win a prize for purveyor of unattractive baked goods

    I find baking cathartic and the end result both surprising and delicious. But pretty? Food presentation is not my forte. And given how fast it disappears in our household of two … meh. Hence why recipe posts here are sporadic.

    I sure would win a prize for planning

    Okay. Sometimes I view life like a chess game. In probability trees. Almost infinite paths of ‘what if’. Forewarned is forearmed, I say.

    I sure would win a prize for failing at remembering what I spend

    Hence why I spend a few minutes every couple of days, when I log on to internet banking, to check and categorise our latest transactions. Even that sometimes is a struggle. And that’s why I don’t use cash.

    I sure would win a prize for parking fails

    I have parallel parked once in my life. During my test. (I am still the only person I’ve heard of EVER to have been asked to parallel park during their driving test). I hate parking. Almost more so than lane changing (I’m with Marge Simpson. Changing lanes is for rally drivers, she sez.)

    I sure would win a prize for least put together female in the western world

    I check my reflection before I leave the house. After that I do not look closely in mirrors during the course of the day. I don’t quite know why; it’s a weird kind of phobia. It started back in high school, when I simply refused to ever look at myself in the bathroom mirrors. Suffice to say I had some body image issues, and today I think that persists a bit even though my skin has cleared up. I am friends with my home mirror, and that’s about it.

    That said, I do check myself out in car windows. The picture is much more forgiving. And something about the curve shortens my long, rectangular face.

    What useless things would you win at?

  • Tag.

    I was tagged by Two Degrees to take part in this meme:

    1. Post these rules.
    2. Answer the 11 questions from the person who tagged you.
    3. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
    4. Tag 11 people and link them to your post.
    5. Let them know that you tagged them.

    1. What does your wallet look like? Is it organized or cluttered?

    No money. Lots of cards. Reasonably organised.

    2. If you had $10 to spend on a date, where would you go?

    New Flavour, or another similar place, to share a plate of dumplings.

    3. If you had $200 to spend on a date, where would you go?

    I’ve always wanted to go hot-air ballooning. Would that come in under budget?

    4. What was the first blog that got you into PF blogging?

    My memory fails me, but most likely Fabulously Broke.

    5. What was the last thing you purchased?


    6. Do you ever pay full-price for books? Why or why not?

    I know, for a self-described bibliophile I’m horrible for not buying books myself (I am a library whore).

    7. What is one thing you absolutely refuse to pay for?

    Err, let’s go with hair removal.

    8. What do you like to do to relax and unwind?

    Read. Also: eat, run, watch TV.

    9. If you could resurrect one musician from the dead and watch him/her perform, who would it be?

    Freddy Mercury.

    10. What would your ideal retirement look like?

    I really don’t know. Probably a mix of reading, volunteering, travelling and general chilling out in a rocking chair. All I know is that I want to have options – maybe I’ll want to work in some capacity, maybe I won’t. But I want choices, and that requires saving for retirement.

    11. Are you going to do your taxes by yourself this year?

    NZ taxes are pretty straightforward. So yes.

    Dudes, I’m beat. It’s the end of the week and I just don’t have the brain juice to come up with one single original question right now, let alone 11. I can think of some people to tag, but really, if you want to take part, feel free to carry on with these prompts (what an [exhausted] rebel). Or whatever.

  • Tagged!

    Photo meme time! (I’ve done a fair few, but I think they’ve all been Q&A based, so this is a first). Hat-tip A Lotta Lettuce for the tag.

    Here’s the lowdown:

    1. Go to the fourth folder where you store your pics in your computer
    2. Pick the fourth photo in the folder.
    3. Explain the picture.
    4. Tag 4 people to do the same

    If it looks a little pixellated, it might be the fact this was originally a film photo (remember those?) scanned into my computer. That’d be us circa 2006 when I visited T at Burnham military camp. It was bloody effing cold down there. I still have that scarf and jeans.

    And now for the tagging:

    Clare at Never Niche

    Serendipity at Serendipity’s Guide to Saving

    Dana at Pushing Thirtyy

    Emily Jane

  • The Queen’s Meme #84: The Workaday Meme

    I’m taking a leaf out of Lesley’s book. Want to play?

    Let’s talk that 4-letter work today: W.O.R.K.

    1. Are you in a job/career you always wanted?

    I am. I’ve also come to realise something: while I couldn’t do something I hate for a living, by the same stroke, work is not everything – there’s so much more to life.

    2. Do you find your workday world fulfilling and rewarding?

    Mostly, yes. But another thing I’ve learned: despite what some like to espouse, it’s insane to expect every day to excite and inspire you.

    3. If you could change jobs, what would you do?

    It’s less about what I would *do* per se but I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at something in the music industry. I’d also be open to working in government, a university, a bank (or somewhere like Sorted.org.nz that’s all about personal finance), a nonprofit, travel or the arts. If not in editorial, probably within the marcomms department or a function like technical writing.

    4. What about your job irritates you the most?

    I’m going to copy Lesley verbatim here: Talking and making nice to other people. Dealing with people who don’t know what they’re doing (myself excluded). Also, crap technology (!!!), frustrations with systems/processes.

    5. Would you rather have a high pressure meaningful career or a mindless clock-punching job?

    Ugh. I’m highly-strung and try to avoid stress as much as possible – after all, I’m trying to swing towards balance, not away from it. I guess at this stage I’ll still go with the former.

    6. I believe in the concept of “paying myself first” as in tucking away dollars for emergencies and vacations. If you started a special savings plan and could save a certain amount each week to do something only for yourself, what would that be?

    It would be for travel. Actually, it already is.

    7. What do you think is the hardest paying job on earth?

    I think working in emergency services – fire, police, or medicine. The pressure, the responsibility, and the hours, plus they require both mental and physical stamina.