Posts Tagged ‘blogging’
Week 3 update!
Back in the groove at work. Moved (mostly into our new place). Pondering the longer-term future, because travelling has cemented what I’m most passionate about: travel, obviously; personal finance; and food. As it turns out, I’m also rather interested in the two urban issues plaguing Auckland that desperately need fixing – housing and public transport. I’m not sure attempting to fix the affordable housing shortage by building in the likes of Takanini and Riverhead is the solution, but I’ll watch with interest.
To the links!
Kim shares an amazing travel story about the sheer depth of human kindness
Greed is good, says Bridget
Financial Samurai reckons active income is more satisfying than passive
Cassie has a down to earth guide for surviving Christmas shopping
Kayla explains what we can learn about work from the Hunger Games
Jessica shares her top takeaways from Lean In
Alison (Ask A Manager) lists seven things you need to know before accepting a job
And here is a cracker of a post on A Practical Wedding on having a partner who may not identify as a feminist and may have differing political views
Week 2 update:
T mentioned that I’ve seemed a lot happier in the last few days than I have been in awhile. I will admit, it’s nice to not constantly be thinking about our next move, researching and trying to plan stuff, organising and coordinating departures and arrivals and accommodation and transport.
And while I miss being able to see amazing new places every few days, I don’t miss having that be dampened by the thought that most of it basically exists because the native people got screwed over years and years ago (something that was really starting to weigh on me toward the end of our trip).
Aside from that, it feels like we’re bowling around in Toyland sometimes. Everything seems so small after North America – cars, houses, distances. And of course, I miss the prices! I know you’re burdened with insane health and education costs in the US, but as visitors, those didn’t affect us. We’re trying NOT to annoy everyone around us and get out of the habit of moaning about the cost of all consumer goods here. That said, petrol was $2.20 a litre when we left and has dropped 10-15 cents since, so, small mercies.
Anyway! Something different this week – only one link, but it’s a goodie, I promise.
The single best thing I’ve read in a very long time is undoubtedly The Hulk on why we need to change how we talk about rape. Yes, it’s long. Yes, it’s all in caps. TL;DR? Here are my favourite snippets, which I have painstakingly retyped for your reading:
On the pervasive mindset of victim blaming:
If the victim is our darling daughters we react to their rape as if they were a young child being raped by pedophiles and it just shatters them completely. But hey, if they’re some random chick who was being ‘too liberal’ with her body? Who had a little too much to drink? Well then men seem to care much, much less. Then men seem far more willing to defend and identify with the guy just trying to get laid in the situation.
Because if a girl goes to a party and gets drunk and someone MURDERS her we don’t say ‘Hey, you shouldn’t have gotten drunk!’ Of course we fucking don’t. So when you look at the dynamic of all this for what it really is, the reality becomes horrifying.
We’ve made it so rape isn’t actually about rape. It’s about the sexuality of the person being raped.
On the hypersexual, double-standard society we’ve created:
Doesn’t this male desire for sex and the yearning to keep our daughters pure create a super-obvious conflict? Isn’t that a catch-22 where we want two things from ‘girls’ at the exact same time? Doesn’t this just create a non-functional culture where men are shamed if they don’t have sex and yet girls are shamed if they do?
We feed team-thinking. We say ‘Be a Madonna! You will be rewarded with marriage and get to be judgemental of all those whores!’
(Ed: Hence my problem with the ‘why buy the cow’ schtick.)
On why individual advice (Don’t go out at night! Don’t get drunk! Don’t wear skirts!) may be well meaning but it is in no way a fix.
1) It’s a solution that doesn’t address the problem itself
2) That supposedly aids the individual but doesn’t help the overall societal dynamics
3) That puts all the responsibility on the shoulders of the would-be victims
4) That directly limits the rights to certain behaviour of one side of the gender
5) That not only does that, but puts those limits on the side of the gender that’s the VICTIM
6) That completely increases the troubling gender dynamic of the Madonna and the Whore, by creating another impossible dichotomy of women to live up to (You gotta drink! You can never drink!)
7) That just ends up completely apologising and placating a rape culture by not ever directly challenging it
AND 8) To top it all off, it severely hurts the mindset of the girl who becomes a victim despite all this and essentially tells her it was her fault for drinking too much, because, psychologically speaking, ‘the only difference between tips and blaming is timing’
Seriously, in the end what is right about this ‘reasonable’ solution?
Why must the solution fundamentally fall to creating another inequality, instead of doing something about the inequality of the situation behind it? Doesn’t that say something about our unwillingness to point the finger in the right direction?
(If that doesn’t convince you, how about considering it from this viewpoint:)
Most parents love their kids so frickin much that they want to send them off to school covered in bubble wrap … but we don’t do that. We know it would be ridiculous, and more importantly, it wouldn’t actually help in the ways that matter. It wouldn’t actually solve anything. It would even just make things worse for the kid.
Something to chew over this weekend, perhaps. Have any good links to share?
Good news! I’ve survived my first week back at work (despite coming home to this epic public transport clusterfuck)! I’ve veered between wondering how I would ever cope again, to feeling something along the lines of ‘this is what I was meant to do’, thankfully finishing out Friday on that more positive note.
It’s strange to see how quickly some things have changed (shops and houses disappearing, being replaced by others) and how others have stayed static.
As I said last week, the part I’m struggling most with is the air. Give me dry, polluted international city air over fresh, pollinated NZ air any day if it means the end of this respiratory misery. Sheesh.
Thankfully, I’ve been sheltered a little from sticker shock, as I’m staying with my parents till we find a place to live. (That said, we did go to the supermarket today and spent the entire time griping at the price of literally everything we saw.) This is weird for me, as I moved out at 17 and never looked back. I had a lightbulb moment, however, when we were all out to dinner and happened to run into some of my mother’s friends at the restaurant. How she gushed about having me back in the country, newly married, and her friends’ responses – all along the lines of how nice it was to see the family together again. And you know what? It IS surprisingly nice. I’m glad T has been pushing me to make more of an effort, and I am super grateful to them for helping us out and easing the transition.
While I wait for the latest Scandal episode to buffer, here’s my picks of the interwebs for you this week.
Her Every Cent Counts interviews a 31 year old programmer with no formal education who has amassed $943k in net worth
A reminder not to sacrifice relationships in pursuit of your dream, at Married with Luggage
A fun but practical post with personal finance advice for couples, via Financial Samurai
Blonde on a Budget shares the biggest lie she ever told herself
Budget and the Beach confesses to being a teenage shoplifter
At Make a Living Writing: why idiots make good freelance writers
The Asian Pear voices a lot of my own thoughts about personal finance blogs
I would never attend Burning Man (wayyyy too hot out in the desert) but was glued to this post about what it’s really like
Thanks to Funny About Money, I might start using conditioner as a bathroom cleaner
Finally, I thought this LinkedIn post on why you should avoid saying ‘you’re welcome’ was intriguing. It’s such an instinctive thing, and here we all say it reflexively – but I noticed in the States that a brisk ‘of course’, ‘sure’ ,’mmhmm’ or even just a silent nod of acknowledgement was more par for the course. (Service staff excepted, of course)
The thing that stands out to me most about being back home is not the rain, the familiar accents, or the cars.
It’s the air.
About an hour before we landed, I started sneezing like mad, and have barely stopped since. A day later, it’s pretty obvious that it’s a lot more effort for me simply to breathe here than anywhere else we’ve been in the past six months. (It’s almost summer here, and while our summers are very mild by global standards, it’s definitely not super cold.) My chest feels constricted and in a quiet room, I’m THAT person huffing and sniffling nonstop. Might be time to seek out a doctor.
Continuing on in a slightly depressing vein, we’ve also come home to the news of the death of a guy I went to school with, and this Roastbusters stuff, which is already making headlines round the world.
But happily, there are lots of good things I’ve read recently too! Here’s my picks for this week.
Here’s Cordelia on 15 surefire ways to guarantee a dead end life
Jen Dziura on whether you should lean in to what you love, and Funny About Money on the perils of following your bliss
Figuring Money Out on 20 daily habits of the wealthy
An intriguing discussion on career sponsorship vs mentorship at Publishing Trendsetter
Ashley on reconciling our present selves with our former selves
Afford Anything on how to escape the ordinary, step by step
Get Rich Slowly on learning to bargain
Save Spend Splurge has put together a nice list of wardrobe essentials (male AND female)
Donna reminds us that time is something we can’t do over
Caroline joins me in hating the traveller vs tourist argument
Sydney shares five of her favourite inspirational travel destinations
Michelle ponders the American dream
Finally, APW on what feminism means and why feminism matters. For me, this used to mean shunning pink, and dresses, and pop music, and cooking. Now I’ve come to realise it’s really about doing whatever the hell I want; I can wear lipstick but shun heels, like Mariah Carey AND Metallica, and realise that sucking in the kitchen isn’t actually cute or something to be proud of.
Sadly, I didn’t get to meet my ballin’ blog buddy Sarah on the east coast last month. That said, she probably wouldn’t have the time anyway – she’s on fire with her new biz, an awesome company called Greesonbach Creative! I wanted to know all about it, and she was kind enough to indulge my curiosity.
Who are you and what makes you awesome?
I’m Sarah Greesonbach, CEO of Greesonbach Creative. What makes me awesome is my energy and enthusiasm for all things online writing and marketing. My slogan is that I help companies let their hard work shine online — because so often hard-working businesses don’t know how to translate that into a successful web presence.
Describe your work in three words?
Awesome internet words!
Who are your dream clients?
I love people who love to wake up in the morning. I’ve been very fortunate to work mostly with small businesses and startups, the people who are living their dream and looking for ways to accurately express themselves online.
How long have you been doing this?
My tango with words began as a nerdy ten year old, but I’ve been writing professionally for almost three years now. Two as an informal blogger, one as a marketing specialist, and a month and a half as a full-time writer.
How did you get into it?
I got into it by being laid off! I had been building my online “nest” so to speak for almost two years, and I had the itch to get out of the traditional 9-5 but not the legitimate need. Because who turns down a real job with a steady paycheck without a huge savings buffer and a fully-funded business plan?
What I’ve come to realize is that we’re all self-employed freelancers, it’s just that the majority of us only have one large, mean client (AKA the corporate job!). So now that I have several, small clients, I feel like a more flexible, more vested employee.
What have you learned along the way? Any surprises/learning curves/hurdles?
I’m not sure I can do it all justice… It’s been a self-respect learning curve, for sure, because once you realize you need to charge someone for talking to you on the phone, you sort of re-evaluate your life.
It’s a pleasant balance of being “in the zone” and helping companies do things that come naturally to me, while also finally being able to run my home and cook the food I need to stay healthy. We’ve rebuilt our budget based on what we have to pay for, what we need to pay for, and what we want to pay for, and I look forward to reaching a point where I can just stop working when I hit the right numbers. That has been a whole new kind of living, for my typically American workaholic self! I’ve never had the luxury, before, of thinking about what would be “enough.”
What are you proudest of accomplishing so far?
My proudest accomplishment was hitting my invoicing goal for October 31st. Not because it means I can pay my rent, necessarily, though that’s nice, too, it’s more about unleashing my desire for self-determination. When put in a potentially bad position, I rallied everything I had and I’m making it work. Tons of others are doing so, and tons more do so in traditional jobs, but for me this has been an excellent fit and a huge accomplishment. And oh, yeah: terrifying.
What’s one common thing you see people doing online that just makes you facepalm?
Not having one, or having one with all standard backgrounds and images. Having the blank egg and sky clouds background on Twitter is insane to me!
To everyone wondering how to fix it, just stick your company logo and call it a day. Head to your website, right click on your website’s logo, click “Copy image URL,” open that in a new page, save it to your computer, and load it as your Twitter and Facebook image. Please!
Overall, I have loved hearing the sighs of relief from prospective clients when they receive my email response explaining exactly what they need, how I can do it, and how little it will cost. Social media and strategic content are really important for technical things like SEO and developing leads, but also for the morale and branding of the company itself. My favorite part is that everything I do and everything I’m paid is really an investment in someone else’s dream — their business! So it’s a lot of good karma all around.
What is the first thing you do in the morning? And last thing at night?
First: Thank God for this opportunity. Last: Actually get excited about the next day’s work (like… seriously. Can’t sleep excited about everything in the works and all the potential in the world).
What’s your drug of choice (aka what fuels you? Coffee? Doughnuts? Midday margaritas?)
Being Paleo AIP, most food “drugs” really are drugs to me, though I’ve been a sucker for decaf coffee lately. My go-to treat is really good dark chocolate and a banana, or decaf black tea with coconut milk.
Wanna see more interviews like this? Or be interviewed yourself? Let me know!
Holla! In less than two weeks I’ll be home, a fact I can’t quite get my head around. I haven’t even begun to recap any of our American adventures!
In lieu, I offer you some choice reading material. You’re welcome.
Here is what it takes to live a truly offline life today (slightly off topic: I’ve been watching The Newsroom and Scandal on delay over this trip, and eerily, saw the government spying episode just as all the NSA stuff was happening, and Genova just as the Syria chemical weapon stuff was happening)
Geek in Heels ponders the concept that all parents screw up their kids in one way or another
I think most women would be lying if they didn’t wish they were a little more ‘beautiful’, so I adored this post on the conflict that comes with being a smart girl rather than a great beauty
Another post that really resonated with me is about outgrowing a passion. Like Rachel, when I was a teen music was such an integral part of my life, and I used to want to be a music writer myself
Penelope Trunk makes a few assertions about Asperger’s in this piece, but I can’t help but think her conclusion applies to most of us: find a life partner, and find a job
The best thing about getting older: curating your life, according to Live It Love It
Date a man who asks your opinion, says NYC Love Addict
In the same vein: date a female personal finance blogger, writes Cait
Nicole and Maggie want to know: do you miss anything from high school?
Landing Standing has a few top tips for booking short stay apartments when travelling
I nearly died laughing reading Asian Pear’s recounting of a few choice conversations with her parents
Ashley talks us through how to do stuff alone
Not everything you do for fun has to be turned into a business, as Leslie points out
What would you think if you met me for the first time? Berrak says odds are you might not like her all that much
As Her Every Cent Counts points out, it’s tricky to navigate the career waters when you don’t know who to turn to for personalised advice
Finally, you need to read this letter – it’s beautiful, and full of hope for the future, and oh so wise
I have spent an inordinate amount of time over the past couple of weeks mulling over what feminism means to me – and it’s all because of this post on A Practical Wedding. If you follow one link from this post, please make this the one. Maybe you’re not into the academic side of feminism (neither am I). Maybe you don’t think we even need feminsm anymore. Either way, this post – and especially the comments – are thought-provoking. Here are two of my favourite excerpts:
[From the post]
“I want all women to keep their last names. I don’t want women to use the language, “I kept my name,” but instead to use the language, “Neither of us changed our names.” I want women to pass on their last names to their children. I don’t want women who hyphenate to always allow their male partners to have their name go last. I’ve made those choices personally, I’ll defend them till I die. Beyond that, I’ll do everything I can to make those choices easier for others, and to help women see why this issue is so important.”
“I shave my legs and armpits, and by doing so I’m reinforcing the idea that women’s bodies are disgusting in their natural state and need to be modified in all sorts of ways to be appealing to men, whereas men’s bodies are generally ok as-is. I can’t say “I’m not doing it for men, I’m doing it for me because I like my legs smooth” because I’m aware that my own preference for smooth legs is simply an internalization of society’s demeaning norms about women’s bodies. And I won’t hide behind “choice” rhetoric because the women’s movement is not about freeing some women to make the choice to shave their legs (or change their names when they get married) and freeing other women to make other choices. It’s about eradicating the underlying objectification of women that supports the leg-shaving norm, which I’m implicitly supporting by shaving my legs.
I have to own that shaving my legs is not a feminist choice. But I don’t have to feel bad about it every day. And when I have kids and I can’t bear to explain to them why mommy has to take the hair off her legs and daddy doesn’t, maybe I’ll decide this is a fight I’m ready to take on.”
Here are the various levels of family dinner, according to Dinner: A Love Story
One of the first things I want to make when I get back to NZ: fried haloumi, a’la Hungry and Frozen
Chelsea Talks Smack on the anatomy of fucking up
Donna reminds us writers to stop undervaluing our work
Save Spend Splurge breaks down why she no longer wants to move to Portugal
Budget and the Beach lists some financial decisions she’s never regretted
I’m a bit backlogged on the blogging front, but rest assured that we’re chugging along on the road and loving it. I’ve been so privileged to meet some of my favourite bloggers and all going to plan will meet a few more on the West Coast. Happy weekends!
That’s right: You guys know how to do fast food. I’m going to need to detox again post-America, but in the meantime, we ain’t holding back…
Nor am I holding back on the links. Here’s a handful that caught my eye this week. Sharing is caring, yo.
Ashley Riordan has 50 quotes on creativity you might enjoy
And here’s some self improvement quotes to get you up and going, over at Untemplater
I could never do this, but was intrigued by Mutant Supermodel’s thoughts on fasting
TeacHer Finance lists five things she can’t believe about her financial life – entertaining!
At Get Rich Slowly: The grass isn’t always greener when you’re changing careers
L Bee and the Money Tree is all about handling the crazy this month
Partner is a weird word. Heck, labels are just tough, as A Practical Wedding ponders
Our Freaking Budget has some tips for fixing your bad budget
Networking advice that doesn’t suck, via Gen Y Girl
Manda’s learned a few things in her first year on the job
From Newlyweds on a Budget: what’s the secret to a great marriage?
Finally, you must read Frugal Portland’s tribute to her late mother. Beautiful.
Monday marks the start of our road trip. Here’s hoping for a non-shitty car, and as few wrong turns as possible. Looking forward to meeting some of you next month, and thanks everyone for all your advice thus far
Hello there! We’ve finally escaped the Mediterranean heat and are cooling off in Paris. A little too much, perhaps; yesterday brought the first rain we’ve been exposed to in a couple of months, putting a damper on the day. Ah well, we had three decent days before that, and a couple more ahead of us. Can I just say: WE LOVE PARIS. Weather and language barrier aside (and maybe the prices), I could definitely live here. It reminds us of London, but with better food, and just generally all-around more awesome.
I haven’t been doing as much reading as I’d like to, but here’s what’s caught my eye so far this month:
The seven deadly sins of freelancing, via Susannah Breslin
Financial Samurai pens an ode to endless summers
Afford Anything explains the four types of retirement
Over at Zen Habits, Jodi Ettenberg on finding mindfulness through food
Should we all just live like we’re poor? Via Mochi and Macarons
Nicole at A Life Less Bullshit reveals the one word you need to embrace
Over at Grow, five ways to avoid the online personal ghetto
Krystal wants to know: how much does your car really cost you?
The Everyday Minimalist outlines three ways to feel happier about your spending
At Yes and Yes, an insight into the life of a Grand Canyon worker
When should you quit a side hustle? Via Budgets Are Sexy
Finally, here’s what Kim of So Many Places knows about happiness
As I alluded to earlier this week, I used to adore travel planning.
NOT ANYMORE. Especially after the last couple of weeks!
First, the couple (Couchsurfing buds) whom we planned to visit in Grenoble stopped responding to my messages. Without a reason to stop in southern France, and the desire to avoid long train rides for T’s sake, I decided we should take those few days and fly straight to Paris. Cue a lot of searching trying to figure out what Italian city was cheapest to fly from, whether Ryanair was worth the savings (considering they fly to a really far away airport) and whether a slightly cheaper late night flight would be worth the savings over a daytime flight (considering we might miss the last subway of the night and be forced to catch a taxi).
Just a few days after booking our (nonrefundable) flights, one of the women we met at Englischhausen in Germany emailed suggesting we visit her in September as she had some free time. Those dates would have been absolutely PERFECT, slotting in to fill the Grenoble gap. Alas, the fees to change our flight and factor in another extra journey meant it just wasn’t meant to be after all.
With a week lined up in Paris, I wanted to rent an apartment and immerse ourselves in the city. But after identifying several promising possibilities, none have panned out yet. TIME IS RUNNING OUT. (Poor show, Paris Attitude. You’d think a professional agency would see a request through, rather than abruptly stop responding to emails. Have now moved on to Airbnb, where I can at least understand why hosts might ignore enquiries.)
A lovely guy in Iceland accepted our Couchsurfing hosting request, but has yet to reply to my subsequent messages about coordinating our arrival.
And of course, our American road trip is fast approaching, which is shaping up to be the biggest logistical challenge yet.
Here, have some lovely links. Because reading makes you smarter.
Little Miss Moneybags ponders the economic system that gives us enslavement by debt, and by extension, capitalism
Over at L Bee and the Money Tree, how to move to New York with $300 in your pocket
I love a good airing of personal finance confessions, like this one at Get Rich Slowly
At Get Rich Slowly, a few signs that you’re over your job – and what to do about it
And at Ask a Manager, some insightful advice on how to evaluate how well you’re doing at your job
Need a countryside holiday? Of course you do, as Yes and Yes explains
Some poignant reflections on travel, courtesy of Zen Habits
What’s it like to be a food-obsessed traveller? LandingStanding elaborates in GIFs (Heck to the YES!)
Kim of So Many Places on funding a RTW trip
Is Portland really like Portlandia? Kathleen at Frugal Portland lays it all out
Stacking Pennies unpacks the meaning of identity and tries to define herself by certain criteria
Manda of Break the Sky shares some life lessons and some fictional boyfriends
I was riveted by Ganda’s recent parking drama, as I’ve been there, done that before
Funny About Money rounds up some sites to check out for good longform reads
Finally, Cordelia Calls it Quits is thankful for life’s hurdles (the shit times) and confesses to letting dumb things affect her happiness sometimes (amen!)