TED Talk Tuesday

The good news is that the scientists who’ve been studying motivation have given us this new approach. It’s built much more around intrinsic motivation. Around the desire to do things because they matter,because we like it, they’re interesting, or part of something important.

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Adulting 101: Good help is hard to find

As I’ve settled back into some semblance of a normal life (i.e. full-time employed and not moving any time soon), I’ve also been indulging in things that were luxuries when I was a transient vagabond. I never used to give much thought to the professionals I enlisted to help with things, being a socially awkward introvert, I’d often move from place to place to avoid having to talk to people more than once. But recently I’ve realised the value in finding professionals that make you feel comfortable, rather than giving you the sense they’re doing you a favour.

Hairdressing

 I had looooooooong hair until my second year of uni, and since then it’s slowly been getting shorter over time. I also had a layer of red in my hair that I had to give up when I went travelling cause it was just too expensive to maintain. Flash forward four years and my work wife is constantly recommending her hairdresser to me. “I just really think you’ll get on.” After 8 months, and finally in a financial position to consider regular hair sessions again, I went to see her hairdresser and it’s probably one of the best decisions I ever made. Personality wise he’s a perfect fit, to the point where he’ll ask me if we’re going to talk about Star Wars or just sit in anti-social silence for the whole thing…and either is perfectly acceptable. I’ve never felt comfortable at a hairdressing salon until I started seeing Ben. And he’s honestly an amazing hairdresser – mad with a pair of scissors. If you’re in need of a professional in Wellington, Ben at JAM is your guy.

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Waxing

So, I’ve never shaved my legs. When the time came round for all that, my mum gave me the option of waxing instead and I decided it sounded like less hassle. I used to have it professionally done but then started doing it at home for financial reasons. After being in Welly for a while, I decided to enlist professional help again. This is where things usually get hard for me because I find the whole experience horribly awkward and I resent spending money on something that makes me feel so horrifically uncomfortable. So I did some research online to find a waxing specialist in Welly. The first person I saw was very nice but she was also one of those who’d make comments about other aspects of your appearance, presumably to get you to spend more money on products. I am not ok with that. I mean, I’m not here to be made to feel bad about myself, and I don’t think that’s what the beauty industry should run on. NOPE. So after a couple of visits, I moved on and tried a second place. The first person I saw was lovely but very chatty and as a horrible introvert there’s only so much small talk I can take. I really liked her though so kept going until I had to reschedule an appointment and was assigned a different specialist…I was annoyed by this at the time but actually, it’s worked out great. She’s Brazilian and likes to listen to Portuguese covers of  classic songs and is not really interested in talking. A+++. Also, my salon specialises in sugar waxing which is great for bikini waxes and makes the whole experience a thousand times better. I actually feel comfortable at this salon and it’s all very professional, efficient and actually kinda relaxing (yes, I know I’m weird.) So yeah, if you’re in Wellington, the team at Brazilian Secrets will look after you – they’re all great!

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Exercise

 When it comes to exercise, I am not a very motivated person. I went to the gym regularly but found it hard to really push myself out of my comfort zone. I also did bootcamp Monday/Friday mornings but again struggled to really capitalise on that and implement it in my every day routine. So in October last year I decided to get a personal trainer. After some googling, I finally found somewhere that would let me train without singing some horrible contract with a specific gym. I started seeing my PT every week but have now scaled back to fortnightly, and it’s really given me the confidence to try things I wouldn’t have before, and also just to push myself harder. Granted, I’m still likely to tap out of things when training by myself, but I’m doing lots of strength training now which I wouldn’t have dared to do before. It’s been a great experience. As my office was closed after the earthquake last November, I also changed gyms (my old one was in the basement of our building). I wanted to go somewhere that offered classes and a new women’s gym on my route home had just opened. Now I know what you’re thinking, women’s only things are lame, but actually it’s been great. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and I never have to wait for dudebros to finish with the squat rack. Win/win. Also, horrific generalisation to imply this is a men’s problem, but I’ve never had to rack anyone else’s weights which is a definite improvement on my old gym. So yes. I am thinking of maybe swapping to my bf’s gym cause I miss working out with him but it’s such a nice vibe at my gym…life’s hard. Anyway. For PTs in Welly, check out Studio 41 and while gyms are a dime a dozen, I’ve found Revive Fitness to be very affordable and perfect for my needs.

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Cleaning

I never felt like more of a failure than the day I decided to get a cleaner for my tiny one bedroom flat. But I was miserable. Work was hectic and I hated spending my little free time on the weekend cleaning, instead of enjoying life. Most people will probably just leave it for a bit, focus on their happiness and well-being. But because I’m a perfectionist, I also cannot abide my flat being in less than pristine condition, so I was constantly caught in this loop of misery. After much hand-wringing, I decided to get a cleaner once a month. It was a weight off my shoulders. Could I do it myself? Yes. Should I? Probably. But it’s one less thing I have to worry about so…fuck it. I found a wonderful cleaner through Goodnest and I can’t recommend the service enough. You can get help with all sorts of jobs through them and the customer service is excellent. Why be stressed when you don’t have to be, right? Right.

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TED Talk Tuesday

To let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen … to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee[…]to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, “Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?” just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, “I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.” And the last, which I think is probably the most important, is to believe that we’re enough. Because when we work from a place, I believe, that says, “I’m enough” … then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves.

Adulting 101: Skin deep

My mum did a great job raising me, not a day goes by that I don’t think of something she did that has helped or benefited me in some way. She’s always been really level-headed and practical and I don’t really know how she copes with highly strung, perfectionists (and depressives) like my dad and I.

One of the solid things she did for me was to get me started on a face washing routine when I was around 10. She did some research and found a nice, natural, antioxidant product for me that didn’t have a ton of chemicals in it. It was rooibos based and I loved it.

When my family moved to Australia, I could no longer get the aforementioned rooibos product  (ah pre-internet shopping) and I fell into the bad habit of not really looking after my skin much. The off the shelf products in supermarkets seemed to aggravate my breakouts more than anything and I kind of lost faith in the whole process.

Now I have to admit I have pretty good skin. Except for the odd breakout, I never had any major issues. So I never needed a truly heavy duty product. Eventually when I started earning my own money, I moved on to products from the Body Shop (I never felt justified in asking my parents to spend $40 on a tiny tube of moisturiser). And that was ok so that’s where I settled.

But then last May I ordered my first Go-To Skincare product. Now I’ll admit that I only ordered some because I think the founder of the product, Zoe Foster Blake, is hilarious and I enjoyed their social media posts. Is that shallow? Oh well. I also discovered that it’s full of natural ingredients and none of the shit that I hate, so I desperately wanted it to work. I ordered the ‘Exceptionoil‘ first because my skin gets really dry in winter, particularly my hands (to the point where my knuckles end up raw and cracked). And I loved it. Loved it. Not only does it smell divine, it’s also super effective – and as it turns out, it’s really effective at stopping weightlifting calluses from getting all gross.

I immediately ordered the ‘Properly Clean Face Wash‘ and the ‘Exfoliating Swipeys‘. The face wash is light and foamy and delightful, and also smells delicious. It’s really balanced out my skin and effectively got rid of the dry patches I’d occasionally get. The swipeys are really straightforward though I find my skin quite sensitive to exfoliation so I only use them 1-2 times a week.

In the intervening months, I’ve gone on to get the whole set of products and I absolutely adore them all. My skin is so soft and clear, and the Exceptionoil in particular is very effective. Plus the products come in a cute box with lots of fun, tongue in cheek packaging and the whole thing is really just a delight from start to finish. So if you’re looking for a new product that is full of good stuff, smells great and isn’t tested on animals, Go-To is definitely worth a try.

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January R&R

Books:

I read two books in January. The first was ‘Anna & the French Kiss‘ by Stephanie Perkins, a YA novel recommended by a friend while we were in Paris and that I only just got round to reading. I loved it because I love a good easy to read YA novel and I love Paris. Pretty much read it in a single sitting which, frankly, is how all books should be read. I also read Neil Gaiman’s ‘View from the Cheap Seats‘, a collection of non-fiction pieces. I always enjoy a good collection as it’s nice to have something that I can easily segment and put down when I need to. It was fine, none of it was revolutionary.

Music:

In recent years I’ve fallen into the habit of listening to the same three playlists over and over again, so basically I’m listening to the same shit I listened to in 2009. And that’s fine, don’t get me wrong, I love that shit. But I also don’t want to be one of those people who listens to five bands from years ago and has no idea what’s happening out there now. Who knows what awesome is out there?? So I’m making a conscious effort to listen to new stuff (while also still listening to old stuff cause why not yo) Here’s my January playlist…

Movies:

Assassin’s CreedI agreed to see this because I’ve watched the bf play enough Assassin’s Creed to understand the basic premise of the universe, and I always enjoy a sword & sandal type film (Prince of Persia anyone?). Plus it has three Oscar-nominated actors in it…how bad could it be? Ha. Hahaha. It’s not often I’ll say this but this film needed more action. The parkour scenes were actually pretty fun and more past-life fights would have helped balance out the snore fest. That said, Michael Fassbender is shirtless for a good 30 minutes. Take the perks where you get them.

La La LandLook, if you came out of this complaining it was overly nostalgic or corny then you frankly just weren’t paying attention. Nothing about the marketing of this film promised anything other than a wishful 1950s inspired musical and it 100% delivered on that. I enjoyed it, especially Emma Stone’s wardrobe (brb, selling all my clothes). I did think the ending was depressing and I resented the implication that any happy ending for some reason has to involve having children. Also, five years is not nearly enough time passing for all that shiz to go down in the final act. But whatever, the film did exactly what it said it was going to – I don’t understand why there’s suddenly so much hate for it.

MoanaWhat an absolute delight. DELIGHT. There’s nothing about this film I didn’t love and I have happily been listening to the soundtrack on the odd occasion. Loved seeing Pasifika culture reflected. Up there with Brave as a new fave animated film.

Hidden FiguresOh my god, what a film. Loved everything about it. Yet again, total outfit envy. Such an inspirational story and like all things reflecting diversity these days, it feels desperately necessary. And the soundtrack is on point. Bf’s verdict following the film: “I have never felt more male and white in my life.” Preach.