Simple ways to stop destroying the environment

Instead of growing out of my teenage angst, I seem to instead have discovered the delights of millennial angst and can see all the ways in which the world will end, the state of the environment being one particular area that gives me a constant feeling of low-level worry. While I can’t stop big businesses from doing what they’re doing, I can control my own little footprint and reduce it as much as possible. These are some things you can do to try and be a better person for our one-and-only earth:

  • The basics. Walk or use public transport instead of your car, carpool when you can’t, recycle your recyclables, buy local produce, don’t buy a new cellphone every six months, turn the lights off when you leave the room, limit the amount you use the dryer, shut the curtains when it’s cold, etc etc etc. The really obvious ones that everyone already knows.
  • Use a KeepCup. If you live in a city like Wellington where every second person is clutching a takeaway coffee, it’s easy to see just how much waste this causes. KeepCups are usually around $20 and most places will give you a free coffee with purchase. I’ve saved roughly 40 disposable coffee cups since I started using my KeepCup in May (please don’t calculate how much that means I’ve spent on coffee). Plus some places give you a discount for using your own cup, so you’re also saving money too! Again, please don’t compare that to how much I actually spend on coffee.
  • Bring your reusable items when you go out. Along a similar line to the KeepCup, reusable shopping bags are a super easy way to reduce your impact. In NZ our major supermarkets are phasing out single-use plastic bags, so you might as well get used to it now. Another tip is to buy metal straws and bring those with you when you go out, because plastic straws aren’t helping anyone be more sustainable and they really don’t add much to the experience of drinking something.
  • Recycle everything. You already know to recycle your tins, papers and glass bottles. But there is so much more you can recycle outside of your weekly pickup. That broken mug is now a pen-holder. Instead of leaving your old cellphone in a drawer somewhere, find a free drop-off zone so your eWaste can be repurposed safely instead of slowly poisoning the earth around it (Wellington people can find them here). Charity clothing bins sell clothes that are too ripped and stained to companies that turn them into rags, so you don’t need to biff out your sad old jeans into the regular rubbish. Most supermarkets now also have bins where you can recycle your soft plastics (full list of recyclables here) so if you do use a plastic bag at the supermarket, you can assuage your guilt! Yay!
  • Be smart with your clothes. Fast-fashion is bad for your wallet and the environment. If you can, invest in good-quality pieces that haven’t been made by people earning 10c an hour. If you can’t, op-shopping is a good way to get new clothes on the cheap, and if you’re super motivated, you could host a clothing swap like one of my lovely friends did a few months ago. To combat boredom with what you’ve already got, TFD has a cool idea where you challenge yourself to wear outfit combinations you never have before, something I’m definitely planning on doing.
  • Eat less meat. I’ve mentioned several times that I’m now a vegetarian and loving my meat-free lifestyle. I’m not telling you to stop eating meat, but even introducing one meat free day a week, like by doing Meat-Free Mondays, your carbon footprint is reduced a lot. Plus a vege-diet is so cheap, and you know by now that I love saving money.
  • Buy reusable menstrual products. If you have a uterus, there is absolutely no reason why you need to go through a pack of pads or tampons every period. DivaCups (and similar menstrual cups) last for several years, you can leave them in all day without worrying about getting toxic shock syndrome or feeling gross, and you’re drastically reducing the amount of waste you produce. If menstrual cups aren’t your jam, reusable cloth pads are relatively cheap and work just like disposable pads, except you’re not filling up a landfill every period. Again, this saves you money in the long run, so win-win!

If you’re curious about your carbon footprint, this is a pretty simple quiz to give you a rough estimate of how you’re doing. And if you have any tips that I’ve missed, let me know!

Spooky songs for spooky nights

At this stage, I’m pretty sure I’m doing nothing for Halloween, which is typical because New Zealand doesn’t care at all about the day but also tragic because I love dressing up. But on the off chance I do end up doing something, I have a ready-made playlist of spooky songs that aren’t terrible because I’m forever an obnoxious indie kid who loves sharing their favourite songs (and there’s only so many times I can listen to “Heads Will Roll”). I sometimes like to picture movie scenes that could go with the song, so have a peek inside my head while listening to these sick beats:

“Ghost” – The Horrors

My new favourite song off “V”. The first part of the song is so ominous and foreboding and when it breaks down at the bridge, it’s like a thousand crazy emotions have exploded everywhere. It’s cacophonous and I adore it.

“Superstition” – The Kills

Early Kills’ songs are so super gritty and this is no exception. Everything off “Keep On Your Mean Side” would make for wicked Halloween music.

“I’m Mad” – The Dead Weather

Because if it’s not obvious, I really love Alison Mosshart and because to me, the Dead Weather is the perfect soundtrack for a Southern horror movie.

“Superstar” – Sonic Youth

Obviously the original version of this song is perfection, but this slightly dissonant cover completely changes the vibe: instead of seeming like someone in love, it sounds like an delusional obsessive who’s just about to snap.

“The Baby Screams” – The Cure

A severely underrated song, it kind of makes me think of a desperate man almost giving up and then getting the strength and determination to finally beat the bad guy.

“The Union Forever” – The White Stripes

Because Jack White is the king of being both effortlessly cool and spooky.

If you have any Halloween-appropriate songs for me, I would love to hear them!

September ’17 Favourites

MUSIC: The musical loves of my life, The Horrors, finally released their new album, V. Every time they release a new album I get nervous because I have sky high expectations (I think this marks the 8th year I’ve been a hopeless fangirl for them) and luckily V did not disappoint. They’ve released yet another masterpiece so if you listen to literally any song you’ll be a happy camper, although I’m pretty sure “World Below” is my favourite. Fingers crossed they tour NZ with this album so I see them live a fourth time.

EXERCISE: I’m not someone who enjoys exercise at all and I’m pretty convinced that feel-good endorphins are a myth. But I like feeling like I’m making good choices for my health and body, and I’m stoked that this month I walked an average of 10,500 steps a day and started running again (thanks Steptember!). Considering it’s only just gone Spring, I’m hoping that the weather will encourage me to continue this health-burst I’m currently on.

SPRING: I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I start work most days at 6AM and I’ve been walking to work in the dark ever since I first started my job in May. The days are stretching out and I can tell now winter has truly melted away. Daylight savings kind of ruined a bit of that by making it dark again in the morning again but it’s light so much later now, and I know the mornings will lighten up again soon. I was treated to this sight before daylight savings kicked in, and I know it’ll only be a matter of weeks before it’s like this again:

THE FUTURE: I’m a bridesmaid in my friends’ wedding next month, I have tickets to see Lorde in November, my friend Erin is coming back to NZ in December, I’m going to Laneway in January, and The Killers are touring NZ next year. 2017 is shaping up to be a pretty stellar year and I am feeling so pumped about all the exciting things happening in the near-future.

“New Zealand, that’s in Europe right?”

It has now been a whole six months since I left Canada and came back to New Zealand. I can’t believe I’ve already been home for so long and I’m definitely getting itchy feet & wanting to travel again. Partly because I like travelling and seeing new things, but also because I love discovering people’s unintentionally hilarious ideas about NZ. It seems like people have one of two possible thoughts: (a) it’s a tiny pacific island without electricity and a population of approximately 50 people; or (b) it’s the part of Australia where they filmed Lord of the Rings. When I studied abroad I started a list of the things people said to me upon learning I’m a kiwi and I’ve been adding to it ever since. These are some of my favourites:

IMG_7391

A typical NZ home

  • “New Zealand, that’s in Europe right?”
  • “I’ve never heard of it.”
  • “What part of Australia is that?”
  • “You’ve completely lost your accent!” followed by someone else declaring “Your accent is so strong!”
  • “Do you speak English in New Zealand?”
  • “Can you speak kiwi?”
  • “Do you have a national bird?”
  • “Are there black people in New Zealand?”
  • “Do you call it summer when it’s hot or is that called winter for you?”
  • “It’s about the same size as Vancouver Island, right?”
  • “Do you have hair salons in New Zealand?”
  • “I’ve heard there’s a minister for hobbits, is that true?”
  • “What’s the difference between Australia and New Zealand?”
  • “Are you from England?” -No, I’m from New Zealand. “Eh, same thing.”
  • “What’s the capital of New Zealand?” -Guess. “Brisbane?”
  • “I know in Australia they teach kids how to catch kangaroos when they’re really young, do they do that in New Zealand too?”

If you’re from NZ or another country that people completely misunderstand, I would love to hear your own stories!

Steptember, coffee & other good things

It’s Friday night, the Wellington wind is howling strong, and I’m tucked up in bed because it’s so very cold. I don’t want to focus on that though, so here is a list of good things that have happened recently:

  • The barista at the coffee shop by my work has finally memorised my name and coffee order, which could be seen as a sign I go there too often but I’m choosing to take it as a sign that they like me.
  • I now have my own email address at work, which makes me feel much more important than I actually am.
  • Lox and I had dinner out at Ombra the other night and the eggplant parmagiana was a revelation.
  • I got my roots touched up so I feel like myself again (because for some reason, I only feel like myself when my hair is firetruck red).
  • My new jeans make me unreasonably happy.
  • The lineup for Laneway 2018 has been announced and I am so very tempted to go.
  • I’m taking part in Steptember, which means I’m aiming to do 10,000 steps a day while raising money for services, research, and programmes for cerebral palsy. I’m forcing myself to be much more active and I’m feeling better for it.
  • Last week I went for a run for the first time in forever and it turns out I’m not as unfit as I thought I would be.
  • While on my run, it was clear that it was worth it because I happened upon this view:

Further proof that Wellington is the most beautiful place ever 💙 #wellington #newzealand

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Skinny Love: a love letter to my new jeans

Until you, I didn’t know what I was missing.

My old love was fine, kept me moderately happy. I stayed because I was somewhat comfortable and I thought that it was as good as it would get. Even as the seams slowly started to split, I didn’t realise things weren’t working out. It had to completely fall apart before I realised that I deserved more.

Even so, I was nervous. Finding a replacement seemed impossible. I flirted with potentials, only to find them stiff or keeping their distance from my body, sometimes refusing to see past my calves. I settled once again and resigned myself to a life less-than-perfect: always feeling sightly self-conscious and certain that perfection didn’t exist.

But then I saw you.

I knew I liked you, but I was apprehensive. I’d been burned before by unflattering cuts and gaping waistlines. But from our first touch, I could tell that you were perfect for me. It was natural, effortless. I thought surely you must have a flaw somewhere, but from every angle, it’s clear that we belong together. You fit me like my missing puzzle piece. Nothing compares to the feeling I get when you’re wrapped around my waist: gloriously unselfconscious and beautiful. I don’t know how I lived without you for so long.

***

A few years ago, I wrote a post about my old computer finally dying and forgot just how much fun it is writing love letters about inanimate objects. I genuinely mean it though – if like me, you struggle to find jeans that fit your legs without gaping at the waist, you will probably also fall madly in love with these jeans. And if you’ve never struggled to find jeans that fit, you are very lucky and I probably hate you.

August ’17 Favourites

MUSIC: Choosing one musical favourite this month is basically impossible, with a ton of artists releasing new music. I’m in love with dodie’s whole EP, especially “In The Middle“, the best song about a threesome I’ve ever heard. I’m also super impressed with Kesha’s “Rainbow”, and am strongly considering covering “Hunt You Down” at some point. I’d also be a filthy liar if I denied being into Taylor Swift’s new song – say what you want, but it’s breaking all kinds of records and it’s constantly in my head. Regardless of your feelings towards the song, I strongly encourage to you watch the Google Translate Sings version because it’s hilarious.

SHOWS: I went up to Auckland with my friend Sarah to see “Matilda the Musical” and it was phenomenal. I’ve seen a lot of musicals now – 14 at last count – and I’m pretty convinced that Matilda is the best show I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen Les Miserables on the West End in London, so that’s saying a lot). The songs were clever, the kids were unreasonably talented and it was hilarious & heart-wrenching. If you have a chance to see it, you must.

"To change the world, it takes a little genius" ✨ #matildathemusical #civictheatre #matildainnz

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MOVIES: Earlier in the month, I saw “The Big Sick” and it’s possibly the best movie I’ve seen all year. It was hilarious and thought provoking and is the first movie in a long time where I’ve laughed embarrassingly loudly in the theatre. The only reason I say “possibly the best” is because I also saw “Get Out” this year and I cannot decide which is better because they’re both amazing.

LIFE: Lox and I celebrated our three year anniversary this month. I don’t talk much about us on this blog because I’m sure I’d sound obnoxious and like the sort of person that single-me would have hated, but I feel super lucky to have met my person and that he still likes me even though I’m incredibly annoying most of the time. Our anniversary was on a Monday, so we just celebrated by going out for dinner and giving each other presents, so now I’m finally the proud owner of one of these bad boys. (If you’re curious, the photo below is from when our flat in Vancouver held a “Rock of Ages” party and we had to dress up in our best 80s gear.)

SPRING: The cherry blossoms are starting to bloom and winter will be over within a day. I’m so excited to finally exit this interminable winter I’ve been experiencing since October 2016. It’s been so long since springtime.