#sejtips – Why I yoga

This week I happened to have a slight altercation with my car…The end result of this being a new car and a very stiff sej. But this post isn’t about the car, it’s about yoga and why I bother spending my time sitting on a pink mat breathing really slowly.

I’m a big advocate for yoga and pilates, but will admit I got lazy. I used to be a bit of a busy bee – rushing everywhere all the time (like a classic Aucklander, really). I realised that people tend to make more mistakes when they’re rushing and I needed to do something to slow down. Yoga happened to be trendy, but after actually trying it, I really realised how much I enjoyed taking the time out of my day to slow down. It took my accident to remind me the importance of stretching, breathing and spending time on myself.

So, one day it occurred to me that I didn’t need to get up at 7am on a Saturday morning to go to Lulu Lemon for a yoga class (and I bought a new car with the savings in yoga pants) and I found my own tutor, at home: Adriene.

This isn’t a plug for Adriene, my Youtube yogi, but more an overview of why everyone should be doing yoga. I do love lists, so here’s one on yoga:

  • If you’re a fitness buff, it’s a really good way to stretch out your muscles and support your workouts
  • If you’re constantly rushing around/very busy and stressed – then yoga forces you to take 30 or so minutes (Adriene has different timed workouts) to focus on you. Taking the time out, just to breathe, gives you a lot of energy and clarity – not to be underestimated
  • It’s really really good for back problems/any other muscular or skeletal issues
  • If you suffer insomnia, it helps to clear your mind – yoga isn’t about having no thoughts, but taking the time to think about what matters

Youtube yoga is great because it’s free, it’s at home and you can do it whenever it suits you. Yoga isn’t just for the skinny blonde Lulu Lemon brigade – you don’t need fancy clothes, or even flexibility to give it at home. Go to Kmart and grab a mat (any excuse for a Kmart trip really) and give it a go.

I recommend starting easy. I did this one tonight, because I’m really stiff and it’s been so long. It’s a 40 minute practice, but takes you through all the basic of yoga. No Hindi required. So, go, try it! Namaste.

Being convincingly adult…

I’m currently sitting in a hotel room on the edge of the earth (okay Palmerston North isn’t actually thaatt bad!). Today’s post was supposed to be a riveting read about the wonderful world of Tinder and the promised blog on modern dating. However, after a successful weekend trip to Kmart, buying such exciting homewares as tea towels, bucket and steam mop, I’ve instead decided to write this post about the current bane of my existence: being an adult.

Now I know everyone reading this knows how challenging it is to wake up every morning and pretend to be a fully functional adult human being. When I was younger, all I wanted to be was an adult and now I’m here, I’ve begun to realise just how shit it actually is – there are so many little things that my parents did for me that I never noticed. When cast out into the cruel world of flatting and working full time, the gaps in my knowledge have become painfully obvious (but it’s okay because mum and dad are on speed-dial).

So today’s post is for those out there that need a little more help maintaining the charade of adulting. And because I’m a millennial and millennials like lists, it’s coming to you in the form of beautiful bullets. Here are (a selection of) the things my mum told me, the things I wish my mum told me and the shit that no one bothered to mention because it’s supposed to be ‘common sense’. It’s a fairly broad list, so enjoy:

  • Don’t sign a lease. Don’t do it. Live at home, live in a motel, couch surf – do whatever it is you have to do to avoid being fiscally and responsible for an actual house full of people. Can’t stress this one enough. Always get someone more adult to do this for you and trust me that person isn’t you. So far my lease holding experience has involved ongoing email battles about curtains (yes, curtains), trading gardening for pizza and having the pleasure of locating a new washing machine 2 days before the Christmas break. Last time – save yourself the stress and just don’t do it.
  • If you completely missed the first point and somehow ended up being the lease holder, here are some quick tips for managing yo flat:
    • Create a flat account for expenses so you don’t have to worry about reimbursing for toilet paper and rubbish bags (because no one ever keeps receipts and rubbish bags do NOT cost $50), it’s also handy for outgoing debits of internet and power
    • Highly recommend Flick Electric as your electricity provider. Why? They have an app. Always go with the app. Oh and they’re cheaper too… But the app is super cool and allows you to keep track of what you’re spending. And they bill out weekly, but app!
    • Have a flat Facebook page. Mostly you can post pass-ag comments about who stole your bananas… But really, great way to keep everyone up to date with fun things like flat inspections
    • There’s 100 more tips I could write, but honestly the best one is to probably chill out and accept that everyone works differently and important things will get done and for everything else… (there’s Mastercard) – nah, it’ll happen when it happens!
  • Another sub list coming here – things adults have in their kitchens that you didn’t think about until you were cooking and realised you didn’t have it:
    • Strainer & sieve
    • Tea towels. Heaps. Especially in a flat – you’ll need like 50
    • Dish drainer ($8 at Kmart – what a win!)
    • Goldilocks scrubbing thing so you can scrub off the burn from that recipe that seemed really basic on Pinterest…
    • Tongs, serving spoon with holes in it, serving spoon without holes in it
    • Glad wrap & assorted collection of containers with and without lids
    • Paper towels – for all those times you were mixing pancake batter and spilled half of it on the floor
    • Mixing bowls and measuring cups
    • There’s probably more of these things, but #protip you can avoid buying any of these things if you survive off frozen meals and takeout
  • Baking soda and vinegar will basically clean about anything – suitable to clean your carpet, your white jeans, your towels and apparently one cup of vinegar will clean your washing machine, so chuck one of those in there once a week

In true blog fashion, it has occurred to me whilst writing this that this list could absolutely go on forever. So I’m going to cap it at there for now and consider this to be a part one – covering small elements of flatting/home life. As, after all, this is a blog for/by millennials and the attention span isn’t overly high, because well – have you seen that video of the bunny being rescued?

When gym is not #bae

gym-meme

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a bit of a gym junkie. I’ll be the first to admit that I send the odd (okay maybe slightly more frequent…) snapchat of my workouts and I’m definitely not that quiet about it. #Sorrynotsorry for being a millennial. But today’s blog post isn’t for people like me, it’s for those people who just want to go to the gym. Perhaps so you can justify eating an entire chocolate cake as your ‘preworkout snack’.

Disclaimer – I’m not a personal trainer (if was, I’d have that 6 pack by now). I just wanted to write something that the average person could identify with without all the jargon. So here’s some #sejgymytips for the non-aspiring body builders, who just want a work out, for whatever reason that may be:

-My number one tip has got to be: get pinteresting. Pinterest is an amazing resource and I use it to plan 99% of my workouts (the other 1% is bodybuilding.com, but it’s not as user friendly). You can search whatever workout you’d like – for example, I would do a legs, chest and back, or bi and tri workout. Their circuits are also pretty amazing. If you don’t have much of an idea of what you’re doing and don’t want to splash out for a PT, definitely jump on pinterest – but grab one of the workouts with pictures to guide you.

-On that note: if you don’t want to do super serious weight training on the machines, try with circuits. Circuits are great and there are a lot of bodyweight ones if you’re not keen on loading up the barbells. They’re also a fantastic mix of weight training and cardio that I enjoy. This is the same line of thinking as a Kayla Itsines workout, without the pressure of doing 12 full-on weeks.

-Start small. If you’re gymming to lose weight or get that Kim K body (lots of squats!), it’s not going to help you to start with massive weights – trust me, I’ve been there and all those heavy weights do is stop you from being able to manage the stairs at work for days on end. Generic advice I got given here (though take this with a grain of salt) is that you want to be a little bit sore, but still able to use your body and function as a human being the next day. Once you stop being sore, then you can try up your weights.

-If you just want to go to the gym and not think about what you have to do, I highly recommend classes. If you’re willing to spend a little bit more on a world class gym experience (no I don’t actually go here, but used to when I was on a good student rate), then Les Mills is 100% the way to go. If you want to be able to afford daily coffee as well as your gym membership, then try something like Snap Fitness (I like Browns Bay or Constellation), they actually do pretty okay classes.

-My last piece of advice  (I won’t overload you, I could probably talk about the gym all day) is to reward yourself so you actually want to go to the gym. If you’re not going to get high from those sweet cardio endorphins, then chances are you’ll need some other motivation so your membership doesn’t turn into a monthly donation to your local club. I used to reward myself with gold star stickers (because I’m, at heart, a grown child) and once I racked up 5 stars a week for 5 weeks, I’d get a massage. Other motivation ideas could be buying yourself new workout gear or going to all you can eat ribs at Deep Creek (although perhaps counterproductive to those gym goals).

Oh and make sure you stretch- always stretch and if you’re not sure what to stretch, get pinteresting! Good luck and go hard or…whatever pace you want really. Just do you.

 

Fun with money

The first thing I will say is that this title is probably very misleading. This post isn’t about the fun you can have dropping a couple of hundred thousand dollars at the Gucci store. This is about the fun things I’ve learned that really aren’t that fun, but help me have fun (this is a very overt way of saying that if you budget well, you can have all the dollarz to buy new shoes AND pay your rent- what?!).

I’m the first to admit that I’m really not that great with money. My brother was always the one into finance and I made it through being the hippy, happy-go-lucky one. That was until I learned about monthly pay runs. When I was a student, I was being paid fortnightly in my part time job – that was hard enough! Once I left uni, I found the next greatest challenge wasn’t a lack of money, it was a great lack of financial planning. It was a steep learning curve after spending a week eating almost exclusively tuna and rice (no I don’t regret buying that extra kookai dress on sale).

If you’re like me, you’re well aware that there zillions of resources online to help you out with budgeting etc., but have absolutely no motivation to troll through them. Like yes, duh, of course it’s helpful to put your spare change in a jar and see how much you get after 365 days. However, actual cash and I rarely make friends, so in reality, a lot of these tips just aren’t that applicable. Thus (I love the word thus..), I decided to compile all the things I’ve learned since converting to monthly salary that mean I don’t run out of money for essential things like Taco Tuesday at Mexicali Fresh. And here they are:

  1. Budget. Ain’t no way you’re going to get through the month without some sort of figures guiding your spending. Trust me – $20 for dinner out here and $5 for coffee there really adds up and before you know it you’re back to instant coffee for the next 3 weeks. My friend gave me a great website (shout out to Katie for being a solid good adult) that has an excel budget template that I use. I update my spending weekly (or at least try to, it’s important to have aspirations). If you spend more on one category consistently, it may be good to adjust your budget.
  2. Utilise online banking; i.e. be the dick at the checkout who stands there idly on your phone transferring money to the account that’s linked to your card. This way, every time you make a purchase, you’re forced to think about what you’re spending money on and how much you have left for that thing. For example, I added online accounts to my ASB where I transfer lump sums for food, rent, entertainment and petrol at the beginning of the month. I consider these to be essentials and this way know that at least I’ll be able to drive to work 25 days into the pay cycle.
  3. Be promiscuous – have relationships with multiple banks. My best saving tip is to sign on with another bank where you have just a savings account that’s not linked to any card.  When I get paid, I transfer a certain amount of my pay to this account and aim to leave it there. If I need to tap into my savings because the dog peed on my laptop and no longer works (yes this actually happened -_-), then it takes at least a day to process and I know that I’m not just wasting money on the pair of shoes that are only on sale today…
  4. Know that shit happens. When doing your budget, try and set aside money for the annoying things that you can’t plan for. Like your car breaking down on the way to Tauranga or the aforementioned laptop issue. My friend has two savings accounts – one for long term (your Bali trip this September) and one for emergencies. Disclaimer –  I don’t actually do this, but if I was properly money savvy, I would…
  5. At the risk of letting this run on, I’ll wrap it up for a nice even 5. My final money saving tip seems pretty basic, but is worth a mention – find another things to do. I would say a good 90% of my spending seems to go on food and eating out. My suggestion is to turn cooking parties into social gatherings. A personal favourite is to go for a walk (it helps to pitch it as an ‘adventure’) and then make brunch at home afterwards. You can do french toast and champagne for about $8 per person, opposed to an easy $25+ in a cafe.

There you have it  – 5 somewhat easy ways to be better with money and show off how successful you are as an adult human being. Now reward yourself with a nice bottle of champagne. Go on, you earned it. Jokes, remember how much better that champagne will taste from a vineyard in France #savinggoals.

Namasdating

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I thought I’d start the first actual blog post with a bang by writing about something a little bit unusual that I’d say not too many people have done – or at least none of my friends have: Namasdating. In layman’s terms, yoga speed dating. Getting up close and personal with a complete stranger for the sake of meeting new people and you know, the gram (#doitforthegram). How millennial.

I must admit I had fallen victim to peer pressure on this one. It wasn’t my love for yoga or my yearning desire to find a soul mate that dragged me along to NZME on a Thursday night (no it wasn’t even a yoga studio), no it was my desire to try new things and be different. Oh the pressure of being a modern day youth.

I’m not going to lie, I was slightly disappointed when I turned up that it wasn’t actual serious yoga, more a series of poses where you got ridiculously close to others. Too close. A bit of downward dog, mountain and tree pose and then wine and nibbles. Didn’t even burn off the burrito I had at the Food Truck Garage…

Since this blog is intended to be educational, I thought I’d give some tips for the aspiring millennials wanting to spice up their dating options. First tip? Don’t namasdate. It’s probably worse than tinder. You have about a minute on each pose with your sweaty thighs pressed against a bearded stranger with the flexibility of a wooden pole. In this space you have enough time to say your name, vocation and favourite flavour of Ben&Jerry’s. If you want to get to know someone properly, just go for drinks like a normal person.

If you’re still determined to be one of the select few who have namasdated, then I suggest buying new active wear. I never really need an excuse to buy new active wear, but you really want to stand out. Like the men in fluro pink crop tops with attractive head bands to keep their overly long hair out of their eyes. The brighter the better, the tighter the better.

I also recommend against trying to do actual yoga. Don’t tell them that you’re secretly a level 10 yogi, but endeavour to bond over your inability to touch your toes. You don’t want to get stuck in a conversation where you’re actually having to dispel yoga advice. Time is precious and it’s better to spend this time discussing whether or not he’s a Harry Potter fan. The non believers must go. #HPislife

For those that you actually connect with, bring business cards. You’ll seem like such a professional when you can slip your card into their pocket and they’ll be impressed that  you work somewhere fancy enough to make you business cards. And if you don’t… get some made with just your name and your number (and maybe an ornamental butterfly).

My last piece of advice for those still wanting to try this unusual dating experience is probably applicable to all areas of your life. Go hard or go home. Go hard on the banter, hard on the awful poses and hard on the wine at the drinks afterwards. Oh and if you have low expectations, you’ll always be surprised.

-Namaste!

Me – curly girl and a millennial, obviously…

15288703_10154700619022910_2297009838370415093_oFor those who don’t know me, I’m Sara. I’m many things, but I guess one of the most defining attributes of me is my curly hair, curly nature and all round curly way of doing things. I never quite coped with straight lines and my journey so far (forgive me, this isn’t another self motivational, enjoy the journey style blog) has been anything but a straight path well traveled. I spent a lot of time trying to motivate myself to write and it occurred to me that I simply haven’t found the right ‘me’ to write from. So here I am, brand new blog, same me, same ideas, but packaged in a new way (yes that is a fancy new theme, thank you for asking).

The best tip I ever received as a writer, apart from spending an inevitable lifetime reading great works, was to write about what you know. In this primordial post, I thought it would be good to give a glimpse of what I know and hence what I will end up writing about. As you’d guessed from the name, not only am I a curly girl, but I’m also a millennial (plain and simple curly girl was taken, but this will do). For some reason, millennials are the subject of much research and fascination. Gen X just don’t get us! Not sure why… To make a long story short, I’ll write about being a millennial, things that interest me as a millennial and kind of package it in as a survival guide/interesting read.

I’ll write about writing, modern dating, studying, budgeting, potentially good cafes and things to do in Auckland – don’t want to narrow my audience base too much here! I’ll keep this first post short and sweet with the promise of more to come. I can’t promise that this blog will be the motivational piece to inspire you to climb Everest, but hopefully you’ll stumble across some useful tips to write that 10 000 word thesis without pulling an all-nighter (trust me, I never had to!). Let’s see where this goes, hopefully you’re as excited as I am!