#sejtips – avoiding becoming a human burrito in winter

Winter is no longer coming, it is now definitely here – cue the Game of Thrones memes. Apparently people are less social in winter and although it might be tempting to don the onesie and stay in Netflix and chilling every night (or maybe Netflix, no chill if you’re a single pringle), humans are social beings and eventually you’ll need to come out of your cocoon to greet the world. Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a helpful list of all the fun things I like to do in the midst of the winter – Kathmandu puffer jacket mandatory. These should help you avoid becoming a literal human burrito (it is very tempting when it’s this cold)

#1 MOVIE DATE

Preferably Gold Class with squishy arm chairs and unlimited amounts of popcorn. This one is for the less adventurous among us, as it’s really just one step up from Netflix and chill and no one will frown upon you if you wear your PJs and ugg boots (particularly if you’re out West). Depending on your mood, head to Hoyts Sylvia Park for a lush experience in their Lux cinema, or if you’re feeling a bit more #basicbitch, then definitely Henderson for $8 movies and non-judgemental staff.

#2 SALSA

We pretty much went from 0 to 100 with movies to salsa dancing, but what better way to warm up and get the heart rate going than some dancing? And what better way to justify the fries and six pack of nuggets you got on the way? Viva dance studio is great for a variety of dancing styles – salsa is pretty lit on a Saturday night, but they also have Zouk, Bachata and for those wanting something slightly different: Bollywood dancing. Get off the couch and get going!

#3 KAROAKE

Keeping up with our theme of racing hearts (does singing Bohemian Rhapsody count as cardio?) in nice warm indoor spaces, head on down to karaoke for what is pretty much guaranteed to be a good time, with some ‘social lubricant’ (many margaritas). You also don’t really know your friends until you’ve drunkenly sung the greatest 90’s anthems together on a Saturday night. Get amongst! My recommendation is Rock Bar, but Queen Street is flush with these beauties. Get googling and book in a great group date night.

#4 FONDUE

Winter is absolutely the time to be bulking and adding an extra layer of fat really helps to keep the electricity bills down. Chocolate fondue is warm, indulgent and a great way to spend a chilly winter evening. A definite step up from inhaling an entire bar of Whittakers’ new toffee chocolate whilst binge watching the new season of House of Cards. For the Shore Kids, there’s the House of Chocolate Dessert Café & Cakery and for the city slickers, head down to Parnell to the Chocolate Boutique. And why stop at fondue? The Chocolate Dessert Café have waffles, deliciously decadent cakes, cupcakes and truffles… Avoid if committing to #junkfreejune.

#5 HOT POOLS

Thaw your frozen bones with a trip to the hot pools. No one knows cold like a frost-stricken Aucklander in the middle of winter and a nice relaxing hot pool mission is definitely what you need to feel your fingers and toes again. It’s also super relaxing and great for the muscles, so it’s practically rehab. Parakai Springs is always a good option, albeit a bit of a drive (stop at the Whenupai Bakehouse Café to justify the journey) – they have a big indoor hot pool and hydroslides for the inner child. Alternative options include Waiwera (they do ½ price for the last 2 hours) or West Wave (see earlier comments re pyjamas and uggs).

#6 ICE SKATING

If you’ve given up and accepted that you will be cold this winter, don another puffer jacket (you can never have too many) and go ice skating. If you’re unco, like me, then you’ll want to go with someone who has slightly more coordination. Paradice Ice are a fairly good bet for a good ice skating experience, but, again in the outer ‘burbs. Aotea Square also has an ice rink open from 16 June. Remember to take your life-proof case so you can Instagram your excellent figure skating #winterOlympicshereIcome.

Also, here is a #winterpun, enjoy:

Image result for winter pun

 

#sejtips Surviving junk-free June (without surviving on celery & kale)

I spent the first couple days of junk-free June firmly wishing it was July. Sometimes, after a long day at work, all you want is a big greasy pizza and a side of chips…and a side of garlic bread and chicken wings. I was strong and dutifully ate my low carb, gluten free, refined sugar free pork chop dinner, but it didn’t stop the cravings. It also doesn’t help that my brother is a burger fiend who snaps #junkfoodJune every second day. This post is to all my #JFJ friends out there who are dutifully eating healthy for the entire month of June (30 days is a looonnngg time- next year let’s do fast-food-free Feb?).

So here’s my top 7 tips (7 being the most powerfully magical number) of how to survive this June:

  1. Don’t do it alone. I managed to bully gently persuade a couple of my friends and work colleagues to give up junk food with me and it’s so much easier with their support. You can hold each other accountable, lament over the donuts in the kitchen you can’t eat and send through motivational quotes (this is a personal favourite of mine). If you couldn’t find any friends willing to take up the challenge with you, then jump online and find some! It’s not easy, but the collective willpower and accountability helps a lot.
  2. Keep a food diary. Speaking of holding yourself accountable – write it down! Or alternatively download an app that keeps track of what you’re eating. It’s not to scold you for eating that popcorn chicken your flatmate brought home (I may or may not be guilty of this), but you’re a lot less likely to stray when you’re writing down what you’re putting in your mouth. Because science.
  3. Plan your meals. It’s so much easier to eat healthy when you’ve got the ingredients at hand and know what you’re eating. I spend a lot of time on Pinterest (my guilty pleasure) looking at healthy eating recipes that I can add into my weekly meal plans. You’ll learn that there are a lot of delicious foods you can eat that are actually pretty good for you (e.g. Mexican quinoa #nomnom). Planning your week is also good for the budget, too.
  4. Pick your restaurants/cafes. Junk-free June doesn’t have to mean, antisocial, stay at home and drink kale shake June. You can still go out, just be clever about what you eat. I’m not an authority, but examples of healthy eating are (for the most part) Mexican (’cause avocado is a good fat and gauc is delicious), Thai food, and the likes of Pita Pit, Habitual Fix and a personal favourite of mine: Sip Kitchen – their refined sugar free/gluten free/vegan slices are actually pretty good when you’re craving something sweet.
  5. Find incentives that aren’t food. I am very heavily motivated by food, as am, I’m sure, many of you. Often the food I like to reward myself with is high in sugar/fat/salt and generally quite junk-filled. Move your motivation to something that won’t impact your dedication to the healthy lifestyle like a facial/massage, bath, or that new pair of shoes that you really wanted.
  6. Similarly, find activities that don’t involve eating out at unhealthy restaurants or going out for drinks – yes I’m sober this June too :(. Catch up with your friends over a walk and a coffee, plan a board games night, go for karoake (although this often inspires a social lubricant known as alcohol…). Do something fun and different! July can be your month for margarita Mondays.
  7. Write a list for later. This one popped up on a podcast I listen to – the Savvy Psychologist and although it’s in a slightly different context, the idea is that you bank your whims/cravings/distractions for later. Every time you feel like breaking your junk-free June to have a cupcake, add it to the list. Once it gets to July, you’ll probably find that the super long list you want doesn’t even look that good to you anymore. Just try not to binge on the 1st of July and undo all your hard work.

And from me to you, here’s a great Nelson Mandela quote #gotyourback:

nelson mandela quote.jpg

 

#sejtips – living the single life

Aside from my pretty serious commitment to the gym, I’ve now been single for a pretty much record amount of time. Proud of me. I’ve decided to write this most as a celebration of being able to be alone; in a happy relationship with me, myself and I (and my dog.) I have quite a few friends in relationships, or who are married to work/study so I’ve become pretty good at masturdating (thanks for this beautiful neologism Katie) and third wheeling. Enjoy the singledom and remember that not that long ago (back when a common cold was a death sentence), you would be married with children by now, or be written off as a crazy spinster (I’ll take the spinster option with six cats please).

Because lists are nice and a convenient way of writing, here is a collection, in list form, of my favourite tips for living the single high life and mingling like a true single pringle.

  • Get some rad hobbies. Being single is way easier when you’re doing something to occupy your time. You’ll stop noticing all the cute couple photos on your Facebook feed and reaching for a bottle of wine every time someone from your year group gets married/has a baby. Some serious #sejtips for great hobbies (watch out, it’s a list within a list #crazy #listception):
    • Crochet (not good if you’re sad about being single – those needles are sharp)
    • Colouring in  – super versatile and therapeutic, 10/10
    • Cooking/baking – make sure you post this on your Instagram with #wife/husband me
    • Roller blading – yes it’s a thing for those among us who are blessed with coordination
    • Take up salsa dancing – also great if you’re low key trying to meet a gorgeous Spaniard (dreams are free: mostly it’s middle aged men and their wives at salsa)
  • Right, enough hobbies. The next great tip for living up your single life is to get comfortable eating on your own. This was a particular challenge for me as I always felt like Nigel no mates when I went to a cafe and ordered for one. There’s a lot of articles on how great it is to go out on your own (masturdating) and I recommend everyone (single or not) trying it out at least once. Start small. Go for a coffee and read the paper; you’ll look sophisticated and intelligent, or maybe take a notebook and write introspective thoughts (my shopping list for later). Just leave the colouring book at home.
  • Go out and talk to people! Probably not the greatest advice if you’re an introvert petrified at the thought of talking to people, but luckily I’m super confident, so this isn’t an issue for me. Find your confident friend and get them to wingman/woman you out on the town. Depending on your preference, you may want to start in a safe social space – go to meetup.com and find an interesting group to join. Now is a great time to start learning Japanese (remember the hobbies?). If you’re more adventurous, like myself, just get yourself along to your local bar (I recommend Grey Goose or Long Room) and stare at someone until they talk to you – this tried and true method works every time.
  • Don’t be afraid to 3rd wheel it. A tricycle is way more stable than a bike – which is why we give them to toddlers. Find your favourite couple and start inviting yourself on their dates. Make sure they’re a nice friendly couple who won’t canoodle in the corner whilst you’re carrying the karoake squad. Even better when you have more than one fave couple that you can rotate. Enjoy the break from solitaire and get right into competitive game of Go Fish/whatever normal couples do these days.
  • Master the art of treating yourself. Because, you’re worth it. Don’t let being single be an obstacle to getting flowers ‘just cause’. Buy that extra pair of shoes, send yourself cupcakes: treat yo’self – you deserve it. I’ve become a pro at taking romantic candlelit baths with myself and an audiobook (Harry Potter is the only man I need in my life). Don’t forget to look in the mirror and tell yourself how great you are – who else is gonna do it?

I could probably write more about how great it is to rid yourself of the shackles of the mandatory date night, but I don’t want to alienate those who are happily sailing the river on their relation ship (#punny). So, my single ladies and lads – don’t think of single as a prison sentence condemning you to staying home and writing blog posts watching an entire season of Riverdale, see it for the exciting opportunity that it is! If that’s not quite doing it for you, then I suggest half a dozen cats – they’ll keep you busy.

Let’s talk Tinder

So here is a post that’s been sitting in my drafts for a while. I guess I didn’t post it because there is a lot of stigma around Tinder, even though it has become mainstream.  I’m not currently on Tinder and I’m definitely not an advocate for a lot of the people on there… But I think it’s another avenue which allows people to meet others that they usually wouldn’t be able to, which I think, for some people, is pretty cool. Well, here it is, the long awaited Tinder post that’s been in my drafts for the last month:

I’ve wanted to write a blog post about tinder for some time now. I know there’s a lot of posts about Tinder, as it’s something that’s becoming gradually normalised in our society. But, as an early adopter of Tinder, I’ve had a good 3 years or so to consider this app and make some recommendations of my own. In good millennial form, I’ve decided to do this in list form and have even numbered this one. Ah organisation.

  1. Should you even download Tinder? I’ve never really had an issue with meeting people – male or female. I can walk up to someone in a bar and strike up a conversation, no problems. I guess I downloaded Tinder for curiousity – I wanted to see what everyone was talking about/extend my avenues for making poor life decisions. I’ve been through several reincarnations of my Tinder profile, often installing and deleting on a bimonthly basis. Why I continue to use Tinder is more boredom than anything else (hence why I haven’t used it a lot of late). I recommend downloading Tinder for the sheer smorgasbord of opportunities. Oh and to test Harry Potter pick up lines (I’ve got some excellent ones!).
  2. Vetting the masses. This is extremely important. If you’re busy like me, you don’t have the time to meet with everyone you match with on Tinder. I have 2 methods of singling out those who are worth meeting. The first is to throw at them a really weird and wonderful pick up line and see how they respond. Case in point – “If you were a vegetable, you’d be a cutecumber”. If they respond to this obvious weirdness, then they may be vaguely interesting to hang out with. The second is to let them talk to me first (very old fashioned, sorry feminists) and if they can hold a conversation, then usually they’ll be okay in person. If their opening line is what colour underwear you’re wearing or some equally creepy comment, I’d stay away.
  3. The Tinder bio… I’m not going to lie. I don’t have a bio, I’ve never had a bio and I can’t be bothered to take the time to make myself seem interesting, when obviously I am (I mean the pea costume speaks for itself). I don’t read the bios of others and this has often had disastrous circumstances (no I’m not interested in being your third, thank you very much). If you’re looking for something specific e.g. ‘a good time, not a long time’, or applications considered for 6″4 giants and above only, then I’d recommend putting it in your bio. And maybe don’t mention the fact that you have 7 furbabies at home…
  4. Add them on Snapchat. I cannot recall how many times people have either taken very strategic photos (good lighting and sunglasses seem to help) or just seem to have stolen a photo from one of their friends and thus look ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like their pictures. I’m totally not advocating basing your decision purely based on looks, but honestly, if you’re on Tinder, you obviously care a little bit. Connect with them on Snapchat, send them a few cheeky snaps and hopefully you’ll get a better idea of whether you’re going out to dinner with the handsome Franco brother or more of a Jonny Depp lookalike (or maybe there’s a third option here…).
  5. You finally get round to meeting up with them – where do you go and what do you do? This will, of course, totally depend on your levels of weird. Since mine are high and I have a short attention span, I refuse to do normal things like go on drinks. Make sure you go somewhere fairly public (to avoid a repeat of the Gable Tostee incident) and somewhere you can escape from easily if things get weird. I often drag people on hikes with me because, if they’re boring/tedious/unacceptable levels of weird or creepy, then at least I got some exercise out of it… Other more normal suggestions include mini golf, beach and ice cream date or salsa dancing (is that normal? Sorry I can’t be more helpful here, try googling it).
  6. And then what? Your Tinder date can either go one of 2 ways. You’ll have the most amazing night of your life because you’ve clearly found your future life partner, or you wasted what could have been a great night in watching Chef’s Table and munching on curry (did you know that MenuMania delivers to the Shore?!?!). There’s possibly a more middle of the road option, but I’ve found those don’t make for good writing, so I’ll stick with those 2. If it went shit, well that sucks, but hey, there’s plenty more matches to make awkward conversation with. Don’t take it personally – sometimes there just isn’t chemistry. Absolutely do NOT continue messaging this person as if you had the time of your life. Be honest. If you have indeed found the love of your life, start thinking up a great story of how to tell your children you met. I like the ‘we bonded over choosing the same flavour of ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s’ version of events.

So there you have some of my top tips for Tinder. Give it a go! Download the app, google weird pick up lines and see where the night takes you.

#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.

Namasdating

yoga-and-dating

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!