No more extras

Another thing I’ve decided to lessen is my habit buying more of things that I do need, but don’t really need right at this moment.

I read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a year or two ago, and it inspired me not to hoard so much. I don’t think I’m hardcore enough to never have backups of anything – I’m a cheapskate at heart and will jump at the chance to buy cheap rolls of better quality toilet paper at Costco. But at the same time, I knew I had a problem when I excitedly bought a bottle of eye cream to replace one that had run out, only to realise I already had a spare in the cupboard.

I have identified that I’ve got a problem with:

Skincare. This is probably because I haven’t found my “Holy Grail” products yet, so I frequently try new brands. I always get excited by beauty products’ claims (plus points if they’re natural-y and Australian made) and I keep buying them to use when my current stash runs out. As of this point I’m probably good with skincare products for the rest of the year, and probably a big chunk into 2019. 😐

Cleaning products. I’ll admit I like cleaning. 😛 Similar to skincare, though, I’m on the lookout for natural (preferably Australian-made) brands and still haven’t found a range that I’m happy with. I initially tried using the baking soda + vinegar solution often recommended in “natural” cleaning but I’ve never really gotten it to work for me! Haha!

Fabric. I took up sewing last year. I can’t help looking at fabric and thinking, “oooooh, I could make something cool with that!” I now have a growing fabric stash (including fabric gifted by my mom and friends) and pile of sewing tools and notions. I was looking through my sewing cart the other day and realised I had no idea what I was going to make with all that stuff! I have some projects in mind, but definitely not enough to use up the stash anytime soon. So… no more fabric buying for me.

Food. I have several different kinds of salt, meat rubs and spices. Whenever I go to some cute local shop selling their own nut butters, jams and sauces I’m always tempted to grab a bottle. This one’s easy — I’m just going to eat it all. 😀

No more news

A few weeks ago, I decided to stop checking the news online.

I’d listened to a few podcasts/read a few books talking about how news-checking can get obsessive, and how it wasn’t really that productive. As it was with me. I’d check news websites on the way to work, several times during work, and on the way back home. I’d be constantly refreshing and checking for new articles.

And to what end? I have no idea. The vast majority of articles were click-bait; despite me knowing this, I read them anyway. I liked to convince myself that I was keeping myself informed about current affairs, but then I realised most of them weren’t even relevant. It was just giving me a false sense that I somehow understood the world and what was going on it. The reality was, I was just being fed a stream of articles with no real depth.

For example, a few months ago, the news broke about Barnaby Joyce (an Aussie politician, for my non-Aussie friends)’s affair with his former staffer. I could argue that it was in the national interest — after all, it appeared that he had thrown his weight around, getting her a plum position whilst the affair was going on — but I got up in the details. Did Vikki really make 190K for making 50 Facebook posts?! Why did she break up with her fiance for him?? Did his wife really call her a homewrecking whore?! I must know!

It took up so much of my time.

There was no point in continuously getting outraged and annoyed over some thing some random person had done to someone, somewhere.

So I stopped.

And I feel so much better for it.

I remember someone telling me, years ago, that she didn’t check the news. I thought she was ignorant for wanting to remain uninformed. I thought she was one of those clueless types who somehow got it into her head that she knew better. That the news was part of some massive conspiracy theory and couldn’t be trusted.

Well, now I’m following her lead.

I still catch up on the news though… I’ve gotten rid of my daily news podcast and have instead subscribed to BBC’s The World This Week. (It’s amazing at what kind of news actually makes it on there.)

I’m subscribed to newsletters, which give me in-depth stories and meaningful articles about things I’m interested in. That way I can get real content on stuff that matters to me, and not the fluffy, superficial lifestyle listicles that appear on most news websites.

If there’s a physical paper nearby (rare, but it happens!) I might pick it up and read it. I might turn the TV on the news is running. And if there’s something that’s really important – someone will usually tell me.

Related: I no longer browse through comments sections either. Hah!

The only downside I’ve noticed is that it’s gotten me to check social media more. Specifically, Instagram. I used to only browse every time I posted. But lacking something to give me that “quick fix”, I started checking it a bit more often. Must keep it in check!

Two things about being in Manila…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to the Philippines unexpectedly last month. It was a quick trip – just a week and a half. In that short period of time, I realised:

(And no this is not the ‘typical’ balikbayan moaning of “OMG traffic is so bad”.)

One, I really miss calamansi. I’ve always been a calamansi addict — I used to drink calamansi juice nearly every day. It was in all my sawsawan. I’d even squeeze it into dishes that didn’t traditionally have it. I love sour things, and I especially love the flavour of calamansi.

Sadly, there is no calamansi here in Australia. I used to buy concentrated calamansi juice from Filipino stores til I gave up — it was too sweet, and didn’t taste like the real thing. Some of my friends have had luck with calamondin trees; maybe one of these days, I’ll have a tree on my balcony too…

But anyway, I digress. When I first arrived in the Philippines, and I saw a bowl of calamansi sitting innocently on a counter, I almost cried with joy. There were the calamansi halves, neatly sliced, sitting next to the pancit — seeing it made me inexplicably happy. I had several glasses of calamansi juice each day during that trip. I didn’t realise how much I missed it. Maybe I really should get a calamondin tree…

Two, I kept thinking I saw people I knew. I left the Philippines adult enough to remember people in their more-or-less grown states, but I’ve been away long enough that I’m not quite sure how people look like now, and my mind was growing crazy with calculations and assumptions.

And my eyes would always flick through the crowd. That guy looked like M from behind; that woman has the same build as V — could it be them? I hadn’t seen them in years, it very well could be — except most times, it wasn’t.

I did run into a few people unexpectedly, then again that’s a testament to how Manila is such a small, small world.

Mid-year reset!

(Dang, I was doing so well posting semi-regularly! Til I wasn’t.)

I honestly cannot believe that half of the year is now over. And it’s the third week of July, to boot. 2018 is zooming by! Anyway, here’s a few things I’ve realised after doing my not-so-in-depth mid-year introspection*:

I’ve been doing more self defence than dance lately. 😮 I haven’t had the chance to go back to studio #2 since my trip last month. Hopefully, this is not a permanent thing. I enjoy my Krav Maga and boxing classes… but I love to dance! 😛

However… it’ll soon be the end of a (dance) era. The Sydney Dance Company Studios are moving for renovations. According to my visit history, I’ve attended over 220 classes since 2012, when they started their online booking system.

I’ve only been going once a week for the past couple of years, but making the trek to the studios after work and unwinding at lyrical class has been my thing. Yes, there’ll still be classes at the new location, but it’ll be different — there won’t be a lyrical class (*sob*) and I’ll miss my afternoon meanderings through The Rocks.

Speaking of milestones… I turned eight years in Australia on July 6th!

And another milestone: I’ve been waking up consistently at 6:05 AM now. This means I’ve been getting into work by 8 AM and leaving at 4 PM. I really wish I’d done this sooner. It’s such a nicer commute during earlier hours, and when I get home I still have a big chunk of time to do whatever I want. Unfortunately, I still haven’t gotten the “sleeping early” part down pat yet. Hmmm. Soon.

I’ve been trying to smash my food vouchers. It’s no secret that I love food. Haha. I enjoy trying new restaurants, but Sydney can be expensive. Thank goodness I discovered First Table, rediscovered Dimmi’s restaurant deals, and have been maximising my Entertainment Book. My motto is, “if I’m going to eat out, I might as well save money doing it!” (I’m serious, it really is.)

One thing I’ve been doing more of: stricter timeboxing. This way, I procrastinate less, because I know I only have a set time to work on something. And that includes blogging — it’s almost 9 PM so time to publish! (Also, I’m proud I was able to carve out this time to write something, no matter how incoherent. That’s what I’d like to do more of – write.)

Til next time!

* Probably best described as brainfarts at random times I’m reminded that it’s now July.