· Be friendly – it opens the door to friendship, or at least conversation
· It is better to give than receive, but what makes it great for the giver is how gracious the receiver is
· Check if things are dishwasher safe (not fine china for example, especially with gold leaf)
· It’s not easy to get the right balance between FOMO (fear of missing out) and hibernation, but letting either win the battle for more than a few days is probably not a good thing
· Spell check is your friend
· If you’re going to ask for advice, you should be prepared to take it or at least listen to it politely
· Old people may not get technology, but they probably know a heck of a lot more about everything else in life than you do
· Don’t let worry rule you
· Celebrate your quirks, these are the things that make you unique
· Kindness is even more attractive than great hair
Christmas is the time most children look forward to and many adults dread. There are all kinds of pressures – work deadlines, family, credit card bills. But every year it rolls around, so it’s worth trying to minimise the stress.
A few things to consider (it’s never too late to change even when it’s Christmas week):
· FAMILY: Is the family thing stressful? Is there anything you can do to improve the situation? Perhaps a little forgiveness, even if the other person doesn’t deserve it? Limited time around family members who don’t know how to celebrate? Is there a family member you are out of touch with that you could phone? Some of these are big questions – but worth thinking through if you’re brave enough. Part of growing up is not just accepting the way relationships stand – we can choose to change them – sometimes it’ll even work.
· GIFTS: Are you getting into debt over gifts? Are you playing the ‘impress people with gifts’ game? Are you getting stressed out about what to give people, or who to give to? Generosity is a wonderful thing, but it should be a joyful thing. If it isn’t, you might want to consider scaling back. I’m trying to work to a list this year – it’s part of my savings attempt, but is also rescuing me from impulsively buying the first thing I see, then the next thing for the same person…
· DEADLINES: Tell your boss if you can’t meet a deadline before your last day of work – pre-warning is always a good idea. Write a (massive) list of things to do and prioritise – some things can wait until next year – just make sure you don’t forget about them. Make sure you leave the year on a positive note with your colleagues – even if you’re stressed. It will make them much more happy to see you next year.
· REST: So many people looked exhausted this weekend, including me. If the end of year slump has hit you, don’t be a hero and keep going every night this week. Have some chilled out time so that your family get you at your best, not your worst at on Friday. If you’re fortunate enough to be having a long break (like me, woohoo), don’t book up every minute with activity – get some rest, recharge the batteries, read at least one book that makes you think, get a little bit of exercise, spend at least one day in your pyjamas… basically chill out. Your brain and body needs a break.
· ENJOYMENT: Treat yourself – not just with pavlova and ham. Do some things, even just simple ones, that you love. Create a few memories for when you’re back to the grind next year.
· BE FRIENDLY: Smile at people walking down the beach, chat to the people making your coffee, be patient when you’re in line for your fish & chips. There is no hurry, and you might rediscover how nice people are. It’s easy to forget when your usual interaction with strangers happens during rushed lunchtime errands.
· CHRISTMAS: Remember what it means to you. For me it’s really about hope, but I’m also a fan of spending time with the people that really matter to me. What about you?
That’s my advice for you. Got any for me? Perhaps I’ll just try to take my own!
Have a great Christmas week. Try to make sure it’s a beautiful one.
This week has been quite a rollercoaster. Excitement and parties mixed with the loss of belongings and much more significantly, people – not my people, but people close to my people – if you know what I mean.
Sometimes I think I’d willingly sacrifice the ups if it meant I could miss out on the downs. Really though, it would mean I wasn’t living.
There have been some great times that have reminded me of the kindness of people this week though – moments that have made me want to look for opportunities to be good to others.
Thanks to Amie who rescued Suzi and I when we were stranded with no money, cards and phones in Wellington – not only did she feed us, but she took us to the airport and surprised us by booking us in to the airport lounge so we could have a nice place to wait for our flight home. It was heartwarming and generous.
Thanks to the lady who when she realised she’d appropriated our things rang the banks, the hotel and everyone she could to track us down and then got everything back to us as quickly as possible. It’s nice to have my things back, especially all my cellphone contacts!
Thanks to my workmate who totally handled my sudden tears and the girls at the cafe who gave me a cupcake because they could see I was down.
I’m really aware that I’m only feeling a tiny percentage of the pain my dear friends are feeling, and this is so not about me. I just hope that in the months to come I can share a bit of the kindness that has been shared with me this week, especially with my precious friends and perhaps even to randoms who could do with a hand.
Dear New Zealand. I just wanted to let you know that you probably need to re-look at your definition of formal attire. Somewhere along the line, some of you seem to have confused jeans with suits and sneakers with dress shoes. Girls, as cute as your shorts may be – they don’t exactly present an aura of sophistication and frankly, it’s too early in the summer for you to have that much of your legs out anyway.
The above rant is not a new one – every time I seem someone attend a wedding in jeans I’m disappointed in my generation and how little it seems to show respect for formality and the people throwing the event. This was reinforced heavily by some of the eye-gougingly dreadful ensembles I saw on the red carpet at The Lovely Bones last night. It wasn’t everyone – there were some stunning confections worn by the ladies, gentlemen and drag queens – but I also saw sneakers with dress pants, very casual dresses more suited to an afternoon at the beach and even (oh the horror) denim!
Lots of the men chose not to wear ties, which I thought was a shame, but that’s a whole different level of ‘kiwifying’ than just throwing on a summer frock from Supre that doesn’t fit properly. The people who were really casual didn’t even wear their rebellious outfits with panache, they looked dowdy and awkward.
I know I enjoy dressing up a lot more than some, but even if you’re not one to don the glad rags at any opportunity, I have a word you should add to your what should I wear vocabulary. That word is ‘appropriate’.
There were many many pluses however, so now I’ve had my rant, I present things I thought were noteworthy in the style stakes (also serves as captions):
· Susan Sarandon – sassy in bare feet and glam in a backless black dress that showed off her tattoo
· Taika Waititi – one of the best dressed and striking of all the guests
· Guy Warner (I mean Craig Parker) – also well dressed and handsome
· Rose McIver – super cute frock and stunning girl (with Myrddin Gwynned)
· Shane Cortese – great shoes (he loves shoes)
· Suzi Marsh – best armcandy and best legs on the red carpet
· Cheese in cones – best snack masquerading as a dessert
· Cages – best decor
I’m still thinking through the movie itself. It was chilling, moving and stunning.
When I said I wasn’t going buy any new clothes before Christmas at the beginning of November, I added the qualifier ‘unless they’re really really beautiful’. This is because you can’t just go cold turkey and stop doing one of the things you’re most talented at – and also because you never know what situation you may find yourself in.
I have broken my savings induced and self-monitored shopping ban twice in the last month – but the reason are extremely good. You’ll understand if you’re anything like me.
1. After making rule I was invited to a black tie event. Didn’t have anything black tie to wear. Had to buy black tie outfit. I did moderate my spending though – purchased a dress that was on special and did not purchase any bling to go with it – I am wearing shoes I already have etc etc.
2. I was walking home from brunch today and saw an outlet sale. I bought four items for $60. Justification:
a. I’m going to Melbourne in about two weeks, it’s going to be very warm. These are all very summery and not the same as anything I already own
b. 100% of people surveyed said that this didn’t count as breaking the rules because of the high ‘bargain’ factor
c. They’re great items and I like them
d. I made the rules so I can break them if I want (which I’m not, according to b.)
Some people need big ticket items to make them happy – a giant LCD TV or a boat. Often, it just takes a bargain – for as little as ten bucks – to make a girl happy. Suppressing these little bursts of shopping joy creates a buildup that ends badly for the wallet – expensive shoes, designer outfits… that kind of thing.
In conclusion, you may not understand people who love to shop, but you should not look down on us, or pity us. In language most people understand, shopping is a sport, and she who gets the best bargain wins. For me, today was a gold medal performance.
Thanks to a remarkable twist of fate I’m going to see The Lovely Bones in Wellington next week at the magical Embassy Theatre with a rather distinguished group of people.
To start with, I was concerned with who my outer girl looked. I have sorted a dress I adore (red, to go with the carpet) and have thought through all the important details like toenail polish (red, to go with the dress and the carpet) etc. The look is under control I think, but today I realised that I need also consider other serious details, like how I should wear my clever.
With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about film (we say film not movies darling) and appropriate words and phrases to drop into conversation with the glitterati should we rub shoulders and exchange words (unlikely, but like the Girl Guides or Scouts say – be prepared). So far vocab list includes:
· Visually meaningful
· Production values
If I don’t manage to say gravitas with the appropriate measure of gravitas I shall be spectacularly disappointed.
Any suggestions film buffs?
PS Yes, I can’t wait. Really hoping I don’t trip over.
I think I may have reached a new level of book geekdom today. I’m delighted. First I was invited, by oodlie (cartoons by Joi Murugavell @joidesign) no less, to join a twitter book club where we not only read books by authors on Twitter but then discuss them WITH the author. I think that is just the most exciting use of social media I’ve heard about for ages. So excited about this. I looked up our first author Kathy Charles and she’s from Melbourne and recommends places for coffee.. win! It’s only 19 days until I land in Melbourne for the first time and I need all the advice I can get. I digress… book club = awesome.
I read a lot, it’s my favourite form of escapism. Last night I started a novel after work and finished in time for The Mentalist. I think the job has something to do with my speed reading. Mostly I get books out of one of the libraries in our fair city. I used to shop around, because they all have different vibes but these days I mostly pop into St Lukes on the way home from work. I got a bunch of books and I’m saving Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters for the trip to Wellington. I need to have a book on hand when out of my natural environment, it just makes me feel happier.
Following my joyous state about the book club, it was suggested that I might like to check out www.goodreads.com, which I did immediately (Thanks Rory). It’s a place for book geeks and other readers to read about book, compare books, write reviews of books and it also tells you where you can buy books. Frankly, it looks a lot more interesting than Bookface is these days.
The question does have to be asked though – do I put up all the books I read, or just the ones that make me look clever, conversant with current events and above chick lit, or do I keep it real and admit my secret love for Georgette Heyer novels? (So you don’t have to look them up, they are harmless but amusing historical novels with stern heros (ala Mr Darcy) and well dressed but slightly ditzy heroines. Pure fluff but endlessly entertaining).
I think, like all social media forums, less may be more. It’s a great site though. Join, add me. Let’s talk books. I promise to not use big words unless they’re especially cool ones. Reading is great for the vocab and wit. Trust me, Or ask a librarian.