My November | 11.2017.

Conscious Consumerism, Finances, Lifestyle, Minimalism, Music, Personal

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1. I’ve been watching Annie Tarasova’s Youtube channel for what feels like forever, since I first discovered her video on the meaning of crystals and their use in technology today. Since then, I’ve watched all her videos minus the ones about being vegan. I’ve learnt and reflected so much on intuition, minimalism, synchronicity, the moon, meditation, happiness and so much more.. Plus how truly relevant they are to the world today! Whether you believe in it or not, spirituality is interconnected and manifested into real life in powerful ways. 

I’ve always wanted to express my gratitude for all the rich and profound knowledge I’ve learnt from Annie, so I finally purchased some of her amazing art prints from her Etsy shop, DreamyMoons. Inspired by the universe, each piece is absolutely gorgeous and unique. I’m overjoyed with my new posters!

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2. After years of being a Les Mills gym member, this week I SOLD MY MEMBERSHIP! I will miss the energetic, vibrant atmosphere and weekly BODYPUMP, which truly helped me become a stronger person physically and mentally. But I feel much lighter not paying almost $100 per month for my membership and like I’ve done something that is actually beneficial, financially sensible and adds value to my life. (Fun fact: with the extra $100 per month, I can literally take out a decent loan to renovate my house!)

Now, the possibilities are open. I could save for a treadmill, run on the street/at the park/on the beach, or join CityFitness, who is 24/7, closer to me, and still offers weight + yoga/pilates group fitnesses classes at less than half the price.

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3. My beau and I are both lovers of Japanese food, so for date night, I chose the luxurious Tokyo Bay in Takapuna. Right by the beach, the restaurant is ambient, sophisticated and cozy, with an absolutely delicious menu. We loved the miso eggplant, karaage chicken, massive bento boxes and dessert. 

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4. I saw Lorde live for her Melodrama World Tour! You can read about my experience here.

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5. I saw Yumi Zouma live for the second time this year. Following their tour of Europe, the UK, and Japan, my favourite New Zealand band have made their way back home for their Willowbank tour. They played my favourites – Persephone, Depths Pt.1, December, and Alena! 

There’s something about their music; the chill, synth-pop beat and original, authentic lyrics. Even among the heavy smell of smoke and perfume, it was the most incredible feeling dancing to them live again and seeing people form a circle during Alena (only ‘real fans’ know why :P). Willowbank + Lorde’s Melodrama = pretty much my 2017 soundtrack.

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6. I added a touch of sophistication to my home with these gorgeous new coasters from Cathy Pope, who I discovered from Good magazine. Made with real agate dyed pink with a gold rim, I love having slices of the earth’s DNA on my tabletops! 

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7. I had such a blast at Wanderlust 108! An ‘all-out celebration of mindful living’, the day consisted of a 5k triathlon (ie. three laps around Western Springs Lake!), over an hour of yoga to find our rhythm, and finally, a meditation session alongside thousands of people. All this plus healthy, delicious food, a little market, and bonus activities such as hooping, essential oils, music, aerial yoga & acroyoga. It was an incredible and worthwhile day to focus on mindfulness, wellness, connecting with nature with each other, and self-love!

This was my favourite song played during yoga. Love the passionate but peaceful energy.

Love,

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The Power of Negative Thinking.

Lifestyle, Minimalism

For one to be defined, the opposite must exist.

Things that have completely changed my life:

Minimalism

The Happiness Project

BODYPUMP

Spirituality & philosophy

My first corporate job

Wellington City, NZ

And the power of negative thinking.

Today I’d love to share what it is, plus how it changed my life for the better.

From March – May ‘17, I was reading the book Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight. Having enjoyed her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, I was already on board. Ready to get my sh*t together? Hell yeah.

I was inspired by many of Knight’s life tips, such as a must-do list vs a to-do list and the what/why method (read the book for yourself, it’s amazing!). But the power of negative thinking? It’s really how I got to the life I have now.

The power of negative thinking is helpful if you don’t know exactly what you want, but know what you don’t want. Here are examples from the book:

To NOT be unhappy

To NOT be employed by a corporation

To NOT suffer through another winter like those puppies in the RSPCA Christmas campaign

Today Knight is a best-selling author who quit her day job, moved to the Caribbean and blesses the world with her honest & profound life advice from the tropical island she calls home. Incredible, huh?

As for me, I felt this strange relief once I read this. As a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, and someone who suffers from clinical depression & anxiety, I always told myself to be positive. To think positive and manifest positivity to me. To act positive because it’s how I want to feel. It was the only way I knew how – but it just wasn’t working.

Reading this gave me permission to immediately get a piece of paper and jot down some negative thoughts; of what I didn’t want, and it felt like a release. Funnily enough, it was also super. duper. easy.

I wrote down:

I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder.

I don’t want to work Monday to Friday 9-5.

I don’t want to be stuck in traffic everyday.

I don’t want to have no time for creative work, eg. my photography.

Each of these correlated to a pain point in my life at the time: having recently left my much loved job in general insurance sales, I was working in life & injury insurance administration which was extremely uninspiring and the environment completely unconducive to cultivating a trace of excitement or passion for life.

I was commuting to the city every morning, Monday to Friday, working the traditional hours of 9-5, on hot, stuffy, crowded buses. Commuting took up 2 hours per day, and I felt sick and nauseated every evening when I got home. I was always physically exhausted and mentally drained; eating nutrient-less food out of convenience and recovering from long days mindlessly and unproductively.

I was working dedicatedly on freelance photography on my days off – I’d shot clients’ graduations, babies, boudoir, engagement and weddings and I knew that photography made me come alive.

As for climbing the corporate ladder? I have zero intention of that. I’m not power hungry or narcissistic, and authority or status do not excite me at all.

Don’t get me wrong; this is different from not being ambitious. I’ve previously coached and empowered new team members, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and I do aspire to move into a role above my current role – just not for the sake of moving up itself. What drives me is a job that is intrinsically full of purpose and creates a ripple effect of positive impact on the world and truly helps people, as it evidently drives many millennials. From experience (and business/self-development books), I’ve come to discover that many high up on the corporate ladder have gained a fancy job title but lost much more in empathy, authenticity and humanity. But that’s a topic for another time.

Long story short, I got everything I wanted. 

Now, I work part time, three days a week.

Now, I walk 10 minutes to work and back home. No more traffic, but instead fresh air, sunshine and exercise.

Now, I have four days a week to pursue creative work. You betcha I have plenty of time to study my photography course, watch photography tutorials, and read photography blogs & magazines. I love being a self-guided student of not only my creative pursuit but life. On a typical day in my four days off work, if not studying, you’ll find me

Reading books – this year, it’s been one after another. My current favourites are The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, Thrive by Arianna Huffington, 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam, and Start With Why by Simon Sinek.

Watching lifestyle / minimalism videos – productivity, creativity, organisation, decluttering, zero waste, setting real goals, personal finance, or just how to adult (while having fun)!

Watching speeches, conferences or TED talks of the most inspiring and knowledgeable people in the world: entrepreneurs, politicians, authors, world leaders, kick-ass boss babes like Sophia Amuroso.

Self-studying psychology and spirituality – deepening my knowledge about intuition and synchronicity, mindfulness, motivation, purpose, human potential, the law of attraction, the laws of karma, vibration and energy.

Creating candles – my stress relief and source of joy & calm, I love making scented candles to brighten and warm up my home literally & figuratively.

By giving myself just a moment to be negative, to think about what I didn’t want in order to find what I did want – it’s one of the best things I ever did. It’s not to say you should live in a constant state of negativity, but use your frustrations as a tool to transform them into your innermost goals and desires come true.

This experience has taught me that life truly is about balance in order to achieve harmony: positive energy cannot always exist on its own. Sometimes negative energy is needed to ground you, centre you, and bring you back to reality.. Even if not for long, before freeing you back to contemplate only the magical, wonderful, synchronistic, positive, higher things in the world.

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How I Saved $232 a Month While Looking for a Job

Conscious Consumerism, Finances, Lifestyle, Minimalism, Personal

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Hello friends,

Today I wanted to share with you how I reduced my monthly expenses, and talk about whether I’ve noticed much difference in my life. I’d like to thank a brief period of unemployment that motivated me to make these positive changes, some of which were only temporary – if it weren’t for my need to reduce expenses, I might’ve never truly evaluated where my money was going, and what was important to me. 

When I proof-read this to my partner, he shot me a hilariously sarcastic look and said, “You were just wasting a lot of money to begin with.” And I was. So while I write this, know I understand that everyone is different, and this post might not be relevant to those of you who have been wiser with money. But even if this post is irrelevant to 80% of its readers, to the 20% of readers it is relevant to, it may be helpful and inspiring. I certainly hope so!

Here’s exactly what I cut back on.

Spotify Premium | This was the first to go, as it’s obviously a want and not a need. By cancelling my subscription, I saved $14.99 NZD a month. Not a bad start.

Have I noticed much? No. I still use Spotify, but less. Since I noticed that I always listened to the same artists & albums, instead I support them and listen ad-free to their CD’s. It’s a win-win in many ways. Having a tangible piece of work made with love, sweat, inspiration and creativity, is priceless. I love the original artwork, the lyric booklets, the quirky sentimental photographs, the artists’ personal thank-you’s – all of it feels so much more authentic than a digital music library. And buying a new CD for $20-25 every couple of months only when I’ve actually found something I love? Definitely beats paying $15 every single month.

LinkedIn Premium (Career) | I was subscribed to this service because I enjoyed using LinkedIn Learning – the courses are well structured with helpful tutors and chapter quizzes to build your knowledge. You can find anything, from photography, to graphic design, to human resources, to leadership, to writing.. The possibilities are endless! Though I loved it, unsubscribing saved me $40.24 NZD a month. 

Have I noticed much? No. Shortly after unsubscribing, I subscribed to more Youtubers of lifestyle, organisation, productivity, minimalism, zero waste and personal finance. I also signed up to a two month free trial of Skillshare, another online learning platform full of exciting courses – plus earned extra months by signing friends up to a free trial! I’m divided – both LinkedIn Learning and Skillshare are great, so I’ll do an update further down the track as to my choice of online course self-learning.

Mobile Phone Data | After my mortgage & car, my phone is one of the priciest expenses. Looking at where I could save, I realised I had a ton of carryover data – about 30GB – which is enough to last me months! Reducing my data from 7GB to 2.5GB saved me $30 NZD a month.

Have I noticed much? Not at all – especially with my change of job and change of habits. I spend less time on my phone and when I do, I usually have WiFi.

Office 365 | I’d used only Word and Excel all my life in school & work, so when it came to wanting to type things up at home, they were my first choice – but I didn’t think of looking around for better, more affordable or even free services. I was so determined to use Office to be more productive, but I just never used it as much as I thought I would – so unsubscribing saved me $10 NZD a month.

Have I noticed much? No. After unsubscribing, I searched for something like ‘best free writing apps”. It took a bit of experimenting, but I ended up loving the brilliant WPS Office, which comes with Writer, Spreadsheets & Presentation, and have used it ever since. It does absolutely everything I need it to, like formatting text & pictures and converting to PDF. (And for what? Just putting up with only one ad every time it opens – that’s all!)

Gym Membership | I’ve always been part of Les Mills because the atmosphere is bright, energetic and colourful, with brilliant classes and motivating instructors. Luckily, they have an option for you to suspend your membership for up to 90 days per membership year, at no cost. I took the opportunity to temporarily suspend my membership and fortnightly payment of $49, saving me a whopping $98 NZD a month.

Have I noticed much? Yes. I miss the runner’s high after a long treadmill workout, and feeling strong, refreshed and energised after a BODYPUMP sweat session. Unfortunately I’m not motivated to run at all in the drab winter weather. So while I’ve balanced out my lack of gym exercise with Blogilates, free yoga sessions (offered by Lululemon and Golden Yogi every Sunday morning!) and eating healthy foods, I’m delighted to go back soon.

Mortgage | When I first took out my home loan, I was overjoyed that I could change my regular payments online with just a few clicks. Rounding up my fortnightly mortgage payments and increasing them by only $19.49 saved me 2 years & 7 months, hence I went ahead and did it. So when I really needed to stick to a budget, I reversed the change – saving $38.98 NZD a month.

Since earning a stable income again, I increased it by $79.49 a fortnight – $158.98 a month – saving me 8 years and 3 months. Hooray!

So how much did I manage to save?

The things I managed to save on indefinitely: $95.24 a month.

Including the things I saved on temporarily (gym, mortgage): $232.22 a month.

The experience of reducing my monthly expenses wasn’t frustrating. In fact, it was enlightening and eye-opening. Much like decluttering my physical belongings, I felt lighter. Not only do I have less bills and less to remember, my life feels, once again, more intentional, devoting and allocating my time and money to bigger & better things!

I hope this has been helpful to you, and thank you for reading!

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