Flexible Badass: It's Okay To Sleep In

Something I’ve been having issues with recently is my inability to wake up at 4.30AM like Jocko Willink. Because of my job, I’m usually getting to bed around eleven. I used to be heading off around seven.

It’s a big change, and since I’m more of a morning person, quite a irritating one.

I love those hours in the morning when nobody is up, the sun is just starting to rise and the birds are still quiet. But, recently I’ve been seeing significantly less of those.

The struggle for me has been to make peace with the idea that I can be a flexible badass.

I can be just as badass as my idols without having to wake up at the same time as them and do exactly the same things as them.

For me, my badassery can come from:

  • Getting eight hours of sleep.

  • Writing a blog post.

  • Reading over my coffee.

It’s okay to redefine your badassery.

One day when I’m not working all day and night, I’ll get those morning’s back. But until then, I’m training myself to be flexible around my schedule but not around my goals.

Learning to still achieve your daily goals, without your little schedule, your morning routine, your work routine, whatever, is actually pretty awesome.

Being able to think, damn this is a bad time, but hey, I’ll just do the work anyway, is a great skill.

So, remember: It’s okay to sleep in.

Thanks for reading..!

#itsaprocesss

We’ve all heard that line. Normally for me it comes from my own mouth after eating six packets of chips and watching Netflix all day.

It’s a happy justification, that will magically make you feel less guilty about screwing up.

Which is great. I’m all for less guilt when it comes to improving our mind, body and whatever else your working on.

But last night I was watching a video of my good pal, Jocko Willinks.

To clarify, we don’t actually know each other, but if I was at Hogworts, he would be my patronus. Him or Richard Branson, I can’t decide. He’s my idol, my mentor and %100 who I would pick to be stranded on an island with.

Anyway, from my haze of late-night youtube inhalation, Jocko spoke to me.

He looked me dead in the eyes, through the screen of my low battery iPhone, and told me that today matters. Today counts.

Maybe I’m just a complete idiot but this mindset had never occurred to me before. Usually if I screw up with my goals by sleeping in really late or jumping down the internet distraction rabbit hole for a couple of blissful hours, I just resign myself to the fact that the day is over and I should just give up.

But Jocko says no.

If you’ve not achieved any of your goals, today matters. Every second that you leave those goals un-achieved, is a second you are falling behind or letting ‘the other side’ win. So own that.

It’s fine if you want to go eat bread and drink beer while your small business is sitting there waiting to be born, but own that.

Like really f**king own that.

If you are going to chill, then chill like a boss.

If not, then get your freaking life together and do the hard work everyday for more hours than anyone and pick up again even when you get off track, because today matters.

Stop letting time slide by, you can’t get it back, and someone else could have used that time better.

In celebration of this new mindset, this morning my alarm went off at 4.30AM. Now, I’m not Jocko, so I snoozed right on through that valuable time to get ahead. But instead of feeling guilty, self pitying and giving up, I got up at 6.15AM instead. Then I made my bed, lifted some weights for thirty minutes, had a shower, got dressed and sat down to write this blog post.

I will probably slip up again today. But thats okay, because what counts is not giving up, embracing that ‘today matters’ ideal, and trying again.

Trying again, today. Not tomorrow.

Working Nearly Full Time: How To Still Support Your Side Hustle

It’s supposed to be just a part-time job. But, the hours I now work, consume most of my day. Still, I gotta support that side-hustle. So how the heck do I go about that?

Scaling Down

Obviously, I won’t be able to keep up with the amount of time I was putting into my side-hustle. Statistically thats just not possible, there aren’t enough hours. And if I try and do that I’ll just leave myself feeling sad, disappointed and guilty. But maybe I can happily scale it back and reframe the amount of effort I’m putting in.

Maybe instead of writing all day, I could just try to write at least one blog post a day. And when I’m feeling up to it, write a few more and schedule them so that I can have days that I can just fully rest.

Days Off? Nah.

It’s probably not very healthy, but I look forward to my days off not as days to rest up but days that I can use to batch cook whatever projects I’m working on. That means getting up early and filming, writing, scheduling blogs, taking pictures.

To balance this out this means I do take naps on my working days and try to not exhaust myself with too much personal work.

However, I would recommend something I’m not very good at which is having at least one day a month to pamper and fully rest up. Schedule a day a month to go get a massage and your eyebrows plucked or have brunch out over a book.

Whatever works for you.

Thanks for reading…!

Published Author of Own Autobiography...At Seventeen

So I wrote a book. About me. Then published it to kindle as an eBook. All before I turned eighteen.

Publishing my own writing has always been a big goal of mine. I just never thought I would achieve it.

Setting out to write a book is freaking scary. Setting out to write a story that is more or less true and about actual events, featuring yourself as the main character, is even scarier.

On the one hand you have that horrible feeling that people will perceive you as vain for deciding that your story was worth telling. And then you also have a nagging fear that in this book that you’ve struggled over for so long, some one will find some terrible inaccuracy or mistake.

But through writing my first proper novel, ‘Finding Trinity’, I had to address both of those things. Quite brutally, and quite head on.

This is what I learn’t.

Everyone’s story is worth telling.

Everyone’s story deserves to be told.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Flaws and admirable traits. Everyone has suffered in some form. And just because you don’t think you have the right to be, you are the hero of your own story.

If anyone ever tells you that your story is worth nothing, they are wrong. Our stories are our everything. As human’s, we are simply a story. Our story is really the only thing that we leave behind when we die. So why are we so scared to tell it?

Stories hold the true power in our society. A story can turn an army people against one man, and it can unite thousands in peace.

Your story matters.

Secondly, my book probably has multiple spelling errors. Eleven, I was told by the kindle publishing spell check system. Some sentences in my book might not quite flow as well as they could. The story might be a bit jilted and not quite tie up at the end. And you might not like what I have to say.

But none of that matters.

At the end of the day, I sat down and arranged thousands of words into an order that nobody else could have, and told the story that nobody would have thought to tell if I hadn’t.

Then, I gave my story, my vulnerabilities, my mistakes, my flaws and my voice, to the rest of the world.

Thank you for reading, you can get the book here…!

Eating Better - So You Can Smash and Intimidate Your Enemies

Everyone is going to tell you to eat better. From your Nana to the latest self-help gods.

But even though I knew I should be eating better, I could just never find the right motivation to do so.

‘Eh, I had some broccoli today, that means I can eat an entire bag of Tim Tams right?’

Motivation found me slowly.

And, by no means am I perfect yet. Yesterday, I managed to eat a pie, a sausage roll and an afghan cookie in the time it took for my sister to get her pie out of it’s little paper bag.

However 90% of the time, I practice intermittent fasting and eat veggies, fruit and beans.

But, not because I wanted to ‘improve my overall health’ and ‘live long and prosper.’ Those sorts of sappy tag lines are something you would see on Pinterest and only leave me feeling guilty as I scoff brownie and an entire loaf of white bread.

So how do I stay motivated…?

Die Last Babygirl

If you are eating healthy, yes you will live longer. Bla de bla bla. But lets reframe that. You will die last. Dying last means you get to outlive your enemies. You will win.

Don’t Hurt Yourself

If I eat a lot of bread and sugary things, my stomach will physically start to hurt. So, just like you wouldn’t jump out of a tree or run into a wall, don’t hurt yourself by eating foods that will cause you and your body, your weapon, pain.

Greens Means Ya Mean

Lets play out a little scene. Big business meeting. One of you orders the steak fries with gravy and an egg and a open steak burger sprinkled in cheese and bacon or something. The other asks for just a medium rare eye fillet, no chips, and heavy on the veggies.

How is gravy fries guy going to feel, sitting their eating his heart attack watching you eat your food. Guilty maybe? Annoyed?

He’s going to be distracted. He will feel weak in your presence.

Distracted means he’s off his game, which in turn means you will find it easier to play yours, and win.

Side note for that one, don’t get dessert in front of your enemies. Let them nosh down on that ice-cream sourbet platter, while you quietly sip some form of hard liquor.

Of course, none of this means you shouldn’t enjoy the odd sweet thing for a special occasion. But I’ve also taken steps to change my perspective on what I consider to be sweet.

Instead of dessert, I would try to get some fruit with yogurt. That way you can still have something sweet and eat with whanau.

Thanks for reading..!

How To Quietly Dominate Your Workplace

If you are anything like me, you spend about %90 of your brainpower at work, plotting how you can someday become the boss.

The takeover is a long game, you think quietly to yourself as your supervisor transfers blame off his own back to yours. You will one day be his boss, so just smile and wave.

Comply and assure…for now, darling.

This kind of thinking isn’t a bad thing. You would be no use if you couldn’t do your job while plotting, but if you are capable of both tasks, I say go hard.

A big part of that for me is obsessively noticing inefficiencies.

If I’m just a cog in a machine, I should just be focusing on turning around and around, not noting how fast the other cogs are turning and if they are turning as smoothly as they could be.

But screw that.

You are allowed to notice that Bob isn’t putting out napkins as fast as he could be.

However, you are not allowed to just blame Bob and say he’s a bit slow today. Even if it is entirely his fault and he is working at a glacial pace.

No, if you are cultivating a leaders mindset you need to transfer the problem away from Bob. Take that problem on for yourself. Own it.

Then interrogate yourself about it.

What would be a faster way to lay the napkins? What would you do if you were doing that job? Would that be faster and a higher quality of completion?

Then once you think you’ve answered those questions, next time Bob starts laying out napkins, ask if you can do it.

I can guarantee that most of the time employee’s don’t actually enjoy the tasks they are doing and will usually jump at the chance to transfer to a different task. Even if the other task is just as time consuming and boring.

Then you own those napkins and you smash Bob’s method with brutality…and a pleasantly humble smile.

You do the napkins every time you get a chance. You refine your method until it is completely bulletproof. And most of all, you don’t get lazy.

You lay out the napkins just as fast and just as well as that first time.

Now when Bob does the napkins, he looks slow, he looks inefficient.

But, he can’t blame you. You’ve shown him nothing but respect and admiration.

So he will start doing it like you, hoping to take credit.

It doesn’t matter if he gets that credit or not. People who get credit that isn’t rightfully theirs crack, as soon as the method they stole gets tested. Because they haven’t spent hours obsessing over every possible outcome.

Go smash Bob, and quietly with a smile, you will dominate your workplace.

Thanks for reading..!

Thoughtful and *cough cough* Cheap...Gifts

When you’re trying to save money, birthdays and Christmas induce nothing but anxiety. You know that Great Aunt Kathy or whatever, married that rich guy so she’ll be giving your sister a car, house and pony. Maybe not, but you get the idea.

It’s hard to look at your saving account and not wonder if it’s worth going into stripping, just around that month where everyone in your family is having a birthday every other day.

So, as someone who has been in this position every other month here are my solutions, that cost very little money, but are just as thoughtful, if not more, than rich Aunt Kathy’s car, house and pony.

First, lets talk aesthetic. I’m all about that chic, minimalist, a little bit french atheistic. Keep things simple and elegant. My two favourite words.

When you apply this to presents, that means finding your signature gift. If you call this select group of things your ‘Signature Gift’s’ then that also means no one can get mad at you for getting the same gift over and over.

Signature Gifts - Trinity Style

Boutique Chocolate

Everyone likes chocolate right? Now, when it comes to this, yes you could go for the boring old block you see everywhere in the supermarkets…thats true. Or you could find some struggling local brand and offer to represent them / partner with them for free or discounted chocolate.

I’m still working on the getting free chocolate part, since everyone seems to think I actually need to have a following to make it worth their while and lost money.

But still, find a locally made brand, see if you can learn the person who makes it’s name, then as they are unwrapping it you can say things like:

‘Oh yes, Bob just got in a new shipment. I thought of you immediately.’

The Written Word

Whats better than a card with lovely handwritten messages in it? A freaking journal with hand written messages in it.

A personalised collection of handwritten quotes and poetry, all original if possible, will bring even the stiffest cousin to tears. The recipient also has the added benefit of being able to write and draw in the journal as well, which means that as they use it they will keep stumbling across another little message or poem and think of you.

A Moment

Everyone always says give an experience not a thing. But that experience doesn’t have to be a plane ticket or a fancy hotel resort. What if that experience was waking up to a cardboard fort having been erected in your room. Or a picnic lunch with a whole bunch of things that you think are yummy. What if you both got dressed up and blasted their favourite Spotify playlist, staging a home dance party.

A moment doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

Something Made

I can feel the craft mums getting out their beads already. This is defiantly not a mummy blog, so I’m not going to sit here and give you DIY tutorials on how to paint a chair or something.

But, if you are trying to save money, learning how to make some freaking cool gifts using minimal physical resources, will most certainly help.

I’m not talking about beads and chairs and flower crowns, although if you can source cheap resources for those things go hard man! I’m talking about learning how to use Photoshop so you can make epic graphic designed posters, or teaching yourself how to use technology such as Final Cut Pro so you can cut together a short film using footage of the lucky person.

With the digital world growing, the idea of gifting something that is not physical is becoming more and more accepted.

Sure you could spend heaps of money on that chainsaw they want or other clutter, but what if you recreated the place where you proposed, in virtual reality.

Aunt Kathy and her cars can eat my shorts.

We are now, more than ever before, able to tap into the science of what makes a gift meaningful.

For me I believe that is the time invested and the emotion it triggers, not the money.

Thanks for reading..!

I Want To Be Like Her

I’ve recently started watching Queen of The South.

Only a couple of episodes in and I’m already heavily invested in the characters and following the storyline with awe.

I’ve started wearing all white and feeling a much more confident wherever I walk. Because I just pretend that I’m her.

And this got me thinking…

If humans learn by imitating and watching and copying, we are in such a potentially beneficial and educational period in history. Because we are surrounded by people to copy.

It used to be just your close circle that you could learn from by imitating.

Now, we have access to billions of videos of other human, right in our hands.

Thinking about this, made me realise how important it is that we only let the most beneficial material through.

I’ve always been fond of TV shows and movies where I feel like I’m gaining something from them. Either the show is actually educational in some way, or the characters have traits that I admire and wish to emulate.

But it’s surprisingly hard to find those sorts of TV shows and movies.

For me, the show or movie has to have:

  • Well represented females who’s backstories have been thought out and developed with as much compassion and intelligence as their male counterparts. For instance, Queen Of The South.

    The women are strong, feminine and have been cast in a variety of leadership positions. However, the males in the show haven’t been completely forgotten either. You can have a show with strong women, and strong men.

  • A theme that I can justify is somewhat educational, about a portion of life I have no experience in. That way I can use the TV show to spark enough interest that I research it further.

    For instance, after watching Breaking Bad I did a lot of research into how to make crystal meth…Because I liked Jessie. It then became a lot less about the crystal meth, because I had no interest in actually making some, and became a lot more about furthering my knowledge of science and chemistry, all because I liked Jessie.

Those two factors make or break a show or movie for me.

Any recommendations for other shows that fit those two categories?

Thanks for reading..!

Unconventional Advice and Tricks

So, I’m here today to offer you what a lot of people will immediately call bad advice.

But it works for me, and I always wish someone had said something like ‘Oh no, thats fine, I do it as-well’.

Long story short I’m trying to save for a plane ticket/world trip/escape.

I live in New Zealand, so a ticket anywhere is like a billion dollars, and that doesn’t even count the money you are going to need to spend to survive in the other place once you get there.

I had exactly $3.78 in my bank account when I realised three things:

  • That sure as well won’t buy a ticket for anything, except a ride on one of those miniature trains that kids love.

  • Broke was a shitty way to go into my eighteenth year of life, the year I legally become an adult.

  • I needed to get a job and start saving properly.

I’m very lucky that my parents are overwhelmingly supportive and don’t make me pay rent at home, but these tricks will still work even if you pay rent or have other on going expenses.

Embrace The Homeless Aesthetic (In Other Words…Become A Minimalist)

I just pissed off so many people groups in that one title.

The problem of homelessness and poverty is a very serious problem, and its nothing to be taken lightly.

I’m talking about the homeless aesthetic that you see on TV.

I am a big fan of the TV series Shameless and figured that if Fiona could wear the same outfits again and again, have grubby hair and still be the leading female badass that she is, I could stop buying a new outfit every time I went into town.

Minimalism is not homelessness.

It isn’t being unable to afford basic human necessities, that everyone should have access to.

But if you can embrace the art of simplicity, or at least pretend you are, you are going to buy a lot less of those little desk plants from Kmart.

And if you say you’re a minimalist then people admire your discipline, instead of just pitying how much you are having to forgoe to save.

Every little act of saving can somehow be disguised under the socially accepted umbrella of Minimalism.

‘Where’s the couch?’

‘I sold it. It was just too much clutter you know?’

‘And the bed?’

‘Seneca slept on the floor.’

At the end of the day, your skin will be fine if you just wash it in water, if you want to look different, go lift weights and do push ups, and no…do not buy another desk plant in a pretty rose gold pot.

Just look out the window, theres heaps of plants out there.

Skip Breakfast

No. No, I am not starving myself. I realise, that yes, I see that I am a teenage girl. Thank you for noticing. Yes, I am aware of the statistics around anorexia in females between the ages of thirteen and thirty.

You are allowed to skip a meal, without being labelled as ‘Starving yourself’.

Obviously, if you are maliciously putting yourself at risk by denying your body the nutrition it needs to survive, thats different.

At the end of the day, your body doesn’t actually need three massive meals as well as that bag of chips and a nightly cheeseboard.

I promise it doesn’t.

To avoid stepping on toes, I’ll start talking about my body now instead of everyone else’s.

My body, functions the highest when I have a coffee for breakfast, a light, protien heavy meal for lunch and something more or less the same for dinner.

I feel lighter, faster and more alert when my body isn’t overloaded.

I still live with my family, which includes my younger siblings, so there are still french toast mornings at 8am, sandwiches for lunch and pasta for dinner sometimes.

But now that I’m working, I make my own meals and most days I eat from this basic list:

  • Fruit

  • Veggies

  • Fish and a little red meat

Long list aye?

The great thing about this is, you can buy some tinned tomatoes, tinned mixed beans, tinned chickpeas, an onion and some garlic for under $10.

Mix that up in a slow cooker, buy some wraps for $5 if you really want or just have the burrito mixture by itself, and you’ve got a weeks worth of meals that took about fifteen minutes of prep time to make.

If you brought some protein powder, which is usually a big cost up front, but will last at least a couple of weeks and froze some of your favourite fruits, you could have a protein smoothie on the go for a similar cost.

$30 a week for food, isn’t half bad.

Instead Of Shopping

Instead of buying crap you don’t need, find other things to do with your time that cost less to nothing.

Instead of browsing in a shop, go for a walk or jog in a park. Instead of eating out, pack yourself a lunch and go have a picnic in your car at a pretty spot with your favourite music blasting!

I hope nobody was to offended by my various tidbits of wisdom.

Thanks for reading..!

Finding Time

Hey there…Yeah it’s me! Back from the internet presence grave that is ‘having other commitments, like work’.

Recently, I got a job as a waitress. It’s a part time job, but it seems to devour all my time, leaving precious few seconds to focus on the things that I enjoy. Like starting out on entreprenurial ventures and writing.

I watch the clock anxiously as I try to write, the seconds before my shift starts sliding away from me right in front of my eyes. I’m part of a gym that I love going to, but at the end of a busy shift all I want to do is go home and curl up into bed.

But I have all these other things I want to be doing!

So how do I find time?

I’m not actually writing this as someone who has cracked the code and has the answer. I’m much less helpful and instead I’m going to explore a few different options that I’ve been trying.

Weekly Planning Vs Daily Planning

Usually, I plan out my tomorrow’s the night before in bed over a cup of tea. How very Pinterest of me right? But with everything that I have going on now, my schedule is barely thought about when it comes to the actual day.

So, I’ve started planning out my week instead, s that way my days can be more flexible.

If I know that I have to get etc..done by the end of the week, I feel less stressed trying to fit it into my now hectic days. I just do the tasks whenever I have the time.

IMG_8835.jpg

BedTalks, Book Over Brekkie and Happy Habits

One thing that seems to be working is making a overall list of the things that I absolutely must do in my day, then combining them with other things or finding a way to slip them into my routine.

It’s an on going list but an example would be:

  • Watch a TEDTalk every day.

  • Read a chapter of a book everyday.

  • Move strenuously for more than thirty minutes every day.

BedTalk

With the TEDTalks, I have incorporated that into my evening ritual. As I’m brushing my teeth, going to the loo, and getting into bed I pop on a TEDTalk. I love watching something to unwind at the end of a long day, but if I watch a episode of a TV series I usually don’t have enough self-control to not watch six more episodes. This is a great way to get some learning in and un-wind for the night in a way my body enjoys.

Book Over Brekkie

When I was a kid you couldn’t tear my books away from me. But now that I’m older and visual media is so much easier I’ve found myself to be reading less and less. This is partly due to the fact I always overestimate my intellect and get out hideously boring books that, although they make me look smart, leave me feeling completely un-motivated to keep reading.

To fix this, I found a book I actually wanted to read. I then combined my reading time with my morning coffee that acts as my breakfast.

I love my coffee, and I love reading about Richard Branson’s adventures and now I very much look forward to my morning session of Book Over Brekkie.

Happy Habits

Oh exercise, you devilish mistress…! This is where I fall down a bit, sometimes literally. In a superhuman world, my exercise would be at my happy place, the gym. But my job is surprisingly strenuous. Eight hours of almost non-stop power walking back and forth from the kitchen, combined with the strain of lifting heavy plates and carrying trays leaves me sweaty and sore with probably quite a few future back injuries.

So most days, before work I shiver at the idea of a gym session and after work I laugh at it.

However, I am trying to cultivate discipline and become a better me, so I’m tentatively pushing myself a little bit more each day to get to the gym a minimum of three times a week.

The sessions are allowed to be light and quick, because the mental health benefits I gain from that achievement are overwhelming.

These are not answers, but they are options.

Thank you for reading..!

Cultivating Discipline

It seems like mental, social and financial freedom are all hiding within the folds of disciplines. At least that’s what Jocko Willinks says. So great, if I’m disciplined all my dreams will come true eventually.

I love this advice. And I wish I was better at it, but sadly I’m not Jocko Willinks. I don’t tap out Navy Seals before breakfast, I can barely manage a hobbling run. I can’t even do two good pushups in a row.

These examples are purely physical, but the same ideas apply to my academic and business life.

I struggled at first with discipline because I wasn’t achieving my Jocko Willink goals. I would set myself too many reps or something or ridiculous deadlines to get a project in by. But what I’m slowly coming to terms with is that discipline for me, doesn’t have to be one-hundred pushups and a wounded Navy Seal or two before five AM.

Discipline for me, for now, might just be the act of dragging myself out of bed and outside to do a few weak burpees and run until I start feeling faint, which is only like a hundred metres and that's okay.

Because with those acts the discipline isn’t in the amount of reps or the goal, it’s in the action. It’s doing the thing I really don’t want to do, at six am, a time I don’t want to wake up, every day.

And when it comes to academics and business, it might just be sitting down with my computer and writing something, like literally anything, this blog post for instance.

What I was worried about originally was that if I wasn’t pushing myself to do one hundred reps of something or another, then I wasn’t pushing myself, therefore I would never improve.

But for me at least, that assumption was wrong. As soon as I can do ten crappy burpees, I suddenly want to do twenty. As soon as I can run for ten minutes without falling over, I want to run for twelve. As soon as I can knock out a thousand words in half an hour, suddenly I want to write two thousand.

So don’t be scared to rethink what discipline is to you, and bend it to suit your personal needs. As long as it fits into the box of ‘doing hard stuff you don’t want to do, everyday,’ I think you’re sweet.

Thanks for reading…!

Feel Obligated, But Don’t Be Bullied

‘Don’t do something just because you feel obligated to do so.’

This advice is advice I’m trying to teach myself to take, but it’s taking practice. I first heard these words of wisdom at Ruby On Rails. This was one of the girls on the panel's advice for a young or inexperienced person going into the tech industry. However, I think it applies to life as well.

So often we start doing things that brutally tax our energy and attention, just because we feel obligated. If you’re in the corporate world, you will know that feeling of sitting in a meeting and wondering why you’re there well.

My first issue with taking this advice is how do I distinguish between feeling obligated and feeling slightly annoyed that I need to do something, but it’s a something that’s actually going to help me, so I should actually probably do it.

‘Oh, I feel obligated to get out of bed today, so I'm not going to. Ha, take that system.’

Because I’m obligated to both go to a useless meeting and get out of bed, but one is actually helping me become a better person, and the other is not.

So I decided there are two ways to go about understanding this advice.

  1. Decide that all feelings of obligation are social bullying and rebel against the system by quitting my job and running naked in the forest, buying a surfboard and shaving my head so I can get a head and neck tattoo.

  2. Decide that obligation is actually quite a useful tool if you don’t let it bully you.

Surprisingly, I am trying to incorporate the latter into my life, although option one is looking more and more inviting and will probably happen at some point.

You can feel obligated to do something. Visiting the parents, calling your mum, going to that meeting, but don’t be bullied.

Only use obligation as a tool to prioritise tasks, depending on your situation.

Ruby On Rails: The Presentation

We arrived the next morning again, again on the edge of too early.

I spent the morning in a whirl, that feeing of a 'deadline' looming ahead, propelling me forward with an urgency I could not have manufactured myself.

Then there was a panel of questions and answer time when five of the coaches got up on stage and told the story of how they had gotten into the industry.

A comment from one of the girls struck me, 'I went to uni to study physics then I decided to play around with tech and here I am.'

Casually studying physics, I see how it is. 

I’ve never been a 'Math Person', a phase I’m trying to stop myself from saying. If I work hard enough I could be a math person. So, I’m not a not a math person but in my history, maths for me has always been a struggle. Math’s presents itself to me as a language I can’t understand. My thought processes goings like this: Because I never understood it when I was a child, I missed the cut off date, and I never will understand it.

I'm forcing myself to reevaluate that belief, and recently I've added thirty - forty minutes of math practice to my list of daily rituals. Not rituals in the sense that I get dressed up and dance around a fire, although that would be pretty epic and should probably be on one of my lists, ritual in the sense of something that I try to do everyday. 

I find a lot more beauty in words than I do in numbers. You can craft cathedrals out of paragraphs, and wars out of one sentence if you are clever. I can’t do that with math. I feel like with me and maths I am constantly just trying to solve the problem, and there's only one answer, and I have to get that one answer or else it doesn't work. 

From the workshop I realised was that these developers felt, in one way or another, a strong gravity towards mathematics. Whether they were drawn to it consciously or not.

Programming is maths made literate, with a bit of character.

The logic, the problem solving and with the element of creativity I always felt maths lacked, is all there.

After the question panel, there was another lunch/networking/interrogation session.

Then we presented our product.

After the presentation, I chatted to a few people about the whole experience who were all very kind and open with more of their knowledge.

Then we collected our bags, caught a taxi to the airport, I ate a P&J bagel at the airport, and we flew home. It was all over.

I feel like I’ve walked away from RailsBridge Wellington understanding a little bit more of this complicated new language. I feel as though I’m apart of a club now. The elite group of people who are crafting me and my sisters future, talked to us, taught us, and shared their secret language with us and I am forever grateful. 

Ruby On Rails: The Project

I wanted to know people's stories. How they got into this industry. What they liked about it, what they didn’t. When they would mention a word I didn’t know, which was most words I would interrupt and ask for a definition. Which would then lead down another path in the conversation. The questions I used are the same ones I use everywhere, with everyone. And I have Tim Ferris to thank for them:

  • Top five learning resources to get into bla bla…i.e. Books, movies, youtube videos, short or cheap courses...

  • Self-care habit or just habit you’ve taken up that’s improved your mental health or productivity or quality of life.

  • If you could sum up all your years of wisdom into one piece of advice that you could give to someone younger and inexperienced what would it be?

These questions always lead to interesting conversations and I'll be writing about all the wise wisdom I gleaned from these incredible people in future blog posts. 

You can even check out one of the coaches blog...https://jordancrawford.kiwi/kauri-energy-monitor/

Lunchtime was the moment I realised that these people, who were milling around me clutching coffee, where probably some of the smartest people I had ever been in a room with.

The quote: ‘If you’re the smartest in the room, you’re in the wrong room.’ Came to mind, and I decided I was most definitely in completely the right room.

After lunch and my shameless networking session we had the option to choose our own  adventure.

One workshop was on the scaffolding side of things. Looking at how ruby gems work and how to get them to do what you want. The other was on the user side of things or making stuff look pretty.

I chose the latter. 

The workshop was held in a back room. Our coach, Nick, immediately started by pulling up Stuff.com. He then proceeded to use the Inspect tool, that up until then for me had always only been an annoying accidental click that pulled up a very complicated page of code. Using that tool he changed all of the titles to comic sans, all the images to cat pictures, and made the background bright pink.

This was only in his browser however and naturally my first question was how could you do that so that everyone would see it like that.

Apparently that's hacking, and it’s illegal.

After the workshop we stopped for cupcakes. 

Then we split off into groups to start on our “project”. Our “project” had been hinted at up until this moment with ominous delight. The people at our table formed a group. We started brainstorming. Deciding that we wanted some wholesome, relatable content that had substance and was educational.

A gallery of memes was the project.


My sister came alive. I’ve never been fully on board with 'Da meme way'. But it was fantastic to see her face, which up until that moment had been fluctuating between confusion, frustration and outright terror at all the coding stuff, light up. She took change brilliantly, suggesting that we make memes of the RailsBridge coaches.

Relatable, and almost like an injoke. She went off to take pictures of our coaches. While the rest of the team started creating the website.

By the end of the day we had an idea of what we wanted and even better, a vague idea on how to achieve it!

We walked out of our first day at RailsBridge overwhelmed but excited.

Ruby On Rails: Stickers, Stickers and more Stickers

The power of stickers. Apparently, if you want to be a computer programmer stickers are an impossibly valuable part of your aesthetic.

My sister and I had made our way into the building, as usual with me and events, I was balancing precariously on the edge of being too early. The information email had invited us to arrive any time between 8.30 and 9.30, we walked into the building at exactly 8.32.

The day kicked off with us and the rest of the attendees gathering in the neon-lit reception area. We were welcomed and then shown the basics of what we would be doing for the first task, by one of the organisers. Our first challenge was to build a website from scratch.

Being a Squarespace girl myself, I couldn’t quite grasp that concept. Surely using Squarespace to make your website, meant it was from scratch right? Haha, no.

In the hours that followed, I experienced the most hatred and gratitude towards my computer I’ve ever felt in such a short amount of time.

I was following a RailsBridge guide, which is a very basic instructional text. At least in theory...The guide was excellent, however, it was still referring to concepts I didn’t understand, some of the words they used I didn't even know existed. 

I would describe those first few hours of coding to trying to do advanced neurological biochemistry, on a theoretical alien, in Icelandic, with no prior knowledge of any of the above subjects, or even that Iceland was a place. 

Thankfully RailsBridge had enough coaches they almost outnumbered the attendees. So whenever I got stuck, I just threw my hand up in the air or looked vaguely desperate and suddenly a coach was hovering reassuringly, clutching a forever half full cup of coffee.

They would umm and ahh knowingly, and then quietly suggest putting a space next to the = or point out that the spelling was incorrect or that there were capital letters when there shouldn’t have been.

I never once experienced anything but kindness and patience from the coaches.

A few hours in I had successfully built, the most atrocious website that has ever been invented. It had a pink scrolling title, badly working voting boxes and the backdrop was also a different tone of hot pink.

And the pride that I felt in this pink aesthetic Frankinstine creation was unbridled. I felt as though I had just birthed my very own child. My own digital website child, like a god.

From that experience, I realised I really liked playing with how stuff looks, and for this, I was doing that through HTML.

This would be called the front end or user end of the application creation. The other end, the back end, is where all the fancy scaffolding happens. I struggled to grasp any of the concepts around the back end. Maybe, because I was to amused by the obvious innuendo that I couldn’t pay attention properly when they were explaining it.

In my defence, I was getting quite hungry. 

After that, we stopped for lunch and I took to opportunity to grill anyone who was vaguely willing to talk to me. Some call it networking, it was probably more like an interrogation.

Find out what wise wisdom my victims said next time, thanks for reading..!

Ruby On Rails: The Arrival

Ruby On Rails was released in 2004 and has been used to build applications such as: Basecamp, GitHub, Shopify, Airbnb, Twitch, SoundCloud, Hulu, Zendesk, Square, Highrise, Cookpad.

It’s open source software, which in plain english, means it's free to use. If you are skilled enough, you can actually edit the software and make it better for everyone.

In the days leading up to the course I googled a lot. I was trying to figure out if everyone there, would be at my skill level i.e non existent, or if they would all be Facebook and Google inventors wondering who let the seventeen year old Sim’s and Minecraft player into the building.

I couldn’t find a lot of information about the course and as I stepped off the plane in Wellington with my little sister, who was also attending beside me, it was easy to say I was a tad nervous.

The questions running through my head were things like, will I fit in? Will I hold everyone up? What do computer programmers wear? Do I need to buy a hoodie and black jeans and a band tee and massive square glasses? Oh and a beanie? What is the culture of computer coders? Will there be hackers? What if I meet a hacker? What if I accidentally hack into a site and then get arrested because I accidentally hacked into a site? I don’t want to go to prison. I wouldn’t survive. Actually, hackers are held in reverence in prison so I would probably be fine! I could start a gang and everything. Trinity’s Girls, I like that. We’ll have special T-shirts made up and everything.

We arrived at the hotel in a Taxi, I remembered to pay at the end of the ride, a big achievement for me, and as I was pulling the card out of the machine a very tall man in what looked like a five piece suit wearing a top hat opened the door for me. I was momentarily stunned and I think I heard my sister choke back a gasp.

Some context, however full of myself and stuck up I might seem through my writing, I am definitely a big backpack and grubby hiking boots kind of traveller. I feel most at home in myself when I’m wear the same top I’ve been wearing for five days and my boots are carrying mud and dust from all the different places I’ve been.

One of the best times in my life was when we were suiting up for a white water rafting adventure, I was wearing my swimsuit, a full body wetsuit that was still damp from the last adventure, a musty smelling fleece and a size to big water boots, then a lifejacket. And I swear, I felt more confident than I’d ever felt when I was wearing anything flimsy and lipsticky.

However, if I wear my suit I can easily pass for being in my twenties. Which helps if you are in a position, where you are bossing around people in their thirties or older. People don’t seem to want to take orders from a horrendously underqualified seventeen year old. Much as they didn’t want to take orders from a five year old girl. Mysteriously. I wouldn’t want to either. So, I try to do all I can to reassure the people that I am in fact not entirely incompetent.

I think that's why fashion and outer appearances are something that fascinates me so much. I can’t change how old I actually am, but I can change the way I look and act.

Anyway, some girls need lipstick and heels. I need boots and backpacks, back to the story...

Luckily, because I was travelling with my fourteen year old sister I had dressed older, in case airport security looked a little closer at our boarding passes and figured out my sister who is a minor, was travelling with another minor.

So, taking the lovely man opening my door wearing a top hat completely in my stride I stepped out of the taxi in my black flared pants and navy sweater, the outfit I had seen many french women wear non stop, and had decided to shamelessly plagiarise. Looking up, I took in the hotel.

Just off to the side was a tall bleach blonde woman in a long red dress with a cheetah print bag and those big black eyebrows that you could tell weren't one hundred percent natural.

The entire scene struck me as something out of a movie.

The man with the top hat had disappeared with our bags. He hadn’t told me where he’d taken them and I didn’t care. He’d walked off with such reassuring confidence that I figured even if he was taking them out to a back room to set fire to them, it was probably the right decision.

I pulled at my navy sweater self consciously taking in the glorious reception. My sister wasn’t even trying to fit in, twirling around in circle with her mouth open so wide I thought her jaw might dislocate.

I had reherhersed the check in process in my head the whole trip. As per usual, I drew inspiration from some of the fictional characters that often helped me through situations like this.

Today I was Jack Dawson from Titanic. Smiling at the check in lady, I gave her my last name, Smith, she smiled like she had heard that name a billion times before. Smith is the name businessmen give when they are about to engage in an affair with their receptionist. It’s also the last name movie stars and royalty give when trying to be incognito.

I have to say, if you are any of the above, use a last name like Burtenshore or Henton. Because the hotel’s are on to you.

We received our keys and made our way to the room. Inside the room our bags had been laid carefully on the little cabinet in the corner.

Grace, my sister, expressed exactly how I was feeling and ran with a scream and a jump on to one of the double beds.

After that we unpacked our things quickly, shoving the contents of our heavy bags onto the bed.

Then putting our computers into my backpack, we made our way downstairs. I had put my hair up and was actually wearing jewelry so that I felt I  could walk through the hotel lobby without being kicked out.

Naturally I passed about four gorgeous women with cascading hair and casual ball gowns. 

I felt I could relate more to the staff of the lobby than those women. Those women are the women rock stars write songs about. And it seemed like everyone in the hotel knew it. Most of all themselves.

I wondered at my innate feeling of not fitting in. It seemed to follow me wherever I go.

We walked to the building the course was going to be held in. Grand doors led to a beautiful reception room tinted rosy pink from the bright neon lights that read ‘Boldly Go.’

We signed in and entered the workspace room. It was littered with computers and tables all with a ridiculous amount of stickers on them.

Sitting down some coaches came over and we started checking that our computers had the correct software installed.

The person helping me didn’t stop at checking my software and before I knew it we were launching a local host website from my terminal.

I had always been attracted to the terminal that sat ominously in my launch pad. When you opened it and typed things in it didn’t really ever do anything for me, but I knew it was one of those things that you could use to do spectacular Special-Agent-Spy-level things.

I had also downloaded a text editor, called Atom. When you open Atom it brings up the kind of screen that you see in a movie.

With Atom and the Terminal and the language Ruby downloaded into my computer I felt fully armed to enter the Matrix.

We left what was titled the ‘Install Party’ feeling supported. The environment had been low pressure, all the coaches had been kind and were very willing to help us, aimbiling patiently through commands that they could have hammered out in probably a few seconds.

Walking out of the building me and Grace were both grinning.

We paced quickly to a restaurant we knew well ‘The Crab Shack’ and gorged ourselves on delicious food. I even remembered to pay at the end.

That night I settled into the ridiculously fluffy bed, and wondered what the next day would entail.

More coming soon, thanks for reading..!

Ruby On Rails: Saying Yes, I Guess

When it comes to new experiences, the philosophy I have very recently adopted revolves around saying yes now and figuring out the rest later.

I’m not particularly brave. If I can say yes, then the hardest part for me is already over. Giving myself permission to do something I have no skills in and knowing I probably won’t be good at it, violently goes against my control freak nature.

As part of my current personality like to know that the environment I’m going into, I will not just survive in, but also dominate. It’s not the best trait in the world, and I’m not always proud of it, but it does keep me on my toes when I use it to my advantage.

When I was younger I would only do the things I knew I could do. For instance, I wouldn’t climb the advanced ladder on the playground because I knew there was a chance I could fall off. My ego would, and still does, get in the way of me attempting anything that might make me look a little bit tragic and idiotic.

Understanding that this was a part of my subconscious thought process, came through theatre actually. I did Ballet and other styles of dance for ten years, and every year there would a concert. Every year when I was younger I would get hopelessly nervous before performing. I didn’t come off as nervous just grumpy and irritable, I fitted right in.

Then every time when I performed, no matter how sick or how stressed I was, as soon as the lights hit my face with their heat, and the audience was there, watching me, my body would kick into action. I never froze up, no matter how many times I thought I was going to. After a few years, I started noticing this and I guess it became a positive feedback loop in my head.

I convinced myself that on stage, no matter what was happening, my body would be there to kick into action. And because I had convinced myself of this, there was no way for me to not believe it. I became a walking, talking placebo effect when it came to performance.

But hey, if it works it works. To this day, I have never ever frozen up on stage. And when I started acting I never forgot my lines or my stage directions. On stage is the only place in the world, I feel like I am unstoppable.

The stage was and will always be my happy place.  

Looking back on this placebo effect now, I think this is really just my urge to control whatever situation I was in. Except it came through as ‘Talent’. My ego or vanity or whatever it is, is not going to physically let me screw up in front of what it perceives as an audience.

Upon understanding this about myself, I started saying yes to things that were hopelessly out of my comfort zone. I went to NYDS, worked professionally in the film industry and I voyaged on The Spirit Of New Zealand.

I’ve started trying to take advantage of this competitive, egotistical side of me and put it to use furthering my experience and knowledge of the world around me. With age and a little maturity, I’ve tried to push myself to become better at looking and feeling like an idiot. I’m proud to say I’m almost quite skilled at it now, and I do it almost every day.

It’s still a struggle but with that to balance the ego, this match made in heaven makes up my learning process.  

I never know if I’m going to be actually good at something or not, but I know that if I throw myself in at the deep end of the swimming pool, my body and my mind will not let me drown. I might not swim, but I won’t drown.

And I think that’s just how I learn new things.

So with the ridiculously high hopes of not being so terrible I break all the computers in the building, and delete all code ever, my sister and I were booked on a flight for Wellington the coming weekend to attend RailsBridge, an introductory coding course for the programming language Ruby.

Ruby On Rails: I'm Not A Hacker

My father had found out about the course that covered an introduction to computer coding, almost a year ago. We had tried to sign up then but they had been full, or it was too late to sign up, I can’t remember.

This year, we were a little more proactive, and by we, I mean my father was. I received a text early one morning, six thirty or something, ‘Want to attend a coding course designed to encourage women and other minorities to get into the tech industry?’

I had absolutely no knowledge of any computer languages. I had signed up for Code Academy when I was twelve, after deciding that hacking into NASA could be quite a sexy skill. It would fit with my black hoodie and future scorpian tattoos. I had watched the Matrix and started reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo at the time, which may have been influencing my asthetic.

Code Academy hadn’t lasted long and other than playing around with Minecraft my experience with computer programming is exactly nill. I hadn’t even managed to install Modpacks to Minecraft. To this day I’ve never experienced the Shaders Modpack.

I did once manage to change every block of grass in Minecraft to a picture of my face, which I was very proud of however, the endeavour wasn’t completely successful. I had to delete Minecraft because I had managed to break it so drastically, that actually every single texture was a picture of my face and I couldn’t walk around or interact with the world in any way. After that, I didn’t mess around with the coding stuff.

Side note: I also managed to play with, then break, my Sim’s 3 computer game. It was downloaded onto my computer, I played happily for a couple of years until the rhythm of creating a character and making it marry the richest Sim in the city to get money, got boring. I created various cults for my families and when that got boring as well I found the cheats. After being able to do almost anything I wanted became boring, I decided I wanted to be able to edit the environment directly. By that I mean the land and roads and buildings in the city.

So, I started playing. The game glitched out and wouldn’t load. So, I deleted the game. The wrong way. I didn’t uninstall it with the uninstall application, I just dragged it to the trash. So as far as I can tell the game still thinks I’m logged in, and because I had done this a few times already, I had used up how many times I could log in. Now the game won't let me reinstall Sim’s 3.

This could be quite a good thing because it’s meant I’ve spent my time on things other than turning my virtual city into a post-apocalyptic dictatorship. But I do miss it a little bit, especially the building and interior design aspect, so if anyone has a solution for this I would be extremely grateful if you could let me know. 

Anyway, back to my point, the only experience with coding that I had was breaking things.

So, I said yes to the RailsBridge course that was being held in Wellington a couple of weeks away, naturally. 

More coming soon, thanks for reading..!

How I Save Money: The Easiest Money Saving Method Ever for Young People

First of all a disclaimer: 

Currently, I'm broke. Very, very broke. I'm pretty sure my eight-year-old bother currently has more money saved than me, and his income is made up mainly of Tooth-fairy money.

Unfortunately, the Tooth-fairy is no longer a suitable income option for me now that I no longer have baby teeth. 

Putting aside the fact I'm broke at the moment, in the past, I've saved capably enough to be able to fully fund an intensive film "Apprenticeship" in the big city. I was financially prepared to live in Auckland, unpaid for six months. 

That is not something most seventeen-year-olds can say. And when I started saving I was sixteen. So I'm not saying my saving method is the best, but it did work for me very well, and it's easy to understand.

When I first started looking into saving, I did the usual thing, I googled it. 

I was met with pages and pages of very analytical, wordy, professional blogs that had so many complicated infographics, you needed another whole infographic to understand the first one. 

Instead of deliberately confusing you, to make myself sound smarter, I'm going to just break down my method into an easy and simple formula. 

First up some important vocabulary:

Income = Money you are getting from other people. That could be the tooth-fairy but it's probably from your employer if you have a job. 

Expenses = Things you need to pay, such as rent or a subscription to Squarespace. 

The Three Catagories

Fun Fund = This is money you can spend without guilt. It's your movie night money or coffee date money. 

Squirrel Fund = This is the money you're saving. Not really for any particular reason, but maybe you want to buy a car one day. 

F**k You Fund = This is the money that's for if you suddenly get sick or if you are in a different country and you need to buy an urgent plane ticket home. This is the money you can use to give the middle finger to whatever is threatening your safety or happiness and only under dire circumstances should it be spent. 

Now some depressing math: 

Let's pretend your income is $100

First - Subtract your expenses from your income. Let's pretend you have to pay Mum and Dad $20 rent. 

That leaves you with $80. 

Second - Subtract %80 of whats left and pretend you're putting it in a pile off to the side. This percentage you can change depending on how frugal you want to be. When I started saving, I was doing %70 and then a few weeks before I left I was doing %95. But I think %80 is a really good all arounder. 

Third - More math: 80 - 64 = 16. Which means there is $16 in your Fun Fund from this income. 

Forth - Going back to that amount, the pile on the table: %80 of $80 = $64. 

This will go into your Squirrel Fund

Because I don't have another account opened for my F**k You Fund, I do the calculation and then just make note of it etc. But if you had a separate account you could do this. 

  • 64 - %20 = 12.8 

Which means, that from this income, $12.80 is going into your F**k You Fund

To sum up

  • Subtract Expenses
  • Subtract Squirrel Fund %80 
  • The F**k You fund is %20 of your Squirrel Fund amount
  • Fun Fund is that %80 subtracted from whatever number is left over after you subtracted your expenses.

Another example would be if your leftover income, after expenses subtraction, was $200 and you subtracted %80, you're left with $160.

The $160 is your Squirrel and F**k You fund and the $40 difference is for your Fun Fund. 

Thanks for reading..!

 

Losing Hope

We all hit creative ruts. For me my main creative outlets are writing and videography. These are the core building blocks of what I use to create content. 

Usually when I write I enter a strange state of calm. I feel as though I can write forever and that what I'm writing is important and useful. 

My creative rut hit a day ago when suddenly I was hit by the feeling of impatience when I was writing. I wanted it to be over. I felt like I didn't really care about what I was writing. I felt like it was un-important. The same thing has been happening with my videography for a while.

I have a few videographers and cinematographers that I follow closely. I love their style and I really try to exemplify it whenever I can. But when it actually comes to taking a shot or editing footage that I've taken I'm always struck by how unlike the shot that I imagined in my mind is. 

I feel as though I can see the shot I want to take perfectly. Always post production of course and fantastically edited etc. But that ideal never lines up with my actual skills in that area. 

And this can be crushing. 

I was talking to a fellow creative and he was talking about he also suffers from this issue of imagined content vs not quite right actual content and realised that I wasn't alone in my various ruts and writers blocks. 

The videography rut is something that has been happening for a longer more sustained amount of time than the off and on mood swings of my writing ruts, so here are some ways that I deal with it:

  • I remind myself that it's all a process. 

It's something that you'll read literally everywhere. 'It's a journey.' I'm not the first to say it. But this is something I feel like I need to constantly come back to. My videography skills are not at the beginning of their journey anymore. I can hold a camera, turn it off and on and every now and then I'll capture a shot that really does line up with what I can see in my head. But my skills are also not at the end of their journey. They might never be. I have lots of room for improvement and that's okay. 

The great thing about thinking of it like a journey is that you really don't know where in the middle you are. You could be a couple more crappy shots away from figuring out something that will really help you.

  • I gently ask myself: If you could do one thing to improve, what would it be? Then if I can, I go do that thing. 

I never go over the top. But sometimes there's just that one little thing you can do that would really help. Such as, speaking from personal experience here, watching the freggin user guide video that goes with your camera. 

  • Lastly, I make sure I'm not obsessing too much with my ideals and idols. 

It's great to use other great artists and other beautiful content examples as something you are trying to obtain but it is also good to remember that you're not that person. Your content will never exactly line up with theirs. Nor should it, otherwise if there were two people creating exactly the same content, not only would you decrease the value of theirs but also your own. You want to copy and steal as much as you can from them. But only so you can take it and turn it into something of your own. 

All art is plagiarism. Originality is overrated. What really matters is the authenticity of the art. 

So don't lose hope if you are in any kind of creative rut. Keep looking for that next tiny little easy thing you can do to get just a little better. And just keep trying. 

Thanks for reading...!