huagl New Year

huagl New Year!

2016 has arrived! I’m not really sure how I feel about 2015 – it wasn’t actively terrible (in fact at times it was great!) but I wouldn’t classify it as a positive year either. I’m definitely conflicted about it and am generally glad it’s over.

I spent basically all year saying how unhappy I was at work and how I needed a new job. When looking through my journal I kept seeing those sentiments popping up in my entries throughout the year every month or so, but never did anything about it. This affected my moods more than I like to admit, so I spent most of the year unhappy, anxious and slightly depressed. This isn’t the best way to live – my friends can all vouch for how much I complained whenever we met up and socialised. Sorry about that, guys!

But 2015 wasn’t all bad. In May Ben and I went on a holiday to Japan, which we have been talking about doing for about 7 years but never managed to get ourselves organised before. I’m so glad I had the work and financial stability to be able to take this trip, it has been on my to do list for so long! Now all I want to do is keep travelling and see more of the world. This was for sure the absolute highlight of 2015 and memories of that trip helped keep my spirits up when feeling down throughout the rest of the year.

2015 was also the year I started seriously focussing on my health – both physical and mental. I went to the gym consistently, working with a personal trainer on strength training, where we managed to get me strong enough to deadlift 70kg! I also started running regularly and felt less likely to die while doing physical exercise. Coupled with that I saw a therapist regularly and worked on my anxiety. I went off my anxiety medication (and didn’t have a breakdown in the process) and started feeling better and more confident about myself. I’m starting to feel more like a responsible adult and less like a child playing dress ups in their parents’ clothes. It’s still a definite work in progress, but I can tell how much I’ve changed over the year.

At the end of November I lost my job, so that was a terrifying way to end the year, but it was also a massive weight off my shoulders. It was the push I needed to actively look for a job at a place where I won’t feel embarrassed when talking about it. Now if only I knew what kind of job I wanted…

 

So 2016 is full of raw, untapped, potential. I’m not making any big grand resolutions that I ultimately don’t end up fulfilling – I am at the point in my life where I know my personality well enough to know that is not the way to go about it. Instead I’m making smaller, achievable, goals that will combine into something bigger. I’m hoping that this year I will make less excuses when it comes to things I have decided were “too hard” last year. I am going to try and be more creative and proactive when it comes to pushing myself and learning new things. I think the main thing is that I’m not going to put so much pressure on myself – I’m going to try things and if they don’t turn out perfect that’s not the end of the world. That’s probably the most important lesson I need to learn.

 

So here’s to 2016, hopefully a more exciting year than 2015, if nothing else!

Boy's Club

Boy’s Club

Part of my job is to go onto Kickstarter to see if there are any that our company would be interested in backing. Most of the time I find things I am interested in rather than the company, which is bad for my wallet but good for Kickstarter I guess. I’ve backed some comics and art books, as well as some super cute Nutella stickers. I’m pretty easily amused when it comes to these things.

While looking through the newest kickstarters I always tend to check out the stationery-related projects. Show me a new type of daily planner or a notebook made from rocks or a hand made wooden pen and I will have to put my self-control to the test and stop myself from backing it. I have enough notebooks that need to be used that I don’t need another one just because it looks pretty. Well I mean, I backed the one made from rocks, but that is more out of curiosity than because it’s pretty, because how do you make paper out of rocks?! Madness!

But then I found this project that made me really quite annoyed. BüroMan is a notebook. But it’s not just any notebook, it’s “The Ultimate Men’s Notebook”. Because apparently all the other notebooks that are out in the world and available for people to buy aren’t manly enough, so this needed to be made. As far as I can tell, the only thing that really makes this any different to the other multitudes of notebooks out there is that it has a cork cover. Because “nothing says ‘manly notebook’ quite like cork fabric!”

Look how manly they are

Now it looks like a good quality notebook, and I’m a big fan of the dot graph print that it uses. The paper quality looks good, and I do like the look of the cork covers. It’s something that I would have backed, especially seeing it’s an Australian project. But instead I get misogynistic bullshit shoved down my throat because this isn’t for me! this is a Man’s Notebook! No Girls Allowed! Go sit over there with your Girl Notebooks and Girl Pens and let the poor hard done by Men have something for themselves for once!

Only men do boxing!

The blog on the BuroMan website has this choice quote:

“Stationery is not a typical men’s product. Go to any stationery shop and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a notebook that isn’t bedazzled with hearts or pink polka dots. Don’t even bother asking for a men’s version of the notebook, you’ll simply be greeted with a blank stare and a look that questions your masculinity. If you manage to persist through this awkward encounter, you’ll probably be directed to a plain-black-overpriced-yet-undervalue notebook, as if that’s the solution to your manly stationery needs.”

You’re probably getting a blank stare and confused looks because there is no such thing as a ‘men’s version’ of a notebook, because gender has literally no affect on stationery. A notebook with flowers and glitter on the cover is exactly the same as one with monster trucks. It is pieces of paper and a cover bound together for you to write or draw in. That’s it.

Are you worried that using a pink notebook will make you not a man? Does that mean I shouldn’t be using my plain black notebooks because that’s not girly enough? How do you think that makes the people who do like pink sparkly notebooks feel? Are you saying that they are less of a man than you because they like shiny things or items that are particular colours? Where do we draw the line; is something that is silver ok, it’s just the glitter that is the problem? Are animals manly enough, or do they fall under the girly category? Are movie or comic book themed notebooks fair for both genders, or am I not allowed to use those?

books

Why is one of these notebooks ok for men to use, but the other not allowed?

Why do some people feel like they need to have designated Man Things to prove they are a Man? Are you that scared that someone might think you are not 100% completely heterosexual if you don’t use Man Branded things? You realise that most of these things are exactly the same as the ‘Women’s’ version, except the Men’s version is normally cheaper, right? The candles that smell like whiskey or bacon or leather are still scented candles; chapstick For Men is still chapstick; women’s shampoo and conditioner still clean men’s hair just the same; this Manly Notebook (Rawr, so tuff) is just a notebook. Stop caring what other people think about you and just use whatever product you want. If you like how a notebook feels when you use it then what does it matter what is on the cover? What’s inside is the important part! If it’s not hurting anyone then why do people care so much about what other people like or use?

 

Gendered items are generally bullshit, I agree with this wholeheartedly. But the way to change this is not do add more, different gendered items, it’s to stop trying to convince people to think and act a certain way just because they are a certain gender. Accept that there are men out there that would love to use a notebook covered with pink hearts, just like there are women who use tools (and don’t need ones that are covered in flowers). Breaking down these stereotypes benefits everyone, so why aren’t we doing this already?

Earworms-

Earworms: Stromae, “Papoutai”

Ah French, the language of love. I learned French in school, starting in primary school all the way up to year 10, when I realised that I had stopped caring about it for at least half of that year and dropped it. I have forgotten a lot of what I was taught, because that is what happens, but I still like to listen to it. Luckily for me there are a bunch of awesome musicians who sing (or rap) in French.

Continue reading

Pocket Envy

The lack of pockets on women’s clothing is something that most people are aware of. I know that I have gone on a rant about the lack of pockets, or even the annoying situation where the clothes have fake pockets that trick you into thinking your clothes are more functional than they actually are. I always find it a bit harder to justify buying a dress or a skirt without pockets compared to one that does have them. Clothes with pockets are automatically more practical than ones without, but they are also much harder for find consistently. It’s a sad fact that frustrates me to know end.

Lately I have been wearing more open knit cardigans, which of course don’t have pockets, and I decided to take this issue into my own hands. I have a bunch of black yarn leftover from a blanket, so I made a crocheted granny hexagon, measuring it against my phone to make sure it would actually be useful, then sewed that baby onto the inside of one of my black cardigans. I left one side open, and that opening is just as wide as my phone, so it’s hard for it to fall out, but also wide enough to put my bank card or some notes in there as well.

It has made so much difference! Now I don’t have to rummage in my bag for my phone, or carry it in my hand and potentially drop it! Plus it didn’t take very long and it was ultimately free seeing I used leftover materials! I guess until the fashion industry gets their heads straight I’m going to have to do this whenever I can.

Craftage-

Craftage: Star Blanket WIP

I have a bad habit of moving onto something new in the middle of a project because I either get bored, or find something different that I can’t be bothered waiting to start. This can end up causing an overwhelming number of half-done projects and me feeling like I have nothing to do. I decided that I had to crack down on my WIPs, and found the Star Blanket I had started ages ago.

IMG_0793

Now I saw the original pattern on Tumblr and it looked awesome, so I went and grabbed stuff without realising how much work there would be. You make 6 small diamonds, sew them together to make a star. Make 6 more diamonds in your background colour, and sew them in between the points of the star. Then sew all these bits together to make the blanket. that is a lot of sewing right there. I have trouble sewing granny squares together and they are self-contained pieces! It’s no wonder I moved on to something else instead of finishing it.

IMG_0789

The stars do look good when they are sewn together, though. It will look good when it’s finished but there’s just so. Much. Sewing. The most frustrating thing about it is that since deciding I was going to work on it, I have now run out of yarn, so I need to buy more before I can do any more. Who wants to bet I move on to something else while waiting for the yarn?

IMG_0791