March 26, 2019

Monthly favourites — February 2019

Reading time: 6 minutes

February went by fast, but we managed to stop and smell the roses / watch TV / use apps / read. Here are a few of our favourite things!

February monthly favourites
🎞️Greta ThurnbergFree SoloRussian Doll
🎧Kayla ItsinesMoney MindsetThe Power of the Unconscious Mind
📖Coco ChanelHell Bent and David Suzuki’s Green GuideWhite Teeth
📱Google AuthenticatorHeadphone splitterYin yoga mat
GratitudeBudgetingReducing my meat consumption
🎒Writing better image alt tagsBotanical hand embroideryAbout composting

🎞️ Watching

Greta Thurnberg’s address to the UN (YouTube)

Climate change is the most urgent issue we face as a planet right now, and Greta’s address to the UN is a bold, clear call for action. I encourage everyone take 3min 30seconds out of your day to watch if you haven’t already, and think about what you can do to help turn things around.
— Jess

Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.

Greta Thurnberg

Free Solo (Documentary)

Free Solo is the 2019 Oscar winner for Documentary (Feature) and documents Alex Honnold’s desire to climb El Captain in Yosemite National Park. I’ve followed (from afar) Alex’s climbing journey for a little while now and when I saw Free Solo was showing on Foxtel, that was my Sunday night sorted. If you’re interested in this documentary, I’d also recommend watching The Dawn Wall too.
— Aimee

Russian Doll (TV show)

I didn’t start Russian Doll for awhile, as I find the groundhog day premise incredibly boring (and told many people as much). However, I had to eat my words. Russian Doll got rave reviews for a reason – captivating performances, brilliant writing and excellent writing. Not to mention the plot is a total mind fuck 😏
— Lil


🎧 Listening to

How To Transform Your Body With Kayla Itsines (podcast episode)

I follow @kayla_itsines on Instagram, partly for the fitness motivation but also for the specific exercise/workout ideas, because I never know what to do with myself at the gym!

In this episode of Melissa Ambrosini’s podcast, she chats to Kayla about how she got to where she is today (including over 11 million Instagram follows… that’s not a typo), why she doesn’t drink alcohol, and why we should set appointments with ourselves in our calendar if we want to make sure something happens (like, going to the gym).
— Jess

Money Mindset with Jasmine Dowling (Your Creative Start podcast episode)

I’d actually listened to this episode a while back, but forgot about it until just recently. Balancing and managing my finances has been at the forefront of my mind lately and I found this podcast a useful one to refer back to.
— Aimee

The Power of the Unconscious Mind (Goop podcast episode)

Elise Loehnen interviews psychiatrist Srini Pillay on the importance of unfocused time. This episode includes some very handy tips, especially for those of us that like to think of ourselves as time poor.
— Lil


📖 Reading

Coco Chanel’s life story (book)

I spent a weekend in the countryside recently and wanted something trashy to read, so I took Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s biography by Edmonde Charles-Roux (transcribed to English, as much as I’d love to be able to read in French!).

It seems to be the ultimate rags to riches story, where the biographer seeks to uncover details Coco had surreptitiously left out when retelling stories of her past, in an attempt to understand the woman she became.
— Jess

She was a couturière who would have nothing to do with frivolity; an executive who broke every rule and overstepped her rights without compunction; a creator of original designs who was only happy when being plagiarized by others.

Edmonde Charles-Roux, in ‘Chanel: Her Life, Her World, and the Woman Behind the Legend’

Photo of a Chanel biography book face down on a wooden floor beside an empty cup of coffee.
Cover image of the Chanel biography: 'Chanel: Her Life, Her World, and the Woman Behind the Legend' by Edmonde Charles-Roux

Hell Bent and David Suzuki’s Green Guide (books)

I recently scored three books that were very relevant to my interests from a local second hand store. In true Aimee style (I’ve reverted back to my old ways, help!) I started reading two of them simultaneously. Hell Bent by Benjamin Lorr: Obsession, pain, and the search for something like transcendence in Bikram Yoga. David Suzuki’s Green Guide, a practical guide to reducing your ecological footprint. Some of the advice is a bit outdated, but the principles are still relevant and a good reminder. If you’re wondering what the third book was, it was a guide on botanical hand embroidery 🌷
— Aimee

White Teeth by Zadie Smith (book)

White Teeth was Smith’s first novel. I started back to front, first reading Swing Time which was published many years later. The two stories are worlds apart, but share the unmistakable warmth and wit of Smith’s style.
— Lil


📱 Using

Google Authenticator (app)

I guess this is more of a PSA than a new thing for me — I use two step authentication on my Gmail, Slack, Dropbox and Xero accounts with the Google Authenticator app (available on the iTunes store and Google Play).

Here’s how it works: “2-Step Verification provides stronger security for your Google account by requiring a second step of verification when you sign in. In addition to your password, you’ll also need a code generated by the Google Authenticator app on your phone.”

Online security is cool, man 😎
— Jess

Headphone splitter

I was tossing up what to add this month, and well I settled on something a bit random… my trusty ol’ headphone splitter. My partner and I always travel with our iPad and listen to podcasts, watch shows etc. Once we thought “how good would it be if something existed that we could both have our headphones plugged in rather than sharing”… and then… after a quick google (I mean, how did we not know these existed??) we bought a headphone splitter. We had to travel for a wedding this month, and I was reminded again how helpful this tiny little thing is.
— Aimee

Yin yoga mat

If you’re a sweaty gal like me, these yoga mats may change your life. They magically get grippier the more you sweat! They’re also made from recycled material and are machine washable.
— Lil


➿ Practicing

Gratitude

Every night before going to sleep, my partner and I ask each other what our favourite thing was that day. Some days are easier than others (and some days I want to say “ughhh nothing!”), but the prompt to reflect on the day is a really lovely way to close it out before going to sleep.
— Jess

Budgeting

I mentioned back in my December favourites that I was practicing better financial planning. Well, one aspect that I’ve particularly been focusing on this month was better budgeting. I’ve always been a good saver, but I noticed I was getting in the habit of just buying things because I could. I wasn’t putting any thought into what my financial forecasting looked like before I would make non-essential purchases. So I created myself a a pretty in-depth Google spreadsheet (think multiple tabs, formulas, graphs). I track expenses, income, forecasts and I even have a wish list tab, where I can record things I want to spend my money on and then can make a sensible time to do so. Maybe I’ll share this one day soon! 😎
— Aimee

Reducing my meat consumption

I’ve put this under the practicing tab because thats what it comes down to for me – getting used to shopping, meal planning and cooking sans meat. After doing a gut rest in January, I discovered my body responds well to a high protein diet, so my current focus is on how to transition that style of eating to a vegetarian diet. Legumes, nuts, eggs and pea protein powder are all getting a solid look in.
— Lil


🎒 Learning

How to write better image alt tags

There is an option for ‘alternative text’ to be provided for any image you see on the web, intended as a textual alternative to the image itself, in case the user isn’t able to see or understand it properly.

To meet best practice web accessibility standards, every image must have this alternative text (called an ‘alt tag’) so that it can be read by screen readers, or in case the image doesn’t load. A good alt tag will also provide meaningful information to search engines, to help them determine what the image is about without having to rely on its context within the page it appears.

Screenshot of an image with 'alternative text' field below which describes it: "A duotoned dark purple and beige version of the Apple 'woman walking' emoji, in front of a bright green circle"
Screenshot of an image with ‘alternative text’ field below which describes it
Screenshot of an image with 'alternative text' field below which describes it: "A duotoned dark purple and beige version of the Apple emoji of a cloud, in front of a blue starburst shape"
Screenshot of an image with ‘alternative text’ field below which describes it

If you ever upload images and aren’t sure what makes a good alt tag, here’s some primer info:

— Jess

Botanical hand embroidery

Didn’t see this one coming, did you… So yes, I picked up a botanical embroidery guide book, and have been starting with the basics. I’ve always been a haphazard hand embroider. So, following some clear instructions to produce an end result that I can compare against a picture has been helping me improve my skills here.
— Aimee

About composting

I recently (as in two weeks ago) started a Masters of Sustainable Practice with RMIT. Our first subject is on the circular economy, and it is fascinating. Did you know that organic waste can actually produce methane if it’s disposed of in plastic bin liners? Yikes! Currently working out the best system for a tiny apartment – stay tuned 👀
— Lil

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Producing Paradise

Three ladies of digital producer ilk: Jess Allison, Aimee Cowie and Lilith Palmer.

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