fun

watched: that sugar film

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I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries on obesity and nutrition and last night I watched one called That Sugar Film, by Damon Gameau.  It covers a 60-day experiment in which Damon ate only foods thought to be “healthy” (e.g. low fat yogurt, granola, smoothies) and how that diet consisting of processed foods with an excessive amount of sugar changed his body.

The average Australian eats about 40 teaspoons of sugar each day, hidden in foods as “added sugar”. That’s 160g of sugar a day, adding up to over a kilo in a week. The movie presents a lot of information in a fun way, using special effects and a few celebrity guests, but the most interesting and shocking part is when Damon eats the amount of white sugar that would otherwise be hidden as an ingredient. Instead of eating cereal for breakfast, he adds several teaspoons to plain bran flakes. And then for lunch, he eats roast chicken covered in sugar, instead of mixing it with sauce.

 

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Feeling a bit paranoid after watching it, I wrote down every thing I ate yesterday to check how much sugar I had consumed. I had salami, cheese and cucumber toastie and black coffee for breakfast, a scrambled egg sandwich for lunch, and meatballs with veggies and couscous for dinner. I read all the labels, from the bread to the tomato passata I cooked the veggies in, adding up the sugar content in all of the ingredients. The final result? 10 teaspoons of sugar. I didn’t eat any chocolate, cake, gelato or cookie. I didn’t even have fruit on Sunday. But the total amount of sugar in what I ate was 40g! It’s under the recommended daily intake, but still, it didn’t leave me much “allowance” to actually enjoy a sweet.

The message is quite clear: we’re eating too much sugar. A lot of what Damon explains I was already aware of after watching another documentary, Fed Up, about childhood obesity in the US caused by, yep, you guessed it, excessive sugar consumption. For decades fat was the enemy and the food industry substituted fat with sugar to guarantee flavour and loyal, addicted consumers. Now it’s time to re-think the way we eat and make smarter, healthier choices. And knowing exactly what you’re eating is the first step.

You can buy (or rent, if you’re in NZ/Australia) a digital copy of the movie from their official website or sign up to receive a free pdf with recipes Damon used to shed the weight gained during his experiment.

newtown festival street fair

Newtown is a very diverse suburb in Wellington and to celebrate it, nothing better than holding a massive street fair for a day. With 12 stages, over 400 stalls, and 80 acts, the event that took place on Sunday 8 March (same day as International Women’s Day) was the largest street fair I’ve ever seen. Many food stalls, offering food from all over the world, including the always great Curbside Cafe, and several other stalls selling all kinds of products from vintage clothing and personal grooming to decorations and services like energy readings and henna tattoos.  It was a fun, sunny morning, perfect for lots of photos.

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Le Canard may have closed its doors but this rotisserie food truck is amazing!

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7. sharing is caring: interesting links and finds

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In case you’ve missed, I’ve collaborated with two lovely bloggers called Sarah recently: I put together a list of 7 movies to spark your wanderlust for a guest post on The Spanish Bluebell and I was interviewed about my tattoos over at The Laughing Medusa. It made me want to open up my own blog for collaborations too, or maybe start an interview series. Meanwhile, enjoy the links I’ve collected from around the web and have a great weekend!

We Can’t Just Settle‘: Abbi and Iland from Broad City interview Sleater-Kinney.

The Dowse Museum in Lower Hutt is hosting an art and feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon next week, on Saturday 7 March.

Listen to the voice message that Hunter S Thompson left to a customer service. So happy I never got a call like that…

Jeff Bridges and the key to a happy, lasting marriage.

Barbara Newhall Follett was a literary prodigy who published at 13 and disappeared at 25.

30 More Life Hacks Debunked Pt. 3 by John Green.

A guy found a homeless man reading the same book over and over for months so he gave him his kindle.

What happened when Lindy confronted her cruellest troll who stole her dead dad’s identity to abuse her.

J.K. Rowling’s amazing hand-written outline for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Johnny Cash’s birthday note to wife June was voted the world’s best love letter of all time.

The trippiest show on television and why its creator decided to walk away.

John Oliver’s audition to 50 Shades of Grey.

(photo taken in Auckland in 2014.)

eateries: loretta (plus brunch club meet up!)

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This past Saturday was a great day of firsts: my first time attending a Brunch Club meet up and also my first visit to Loretta on Cuba St!

When I created my first blog in 2001, one of the things that really stood out to me was how bloggers are such cool people to hang out with. I’ve been blogging on and off ever since and made truly amazing friends along the way who, unfortunately, are far away in Brazil. So when I decided to start a blog in English, I knew I had to find a community of local bloggers to join, share my interests and keep me inspired.

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with Georgina and Auie

 

I had a small taste of a meet up last month, when Katie visited Wellington and some of the bloggers got together at The Library for a chat and desserts. I remember being very nervous that day, but quickly relaxing as we started sharing funny stories and advice on free stock photography. This time it felt a lot easier to strike conversations with so many new faces and discuss business cards, flat mates horror stories, avocados and spam filters. It was a truly fun occasion and I’m looking forward to the next one!

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And what about Loretta? I still remember when that location used to be a French cafe and I had no idea the space was so big, stretching out all the way back. The ambiance was lovely, tastefully decorated and so pleasant. The service was impeccable and the front of house staff looking after our table was friendly, never letting our glasses of water empty for longer than half a minute.

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I ordered a long black and I have to say that my personal way of “testing” the barista’s skills. Most places tend to burn the coffee, it’s a simple drink but easy to get it wrong. Loretta’s long black was spot on! I had with no sugar, simply enjoying the richness of the scent and flavour. Then, I had an orange juice so fresh and tasty I almost ordered another one.

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The menu is varied but not too extensive, which is always a good sign, it shows a kitchen focused on their strengths. And Loretta’s are eggs. I had a croque madame, which is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Delicious! And I could see consistency around the table, everyone’s eggs looked just as good.

Pip, RhianaJenna and Rochelle have also posted about the brunch.

Check out the other girls’ blogs too: Georgina, Larissa, Tallulah, Bridget, Hannah, Auie and Morgan.

5 things i learnt listening to the nerdist podcast

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If you see me with my headphones on, chances are I’ll be listening to the Nerdist podcast. On my way to work or at the gym, I don’t even listen to music anymore. And at home, I’ll turn my speakers on and listen to it while doing the dishes or any other chore. Hosted by Talking Dead’s Chris Hardwick, and usually accompanied by comedians Jonah Ray and Matt Mira, the podcast is an hour long chat on nerdiness, creativity, life, work, comedy and everything in between. With over 600 episodes released since 2010, some of the guests they had on the podcast include: Sir Paul McCartney, Guillermo Del Toro, Kevin Smith, members of the cast of Community and The Walking Dead, Tom Hanks, Neil Patrick Harris, Dave Grohl, Anna Kendrick, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and several other interesting and funny people. The language is totally NSFW and the jokes can be so dirty and absurd, it’s hard not to burst out laughing. But then the conversation can take a turn and become deeper and more philosophical, and it’s exactly that mix of themes that turned me into a hardcore fan. Every episode makes me see the guests under a different light and a lot of what they talk stays with me for a while. So I’ve put together a list with five things I learnt listening to the Nerdist podcast to share with you guys.

 

1. Worry is a misuse of imagination

I used to be super anxious and I’d create so many scenarios in my head, trying to convince myself that I was simply getting ready in case things went wrong. It took me years to realise that this kind of behaviour is simply a huge waste of energy and brain power. I’m doing my best to keep my anxiety to a minimum, some old habits take time to get rid of, but I function better using my imagination to good use (like updating this blog!). It’s a theme that comes back time and time again as anxiety is a common trait to creatives.

 

2. You can’t control the outcomes, but you can control your perception of them

This actually ties in perfectly with the previous idea of how worrying is pointless as you can’t really control some of the outcomes in life, but you can definitely control how you perceive them. There’s nothing wrong with failing, specially if you’re able to spin it around and see it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and grow. And it’s up to you what exactly can be considered a “failure” anyway, it all comes down to your own perception in the end.

 

3. Don’t compare yourself to others

Watching other people succeed can feel like looking at a negative mirror that only shows all the things you’re not doing or maybe you’re not good at, but for the sake of your own sanity, don’t let yourself fall into that trap. Honestly, no good will come out of it. Be happy for them, use it as fuel to find your own space and keep doing your own thing. Don’t allow comparison to steal your thunder. And its a bit reassuring to hear that coming out of someone as accomplished as Charlie Day, even he feels a bit jealous of Justin Timberlake’s dancing skills at times.

 

4. Be kind to yourself

It’s funny how I’d rarely treat myself with the same empathy and understanding that I offer to my friends, acquaintances or even strangers. And it’s interesting how a lot of people feel that if they were able to go back in time and tell only one thing to their past-selves it’d be to relax a bit more. On his episode, Ethan Hawke mentioned the time he interviewed Kris Kristofferson and that’s exactly what he would do. We tend to be so hard on ourselves, we worry too much and take mistakes too seriously and feel like shit close to other people’s achievements. Give yourself a break, you’ve deserve it more than you think you do!

 

5. Enjoy your burrito 

Episode 39 with Rainn Wilson marks the birth of the Nerdist mantra now used to close every episode, based a motto Jonah came up with while struggling with his career in comedy early on. Basically the only good thing in his life at the time was having his favourite burrito and one day he got really depressed as he was halfway done and realised he’d have to get back to his crappy job once he finished eating. So he decided to enjoy the moment, treasure it, and worry about the future and other stuff later. It’s a nerdy carpe diem, a reminder to not get so caught up in minor problems and cherish the present as you’re living it. We tend to idolise the past or put a lot of expectations in the future, and end up forgetting to enjoy the delicious burrito we might have right this second in our hands. I used to think of carpe diem as a philosophy too hedonist for someone as anxious as me but now I see it more like being grateful for your blessings so you can experience them fully. Plus, it’s also quite cool to hear actors with beautiful voices and accents like Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston saying it as their episodes come to and end.

 

Bonus lesson
Polarise, don’t neutralise: this was brought up the first time TJ Miller was on the podcast when they discussed how it’s always better to cause a reaction and stand by your work and your art than simply follow whatever everybody else is doing just to be liked. Find your own voice, be truthful to yourself, and your audience will get it and accept you.

 

What about you, what podcasts do you listen to? Any meaningful life lessons? Maybe I can make an exception and give a chance to something new if it sounds interesting. 😉

6. sharing is caring: interesting links and finds

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Next week is Wellington anniversary and I couldn’t be happier. I love public holidays like I love cake: without any guilt and specially in large amounts! This Tuesday I hanged out with a few bloggers from the #BrunchClub and it was great to meet them in person. And the free DLC for Assassin’s Creed Unity finally came out and it took me longer to download it than to finish it… Well, here are few links to keep you guys entertained, hope you like this week’s selection. 🙂

A free workbook to help you assess last year and set goals for 2015.

Sia’s beautiful new video featuring Shia Lebouf and Maddie Ziegler.

And  another side to Shia Lebouf…

Neil Gaiman reveals the secret to becoming a writer.

 The most annoying people on the plane starring Sir Patrick Stewart.

Le Diner en Blanc, the pop-dining phenomenon, is heading to Auckland in February.

Harper Collins ‏loaded a Pinterest board with 100+ browsable samples of new releases and bestsellers.

Rimutaka Cycle Trail named one of the 2015 ‘hottest new travel experiences‘ by Lonely Planet.

The 2015 Oscar nominees were announced this week and Vanity Fair has a list of the 17 biggest snubs and surprises for this year.

Sweating like a pig, feeling like a fox, this girl can.

(photo taken this month at the Wellington waterfront)

5. sharing is caring: interesting links and finds

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Today was my last working day of the year and tomorrow my husband and I will get on our Ducati and camp for 10 days around the North Island. The weather forecast isn’t very promising, with several days of rain ahead, but we’re still excited as this will be our longest ride so far, around 3,000 km in total! Here are a few links I’ve collected in the past couple of weeks to keep you busy until my return. Also, don’t forget to check out my Instagram, I’ll definitely keep it updated with a few photos every day.

On Twitter, My Sad Cat.

Four million songs on Spotify have never been played by anyone, listen to them here.

Wire fairy sculptures dancing in the wind.

One more reason to love Cards Against Humanity.

18 badass women you probably didn’t hear about in 2014.

“(…) it has been a process of accepting not self-love, but self-tolerance. Maybe that’s what it is. I’m working on self-tolerance.”

Haters gonna hate, even Einstein knew that, and he wrote a letter to Marie Curie about it.

This years best actors in 9 kisses.

Here’s what one size fits all actually looks like on all body types.

Touching article about how there is nothing wrong with being gay and knowing it from an early age.

London’s lost female subcultures.

Bret Mckenzie wrote a song for Old Spice.

Sex-Crazed Groupies Are Stalking Australia’s Chefs.

The secret to success? Bitchiness.

“Get Me Off Your Fucking Mailing List” became a published science paper.

Notes to self: authors look back at their work.

Five things to do for your blog before 2014 ends.

Celebrities reading more mean tweets.

Hope you all enjoy the holidays! 🙂

(photo taken in 2013 in Devonport, Auckland)