Friday, 31 October 2014

Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” Is No Feminist Anthem

From F-Bomb:
Listening to (and belting out) Top 40 songs in the car is non-negotiable if you’re riding along with me. I love the bubble-gum-for-your-brain songs and gush over new pop tunes. However, I also identify as a feminist and am inclined to listen to these songs with critical ears, ready to pick up on any all-too-common sexist remarks. So, when the radio host proclaimed, “I’ll be playing a song from Meghan Trainor, called ‘All About That Bass’ – some call this catchy song the new pro-women song of the decade,” you could safely assume that I was beyond excited to hear it.

As the first few beats bubbled up from the speakers, I was instantly captivated. The repetition of the phrase “Because you know I’m all about that bass, no treble” seemed like an ode to one of my favorite feminist musician Nicki Minaj’s songs entitled “Superbass” (to which I will proudly rap for anyone who so much as mentions the song). Even though it was my first time listening, I quickly began to hum along. Soon, Meghan was singing about how she “ain’t no size 2” how she can “shake it” like she’s “supposed to do.” She sang about how she sees magazines “workin’ that Photoshop,” and begs for the wholly negative and hurtful practice to end. And she croons the most important line of the entire song sweetly, “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”

At this point, I was incredibly impressed with the song. “Finally!” I thought, “A pop song that calls out incredibly damaging societal practices… especially body shaming.” After a few more body-affirming lines, however, the song quickly took a turn for the worse. For me, it comes down to ten simple words. She mentions how her mother told her to not worry about her size, the reason being that “boys like a little more booty to hold at night.” As the lyrics washed over me, I lowered the volume and sighed. Within that short refrain, the entire song’s message was tainted.

Although earlier Meghan preached body positivity and self-confidence regardless of one’s outer beauty and size, those ten words suggest that the only way a female can achieve complete body-acceptance is still through male validation. The only reason a girl should take pleasure in her body is because boys enjoy (and are entitled to) her more voluptuous features. This lyric merely reinforces deeply entrenched gender roles within our society, as well as excludes women/girls who are not interested in men/boys or any gender at all.

(Read the full article here)

Excerpt of 'The Solace Pill' by Jason Werbeloff

2249 AD

George knew it was an extravagance, but he booked the room anyway. He and Sandra hardly saw each other anymore. Once a week if that. She was working. He was working. And neither of them rented an apartment – what for, when reprinting regularly removed the need for sleep?
With hotel rates doubling over Solace holidays, hiring the room cost George almost a day’s salary per hour. What the hell, he’d thought as he used his overlay to book the room for a full afternoon. What’s the point of working so hard if we can’t enjoy it?
He eventually convinced Sandra to take the five hours leave, with the promise of a surprise. Neither of them earned very well. They barely had sufficient credits to afford regular nutrition reprints and an annual Rejuve print. So five hours leave was a big ask. But as Sandra printed into the room, the look on her face was worth it. 
“A bed!” Sandra stroked the duvet, each fibre singing to her fingertips. “Tique cotton,” she said in hushed tones. “And is that,” she whispered, “is that a real rose?”
George waited quietly, swimming in his wife’s joy. Sandra wasn’t what most men considered beautiful. She had lumps and bumps where none of the new Bodifications had any. She had jowls and the occasional streak of gray in her hair. But right then, George wanted her more than the latest model hot off a reprint. For George, Sandra’s eyes held the cosmos.
An hour later, cotton sheets thoroughly ruffled, Sandra giggled. “We forgot,” she laughed, “we forgot to take the Solace Pills.” George looked over at the blister pack he’d brought for the occasion. Forgetting to take the pills meant that afternoon would be over twenty-times quicker. With the astronomical cost of the room, the absurdity of forgetting to take the pills was so great, and his wife’s mirth so infectious, that soon George was laughing too. They were laughing so hard, so loudly, that they didn’t notice when M asked whether there was something wrong. Tearing up, coughing and spluttering, they guffawed right through the emergency warnings that pinged their overlays. They laughed through the screams and the glass breaking around them. They laughed, laughed until the building lurched.
“Uh,” Sandra said, drying her eyes, “what was –”
The building shifted again, this time more violently. The walls vibrated, the ceiling juddered, and a fine dust covered them.
Before George could answer, Sandra leapt from the bed, and goggled at the sight from the window. Although the room was ten floors up, she could see the chaos below. “Look!” she said, pointing beneath them. “George, look!”
“You should probably come away from the window, love,” he said, trying to scan the numerous warnings flashing on his overlay.
“My M, George, there’re children down there. They’re stuck in it … the mob. We have to do something. We have to go down –”
“The warnings say to stay indoors,” George said. “You should really come away from the window Sandra, please. Safest place is under the doorway. Please, come here.”
But Sandra had already zipped up her gel-suit and was out the door, down the corridor. “We have to do something George!” she called as she left.
George pulled on his gel-suit, stomach fat pinched by the zipper. He slotted on his shoes and scrambled after her. Sandra was already out of sight, down the emergency stairwell. He pounded down the metal stairs, taking them in threes, but still couldn’t hear or see her. Steel ground against steel. Concrete cracked. Walls burst. The building was coming down, coming down around him.
He reached the bottom, and … shapes, blurs of color flashed in the streets, most avoiding one another. But sometimes, oh M, sometimes they collided. Blood, bone and M knew what else, sprayed across the tar with each impact. And amidst the chaos, there she was, his Sandra. She was sprinting toward three children on the sidewalk –
But she didn’t reach them. A streak of brown and blue smashed into her from behind. George watched as Sandra’s body erupted into a red mist. By the time he got to her, there was nothing left but a foot and half her face, her eye staring up at him. The universe was gone from her gaze.

George stood beside his wife, and shut his eyes, hoping the screams would stop. That the sound of glass breaking, concrete splitting, would stop. It didn’t. The howls and sirens bored through his eyelids. He sank to his haunches, wrapped his arms around his knees, and rocked back and forth as the world ended around him.

About the author
Jason Werbeloff is a novelist and philosopher. He loves chocolate and his Labrador, Sunny. He's interested in the nature of social groups, personal identity, freedom, and the nature of the mind. His passion is translating philosophical debate around these topics into works of science fiction, while gorging himself on chocolate.

Synopsis of 'The Solace Pill':

With the advent of the first commercially available 3D printers capable of scanning and printing humans, life on Earth changes instantly. The benefits are wondrous: people no longer age or sicken, as they re-print themselves young, and in peak health – with any physiological, intellectual, or psychological modifications they desire. But to pay for this service, society is forced to work hard, constantly. They no longer eat or sleep, choosing instead to re-print themselves as if they had already eaten well, and slept a full eight hours. The world becomes overwhelmingly overpopulated, bullet-paced, and stressed.
Thankfully, Solace Inc has the solution: a pill which temporarily slows the user’s perception of time, and blots out the interminable busy-ness of the world. But Anders, a quiet anarchist who has worked his way to the top of Solace Inc, has modified the latest batch of Solace Pills. And this modification is going to change everything.

Story Cartel has launched its promotion of The Solace Pill (Omnibus Edition). For a limited time, you can download a FREE edition of The Solace Pill, in exchange for posting an unbiased review on once you're finished reading it. To take advantage of the promotion, you can download the book here:

Then, once you're done reading the book, please post your review here:
For more information, like The Solace Pill on Facebook


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Excerpt of 'Don't Join' by Azubike A. Ahubelem


Uju and Joe

“A man has less conscience when in love than in any other condition.”

—Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), German philosopher

My name is Uche Abdullahi. I know you’re wondering about the combination. My mother is a native of Igbo extraction, while my father is of Hausa. I would describe myself as a perfect gentleman and a devoted Christian. I am tall, good-looking, and intelligent.

I gained admission into the university several years ago. Liberation from my parents and the joy of studying had come, and my dreams came true at that time. I was astonished by what I saw. It was a different environment; there were lots of stressors and struggles, beginning with the registration process and continuing with the rest of the process. I also noticed that you didn’t have to look for trouble at the university; it would always find you. The conditions of the hostels were bad, so I decided to stay up gate.

Upgate was the name of a piece of land very close to the school gate. It had a market, restaurants, pubs, and numerous houses that were privately owned and rented to students. My room was painted blue and furnished with a rug, a table, a chair, and a mattress. Since I was a gifted artist, I decided to draw a picture of Thor on my wall.

I came to the school environment with a wide array of clothing, but I was advised not to wear certain colours. I was told that those who were linked with those clothes saw it as impersonation and dealt mercilessly with those found guilty of this charge. I also learned to avoid beautiful ladies because they always led to trouble, especially those nicknamed “high tension wires,” because a mean individual linked with any of the dirty groups may have an interest in these girls. All these and others made up the unwritten laws that guided our activities within the university environs.

One morning, I woke up, said my prayers, took my bath, and went straight for lectures. We were having mathematics. On this particular day, I was privileged to get a seat. There were far more students than what the classroom could accommodate. The lecture was long and boring: Mr. Isacca, a wrinkle-faced man with a coarse voice, waffled continuously. In a low, gentle voice, my neighbour asked for a spare pen. She had an attractive aura around her. I searched my pockets for an extra pen but came up empty, so I shook my head. She nodded in return. An impulse came over me. It was so strong that I began to ask everyone within my reach for a spare pen, and as fate would have it, I found one to give her. I watched her write in her notebook, which was far more interesting than listening to Mr. Isacca.

After the lecture, she returned the pen, which I later took it to its owner. I had a friendly chat with the woman who borrowed the pen and requested for her name. “Kemi,” she replied.

“Oh, what a unique name you’ve got. Where do you live?” I quizzed. She replied that she also lived Upgate, but in a different hostel than mine, so we decided to stroll out together. We reached the junction where we should have gone our separate ways, but she asked me to accompany her to a nearby shop so she could pick up some items. Once there, a tall boy with a scar on his head walked towards me and tapped me on the shoulder. I turned towards him, and he whispered, “My chairman wants you to bring this lady to him,” pointing to a nearby bar filled with seven dopey-looking individuals. I looked at the dude, smiled as if he were talking trash, and told him to pass the message to Kemi himself. He walked towards her and spoke to her. She went into a rage, raining curses on him, and walked away swiftly.

I was still trying to come to terms with the scene when he turned towards me and ordered me to go to the bar. I glanced at the bar and would have resisted, but the sight of several hands signalling me to come there sent a chill down my spine. I walked towards them in fear, this being my first encounter with gang members. They threatened me, claiming to have been insulted because of me. I explained to them that it wasn’t my fault, but they wouldn’t listen. All they wanted was a crate of beer. I laughed and tried to become aggressive. One dude arose from his seat, took a deep puff from his cigarette, blew the smoke all over me, and attempted to burn my cheek with it. I began to plead. He left me after I handed him 300 naira, which was all I had. Before I left, though, he said to me, “I admire your courage. Come closer, and I will make you like me.” I walked away swiftly. I couldn’t imagine myself being anything like him.

I got to my room, and joy filled my heart because it was neat and welcoming. It was indeed a place of peace. I took off my clothes and laid on my bed, thinking about what had happened. I flipped through the pages of my notebooks and mathematics textbook. It was known by all that Mr. Isacca sets his exam questions from the examples given in class, so all I needed to do to pass was to make sure I had a steady hand on those. I worked on a couple of them, and when I tired, I put on my T-shirt and jeans and left for lunch. Afterwards, I came back and had my siesta.

For several months, I had managed to live with little or no stress, avoiding problems as much as I could while finding ways to solve the few I had gotten into. One morning, I woke up and my head was pounding. My memory clouded, and suddenly it flashed back The day before had been a crazy day.

Book Synopsis:
The Nigerian university environment is a zone in which the most rugged takes it all. Passion violence and intimidation are its characteristics. It is governed by unwritten laws and ruled by cult gangs. These were the forces that pushed Uche around till he decided it was time for him to get his courage up and join men in a treacherous adventure where nothing is gained apart from pain, fear, and bloodshed. This book is an eyeopener that would enable you experience the nitty-gritty of this filthy environment in all its glory from a safe distance through Uche’s eye and leave you with only one ultimate advice: “Don’t join.” 

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Guest Post: Top Reasons that Make Books Popular in Today’s World

By Julie Vickey

The world we are living in today has access to many luxuries. We can talk to our friend who is living in the other end of the continent by using our mobile phones or computers without spending a large amount of money. We can read about anything and everything under the sun by moving our fingers over our computer. Enhancing knowledge is very easy today because of the popularity of the internet. We do not need to spend hours on manual search for books in different libraries these days. Instead, we can search for books online. There are many sites which allow free download of books. Knowledge comes to us in the electronic version these days. The aid of technology has made books more popular in today’s world. Let us make a list of the top reasons that make books popular.

1. Ease of access: In the olden days we had to travel to far-off places to find good book stalls. Extensive search in the shops would sometimes yield good results, at some other times we would have to come back barehanded. The money we had to spend on books was huge earlier. People were not very much keen on reading too since the literacy rate was low in the country. With the introduction of internet a transition from the hard copies to soft copies took place. As a result of this transition more people started to read softcopies online. It is an economical way of satisfying their needs. Book printing and the hassle related to it can be escaped if books are downloaded. People can flip through pages anytime anywhere. The only difference is that the feel of reading a book is not there in reading an e-book though the contents are the same.

2. Books are more popular in today’s world mainly because of the easy ways of printing a book. If you are good at writing you can get a book published without much problem. Many printing services are very much affordable today through which books can be easily printed. Self-publishing is another trend these days which created many authors. Such easy measures of printing and publishing books have helped people in reading many new books. If you are someone with a great flair for writing, you should check the services of good self-publishing companies or renowned printing firms. Printing and publishing books is, hence, made easy in the present context.

3. Books are the greatest sources of knowledge. Nothing can add to our intellect like reading a book. By reading books we can experience new things which we will not be able to experience otherwise. Given a reader has very active imagination, he can go to different worlds. Good books can change our lives to a significant extent. We can become more intelligent by reading books. As human beings we have the capability of inventing new ideas and creating new things. Our ancestors did not have much access to books compared to our generation. We have immediate access to plenty of books. We keep writing and buying books for the future generations. They will be in a far more advanced stage with everything available at their fingertips.

Books are filled with knowledge and insights into life, love, fear, parenting, prayer, worship and advice. We find books on anything and everything under the sun. It is with the help of books that we came to know about our history, culture, scientific studies, extinct animals, and wonderful research on many things. We are able to develop our critical thinking skills, we can perform various tasks and plan our future- all these are possible because of books and books alone. Books are the main sources of information and data without which even computers cannot function well. In a way computers are dependent on books. When we cannot find something on the internet we refer to books and vice versa.

Books are the perpetual sources of facts and information which can be referred to whenever we want. Though the technology-driven world of today offers very many things at the mere press of a few keys on our computer key board, virtual world still lacks a few things. Education sector has undergone drastic changes over the last decade and technology has eased the process of teaching and learning. But the age-old tradition of relying on books has not fully faded away; it will not fade away in future either. Storage of the e-books and e-papers is not completely fool proof. There is a constant risk of security attacks on computer and the internet. Hard copies or books can be preserved intact for a life time. Books are the real treasure for all those knowledge-hungry and reading public all over the world. In spite of the pervasive influence of technology and the internet, books continue to be the popular means of acquiring knowledge for a vast majority of inquisitive people. Therefore, books are any day better for attaining knowledge.

Author Bio: 
I'm Julie Vickey, a freelance writer and academic enthusiast. I'm currently working for law essay writing service, an online source for getting assistance on popular topics. In my spare time I read novels and writes for different blogs. I write about almost all topics and always aim to give something helpful for my readers. Presently, I have completed an article on the title of “Top Reasons that Make Books Popular in Today’s World”.

Interview with Lisa Brunette, Author of 'Cat in the Flock'

If your book is a series, what can readers expect in the next installment?
The next McCormick Files story takes place in Miami and centers around Cat's Great-Uncle Mick, who's channeled his dreamslipping ability into a career as an artist.

What are you writing at the moment?
The above book, for one. I'm also working on a very long-term project about so-called "military brats," the seed of which was my MFA thesis, and several of the stories have been published in magazines. And I blog at, lately on the topic of spirituality and travel to Barcelona, where I recently went for my honeymoon. I also write and edit full-time at my day job, so I spend a good deal of time at a computer!

Who inspires you most as an author?
People who circumvent the traditional publishing hierarchy, such as Hugh Howie and E.L. James.

Who is your favourite self-published author?
Right now I'm reading Casting Shadows Everywhere by Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus, which is supposedly erotica but reads like some of the hippest literary fiction out there. I'm on chapter five, without a hint of anything erotic yet, which is a little perplexing, but the writing is engaging.

What is your history? Have you always been a writer?I'm pretty sure I came out of the womb with a quill in one hand. Unfortunately, in order to make a living in the world, too much of my career has been focused on editing and teaching or training instead of directly writing. So I've always been working with words, and while I've got some enviable awards and bylines out there, I've never had the luxury of strictly writing full-time.

Have you ever had a bad review? What's the best thing to do when you get one?
Not yet. All my reviews have been 4 and 5 stars. Even Kirkus, which is tough on writers, especially genre writers, gave me a favorable review. But I anticipate I will get one, and I know I will have to suck it up.

Where are your books available? Which platform sells the most?Today my exclusive contract with Amazon ends, so I'll be expanding beyond that platform. There's also a print version in the works.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?A writer, a pilot, an astronaut, a hairdresser to the stars, an English professor who wrote poetry and hung out in cafes, a Greenpeace activist, a writer. And I still want to be a writer when I grow up.

Describe a typical day in your life.
My typical day begins when my flashing-light alarm goes off at 6 am. (I use a flashing light because noise alarms put me in a bad mood.) I squelch all the ideas I have about my ongoing writing projects and head to the day job, where I work in a frenzied manner till I leave, as befits our fast-paced pipeline. On the bus to and from work, I attend to my author Twitter feed, with a little Facebook thrown in. When I get home, I deal with emails and the business of being a writer. I only have the energy to write on weekends and vacations, which is how I wrote Cat in the Flock. It's very, very hard to launch a career as a writer around a day job, but I manage.

What would you say to people who think all self-published books are badly written and full of grammatical errors?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of books out there for which this is true, but you can spot that right away in the book description, so no harm, no foul. Years ago I began to notice the editorial deterioration of traditionally published books, so it's a problem across the board and not at all specific to self-publishing. The reason I've been so successful in my day job career, in fact, is because I'm a nearly error-free writer who as an editor can make even the worst prose ready for publishing, and within a quick turnaround time. But I'm aware I'm a nearly dying breed.

Synopsis of Cat in the Flock:
A sexy murder-mystery with a spiritual edge. For most people, dreams are a way to escape reality. But for Cat McCormick, they're a way to get closer to the truth. Cat can 'slip' into other people's dreams. 

After graduating college with a degree in criminal justice but little in the way of real-life experience, Cat moves from the Midwest to Seattle to apprentice with her Granny Grace, who shares the ability. Granny uses dreamslipping as a private investigator, and Cat plans to follow in her footsteps. 

But forced to take work as a security guard, Cat discovers a mother and daughter on the run. Following the clues, she goes undercover in a Midwestern megachurch, where she finds redemption and goodwill amidst repression, hypocrisy, and murder.

Watch the Book Trailer here: 

Image of Lisa Brunette
Author Bio:
Lisa Brunette is the writer behind hundreds of bestselling computer games published by Big Fish, such as the Final Cut, Mystery Case Files, Mystery Trackers, Dark Tales, Myths of the World, and Off the Record series. Brunette has also written scripts for games that you can play on the Nintendo Wii and DS, Xbox Kinect, and Sony PlayStation.

Prior to joining the gaming industry, Brunette was a journalist whose work appeared in major daily newspapers and periodicals with a national reach, such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Boston Globe, Seattle Woman, and Poets & Writers. She's interviewed famous authors, a sex expert, homeless women, and the designer of the Batmobile, among others.

Brunette holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from University of Miami, where she was a Michener Fellow. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications, including Bellingham Review, The Comstock Review, Icarus International, and Spire. She's also received many honors for her writing, such as a major grant from the Tacoma Arts Commission, the William Stafford Award, and the Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Project Award.

Cat in the Flock is the first in the McCormick Files trilogy.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Interview with Jolene Poole, Author of 'Star Crossed: Worlds Apart'

What are you writing at the moment?I’m working on two things. The first is a series called Wages of Sin that I’m writing with a friend. The second is a sequel to my first published book (under my pen name Laurencia Hoffman), Casting Stones.

What is your favourite genre to write in?I think Fantasy is my favorite. I feel I have so much more to work with. I can do anything. But with other genres I feel limited.

What is your history? Have you always been a writer?Yes. It started with song writing, and then it was little stories. After that it was role playing, and eventually I upgraded to writing books.

What is your favourite thing about writing?How the characters can completely surprise you. I’ll think I know where a story is going and then the characters will change direction. It’s always great to be surprised; it keeps things interesting. It also helps with character development.

Have you ever had a bad review? What's the best thing to do when you get one?Yes, I’ve had a few. I read them, take the criticism into consideration and move on. Sometimes they can be helpful; they let you know what you need to work on. But you also have to remember that your book won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Getting a bad review isn’t the end of the world!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?I wanted to be a singer. That was before I figured out that I have stage fright. I don’t like to sing in front of family. I’d have a heck of a time singing in front of a crowd.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what?Absolutely! I listen to all kinds. I choose different songs depending on what scene I’m writing. But if it’s nothing too heavy then I just have a general playlist. I have at least three different playlists for each story I come up with, so there’s far too many songs to name. But instrumentals help when I’m writing a dramatic scene.

How often do you write?Every day. If I’m not writing then I do something else story related, whether it’s listening to the “theme song” on repeat, choosing faces for my characters or mulling over scenes in my head.

How would you describe your writing style?Well, I’m not good at describing things. That’s probably why I don’t do much of it in my stories. I focus more on what’s going on with the characters and less on their surroundings.

Is your goal to be traditionally published? If so, why?Yes, I would love that. I think a lot of writers imagine what it would be like to have a bestseller. I want to reach as many people as possible. It would be so nice to meet fans and connect with them. Having the opportunity to potentially touch so many readers with my stories would be phenomenal.

Find out more about Jolene and her books below!

Book Review: Star Crossed - World's Apart

Author: Jolene Poole
Available: Amazon
Published: 2013
My Rating: 2.5

Synopsis from Amazon:
Gwyn Farrow's disturbing claims of an alien abduction made her parents commit her to a mental institution. When she was released, she knew that she could only rely on herself. But she doesn't return to her normal life. She begins to spend time with a friendly alien named Kael, and although terrified of his species, she finds it in her heart to care for him. When his world declares war on hers, she is torn between defending her planet and the alien she has come to love.

My Review:The synopsis for this book intrigued me and the first chapter or so was gripping. Unfortunately, I had more and more issues with it as I continued reading. Firstly, this book really reminded me of Twilight in that the romance is centered on a normal human girl and a super-powered otherworldly being - not that this is a bad thing, its just been done already.

Secondly, character's motivations could seem contrived and often weren't delved into - for instance, Kael just instantly falls in love with Gwyn and Gwyn loves him back almost straight away, even though his people kidnapped all her brothers and sisters (who are briefly mentioned and she doesn't seem particularly upset about this anyway.) Rather than developing characters, characters instead take on familiar stereotypes.
And thirdly - and this was a big one for me - the entire country seems to believe instantly when Gwyn tells them that aliens are real. In reality, I would expect a lot more indecision and disbelief. Further in this regard, the sci-fi elements of the story weren't developed enough. The fun thing about sci-fi is making the reader believe in it, and in this case I didn't believe at all. Instead, this book is romance focused and as I was reading it more for the sci-fi side of it this didn't work for me.

Best of luck to the author with her other work, however, and I'm sorry this one wasn't for me :(

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Five Things I'm Loving at the Moment

1. Tacocat. I've been listening to their albumn NVM obsessively and it is awesome. Bubble-gum pop meets feminist punk awesome. Also, Tacocat is a palindrome and, as I discovered whilst googling for images, a food cart in Adelaide.
2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. The only other Wharton I have read was Ethan Frome and I didn't like it - obsessing over a cripple didn't do it for me. But this one I'm loving. It's not just a will-they-won't-they romance, it actually critiques the society and gender roles as well.

3. Men's shirts. Many women have realised this before me, but men's shirts are just better. Women's shirts are so confusing in terms of size (is it just my imagination, or do different stores have different sizes?), men's shirts actually fit me in all the right places and they're cheaper. I will no longer be a slave to overly clingy, expensive, weirdly sized shirts. Win for the win.

4. Ben and Jerry's. My boyfriend and I discovered a local shop that sells ALL THE FLAVOURS!!! (at least all the flavours that are available in Australia.) Chubby Hubby is our favourite so far, right after Half Baked. *Drools*

Just keep spinning, just keep spinning...
5. Spin class. I've started taking spin classes at the local gym and the instructor is excellent. He conjures up an actual bike ride up hills, down hills and on flat patches. The other day he yelled at us to JUST. KEEP. GOING. YOU'RE HERE TO TRAIN, MOVE IT. and I swear, I was powering up that metaphorical hill like nobodies business. And then he apologised for yelling, which was sweet.