The last time we checked in for our staff's Weekly Upgrades, our editors were busy consolidating to-do lists, introducing Twitter bots, and revelling in the joys of high-quality house slippers.
This week, our self-improvement efforts run the gamut from caving into a meal subscription service, investing in better tech, enjoying the old-school pleasures of the radio, and smothering garlic honey on absolutely everything.
What upgrades did you make this week? Let us know in the comments.
Michelle Woo, Staff Writer
With our weekdays being so full, my husband and I have started "Suck It Up Sundays" where we do all the stuff we've been putting off throughout the week -- laundry, cleaning out the fridge, grocery shopping, paying bills. (I won't say "adulting" -- damn it!) It takes intention -- we've had to say no to some fun invites, but, ah well, there's always Friday and Saturday for that. I like having a name for it (which I picked up from Apartment Therapy). It makes you feel like you're on a mission.
Beth Skwarecki, Staff Writer
I have a new notebook.
I still keep track of my daily tasks in the same half-arsed bullet journal system I wrote about last year. Keeping any habit for a full year is kind of a big deal for me, and I'm actually shocked it's been more than a year. Anyway, I've gone through one Moleskine and two Leuchtturms, both of which were great, and I just started a new notebook that I also adore: A Muji spiral-bound dot grid A5 notebook. (It's almost the same as this A6 model.)
The cover has a built-in pocket that I will fill with receipts and postcards and other garbage, and the paper is silky smooth. The only problem is I bought it on holiday and Muji doesn't sell this notebook in the US, so I'll just have to enjoy it while it lasts.
Virginia K. Smith, Managing Editor
I'm still getting situated in my new apartment, and this week, finally set up a table and made a nice space for my record player in the living room. I pretty much never use it to listen to records these days, but I do use it to listen to the radio, and I'd forgotten how much I like channel surfing between the different local stations when I'm just puttering around at home. Something about it feels much more social than just pre-selecting a podcast or something on Spotify. Also, now I can leave the radio on for my cat when I'm not at home, though unclear if that's actually an upgrade for her, or just white noise.
Nick Douglas, Staff Writer
I spend too much buying lunch every day, and I'm too busy to make myself lunch at home. This week I joined MealPal to split the difference. For $8 a meal, I can get a small lunch from a nearby restaurant. MealPal only offers certain meals, not entire menus, but for me that's a feature -- it limits my options just enough to save me my daily 15 minutes of agonising over all my choices.
Patrick Allan, Staff Writer
My upgrade this week is an all-weather Gore-Tex shell jacket from The North Face. It's waterproof, comfy, and has a ton of zipper pockets, which are my favourite. These jackets are normally pretty expensive, but I snagged mine on clearance and saved a ton. It will serve me well on many future adventures. It's ideal for outdoorsy stuff and travel, yes, but it's also just a great rain jacket (something I did not already own).
Claire Lower, Staff Writer
I made this garlic honey, and I have been putting it on everything -- it upgrades every savoury food it touches. Put it on meat! Put it in your salad dressings!
In terms of complex, funky flavour, it doesn't get much better than fermented foods. If you want to try your hand at fermenting, but are a bit intimidated by the process, just relax; this recipe only has three ingredients.
Patrick Austin, Staff Writer
The perfect storm of technical disasters and lost equipment left me with no mouse for my Windows PC, save for Apple's poorly designed Magic Mouse. I ordered a new mouse, specifically the Logitech Master MX. I've only used it for a day, but the difference is staggering. Not only is it more reliable and comfortable than my old PC mouse (some cheap vertical model), it can connect to up to three devices at the touch of a button, and features an array of thumb buttons as well as a thumb scroll wheel, perfect for my occasional gaming habit.
Melissa Kirsch, Editor-in-Chief
I grind my teeth. I have a custom nightguard from the dentist that I normally wear dutifully even though it isn't nearly as comfortable as dozing off empty-mouthed. Sometimes I rebel and go to sleep without it in, and I pay for my delinquency a few days later when I get a pounding head and jaw ache. To help with bruxism-induced pain, I recommend locating your masseter muscle and giving it a very gentle pressure massage. The masseter is often advertised as the strongest muscle in the body, pound for pound, which is not hard to believe if you, as I am, are in the process of grinding your teeth down to dust.
You can locate the masseter by feeling around under your cheekbone for that flat, almost spongy area that seems to span from your jaw to your ear. You'll know when you find it -- press gently and feel sweet relief. The relief, of course, is temporary, but this week, I'll take it. And it goes without saying, but I'm not a doctor, so if you're experiencing serious jaw pain or suspect you might be grinding your teeth, see your dentist.