When we rounded up our staff's Weekly Upgrades last Saturday, our editors were taking breaks from the news cycle, making homemade toasted cream, and taming our jungle of cords.
This week, we're settling into workable workout habits, downloading Netflix shows to get through the commute, admitting when we need new clothes, and breaking up the day's monotony with shared Spotify playlists.
What upgrades did you make this week? Let us know in the comments.
Get just the right tools for your drawing habit
I was ecstatic when I realised I could squirt my favourite waterproof black ink, Noodler's Bulletproof Black, into a spent Uni-ball AIR pen, and it still writes like a dream. The AIR is a rollerball that can make a mark at any angle, so it's great for fast longhand writing or rapid sketching. I'd consigned these pens to journal writing because the ink they come with is slightly water soluble, but now the I've refilled them I can use them for drawing too with no worries about muddying the picture if I decide to watercolor over the ink. If you take the pen apart, the ink is in a clear plastic tube. Just yank it out, refill with an old medicine syringe, and shove it back in place.
Beth Skwarecki, Health Editor
Come prepared for a long commute
I was able to rabidly watch a Netflix show that I liked a lot by downloading episodes to watch on my phone (via the Netflix app) while commuting on the train. Since my commute is about 45 minutes long, I can watch an episode of basically any show without having to wait until the ride home to finish the last five minutes. It's great for when I want to speed through a show or if I'm out of podcasts. The pro-mode of this hack would be doing what my neighbour does: Buying a suction cup phone mount and sticking it on the window of the train so you can watch and ride in extreme style.
Emily Lipstein, Social Editor
Stop buying overpriced juices
I got my first accessory for my new Kitchenaid mixer - the Juicer attachment. It has already saved me tens of dollars by making my own fresh juices instead of buying them from the healthy convenience store down the street. Still trying to figure out the right amount of ginger, though...
Joel Kahn, Senior Video Producer
Find a workout routine that actually works for you
This week, after going to the gym, I announced to my husband, "I love Pilates!" I don't think I've used the word "love" in association with exercise, ever. I'm not great at sticking with fitness routines, but I've been taking mat Pilates classes for the past two years, so it seems like I've found a winner. What I appreciate about mat Pilates: 1) I get to to lay down for 50 per cent of the class, 2) it's still really, really challenging, 3) I'm pretty clumsy, but having a strong core is supposed to help me stop myself from falling if I trip on something (a very underrated skill).
Michelle Woo, Parenting Editor
And buy clothes that actually work for you
I finally admitted I've gone up a couple of waist sizes, and now I've got four new pairs of jeans that I don't want to take off after dinner.
Nick Douglas, Staff Writer
Bundle up in a freezing office
I've been eyeballing those enormous scarves that double as shawls in a cold office for a while now. I decided to take the plunge and buy one, and when I went into Zara it just so happened there was a massive sale going on. I got a super soft blanket scarf for just $10! Fashionable, and cost-effective.
Alicia Adamczyk, Staff Writer
DJ for your coworkers
Our staff has been using JQBX, a music sharing program, and it's been an upgrade for me. Sometimes working remotely is lonely, and DJing for each other has made me feel like I have "real" coworkers. Plus it's helped me get out of my rut.
Claire Lower, Food & Beverage Editor
Set an evening social media cutoff
Admittedly, this one has had mixed success, but it's something I want to keep up: Each night I try to set a cutoff for social media use and general mindless phone scrolling. It isn't a set time, because my schedule's variable, but what I've generally been doing is one final Instagram/Twitter trawl for the day (usually around dinner time), then trying to stay away from the phone for the rest of the night. It's hard to remember to give my brain time away from the internet, but I always feel much, much better when I do.
Virginia K. Smith, Managing Editor