When we rounded up our staff's Weekly Upgrades last Saturday, our editors were giving in to the pull of Glossier, revisiting the Snuggie, cutting back on booze, and boosting our home Wi-Fi.
This week, we're getting in more walking time, ferreting out the best credit card rewards, exploring new podcasts, and re-discovering our love of crossword puzzles.
What upgrades did you make this week? Let us know in the comments.
Take the scenic route on your commute
Yesterday I meditated on a bus in the morning, but what really energised me for the day was walking the last 1.6km to work. I got to walk through a much more picturesque neighbourhood near our office district. From now on, when the weather's nice I'm going to get off the train a stop early and walk up.
Nick Douglas, Staff Writer
Stop fighting your need for glasses
Ever since I hurtled past 40, I've needed reading glasses, but in the last few years my eyesight has degraded from "Boy, shampoo labels are hard to read" to "Are those words or did someone just smear chocolate syrup across a page?" I bought progressive lenses, but I couldn't get used to them, so I would just take them out when I needed to read something. Only it turns out you need to read things, like, all the time, and if wearing progressives made me feel old, telling a cashier, "Hang on, I have to get my glasses" when it's time to pay for my lunch and I can't make sense of the card reader made me feel even older. So I sucked it up, wore the progressives for a few days, and told myself I would get used to them. And I did! Now I can see everything, all the time. It's a miracle!
Alice Bradley, Deputy Editor
It isn't an office without a paper tray
While most of my books and documents are fairly organised, my incoming mail remains a mess of envelopes until I either decide to cull the pile or spend time every day looking through and organising the items I have to keep, destroy, or save for later. So, in a fit of organisational frustration, I ordered a paper tray organiser, placed it on my desk, and stuck them all in there. Turns out, paper tray organisers are great for organising letters, which are mostly paper.
Patrick Austin, Staff Writer
Get the most out of your credit cards
I started paying attention to the special cash back deals my credit card offers. (You have to activate them onto your account.) I timed it properly and enrolled in an extra five per cent cash back on AirBnbs, just before booking a big trip.
Joel Kahn, Senior Video Producer
Switch to tech that requires fewer accessories
I used to make calls and listen to podcasts with a Plantronics Legend, which is a wonderful little Bluetooth headset that sits on my ear and sounds great yadda yadda. But it uses its own special magnetic charging clip. I never have it with me when I need it, and some days it doesn't want to connect at all. So I retired it in favour of a cheaper model with a micro-USB port. Turns out actually being able to use the darn thing is the most important feature.
Beth Skwarecki, Health Editor
Expand your podcast repertoire
With two flights this week, I was on the hunt for new podcasts to keep me occupied. I came across two that I've added to my feed: Design Matters with Debbie Millman, which talks to creatives about their work and ideas, and Lingthusiasm, which features two linguists geeking out over, well, linguistics (the prepositions episode is a treat). In the down time between flights, I read The Lonely City by Olivia Laing, which is a beautiful, moving book that's half-memoir, half-art criticism, and introduced me to several new artists while adding complexity to people I thought I was familiar with, including Andy Warhol and Valerie Solanas. If you've ever been lonely (and haven't we all), I highly recommend it.
Alicia Adamczyk, Staff Writer
When in doubt, add Bailey's
I was rather proud of my experimental cooking this week. I never approach cooking as a science or by-the-book. I eyeball everything and always add or change an ingredient, much to my husband's chagrin. The only way to get to a better recipe is to experiment, my grandma would say. This week, I added Bailey's creme to a spinach quiche and it was spectacular.
Adam Powers, Video Producer
Fake the effects of sunrise
I bought one of those light-up sunrise alarm clocks in hopes it will help me feel a little less groggy in the morning. I have yet to try it, but I'm excited.
Patrick Allan, Staff Writer
Do something good for your cognitive function
I used to be a bit of a crossword puzzle fiend, but have stubbornly avoided shelling out $10.99/month for the New York Times crossword app. Well this week I finally caved and signed up, and it's bringing me an absurd amount of joy. Working on the bigger puzzles feels like it's whipping my brain back into shape, and the smaller mini puzzles are perfect for filling a spare minute or two on the train. Well worth the $10.99.
Virginia K. Smith, Managing Editor