New Zealand


Ok so the “Cotton” Anniversary is actually– traditionally-speaking, which I always am–  the mark of 2 years of wedded bliss but I’m microcosm-ing this shit to celebrate my 2 months in New Zealand. Anyway, I’m not even confident that today’s cotton would last 2 years. *Nose in the air, pinkies up*

2 months in New Zealand feels simultaneously like SO. LONG. and no time at all. I’ve loved and I’ve lost (a favorite umbrella and every flat white I’ve had here, R.I.P.) and been to more barbecues than one person should be allowed (Don’t be fooled! They’ll say “Seeya at 4PM” but the cooking begins at twilight! Always! This is a  gross generalization and you should definitely actually get there by 6 or you’ll miss the fun, weird bits.)

Last Saturday I drank my first L&P–lemony and delicious!–and Wednesday I held my art meet-up again a.k.a. me and my roommate sit at a cafe and drink too many coffees while we paint, look at babies and pet dogs. Thursday was spent trying to get a cat and a rabbit to be friends and every part of that challenge was the way I imagine acclimating a child to it’s new baby brother would be; rabbit is hyper and cuddly and loves attention and cat is independent but kind of jealous and wants to be the bigger person but sometimes just scratches the rabbit if he gets too closeTHAT RUN-ON SENTANCE IS CONVOLUTED, CLEAN IT UP PACHECO. No, I won’t.

On the brain-front, I am dreaming of making mobiles (like the things babies have over their cribs, but for non-babies!) which is a harsh reminder that I am at a different place in my life. Once upon a thyme, I could’ve reached my hand into 50% of my drawers and that hand would’ve come out holding wire or string or perhaps a weird tchotchke. Now I still only own slightly more than 2 suitcases worth of things (which is amazing in most ways) but the art world, specifically the mobile-sector, is suffering. Maybe I will try a ‘found articles’ mobile, which is an annoying way of saying it could be made out of trash so look out.

Now that you know literally every last thing I am doing as I have left nothing out at all (skipped going to the bathroom this week so that I could keep this full life diary totally honest, open and child-friendly!)–BYE. I have an overdue library magazine to return.



6 & 7, CATCH UP

New Zealand

You know those times in life when you’ve been doing a good amount of activities but they’re all kind of at the same level of interesting so nothing particularly stands out from the pack so you can’t decide which things to write about in your weekly blog and which to keep to yourself hence you just avoid yonder blog for 10 days until you get invited to a Stevie Nicks concert? If so, TALK IT OUT WITH YOUR CO-WORKER DEANNA CUZ I DON’T WANNA HEAR A PEEP OF IT; this is my space.

Back from a short hiatus that had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with ridiculous problems mentioned in paragraph 1, I give you Year of the Kiwi Installment No. 6 AND 7–HIT IT, MARLON! *Cue the beginning bars to Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s “It Tales Two”*

This week I gained a garment rack, a.k.a. the one piece of bedroom furniture I really needed and wanted and craved and yearned at, for free via my people-skills (I wrote a note to my neighbors who had the afforementioned garment rack on their porch, confirming, once and for all, all excellent communicator claims made on my CV!) Then I ate $4 lunch pizzas–of the chicken and brie and chili sauce variety, massive yum we could say–with the Frenchie, Garance, who is from literal Paris and knows I call her the Frenchie so it’s cool I swear.


GUYSSSS. I love Fleetwood Mac as much as the next person but I was unprepared for how. damn. cool Stevie Nicks the Person is. Killer friend and flower Annie Marie Scheck (don’t call her that) managed free tickets by barbecuing her own spleen, I believe? Stephanie told us about her friendship with Tom Petty and the time she wrote a poem to Prince and then looked right into my eyeballs and encouraged me everyone to hold their dreams in their hands and pray for it every single night until it comes true. OK WILL DO THANKS STEVIE<3

Also I got this dress (and a double chin!) for $14 NZD:


Take care of yourselves out there, chicken tenderloins!

Wabbit Season

New Zealand


If you’ve ever been invited to a Guy Fawkes party*, only to put on your Sunday best, hair-pom the hell out of your pomade, polish your slacks and iron your shoes and look in the mirror and still feel like something is missing, I know what it is: you forgot your rabbit. No worries my friend, this is an easy mistake to make and we’ve all been there! Personally, though, I can only throw my mind into the past and try to remember those uncomfortable days out of solidarity because I HAVE A TEMPORARY RABBIT AND LIFE IS GRAVY. Officially, we are just an Airbnb for Jack the rabbit while his new home is sorted, but it took only 5 minutes alone with real-life Bugs Bunny (he’s the most perfect gray, it’s unnatural) to fully mentally adopt him as my son and soulmate–Hamlet-themes be damned. I’m already thinking up outfit ideas for our first public outing.

So now you know.

This weekend was a LEARNER, guys. I took a trip to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and it was as intense as it sounds, with full-sized ancient boats and wooden kites and so many carvings I developed carpal tunnel just looking at them and a cringe-worthy history of colonialism. If I ever sign a treaty with a native civilization and then go back on my word, YOU, MY POROUS PEERS, MUST TAR&FEATHER ME IN THE NAME OF ACCOUNTABILITY.** Nod your head if you accept.

Week five was otherwise a pretty mellow week in the City of Sails, as not a single person we here in Auckland call it. My face is burnt from an impromptu Cheltenham Beach Day due to inconsistent sunscreen application and a gaping hole in the ozone layer; my stomach is an aquarium of fish and chips. I have a semblance of a routine which I enjoyed for no more than 4 days and now I hate that I have a “normal” and am ready for something new. Is this chick a nightmare or what, Bart?!

I also cut myself and couldn’t locate the bandaids I’d packed into my luggage in Boston to ensure total preparedness. Never prepare, kids!

*I’ve not been invited to a Guy Fawkes party (I’m really not even sure if a Guy Fawkes party is a genre of party) but it was truly Guy Fawkes Day. Based on the celebration style here he was either the inventor of backyard fireworks or some kind of traitor to the English parliamentary system, but what do I know?

**Tar & feathering has always stuck with me as sounding like the worst old-timey punishment and something I’d definitely hate, which shows you how high the stakes are.

Hold your applause

New Zealand


This month honestly zooomed (scope weeks 1, 2 and 3 if you missed) and I’m sure it had to do with all the learning that was/is still taking place. For a long time, there was no such thing as “just wandering to the store to grab shoelaces” (this is an example, I’m not sure I’ve EVER purchased shoelaces that didn’t come with shoes attached) because I didn’t know my way past my front door. Or the name of a store that would sell shoelaces. Directions are given in meters, temperature is read in degrees Celsius, sprite is called lemonade. Nothing is second-nature yet.

Full disclosure, the oversaturation of unfamiliarity gave me a casual Sunday morning mental breakdown this week. (Thanks mom and Ladybug-the-Cat for handling that and then gluing the fractured shards of my brain back together!)

All the newness has forced new discoveries, and sometimes these are just the most precious and it’s fireworks for your soul! A beautiful pink sunset over the ocean on a scary Halloweve*, for instance, or finding an ivy-covered cafe or a bar that really gets what you’re trying to do on a Thursday night all count. I’m also finding that Auckland Me has much less patience for nit-picky problems and self-consciousness while I fry up the bigger fish a.k.a. remembering to look the proper direction for oncoming traffic before crossing the street. I don’t even own a mirror at present, who the HELL am I?!

Honestly, though, I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned thus far–YUS, I SAID THUS–has actually been how NOT CRAZY it is to make a big move. I’m not a natural planner *gasp heard ’round the world* but just picking a date, saving up and buying the plane ticket covers the process in a teeny-tiny nutshell. I know it’s doable, even if my emotions go from zero to 100 in the span of a day. I have a better sense of what’s worth worrying about (housing and job leads!) and what isn’t (anal-retentive suitcase-packing mindset!)

*Photo-realistic interpretation of our scary Halloweve starring  man with knife and face tattoos:

Hose Pipe

I/you/we deserve a Tim Tam.

Labor/Labour on, my wayward son

New Zealand

As I write this, week III next-evolution Kiwi-Emily is listening to new passion radio show on 95bFM hosted by Amelia Discrete, as mentioned in previous post. This Wednesday is a spooky Halloween special and the current song–if you can call it that–is a 21-minute recitation of something called “Pea Green Boat” by Stewart Lee and is basically journal entries from an owl about a cat he’s been watching, but it’s a real heart-wrencher, I think the owl just died.


Since I last had hold of your eyeballs, New Z. has elected a new Prime Minister! Girlfriend. is. fascinating. Good luck, Jacinda- I’m thrilled to be here. This past weekend was also labor day weekend over here and although it felt real festive it also rained like the Queen of England, by which I am blatantly ignoring syntax and making a tenuous connection between Ol’ Liz, longest reigning monarch in England’s history, and this never-endingly damp as weekend. NIICE ONE, PACHECO. I took a run with official Auckland orientation leader Annie Scheck by the water in Herne Bay and nearly got blown off a cliff, brainwashed a cat named Ladybug (as long as SHE’s fine with it…) into being my friend, and experienced Such Culture by means of the Auckland Symphony and a wander through the Auckland Art Gallery. There’s no such thing as too much beauty!

In case that sounds like sensory overload to you, mind your own business don’t fret! I spent just about the whole of Monday at Mondays, a precious ivy-covered greenhouse-vibe cafe where I both soothed AND re-energized by simultaneously (well, kind of, I only have one mouth) drinking a matcha-filled “emerald latte” and that rainy-day staple, a flat white.

It was also hero/soulmate/close personal friend Jeff Goldblum’s birthday on Sunday. Did you know his middle name is Lynn??


Admin or what

New Zealand

Today marks the end of my second week in the Year of the Kiwi–an international/dual-cultural phenomenon locals are calling “What?” and “That’s not real”– and what a week it has been, amiright?

This installment sees our heroine (me) nab a job at a beachfront cafe due completely to the fact that my new flatmate might be the reigning mob boss of northern New Zealand. [ED. NOTE: This claim is unsubstantiated by science at present…] Copious fish&chips™ have been eaten, the term ‘jay-walking’ has been chopped from my vocabulary, a cute Kiwi boy has been smooched. I even took part in a thrilling escapade to convince the landlord a cat does not live here! MY!

Things weren’t all sheep and hobbits, though; this week has been chock-a-block with paperwork, applications and, in general, ADMIN. I also remain in a Mexican standoff with the Auckland transit system which will not allow me to be on time (or even on the right bus.) Satisfying progress on the flat’s 3rd jigsaw puzzle and the ridiculous soothing sounds of 95bFM radio’s Freak the Sheep and Amelia Discrete are the only cure.

#Live, Laugh, Louvre, my friends! Xoxo, Em-the-Phlegm

If you haven’t read Week 1, you can catch up here.

Sweet As, Bro

New Zealand

It’s been exactly 1 week since I landed in New Zealand; ONE. WEEK. since I walked off my third plane in 29 hours straight onto tarmac, on through to the waiting Sky Bus that took me into Auckland City. I refuse to utter a judgement yet on life below the equator– after all, the key to Kiwi living may turn out to be a devotion to 007-like secrecy (too early to say, its all very hush-hush down here)– but I CAN say that I am alive and kicking!

So far I have seen morning joggers run barefoot, eaten at a farmer’s market and a night market (one has vegetables, one has noodles), gotten caught in more rainstorms than I can count, taken the wrong bus, worked a trial shift at a hip circus-themed restaurant (only to spill orange juice all over a table, still waiting to hear back on that career opportunity…) and attended a 4-year-old’s dino birthday party.

People are friendly as all get-out, and in fact I have developed a method of pretending I am getting a phone call which I must take outside if I’ve walked into a shop that I don’t actually want to buy anything from.

I move into my flat on Friday, which I hear has a lemon tree in the backyard, so stay tuned for chapter 2, pleebs!

Love always, your International Gal of Mystery

**Oh, they say “Sweet as, bro,” a lot.

Like a haircut, but for your closet!

Style, Travel

ep earrings

Less is hard more!

(If you hadn’t heard, I’m moving to New Zealand in October.)

I put on a laissez-faire façade in re selling off most of my worldly possessions to prepare for traveling and in honesty, I really couldn’t have laissez-faired less about downsizing, on the whole.  The thought of parting with bits of my precious and tediously culled wardrobe, though, gave me a near damn heart attack. It now seems to me that the success of such an endeavor might hinge on putting a pin in shopping for a minute or two.

This aha-moment came to me when I realized–by the aid of an extremely stringent pre-travel budget Google Doc manifesto drawn up by a dear friend, bless her, which laid out what I was and wasn’t allowed to spend money on anymore–that even infrequent shopping sprees would not do if I wanted to afford the plane ticket.

It has been six months and I have acquired precious little since agreeing to aforementioned manifesto (my, I am obnoxious today.) Without the siren call of a new garment begging to be worn, I’ve identified the items I repeatedly reach for based on a true fondness for said items. These items now form the basis of my travel wardrobe. Get out of town!

Coming in as an orgasmic surprise to all parties involved, I actually don’t miss the things I’ve tossed. The trick now is finding new and interesting ways to wear the same combination of garms, by which of course I mean “garments.” *DISCLAIMER: This is not that thing where I don’t want people to think of me as an outfit repeater. Getting dressed is my Sudoku. Without this beguiling daily challenge I will develop early-onset Alzheimer’s, I just know it.

As the resident advice giver of this, my own personal blog on which no one else is allowed to give advice, I advise that–if you find yourself in this position–you accessorize, ya freaks! I, for example, created a pair of sickeningly decadent floral earrings that double as wind chimes probably, and am in the midst a bandana extravaganza, the wearing of which make me look like I’m on vacation every day of the week! Force yourself to get creative with your possessions and you might be surprised by what your brain has waiting just around the riverbend.

It’s also enormously more eco-friendly and this planet needs all the friends it can get.


The Right Way?

Art, Mind Mess


It can be very easy to think that some things just aren’t for you.

As an example, there is a man in a nice suit who works in my building and I have decided I am not allowed to talk to him because he must be important and I wear denim overalls most days.

I want to be an artist and sometimes I have daydreams of taping small paintings up as I go about town in a guerilla marketing campaign of sorts. I have never done this and I think it is because I was never taught that it was the right way to go about things. It is certainly not how John Singer-Sargent got his start.

Maybe we sometimes see ourselves as “Have-nots” because we have created mental barriers between ourselves and the perceived “Haves”. (You, too, could be the kind of girl who walks her alligator in a tiara carrying quantities of pizzazz/pizzas!) I resolve to talk to the man in the suit and infect the city with my art as soon as possible.

On Travel


I’ll never really be alone.

The yen to travel is a common yen, and I’m not going to overthink why that is. (To be honest, it makes sense; we are curious little rhinos at heart, no?) I’ve had my bags mentally packed since 9th grade, and in exactly 3 months I will be getting off a plane in New Zealand for a year-long working holiday– my first overseas Trip-with-a-capital-T.

I have seen and been influenced by examples of female trepidation in my own life, and as I prepare myself for what I imagine will be the Travel Chapter of my life, I find myself wanting to clone and shrink each of them down to take them all with me!


One of my strangest–and favorite–influences is my great-aunt Ulla. Her hairstyle of choice is a disheveled blonde bowl-cut and she is a fiend for solo travel. I’ve only met her in person a handful of times and she must be at least 75 by now, but she hasn’t slowed down and says it’s because she finds travel “most satisfying.” *At 26, I am no less terrified of her than I was at 4.


Growing up, my siblings and I had a babysitter named Emmy Joy. She invented the best car games and made us hot chocolate and she was our absolute favorite. After high school, she moved to Hawaii and became a full-fledged flowerchild! Now she drives around the country selling handmade gypsy halos out of her brightly-painted V.W. van and calls Maui home. Adventure!


Pat Carney is my fairy art-mother and is freedom and creativity personified. My mother met Pat while they were living wildly in Boston in the ’80s; she is patchwork-y and takes trips to Africa and finds friends wherever she goes and she can make art out of anything. She reminds me that living itself is an art!



I was raised by a woman who taught me to believe in magic and adventure and the magic of adventure. A devout composter and advocate for human rights, my mother has taught inner-city kids about caving, biked to Nova Scotia, and knows the scientific name for most plants. FOR SURE she will be in my pocket on these next adventures♥