Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday rituals

While I am largely preoccupied with the prospect of a legitimate white Christmas this year (so excited), it's been so fun doing all my holiday rituals here in Sydney before I go.
Mini Christmas ham with my family at our 'early Christmas' dinner.
Baked gifts wrapped and ready to go.
Christmas cards signed, sealed and delivered.
And in true ritual style I'm already eating the leftover early-Christmas-ham in various forms.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Almost done

As the sun begins to set and I'm still at work, I decided to update my speech bubble (last seen here) with something I saw on a poster last week.

One more day and I'm lea-ving on a jet plane!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Career anxiety

Even Asian snacks are pushing you harder.
A friend pointed me to this HBR blog post on career anxiety recently, it's a good read if you're reflecting on your achievements from the year and don't feel like you've done 'enough' (don't we all feel this way sometimes?).  While I love my job, I definitely have my days when I wonder if I've made the right choices, and as they point out the proliferation of social networks isn't helping either.  Their three ways to overcome this anxiety is nothing new, but like so many pieces of wisdom they are a challenge to practice:

1. De-emphasise prestige and compensation.

2. Start experimenting.

3. Spend time defining your passions.

These work in any order.

Paris according to the internet

From our last French dining experience at Claude's
Between Christmas and New Years in the UK with C's family, we're treating ourselves to four days in Paris - ooh la la! It'll be my second time to the famous city and while I still intend to visit all the icons all over again, planning it this time around is markedly different than the first.  Backpacker vs working-person's budget aside, I'm building my itinerary around the various blogs I've stumbled upon instead of consulting the 'Europe on a shoestring' Lonely Planet book we backpackers shared between us, or poorly designed tourism sites on the city.  It makes me feel like I'm really getting an insiders look or going off the recommendation of a loose friend, and it's just another reason why I love the internet so.

For those who are interested, this is what I have so far:

Majority of food decisions will be driven by David Lebovitz's recommendations - an American pastry chef who came to Paris.

Dying to stay at Hotel la Maison on a friend's recommendation, and more excitingly as it was just recently redesigned by Margiela.

While I don't always agree with her oversized-sweater-no-pants look, I can never go past visual inspiration from Rumi's scrolling photo diaries from her travels.

And of course, secretly hoping that I will run into Isabel and Jerome and that they will invite us both back to their shack for cheese and wine over DIY campfire.

That ravioli

A quick post - Christmas parties and hobbling in glitter heels aside, these are some of the less outrageous but no less delightful moments from the week past.
Made a return visit to Jamie's and finally got to try the baked mushrooms and that ravioli
The clouds parted and the rain kindly disappeared for the night of our Christmas party.
Postponed a girls' pub crawl for equally an equally fun night in with rose, dumplings and gelato.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Journey home

Worked a little late tonight, saw these sparklers complete with lighter all ready to be lit up on a bench on the way home:
Was very tempted to just light these babies up on the Pyrmont footbridge and wave them around crazy style.
Other highlights during the journey home included the bus being free because the ticket machines were broken, and a note from my mama that there was steak in the fridge.

It's been a good day.

Monday, December 5, 2011

In other news -

Across the street.
It's coming!

Circling back

Sometimes the Internet runs you in a loop, or you're trolling the Internet and then it suddenly references a part of life to complete a circle of thought.

As you might expect, Eva is the colourful figure with a pen in her bun.
This happened to me tonight when, trolling around online I found this post on the High Line which was a space in New York that I'd only just heard of yesterday when the one of the architects themselves came and spoke at the INDEX Forum about it.  Let me be clear - I thought I was already doing pretty well to even know who diller scofido + renfro were, but I was probably the least purposeful attendee there.

To borrow from their site, the INDEX Forum was a 'conversation on the way that cultural events can change a city' - and I really enjoyed it!  The visiting panelists were definitely highlights, Eva Franch i Gilabert in particular stood out.  Amongst other things, she runs industry discussions over paella with the purpose of evoking conversation and ideas when the mind is distracted outside of its usual, default state of distractedness, Alfred Hitchcock-style.  It goes without saying that her input was the most refreshing of the circle.

Q. Does an event need a location?
Eva: "An event just needs context."

Also, the desire to visit New York is officially stronger than ever!  Might have to put that on my list for 2012.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How did you know I wanted this?!

I'm probably slow to the party on this one, but of all the 'kids being cute' videos flying around at the moment this really sticks out as priceless:

I don't think this about holding purity and innocence, as a lot of the comments enthuse, but there's definitely something to be said about holding a deep thankfulness for the good things life throws at us (cereal, Barbie DVD etc) - that is, taking these things in with gratitude rather than a sense of entitlement.

And aw what the heck it's just really really cute!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Flew in from Singapore this morning, am feeling as you might expect - was flicking through photos and realised just how much I take pictures of what I'm drinking.  Putting them together here serves as a good roundup of everything that's happened in the last few days, and seemed apt to post on this hot hot hot Sydney morning.

Organic green juice with a friend at Bondi - great conversations had.
Rasberry mojitos at Pocket Bar with a friend from out of town.
So many iced-water-runs in the middle of the night at C's new place in Singapore.
Iced coffee by the pool in Bintan - check out how bright it is!  Even the camera couldn't deal.
A tired tea on the plane home.
Happy Monday y'all!  Stay hydrated.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Asking for it

I found this little guy on my pillow when I came home tonight - no joke!  Seemed apt to this post.
"You don't get what you don't ask for."

From an inspiring colleague at work when asked what her 'career mantra' was.  I like it!

I'm taking this in tandem with my favourite Jefferson quip on luck - you can ask for things all you want, but there needs to be an acknowledgement that any success you achieve is also owing to luck / karma / the universe for being gracious enough to take your hard work, and surprise you with an opportunity greater than what you were capable of imagining yourself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Slow-setting sun

Can't get enough of these long, pre-summer nights.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A (newish) kid in town

I've been dying to write about Jamie's Italian since I went a few weeks back - 1. Because I love discovering a new restaurant and 2. The truffle risotto still visits me in my dreams.

From the deliberately rustic setup (think long share platters perched on unopened tins of tomatoes) through to the casually British  sommelier ("you don't need to know everyfin' about wine luv, but you've chosen a good drop yeah"), Jamie's Italian is a well-oiled, delicious manifestation of the man himself.  Don't be put off by the no-reservations factor - they thoughtfully give you pager which you can wander around the block with and will vibrate when your table is ready.
The unassuming glass exterior
View from the top balcony where we were seated - to their credit they turn the tables efficiently without making you feel rushed at all.
The truffle risotto could not be simpler or more delicious.  Ugh I want to order it again just looking at it!
Grappa for two - note the 'Jamie' tea towels which serve as napkins or can be purchased at the door as souvenirs, if you're so inclined.
The affogato: my favourite way of having dessert and pretending I didn't (it's coffee, that you just happen to pour over ice-cream, ok?)
Full writeup will be on my sister blog once I actually pull the finger out and start writing on it again, in the meantime I just had to share the pictures - already planning my next visit!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday links

I love Sunday beverages.
Got thoroughly lost on the internet this weekend - here's a link-a-thon to some of my best finds:

Illustrator Christoph Niemann live illustrated the NYC Marathon, while running it.

This stunning short on Nowness, capturing The Thacher School - a private Californian boarding school where every student gets their own horse.

Intrigued by the idea of olive oil and sea salt on ice cream, a combo I intend to try this week.

And finally, a totes fetch playlist inspired by hanging out with the Plastics from Meangirls - love!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More enthusiasm

Sitting above my desk

Just moved one of my favourite work quotes from a post-it note on my computer to this ceramic speech bubble, courtesy of my mama and her trip to Harrods (she flew in yesterday).

A lovely desk addition on a Friday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cafe views

Google views from the office kitchens around our part of the world -

Thrilled that Sydney is a lot like it is in the picture today.

Green is gold

Stumbled across this street work 'Green is Gold' on Barrack St on my way home today.  Like any good installation, it had me detour from my route to take a closer look - it's basically a metal grid on which you can rest your takeaway coffee cup on and plant with a little seedling.

Step-by-step instructions to create your little coffee cup plant - the seeds are woven into the biodegradable cup holder, which you plant. 
The cups filling up the planks.
One of the flourishing seedlings.  I love that they're all different types of coffee cups too.
I love this view of the grid - I almost like it better this way (only half-filled up) but also can't wait to see when it's all full and green all over.
A lovely, quietly engaging work that all coffee drinkers on the go can be a part of.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Summer is coming -

A fragrant fence down a Darlinghurst side street.
Embrace a nap in the sun, wake up with sand in your ears and stop to smell the jasmine.

Brunch three ways

The last couple of weeks have been a little more stressy than I'd like, hence this small virtual space has been a little neglected of late - but three brunches later (yes, that means I doubled up on Saturday) I'm feeling a lot better about work, love and life in general.  I also almost compassed all four directions in Sydney -

The 'Go green' breakfast was truly nourishing start to the day at my old favourite, Forbes & Burton.
An amazing fig loaf, toasted to perfection with ricotta and their homemade preserve at Luxe, Newtown.
My staple scrambled eggs, with a couple of sides (go field mushrooms!) at Bathers', Balmoral.
That's a lot of carbs and coffee I know, let's not talk about it.  Now, to Monday!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New neighbour

This little guy was a pumpkin seed flavoured creation.
Zumbo has finally moved in next door - so good!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mini asparagus tarts

Been wanting to make this since I saw it here, so with a picnic coming up I thought I'd rustle up some mini versions to take along.  Okay so they are effectively just glorified mini-pizzas but work with me here.
Lining up my toppings - decided I'd make a mushroom variation while I was at it.
The mini asparagus tarts, lined up and ready to go!
Mushroom and rosemary variation - fresh herbs fancy-up any DIY snack.
The golden squares, paced up and ready to go.
Seeing as this recipe isn't 'cooking' as much as just straight up assembling, I at least try to put a bit of loving into how the toppings are stacked.  Ah puff pastry, you save me every time I need to bring a savoury snack.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Long day, long week,

Thank goodness for tuna salad that melts in your mouth and great friends
Didn't take me long to get back into the sushi either
My Saturdays are usually a full stop to the week just gone by, but it feels like today was more of a comma.  Fresh Japanese with an amazing friend got me closer to the finish line though.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Favourite photo

Found on a Roppongi side street
I took this photo while trolling around Roppongi and just really really like it.  I was initially taking it because there are so many photos of me as a kid with exactly the same expressions on my face - a little quiet and suspicious at first and then I would tilt my head up and just open my mouth when I saw a camera around.

But, on taking it I just loved seeing the layers of my reflection in the glass, surrounded by buildings in the background.  Without getting too deep and meaningful I think it captures what I was feeling when I was taking the photo - sort of nostalgic about how I was as a little girl and how I still sometimes feel that way, even when I'm traveling the world all grown up.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Memo: Do you lunch?

Be purposeful about building community
The women in my area at work decided to have lunch the other week.  All it took was a bit of initiative - a calendar invite (which will inevitably always forget to include people), and reservations to the Italian place downstairs.  It was straight up delightful but also reminded me that within the corporate world women typically aren't as good at men in building community amongst themselves; rather, as one girl pointed out, we tend to foster jealousy rather than support of each other.  Someone else piped up at this point and said they just wished they knew what to do to get promoted, although "guys don't seem to have this problem".

I didn't connect with all of the conversation that abounded from that, but the power of making a point to lunch definitely hit home.  We all know we're supposed to do it more often (build community over lunch, have strategic coffees, find a mentor) but I'm hazarding a guess that we don't all do that.

So this week, while we're all writing our to-do lists lets make this common knowledge a common practice and send the invite out.  Make a reservation.  Go to lunch, ladies - if not for yourself then for the girl who thinks "guys don't seem to have this problem".

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Last day

Cities that aren't your own will always bring you a number of surprises that hit you harder than the ones you're thrown back home.  I like to encourage these by taking a punt on an interesting window display, or walking down an alley for longer than what seems sensible.

This approach is rewarded every time I go to Tokyo, my last day in particular brought me to the delightful Gallery MoMo (or half of it, as it exists across two locations) which was the perfect punctuation to my last day.
Trolling Roppongi's side streets I saw this sign for 'Gallery MoMo'
It was on 2F so I thought I'd go for an explore up the stairs
Walked into this delightful little space (photos don't do the paintings justice) and the loveliest little Japanese woman welcoming me in.
I was looking at one of the paintings up close when the woman gestured me to sit down.  Apparently the tea and little snacks there were for me!  As I was drinking she gave me some postcards and (I think) told me a little about the artists.
I love it when life reminds you that the best moments are never ones you could have planned for yourself.  Good thoughts for the journey home.