Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Getting ahead

Work is mildly overwhelming at the moment - I don't know about you but whenever I feel a little behind in one area of my life, I subliminally look for another area where I can get ahead (this is why when I was cram-studying for my HSC my room was cleaner than it had ever been in my 17 years of livelihood and I also took up running).

Since when do I fold tea-towels this neatly?
Another really cheap way of making myself feel like I'm getting ahead in life is when I do sit ups while watching The Biggest Loser (yes it's true and yes it's ridiculous).  Anyway, as that isn't running at the moment, I found myself getting deep satisfaction from scrubbing the stove and folding tea-towels while watching How Clean Is Your House? on late night free-to-air TV.

Is work still a little crazy?  Yes.  But hey, the kitchen is sparkling!  Too funny.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The difference

Watching the sun set.
"You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

Steve Jobs strikes again, this nugget is from his talk here that I reference time and time again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mini holiday

With C going to Singapore so soon (can't believe that this time next week he'll already be there!) we made the most of this country and our limited time together with a weekend away in the Blue Mountains.  Am still tired from the adventure we squeezed into the last 48 hours so I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves.

The incredible view from our little private courtyard at Echoes.
We could be in any country but whenever we're in a small town I always demand to snoop around their vintage stores that inevitably feel like a cross between a museum and someone's bedroom.
Legs are still sore from a massive hike yesterday, this is the view from the Landslide on our way to the Golden Staircase (which I later found would be more aptly named as the Staircase of Death on your Calves).
Wine against the mountain backdrop as the sun went down.
The flowers that greeted me in the garden this morning (on a side note, we checked out at 9:00am this morning, which doesn't sound early but is just about the earliest checkout in the history of Team Lorna & C.  We were hi-five-ing each other all the way to Leura).
And so we come to Monday again.  Hope you're all winding down from equally relaxing weekends!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Week in Five

I'm starting up a new thing for my Friday posts called 'The Week in Five' - basically a sum up of people's weeks through five photos that they took in the working week just gone.  I've lined up a handful of wonderful friends and colleagues who'll be guest posting for the Fridays following, but thought it only appropriate to get the process kickstarted myself. 

Here we go!

1. Finally signed off my tax return (for 2010, don't even get me started on this year) as well as a number of other Life Admin things which was a win!  Lots of crossing off lists was had.
2. Beautiful flowers which I received as a generous thank you from the school I spoke at earlier this week.
3. With me working late, and C having his farewells before he moves to SG we've been spending a lot of time together in the mornings which has been just so nice.
4. Had an Alumni dinner last night to celebrate 20 years of the degree that I did, this is the jewellery of one of the designers there, she's running her own label now - I always feel like such a sell out at these things, but I can confidently say I'm using my creative mind more than ever here at le Goog.
5. A lovely friend passed on some delicious cookie dough when I saw her at brunch on the weekend, I woke up this morning and C was baking them.  Not the healthiest breakfast ever but so so good!
 Tune in next Friday for the next Five!  Until then, have a fab weekend y'all.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Apprenticeship in the world of the Internet

Was reading my beloved swissmiss this morning, I often re-post a lot of the gems she finds on the internet but was particularly struck by her current opening for an apprenticeship with her studio.  She describes it best as "...keep in mind this is not a design job.  This is a get your feet wet in the world of the Internet kind of job.  A great place for anyone who just loves what we do and wants to make the internet a better place."

See even my mama is tethered to the Internet.  This is her on Facebook, in the car using my mobile as a hotspot.
How I wish there was something like this available when I was floating around after University!  The Internet is such a constantly relevant and changing place and there needs to be more opportunities like this for people to engage with the Internet's stakeholders and find out more about what that's like.

Ahh to be 21 and in NYC...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

True Colours

I'm a little freaked out that this is the most legitimate site I can find on the True Colours personality test, but it's a solid exercise that I've done a few times in my career and we did again this morning in our team meeting.  Interestingly, we also guessed what our other team members were by putting post-it notes of that colour on their laptop - overall we were pretty spot on about each other, I was accurately singled out as Green (strategic, inventive, independent) and then Blue (people person, motivating, harmonizing).

Only 13% of people are Green, but I feel like there are a lot of us here at Google.
My laptop - the team knows me too well!
I always take these exercises with a bucketful of salt, as you never want to box people in and rob them of the opportunity to flex and change - but was a worthwhile exercise nonetheless, if only to open up discussion about what we perceive to be our own strengths and each others.

Here's another (mildly creepy) link where you can take the quiz yourself.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why aren't I in the sun eating empanadas?

I'm getting a little weary just looking at my to-do list today, which took my mind back to the weekend when C and I had an impromptu lunch outside at El Capo to take advantage of the unexpected sun; nothing much beats good Latin street food in weather that's (sort of) close to where it came from.  Wish I was there right now!

Fried beef empanadas, served hot with a side of dominoes.
The cool chickpea slaw was the perfect compliment to the hot pastries.
See!  I need to be sitting in the sun with this in my face right now.
Have a great Tuesday, with or without empanadas folks!

What joyful accomplishment

It was a real gift to share a collection of principles that I'm so passionate about today - I learned a lot in having to articulate how I got to where I am today, hence I wanted to post the words that I finished with; perhaps they will resonate with you too.

Coffee was had, before and after.
"I want you to think on this:

What joyful accomplishment, what moment of happiness has existed in your life that you could have planned from the very beginning? 

Speaking personally, I can attest to the fact that I definitely didn't know my love of experimentation at art school would have ever had me landing my dream job, at the tech company I love most.

We don't often like taking risks as they necessarily make us vunerable to a path we can't predict - but I urge you to diminish this fear of failure by cultivating a greater willingness to take on risks.  Failing to do this robs others, even yourself, of the opportunity to surprise you."

Credit goes out to Sheryl Sandberg, who always reminds me not to limit myself to today's options.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Speeches make me nervous

I've have the privilege of speaking at a schools' assembly today - I'm really nervous but also super excited!  I'll be talking on the topic of taking risks, and how necessary it is to diminish our inherent fear of failure.  Needless to say I will be leaning on this quote, borrowing a story from this guy and referencing the namesake of this very blog.

Because writing it up was really the thing I had to achieve over the weekend, I indulged in my usual ritual of keeping the local florists in business in a bid to put it off.

Arranging flowers: the ultimate procrastination strategy
Will be posting my talk up later this week - watch out for it!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Five things I didn't buy

C made me feel midly guilty about the shoes I bought the other day (from the final reductions rack at Gary Castles, how could I resist?) so I decided to document five things I didn't buy this weekend, as a record of my sensibility (ha!).

1. Stumbled upon Isabel Marant in a second-hand store and was dying of excitement until I realised it wasn't in my size.  I am so obsessed with her, love these photos of her in her studio.
2. Fuelled by that find I went to go see her latest collection at The Corner Shop, and that's when I remembered that I can never justify any of her pieces at full price.
3. Haigh's award winning milk chocolate in a panda shape.  I love food in the shape of animals and racked my brain for ages thinking of a reason I could buy this little guy for someone, before eventually putting him back on the shelf with his other chocolate friends.
4. A bucket of avocados from Harris Farm - for some reason produce always looks so much more appealing to me when it's piled up in a tiny bucket, but there is also no way that C and I have the capacity to eat five avocados within the week without having some kind of guacamole party.
5. The final thing that I always want to buy but never do is anything pink or with a heart shape on it - these magical pants are made out of some kind of super-soft fleece and they look so comfortable I know I would never want to take them off, although C would probably lose all respect for me.
See, I'm saving money every day I tells ya.  Hahahahaha.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Love what you do

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."

Steve Jobs at it again.  Today I love tea, and work.

Pre-dinner snack anyone?

Today was a really long day.  I don't want to complain about my job because I do love it so, but like any job you sometimes have days when you're shoving your lunch in your mouth during meetings because you'll just go hungry otherwise as you don't have a moment to scratch yourself.

Anyway - net result of my day is that I treated myself to some ice-cream at that fancy Westfield food court before dinner (can't remember the exact name of the place - see what a long day it's been!).

Okay you can't see it in this photo but the guy who dishes it out wears a little cap and suspenders
I love the contrast of the dark black sesame against the pale guava
Get excited!  Let's ignore the fact that this is turning into a food blog.
Two scoops.  Black sesame and guava: best decision ever.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tourist eyes

The great thing about having visitors is that you're forced to devise touristy activities that will take them past your city's landmarks.  With a bunch of people visiting from the SF office this week, I took the ferry from Pyrmont Bay around to Circular Quay for the very first time in my 27 years in Sydney - and I'm so glad I did! 

Putting on my tourist eyes is definitely something I should do more often.

Leaving Pyrmont Bay as the sun was going down
Our beautiful bridge and Opera House by night

Monday, August 15, 2011

On potential

Another reason why I love smartphones
Got this via text from a lovely friend over the weekend; I'm not sure if it came from a superannuation ad but when words like this come from a buddy rather than a billboard, they have meaning.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Da do run run run

Legs are a little sore today but happy to say that I ran the City2Surf yesterday, pretty much without stopping, which is an achievement for me!  In true Lorna form, I documented the day through the snacks consumed before and after.
I treated myself to a $3.10 banana as my pre-race snack
Celebratory sparkling and jelly snakes at the Bondi Beach Rd Hotel
Restorative 2-minute ramen courtesy of C when I got home
Now for the Sydney Running Festival, contemplating the half marathon but not sure if that makes me insane.  We'll see!

Friday, August 12, 2011

TGIF Cupcakes

I could eat them all...
Happy Friday everyone!
Yup, that's all I've got.  Now go out and enjoy your weekends y'all!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Shoot the emerald

I know I KNOW that you can never win at these things, but when I see a puffy dog or a plush mushroom or something I just have to demand that C tries.  Yeah we lost $2.
Last night C and I met up in the city, we had both had a rough day and were at a loss for what we could do to take our mind off things - we didn't want to go drinking and we'd missed the last session at the movies. 

Anyway, this is how we ended up at Galaxy World on George St which resulted in one of the most hilarious evenings we've had in awhile; he beat me 8:1 at Air Hockey (no surprises there) and I'm pretty sure I broke his ear drum screaming "shoot the emerald for extra power!" during this 2-player pirate ship game. 

Too too funny.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Today's options

I'm the furthest thing away from a raging feminist, but I did enjoy this talk by Sheryl Sandberg that went around on International Womens' Day last year (ex-Googler, now Facebooker and champion of getting more women in leadership); it's well worth the 15 minutes it runs for, if you haven't already seen it.

Anyway, this article on 'A Woman's Place' in Silicon Valley included my favourite quote from her so far - not just for women:

"The reason I don't have a plan is because if I have a plan I'm limited to today's options."

A huge thank you to my dad's boss for passing it on (I'm ashamed to say I only 'read' The New Yorker for the cartoons).  Here's to not having a plan!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Taco Monday

Trying to resist junk food in a bid to get fit at some compelling event (be it a run / wedding / reunion) is really just a way of guaranteeing that you're going to eat some kind of cheese-based food all week.  As the City2Surf is this Sunday, I thought it would be great to start the week off strong with tacos and margaritas; I told myself I just had to go because I really should have tried El Loco by now.

And yep, it's as good as they say it is.

There's an open kitchen which means a. They saw me taking their photo, and b. I smelt like one giant taco when I got home.
Jalapeno margaritas - yes please!  It was all sorts of hot and refreshing at the same time.
The 'Secret Taco' - well worth the $5 but still have no idea what was in it.
Diet starts tomorrow.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poverty of attention

I attended an all day course based on The Energy Project here at work recently - it was the usual stuff you might expect (get at least 7 hours sleep, take regular breaks etc) but as our facilitator said it was all "common knowledge but not common practice"; it was great to take a day out to un-tether ourselves from our mobiles and laptops and just think about the way we work.

No phones allowed
One quote that particularly stood out for me was this one from Herbert Simon, a Nobel Prize winner who said this back in 1978 - though his words are more pertinent than ever now:

"What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.  Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overbalance of information sources that might consume it."

Celebrating the small things

Running with the name of this blog, I'm always pro posting even when you have nothing specifically enlightening to say, but you just know that you need to keep going and celebrate the small things.  With that, here's some littler details from the week just gone:

Lugaw is this Filipino dish you eat when you're really sick (had the flu earlier this week) - it's basically mushy rice with garlic, ginger and onions, in this case with shredded chicken on top, and yes it's amazing.
C and I had a funny moment at Opera bar where we each said to each other "I have to go to the bathroom, meet you at the bar" - then we each later sneakily bought drinks for the other person so ended up with four drinks (I had guessed wrongly that he wanted beer) when we finally met up.  It was a boozier afternoon than expected.
While I'm not a fan of degustation menus, I do love that they usually surprise you with some petit fours along with the bill (usually because the bill is also surprising) - in this case it's white chocolate mini macarons at Claude's
We're apparently having one of the coldest winters in eight years, but when you couldn't see the clouds I was loving the blue skies this weekend, and lots of walks were had.
Okay this is just from doing the dishes tonight but this totally looks like the Phantom of the Opera mask right?  Down to the raised bit for the forehead and everything!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dreamers of the day

"All men dream, but not equally.  

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."

I had to wiki who T. E. Lawrence was, but if they'd just said 'quote from Lawrence of Arabia' well then I'd know it from the movie.  My poor Gen-Y knowledge aside, this quote struck me as having parallel sentiments as you 'learn in the making'.  Now, back to day dreaming.