Friday, October 25, 2013

New hero

Yeah, just wow.  Just discovered this incredible interview by Elle Luna via this little piece.
Hang with the unknown.
Artist, designer and startup something wonder woman.  She painted a wall.  She uses hashtags like #mindfulness.  She's done things like this:

I walked up to him and said, “I use Uber all the time and I absolutely hate the app. I think you should bring me in to fix it.” He replied, “Oh, yeah? What are the three things you’d fix about it?” I said, “I’d redo the logo, redo the entire app, and change the rating system.” I think there was something about being in a dress that empowered me to say such things (laughing). And do you know what he said? He said, “Be at the Uber office at 9am on Monday.”

She says great things like this that make me think:

I think back to the different phases of a project at IDEO—it’s not so different from life, really—I’m in the exploratory, divergent phase. The part where you brainstorm a lot and encourage wild ideas and defer judgement. I believe that the longer you can hang with that ambiguity or unknown, the greater the results will be at the end. This was true for IDEO projects, it was true for Mailbox, and now it is becoming true for my life.

Most people won't.  What meaty thoughts for the weekend.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New go-to fall recipe

Caramelised goodness in a flaky, buttery case.
Just invested in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and first cab off the rank was this Butternut squash and onion galette.  There is something supremely satisfying about making something out of a new cookbook and having it turn out just right the first time around.  Even if you didn't realise that a pastry blender is wildly different from an actual blender (thank you, internet for that last-minute save).

It was really interesting to see how she'd modified it over the years from her original online recipe to the one in the book - giving the option of thyme instead of sage, or replacing the sour cream for greek yoghurt.  If anything this has given me more gumption to have some flexibility when cooking things up from a recipe.

Thoroughly recommend both the cookbook and the dish - perfect for fall.  Yes, I called it fall.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Scratches on a page

I can't remember the last time I fell so in love with a writer, but since weeping into a puddle over The Fault in Our Stars I've been having obsessive, crush-like bursts of stalking John Green.

As a part of my investigation into all things about him, I came across this response he gave on the writing of this most excellent book that at one point became a 'problem' for him:

"...for ten years of my life, I tried to write this book and it taunted me and it sucked and it kept sucking and nothing I could do for years and years made it suck less, and then finally I was given a way into it and I worked very hard to make it the best book that I could possibly make it, but books will always be a collaboration between reader and writer, and at some point I have to stop doing my job so I can start letting you do your job.

I mean that a book is a problem in that it is composed out of meaningless scratches on a page that must be translated into ideas that live inside your head, and you use a set of skills (literacy, critical thinking, etc.) to make that happen.  I don’t mean that it is an UNFORTUNATE problem; I just mean that it is a thing that has to be created by both of us, like a crossword puzzle or something."

Ten years!  Also, I love this idea that a book is created by both the writer and the reader.  This somewhat legitimises my stalking, we collaborated on this after all.

Taken from here (not to read if you haven't yet read the book), more from him and his wonderful brother here.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nesting, Part 6

and resting really, but solidly on the mend!  I no longer have to run out of meetings in a coughing fit now, so that's a plus.
Snaps of the home and hood recently.
Secret confession: Whenever there is a special holiday on (which, lets face it, is pretty much all the time here) I go down to Walgreens purely for the purpose of scoping out all the intense looking candy and decorations on offer.  Ghost peeps!
Discovered Conifer - a new favourite store, just off the beaten track in my neighborhood.  I was passing by and saw a sign "art + clothing this way" - how could I resist?  Run by the most beautiful woman who has a personal relationship with all the emerging brands she stocks.  Just beautiful.
I found this magnificent beast panting on the sidewalk on my way home from froyo one day.  How I loved his thick glossy fur!  The little girl in the background stopped to say hello to him too.
It's a little hard to see but this house on my street has an incredible fiddle leaf fig tree in each long window, I look up in admiration (or, like a stalker) every time I walk past it - oh how I want one for my living room!  So sculptural.
Our friend Karl the fog came back for an evening the other day - even though it's not his season at the moment.  I don't mind though, I like him now.
It's nice to be back, SF.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Healing chicken soup

The human body is an amazing beast isn't it?  One minute it's fine with traipsing across 6 different cities and the next minute it's breaking down in full force - complete with 3am feverish sweats and a throat so on fire I thought I was going to die in my sleep (no really, in my delirium I considered calling up C to remind him that the couch is by some Norwegian architects that I like, so could he please keep it in my memory hahaha).

Anyway, I kid - I totally deserve this.  I feel like this is my body's way of shouting at me to stop for a moment, so here I am.  I've been hiding out in a snot cave this weekend and now just taken my first sick day since I can remember.  My beloved Google Shopping Express took care of most things, but as they don't do fresh produce I did trek out to my local store to make a proper chicken soup - bones and all.

I used this recipe as a guideline, but I made the alteration of sautéing the onions and garlic beforehand.
Chopping in progress.  I took a very liberal perspective on 'finely diced'.
Simmering goodness.  The green bits are the fresh Thyme floating to the top.
The get-well food of champions!
Not as good as my mama's but definitely hit the spot!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Go deep

Some words for your Friday - taken from one of my favourite HONYs, I was reminded of this as I was aggressively pushed over by the very physical waves at Byron:
At Wategos
"When a wave comes, go deep.

There’s three things you can do when life sends a wave at you.  You can run from it, but then it’s going to catch up and knock you down.  You can also fall back on your ego and try to stand your ground, but then it’s still going to clobber you. Or you can use it as an opportunity to go deep, and transform yourself to match the circumstances.  And that’s how you get through the wave.”

And a great weekend to you all!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

On multitasking

... and its apparent enemy, productivity.
Even my snacks distract me from work.
Ironic that I have visited Facebook twice, youtubed a song I wanted to hear, watched a short film on Vimeo that a friend sent me and checked my phone twice in the space between that first sentence and this one.

I have just started reading Brain Rules, which goes through "12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home and school" by equipping you with a better understanding of how the brain works and what it needs from you to operate well.  It's not one of the principles as such, but one thing that has stuck out to me in particular is the amount of effort it takes for your brain to switch from one task to the other - it's tenths of a second every time you switch any task - to both figure out where it needs to access to get the new data you need, and then extract and synthesise that data for the new task.  The flashing FB message thread I keep revisiting while typing this is a new switch every time, ditto checking my work email, because the information to complete both of those tasks are all sorted in different places in my brain.  The seconds added up, we apparently make ourselves 50% slower by any attempt to multitask.

Am currently thinking of ways to mandatorily reduce the distractions - a creative solution via zenhabits: hire someone to sit next to you as you work and pay them to slap you in the face every time you look at Facebook  :)

(Full disclosure: additional to the activities listed above I took a phone call, checked Facebook, googled something about marshmallows, checked Instagram, checked Facebook again.  Somebody slap me.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Beautiful home

I felt like I was in a Tourism Australia postcard but better.
I very badly would love to post pictures of the most gorgeous of weddings but I'm not sure that my haphazard Android photos between happy tears would really do the beautiful couple or the celebration justice.  It was a privilege to be a part of it, and it was surrounded by some really wonderful days on the sunny shores of Australia.  Such great friends.  I didn't think I would get so sentimental, but I did.

I will leave you a small snapshot of bathing in an incredible warm Tea Tree lake, next to what we called 'the secret beach' - so magical!  The Tea Tree is what stains the water darker.  One of many warm, lovely sandy afternoons.

p.s. the jet lag trick totally worked!  Definitely recommend.  Prepare to starve in between though - that part is less fun  :)