Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

 2012 will go down in history as a year in which I took on a bit too much. When I look back at the past year, even the past six months, I just go, "How did this all happen?"

I travelled a lot, mostly for work, which gave me the opportunity to visit friends and family in other parts of the country, which I am very thankful for. We also took some fun trips, Jarrad and I, and headed to Vietnam last month, which was a fantastic way to end the year together.

I was blessed with wonderful friendships and a lot of my friends were very blessed this year in getting engaged (we're talking 5 couples here). They also experienced difficult times or took on new challenges, which was some hard to watch, but I am proud of them for their tenacity. We also lost our friend, Paulie, which really began 2012 as a year of change through fire. We struggled but we made it. We miss you, Paulie.

At work, I faced a lot of professional/personal challenges and stuggled to develop my serious career self authentically. The stresses of an unpredictable (and, at times, downright unpleasant) work environment were taxing, but I am proud of myself for how I grew through it. The changes I see when I look back are noticable, so well done, self.

A huge project for last year was developing Mickey Lamar's Video Stars, an interactive musical comedy show which Laura, Josh and I co-produced, wrote and choreographed for the Melbourne Fringe Festival. That was not as easy a task as it sounded but, although it was difficult, it also had it's extremely fun moments and allowed us to spend a week in Melbourne (doing late night karaoke and locking out our jaws from singing too hard... huh? only I did that? oh well.) We are bringing it back for Perth's Fringeworld Festival. I am really proud of us that we achieved our goal.

While I worked and travelled and rehearsed, I finished the last half of my Graduate Diploma of Communications (part-time). This certainly contributed to some late nights and tears but in the end, I just wanted it done and over with. It is now complete and I passed! This was a good lesson in finishing what you started ;)

Towards the end of the year, with other projects wrapping up, I was able to take on some new fun things and start dancing semi-regularly to some local bands. This involves sequins, shakin' it, and spending time with friends, old and new.

In 2012, I made some resolutions and was pleased to see that I achieved several! Here's the wrap up:
1. learn to fishtail braid
2. practice yoga or pilates
3. learn to tap dance
4. make a multilayer cake with that pretty swirly icing
5. cycle
6. listen to my heart (for happiness) - who knows!
7. travel (make plans to live elsewhere)
8. put away my 2/3 house deposit
9. go camping
10. take a trip with friends (or family, that would do fine!)
11. be braver
12. cultivate a conscious wardrobe
13. grow a herb garden - we talked about this but our home is too shaded/windy
14. give regularly and intentionally
15. exercise regularly for mind and body (at least 4 times a week) (sometimes...)
16. host six dinner parties
17. spend more time outside (away from screens)
18. produce some creative work (write, draw, paint, sing, dance)

In 2013, I would be happy to keep going as I have. Here's some resolutions:
1. blog
2. get better at photo shop
3. learn or develop a new/old skill (French, singing, etc)
4. run a 5k
5. don't over commit too much
6. get out and try new things for fun

Keeping things simple, yes?
I am really blessed in this life to have a lot of great opportunities, a supportive and fun partner, a family that I am a real part of, and friends that are just straight up awesome people. I know 2013 will be challenging but I learned in 2012 that I can handle it, hopefully with a bit of grace.

I hope you all had a happy and safe New Years Eve, I spent the hot hot night dancing in the city centre in some glitter and sequins, so it doesn't get much better for me. Here's to 2013.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012, instagram review (part II)

The second half of 2012 was even more intense than the first half (which shouldn't have surprised me, but it did). More photos!

I took a 10 day work trip to Melbourne and Sydney,
got really sick and sweated out my fever in a hotel room (unpleasant), took advantage of my sister's free tickets to see a Bob Dylan Tribute show at The Palais,
saw doctors on the road, and caught up with my beloved Sydney crew.

When I got home, we kept up rehearsals for our Fringe show, Mum and I went to the Good Food & Wine Show,
Six Appeal took a little trip on the train up north to perform in sequins,
Ben imported a new girlfriend from Ireland (yay for Anita!) and Robbie ate all the things.

We played with puppies and visited new bars in our neighbourhood,
discovered Superstar Waffles and Tutti Frutti (the whole30 was well and truly over by this point, I guess),
we had breakfast with friends and Megan turned into a chocolate vampire.

We celebrated Fathers' Day at the Fish Pub!, yesssss,
I took another work trip with Michelle and Emily to Sydney for Lush Christmas Training!
Then I ate a tiny icecream toadstool...

Brad, Anna and I had a gelato party,
I went back to Canberra for another work conference, saw Hanson in concert and fell in love again,
Katelyn hosted a pizza party before she jet setted off overseas, and Cheryl turned 40 with a bang (i.e. a rock'n'roll party).

We took a little overnight trip down south with some friends, came home and started packing for Melbourne,
where we performed, drank vodka, hung out with friends, and discovered Phat Brats,
we celebrated Dia de los Muertos in style, and ate a lot of pumpkin choc chip cookies.

We also enjoyed time spent with Elly and our friends from Sydney, celebrated Kathryn's 23rd birthday, I danced in sequins with some friends, and then I ate all the Vege Chips (in. the. world.)

One night, I went from zombie to gogo glitterati in less than 45 minutes (n.b. fake skin is hard to get off in a rush),
we started preparing for our trip overseas, hens day celebrations we had for Annaliese,
I got really close to running my 5k goal, and we ended the month in Melbourne (again).

In November, I also finished all my assignments and exams for my Grad Dip. #winning

On the 1st of December, some of our bestest friends Trevor and Annaliese got married.
And everything was wonderful and nothing hurt. (And Elly caught the bouquet.)

We spent a week in Vietnam,
Jarrad was sad to go home but then it was Christmas,
and the annual Christmas Cook-off defeated us all.

2012, instagram review (part I)

Goodbye to 2012! Thankfully we have Instagram to help us reflect, so let's go!

We rang in the new year dressed as zombies and zombie killers (although I spent most of the night sitting drunk under a tree),
we picnicked on New Year's Day to farewell Brad & Tahlia as they moved to Sydney,
I donned full makeup in 40 degree weather to help out a friend, and the green team rocked the Summer Swing Smackdown.

In January, we also said a very sad farewell to our dear friend, Paulie, who passed away unexpectedly later in the month. We still miss him terribly and this was a difficult time for our community, of which he was a much loved and appreciated part.

We celebrated Laura's (not 21st) birthday, started hitting the local farmers' market,
I turned 25 (and got new glasses and leopard print shoes),
we performed & hung out at Perth's Fringe World festival, and I saw Death Cab for Cutie at the Perth Festival.
(We also celebrated Valentine's Day, missed our friends who had moved east, and I performed as a Ninja in my friend's burlesque show.)

I hit the books back at uni, we tried cheeseburger sushi for the first time,
we enjoyed pizza & pint at the Scotto, saw Bon Iver in the hills,
had a bit of a wild party, and farewelled Anna, who moved to Sydney.
(I also saw Ryan Adams at the Perth Concert Hall... ooh, I love him.)

We had a quiet Easter with our families, hit up the Angove Street Festival (we got rained out),
Kathryn and Clint moved to Melbourne (boohoo), I went to Canberra for the first time on a work trip,
then I caught up with my sister in her new home city.

In May, there were hotdogs, we moustached up for our friends' Mexican fiesta,
Josh, Laura and I had a little photoshoot for our upcoming Fringe show,
Jarrad and I enjoyed the Perth Hills Rose Festival, and Trevor, Ben and a random guy shared fashion tips.

Jarrad and I took a relaxing trip to Broome where I read the whole Hunger Games Trilogy,
we started rehearsing our Fringe show,
Kathryn came for a visit, and my parents got a new puppy, Wolfie!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

on the whole30

Kathleen makes a really good point that the focus on food that the Whole30 requires can make you crazy! Part of my hope in doing the program twice was to internalise a few of these good habits so that I can make these positive choices for my tummy out of habit, not because I am constantly obsessing aware of every little choice. The Whole30 is easy in terms of making the choices quite simple (chocolate? no. zucchini? yes. soy sauce? no. almond milk? yes, if there's no added sugar). But the constant stream of dancing cupcakes in my brain during it really made me feel deprived sometimes. On the other hand, I am now very aware that this feeling of deprivation is just. in. my. head.

Benefits I have gained from this experiment include more consistent energy, generally feeling healthy, a happier tummy and less bloating (although I've not entirely done away with it), leaner body, less PMT symptoms, and sleeping really well. I didn't notice any change to my skin, like a lot of people seem to, but (dare I humble brag? ;) my skin is pretty rad anyway.

The only things I genuinely miss are chocolate and wine, but I'm alright with them being once in a while things, rather than the dailies they have been in the past. There's also nothing like a real soy milky coffee (now I drink flat whites, not lattes) once a week or so. In general, I am happy to go on eating this way 90% of the time and really hope I can keep it up.

Lessons I have learnt:
  • Regular exercise is damn important (no news here!).
  • I love to eat! I eat frequently and what feels like a lot. That's ok, as long as I'm hungry and eating good things.
  • There's no substitute for fresh vegetables and fruit.
  • My tummy does not mind whole grains in moderation.
  • Dairy enhances my allergies and makes me phleghmy.
  • Drinking alcohol sometimes makes me sneezy.
  • Sugar wreaks havoc on my energy levels and I feel a lot better without it.
  • There is sugar in everything! When you read labels, you quickly discover just how insidious it is. In savoury foods, in bacon, in spice mixes, in sauces, in sausages. Everything.
  • Mah guts no likey really spicy foods.
  • Miso, as I've previously discovered is bad town, not sure about soy sauce, etc, but soy milk seems to be generally okay.
  • My eating is strongly linked with my emotions, but if I wait out the urge to eat, I can make it through.
  • Just eat it because it is good for you! Most of the time it can be delicious!

Friday, September 7, 2012

on this week.

Good morning from my kitchen. It's lighter in the mornings now, so the sun is up when I go for work. Although it's been a cold week, it's been fresh, sunny, windy, the birds and out and about! While running this week, I passed very close by two kookaburras just chilling out on a sign. They are majestic and down right cool birds.

I feel like all I do is complain around here but this week was a stressful one. A week where I just felt plain overwhelmed and bombarded, where work was draining, where deadlines added up, where uni tutors gave me hassle for missing classes for work, where emails in my inbox stared at me all angry like, and where decisions were hard.

Marsh helped me turn it around with ignoring some text messages, a little girl & boy time, a visit to see my family and play with a puppy, and making time to go for a run (c25k 4.1, which i totally rocked). By yesterday I was feeling much more upbeat and singing the glories of Friday. I think the fact that tomorrow night I hit the road for 10 days helps. There is something so nice about saying, "I'm going out of town, I won't be replying to your emails, leave me alone!" ;)

Before I get on the plane, I've got some serious stuff to get done, like ironing everything, packing a suitcase, downloading uni readings, going to the library, two rehearsals, a dance class, friend time, boyfriend time, finding some accessories (dress straps! other earrings!) that seem to have wandered, and getting some sleep! Wish me luck!

some links I've been loving...
a great post on dating your partner long term.
how teen self-esteem is linked with spending time with parents.
i'm gonna eat this and this.
some shoes i've been seriously crushing on.
here's a cute picture of a duck.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

on week days.

Our weekend was a busy and wonderful one. We spent a lot of time together with friends and family, seeing bands, eating a lot of pizza, brunching, lunching, celebrating a dear friend's 40th birthday, and napping! Rare joy of joys! I took a bunch of photos with Marsh's snazzy camera that I will share soon, huzzah. Add in a five hour rehearsal on Saturday morning, which has left me with some killer bruised knees, and you've got our weekend.

During the week, things get hectic, work is draining (emotionally, not physically) and there is a long list of things to get done. This sort of soul suck often casts static over the crazy enjoyable, enriching times that do happen. Like coming home to a hot dinner and cuddles from a lovely boyfriend, long Sunday lunches with my family, and just all my friends. Love that stuff, I truly do!

(P.S. It's a rainy week in Perth and I haven't started week four of c25k yet. I rocked through week 3, finishing on Friday, but week 4 is scary! Run for five minutes? Y'all are cray-zay.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

on banana and date muffins

A little bit burnt, but none-the-less yummy!
The whole30 would not approve this muffin as it is a substitute for a junk-y, treat-y style food. However, it is technically whole30 friendly and, as I searched my soul questioning my deep intentions for eating it, I decided it was cool to eat, because I didn't want it because it was a muffin, I wanted another quick and easy breakfast alternative. I usually eat breakfast at my work desk and a straight up banana just wasn't cutting it. As a bonus, these muffins are de-lish-us! Oh dates, you are the chocolate of nature!

Enough talk, here's the recipe:

Banana and Date Muffins 

(Gluten, sugar, and dairy free, brosefs! Adapted from this recipe. Makes 6 muffins.)

You'll need:
  • 2 cups of almond (or hazelnut) meal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large over-ripe bananas (or 4 small)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped dates (or more if that's your taste)
  • Coconut oil or ghee to grease your pan
Preheat your oven to 170*C (fan-forced).
Mix together almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl.
Puree bananas.
Add banana puree, egg, vanilla, and dates to the dry mixture and mix to combine.
Spoon into a greased half dozen muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean.
Enjoy (n.b. they are better on day two, but warm out of the oven is good too)!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

on this busy season.

The last two weeks have been pretty busy times here at our house. With work and a multitude of projects and extra commitments going on between the two of us, we've felt a bit under the pump and stressed out around here. But finally today we've got a little bit of time this weekend to have a break clean the house blog.

Things are hectic, you guys! But fortunately, they are moving forward quite smoothly and on queue. I just finished week two of c25k, I'm 10 days into my second round of the whole30, and I just got invited this week to a great work event in Sydney in two weeks. Despite the crazy, as I said to Marsh the other day, I am trying to savour and enjoy all of these things as they happen, because I know that when they are over, I'll wish there was some fun stuff going down! And I really have had/got some great opportunities coming up.

In fact, by the end of 2012:
  • I will have been to Melbourne (twice), Sydney, Canberra, Singapore, Vietnam, and Margaret River for various friendly gatherings, work events, and adventures;
  • I will have completed my Graduate Diploma (or will I have turned it into a Masters? ugh, no thanks);
  • We will have taken our show to the Melbourne Fringe (!!!);
  • I will be able to run 5km (fingers crossed);
  • We will have moved offices at work to a much closer and down right better place; and
  • My bike will be put together (more on that later).
We've even started talking about our plans for 2013, which are very exciting, but mostly I think our goals are just to have fun (with friends, family, and each other), stay healthy, and save money. As much as I'm enjoying this busy season, I'm looking forward to things winding down in the summer time and spending time with the people I love.

It's hard for me to keep my head out of the future and out of the clouds, but I am working on it, and today is a day to be present, so I'll catch you later, dudes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

on running

 Want to know a secret?
 On Monday I started the C25K and I am terrified that I will fail, which is why it's a **secret**. Let's talk about running.

My line on running has previously been that I am not a runner, never have been, and never will be. I much prefer team sports, aerobics, dancing, fitness classes... Anything form of exercise I can do that distracts me from the fact that I am exercising and gets me around people. I love to exercise in a group. When I have made little forays into running in the past, I am quick to give up. I find running hard! Physically I find it tedious, mentally I find it even more difficult, when I start to hurt and there's no real reason to keep going besides "just because" - no ball to chase, no high kicks to do, no instructor watching that's going to pound me - I just stop. Ho hum, oh well, running's not for me.

Images from
Then I read about The Colour Run on a couple of the blogs I read. Basically, it's a 5K run where, along the way, punters pelt you with coloured corn starch, and knock me down with a feather if that wasn't one of the most funtastic things I've ever seen. Even better was, a few weeks ago I found out that The Colour Run was making its way to Australia and to Perth, next February. Getting my colour on in the raddest way ever? Um, yes please! The only downside is: it's a five kilometre run and, as we know, I am not a runner. Never have been and never will be.

I thought long and hard about this and I made a decision. A decision, I must note, that is a much more determined decision than I have ever made before when it comes to running. Sure, I've made half-hearted wishful goals to run certain races but I've never seen it through, which is why I'm so scared now. But why shouldn't this be the time? Why can't I face this goal like a grown up, with a bit of grit and determination? Why shouldn't I do this now? No good reasons, etcetera, etcetera.

 This is the plan and my promise to you, Internet: With my trusty C25K app and a hand-selected playlist of optimum tracks to run to, I have begun the process and in eight weeks (around the time we leave for Melbourne Fringe), I should be running 5K. You guys, that is five kilometres and that will be a miracle. Then next February 17, two days after I turn 26 (eek, eek! bite nails!) I should be running through giant powder puffs of colour like a Smurf on acid. After all, as J-Biebs says:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

on being 25.

I had a long awaited get together with five of my oldest girlfriends last night, which was wonderful. One was freshly engaged, two others back from overseas adventures, and we were catching up. With the sharing of stories (as we snacked and sipped) came the talking of plans for the future and we all marveled at how we were now at this place: in our mid-twenties - some of us married, others getting married, others wondering how far off that will be, talking about children (one of my dearest friends confided in me yesterday, after years of being an adamant non-breeder, that kids will probably be on the cards for her), moving abroad, buying houses... Mostly this chapter is a wonderful celebration, but it comes with a bit of trepidation. Last night I said, "I don't really feel old enough to be 25."

Here are my ladies are doing shots like the classy broads they are.

Upon reflection, this is both true and not true. On one hand, does anyone ever live up to those expectations you set for yourself when you're 16? Married by 21, and a successful career/house/kids/dog by 23? I surely didn't, and I'm not sure I'm ready for marriage/kids/dog for at least a couple of years. When five couples of your friends get engaged in the past six months, this is something you need to be clear on. There's something in the air, 2012, and it's confetti-filled.

On the other hand, I feel perfectly poised on the crest of the 25 hill. When I look back at my life as it's gone, it's been awesome full! By 25, I have travelled, I have finished my bachelor's degree (and started a postgrad), I have begun a career, I have grown with my friends, learned new things, participated creatively and socially, seen the world, seen my world grow! On the other side of the hill (is that an upward or downward slope? I'm not sure) there is still a whole lot of excitement, milestones, adventure. At 25, I'm viewing it with a set of eyes that are more mature and (dare I say) ready for all of that wherever it may come.

Here's to 25, and living life at your own pace.

Friday, August 10, 2012

on blogging

Blogging. It's an idea that's been floating around in my mind for a while. I read a lot of blogs, they're the modern sitcom stories of our day, in a way. Mostly, I want to record this life I'm living. Take more photos, focus more on the positives, make my story a little bit more significant and real (to myself only) by documenting it.

What will that look like? I don't know! Hopefully it will be full of experiences, friends, family, and love. Sunshine, sparkles, and adventures. Probably some hard stuff too, but that's a part of life that has to come. Just a story about what it means to be 25 and living life in Australia, eating snacks, taking on too many projects, traveling the world, and lovin' on my boyf.

So I'm giving this a shot. Let's see how it goes!