Wednesday, July 31, 2013

On Gratitude

Just popping in to share this wonderful short Ted talk I was lucky enough to stumble upon thanks to one of my friends sharing it on Facebook yesterday - 'How a penny made me feel like a millionaire'.

It's so easy to forget to practice gratitude in our every daily lives. To open Facebook in the mornings and feel pangs of jealousy at that distant acquaintance who's sailing around Croatia, or shopping in Paris, or climbing mountains in South America. Or to get on the train every day and join in with the masses staring at their mobile devices the entire journey without even thinking about just how incredible those contraptions are. Or to open the fridge and stare at the shelves of food, all the while yelling out to your boyfriend that there's simply nothing to eat.

I'm guilty of all of these scenarios. Hearing Tania's memories and the way she describes the richness of her childhood, despite living in circumstances I can't even begin to imagine, really struck a chord with me. I hope you get something out of it too.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Life of Late and Our New Toy

1. Happiness on sale at the local florist near work. 2. Watching The Matrix on our new beast. 3. Yum Cha at a farewell lunch this week. 3. Pretty blooms reminding me that winter in Sydney is not so bad.

Hello friends. It's been a bit quiet round these parts of late so I wanted to pop in and say hi. I really need to start taking more photos with my camera again and line up some more interesting posts. But for now, here's a few phone shots from recent times.

The most exciting thing to happen this week was Ben and I investing in a new fancy smart TV. Thank you tax man! It's a huge upgrade from our last one and to be honest I'm still not quite sure how to use it. Nonetheless we have enjoyed a quiet weekend at home with lots of movies, youtube dance parties (the TV plays youtube!) and back-to-back episodes of Friends (in high def!). We were planning to go out for dinner last night but our laziness got the better of us and we ended up staying home, ordering pizza and watching Jurassic Park. Just call us Nanna and Pop.

But don't worry yourselves too much, we did manage to leave the house for breakfast yesterday and a jog up to the shops this morning (for more supplies...i.e. tacos). I've also just finished a book so I feel like it's almost time for some more Friends on the big screen. It's just so shiny!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Week That Was

Wow, what a week! From the moment I walked into the office on Monday morning, things were happening at a million miles an hour. I had a few hours in the office before my colleagues and I headed to Darling Harbour to start the set up for our annual national conference at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. It was a crazy few days but also a lot of a fun and despite being absolutely exhausted by the end, I was also feeling really inspired thanks to the range of speakers I got to hear from and all the people I met. Working in the NFP/associations sector means I'm always surrounded by leaders who are achieving great things in their respective organisations and industries.
Yummy bruschetta at our team dinner on Monday.
The beautiful Sydney skyline from Darling Harbour.

A highlight at our conference is always the dinner on the second night. This year it was held at Dockside at Darling Harbour and the 400 odd guests were treated to a delicious three course meal followed by live music and dancing. After all the hard work my team had put in over the last few months, it was great to bust a few moves together and let loose. The dinner was followed by an after party at The Star where we hired out the karaoke lounge. I fulfilled my duties as chief backup dancer (from the comfort of my chair) and managed to stay out until 2am. A pretty impressive achievement, considering we'd all been working since 7.30am! Still, I was one of the first to leave and word is some of my work mates stayed out until 4am, slept for two hours then got up for a fitness session at 6am and then managed to stay awake for another full day of conferencing. Crazy cats.
Toasted marshmallows at our conference on day one!

This year we had the pleasure of hosting a group of American delegates at our conference. On Thursday, they were booked in to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge. At the last minute, my boss decided not to go which meant I was offered a free ticket to join them! Before I knew it, I was wearing an extremely attractive jump-suit and being briefed on the ins and outs of bridge-climbing. Now I've never been one to say I'm scared of heights, so I was feeling pretty chilled out. That was until I found myself climbing four very steep vertical step ladders on the edge of the bridge with the water to my left and hundreds of cars whizzing by beneath my feet. At this point I was beginning to wonder what I'd gotten myself into. Even though I was safely attached to a cable, I felt so exposed and it was like those ladders were never going to end. I eventually emerged at the top of the last ladder but was feeling quite dishevelled (in a hands shaking and sweating, short of breath, mouth completely dry kinda way). I had to talk myself out of it in order to keep on going and not let the height get to me. After all, there I was climbing one of the world's most iconic landmarks with the beautiful Sydney Harbour beneath me and skyline behind me. How lucky was I!

The rest of the climb was relatively easy as it's basically just one long stair case up to the top. At times the fear would creep back, but by the time we got to the top I was feeling so excited and the view was out of this world. We stopped for lots of photos and our guide George was full of heaps of interesting facts about the bridge and Sydney in general, much of which I had no idea about. The walk back down was much easier and we even had a chance to sit down while we waited for some of our group to have their photos taken. As I was sitting there, on top of the Harbour Bridge, the whole concept was blowing my mind. I mean, I've seen that bridge so many times now, stopped at various look-outs to take photos and driven over it at least once a week. To think I was there just chillin' on top of it was so crazy! I'm so thankful that I had this opportunity. If you ever hear me complaining about my job, just remind me that I got to climb the Harbour Bridge for free as a result of working where I do!
My workmate Alex and I looking super attractive in the full bridge-climbing gear (hats at night time? it was windy!). But hey, check out that view!!

Come Friday I was feeling a little sorry for myself thanks to aching muscles and lack of sleep. It was all worth it though and I managed to get 12 hours sleep last night so I'm feeling happy as larry. Ben and I are having a quiet weekend. We're going to do a bit of shopping this afternoon and having a movie date lined up tonight. I hope you all have a splendid weekend. xo

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Coffee Talk

I'll let you in on a little secret. I used to be a coffee hater. I couldn't stand the stuff. Ben has always been a coffee drinker and I remember him trying to get me to drink it. I'd have the tiniest sip before screwing up my face in disgust and declaring it poison!

I can't remember the exact turning point, but I think it was around the time I was doing my internship in NYC. Late nights and long days culminated in me dropping an order into the daily coffee run. Hey, everyone else was doin' it! Fast forward a few years and I'm a one-a-day kinda gal. I'm far from being a connoisseur, in fact I'm drinking a cup right now and it kinda tastes like dirt. Still, I definitely look forward to my daily injection (and usually it doesn't taste like dirt, so that's a bonus).

It's been a lazy old weekend for Benny and I. After a massive sleep in yesterday we headed to our local cafe for breakfast, then a little shopping at Myer. Ben was working nights all of last week so it was the first time we'd properly seen each other in a while, apart from a few grunts from me when he would come to bed at 2am and then a few in return when I would head off to work in the morning. I then spent my entire Saturday night watching Friends. I've just finished season four and by golly, it's good. Feel a little silly declaring Friends as good. A bit like announcing that chocolate tastes awesome! Just another example of me being late to the bandwagon.

Today has been much the same as yesterday. We took a quick trip to the shops for lunch and picked up some donuts to have for afternoon tea. Feeling a little bit naughty but it was worth it! Treat yo self is my new life motto.

Hope you all have a wonderful week! Our company has its major conference on Tuesday and Wednesday so it's going to be a busy one! We're staying in the city for two nights which will be fun. Always lots of shenanigans to be had with my work mates :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Weekend in Forster

I spent a glorious few days in Forster on the weekend, visiting my best friend Jess. I left work early on Friday to tackle the four hour drive and made it in time for a scrumptious dinner of pizzas, fries and wine at a cafe just five minutes from Jess' apartment. In fact, everything is about five minutes from her apartment, which is always such a welcome treat for this Sydney-sider. I definitely needed to slow down a little so this was the perfect solution. Jess and I don't get to see each other very often these days, so these rare opportunities are always met with great excitement, endless chatter and laughs.

On Saturday morning, Jess, her boyfriend Drew and I headed back to the same cafe for breakfast. In fact, we ended up eating four meals there throughout the weekend. It could be seen that there aren't many options, but this little place is perfect in my books. Good coffee, good food, cute decor and plenty of sunny spots to sit.

Following breakfast we headed to the Annual Forster Book Fair! We spent a good hour or so browsing the rows and rows of second hand books. I ended up coming away with a huge stack of old classics for $27. I think I got about 10 books all up!

Around lunch time, we drove out to Pacific Palms to a quiet little (nudist) beach. It was such a glorious day and I loved the chance to get outdoors and exercise a little - something I definitely don't do enough of here in Sydney. After our stroll along the beach and adventures in Instavideography, we headed to the local shops for a coffee.

Upon our return to Forster, we took Jess' new bike out for a spin down by the water. We took turns riding and running and I even had my own little personal trainer trying to whip my butt into shape (if there's one thing best friends are good for it's telling you to keep running even when you're clearly dying).
While we were out we got a call from another friend who happened to be in Forster for the night! We did a quick rally of the troops and ended up having a little shin dig back at Jess' place that night. I got to meet one of her good Forster friends and also catch up with a few others from our Newcastle days. Before long, we were in the midst of a competitive game of 'Substitute', as per the TV show 'Spicks and Specks'. If you're not familiar, this basically involves picking a song and then substituting the lyrics for a passage in a random book. It's actually quite tricky, but super fun! Next on the cards was 'Articulate', which we somehow always end up playing in Forster. Jess got super into the game and practically forced me to keep playing one-on-one, long after all the other guests had departed. Who am I kidding, I was nailing it and could have kept playing until 3am if I wasn't so tired (note: we did play it by ourselves until 2am haha).
On Sunday morning we headed back to the cafe for round two breakfast and coffee with yet another Newcastle friend who was visiting for the day. Added bonus! Annnnd we ended up staying there for lunch, too! Best paying customers that weekend, that's for sure. It was so lovely to just sit and chat for hours on end! Before long the day was growing shorter and it was time for me to journey back to the big smoke. I'm so glad I decided to make the trip - it was a perfect weekend.