Sydney notes

27 March 2017

How was your weekend? I worked a half day on Friday so we could drive to Sydney and see my cousin in a play. We're still talking about it days later! There was also time to check out a fun burger joint and join a family reunion. Here are some pics:

By the time we reached Sydney, we had just enough time to deliver one of Tony's paintings and order a spicy pizza before the play. My cousin Max joined us to see Chimerica, which imagines the life of the man from this iconic image, taken a day after the Tiananmen Square massacre. Our cousin Monica was in the play and it was a profoundly moving production that I am still processing. This week I'm going to check out this documentary.

We were up early the next morning so we could take a yoga class with Tony's mum on her birthday. We also caught up with Tony's friends James and Kate for breakfast at the Camperdown Commons. Sydney is changing so quickly!

I've been wanting to try Ume burgers for ages (after seeing Lee Tran Lam's visits) and we made it to Bar Ume in Surry Hills for lunch on Saturday. It had a cosy atmosphere, great tunes and hot chips with umami salt! Next time I want to try the spin-off at Barangaroo so I can try the fish burger and sample the soft serve :)

And on Sunday we joined a massive family reunion in Centennial Park. The picnic used to be an annual affair (Kylie Kwong showed up one year!) but there hasn't been a gathering for close to a decade.

I brought a pile of sweets from Black Star Pastry but the real hero was my aunt Elaine who shared glazed drumsticks and my favourite chicken noodles. It was crazy to see so many relatives - there were more than 80 of us all up. We stayed for lunch, a few games of badminton and the family photo before driving back to Canberra. We made it home in record time and we think that's the last of our crazy weekends for a little while :)

Weekend links

24 March 2017

I had a cold this week and am feeling better just in time for the weekend :) While I was home sick, I liked a lot of things on Facebook, listened to the final episode of Missing Richard Simmons and ordered a bunch of  new books! We're heading to Sydney this weekend to see a play and wish my brother and his wife the best of luck before they move to London. Here's this week in links:

How to survive the modern office.

Sourdough FAQ.

A new online journal about "Asian-Australians doing good things".

An incredible episode of Death, Sex & Money - "I was your father until I wasn't".

How to host a simple dinner party.

Hi Stranger (weird but worth it!).

Ask a grown up (you can watch the addictive videos here. Beth Ditto is the best).

P.S The cover image of Julie Koh's Portable Curiosities is currently in Canberra as neon lights!

Wardrobe update

22 March 2017

A funny thing happens when I move to a new place - I get confused about my personal style. When I arrived in Wagga Wagga, I traded dresses with giant cat faces on them for t-shirts and jeans, just so I wouldn't stand out. Then when we moved to Canberra, I was on a mission to find a pencil skirt to suit my new (and much dressier) office.

It usually takes a good year to work out the climate and come back to clothes that I genuinely love to wear. That moment in Canberra was the purchase of this chihuahua shirt from Zara. I wear it to work with these secretly stretchy blank pants and pink flats. And on the weekends, I wear it with jeans and white sneakers. I make so many friends when I'm wearing it :)

My new aim is to have a wardrobe full of clothes I'd be happy to wear anywhere, instead of a separate work wardrobe that isn't quite me.

Here's my latest purchase, a linen top that I've been eyeballing for ages from Canberra brand Hunter. Inspired by my friend Angie, I went along to a sample sale and picked it up for less than half price. It was the last one and I wore it out to dinner that night.

P.S - I'm still buying a new dress every second season. I love this one for autumn/winter but may be a little short for it :)

Little things

19 March 2017

What's on your mind these days? I've been thinking about how few cards there are for same-sex couples. Here's a great round up of wedding cards, this one's from Hello Lucky. Also on my mind:

I'm really good at reaching for fruit throughout the day but I am terrible at eating my greens. I've started adding three different types of veggies to my work lunches. Lately I've been throwing chopped avocado, tomato and rocket into leftover tomato pasta. It becomes salad pasta!

I'm listening to Pregnant Pause with Zak and Shira, a podcast about a couple deciding whether or not to have kids. Pretty soon after Tony and I were married, people started asking us if we were going to have kids (and when). The jury's still out but being in our thirties, it's something talk about often.

And I've been thinking about the importance of the handshake. Seeing Angela Merkel be ignored by Donald Trump reminded me of all the times I've seen men only offer their hand to other male colleagues. These days I will always initiate a handshake if I'm overlooked.

Weekend links

17 March 2017

We're prepping for another busy weekend - both sets of parents will be in town to see Tony's exhibition and attend an artist talk that I'm moderating :) We'll also be celebrating two birthdays and going to XO for dinner. Have a fun weekend:

A tiny book of tiny pleasures.

Going to get into this reading list.

A Japanese beauty trick.

Can't wait to make these noodles next week.

A first radio story that's touching and mind boggling too.

Save the date!

"I got the job because I'm Asian".

In a grumpy mood?

Powerful words about suicide and growing up.

And the secret plan for the days after the Queen's death via Siobhan.

Thursday's cake

16 March 2017

This week called for a chocolate loaf, hazelnut Lindt balls and a few nights in front of the TV. I blame it on the rainy days and the fact that I miss my sister!

While she was in town, I gave her a copy of Lunch Lady. The latest issue is especially great, it has a burger section and a thought provoking interview with oncologist and refugee advocate Ranjana Srivastava.

I especially liked her advice on being happy: "Work hard at finding a job that feels like a vocation. Cultivate a still, reflective mind. Regard live as a gift and death as inevitable. While it's impossible to do good every single day, live everyday mindfully so that you may learn from your mistakes."

This morning I set my alarm an hour earlier so I could look at the hot air balloons. Canberra has an annual festival :) It was cloudy and grey but there were so many people out, ready to take it all in. Hope you're having a good week!

Long weekend fun

14 March 2017

How good are long weekends? This one was especially memorable, we had my family round for dinner and celebrated the wedding of two special men. Here are a few pics from my phone:

On Saturday we went to the best wedding - it was heartfelt and fun. Our friends James and Andy had their mothers walk them down the aisle (to applause!) and the grooms signed a petition for same sex marriage at the end of the ceremony. The guests did too. Love is love - here's one way to show your support.

We went to a cute wine bar for the reception and they served fries late in the night, just as everyone was starting to dance. I am still limping from dancing in silly shoes. It was worth it :)

My sister, brother-in-law and their two kids arrived in Canberra on Sunday night, on their way back from the Snowy Mountains. I made the quickest lasagna (with store-bought lasagna sheets) and picked up some special dessert supplies. My niece was impressed.

The next day we iced cookies, paid a visit to Tony's exhibition and went out for Korean food.

And somewhere in between we made one last trip to the night noodle markets for loaded fries and creme brulee ice cream. I picked up a few treats from the Mr Kitly pop up shop and made it to my favourite farmer's markets too. It was back to work today, I felt well rested and inspired by all of the good things in life.