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This is now

I started this blog in 2011 when I was at home with two toddlers desperately seeking some inspiration.  In the absence of finding anything local, Miss Rosanna was born.

Since then, I’ve developed a loyal following of readers interested in arts, culture, local events and people.  I’ve found work, created an online community and become real-life friends with people I first met in the virtual world – things which I never expected when I created Miss Rosanna all those years ago.

In the intervening years, I started freelancing as a marketing consultant and copywriter for small businesses including Avant Card, The Light Factory Gallery (now Second Home Eltham) and Wendy’s Music.  I am still friends with my clients today (and still work for some of them!).

I’ve also had the opportunity to write for The Weekly Review and speak at local events as well as work in a voluntary capacity with arts and culture organisations including the Banyule Arts and Culture Advisory Committee, Heide Museum of Modern Art and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.

Life has been rewarding and last year I started contracting part-time at La Trobe University handling the Bold Thinking Series of public lectures in their inaugural year – something which will continue this year in 2017 as the University celebrates its 50th Anniversary.

To this end, I thought that I would re-launch the Miss Rosanna blog to celebrate the new year, and a new journey ahead for me and for you, as my readers.  I hope we can share lots of adventures together, which is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place.  There’s not a lot of point knowing things if those around you don’t benefit as well.  I wish you love and light in 2017 – here’s to a new year and a new start for all of us.img_5103

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Lost in Yonkers

The stage play by Neil Simon about the story of two brothers in Brooklyn opens tonight at the Heidelberg Theatre Company in Turnham Street Rosanna. I’ve not yet made it to the theatre in all the time I’ve lived in Rosanna although I will be going to see Into the Woods which opens at Ivanhoe Grammar School next month. New York is still a dream destination of mine and I will be forever regretful I never made it there for work when I was in my mid-twenties working for beauty company Aveda whose headquarters were in Minneapolis but PR done out of New York. Different times and the world has changed since then to become a lot more globalised.

I’ve had to learn at least four different types of online platforms and databases since starting my new job which has involved zoom meetings (similar to Skype and FaceTime) and live webinars with people based in the US. Welcome to the new age of working. Mr Rosanna meanwhile is working on a large-scale IT project with Indian nationals based here and in Pune, India as well as Rotterdam and elsewhere in the world. I can’t quite keep up…

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While we’ve entered a new chapter in our lives and it’s been busy, we have continued to play house and bought a vintage Danish mid-century chair (above) for the TV room at Grandfather’s Axe in Northcote last weekend. If we ever renovate or move to a larger house I can see myself going back there for more living room furniture! It’s also been good to speak to builder friends about different ways to come at the same issue – instead of a skylight, we’ve been advised to add a new window instead (for more natural light) which makes more sense but sometimes gets lost in the detail. I did drive past a brand new Bunnings store about to open on Darebin Road in Fairfield and I seem to spend a lot of time at Bunnings. I’m sure that many of you in this area do too judging from all the activity I see on the street and in my neighbourhood. My fellow mid-century lover and local interior designer friend Renae Barrass was also commenting that she tends to get busier whenever there’s a downturn in the real estate market as more people decide to stay put and renovate.

I’m still celebrating Lunar New Year with my family and there are events on at Greensborough Town Square and the Bell Street Mall in Heidelberg West tonight and tomorrow if you’d like to welcome in the Year of the Pig. Have a good one.

The guilty feminist

It’s the hugely popular comedy podcast that a number of my friends and colleagues listen to and it’s being recorded live at The Thornbury Theatre on Saturday night if you’re interested in going. They’ve had some big names in the past and for a media and marketing person like me – it’s been interesting to witness the exponential rise of podcasts in Australia and globally over the past few years. In many ways, I think they’ve taken the place of live radio and are a more intimate channel for communication given it’s voices you are listening to.

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Speaking of women, tickets are on sale for the Banyule Women in Business lunch (above) with KeepCup co-founder Abigail Forsyth at the Rosanna Golf Club on Friday 22 March and they were down to their last 24 tickets when I booked yesterday! There are still tables of 10 available if you’re interested in hosting a group and it’s a great networking opportunity if you are a local business owner. Mr Rosanna and I both know Abigail’s brother and co-owner Jamie whom we last ran into, of all places, at the airport on our return flight home from Athens last year. I believe they are now looking into takeaway plastic containers with a similar eye and I applaud them for tackling the issue from an environmental perspective – single use plastic items are a scourge.

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If you are a home-based business, Banyule Council is actually running a business networking survey if you’ve got a spare 5 – 10 minutes to submit your response (and go into the draw to win a gift voucher or iPad mini). It can get lonely working on your own and as a past freelancer, I used to look forward to my client visits for that very reason as well as the opportunity to meet other like-minded people in small businesses who are often the lifeblood of local communities like ours.

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A few other things to mention today – Mr Rosanna and I are now on the hunt for a mid-century armchair and if you’ve got a piece you’re interested in re-upholstering, then Carlo’s Upholstery in Thornbury was recommended to us by Philip Syber from Contemporary Vintage. I’ve not bought any clothes for a while but I’ve been enjoying looking at some of Kloke’s new season arrivals (images pictured above and below from Kloke website) and they are having a studio sample sale tomorrow in Collingwood.

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Finally, This is not a drill sustainable furniture show featuring pieces from some of the Banyule Art Collection opened at Hatch Contemporary Art Space yesterday and would be a good one to visit if you’re in Ivanhoe. I did take my new team in for lunch at Pinkie on Tuesday but didn’t get a chance to pop my head in.

Oink oink!

The Lunar New Year of the Pig is about to trot in next Tuesday and if you’ve had a false start to the year – here’s your chance to start all over again. My trainer Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Heidelberg Heights has signed up for FebFast and laid down the gauntlet for all her clients to do the same – and not just for alcohol but sugar, screens and anything else you may be better off reducing in your life.

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It is the Year of the Pig and I’ve bought a set of commemorative gold coins (above) from the Australian Mint as a keepsake gift – the Asian in me couldn’t help myself. Unlike western astrology, pigs are a symbol of wealth in Chinese culture and pig people are known for their beautiful personalities and good fortune in life – lucky you if you were born in the Year of the Pig or know someone who will be born this year.

My past week has been a whirlwind with the return to school and extra-curricular activities on top of a new job although I suspect we’ll be feeling it more next week once we complete a whole 7 days – it sure is busy and one part of me is always a bit incredulous that kids start school at the hottest time of the year. I guess there’s no getting around the weather in Melbourne no matter what you do.

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One of the highlights has been taking delivery of our art deco cabinet (above in our somewhat dark room) from Contemporary Vintage in Alphington and it now taking pride of place in our formal living room. However – the thing with getting ‘new’ pieces for home sometimes has a knock on effect and you realise other things around it need to be replaced or upgraded. In our case, the painting which hung about our old cabinet is now too small so we’re now on the hunt for a new painting which will be more in scale. Speaking of which, one of the work highlights for me is finding out my new building houses some of the La Trobe Art Institute collection including a Sidney Nolan painting that I walk past every day. I did manage to have a quick chat yesterday with the acting LAI Director Sandra Bruce and hope to catch up with her at some stage soon.

Speaking of Heide artists, Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen is holding a Showtime Night Market tonight, a Date Night x Midsumma on 10 February in the Heart Garden near Heide I as well as Art by Twilight on 16 February. It is very calming to spend time in galleries around art as well as in nature so enjoy if you make it there. Happy New Year!

 

The A Team

If you’re returning to school or work this week, then good luck! If it’s a week of firsts for you like it is in my family, then I will be thinking of you.

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Lunching at Hunter Lane Cafe last week

I started my new job in the La Trobe Alumni and Advancement Office last week and my head is still spinning. It will take me some time to get myself up to speed but already my remit is fairly clear – increasing engagement with Young Alumni (FYI graduate = alumni) as they transition from first, second and third year University students to their first 3 – 5 years post-graduation and helping them on their employment journey in particular – a big focus for me will be work integrated learning (internships and other work experience) and mentoring as well as promoting the Alumni Benefits program which includes exclusive access to LinkedIn Learning for La Trobe Alumni – short online courses to help you skill up quickly and in your own time.

It’s a new portfolio but one that makes a lot of sense and I’m hoping to hit the ground running given I’m already internal – it’s made things a lot easier being familiar with systems and processes as well as people and if you are starting out, mid-career or well entrenched in your chosen career – the power of the network is something that will stand you in good stead. Don’t be afraid to reach out for a coffee and chat with someone new – most people are happy to give you 30-60 minutes of their time.

I work in a fantastic Alumni Relations team who look after alumni in Australia and internationally from Young Alumni (generally graduates Under 35 years) to those with the honour of being awarded Distinguished Alumni. I also work with colleagues in the fundraising (or development) area who work with donors (who may or may not be alumni) looking at philanthropy, grants, bequests and other donations to the University and stewardship of those who have donated their time or money to worthy causes such as scholarships and life-saving or life changing research. It’s a fascinating area if you’re interested in the giving space and collectively Alumni and Fundraising (Development) is known as Advancement. A specialist data services team also supports both areas in my office so it will take me a little while to meet everyone and deepen my understanding of what they do and how all the pieces fit together.

I knew most of the people in my current area before applying for my role and that was part of the allure for me – known quantities whose good reputations preceded them and that’s been reinforced for me now working in that team. Natural affinity isn’t something that can be manufactured but is so important in the work force and in life in terms of ongoing relationships.

In my first week on the job I also managed to have three work lunches locally with my first ever team lunch being held at the aptly named The A Team Kitchen in Watsonia (run by the former owners of Miss Marie Cafe in Rosanna), Hunter Lane Cafe (now with new owners but staff have remained) as well as The Pioneer Cafe in Rosanna – none of which were here when I moved into the area just over 10 years ago. It’s been a welcome change and a sign of the times. I’m very glad to have joined the A team! Have a great week.

 

Design for life

While general de-cluttering, entertaining small people and administrative tasks have taken up a lot of my time the past fortnight, it’s been fun doing a bit of interior decorating as well.

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I have a second floating shelf this time in my kitchen which deflects some attention away from unsightly electricity cabling and wiring in the wall. My Christmas presents from Mr Rosanna are taking pride of place on said shelf – a long wished for Alessi kettle as well as a Model One radio by Tivoli Audio – both of them design keepsakes. Digital radio is all the rage now but I’m still pretty old school…I just hope I don’t kill my new succulent plant (Mistletoe Cactus) from Bulleen Art and Garden as I have a tendency to over water.

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We’ve also taken delivery of some ACME coffee cups (pictured above) that are designed in New Zealand and used at many cafes in Melbourne and around Australia. Speaking of which, I caught up with my besties on Saturday morning at Admiral Cheng Ho cafe in Abbotsford not realising it was plant-based food so no eggs for brunch! It’s been there for a number of years and does serve dairy-based coffee so I made do with a cafe latte as well as one of their excellent muffins. It’s the sister cafe to Monk Bodhi Dharma in St Kilda so one for the vegan crowd.

Mr Rosanna and I met up with some local friends at Prosciutto Bros in Eltham last night – finally making it there for some weekend pizzas (and craft beers in his case). It’s not one for the vegans with lots of preserved and other meats mainly on offer (!) although there were a few vegetarian options in terms of pizza and gnocchi. The retro music was a tad loud when I entered the building (boy I’m showing my age) but subsequently turned down so we could hear ourselves talk by the time our pizzas arrived. Our friends who are Eltham locals gave the place a 9/10 for Eltham (which they said makes it a 7/10 for Melbourne) but still I’m pretty glad to have somewhere like it in the northeastern suburbs – we are a little starved of more urban-looking and feeling places to go, particularly at night-time, out this way.

 

 

Food glorious food

Multi-cultural dining is one of the best things about living in Melbourne. My sisters live in the west so have easy access to Vietnamese and African food, which I’m a little envious about living here in the north-east where it’s less diverse. I took the kids into the city last week to visit Mr Rosanna and we had lunch at Ippudo – the famous Japanese ramen noodle chain which opened its Melbourne outpost last April.

Luckily we didn’t have to queue and the service was impressive with the Manager coming up to have a personal chat with us about the restaurant and how we had found out about it. My kids loved the pork buns while Mr R and I both had the ramen (of course!) – I opted for the vegetarian version while Mr R had the spicy (mild) option with meat. They were both delicious and I think if you go the full spicy option, your mouth will be burning!

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I zipped through the city shopping for the kids ending up at All Star Comics on Queen Street which is a must if you have a comic book fan in your household. The art deco furnishings and vintage toys they have on display are a highlight and there are two levels to check out. I had to look longingly at shop windows on our city sojourn including Royal St Collins, a more modern version of the Hopetoun Tea Rooms which looks like a lovely place to have breakfast, morning or afternoon tea (pictured above).

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Freshly caught squid drying in the sun – Naxos

I promised ages ago that I would post about our Greek food experience last year and with the hot weather upon us this week, now is probably a good time to expand. We had Greek salads almost every day when we were in Greece which come in many different versions and include local sour cheese and locally grown capers as well as different types of tomatoes that were bursting with flavour. Mr R has never been a huge fan of tomatoes but the Grecian tomatoes have converted him.

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Home made chicken pie – Souros Beach, Paros

There’s also a Cretan dish known as Dakos consisting of tomatoes, cheese and herbs atop soaked dried bread or barley rusk but I didn’t love it as much as a good Greek salad on its own. Surprisingly for us, lamb is expensive (and scarce) in Greece so more pork and chicken (including rooster), as well as rabbit and goat, are eaten in terms of meat. Seafood including squid and octopus is plentiful and the market price per weight is shown in Euro for fresh fish.

Our pescatarian travel mates also loved the vegetarian options available including dishes including big beans, Greek fava (made from fava beans) and home-made made tzatziki and Greek yoghurt. Besides standard Greek desserts like baklava, freshly made loukoumades (Greek donuts) drizzled with honey and cinnamon were also a highlight as well as the donut ice cream cones that were on offer at one Greek dessert store in Paros (pictured below).

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I only ever saw one Japanese sushi place on the island when we were there – everything else was Greek and by Day 20 of our trip throughout the Cycladic Islands, we were craving other options. I remember similarly in Vietnam when I was there many years ago, Mr R and I seeking an American-style burger joint by the time we got to Saigon in the south 5 weeks into our trip and a little spring-rolled out by that stage.

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Al fresco dining in Paros town main square

If you’re back at work this week, I hope you are taking it easy in the heat and lucky you if you’re at the beach or by a pool!

Fashion rules

Well there are no rules in fashion but fashion rules forever in my book! Speaking of which, it’s a little early but there are two local events happening as part of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF) 2019 including the Gorman: Ten years of Collaborating garment exhibition (image below) at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen starting 5 March. Even better tickets are on sale for the Gorman runway evening show at Heide on Saturday 2 March if you want to see fashions in the field (outdoor sculpture garden) instead of on the field.

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Gorman has collaborated with a number of different artists who’ve worked with Gorman over the past 10 years including Rachel Castle, Elke Kramer, Rhys Lee, Ellie Malin, Mirka Mora and Miranda Skoczek to name but a few. The garments will be shown alongside the artworks which inspired them so a fantastic show for the fashionistas out there.

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Local designer Estelle Michaelides is madly putting her Micky in the Van Autumn/Winter 2019 collection together (pictured above) to also show on Saturday 2 March at 2pm at the Rivoli Cinemas in Hawthorn as part of VAMFF. It’s great to see some creativity being used to show fashion in unexpected venues this year. Once upon a long time ago when I first worked in fashion PR, I boarded a mystery train trip out to a secret warehouse location in Maribyrnong to see supermodel Linda Evangelista in action as part of the first ever Melbourne Fashion Festival – they were exciting times.

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Speaking of Heide, the Heide Makers Market is on tomorrow and you’ll see my ceramic artist friend Lene Kuhl Jakobsen selling her wares there if you’re going. I have a number of Lene’s pieces on display (above) in my home – they look particularly great on a floating shelf if you have the space although probably better without computer paraphernalia!