Summer lovin’

Well we all got there in the end. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring all that you wish for and more. It’s not even 2019 yet but the year has already rung in changes for me and for other people including my sponsor Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna. After two years, Dani and Dennis Ahimastos have decided to hang up the apron (!) and have sold their business to new owners who will be taking over from 8 January. I was in there for my own farewell lunch last week not realising it was also farewell for them. The business will continue as Hunter Lane Cafe and staff will also be staying on so I hope those of you who are local will continue to support them.

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I also managed to drop into my other sponsor’s house party the other week – Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training – who has also had change with her business moving to a new location this year. It was lovely to celebrate with Nikki in her beautiful home full of beautiful things (she’s a woman after my own heart as a fellow antiques lover with a great eye) along with a number of her other closest clients who are also friends. I feel very lucky to know her and be included in that select group of people.

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I’ve had a massive week of ending including my own Hawaii-an themed Divisional Christmas party at the Thornbury Bowls Club which was heaps of fun! I was surprisingly better at bowls than I thought – hitting the jack on my second try but regardless, it was just a great way to say goodbye to Marketing and Recruitment at La Trobe. While I have previously been invited to lawn balls (and to trugo – another Victorian-era lawn game) – it was the first time I’d ever played. I particularly loved the group of old timers at the front bar I said g’day to who looked like characters out of the movie Crackerjack!

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I have realised this Christmas that there is much to be grateful for and I’m looking forward to an even bigger, better and brighter New Year in 2019. I would say bolder as well even though I am departing from the Bold Thinking Series and I did want to leave you with some summer listening. My very last task was to create a video of highlight speakers to be used for the Facebook advertising campaign that kicks off on Boxing Day – I hope you enjoy it and any of the podcasts that are now available from this year and last – my legacy on the series. With love from Miss Rosanna x.

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Memories and experiences

It’s Scott Pape’s take on life after his house burned to the ground in 2014 – that everything is replaceable except for these. What are your best memories of this year? For me, hands down it was our once in a lifetime trip to Greece. If I never travel overseas again, that experience was unforgettable and memorable for all the right reasons.

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Me at The Acropolis – June 2018

Life is an experience and about taking risks as we get older – something we become more averse to but with that in mind – both Mr Rosanna and I have resigned from our jobs in the past fortnight. He’s started his new job already returning to work for a former boss and I am pleased to say that I will be staying at La Trobe University but moving into the Alumni and Advancement (Fundraising and Philanthropy) Office in the new year working on the Young Alumni (5 years out from graduation) program as a Senior Communications and Engagement Officer. It’s a strategic move for me and although I’ve loved my time on the Bold Thinking Series – it’s time to hand over the baton. Both Mr Rosanna and I are of the same opinion that half a job is the job and the other half is the people you work with and we are at a stage in our lives where we are choosing our bosses – something you can do if you have a big enough network.

Interestingly, Scott Pape is a La Trobe alumnus as is Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow James Fazzino (now a Distinguished Alumnus) who gave a rousing speech to the La Trobe Senior Leadership Group at their retreat held earlier this year. One Head of Campus I work with mentioned it was ‘life-changing’. What did James talk about? At the end of the day, he said that a great leader’s legacy is culture – something people like the Richard Bransons of the world do so well. I am really hoping I have left my current team and position in a great state, that I brought everyone closer together in the time that I was there and that I was a positive and dynamic force in the office. I hope too that I will be missed! I am sad to be leaving some people behind but the best thing is that you always stay in touch if the bond of friendship is strong enough.

End of year fatigue is starting to set in and I am really looking forward to having a break over the Christmas period and to a fresh start and new beginnings in 2019.

Last drinks

Christmas celebrations are the order of the day and I had a rollicking dinner at Smith and Daughters on Tuesday night catching up with the fabulous Mo Wyse in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy where she treated us to a couple of special things including their vegan take on an arancini ball as well as a bombe Alaska dessert. It was great to see her again after the sell out Bold Thinking Series veganism lecture held in April.

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Mirka retail display – Heide Store

I’ve also had the pleasure of twice visiting Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen this week. Cafe Heide replaced Cafe Vue a while ago – the food there is still very good, and the service much better. There was one occasion I waited an hour for my lunch which was the last time I visited the cafe in its previous incarnation. Despite being fully booked inside, the meals for the dozen or so in my team came out quickly this week and I am thankful that I was able to get a booking so close to Christmas for that amount of people.

I was there again today and despite the rain, it was bustling with people in the cafe, people there to take in the Mirka Mora show and people like me buying gifts in the Heide Store (pictured above)  I hadn’t been there for a while but did not come out empty-handed! It was great to get some small things for family that have more of an artistic bent.

Heide is also holding carols there tomorrow night in the sculpture park outside with the Australian Girls Choir while the Banyule Carols by Candlelight (and Boulevard Lights) is on as well in Ivanhoe. Montsalvat in Eltham is holding its carols event on Sunday.  The Rose Street Christmas Night Market is on tonight, the Ivanhoe Makers Market is on tomorrow and the Kris Kringle Night Markets have also started at the Northcote Town Hall. Deck those halls…

O Christmas Tree

Is your Christmas tree up? We finally put ours up on the weekend and while I love the look and smell of fresh trees – we decided a long time ago to go plastic which apparently is more sustainable in the long-term (over 20 years). Either way, it seems to be a vexed question these days! I make no judgements but am over the amount of plastic we seem to have in our lives.  I now carry a glass coffee cup, glass straw and camp cutlery at work to try to minimise my impact, particularly with single-use items, but it really needs to be done at a corporate and structural level.

And while I will always be interested in fashion and clothing, I’ve also found my interest dwindling as I’ve got older, not because I don’t care about what I look like but more that I’m concerned about the amount of stuff that ends up in landfill. It really is better to buy investment pieces that will stand the test of time and  – as I say to my kids – ‘do it once, do it properly’ and I think that also applies to clothes, and other purchases, which still work and don’t necessarily need to be upgraded just because they’re not the newest or latest thing.

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Kisume image via Open Table

I do however still love dining out and Mr Rosanna and I had a special dinner out with his best friends on Saturday night at Japanese restaurant Kisume on Flinders Lane almost opposite Supernormal. The food and service were flawless and it’s a glamorous dining spot if you’re after something more upmarket. It’s not cheap – we had the $85 per head dining menu and with drinks it was $120 a head but given Mr R and I don’t get out much these days, it was worth it.

There are a couple of new places that have just been featured on Broadsheet which I’m interested in visiting at some stage.  For something more high-end, Lesa (above Embla) on Russell Street looks great and for modern Vietnamese, Sunda in Punch Lane is also on my list.  We are so spoilt for choice in Melbourne – it really has become a foodie capital.

 

Iceland in Melbourne

Mr Rosanna and I saw Icelandic musician Olafur Arnalds at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Monday night. It was our first visit to the Centre and we loved it – we met my little sister Cat for a drink at Blondie bar outside where I spied singer Clare Bowditch at another table (and who we later saw at the gig) before moving indoors into the amazing and beautiful wood-panelled interior concert space (pictured below).

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We were treated to a journey that was cinematic, orchestral, electronic and ambient all at the same time. Besides Olafur Arnalds on piano/keyboard, there was also a drummer and strings including cello, viola and violins.  The atmospheric set showcased a full sound and light show (below) with a solo encore performance by Arnalds that ended in total silence. It was an incredible experience and he has had an interesting musical apprenticeship listening to classical music as a child (my favourite song of his is Lag Fyrir Ommu dedicated to his grandmother) before being in a punk rock band in his younger years (in some ways similar to his compatriot Icelandic female singer Bjork who has always been a little bit different).

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Summer in the city is exciting – as Mr Rosanna and I walked to the Centre we were treated to a live tango performance in the Victorian Arts Centre forecourt before walking past animated light boxes outside the National Gallery of Victoria which is currently showing the newly opened Escher X Nendo: Between Two Worlds exhibition.  We exited the city close to 11pm and I couldn’t believe the amount of people still walking the streets – Melbourne really has become a bustling 24-hour metropolis.

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Victorian Arts Centre forecourt

A couple of things to mention today – the Wild About Melbourne market is coming to Rosanna Village tomorrow and my yoga friend Susie will be selling her hand poured soy candles tomorrow at the market – a good one in time for Christmas.  If you’re a fan of gin which a number of my colleagues are – the Xmas Gin Market is being held at The Craft and Co in Collingwood on Sunday.  My Uncle Peter has also worked for Yarra Valley-based Four Pillars gin and is a fan.

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Mr R outside the NGV

There’s only a couple of weeks to go before Christmas but I still have my foot flat to the floor with work and other commitments. I hope you get a chance to wind down as we approach the closing weeks of 2019 and start to reflect on the year that’s been.

 

No time for dreaming

I’ve almost reached saturation point and my brain isn’t coping with the amount of events I’ve had on over the past fortnight including two birthdays in my family, which kill me every year before Christmas.  I am hoping this week that things start to quieten down although work is still relatively busy given I’m now in planning and programming mode for 2019.

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One of the birthdays was Mr Rosanna’s and he’s always a tricky person to buy for in terms of gifts – he’s quite fussy and isn’t materialistic so I always scratch my head trying to work out something creative, experiential and personal.  I think I did well this year as I bought him the Japanese best seller The courage to be disliked (above) which a number of high-profile people have read – it’s a self-help book based on Adlerian psychology and written as a dialogue between a young man and a philosopher.  I’m looking forward to reading it after Mr R finishes it.  Some people scoff at the self-help genre but I think that the greatest power you have is to be able to change the way you think, and therefore the way you behave.  Easily said but not so easily done particularly as we get older and more set in our ways.

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I had my Irish friend Colum’s birthday a few weeks ago now and also picked a book for him – Normal People (above) a novel about two high school (and later University) students set in modern-day Dublin by Irish writer Sally Rooney which has won the Man Booker prize and she herself has become the poster girl for Millennial fiction writing.  I’ve read the Granta excerpt and it also had me intrigued so I may be borrowing Colum’s copy from him once he’s read it!

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The second part to Mr Rosanna’s birthday present from me this year was a Busybird Publishing book writing gift voucher given Mr R has actually started a manuscript for a novel.  The Busybird 2-day book writing boot camp is being held 26 – 28 April next year at Busybird HQ in Montmorency so would make a great Christmas present to anyone in your life who has put writing a book down on their bucket list.

We are slowly coming to the end of the year and I hope you’re also starting to wind down, reflect on the year that’s been and plan for the year ahead.  You can dream but if there’s no plan behind it to action in a certain amount of time, then a dream remains a dream.