Bewitching

What a difference a decade makes. Halloween has become huge in the ‘hood over the past 5 – 10 years and local retailers and councils have all jumped on board. There’ll be trick or treating going on in a number of different places including Macleod Village from 4 – 6pm, Were Street Montmorency from 2.30 – 6.30pm, Upper Heidelberg Road in Ivanhoe from 2 – 6 pm, East Ivanhoe Village from 3.30 – 6pm and at Watsonia Village from 4 – 7pm this Thursday 31 October.

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As for me I do love the significance of the Day of the Dead and we watched the delightful Disney movie Coco at the Coburg Drive-In one New Year’s Eve and since then, have watched it a number of times – it’s one of those movies that always makes me cry.

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Speaking of all things Central American, a shout out too for local cafe The Pioneer run by El Salvadoran Australian owner (and Richmond Football Club fan!) Luis. I keep missing his amazing sounding monthly 3-course dinner events and must get to one at some stage soon. He has indeed been a pioneer in bringing his family cuisine to this area and Rosanna is all the better for having some cultural diversity.

Get up

Happy Friday people. It’s been a long week for me. I flew home from Sydney on Wednesday night and then was in the city first thing yesterday for an all day team planning workshop. It was a great exercise for the entire division looking at where we’ve come from in the past two years to now and from now looking forward to the next 5 years. We often do this professionally, I’m not sure if we do this as well personally unless we’re outsourcing to planning professionals and coaches, which not everyone can afford. That old saying about failing to plan has been ringing in my ears on a number of fronts and as I’ve got older, I’ve become better at thinking strategically although it’s been a learnt skill and I still trip up. We can all benefit from stepping back and asking why we’re doing certain things in a certain way, if we need to do them at all and if we do, how they all fit together and benefit us as a whole. Big pictures not little ones need to be drawn.

I didn’t get to see a lot of Sydney while I was there which is generally the case for work trips – it’s more the inside of your hotel room (note to self: throw in your bathers next time!) and the four walls of the conference room. I did go for a walk around Hyde Park (above) when I arrived taking in the sights including the Australian Life outdoor photography exhibition and the Night Noodle Markets set up on one side. And I wish I could say I spent time enjoying Darling Harbour – I did enjoy glimpses of the view while at networking drinks on Monday night. And while room service is often the easy option, I did venture out two different nights on my own as I was near Regent Place, which was a lot of fun and I’m sure made some of the Asia-Pacific conference goers happy.

Closer to home, my team and I had lunch at Touchstone Cafe in Macleod the other week and it’s recommended. It’s had a write up on Broadsheet and the food and coffee were great. My only criticism – and I’m not sure whether it’s a suburban or cost thing again – is the use of fake indoor plants! A pity, as someone who enjoys nature and the benefits that indoor plants bring and indeed what this whole part of the world is about.

Lots going on this weekend and I’m glad the weather looks like it is starting to warm up. The Finders Keepers Melbourne market is on this weekend if you’re wanting to start your Christmas shopping early (I already have) and I did want to mention the Marysville Jazz & Blues Festival Weekend which is also on from today. I’ve been listening to both The Teskey Brothers and The Meltdown and love that both bands are from Melbourne, and the Teskey Brothers are from Warrandyte. The north-east taking over the world…

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Oh, the places you’ll go!

You know you’re doing too much when you wake up the day you’re meant to fly to Sydney for a work conference and realise you actually haven’t booked to attend said conference. Yep, I think the post-Daylight Savings hangover caught up with me this week but it’s also the curse of modern day life trying to juggle it all and one of the balls hit the ground today.

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Needless to say, I flew to Sydney where I currently am and have been allowed to register last minute but it definitely isn’t the way to go. I’ve been very busy these the past few months with my Young Alumni plan now endorsed and programming for next year, which is still a work in progress.

Coupled with that, I’ve been helping my colleagues in the development (fundraising) team conduct face-to-face interviews with selected alumni (graduates) for further feedback before we go to market with our most ambitious fundraising campaign ever at La Trobe University. It’s actually been a fascinating process and we’ve had guidance from a New-York based consultancy which specialises in Advancement so it’s been inspiring to see where a career in Alumni Relations and Advancement can take you.

I’ve also attended recent Graduations Ceremonies hearing some fantastic occasional addresses from alumni speakers. While lawyer Sarah Fregon quoted Winnie the Pooh, Dr Annabelle Duncan quoted Dr Suess’s ‘Oh, the places you’ll go!‘. And it’s reassuring to note that even the highest achievers have not had linear paths in terms of their career journeys.  I think when you graduate and are not completely sure of what path you want to go down in a certain period of time, then post-graduate study definitely becomes a consideration.

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With that in mind, I met with and watched the Where a degree can take you panel (above) at this week’s PG Expo (Bundoora campus) featuring alumni including high profile media personality Tiffany Cherry, scientist Dr Georgia Atkin-Smith and legal digital disruptor and founder Demetrio Zema from Law Squared. All of them are highly impressive people and speakers so it’s a shame the conversation wasn’t filmed. The upcoming city event featuring motivational speaker Turia Pitt is being held on Wednesday 23 October. 

It has indeed been a busy time and given there’s now 10 weeks between now and when the University shuts down for Christmas, I’ll be sprinting to the end. Although I hope I don’t experience a brain fade as big as today’s again – it’s definitely not #allkindsofclever! Have a great week.

 

Shine On

It definitely did for the 7th annual Olivia Newton-John Wellness Walk and Research Run (WWRR) held this year in the city. Mr Rosanna and I signed up for the run last year when it was held at La Trobe University but pulled out due to sickness on the day. This year, I was joined by my colleagues in the Alumni and Advancement Office (below) as well as other staff members under the Team La Trobe banner given we are the event’s University and Research Partner.

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Me in the middle with my workmates

I caught the train in from Clifton Hill station which was full of WWRR runners and walkers including those in green wigs and matching tutus! I spied Olivia Newton-John herself (below) doing media as I entered the Alexandra Gardens so was able to get a shot up close although her minder was keeping a watch on those who strayed too far in. It was great to find my friends at the Team La Trobe tent where we were able to check in our bags before setting off on our 5km walk past the Shrine and on to the Botanical Gardens (Tan) track going anti-clockwise. There were various cheers squads and live entertainment to keep us amused along the way and yes, they did play Let’s Get Physical as well as songs from Grease during the warm up!

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While it was a bit overcast and cooler when I arrived, by the time we’d clocked half way around the Tan we were in full sun and after walking through the finish line and collecting our medals, I left the gardens in the heat of the day with the hot sun shining down.

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I have been out and about this past week celebrating birthdays with family and friends including a mid-week dinner at Spanish restaurant Nomada located just off Brunswick Street in Fitzroy. My friend Mel had tried to book Rice Paper Scissors and Transformer Fitzroy on my suggestion but I was happy we ended up at Nomada as the food was beautiful – lots of seafood and vegetarian options and delicious starters including cuttlefish on mash, fresh oysters, eel on toast tapas, prawns or slow cooked lamb with a delicious broccoli, quinoa and lime salad finished off with freshly cooked churros donuts sitting in a hot chocolate sauce – delicious! There was a bit of break in between due to two big tables of diners including ours but I would definitely go back again for a meal.

Closer to home, I finally had lunch at Stix & Stones in Lower Plenty (above and below) on another beautiful sunny day and it was also very good. The Adventure Playground is closed and apparently in the early days, you could sit outside with a picnic rug but it’s now the main internal dining space and alfresco tables and stools outside. Mr Rosanna and I actually shared a number of starters including the salt and pepper squid and pork belly along with a Greek salad and fries. We also shared the sticky date pudding dessert and the service was great – we were very much looked after by the lovely team there. I only had two small criticisms – the 90s rock music was a little loud (we had older family members with us who struggled to hear) and I wish they had real not fake indoor plants but all in all, it’s good to have a place like it located so close to home. And for those lucky enough to be seated outside amongst the gum trees, it makes for an atmospheric natural dining environment.

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It’s all happening in Lower Plenty as Shine On: A Night of Networking and Inspiration is being held at the Rosanna Golf Club on Wednesday 20 November from 7 – 9.30pm. Jules Lund is the keynote speaker and host and outside of his TV and radio commitments, he has founded TRIBE – a tech empire that connects social media influencers with leading brands. Tickets are now on sale and I’ve already got mine for the event which is being run by Banyule Business.

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