Design for Life

Grant and Mary Featherston’s aptly titled exhibition will open on 30 June at Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen and it will be great to have some local inspiration in the depths of Winter to go and visit.  If you’re a fan of Australian modernist furniture design, this one will be good to see over the coldest months of the year – if you ever find a vintage piece yourself – they look fabulous in many of the 50s, 60s and 70s houses in Melbourne’s north-east as well as many of the Alistair Knox mudbrick homes commonly found in Eltham and its environs.

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Image via Heide

It’s quite the cultural month in that artist-in-residence John Brooks’ exhibition has opened at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre this week (with entries also being open for the upcoming A1 Darebin Art Salon) as well as the 2018 Banyule Arts and Culture Program launch and Telling Stories exhibition opening (with works from the Banyule art collection) at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space in Ivanhoe.

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Image via The Fitzroy Naturopath

As for me, I subsequently got sicker this week after dragging myself to work last week and have succumbed to a chest infection and now on antibiotics which has been no fun at all.  Needless to say, I will be taking myself back to regular classes at Cinch Training in Macleod next term in an effort to develop some strength and stamina, which has been missing from my life these past few months, and has culminated in me being the most ill I’ve been in the past five years.

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Image via Bestow Beauty

On a brighter note, I have been indulging in different cups of specialty tea the past few months instead of having coffee in the afternoon.  Two lovely brands if you can find them around which have turmeric in them include The Fitzroy Naturopath and Bestow.  If you like chai which I find particularly nice with Bonsoy milk and honey, there’s a great local brand made in Templestowe called Chai Walli, that is available from Leo’s in Heidelberg.  Stay warm and stay well my friends…I think I need a holiday!

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Image via Chai Walli
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A blaze of glory

The lady in red, aka Shaynna Blaze didn’t disappoint at today’s sold out Banyule Women in Business Lunch at The Centre Ivanhoe.  I missed last year’s lunch with keynote speaker Mia Freedman due to La Trobe University celebrating its 50th Anniversary that same day but was glad to make it to today’s event.  It was different in style to previous events I’ve been to in that it was a more casual conversation on the couch with a host instead of a more formal solo address from a lectern.

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L-R: Jane Lindsay-Waschl, Renae Barrass, Shaynna Blaze and me

After some minor technical hitches which Shaynna handled with aplomb, the discussion was a good one giving us insights into her professional journey from having run successful businesses with her then husband in her twenties along with raising two children, becoming a single parent and working as a jazz singer (and band booking agent/PR) to supplement her interior design income to being tapped on the shoulder and asked to audition for Selling Houses Australia, before having Channel 9 approach her to be a judge on The Block.  Selling Houses Australia is Foxtel’s number one show and has run for 11 years, which is a huge amount of time in media land.  It’s nice to see someone so down to earth and likeable enjoy such success.

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L-R: Nikki Ellis, me and Dani Ahimastos

I’d assembled a table including my two blog sponsors, Dani Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe and Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training and other friends including interior designer Renae Barrass, Jane Lindsay-Waschl from Admonter Floors and ceramic artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen.  Banyule Business run some great events if you are a small business owner and I was asked to do a filmed vox pop after the event which will appear sometime soon on their Facebook page.  It’s already been a long week for me so I hope I managed to cobble something half way decent to say!

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Shaynna on stage – The Centre Ivanhoe

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the local area over the past week including grabbing takeaway coffee from SixtyFive Espresso (who sell Brunetti pastries and cakes) at Greensborough Plaza to a bowling party at Oz Tenpin in nearby Bundoora.  There’s also a bit happening locally with Andrew Potocnik’s #urbansalvage #zero waste exhibition opening at Bulleen Art & Garden’s Bolin Bolin gallery tonight and the Heide Makers Market in Bulleen on Saturday.

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Oz Tenpin Bowling – Bundoora

I also picked up a brochure for the Holi Festival of Colours which is taking place at Bundoora Park this Saturday if you are staying in Melbourne for the Labour Day weekend.  I don’t know about you but I’ve had my foot to the floor since returning to work in early January and am definitely looking forward to a break this weekend.  Enjoy.img_7012.jpg

An Australian Day

I hope you had a great Australia Day long weekend.  While the date of its celebration is a vexed conversation at the moment and with great respect to the First Peoples of this land, I am a proud Australian and it was lovely to spend the day amongst friends.  One of the highlights – as cheesy as it sounds – was singing Advance Australia Fair and as a patriotic Australian, it is the one song that always gets me choked up when I reflect on what it means to me in terms of its underlying themes about fairness and egalitarianism in what is still largely a very lucky country for most.  As an Asian Australian whose great-grandparents came here with nothing, I feel nothing but gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had in my life in terms of education, a career, family and friends and I have wondered on occasion what would have become of me if they’d stayed living in abject poverty in rural China.26735116_10215737281252811_1961088983_o.pngThe highlight of the day was going for an evening swim with my family and looking up into the pink sky to see a kookaburra in the enormous tree next door – a highlight only surpassed by seeing a koala (with a gum leaf stuck to its nose) on the road near the Korumburra general store on Australia Day a number of years ago while driving with Mr Rosanna on a regional road trip.  There seems to be an influx of Australian animals at the moment as one of the best sights this summer break was Mr Rosanna and my eldest son seeing a large grey kangaroo hopping down Lower Plenty Road while picking up takeaway pizza from Pasquale M.  I’m just glad the roads were quiet!

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Pamela Speldewinde in action! (Image via Action Yoga)

A few wonder women I wanted to mention today before the madness of the school year starts.  My good friend and Iyengar Yoga teacher Nik Hills is taking a special yoga class ‘Yoga For The Girls’ to raise funds for girls’ education in Sri Lanka next Sunday afternoon at Laburnum Primary School in Blackburn.  It’s a $20 entry fee and you will see me there if you go – please email kerbarshort@gmail.com to register and BYO mat and shawl/blanket.  I am also returning to regular weekly yoga classes with Pamela Speldewinde at Action Yoga in Ivanhoe as well as training classes with Nikki Ellis at Cinch PT in Macleod and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.  They are both good indoor disciplines to take up given the heat of summer at the moment.  Stay cool!

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Nikki Ellis – Cinch Training image via Pinterest

Disclosure: Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch PT

Eat, play, love

It’s been a limp to the finish line this year and I hope you may be feeling less weary than me.  I have had a very productive year but also feel that all I’ve done is work, and there is more to life than work!  I’m lucky enough to enjoy what I do in the main and to be able to make a living from it, which is more than I can say for some people.  There are a large number of younger people with university degrees, often way more qualified than me, who find it incredibly hard to find secure employment and I have people who send me unsolicited CVs on a regular basis looking for a break.  If you are an employer, please consider taking on someone inexperienced but with the right attitude, who is prepared to work their way up.

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I also think it’s important to feel like you can be yourself in the workplace as much as we all have our professional personas, which is what being ‘authentic’ is all about.  I dislike that this word is bandied about as something outside of ourselves when its meaning is the exact opposite!  Perhaps people are too afraid of revealing their inner selves sometimes for fear that people may not like them but I often tell my children to just be themselves and as I’ve grown older, I find it refreshing to meet people who have a very natural sense of ease and openness about themselves, rather than holding up any fronts.

I’ve also become far less concerned about what other people think about me (particularly those who don’t really know me) and more concerned about what I think of myself, the things I enjoy doing, the people I like to spend my time with and what gives me a sense of peace and belonging.  I think beyond having good health, a sense of meaning in life comes from social contact, friendship and connection.  Building and maintaining relationships with the people you care about is the most important thing and I’ve said this a number of times on my blog.  Work is work, but at the end of the day, it’s the people we come back to at home and in our social life and community, that make it all worthwhile and with whom we should share the best part of ourselves.

It’s been interesting for me too, to explore what younger people are concerned about; mental illness, gender & sexuality, male privilege, climate change and sustainability, refugees and Indigenous rights, generational differences in terms of jobs, housing and the whole gamut of related issues (don’t bring up smashed avocado with Millennials) – they are a thoughtful bunch and some of these things will be covered in my Bold Thinking Series lectures next year, as well as more right-wing topics.

I have actually started exhaling and thinking about other things besides work (!) and I hope you have too.  I am extremely grateful to many people out there including my sponsors, Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod as well as Dani and Dennis Ahimastos from Hunter Lane Cafe in Rosanna – please support local businesses if you can over the summer break.  For anyone who has helped me personally or professionally this year – thank you too – it has meant a lot to me and you know who you are.  I’ll be taking a break over the next couple of weeks but wanted to wish you a safe and happy festive season – take care, enjoy the food and remember to have some fun with those you love.  All work and no play…well you know what they say!

Baby it’s magic…

The Melbourne Magic Festival is once again being held 3 – 15 July at the Northcote Town Hall and beyond and I think this would be one fun school holiday activity with the kids.  The Wind in the Willows is also being staged 14 – 15 July at the Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre in Preston with tickets available now.  I’m planning on taking my children to the Van Gogh and the Seasons exhibition at the NGV before it closes on 12 July.  There are a number of other arts activities both indoors and out, which I’ll post about later this week.

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Image via Melbourne Magic Festival

I ate my first pie and donut for the winter season over the weekend and have noticed a couple of new local places to try over the next few weeks.  Proof Pizzeria has opened recently on Burgundy Street in Heidelberg and I missed a dinner there the other week when I was ill but it looks good.  I was also speaking to some Austrian friends about the Austrian Club in West Heidelberg and if goulash doesn’t take your fancy, the sound of some of the desserts like apple strudel and chocolate cake might!

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Image via Proof Pizzeria

It’s a good thing I’ve managed to make it to semi-regular classes at Cinch PT in Macleod and I laughed on entering last Friday as my trainer Nikki Ellis always keeps things interesting – last week we did the ‘Olympics’ which was a circuit of running, rowing, long jump, high jump and archery tailored to an indoor studio environment while recent months have included being soldiers in the army and tradies week complete with tool kits to exercise with.  It’s been a lot of fun!  I think Nikki and her husband secretly like planning their themes and creating their exercise equipment and other props to suit.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is sponsored by Cinch PT

Healthy body, healthy mind

The Healthy Body Book launch at Busybird Publishing  at 118 Para Road, Montmorency is being held on Saturday 22 July from 3 – 5 pm and I’m happy to say that my sponsor Nikki Ellis from Cinch Training in Macleod is one of the co-authors!  Refreshments will be provided – admission is free but you do need to RSVP by 18 July if you’d like to come along.  This is the second book of Busybird’s Health Conscious series and Donna Campisi, author of ‘The Unlikely Marathoner’ will be launching the book.

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Image via Busybird Publishing

I made it to a morning class at Cinch today and have needed to be consistent with exercise over these colder months, particularly given I’ve had a couple of dinners out over the past week.  Mr Rosanna and I had dinner with some friends last Saturday night in the back dining area at one of my old favourites Paladarr Thai restaurant and cooking school housed in a former Art Deco bank building in Alphington. The food is still great although they do kick you out early being in a residential area – we were served our bill along with hot towels at 10pm!  Still, the duck curry and steamed fish dishes in particular are recommended.

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Nikki Ellis in action – image via Cinch Training

I spent last night catching up with an old work friend at Spanish restaurant Tinto in Burwood Road, Hawthorn and managed to snaffle a park right on Burwood Road as it was very busy when I arrived.  Tinto’s been there for a while, and like Paladarr Thai, is a warm and cosy place to go in winter – it was full house last night.  My girlfriend Kath and I shared both the smaller and medium sized dishes which included amongst other things some yummy field mushrooms, a seafood casserole and broccolini.  I did exercise some restraint and didn’t order the churros (Spanish donuts) as much as they were tempting.

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Image via Tinto

My next lecture is one for the foodies so I look forward to letting you know what that’s all about closer to the end of the month.  It’s been a very sombre week world-wide and a number of my friends and colleagues are heading to London in the coming months so I am hoping they stay safe on their travels, and you as well if travelling.

Wild and woolly

The weather has turned and it’s got cold these past few days.  I’ve been admiring the beautiful new winter collections from some of my favourite labels including Gorman, Obus, Miranda Murphy and Nancybird as well as Elk Accessories whose garage sale with up to 80% off started today and goes until Sunday.  I walked past Green with Envy in Flinders Lane on Sunday night when I was in the city and fell in love with their beautiful shop window featuring some gorgeous floral dresses by Nicholas and an amazing fresh floral display.  I was just as taken with the actual florist shop, Pollon Flowers, on the opposite side of the street whose window display was reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland but with a gold tortoise featured rather than a white rabbit.

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Evie dress image via Fashion Lane

I just wanted to mention some other upcoming markets including the Sisters’ Market in Brunswick this Sunday, Markit at Fed Square on Sunday 7 May and the Heide Mother’s Day Market in Bulleen on Saturday 13 May.

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Image via Pollon Flowers

I’m hoping to make it back to my weekly class at Cinch PT sometime soon but in the meantime my very dynamic trainer Nikki has been very busy organising the Diamond Valley United Girls Night In Pamper Night and Pop Up Market event on Friday 12 May.  I can’t quite keep up with her!  But that’s maybe what trainers do – set the bar high.

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Image via Girls Night In Facebook page

I’ll be back next week and will have another local profile ready to go.  Stay warm!