Week in Review 160214

My sister (courtesy of her boyfriend) has been getting into juice. Every morning she takes out the blender and throws in whatever fruits she finds around the house, adds a handful of kale or spinach and presto! Not exactly a “juice” but it’s mashed up fruit with skins retaining all the good stuff. No part is left out except for the pips of course.

Mamasita sweetcorn ice cream

This week was a little more about catching up with friends and appointments and a little bit of shopping. I caught up with my best buds over Thai food and cocktails on Wednesday night, but before that I had a pre-dinner meal with my friend because he was hungry and couldn’t wait for the other friend to arrive. Haha. So for pre-dinner we went to Mamasita‘s and even had dessert of sweetcorn ice-cream with caramelised popcorn which was delicious… definitely reached food overload after having two dinners.

Taco Truck

There’s definitely more food trucks popping up around Melbourne lately and there are people who treat it like a sport- stalking the Facebook pages to see where the truck will be next. My friend took me to a taco truck where we had prawn and lamb tacos, which were okay coming from a truck but definitely needed more chilli.

I’m going to go run off and relax a little bit. I have a friend’s party tonight at a bar and am still recovering from going out last night!

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend! … I start the Graphic Design course on Monday! :D

Golden Fields

It was a hot Summer’s day in Melbourne, day 6 of a heat wave and we were craving lobster. A quick google search landed us at Golden Fields in St Kilda.

Golden Fields homemade lemonade

Nothing beats homemade lemonade on a hot 40′C day. It’s a pity we don’t have this as a regular on menus in Australian restaurants. Here lemonade means “Sprite”, “Solo”, etc. As I learnt in the States lemonade means “freshly squeezed lemon juice”.

Golden Fields Beef Brisket

Started with the days special which was beef brisket, coriander, peanut in a chili sauce. Refreshing.

Golden Fields Lobster Roll

The long awaited lobster rolls. There were small, about 10 cm of a buttered bun filled with poached crayfish, kewpie mayo and watercress. It was okay, didn’t quite satisfy the craving.

Golden Fields duck

This was our favourite dish of the meal. Crispy twice cooked duck accompanied with steamed bread, plum sauce and vinegar.

Golden Fields duck

Not quite peking duck but it was still different and delicious. The duck fell off the bone nicely.

Golden Fields fried chicken

Garlic, ginger and sticky soy fried chicken. My friend loves his fried chicken so we had to try. I enjoyed the crispiness of the skin and the stickiness of the sauce however my friend wasn’t too impressed.

Overall I enjoyed the experience and would go again. We were surprised that the menu had a lot of Asian influences which added a nice flare. The place opens conveniently from 12pm to 12am everyday except Mondays, and is in a nice location so maybe I’ll grab a few friends to come by next time.

Golden Fields on Urbanspoon

Oaxaca markets

Oaxaca Market Flowers

The girls and I could spend hours in the markets in Oaxaca. A labyrinth of cute knick knacks, spices, meats, breads, flowers, fabric, costumes, jewels and grasshoppers (seasoned with chilli and lime of course)! Every time we went back we found a new route, a new store, another skull! By the end of the trip everyone loved skulls. The Mexicans really know how to make skulls “cute” and “gorgeous”!

Oaxaca markets

Vibrant wooden handcrafts. We later get to go to the home of an artist to watch them carve and paint these.

Oaxaca sugar skulls

Candy skulls; sugar, chocolate and sesame. Our tour guide explained that people bought/made them and put their beloved names on the back to represent them on the altar. After the festival ends, the sugar skulls are given to children or friends and relatives. It is believed the sweetness disappears by then because the dead of taken all the nutrients/taste when they came to visit. When children eat these it’s almost like “laughing in the face of death.”

Oaxaca Mexico Sugar Skulls

I bought a candy skull with pink decor to represent my grandmother on my mother’s side.

Oaxaca Mexico Skull figurines

Cute skull figurines everywhere we went. Dressed in every day clothes to festive wear and sometimes in awkward sexual positions!

Oaxaca Market Chili

Every Mexican dish needs chilli!

Oaxaca Market Cacao

Cacao beans at a “chocolate” factory. We saw them grind the beans and turn them into chocolate.

Oaxaca Main Square Balloon seller

I loved the balloon stores around the city, especially around the main square. So tempted to buy a bouquet of balloons!

Oaxaca Market Bread

Bread with blessings on them :)

Oaxaca Markets

And of course the clothes. Some of the women in the tour group purchase beautiful tradition costume while others bought skeleton suits and sparkly wings to accompany their skull painted faces for the Day of the Dead parades. Next post- Day of the Dead festivities!

Week In Review 090214

Summer fruits

My Mum has a knack for picking fresh and juicy fruits so when it is Summer time our house is spoiled with choice. I’ve been munching on rockmelon all week!

So this was my first week of “unemployment” (as my friends like to endearingly term it) and I’m proud to say it’s been productive. It’s still weird knowing I won’t be stepping into a hospital or be called Doctor for at least another 6 months but it’s also a bit of a relief to have a break from all that. I’ve been cleaning and organising; it’s funny how much time I spend looking after people at work and how little I do on myself. I had piles of financial paperwork, receipts, insurance, bills sprawled out on my desk and that took me 2+ hours to file them into “appropriate” folders. Also sorting through my clothes and dividing them into “sell on Ebay” and “donate” has been crazy but it’s a good feeling to step into this year a little bit more organised and less “cluttered.”

Golden Fields Lobster rolles

On a 40′C day my friend and I went to St Kilda for lobster rolls and then escaped the heat to watch Robocop, which was really enjoyable. Anything involving the debate of human and machine tugs at my heart-strings.

I hope to travel in the middle of this year and I’ve been looking through travel sites and magazines. I’m dreaming of a sailing through the Greek Islands or wandering the beautiful streets of Eastern Europe. There is a tour which starts from Hungary through to Bulgaria, Romania and ends in Turkey which sounds amazing! I’ll be visiting the travel agent this week to collect more information.

A week left until I start my Graphic Design course! I’ve been receiving emails from the college HQ and it’s becoming real! The course suggests purchasing an Apple computer or laptop which I have yet to decide. I own an ASUS 15 inch laptop and it works reasonably well so I’m not sure if purchasing another laptop is ideal, though it is more portable if I want to take it to class or elsewhere. Ahh decisions! :p

Have a wonderful weekend! xx

First impressions of Oaxaca, Mexico

Oaxaca Mexico school bus

I remember the excitement which filled me as I stepped out of the plane onto Oaxaca, Mexico. The tiredness and anxiety I had as I rushed from a dinner to the airport in San Francisco, to another plane in Mexico City immediately subsided. The tour I had booked had organised transport to pick me up from the airport which was also a good opportunity to meet the tour guides because they had just flown in from Mexico City and Cancun. (By the way, above is a school bus; isn’t it the coolest thing?)

Oaxaca, Mexico Hotel Casantica

I immediately fell in love with the colours and the architecture of the city. My tour guide was a local and you could immediately tell that she loved her country and was extremely excited to share it. She added that Oaxaca was the best place to get an “intro to Mexican life and culture” as it is the art and cultural hub.

Hotel Casantica

I stayed at the Hotel Casantica which used to be an old convent and is only a block away from the main square. The tour organised shared rooms, however since I arrived a day early I had to organise my own accommodation and the only room available was the Master Suite. So for 24 hours I lived a life of luxury, haha! If I had known I would’ve stayed in the Suite longer, the price is cheaper than many 3 star hotels here or in the States!

Oaxaca Cathedral, Mexico

After fumbling my way through Spanish and grabbing a bite to eat I decided to go on a wander along the streets. I walked down to the main square which is watched over by the Cathedral. I sat on the steps eating pastries and people watched.

Oaxaca Cathedral flowers

The Cathedral doors were framed with beautiful flowers, all in preparation for the Day of the Dead festival. There was a definite excitement in the air.

Oaxaca Mexico

Santo Domingo Oaxaca Mexico

This is around my favourite church in Oaxaca, Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman. It has beautiful gold interiors and there’s a museum in the former convent. I was fortunate enough to witness a wedding whilst I was there.

Oaxaca Mexico

Colourful and beautiful hotels and restaurants surround the main square.

Oaxaca Mexico

Another old church turned museum now hotel.

Oaxaca Mexico

I just love the colours! I sent these photos back home and my sister responded “It looks so Mexican!” Haha.

Oaxaca Mexico

I was a little nervous how the quality of these photos will turn out because they were taken with my iPhone (I had lost my camera in Las Vegas; that’s another story), but I’m pleasantly happy with them. I enjoy wandering the streets of any unknown city and Oaxaca had a surprise on every corner. I can’t wait to show you what this beautiful city looked like when they celebrate their biggest festival!

Organising free time

One of the main concerns I had for taking a year off work was the amount of “free time” I’d have. I’m a creature who relied heavily on work for distraction; distraction from relationship woes, finances, cleaning and most importantly, distraction from the voice inside my head. I could easily see myself slipping into a couch potato and wallowing in my thoughts and potato crisps and chocolate.

So I made a vow that this time off was going to be a productive one. In one a half weeks I’ll be a full-time student again, but from now until then I don’t want to be on the couch. So from day 1 I took out my spanking new 2014 Moleskine and wrote a “To Do List” everyday. It’s day 4 and it’s so far so good. A short list of small tasks and goals; something as simple as “organise a dinner for Friday night” or “pay phone bill” or “organise my make up” is perfect.  I have about 4-5 tasks a day ranging from quick phone calls, 30 minute work outs to 2 hours of cleaning. I try to be specific and not put all the horrible chores in one day or I’ll never get out of bed to do it!

Of course it’s not all about “doing chores and tasks”- this will bore one to death! Take time to indulge in what you enjoy; I’ve watched Naruto, snapped photos, sketched, watched TV and gone out with friends these last few days. You can also put them on your “To Do List” too! After all it is my time off, so besides catching up on long-lost “things to do”, it’s also time to catch up on those passions and hobbies which have been missed.

So if you’re like me who needs a little kick-start, a “To Do List” puts direction in my day and crossing off those tasks gives a sense of achievement, even it’s only little.