SF & Canada 2014

What a weekend - I had florist duties for my friend’s wedding so it’s been a jam packed past few days. Photos to come once I get a hold of the official ones! Meanwhile….. exciting times ahead!

In a week’s time, I’ll be in San Francisco, yay!

san-francisco

Last time I was there was in October last year and it was a blast, so it’s exciting to return again to the lovely city.

The company that I work for during the day holds an annual conference for its users and customers in the US. Typically, it’s held in San Francisco but this year it’ll be in San Jose and I’ll be going for this. After the event wraps up by end of next week, I’ll be heading back to SF and settling down there for a week working from the office.

In my usual ‘try to do as much as I can’ spirit, I’ve already started to put together a list of shops and sights to tackle whilst I’m there… This year it includes places I’ve missed in the past like the Presidio, Conservatory of Flowers, Twin Peaks, In & Out (are the burgers really that good? I have to find out!) and naturally places I can’t wait to return to such as Madewell (!!!!!!), Hayes Valley shops, Bernal Heights and Crepevine (so delicious).

This year’s trip will also be a little bit more exciting as Gareth will be joining me for the second half. It will be his first time in the USA too, so I’m so excited for him, he’s going to love it! He’s also a massive baseball fan so yep - we already have tickets to the Giants/Dodgers game :)

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After SF, we’ll be taking a short break by heading to Calgary, Canada before heading home. It’s been a while since we’ve taken a proper break so we’re looking forward to this one. Calgary is also extra special as our dearest friend Alison, whom we met during our study year in Paris (which I recently dedicated a heartfelt post about), lives there!

We’ll be reuniting after 5 years, can you believe it?! It’s all very insane, exciting and a long time coming. She tells us how amazing the Canadian Rockies and surrounds are, so I’m so amped to be doing a bit of sightseeing along with her and her boy. Hopefully I’ll have some lovely photos to share with y’all!

So whilst I’ve been slowly planning for my next few weeks away, it got me thinking. What’s going to happen to the blog whilst I’m tripping about?

I have a couple of ideas but would also love to hear your opinions. This is what I’m thinking of doing:

(1) Plan a few posts in advance, since I always have a long list of things that I feel like I never have enough time to blog about, so content is never scarce!

(2) And… this one is the one that I’m not too sure about: I was thinking that I could focus on playing with video for once, since it’s something I don’t really do. It would be a fun and candid way of sharing the sights from afar. The idea is that I put together a short video using just my iPhone every few days and post them as travel snippets! Yay or nay?

Is this something you guys would be interested in seeing whilst I’m travelling? Do you have a better idea of what you’d prefer I blog about whilst I’m away?

PS. If anyone has any shops, events or things I should check out whilst I’m in Calgary or SF, I’d love to hear about it!

Image credit: Unsplash

A Parisian Memento

paris-france-eiffel-tower

It’s officially 5 years today since I began my amazing year-long journey studying in Paris.

I can’t believe it.

It’s still the best year I’ve ever experienced.

It was incredible, inspiring, wild and life changing.

I want to dedicate this blog post as a sort of five-year-throwback kind of thing.

It’s a celebratory memento and a chance for me to share some nostalgia and personal origins with you all :)

essec-france

Back in 2006 when I was in my final year of high school, I made a commitment with myself that I would work hard and study hard for the next few years. I was determined to have enough money to fund my goal in going on a university study exchange in Paris.

I was studying French at the time and planned to continue it in university, so I decided that it made complete sense to be immersed in the culture to grow my language skills. Also, Paris - do I need to give more reason? ;)

Fast forward to 2009 and I was ecstatic: I had enough savings, I got into my preferred exchange university (EPSCI) and as fate would have you, Gareth was doing the exact same thing at the same time - and we’d only been dating for about 6 months.

paris-ile-de-france

The timing in the lead up to leaving Sydney was also interesting, in hindsight.

I was not in a good space and mind. I wasn’t happy with my job in a corporate firm and felt stuck, I wasn’t inspired by my university studies and I was getting more and more bored of Sydney and wanted something new.  

The month before I left, I also did something I hadn’t done for a VERY long time.

I started blogging. I hadn’t done this since the earlier years of high school when Livejournal was the “it” thing. I also bought a nice camera and started taking photos. Oh and I started dabbling in HTML/CSS again (the last time I did that was Geocities circa 2001).

And thus, this was the origins of my blogging adventure! It started off as a way for me to stay in touch with friends and family by sharing my adventures and photos…. and now look how it has completely grown and evolved!

snowman

Back to the trip itself - it was also a milestone of many milestones for me.

It was the first time I’d ever gone overseas, the first time in Europe, the first time living away from family, the first time living with my boyfriend, the first time seeing and touching snow. Ridiculously crazy!

I had an absolute blast. I truly grew as a human in so many ways.

Upon reflection - and I can’t believe I’ve started to cry as I write this because I don’t know where I’d be in life right now if I hadn’t gone down this path - a shortlist of what this year-long experience did for me:

  • I rediscovered my creativity and passion for making things, something that I hadn’t done since high school. 
  • I rediscovered my inner geek and got back into all things web and tech.
  • I learned that entrepreneurism is an actual thing and that I don’t have to work for a boring corporate for the rest of my life.
  • I came to realise that I had to leave my job when I eventually returned to Sydney - which I did!
  • I found out that unlike my Mum, I absolutely loved travelling and couldn’t get enough of it.
  • I rediscovered my passion for art and my love grew for the Impressionists, particularly Degas and Monet.
  • I learned how to cook day to day meals, thanks largely to Gareth for teaching me most basic things!
  • I made some amazing friendships and met some incredible people that I still stay in touch with.

If you get the chance to go and study or work overseas for a period of time, I encourage you to do it. It’s the best thing you could do for yourself! Yes, everything is super scary and new, but that’s exactly how it helps you grow and you won’t really know this until after it’s happened.

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So dear Paris and to all my beautiful friends from our time together studying at EPSCI, thank you for the memories.

Thank you for being a part of such a memorable adventure and I hope that we will meet again one day!

To Paris, I love you and I will return one day to hopefully create more memories :) 

paris-france-eiffel-tower

Floral Fun with The Flower Era

I went to my first floral workshop with a friend last week. It was such a joyful experience! 

Hosted by the lovely Amelia of The Flower Era, we spent the evening entranced by blooms and foliage. It was splendid to say the least.

I was really happy to come away with some tips and tricks, since up until this point, I’ve been picking it up by myself from scratch. It’s also perfect timing since I’m doing my friend’s wedding flowers this coming week - so so thrilled for this!

floral bouquet

Amelia was great, she went through basic techniques and theory, and also shared her preferences of floral varieties and bouquet styles.

After first watching her put together a bouquet, we then set off ourselves to create our own. Amelia picked out a nice collection to play with, including jasmine, foxglove, stock, delphiniums, poppies, ranunculi and statice, from memory…

The moment I noticed the foxglove and the beautiful blue/purple-hued delphiniums, I knew I had to create a bouquet around these two! I love my finished bouquet and it’s now sitting pretty in a white IKEA vase on my dining table! Here it is from both viewpoints: 

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I can’t wait to do another workshop with Amelia to improve my skills later on in the year - it will most likely be the wreath making one in November.

Let me know if you’d like to join me! :)

Floral Motif Crochet Coasters

granny-square-coasters

One of my favourite things about crochet is being able to use the skill to create original gifts, such as coasters for a friend’s housewarming.

I find it very rewarding to see the time and effort spent on crochet come to together to create some pretty and useful. Plus, who doesn’t need coasters, right!?

Typically when you start learning crochet and begin applying it to a pattern, a lot of people practise making simple “granny squares”.

I’ve found that granny squares are not only a great pattern for beginners, they can also get ridiculously more complex and intricate. So if you’re a seasoned crocheter, don’t overlook them! 

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The pattern I used for this set of 6 is called ‘Savannah’ (no. 75) from the book The Granny Square Book by Margaret Hubert.

It’s a fabulous resource - the book is perfect for anyone wanting to get into granny squares. It includes a how to crochet section, 75 unique granny square patterns for different skill levels, and also an assortment of designs and ideas using granny squares. It’s my go-to resource for granny squares!

Once you’ve made six of them (which I find is a good number of coasters to make), tie them up with some twine, wrap them up in brown kraft paper and you’re set. A lovely handmade housewarming gift idea!

granny-square-coasters

Are you a fan of granny squares? Besides from coasters, what do you like creating using granny squares?