Showing posts from 2014

Kidult's Guide To Yummy Sundaes

We all have those moments when we just really want dessert. It could be actually dessert time, or just time for comfort food. Perhaps it's a midnight snack after a long day of meetings. Or perhaps you are having friends over and want to look impressive. Presentation is the key to fun food. My favourite marketing experiment is the one with pudding. It was a taste test with two groups. The first group got plain white vanilla pudding. The second group received vanilla pudding with brown food colouring mixed in. The second group were convinced their pudding was chocolate, even though it was the same food. That's the affect of presentation. With that in mind, my desserts are suddenly a little bit prettier. Because YOLO. First, get a small glass - the sort you would normally use for table water. The smaller the glass, the better the diet-friendly portion control. Squeeze some chocolate sauce around the edges of the glass. Plop a scoop of ice cream in. Chop up a strawberry, and th

Kidult's Guide to Smoothies

I have a confession to make. I just bought a blender yesterday. This is such a necessity in newfound independence. Perhaps I was born yesterday. Living alone requires a bit of creativity. Why not go a little bit fruity? To be honest, commercial juice places make smoothies look ultra complicated. Everything has sorbet, a 'summer blend' of fruit, and sometimes protein. They make it look like rocket science. Anyone can make a perfectly yummy smoothie without all the sugary ice creams and reconstituted juices. DIY versions are more real. You know exactly what ingredients are going in. What did I do? I just threw in a few strawberries, then chucked in some scoops of yoghurt. Clever!

Day in the Life

We share quite a bit on Facebook these days. I tend to keep people in the loop about the bigger newsworthy things in my week. Surely some readers would wonder what I'm doing the rest of the time, when my life isn't lived on social media. Celebrities often write 'normal day in the life of....' articles. I am no celebrity by any means. But each one of us has a public image to represent. I enjoy sharing bits of life with friends who take interest. With that in mind, here is a normal 'day in the life' of Melanie: 6:30am: Make breakfast. Normally pan fried tomato, mushrooms, and eggs on an English muffin or bread roll. No oil in the teflon pan. This takes a lot of discipline early in the morning, but keeps me going. It's the most important meal of the day! 7am: Get ready. Checklist: Shift dress, big necklace, flat shoes, Macbook, iPhone. Done. 7:30am: Catch the bus. Flick through social media, emails, and news headlines on 10 minute bus. 8am: Get longer

Amy Poehler and Delegation

Amy Poehler and Delegation I have ended up with a lot of responsibility lately. A lot of it is ‘delegated.’ This is not laziness. It is called utilising strengths in numbers. I help where I can. Anything creative is fine. There are other things I will never try. Like serious math.   I was looking for inspiration from someone who is not a genius, someone who is aware of her own limitations.   Then I stumbled upon the Harvard University2011 Class Day Speech by Amy Poehler.   Amy focuses on what she can do. She talks. Talking changes lives by motivating, informing, inspiring, persuading…   Whether it is courage or cognition, we all need help from others. This is a lesson Amy Poehler understands well. Sometimes doing less is more important than doing more. Amy  Poehler says, “The answer to a lot of your life’s questions is often in someone else’s face… You never know what is a around the corner unless you peek. Hold someone’s hand while you do it. You will feel les

Judith Durham to sing at Carols in the Domain

Australian hero Judith Durham will sing at Carols in the Domain on 20th December 2014.     Australia should treasure every moment with this super star's clear beautiful voice. Judith Durham most recently toured New Zealand, after Australia and the UK, for the Seekers 50th anniversary tour and album release. Judith is lucky to be alive after surviving a cerebral haemorrhage in 2013. Illness at any age is tragic. Hospitalisation of a national icon is heart breaking. Judith's voice is miraculously strong. The Seekers were named officers of the Order of Australia during their chart topping tour.   This blogger is highly enthusiastic about hearing Judith Durham singing for Carols in the Domain this year. It is the best Christmas present Judith could provide for Australia.

+-+ Plus Minus Plus

Plus minus plus: These three words were explained to me when I was 19. They evoked memories of three different words from childhood: Care And Share. +-+ is the equation also known as Commend-Recommend-Commend. What does it mean? How does it translate to everyday life? Commend someone with something that was done right. If we don’t know an aspect of our work was good, we might not know to do it again. Recommend a change or point for improvement. Don’t say all aspects were bad. Especially don’t use nasty language no matter how we feel about the work. Avoid generalizations that leave people guessing about the solutions. Also don’t recommend everything at once. An evaluation shouldn’t leave us biting off more changes than we can chew. Give specific practical examples of a few recommended changes. End with encouraging positivity. Some of my favourite evaluations simply recognised someone’s happy smile or willingness to try. Leave your evaluated person on a high note with anyt

Idleness is not Normal

I feel inspired by a headline used in one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s talks on the Oprah tour. She is against balance. Balance puts too much pressure on us to be a particular way. A friend recently had good intentions, when suggesting I should pose on the couch with cereal. This might feel natural for other people. But the image did not sit right with me.   It held some foreign assumptions. The cereal assumed that is the most responsible way to feed one’s self. It would be normalised. I am actually not used to milk at all. The orange lactose drenched carbs made me feel queasy.  A routine home made breakfast for me would involve: a chopped up tomato on toast, with sliced pear. That is too complicated to eat on a couch. So then I would be at the table with a knife and fork. Nothing extraordinary. But apparently that doesn’t have the same ‘ordinary’ affect.  It wouldn't be 'real' enough.  The couch sitting aspect was equally unsettling. I found myself watching te

Fresh Breath of Hurricane

Toastmasters is growing as an extraordinary place where leaders are made. All organisations are like families, and this one holds a special sentimental place in my heart. Toastmasters is the family I have known for years, introduced to me by Elizabeth and Gary.   I see all of you as aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters. Any members, new or otherwise, are quickly adopted.  Friends such as Margaret and David allowed me to grow into the “Energiser Bunny” or a “Fresh Breath of Hurricane.” This transformation is not about me – I feel excited about the opportunities for other people to grow in the same way. But I do feel the need to acknowledge this extraordinary creative freedom.  What is it about this environment, which takes a shy girl and morphs her into a confident lady? It’s the encouragement. We commend something positive about someone, then suggest one subjective optional change, then we celebrate another strong point. Whether it’s speeches or general life, we encourage on

Happily Single

Singleness is amazing. It is joyfully independent. There is so much freedom to do almost anything.   I have nothing against coupled life. That's another fun adventure. But being single is not worse than being a couple. It's just different. And it has its own worth. This idea is turning into a blog post before it is then presented as a speech. I just realised I have to do a speech on absolutely anything tomorrow. What is the one issue which was pressing on myself and close friends? Singleness. Let's get to the bottom of it. There is never a quiet minute as a singular individual. There are so many friends to catch up with. There are so many projects to create.  Yet not everybody sees the amazing benefits. Life alone is different to the stereotypes. The most common are the hermit cat lady. The other is a philosophical explanation. Both images wrongly suggest there is something wrong with singles. My generation associate it with Bridget Jones. Who could forget that Br