Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Melbourne Cup 2014!


via my instagram @praxsmiles. I'm a monster, duh!
I'll take any reason to dress up for an occasion, even though everyone else thinks I'm crazy. 

Just four days after I donned my Halloween costume to work, (unheard of in Australia) Melbourne cup has arrived, and you better believe I dressed for the occasion. 


Last year no one at the office really dressed up, so I was slightly weary that history would repeat itself this year. Boy was I wrong! The ladies definitely came with their A game! Lots of fascinators and brightly colored dresses and even the men donned smart (or funny) hats. I was very impressed. 

I think people much appreciate those who are willing to let go and look silly for the sake of fun, than those who are scared they will embarrass themselves. It's so much more worth it to get into the spirit and have a little fun then to do nothing at all.  You never know, you might win a bottle of champagne out of it!


...and just between you and I,  I'd like to think that winning the competition by default last year, inspired folks to get into the spirit this year. I didn't win this time, but I was definitely happy to have some competition. 

xo,
Praxis 


Want to see more? Melbourne Cup  2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 






Monday, October 13, 2014

Once upon a time, blogging used to be easier!


I've just fallen into one of those vortex internet holes where one search leads to the next and all of a sudden you're nostalgic for the past and what used to be.  YUP. I found myself scrolling through old facebook pics (sparked by the way, by a creepy stalker guy who does not get the hint! boys, STOP!) and that facebook hunt led me to my TUMBLR archive which sent me in a spiral of reading really good blog posts I used to write.

My writing used to be so much more fluid, and less planned and less worrisome. Now every time I write something here, I type then delete, type then delete in a maddening circle until something half decent comes out.  Before  (when I was younger?) *shudder* I just vomitted out some words, and left it at that.  Looking back at those vomit posts now, they feel more authentic than anything I've posted about in a lonnngg while.

...even if they are just outfit of the day posts... or recipes I typed up really quickly or a summary of my weekend.

They seemed meaningless at the time -- something I typed up quickly to get it out of my system -- but now those posts are much more than that.  They are a summation of that period of my life, particularly in that baby apartment in Newtown during a time when everything: love, country, adulthood was all new. Those posts have gathered up some sort of emotion from me, because here I am writing in a way I haven't in a while.

Hello stream of unconsciousness, nice to see you again.

It was nice to get inspired by my past.  It was nice to hear that blogger voice that was so loud and clear years ago. It's nice to remember that once upon a time, I wasn't blogging for anyone but me.

At one point I decided to change that. Two years ago, I decided that this little blog here was going to be my fresh start, because I was going to take blogging more seriously. I was going to really grow my audience this time. BUT GUESS WHAT! It didn't work! If anything, it RUINED my voice -- regardless of if there is any of you out there that actually read this. That open, honest, authentic voice has been smothered by a much more annoying one that cares too much about presentable photos, interesting topics and 'themed posts'.  How dumb.

Have I woken myself up? Is this a desperate plea to my future self, the one who will write the post to follow this one, saying HEY PRAXIS, BE AUTHENTIC! Write about whatever it is you want! No one reads this anyway! If they do, if there are some souls out there following along, I'm sure they'd much appreciate an honest to goodness Praxis post instead of whatever bullshit that has been living here for the last two years.

HALLELUJAH I'M BACK.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Five Random Thoughts...


1. I'm trying to figure out a good balance between eating healthy and having as Cassey calls it, 'YOLO' foods. I do really well for my breakfasts and lunches, but after a long day at work all I want is to order some takeout (if I don't have dinner planned) and indulge in some chocolate..or ice cream! Any tips on how to get past this? 

2. Speaking of YOLO, I'm really missing my brother in Mexico.  We used to say YOLO with a spanish accent, accenting the O, so saying it became really funny. I loved being able to spend a week with him on his territory with him showing me the ropes. It was a week I'll never forget. 

3. Speaking of Mexico, check out that gorgeous dress I'm wearing in the photo above! I bought that in Mexico City in one of the outdoor markets. I'm absolutely in love with it, and am so glad the sun is out and I can finally get some summer dresses in my wardrobe rotation. 

4. I've been re-watching season 1 of One Tree Hill. Oh my gosh, I forgot how dramatic it was! I haven't watched it since 2003 when it premiered, so I'm loving reliving the Lucas, Peyton, Brooke, Nathan, Hayley love... pentagon? haha 

5. Halloween is on my brain too! I want to be something original this year, but as per usual, I'm stuck! The resources for costumes in Australia aren't the best, so I'll definitely have to DIY something.  Plus it's on a Friday this year, so it will be cool to do something different than normal. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Night at The Opera... House!



Feeling like royalty in 'Siam' for the night. 
For my Mom's birthday this year, I treated her to dinner and a musical at the Sydney Opera House.  We had a sweet little dinner right on the Quay at The Eatery By George.  I definitely recommend the place based on their food -- I had lamb shanks, the special of the day for $22 -- but their service was spotty at best.  At some points we had all the waiters vying for our attention, at other points no one was in sight, leaving me waving madly at them for attention. They're a relatively new restaurant though, so they're probably still working out the kinks. 
The amazing view we had during dinner. 

Still, Mom and I had a really great time enjoying the view and ambiance of the place. Sitting outside as the sun set while watching the ships pass really made us feel like we were enjoying a special night out.  
Blurry (quick!) photo of the stage from our seats. 

After a pretty leisurely dinner, we went in to get our seats for the show.  We were there to watch Rodger and Hammerstein's The King and I.  Being huge fans of this musical duo, Mom and I were super excited to watch the show.  

As we were ushered to our seats I saw 'Thai monks' walking up and down the aisles with incense. Seeing them really helped us get into the mood of the play. 

We were seated in row q in the Joan Sutherland Theatre. Originally I thought it might be a bit far back, but the theatre is actually so small that no matter where you sit, you'll generally have a good view of the stage.  Next time, I go to a show at this theatre, I'll definitely go for the cheaper seats with this in mind. 

Finally the big gong crashed and the show began.  

Each scene was directed with care. It was obvious the amount of work that the cast and crew put in to the beautiful design of the set, the superb choreography of the dances and the great acting by the cast.  Lisa McCune who planned Anna, did a fantastic job as was expected.  

The only thing that irked me was the accent of Teddy Tahu Rhodes who played the King of Siam. I found his version of the King's accent to be too forced and fake. I guess this is expected of an Australian attempting to have a Thai accent, especially since the majority of the cast was of Asian decent.  However, in the original Rodger and Hammerstein's movie, the actor who played the King was Caucasian as well, so they may have been trying to pay homage to his horrible accent too. 

Some could find the movie or production racist, but at the end of the day, my only problem was the accent. Every other part of the production seemed to be culturally sensitive, so I'm not complaining too much. Still, every time the King opened his mouth, I cringed just a bit. 

Overall, I had a great time at the show and a fantastic night hanging out with my mom.  Would I recommend spending hard earned money to watch this production of The King and I? Ehh, probably not. I'd say save your bucks for Les Miserables which is due to come to Sydney this March! 

Have you seen a play recently? I'd love to hear your recommendations! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

On things I post on Pinterest

Praxis: I love food more than I love weddings -- did you know that? 

Miguel: no... But I believe you. 



Friday, September 12, 2014

Sydney Spotlight - Pablo and Rusty's.

This morning I was woken up unusually early by my alarm. I stumbled out of bed, hopped in the shower with a rumbly in my belly.  I had been fasting from the night before because in the morning I had a doctors appointment to *shudder* get some blood work done.  I've never had my blood tested before, but I have donated blood a few times in the past.  From that experience I knew I would be lightheaded and slightly dizzy after the appointment, so needless to say I was nervous.

BUT for being a tough woman about it all, and going to the appointment alone, I promised I would reward myself with a really good breakfast after it was all over.

So after a quick google search, I found myself at Pablo and Rusty's.

Pablo and Rusty's Interior. Image via
Pablo and Rusty's is a gorgeous coffee shop in the middle of Sydney CBD. The place is surprisingly large and decorated quite well.  I loved the warm tones carried throughout the room and the rusticity of the place. Wood grain was a common theme that carried from the walls to the table and chairs to the serving plate, and yet with all that wood not once did the room ever feel too dark or too kitschy.

When I walked into the cafe the waiter immediately sat me on a stool in front of a large glass window.  At first I was annoyed to be seated at a counter instead of a table, but a quick look around and I saw the entire place was packed to the brim with even more people lining up for takeaway coffees. After two seconds, I started to love my window seat, as I was able to people watch instead of stare at my smartphone.

After being seated for a minute or so,  a waiter came and took my order.  I was particularly excited about this because their coffee beans are "traceable, sustainable and ethically produced." Not only was I going to be able to taste a single origin coffee, I was also not going to feel guilty about where it came from.  Pablo and Rusty take pride in sourcing their ingredients from suppliers who have holistic, sustainable views about their products, so you know that the food and coffee that you're having is guilt-free and clean.
Image via

I ordered a flat white coffee and heirloom tomatoes, goats cheese, chimi churri and pomegranate seeds on sourdough toast. (pictured below)  OH MY YUM.  I don't even know where to start. The coffee tasted great, so great that I considered ordering a long black (coffee sans milk) next time I was there just so I could taste the coffee more. It was silky and warm and perfect.

Still drooling over this. 
The toast was a masterpiece.  The goats cheese and avocado were so soft that I intentionally savored every bite of them.  The pops of pomegranate seeds were unexpected and refreshing. The toast was crunchy on the outside but soft in the middle, just the way I like it.

And for a meal made completely out of vegetables, grains and cheese, I never felt like I was missing out on anything. There was no need for the typical soft boiled egg normally served with toast. Again, it was perfection. Mouth watering perfection.

So do I recommend visiting Pablo and Rusty's? Hell yes! Do I recommend going between 8-9 am on a weekday? Probably not. The cafe gets really busy, but if you don't mind the crowd or can go a bit later in the morning, definitely give this place a shot. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Currently...

On top of a Pyramid near Mexico City!

I'm not even going to bring up any excuses as to why I've been missing from this blog. I just have. I'm not sure I myself even know why.. except for maybe I feel that life is slightly repeatative so I have nothing new to say. 

I missed writing though, and this little blog has been on my brain. So lets start off easy with a 'Currently' post. 

Are these even in fashion anymore? HAH

Reading:  A book about the Kings Cross suburb, which is very close to where I live. The author does this really cool thing by telling us the history of particular stores/streets and then juxtaposing it with what the places are like now.  He seems to know all the stories of the cross from drug dealing to murder to suicide to gentrification. It's crazy, a little bit scary, but definitely interesting. 

Listening to: Jhene Aiko, Beyonce and all things on pop radio. Arriana Grande's 1 Less Problem kills me EVERY TIME... 


Thinking about: My cousins. Since I've come back from my trip overseas (I went home to California and quickly to Mexico for one whole month!) I catch myself thinking about moments I'm missing out on with the cousins and memories I could be making with them as they grow up.  Some of them are in their early teens and it kills me to know I'm not around. Thank God for Imessage. Seriously. 


Watching: A LOT of youtube. I recently found my old youtube account with the people I used to subscribe to... so I started watching all of their channels again. Youtube is a crazy thing. Like Blogging, people start with enthusiasm, divulge bits and pieces of their life and ultimately disappear after some years have passed. I think its the whole getting bored with doing the same thing over again thing, but the people who are able to reinvent themselves or do different things with their channels/blogs while staying true to their personalities end up being the most successful. Tyler Oakley anyone? He's such a prime example of this. I've been watching him since 2008! 


Loving: this. I just posted a blog for the first time in forever, and that is something to truly love. WOO! 



Friday, April 04, 2014

A Crazy Post on the 'Whole Food' Phenomenon.

So I'm having a peruse around the blog-o-sphere and I happened to  read a post about challenging one's self to eat more whole foods at least once or twice a week.
I immediately thought, YES eat more whole foods! I should challenge myself to do that!

Then I started thinking about the meals I've had in the last week. They are as follows:
  • Fig & Prosciutto Salad with a balsamic glaze
  • Homemade Chicken Tenders with Rocket Salad
    (This is so easy. Just cut up some chicken breast and bread them and bake them!)
  • Pork Chops with Tomato and Avocado salad
  • Left over porkchops that Miguel turned into 'machaca' which is basically cut up pork with egg stirred through them and served with tortillas and homemade pico (salsa)

Now that I've actually listed out my meals, they look pretty 'whole' to me.
Does eating 'whole' mean not eating processed foods? Really, I’m curious. Educate me.

Anyway  here's my thought -- the above seems to me to be pretty normal run of the mill dinners. The only thing that might be a little weird is the fig salad, but I promise it's not even hard to make! Which makes me wonder, are you guys not eating this way too?

...and by this way I mean going to the grocery and buying some meat and some veg and throwing it together somehow. Isn’t this normal? If the answer is no, then absolutely everyone needs to eat more 'whole' and jump on the healthy bandwagon. Because you guys, eating processed foods all the time is so so bad for you! But surely you already know that!

I’m hoping that I don’t sound like a crazy woman, and you also think this ‘whole food’ phenomenon is a little bit crazy. Whole food shouldn’t be a ‘thing.’ Eating food close to their natural state should be normal…for you, for me, and for every person who has access to a grocery store. Obviously, I’m writing this from a privileged standpoint since I have a steady income and access to pretty decent food. I understand that there are plenty people who are living on small wages and can’t easily access good meats and vegetables, so thus need to rely on cheap, accessible meals. But that’s part of the problem too – McDonalds tends to be a cheaper alternative to feeding a family than going to the grocery store is. So scary.

I hope it’s clear that this post/rant is targeted at folks who are able to actually participate in crazy things like ‘whole food challenges.’

I guess what my point really is, is that challenges shouldn’t exist to encourage people to eat healthily for a short period of time.  People should be striving to eat healthily, regularly instead. When you challenge yourself to eat only whole foods for say a month straight, you are essentially trying to break a habit of eating bad foods, which is obviously great. However, once the challenge ends, it is so easy to slip right back into those original bad habits. I think what needs to happen is, people need to go to the grocery more often, fast food joints less and find a happy medium where good veggies exist in your life but you don’t feel guilty for having a bag of potato chips on a Friday night.

Moderation people. Healthy food people.

You can do it. I believe in you! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

On NAKED FACES!

Yesterday I had one of those mornings. You know them. The kind where you wake up and from start to finish you are rushing around the house like a mad woman looking for your missing shoe because wasn't it under the table just yesterday?!?!

The shoe wasn't under the table and the bathroom was preoccupied, as it tends to be in a share house. So instead of missing my bus and arriving late to work, I decided to cut a step out of my morning routine. I was going to --dramatic pause-- leave the house makeup-less.

Three years ago, I wouldn't have minded. In fact I used to consistently leave the house without makeup on because I thought I didn't need it. Most weekends in fact, I don't wear it, but for some reason in the last few years, I've decided that it is compulsory to slap on 'my face' for work every morning. I don't know how I feel about that. On one hand, I feel like it's a very 'adult' thing to do. I mean what self respecting business woman do you know doesn't wear a stitch of makeup to work? On the other hand, I feel like that last sentence grosses me out. So anti-feminst.  Yuck.

What's worse, is that I spent the entire morning hiding behind my glasses hoping no one would realize that my face was naked! Thankfully once lunch arrived, I was so preoccupied with food, that I didn't care whether or not I had anything on my face except for maybe another spoonful of soup!

The point is -- this is ridiculous.  Women are beautiful regardless of whether or not they decide to wear makeup at all.  Makeup shouldn't be compoulsory, rather it should be something that one puts on just cause they feel like it, or because they enjoy the art of it or because it's fun. Not because they feel ugly and naked and a loser without in on.

The Marriam Webster definition of makeup is this:

make·up

noun \ˈmā-ˌkəp\
: the way in which something is put together or arranged
: the physical, mental, and moral character of a person
: substances (such as lipstick or powder) used to make someone's face look more attractive
 
...and I think there is something fundamentally wrong with that.
 
Here's to more nakedfaced days!
 
xo,
Praxis

Monday, March 24, 2014

On sickness & baseball.



Well howdy! Welcome to day 2 of the sickness extravaganza! You missed day one because well, I was a hot mess. I still am.

Its Monday afternoon, and I'm sitting on the sofa trying to see if I can use any amount of brain power that is left to post out a little bloggy. I've basically been brain dead for the last two days as I've tried to get over this head cold that came out of nowhere. I'm phlegm-y and sinus-y and headache-y and it is not cute. 

But you know me, always trying to think of the positives so here they are: 

One -- SO MUCH NETFLIX AND YOUTUBE. Ohmyglory no wonder I'm brain dead. I've been watching reality TV and sports for the last two days. Hollah at the MLB season opener in Sydney though! Miguel and I went to game one and had an absolute blast, and then I spent all day yesterday in front of the TV watching game 2. It is so refreshing to have baseball on regular TV!

The Dodgers aren't my team, but I obviously supported them while they were here. They played hard for both games which resulted in two wins. duh. It was really awesome to feel the Americana spirit down under, and it was even more awesome to be part of baseball history.  

twins! 


Little known fact, Sydney Cricket Ground is the oldest venue in the world to host a baseball game. 
It was a pretty historic night, and I was so happy to have experienced it. 


Here's a rousing rendition of "Advance Australia Fair" at the game. If Aussies have one thing, it's spirit. 


AND the second positive thing about being sick?! Getting to actually stay in under the covers while it rains! I mean, don't we all just want to stay home and cuddle when it's raining so hard outside? I got to do that today! 

... it's the little things people. 

and that's it. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery, and more coherent thoughts. 

xo,
Praxis 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Edamame, Beer & Selfishness



I came home from an overtime shift at work today to an empty house -- a luxury I haven't experienced for a loooooong while. Living in a share house with my sister, her man and my man means someone is pretty much always home.

BUT TONIGHT... oh tonight I came home to an empty house, and it was magical. On came the boiling pot of water for the edamame and off came the pants.

Probably the most notable thing about tonight though, is the fact that I prepared dinner for just myself. I didn't realize how much I am constantly thinking about other people when I cook. I mean it's no fun to continuously cook for a party of one, so I enjoy cooking for others -- but -- it's good to be selfish sometimes. And all I wanted was some edamame and a beer, so that's what I got.

Also American Idol because I haven't indulged in that in forevvaaaa.

That's my number one takeaway for the night... it's good to think of yourself sometimes. It's good to be completely selfish and revel in it.

Don't forget to take a day and do you, just the way you want to.

xo,
Praxis

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

i stopped writing.

just like that 4 months have flown by without me writing down one single word. truth be told, i have had nothing to say. i might still have nothing to say.

but today, i'm trying. no capital letters and no edits. today, i'm just going to write for writing's sake.

today was the first day of the semester at university.  i spent 4 hours on campus today.. a luxury compared to last semester where i didn't go to school at all. while i walked the corridors and looked at the other students faces, i couldn't help but feel like an outsider.  there were so many fresh faced youngins who had just begun their college career, but also so many seasoned pros who walked around like they owned the place. i felt myself relating with both groups of people, but not really belonging into either category.

if i were to examine my own face during the process, it would probably be furrowed brow, eyes  down with the word 'confused' written right across it. i must've paced the W building three times looking for the lecture hall. (turns out 'Lotus Theatre' is located in a makeshift tent looking thing near the X buildings. who knew??)

i'm hoping to get rid of all the anxiety/confusion i have about going to uni this year. i'd like very much to get into the habit of actually being on campus and attending lectures in person instead of listening to them all externally. i'd like to stop being an external student all together. so i'm working on that.

there are not many people in the world who actively seek or ask for their full time position to be down graded into a part time one, but that is what i'm asking for. working full time has been amazing in terms of money and more importantly understanding what it's like to be in the 'adult' world, but i think to finally attain my bachelors degree, i need to step down.

it's a scary thought, but so many people get by on a part time income while going to school. i'm sure i can do it.

the other day i was told that having an inspiration board hung somewhere where one can see it every day, dramatically increases the liklihood of that person achieving the goals on the board. maybe that's what i need -- an inspiration board with a college graduate, an airplane and lots of pictures of travel destinations.   that way i'll not only be motivated to finish my degree -- i'll reward myself with a looooonnngg trip to somewhere beautiful!

the journey may seem long now, but each step forward is a step closer to it's completion. ... or something like that.