Catchup.com

Once upon a more productive time, I used to do a catch up blog every month. Ah, the days when life was simple, unencumbered by the wild throws of admiration and attention that sudden success and fame brings. Continue reading “Catchup.com”

Burfday 32

Let me tell you about my friend, 3 Day Birthday Weekend. She was pretty badass, and her surprise visit helped me jump into 32 with much awesomeness.

Here’s what happened: on Thursday night, we made chilli hotdogs and watched Goodfellas. We decided to go hard core with the chilli dogs and we replaced the buns with Turkish bread rolls. The result was CHILLI DOG MOUNTAIN, a gut busting pile of meat and bread and coleslaw that left us struggling to live after we cleared our plates and feeling ill afterward. I’m not sure why we felt compelled to have a whole pile each. This meal shall hence forth be known as “Chilli Dog Hubris”

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#heartattack

On Friday, we woke up to eggs and bacon, and made our way to my mothership – Ikea. I could go to Ikea every weekend, because Ikea is goddamn awesome. It’s a wonderland of Swedish modular design, $1 hotdogs, and words with Ü’s in them – much awesome. But really, I love walking around the show room and touching everything in the tiny apartments. Joel likes Ikea, too, but not on the slightly concerning level that I do. And he really hates crowds. But he came along because he loves me. Yes.

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calm down there, buddy.

Although, now that I live in a tiny apartment, I’m bummed out that Ikea’s definition of teeny tiny apartment living and reality’s definition of teeny tiny apartment living are drastically different. I would love to see a 500sqft Ikea apartment where the kitchen is in the lounge and the lounge is actually a small rectangle shaped room that’s a lounge/dining room/office/bedroom and where you can’t nail or drill into, or use command hooks on ANY the walls. Show me how you’d make this space the most efficient, Ikea. SHOW ME.

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Things we want but have no room for for $500, Alex.

After some fantasizing about a place big enough for a butcher block kitchen island and full size sofas and comfy arm chairs, we wandered to the market place to get what we came for – new dishes. No more stolen plates with scrape marks and no more stolen pint glasses. Come over for dinner, and you’ll be served on the finest stonewear that Sweden has to offer (totally). And your spoons and forks will be shiny and matching. We are officially adults.

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matchy matchy
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We also picked up some wooden salad bowls and turrets.
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adult living

I really wanted to get a shelving unit that would make better use out of the space we have for Joel’s camera gear, but we didn’t plan it very well and couldn’t agree on what would work best. So instead of buying something that might work, we just scrapped the plans altogether – like a real person would do. This was an Audrey first, as I am queen of “just buy it and hope for the best, or return it later.” I feel like I grew up a little.

We left Ikea with our big blue bags and spent the rest of the day napping and obsessively rearranging (ok maybe that was just me). That evening, we met up with some friends at the pub down the street for a few games of pool (I’m improving at a glacial pace, but it’s still fun), and then home for a late dinner and Casino (one of us has been on a crime flick kick. It’s Joel.) 

Saturday brought us MY BIRTHDAY! Joel woke me up with presents in bed, and we had coffee and sat around until it was time for brunch with Joel’s mum’s side of the family.

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presents!

We finally got to try the Italian place we’ve been curious about, Dulcis Domus. The food did not disappoint, and I was spoiled within an inch of my life because Joel’s family is ridiculously thoughtful when it comes to gifting.

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Truffled eggs, grilled halumi and avocado salad on a milk bun – yes plz. And Joel’s Belgian Waffle topped with Strawberry sorbet and served up with 2 fists full of bacon. /drool
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BURFDAY CHAMPERS
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Joel’s mum gave me a gorgeous beret, which was quickly absconded by my apparently beret loving boyfriend. And uh… yeah. I’ll allow it. #hot 

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Stuffed with lunch, I came home to play with my presents and make the ultimate birthday pie for us to eat that night – Honey Walnut Banana Cream Pie.

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And in true Audrey style, I didn’t re-read the basic recipe before I waited til Saturday to make the pie, and thus I forgot that it takes 4-6 hours to set, and is actually best when you let it set overnight. Shit. So I made the pie anyway, and later we had Birthday Ice Cream Pint while we watched Sherpa, a documentary about sherpas rebelling on Mt Everest

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eh, close enough.

Sunday I basically spent in planning mode – scouting and measuring and drawing up ideas for our office space:

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Followed by lots of reading and chill, an amazing salmon dinner by yours truely, and one glorious Banana Cream Pie photoshoot by Joel.

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Not even going to lie, new dishes make me want to eat at the table ALL THE TIME.
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An artist prepares
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Unghhh get inside me.
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Dat honey drizzle.
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The pie is good, but Joel’s photos make it look INCREDIBLE.
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and I wish I was eating it RIGHT NOW.

 

All in all, it was a great weekend, full of fat and naps and food and friends and a surprisingly large amount of Ray Liotta.

Last year, my birthday came about during a time when I was really unhappy with myself, my work, my health, and yeah, everything because I was really just in a shit place. I didn’t want anyone to know it was my birthday, I didn’t want presents, and I just wanted to hide. I had a busy day at work combined with a lunch outing that stressed me out because it meant talking to people when I just wanted to lie under my desk in fetal position, then Joel took me out to dinner after work, and not only could I not eat, but I threw up three times. It was awful. And I felt wretched about the entire fiasco, so I set myself up on a strict GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER plan that I of course, failed because giving yourself too many challenging goals too soon is exactly what you need when you have the emotional strength of wet paper. So for the next two month I stagnated, miserably obsessing over who I was and what I was doing and all the time I was wasting. I ended up going from a shit place to a real shit place.

Ah, 31 was a fuckin’ banner year.

I’m much happier to report that this year, I felt the exact opposite. I told everyone who’d listen that it was my birthday. I don’t know if it’s therapy, or the change in jobs, or what – but I feel more … optimistic. Like everything is going to be ok. And last night as we sat in Julian’s kitchen with friends and everyone eating the rest of the Banana Cream Pie on a night that I would have bailed on before, I thought to myself, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

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32 feels good, you guys. And I’m excited.

10 years later

In a couple of days I’ll be 32 years old.

32.

What the fuck.

I should be accustomed to ageing by now, considering that this will be the 32nd time it will have happened, but this year I can look back on 10 years of ridiculous memories in social media, and that does blow my mind a little bit. Also, because I can say “10 years ago” and 10 years ago, I was an adult – I mean, at least legally.

So I thought it would be fun to see what I was up to 10 years ago on the internet. And by fun I mean “I probably shouldn’t do this, but I’m going to anyway.” After an hour of so of cringing (oh early 20’s, why did I document you and your amazing decisions), I found some gems.

10 years ago, I was turning 22. I was still living with my parents and taking summer classes and about to start my 4th year of college in the fall. I had just broken up with my first long term boyfriend, I made about $600/month working at a grocery store, nannying, and as an data entry/housemaid, I had just bought my very own first car, drank 7 cups of coffee a day minimum, and was just starting to really come out of my shell.

Here’s what I looked like:

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back when they were MySpace pics – I was champion of the saucy MySpace pic.

 
I spent a lot of time updating my LiveJournal. I’m not proud of this – but in the days before Facebook statuses, it was fun. Here’s what it looked like:

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note to self: you dropped the ball on that “figure out life” bit.

And here’s what my life goals looked like:

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Hey – at least I finished my bachelor’s since then. #goals

It all feels like a million years ago. I never thought about how social media would linger. I quit MySpace after a few years, same with LiveJournal. But Facebook is still very much an every day part of my life. So in 10 years when I’m 42 and I’m re-posting this same entry to an even newer and better and probably projected through a hand held hologram device a la Star Wars, I’ll have 20 years of mindless dribble that I’ve clogged the internet with to sift through.

Man… I hope I have a few more subscribers by then.

 

 

April Thus Far

So who is waiting to wrap a big fat DONE ribbon around April, quietly put it on the shelf and just pretend it didn’t happen? *raises hand*

I can’t remember a month where I’ve felt more – fragile – I guess is the best word. Hence the sporadic appearances here and everywhere else in the social spectrum. It’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve been on the receiving end of more pep talks than I have in years. But I’m happy to say that being more proactive and attentive to what I need has been helping immensely, so I’m just taking it day by day.

BUT – April hasn’t been all bad! For one thing, we watched so many episodes of My 600lb Life that I think I’m *thiiiiiis* close to cutting out all processed foods from my life. Joel has become Head Chef around here and we’ve never eaten better. I’ve been able to skype/Facetime/phone date with many of my nearest and dearest. And my most favourite person had a birthday. We celebrated with a doughnut cake, Game of Thrones, and a night with friends… and a resulting Friday night of pizza and sweatpants recovery.

Annnnd we just had an awesome three day weekend of good food, good movies (ok, and some terrible movies), and relax times (and let’s face it, obsessive cleaning and rearranging #stressed) in honour of ANZAC Day.

 

So here’s to the last few days of April – fingers crossed that it all starts to shape up.

xoxo

Birthday!

This weekend, I aged.

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On Thursday, Joel took me out to this fantastic restaurant with American style hamburgers and infamous beer, and I suddenly was ill and could barely finish the burger. Or eat the birthday sundaes I had planned. Womp womp. But, all was not lost. Joel got me some badass gifts, nursed me back to health, and we watched The Big Lebowski as I tried not to vomit up all the contents of my stomach. Happy Birthday!

Thank you, Joel! Not pictured, digital scale for more accurate baking - YES!
Thank you, Joel! Not pictured, digital scale for more accurate baking – YES!

The next day, though, I was off work and feeling better, so we went for a hike in a national park near Heathcoate. I almost threw up 4 different times when we trekked back uphill, but it was hella fun (saying that I am embarrassingly out of shape is an understatement). I took the old Nikon that used to belong to my Grandpa with me, and Joel taught me how to use it. Felt reeeeal fancy to be using a film camera with manual everything – I even got to use a light meter! I only took pictures from the pools, not from the hike (because I was either on the look out for snakes or enduring cardiac arrest), but rest assured, it was awesome. Nature!

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Best camera strap, ever. I can’t wait to see how the photos turns out!

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mid-heart attack
mid-heart attack

Then we came home for chills and some Punch Drunk Fry-day.

Joel is the best schnitzel-er I've ever met.
Joel is the best schnitzel-er I’ve ever met.

On Saturday, I woke up ill again, but manned up for lunch with Joel’s family at an adorable Italian place that was filled with New Jersey looking residents – so much big hair, gold jewelry, and big eye make up. I ate my weight in bacon pasta and cheesecake, and was spoiled with more presents.

Joel's mom brought champagne and wine, and I wasn't able to drink. Thank you, antibiotics.
Joel’s mom brought champagne and wine, and I wasn’t able to drink. Thank you, antibiotics.

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We got home, and I passed out on the couch for a few hours, woke up later, and spent the rest of the night dead on the couch watching movies. Bladder infection + endometriosis pains = moving as little as possible.

Today, fueled by antibiotics and pain killers, I managed to clean EVERYTHING and make dinner while listening to shitty American TV in the background and catching up with my sister for about 2 hours. However, I’m paying for that tirade of productivity now, as my back feels like someone took an ax to it.

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Joel’s mum got me this note pad/attached pen set. I love list making and achievement tracking. /nerd (btw, nails are done and dinner has been made since I took this photo, making the list completely done. hooray!)

Now it’s time for Netflix and Chill with Joel, and trying not to think about going back to work tomorrow. Ah, well. On the bright side, though, it looks like 31 is going to be a fantastic year 🙂

Happy Sunday, everyone!

30: The Final Report

I’ve gotta say. 30 wasn’t nearly as bad as all those Cathy comics led me to believe it would be.

Most of my 20’s felt like this:

Amazing life experiences, and heaps of anecdotes, but not much to show for it. 30 was the first year I felt like an adult. I took control of my finances, moved overseas, made a home with someone, got a job in the creative field, and made major strides in curbing my bad habits.

It’s not that I’ve never lived on my own before. I moved out of my parents house technically 4 times, if you count my freshman year of college when I “lived” in New York. But I always moved back in with my parents in between living situations so I could get back on my feet. So it always felt like I was stuck in first gear — chronologically an adult but still depending on my mom to buy groceries, or wondering how I’d fit all my things into my one bedroom, or sneaking in drunk at 4 in the morning without waking them up. Living with my parents allowed me to pay off my car and my credit cards MUCH sooner than it would be if I was living on my own, but it was easy to feel like a teenager. A teenager who worked full time and paid bills, but a teenager nonetheless.

This year, though, I moved out — waaaay out — and I’ve felt more responsible for myself than I have in just about, ever. And I learned a new feeling of independence. Independence isn’t just being able to pay your bills and your rent. It’s about creating your own life. What you want from your career, your relationship, your home, your eating habits, your health, your friends, your kids, your traditions, etc. I feel like, at 30, I finally started shaping my life, instead of living as an extension of my family. I think that was most apparent on Thanksgiving, when my mom wasn’t here to cook a big dinner, and I was completely lost, or not seeing my folks on Christmas morning and feeling such a void in the day. I’ve spent so many years tightly wrapped up in the way my family does things that I forgot that Joel and I get to make our own traditions now. Because he’s part of my family now. And we’re shaping our life together, making our own family. And that’s pretty awesome.

So, in a nutshell, 30 was great, and liberating in a way I wasn’t expecting. And I didn’t wake up with saggy skin and white hair. But I am scandalized by the way young women dress, 3 drinks will give me a hangover, and I contemplate buying wrinkle cream for my neck almost daily. What can you do?

I’m looking forward to aging. Even if it is a seemingly accelerated pace. If 30 was any indication, 31 is going to be a lot like this:

Happy Birthday, Joel!

Big Joel had a Big Birthday yesterday!

And what a birthday he’s having. He took a holiday off work, which turned into a spontaneous trip to South Australia to see a once in a lifetime photo exhibition and personal tour of said exhibition by one of his heroes, Trent Parke. He picked up his pal Craig in Melbourne, and then they flew to Adelaide for the day to take in the sights.

Craig is a photographer, also. Go oggle his works!
Craig is a photographer, also. See for yourself!

Or, sight, as I learned. Apparently, there isn’t much to do in Adelaide besides the art museum and a bunch of sharks. But they did get an upgrade to business class on their flight, and Joel sat in front of Sia! No, he didn’t talk to her or ask her about Maddie. (Yes I’m frowning as I type this.)

That meant he was gone overnight, and didn’t return until late on the night of his birthday. Which gave me two evenings to make the cake that made Joel’s jaw drop when he saw it. I’ll go into the specifics about said cake later, but it was a fun, insane ordeal, and it reminded me how much I love baking. And it reminded me how much I love baking for other people. And how much I love celebrating my favourite Australian. Once he got home, plane tired and wiped out, we ordered pizza and opened presents and blew out candles and I told him I loved him about 4700 times. Because I do.

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Caramel cake with salted caramel frosting… mmm…
My favourite slice of handsome.
My favourite slice of handsome.
PAAARRRRTY
PAAARRRRTY

DSCF1680Oh, Joel. I’m so very happy you were born.

… and I’m so happy that we get delicious cake for the next few days. luv ju. xoxi