Category Archives: Sydney

A Year of Sydney Sunsets on Instagram

Sydney has the most gorgeous sunsets. I’ve been snapping photos of the sky for the last year on my iPhone. I love to share them on Instagram and Twitter one by one, but it was really fun to pull them all together into one blog post here. These are a few of my favourite snaps.

“With innovation and technology, seems we have forgotten to cherish the true beauty the world has to offer.”  ~A.C. Van Cherub


Filed under Sydney

What trends are you seeing today?

Going to local events with crowd-sourced talks such as TEDx and Ignite are a great way to understand current trends in our industries. Several key messages and themes tend to resurface during the talks, and it’s not because the speakers are unoriginal. They are just putting into words, what’s on the minds of many in this snapshot of time.

Just over a year ago, before I moved to Australia, everything was focused on the “real-time.” How we were using technology and social networks to interact instantly was the hot topic. This expanded beyond just marketing. Ideas of what personalised health care might look like when delivered in real-time were discussed.

At Ignite Sydney last year, a presenter shared on how Twitter was being used to find out where bush fires in Australia were breaking out. According to him, this was more accurate than any other type of monitoring technology available.

I’ve been seeing three key trends that I find interesting and want to highlight.

1. “Collaborative consumption is so hot right now”

I tweeted this half serious, half joking during Sydney Ignite 7. Lisa Fox presented “The Aussie guide to collaborative consumption,” a story of how everyday people are using online sites such as Open Shed, to rent and share items you might find in storage. Another talk by Darryl Nichols told the story of his project, the “Garage Sale Trail,” community focused yard sales across the country. October also celebrates Buy Nothing New Month and this idea of sharing, trading, renting and swapping is pretty fashionable at the moment.

2. Becoming a catalyst for change: Empower local leaders

If we want to be most helpful, perhaps we should look to empower local changemakers instead of trying to force change ourselves. This is the message that Aaron Tait, Executive Director of Spark* International gave during his TEDxMacquarieUniversity talk. Chantelle Baxter, co-founder of One Girl also explained how education can help empower young women and girls, so they can then lead change in their communities.

3. Social entrepreneurship and Gen-Y

Last year, I think we were scratching our heads trying to further define this “millennial generation.” Topics were about Gen-Y in the work force and how Gen-Y uses technology. While these discussions continue, now the focus has shifted to the power of Gen-Y. I love the number of young people who stood up and defined themselves in some way as social entrepreneurs. We are a driven generation who wants to give back and this was reflected in the speakers.

 Are you noticing these trends in your community as well? What topics are you finding relevant and popular in today’s society?

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Filed under Communications, Sydney, Technology

30 New Places in 30 Days

My July challenge was to visit 30 new places within 30 days. It could be anything from trying a new restaurant or something simple like a street in Sydney I hadn’t walked down before. I am constantly reminding myself to try new places and not forget to explore what’s in my own backyard. The purpose of this challenge was to make me aware and purposeful of experiencing new places in Sydney.

Here is my list and a few notes on some of the 30 new places I went.

Had to Happen

1. Had To Happen — Mexican restaurant in North Sydney. Not my favourite in Sydney but also not the worst. I’d go back and try it again. They had decent prices and I’ve been told they do an all-you-can-eat fajita special.

2. City Hotel — We went here for a big 4th of July party put on by an American Expat group. I’ve never hung out with so many yanks in this city all under one roof. It was fun times. I had a pulled pork sandwich and Budweiser, but I know the menu and drinks were unique to this particular event.

3. The Commons — My foodie partner in crime, Trish, recommend this place. We actually went looking for a roast dinner (which they didn’t have that evening). Neither of us cared much for what we ordered, but I liked the atmosphere of this place and would try it again. The entrees were yummy.

4. Sam I Am — adorable little bar in Glebe. My friend Alicia picked this place to host another 4th of July party we had with some friends. We booked the room on the top floor which has a ping pong table.

5. Phamish — This was a great discovery and dinner pick. Vietnamese restaurant in Darlinghurst. I’ll be going back for round two for sure. Hat tip to Don for picking it. sometimes he has good ideas.

Jenolan Caves

6. Jenolan Caves — I recommend this as a place to take friends or family visiting Sydney. Take a full day to visit the Blue Mountains and take a cave tour. There are several options that vary in length and difficulty. We went on an easy walk but I’d like to go back to actually go caving. They were beautiful to see.

7. Incu — Cute shop on Oxford Street in Paddington. They carry TopShop for both men and women in the upstairs section.

8. Bourke Street Bakery — Another Surry Hills spot I can’t believe I went so many months without trying. I had heard all good reviews and finally tried it out for myself in July. Yum!

9. Pieno — There is lots of outdoor seating at this Surry Hills brunch spot. It’s right next to the Winery and Thomas Deux. It’s not my new favorite place for brunch, but we all enjoyed it. I would bring a group back here again.

10. Fakeclub — Some dirty club in the cross. Don’t go here unless you’re too drunk to care or understand where you are anyway.

11. The Opera Bar — Can you believe it took me almost a year of living in Sydney before having a drink at The Opera Bar? I hosted a tweet-up with a friend here in July and got a group of about 30+ together for a few drinks. It was a great spot because we had lots of room to move around and my friends who were visiting from out of town of course loved being next to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. I loved it too, Sydney is beautiful at night.

Aroma Festival

12. Aroma Festival — This was a coffee and chocolate (I think) festival held in the rocks. It was adorable and they had a lot of vendors but it was so hot out that weekend I wasn’t in the mood for a coffee. So that was sort of a fail.

13. Cotton Duck — Tried out this Surry Hills restaurant thanks to Secret Foodies. Great food and great atmosphere. I recommend it and I also recommend checking out Secret Foodies if you haven’t heard of it yet. It’s a pop-up dining experience in Sydney, organised by Ms. Darlinghurst.

14. Grasshopper — We went here for our last Travel Massive meet-up. I was feeling so-so about it until the next day when whoever runs the bar’s Twitter account was rude to my friend. Now I’m over it. Not planning on going back anytime soon, too many other new places to try.

15. Pizza E Birra — amazing, amazing pizza here. Pizza shop on Crown Street in Surry Hills. We celebrated Sara’s birthday here and everything we ordered was delicious. Can’t wait to go back.

Other spots included Tropicana, Harumi, Lincraft, Sydney Winter Festival, Urban Bites, new GG espresso in North Sydney, Via Del Corso Pasticceria e Caffe at Westfield,  Alma on Stanley St. in Darlinghurst, Chisholm at Jenolan Caves and more.

What new places have you been recently?

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Filed under 30 Day Challenge, Sydney

Good Eats Australia

Macarons from Adriano Zumbo - cc license, christianocious

I didn’t appreciate the food in Australia when I studied abroad here. In fact, I didn’t like it all. I found most places we went out to dinner overpriced for small portions, and the food was underwhelming in general. I had a couple of memorable meals, but left Australia thinking it was not a country known for its cuisine.

Moving back here it has been a different story. I feel that I’ve unlocked a whole new world of dining out. I’ve tried new foods here for the first time (like Laksa) and have started to appreciate things that are unique or popular in Australia.

Here are a few of my favourite “good eats” that can be found in lovely Sydney and all around Australia.

It’s a world of new noodles in Sydney. All different types of different and delicious noodles that I’ve come to love and so many I’ve yet to discover. I was especially impressed by the Pork spare rib ramen at Gumshara. I don’t know how I went so long without ever having Laksa before.  I now celebrate Laksa Thursdays so I have an excuse to have it weekly!

Dumplings at Din Tai Fung have redefined what I thought dumplings could taste like. The Ayam Goreng (Malaysian style friend chicken) from Mamak is some of the best fried chicken I’ve had. Roti was another great new food discovery. I get hungry thinking about it.

Roti Canai at Mamak - cc license, avlxyz

Weekend brunch must be my favourite meal in Australia. It’s all wonderful, including everything from bacon and egg rolls to the full Aussie breakfast with eggs, mushrooms, baked beans, toast and tomato.  There is a beautiful coffee culture here and I love enjoying a flat white with brekkie.

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll appreciate Australian chocolates. I love Cadbury’s Giant Buttons, and Arnott’s Mint Slice. Try Pavolova, it’s uniquely Australian. Macaroons are delicious little cookies that are all the rage here lately. I had my first Adriano Zumbo macaroons from his shop in Manly a couple months ago. It melts in your mouth. My favourite macaroon so far was in Melbourne at Scocolate. They won an award for Melbourne’s best chocolate macaroon last year (and it’s well deserved).

I enjoy some of the quicker to-go options here as well. Fish and chips on a summer day next to the beach puts a smile on my face. I like a “sausage sizzler” grilled up by the Queenscliff Surf Life Saving Club on a Saturday.

This is just a snap shot of the good eats in Australia. I can’t believe I used to tell people I didn’t like the food in this country. What was I thinking?

What are your favourite foods and restaurants in Sydney and around Australia?


Filed under Sydney, Travel

See you Later Sydney: Living in a City of Goodbyes

cc license, paulbarrogaA friend told me, not long after I moved here, that he has said goodbye to a lot of people in Sydney.  After only being here for a relatively short time, I’ve already started to say my own farewells.

I’m sure part of the problem will always be that I’m not from here. A lot of my friends are Americans and other expats. Even my coworkers at Switched on Media come from several different countries. It’s not surprisingly that people would come and go over the years. I’m not even sure how long I’ll be in Sydney myself.

Sydney in general seems to be place where people are always arriving and leaving from. Aussies love to travel. In fact, to leave a job to go traveling for several months is not unusual.  I love the culture of travel here; it’s far less common where I grew up.

While I’m obviously happy for friends who travel or return home after being away, there is definitely a sad side to it. It makes me think about my time in Sydney. I question if I should be home with my family instead. I’m happy here, but I do have moments where I wonder if I should be away.

Have you said a lot of goodbyes in Sydney?


Filed under Sydney, Travel