My Trip to Australia: Part III

I landed in Sydney mid-afternoon on Tuesday and took the train from the airport to my friends train stop. I got off and she quickly met we there; we embraced and started talking nonstop. We went back to her apartment, dropped my bag off, and wandered into the city.

We stopped at this super fancy food court and enjoyed delicious salads at a Sydney health-food chain. After dinner, we headed to the Sydney Opera House for the beautiful night views. We took plenty of photos and saw a stunning light show projected on the Opera House outside.

At the moment, I decided I had to try and see a show. It was quickly cemented in my mind and I determined our best chance would be the first-come, first-serve discount tickets available starting at 9am.

The next morning we woke up early, I saw my friend’s gorgeous university campus, and took the train to Circular Quay—the home of the Opera House. I lucked out and scored two discounted tickets to La Boheme for that night.

Thrilled by my success, I headed off to meet the walking tour group scheduled for the next event of the day. It started around 10:30 and was an entirely free three hour walking tour all over the city. I learned so much and met so many interesting people from all over the world. I highly recommend the free walking tour in Sydney.

I loved this open art exhibit; each cage represents a species of bird that has lost its habitat as Sydney grew. There were speakers around that playing each bird’s song.

After the long walk I was exhausted so I grabbed a quick lunch and headed to the cool, hipster neighborhood where I planned to meet up with my friend for dinner. I got there much earlier than expected, so I went thrifting for about an hour and a half scoring great gifts!

I met up with my friend and we went to a quick vegan Vietnamese restaurant before heading to the Sydney Harbor to the show. As we headed there, we both got a bit hungry so we stopped at Woolworth’s and picked up our favorite thing—a pint of Halotop! We walked through a beautiful park eating the ice cream straight out of the pint as we walked, laughing & talking.

We got to the show in perfect time. We people watched for a few minutes before the show began. I can’t say the Opera was my favorite, but the stage and tech was incredible! The stage was literally floating on the harbor and they had real snow falling down into the audience throughout the show.

img_0588.jpg

By the end of the show, I was completely wiped out. My friend virtually dragged me home (bless her patience). Up to that point, I’d felt zero jet lag..but I’d also gone to bed no later than 8pm every other night.

I think I’m at my worst when I’m that tired, but luckily I woke up feeling ready for action! We had a day trip scheduled to the Blue Mountains. The day was a mixture of hiking & vista points, each more stunning than the last. During our big hike, my friend sprained her ankle on the steep, rocky stairs so we hung back for the last bit of the hike.

Afterwards, we ventured off to a cute town for lunch, followed by a trip to see town-funded graffiti, which is as beautiful & diverse as you can imagine.

We also saw kangaroos (of course)!

We stopped at a few other beautiful lookout points and finally headed home. It was a lovely day, but dog-tired we headed back to the apartment and threw together a quick dinner.

On Friday I rewarded myself by sleeping in a bit, and it was worth every minute. I enjoyed a cup of tea and began my journey to Coogee Beach for the insanely gorgeous Coogee to Bondi Beach Walk.

A definite tourist favorite, and I can see why. Stunning views the whole way. I took the day slow and stopped every so often to read or just stare into the aquamarine waters.

After my walk, I didn’t have time for any major activity so I met my friend at her favorite book store & cafe called Sapphos Books. It was such a quaint little shop and I found a book of feminist comics in German for my dad (he is learning German).

I had a transit disaster right after…ending up 45 minutes in the wrong direction. I decided to go without cellular data during my trip, and I didn’t have a single issue until my second to last day. As the bus went stop after stop, I got the uneasy feeling that I might be going the completely wrong direction. I asked a woman sitting next to me and she saw my dismay and helped me sort out what to do. We got to talking and she told me how much she loved Nashville (my hometown), Taylor Swift, and Graceland. We bonded quickly and she was rooting for me as I hopped off the bus at her instruction. I made it back to my friend’s apartment later that night and we had a relaxing low key evening.

The next day we took the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach. We decided to spend the morning eating brunch, exploring the street market, and wandering the beach. Brunch was to die for…I ordered a vegan breakfast bowl and it was filling, delicious, and beautiful full of roasted kale, kabocha, turmeric-spiked cauliflower, avocado, and pickled lemon peel with vegan feta & micro greens.

Of course we also tried a famous Australia classic–the acai bowl!

After brunch we wandered around the outdoor market and climbed up hills near the beach—finding some gorgeous views.

img_0789.jpg

After the beach I went and packed up my stuff and we decided to have a fun night out. We had dinner at this super cool vegan restaurant called “Lentil as Anything” that has a pay-as-you-can policy. The choices were limited, but delicious. After dinner we wandered the streets until we made our way to a zombie-themed bar. After an hour or so there, we arrived at the best stop—the Cuban themed bar & club. The downstairs half of the club was a mess—bad music & drunken teens everywhere!

Luckily, the upstairs half was a game changer. Live salsa music and a few incredible dancers on the floor. After watching for a few songs, one of my roommate’s friends gave us a brief lesson, and soon my friend and I were on the dance floor. We had a blast, even if our salsa moves were lacking. Oftentimes when I go out, people tend to make a big deal of the fact that I don’t drink. Luckily this crew couldn’t care less, and we danced the night away and ended up playing in a park with the dozens of other party-goers out that night.

We got back to the apartment after catching the last train; running to make it on time! It was 2AM and I collapsed into bed, all packed for my 5am wake up call to begin the journey home to San Francisco.

I made it the airport after one insanely expensive uber ride (I regret nothing!) and I collapsed into a deep sleep on the plane, with a whole row to myself! I woke up in Hong Kong feeling nothing but gratitude & playing my Australia memories in my head over and over again.

 

Ted Talk Friday: The way we think about work is broken

I have heard so many peers and friends echo the same bleak outlooks about their jobs and sense of meaning about the work they do. I completely agree and I often fall into the same trap myself. I spin my wheels on one task or frustrating outcome and get caught up in the details. I lose sight of the why, the purpose. Schwartz provides a positive reminder about what it means to work and feel fulfilled.

 

 

 

***
Do you fall into the same patterns Schwartz describes?

My Trip to Australia: Part II

I arrived in Airlie Beach and my amazing Airbnb host picked me up from the bus stop, gave me a quick drive through tour of the area, and after dropping my stuff off, I began a fun day of wandering the beach town. I had a wonderful picnic lunch on the water and walked along the shore for hours.

That evening I took an insanely fun speedboat tour around the area. I got there early and after talking with an employee there, I learned she lived in Nashville (my hometown) and went to Vanderbilt, not to mention she nannied for a family from my school. What a small world! Times like this are the perfect example of how interconnected we all are–it just takes a little bit of friendliness! It was a roller coaster on water–such a fun 30 minute ride! I even got to see some of the turtles the area is famous for.

I got back to my Airbnb around 6, ate dinner, and promptly fell asleep about 10 minutes into reading my book. I woke up the next morning, and after a bit of confusion, made it to the right dock to catch my beach/hiking/snorkeling day trip around the Whitsundays.

We started out the day at Whitehaven beach, one of the best beaches in the world (and I can see why). The perfectly white sand is soft because it’s made of silica (the result of the volcanic eruptions that made the islands), which also means it does not retain heat. After lying on the sand, I decided to take advantage of the paddle boards our boat offered. I’ve always wanted to paddle board, but I haven’t because 1) I’m afraid I would fall 2) I didn’t want to pay 3) living on the Pacific Ocean, the water is FREEZING. So this was finally my chance! I would say it went pretty well for about 5 minutes:

And then…

Now I can say I’ve tried it! I definitely want to try it again.

After the beach stop, we made our way to a short hike with incredible views.

The hike was gorgeous and I relaxed on the beach after. After a quick lunch on the boat, we set off to our snorkeling location. The Captain was awesome and decided to take us to a location slightly further away because their usual spot was spot was too crowded, which meant the wildlife would be overwhelmed and it wouldn’t be the best experience for us or the fish!

Don’t I look cool while snorkeling? LOL

This was actually the most awesome wildlife experience I caught on camera while in Australia. I felt like I was a part of the school of fish–it was such a bizarre experience. The fish had no fear!

The one and a half hours snorkeling and exploring the reef flew by and I was back on the boat riding back before I knew it. I was dropped off about a mile from my Airbnb and took about an hour exploring a local grocery store (one of my favorite activities!). I found tons of interesting things and walked out with $40 worth of chocolate and ingredients to make dinner.

I make it back to the Airbnb, cooked dinner, chatted with my host for a few hours, and put my laundry in. I went to shower and immediately passed out in bed. I woke up the next morning and my host had folded up all of my laundry–how sweet is that? I really lucked out. If you’re traveling to Airlie Beach/the Whitsundays, you’ve got to stay with Chris & Glenn.

After a relaxing morning, I took a shuttle to the Proserpine Airport to catch a flight to Sydney and begin the next amazing leg of my journey.

 

Ted Talk Friday: How to build (and re-build) trust

Trust: Logic + Empathy + Authenticity. I agree so much with Frei’s analysis of the difficulty of being different, and how that difference can get in the way of authenticity, and hence trust. If you listen to nothing else, fast forward ten minutes in and listen; her advice to individuals and leaders is pure magic. As a young professional, her advice hits an interesting point. Many of my colleagues play on phones during virtual meetings (we are mostly in our 20s), and I found myself occasionally distracted as well. While some people can fake it, I agree that it indubitably detracts from both professional and personal interactions.

 

 

***

Which area do you wobble in?

Fizzique: Bubbles of fun & fuel

I’ve never seen a fizzy protein drink until I heard about Fizzique. I was instantly curious if the drink would taste chalky or leave that weird protein aftertaste and I am a sucker for any new healthy products hitting the market. Luckily, I got the chance to try both their flavors–Tropical Limon and Strawberry Watermelon to see for myself.

My boxes arrived the night before I flew off to Australia, but I was dying to try them. So, after a little bit of research, I decided to take a chance. I wrapped a few cans of Fizzique in bubble wrap, wrapped them in sweaters, and squeezed them into my already full suitcase. Praying throughout the flight that my cans didn’t explode, 24 hours later I arrived in Australia and immediately checked–success! A dry suitcase, and ready to drink refreshments. Thank you to all the TripAdvisor forums for the solid advice.

The first day I walked for about 16 miles with a heavy backpack on and was ravenous even after a huge dinner. So I decided that would be the perfect time for a can!

 

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 8.26.36 PM

While it was hot outside, this flavor was crisp & refreshing. It had the perfect combination of strawberry and watermelon without tasting artificial. It makes sense because the ingredients are minimal and Fizzique is gluten free, GMO free, fat free, sugar free, soy free, with no artificial preservatives, colors or dyes. With a solid 20 grams of protein, it kept me full and I slept like a baby for the next 12 hours!

I only had a few cans with me in Australia, so I wanted to save them for the beach! I went snorkeling and hiking one day and enjoyed a can on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with soft, perfectly white silica sand.

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 8.34.09 PM

I wish I could’ve squeezed more cans into my suitcase! I enjoyed the Tropical Limon flavor, but the Strawberry Watermelon is definitely my favorite. The Tropical Limon flavor reminded me of a less sweet, less artificial version of 7-Up taste-wise, but the Strawberry Watermelon was such a unique combination. When I had to return home (womp womp), I learned that Fizzique even tastes good when not on the beach 😉

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 8.38.46 PM

At work I was struggling through the afternoon after my last meeting of the day and this high protein snack kept me focused on work, not my rumbling tummy. I occasionally get bored-hungry (or real hungry) around 4PM, but try and keep the snacks on the lighter side so I am still hungry for dinner. This did the trick; light and bubbly, but with the satisfaction of a protein bar. I drank mine out of a wine glass with chopped strawberries to feel a little fancy! It kept me full for hours until I was ready to dig into a big dinner later in the evening around 7PM.

Fizzique is also a great pre- or post-workout beverage/snack. It is light & filling, but doesn’t weigh you down. Plus each can packs 4400mg of BCAAs; BCAAs (Branch-Chain Amino Acids) are shown to help increase muscle endurance and decrease muscle soreness. Feeling less sore after squats? Count me in.

If you are interested in trying Fizzique, use code HANNAHFIZZIQUE for a discount when you order from the Fizzique website.

***

Have you heard of Fizzique? Do you like protein-packed drinks? Which flavor sounds better to you?

Ted Talk Friday: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Manipulate Our Emotions

I work in tech in the Bay Area so these tech giants are everywhere; Google buses (G-buses) are all over the place and Amazon delivers anything and everything. Galloway goes into the psychology of how these giants have taken over both the individual and the industry. Listen to his interesting, even if extreme, perspective on where these tech giants are leading us:

 

 

 

***

Do you agree with Galloway? Do you consciously feel manipulated?

Ted Talk Friday: How to deal with gaslighting

I have heard the term gaslighting quite a bit frequently, and it is definitely ringing true in the political world right now. The #MeToo movement has really brought this to the forefront–for so long women have been targeted with gaslighting, but when everyone has the courage to speak up, the power of gaslighting falls to pieces. I hope you enjoy this brave, vivid experience form Ariel Leve about surviving a childhood of chaos, lies, and gaslighting–and how she copes.

***

Have you ever experienced gaslighting? Do you agree with her coping strategies?

Ted Talk Friday: The toxic female gaze

I love the entertaining intro to this talk–cracks me up every time! This talk resonates with me; how many times have you looked up to find someone staring at you and automatically felt judged based on how you look? Watch the talk to learn more about the origin off where that might come from and why.

***
Do you think this is more prevalent in females? Do you often feel others looking at you and feel like it’s a toxic gaze?

Ted Talk Friday: Beyond Labels: Bridging Differences Through Storytelling

My wonderful, brilliant friend Kate recommended this talk to me during our most recent chat. I loved the overarching narrative that guides this talk by Not Baum. Her message is one that is crucial during a time of such division, especially within the US. I hope you enjoy!

***

Do you struggle to understand the perspective of others? When was the last time you listened to the story of someone you disagreed with?

#CABE SF: A weekend as an extroverted introvert

This weekend was jam-packed with social fun! If you know me, you know this sounds a bit strange…I am a deeply extroverted introvert.

*What does this mean?*

It means I love being around people, but get my energy and feel recharged through alone time–learn more about this in the book Quiet by Susan Cain. I spent both of my days meeting new people and catching up with old friend.

Saturday: I met a new friend for coffee and talked on the phone for over two hours. Yes, two. This is what happens when some of your best friends live hundreds of miles away.

img_9767

With plenty of snacks of course

Sunday: I started the day at an amazing event hosted by California Bloggers.

Look at the crazy line to get in:

Huge thanks to my friend Pauline from Sweatpink for hooking me up with the event! I met up with a few other Sweatpink ladies there (Sara and Melissa) , but also had the chance to meet some inspiring female bloggers and entrepreneurs.

Dee Gautham of @squats_and_samosas started the day with her amazing journey from unhappy project manager to entrepreneur living her dream without sacrificing quality of life. She emphasized the importance of vulnerability, which really resonated with me as I try to share both my bad and good days equally.

Danetha Doe of Money & Mimosas  talked about financial independence and how to grow your own personal business (or side hustle).

Danetha broke down her talk into the “5 P’s” for entrepreneurs:

1) know your why/purpose

2) people-getting clear on who is in your community..find your tribe

3) pricing-know what your packages are; how are you helping brands? what are your specific talents you can put a price tag on?

4) positioning- even if you have 2k followers, that doesn’t matter…it’s all about communicating to brands & letting brand know you can help them get to their goals

5) pitching yourself-brag about yourself (yes, brag!), you have skills & a unique message to share..be very clear with companies & business owners; provide a one pager vs. deck based on the conversation…and do your research!

Misha Skova of Skova talked about her development as a person and how the changes in her life have changed her brand. Having a family shifted her brand and she discussed the importance of going with that flow, while still maintaining the vision.

And last but not least the amazing lady behind @girlandthebay, Mandy Ansari. Mandy is an instagram goddess and instantly made me feel comfortable–like she was a friend. She provided her top ten tips for Instagram:

1. Know who you are—being authentic self is so important

2. Find your audience-keep to what they (and you) are interested in

3. Teach yourself how to do something—stay intellectually curious and learn about ads, design, Lynda/YouTube skills–the internet provides endless opportunities for learning

4. There’s an app for that!-look for apps that are great for photo editing to up your photo game

5. Be original (duh?)

6. Be professional-always respond to emails, be courteous, and outsource via upwork if necessary

7. Good things take time & patience; it took Mandy 7 years to grow her account

8. Invest in yourself- try Khan academy, General Assembly, skillshare.com…there are so many resources out there and you are worth the time and money

9. Stay honest

10. Tap it back-respond to everyone & share the love

Plus we got tons of adorable goodies in our gift bags thanks to the amazing sponsors!

***

Thanks to…

Screen-Shot-2018-03-19-at-8.55.21-PM-3955391357-1521518218936.png