’16 Going On ’17

200Dear 2016,

The time has come to say goodbye and with that may you take away any negative energy left with you.  Thank you for allowing me to meet some of the most beautiful people inside and out I have ever known – the circle of people I was surrounded by this year was just so good and I hope it continues that way. To those that left, whether you come back or not is entirely up to you – I am grateful for the times we shared and will never forget our moments together.   Thank you for providing me a year of firsts and memorable ones they were. You’ve been a rollercoaster and I don’t think I have ever been filled with so many different emotions in a short space of time… I experienced full on joyful laughter whilst crying hysterically. Curse the insomnia and the anxious nights but that all shaped the outcome of today and though at the time I did not remember, I feel safe knowing I will never be thrown a challenge too big for me to overcome. I am grateful for the lesson/s that there are no guarantees and understanding that nothing should be forced, not even the force that should always be with you 😉 Thank you for the blessings and opportunities you graced upon my family, friends and I. 🙂

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Dear 2017,

Welcome! As usual we will continue to dream big and I am so excited for what is in store for everyone. I hope more and more people come to the realisation that Black Lives Matter and that this is a year forward for feminism – and no I do not mean the feminazi but for feminists.  I also hope that Asian and other ethnic actors are given more opportunities to be the leading lady/man. The reality is that you may not be a whole lot greater than last year, but it is in the hope that you could be that makes it great.  I hope we as a collective learn that only love will drive out hate, and that means a lot more than adding a hashtag in front of a trend, it is in times like today that actions are what are needed and even if we are far away from the trouble and burdens in our world that we do what we are able to. Like always, there will be personal obstacles – hopefully not too harsh but even so we’ll just embrace it. Ready or not, let’s make this year a memorable one. I’m sure the best is yet to come.

365 new days means 365 new chances. Don’t waste a single one. I wish you and your family a safe and happy year filled with good things! My choice of poison is champagne… Whatever yours may be, celebrate responsibly x 🙂

With love and light always, M ❤

18 Important Things I’ve Learnt Before 18

I’d like to think I’ve been taught some really useful life lessons on this journey so far and before I become a legal adult (18 damnnn), I’d like to share with you 18 of my favourites.

  1. It’s all about priorities… Prioritising wisely is probably one of the best pieces of advices I could give someone right now. 
  2. Friends will come and go and that’s okay, sometimes it’s better off that way.
  3. It’s not about who you’ve known the longest but about who’s entered your life and shown that they’re with you through it all. Sometimes you just click. If they’re the real deal, they will be more beneficial than someone you’ve known pretty much your whole life. 
  4. You may think it seems petty, but pay attention to the little things people do/don’t do – it usually provides an indication of what they’re really like and how they’ll be when it comes to more significant things. Maybe it’s just me but I love the little things and am one to pay close attention to detail.
  5. If you can meet a real good group of people from school/uni/work, you are so very fortunate. I have my best friends from high school, a few good high school friends and I have found a wonderful group of people I can gladly call my friends. I never did have heaps of friends and there was a time when I only had like 2 friends and like any young girl would feel, it made me really sad, which made my mother really sad. It is easy to have acquaintances and people you like to talk to who also enjoy talking to you. It is when you find people who get you, the ones you are totally yourself with, the people you are not trying to impress with anything more but the person you are and they love you for that. It’s the people who will stick by you through your best and worst times, who will listen to whatever you have to say, may put you in your place but respect you above all. I have found myself in a wonderful position in terms of friends and can surely say I without them I would not survive and be the person I am today.
  6. Only with the heart one can see rightly, but be sure to find the balance with your head. You must follow your heart but darling please use logic too and think things through.
  7. People aren’t gonna love the same way you do. They say it is a blessing and a curse to feel everything so deeply and I for one can confirm that. We’re all different in the way we handle emotions, that’s normal, how boring would it be if we all felt the same and understood each other at first sight, pfft an easy life was never promised. 
  8. Health is wealth. This cannot be stressed enough!!! On that note, try your best not to stress – your overall wellbeing is of upmost importance.
  9. Knowledge is power, but grades aren’t everything. I was always a high achiever in school and taught to really value education. For a long time I was so invested in ensuring I got top grades and achieving well academically I would forget more important things.
  10. Say yes to every opportunity but also know when to say no.
  11. No longer compare yourself to others. This is so crucial for your happiness and self-esteem and worth. As a competitive person I could not help but see myself in comparison with someone who was or appeared in a ‘better’ position than me.  It didn’t help that people around me would compare me to others whenever I made a slight error.
  12. Anything that is too much is never good. Ever. 
  13. Do your very best in everything you do. If you’re going to half-ass something, don’t waste your time. Nothing great has ever come from anyone doing a half-assed job. If you really want it, you should be willing to do whatever it takes. If you are not in the position you hoped to be in, at least you can look back with no regrets and can say that you did your very best.
  14. Watch good films, listen to great music, read wonderful stories, drink the best coffees/teas, eat amazing food. Note: Spectacular activities either alone or with quality company. Life is too short to watch bad movies, listen to music other people tell you to – unless their recommendations are your jams and read books you have no interest in.  Don’t settle for that mediocre instant coffee or tea that is no good. The same goes for alcoholic beverages, I understand living on a uni budget and all but buy that fancy cocktail and drink nice wine if you can. Do things that enhance your being and not just because you don’t want to be like everyone else or on the flip side just to be different.
  15. Karma – in its own time. This one is awesome! What goes around will come around. You know what sucks? How nasty some people can be and yet they appear so pleasant – the wolf in sheep clothing. They will get a taste of their medicine… Just give it time. The same goes for really good people, firstly keep up the great work because people like you are making everyday life better for someone.
  16. Believe. In anything and everything and most especially in yourself. 
  17. You are enough. You were always enough and will always be enough and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  18. It is a gift to wake up every single day – make it count. You get one shot at this life, live everyday to the fullest.

 

With love and light always, Mon ❤


Edit: 18 instead of 17

Everything I Learned in 2015


Happy New Year darlings! 😀 I hope you welcomed the year with open arms, ate delicious food and drank champagne! Although one should not dwell in the past, it is important to reflect on who we are as people and whether we have grown, and also so we don’t make the same mistakes. Here’s everything that I either learned, was reassured of or questioned last year:

You will lose friends and that’s fine – better sooner than later

When you find genuine people who hold no malice or other toxic qualities, don’t let them go

You can’t please everyone so don’t stress trying to

Why are they still called ‘guilty pleasures’, if it provides satisfaction or enjoyment, can’t they just be ‘pleasures’. As long as it’s legal – I ain’t judging

Classical music is really effective while studying

Cat calling has never and will never be okay. C’mon guys!

Never call/text/dm when you’re angry

Don’t expect anything from anyone – just because you’d do it, doesn’t mean they will

Black is the new black – it never goes out of style

Rock that bold lipstick you love

Cleopatra was a true QUEEN and not just because of her ‘beauty’

Actions speak louder than words but words are equally important

Disney keeps evolving – never ceases to amaze me

We still need to work on feminism for all races

Can we please get more leading roles to be people of colour, especially leading ladies and for Asians – not just the nerdy/business/Kung-fu stereotype

If you care or love someone, show it. If the feeling isn’t mutual, slowly remove yourself from the situation even if it means losing them all together

Don’t be afraid to fight for what you believe in

Sometimes the things you’d never imagine would happen to you will happen – not necessarily positive either

If in doubt, just be yourself and try your best

Pink is truly a beautiful colour

R E S P E C T all things living and inanimate, traditions and beliefs

Everyday is a great chance to start fresh – you don’t have to wait a whole year

You ARE stronger than you think

Don’t take anything for granted – be grateful and gracious


Stay fabulous ❤️

A Feministic Take On A Classic Fairy Tale

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I can’t believe it’s nearly 2016! So, before the year ends, I want to share with you a couple of my favourite moments.  In March, I was fortunate enough to be offered to watch a special screening of Cinderella and write on how feminism fits in with the story and Disney princesses.  Anyone who knows me knows I may have a little obsession with all things Disney, so I leaped at the chance! 😀  This was originally written then published by my city newspaper in March when the movie released but as it’s definitely one of my favourite pieces this year, I wanted to share it with you.

“A dream is a wish your heart makes.” ❤ 

The world’s favourite fairy tale classic, Cinderella, returns to the big screen once again, but with Lily James as Cinderella and Richard Madden as Prince Charming.

When we think of fairy tales, we think of princesses, fairy godmothers, cute animals and ‘happily ever after’s.  Did you ever think that Cinderella and some of your other beloved princesses are actually feminists?

Feminism isn’t about thinking, acting and working like a man.  It’s about having equality amoung the sexes.  The women’s movements during the 60s and 70s was not for girls and women to turn into boys and men but for females to have the choice and the chance to choose our own destinies.

Yes, Cinderella obeyed her stepmother, was mistreated by her and was basically a maid for her and her stepsisters.  She could’ve run away or stood up to her stepmother but she chose to follow her, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming and using her imagination.

If that doesn’t convince you, though she may or may not be your favourite character, the evil stepmother, Lady Tremaine, shows her authority around the house, ordering Cinderella what to do all the time. Set in the 50s, men would tell their wives and children what to do, but Cinderella’s father doesn’t have much say in the story.  The power stays with Lady Tremaine, her stepmother, which shows that Cinderella portrayed a woman as a strong and powerful character.

Disney’s earlier princesses (Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora) may not have been as courageous and feisty as some of the later girls (Mulan, Rapunzel, Merida and Elsa), but they were not just pretty faces.  They were always kind and hard working which are positive values, making them great role models.  The message of being true to yourself and following your dreams is written all over the story of Cinderella.  This is what feminism strives for – girls reaching for their dreams and making decisions in their own free will.  Just a reminder: It’s okay to dream, in fact, some of your greatest ideas will happen in a dream.  Use your imagination, that’s how new inventions and creations, came to be.  And always be kind, a beautiful heart is priceless and gets better with age. 

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Images: Disney

Why I’m Glad I Went To Schoolies

 

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Every year, something like 94% of Yr 12 graduates await the week long party celebrating the end of their schooling era. Some kids went overseas, on a cruise but many more either stayed or went to a schoolies venue – Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Airlie Beach or Bali. So, Schoolies weather forecast: hot and mostly sunny with a chance of peaking introverts, schoolies specials practically everywhere, and an influx at the nearest Dominos or McDonald’s of both those sober and not. 

Up until this year (senior year yo), I had no intention in involving myself in the temporary artificial party aesthetic. I wasn’t sheltered but I imagined heaps of drugs, violent/sexual confrontations and a mass of sweaty and loud teenagers unaware of sense and sensibility.  And when the news only portrayed Schoolies as a massive party where teenagers go wild and get arrested, I didn’t want to be part of the statistics. However, I went in 4/7 days and I’m so glad I did. I celebrated the end of 12 years of schooling at Schoolies with the best people and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

 

Schoolies Central GC

 
 Most school leavers don’t need a reason to go but if you’re not convinced, here are the best 4:

1. Beach parties are the funnest! From 7pm-12am, Surfers has a massive rager in the schoolies hub on the beach – 2 stages are set up on opposite sides and play some sick beats. But if that’s not really your scene, there’re always the club parties and hangs in apartments.

2. It really is a great way to celebrate with your friends.  It doesn’t matter whether you stay in for the whole week or just go in a couple days.  Whether you’re drinking and/or doing other things in your apartment, swimming in your pool or at the beach, shopping or eating out (who doesn’t like $3 gelato or sorbet on a hot day?), spending the week celebrating you and your squad is always a good time.

View from the Agean

3. There are heaps of people there to ensure your safety and well being – Red Frogs: operating at schoolies for 14 years, armed with Allen’s Red Frogs, these volunteers patrol the streets specialising in walks home, cooking free pancakes, and delivering mounts of red chewy sugary goodness, Schoolies Support Volunteers who are a friendly face and will help you with basically everything, Rosie’s providing the hydration station on the beach, and of course the police, who ensure our safety. The Queensland Yr 12s were given an A+ report, with a decrease in arrests by 60% since last year and no fatalities.

4. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – that’s if you’re not a lame toolie or a vip (very impatient person aka Yr 10 or 11) – careful E, I’ve got my eyes on you. It’s not the time to #YOLO, honey no, but Schoolies only comes around once and if you keep your head screwed on, you’ll be able to have a really great time. I know some people that don’t remember much but know it was one of the best weeks of their lives.

Then again, schoolies isn’t for everyone but it is something you should consider. It’s all about experience so go ahead and live it up but you’re in charge of yourself so you do you, stick to your values, know your boundaries and don’t make decisions you’ll regret. So, how did you or how will you celebrate the end of high school?

With love and light, Monique ❤

Jamie’s Italian Brisbane 

Jamie's Italian Brisbane

Jamie’s Italian Brisbane

Address: 237 Edward Street, Brisbane, QLD, 4000

Trading hours: Monday-Sunday 11:30am-10pm

Phone: 07 3144 3000

ITALIAN

Situated in a classic heritage building, Jamie’s Italian Brisbane is a marvellous split-level restaurant and bar. Although recommended to make reservations, walk-ins are more than welcome if tables are available.  On this occasion we went for lunch on a Monday and yes there was a queue.  As Terry Durack from Table Talk said a few years ago, Jamie’s Italian, regardless of the city it is located and the great or poor reviews it receives; it will continue to do well, because of the Jamie effect.  The food was absolutely wonderful and the service was paralleled.  We had a very lovely waitress, quite calm and cheerful, and it appears that all the staff knows the menu to a tee, they also explained the specials and could recommend suitable dishes.  But before you wrap your fork around your Al Forno or dive into your Fish in a Bag, try one of Jamie’s creative cocktails or a non-boozy refresher ($6.45): lemon, elderflower cordial, cranberry juice & lemonade. I hear the Espresso Martini, Pappa “G” and Jamie’s Grown-Up Iced Tea are just a few of the alcoholic hits.

Italian Nachos

Italian Nachos

We started with the Italian Nachos ($11.25) this time, deep fried, four-cheese filled ravioli served with arrabiata sauce, which were nice, innovative and fun but not amazing.  The Famous Polenta Chips ($9) however, are sensational.

Porcini Fettucini

Porcini Fettucini

Both in main sizes, I ordered the Porcini Fettuccine ($14.5/24.5): a superb combination of fresh mushrooms, garlic, lemon gremolata, Parmesan and herby breadcrumbs and my friend had the Rigatoni Carbonara ($15/25): Crispy pancetta, buttery leeks and a traditional carbonara sauce.  To end our lunch, we savoured every bite of the Creamy Panna Cotta ($8.5), topped with seasonal fruit compote, the crunch of the fruit complimenting the delicate melt-in-your-mouth vanilla goodness.  You don’t feel rushed to finish your meal which makes the experience that much better.  

Creamy Panna Cotta

Creamy Panna Cotta

Jamie’s Italian is suitable for just about everyone, with a wide range of vegetarian options and for every occasion: date nights, a drink and a snack with the mates, a family lunch; there’s an adorable and healthy kids menu. You can find the entire menu hereOverall, although Jamie’s menu consists of Italian food that is both genuine and not so much, the splendid taste of the food accompanied by great service and a cool ambience with that Jamie charm is more than enough to keep me returning.  Have you been to Jamie’s Italian?  What are the best Italian restaurants you’ve been to?

Food: 7.5/10

Overall experience: 8.5/10