31 December 2011

Reflections of 2011


2011 was a trying year. Thank goodness for the great times, hey? And lucky due to my blog, I can relive it, feeling by feeling, word by word.

The year has brought me many incredible highs - an Australia Day medal, a finalist place in a national blog competition, speaking at AusBlogCon, a feature in a national glossy magazine and also a UK magazine, an interview on Triple J's Hack, being named Woman of the Week on The Hoopla, interviews with musicans Steve Poltz and Tania Doko, and seeing some incredible concerts including meeting my idol Darren Hayes and scoring a heap of official merchandise at Kings of Leon. I also made some wonderful new friends and enjoying spending time with loved ones. This was my favourite (and one of the most difficult) blog posts I've written in 2011: Untouched. And I launched carlyfindlay.com! I am incredibly lucky and blessed to have worked my way into the part of the media industry that I really enjoy and respect.

I don't want to reflect too much on the year that has been, because it has been a difficult one. I've had extremely sore skin, have cut my thumb terribly and burnt my hand, and had a broken heart. I have discovered the emotional pain far far outweighs physical pain. I had an awful interesting time doing online dating.The four hour drives to and from Albury over the Christmas break gave me quite a bit of thinking time - to the point where as soon as Adele's Someone Like You came on the radio 20 km up the Hume, I burst into tears. That pretty much sums up the second part of my 2011. I learned a lot about unconditional and unrequited love, dependence and desperation, the impacts of being a fan, grief and happiness this year.

And I know that 2011 has been a tough one for so many close to me. The future can only get better. 

So here's to looking forward. To a fantastic 2012 where I will finish my thesis about blogging and chronic illness, plan my trip to America, stay as well as I can, and continue to reach for the stars in my writing and speaking career.

Happy New Year everyone! May your celebrations be fun and safe, and 2012 bring you happiness, your dreams and memories to cherish.

28 December 2011

Eye update

I haven't written anything all holiday, except Christmas texts. I'm typing this on my phone in the car on the stretch of road between my parents' house and Albury. We are seeing a movie today and celebrating my Mum's birthday. Last week I went to get my eyes seen to at the hospital. The first time was via emergency where they prescribed me some gel cream and drops. I've been tailoring them to my needs and my eyes have improved tenfold. The second visit was to the opthamologist. It was a very reassuring visit. He said my eyes have not deteriorated since I last saw him two years ago. I have 20/20 vision. There are no more grazes on the cornea. My eyes will be drier in the summer. I just have to keep lubricating my eyes and wear sunglasses. So very relieved. And I thank everyone who had left messages here and Facebook and Twitter hoping my eyes are ok. Much appreciated.

22 December 2011

An atheist Christmas

I am an atheist. Yesterday as I sang Christmas carols for the staff at work I thought this: singing Christmas carols is the most religious part of my Christmas, possibly my life. 

As I sang them, happy to be bringing joy to people, uplifted by the act of singing, I thought about how I don't believe in these lyrics - in heaven, the virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus Christ. I guess it is sort of like me singing along to a band that I don't believe in. Bruno Mars perhaps. Even though I love choir and carol time - it makes people so happy - I feel hypocritical.

I wondered why I celebrated Christmas when I am an atheist. And I realised I'm not alone. So many people I know don't have any religious attachment yet still celebrate Christmas.
My parents are't particularly religious - Mum went to church regularly before coming to Australia and Dad sang in a church choir. I was never baptised. When I was a child my parents encouraged me to attend Sunday school and learn about Christianity. I went to Sunday school and youth group - but I think this was more of an act to ensure I was included in the small minded small town I grew up in, and to help me meet friends. I attended Sunday school regularly until about 12 years old and even did a reading at church at Christmas time. 

However it had the opposite effect and I felt excluded by the church and other religious people in the town. As I learnt about religion, the act of sin and the way Jesus helped the less fortunate, I openly questioned my own misfortune - my ichthyosis. I asked the Sunday school group about the theological reasons of why I may have been born this way. 
There were a number of suggestions thrown at me, enough to make my parents remove me from Sunday school, marking the beginning of me feeling uncomfortable about going to church and having religion pushed at me (I regularly have faith healers take pity on me and offer to heal me by giving me a pamphlet or asking me to put my head on their shoulder). Some of the suggestions made by Sunday school about why I was born with ichthyosis were: I was not baptised, my parents are black and white and that's a sin and my parents drink alcohol. I was also told that if I lived in biblical times, I'd have been considered a leper.

Right. I knew something was amiss at a young age. I knew this condition is genetic and nothing could have been done to prevent it before birth. And I knew it was wrong for them to impose their misinformed beliefs on me. And so my parents pulled me out of Sunday school and youth group. It bordered on brainwashing. 

And from then I've had a problem with going to church. I have only been for weddings and funerals. When I go I never say prayers or close my eyes. I don't sing hymns. I always leave questioning whether religion should rise above being a good person. And my questions aren't only regarding Christianity - they're applicable to many religions. Why are so many wars caused by religion? Why does it deny people of 'opposing' religions the right to fall in love? Why is it wrong to be gay in many religions? Why is religion (or the leaders and believers) sometimes so judgmental, particularly to those who rely on faith the most? If Jesus was so open minded and accepting, why are his worshipers so closed minded?
So while singing about the Royal Child being born in a stable, providing hope to mankind, I wondered the reasons for me to celebrate Christmas given I don't believe in religion. And why do so many other atheists do the same?

For me, it comes down to this. I enjoy the time with family and friends. I love buying presents and writing meaningful messages of appreciation for those I love. I love the food and festivity. It's about appreciation and gratitude. It is about helping those in need. It is about taking time on one day of the year to celebrate and reflect, and have a good time.

It is about joy and magic and Love Actually. It's a roast on the barbie and a pretty dress. It's about laughter and wine and afternoon naps. It's about children believing in Santa Claus and being excited about his visit. It's about love. And joy. And singing Christmas carols gives me joy, and so despite not believing in Christianity, I will continue to sing. Christmas is what you make it.
I love Christmas. And I wish you a happy and safe one, however you celebrate.

Do you celebrate Christmas in the traditional way, or do you make it your own? Has the reason for celebrating Christmas changed for you?

20 December 2011

The great blogging divide part 2: influence

I've seen a lot of hatred on the internet in the past day. A lot. Racism. Personal attacks. Cowardice. Death wishes. Nasty stuff.

It has stemmed from something I am very disappointed in. I don't agree with a decision, and I don't agree with the vitriol that has come from it. From both sides.

Us bloggers have a power. Power to change the world, power to help people, power to make the world a better place. It is sad to see this power misused, and sad to see people thrive on the hatred. Above all, it's sad that people hide behind the screen. Would you really say those things face to face, in person? Would you?

For me blogging is not about generating hits. (Though I was very excited when someone from MGM studios Googled me overnight). It's about powerful writing.And making a positive difference.

I've thought about what being influential means. Being influential doesn't necessary mean good. It may mean popular. But those who influence me are good. Great even. Not necessarily popular or well known. And the bloggers who have influenced me have changed my life. They're real, they're true to themselves and they are good.

Being influential is about having an opinion, and sharing it. Venting, getting angry even. Being silly at times. Having a laugh at your own expense. But never hurting someone else.

Being influential is about having your friend's back to protect them. But also knowing when to play nice.

Being influential is about having a go, despite your fears. And when you help someone else to have a go, you've really done something.

It's not about followers or ratings or beauty or hits. It's about changing the way someone thinks about something, or encouraging them to make a difference. Being influential is not a popularity contest.

It's a privilege to be influential. People look up to you. You have reach. Be influential for good not evil.

Part one of The great blogging divide is here

18 December 2011

Ichthyosis and the eyes.

I've realised I haven't written much about the medical aspects of ichthyosis as much as the social impacts. Of course, I've written about the pain and being in hospital, but it's never very technical. Maybe because it's quite difficult to explain what pain feels like, or that there are some aspects of conditions that are best left unsaid because honestly, they are a bit gross and make me happy to live alone.

But tonight I find myself writing about the medical stuff. One of the medical impacts of ichthyosis I'm suffering from at the moment is very sore eyes. See, ichthyosis affects the eyes too. I'm not quite sure of the technical wording, but in basic terms, people with ichthyosis may find their eyes not closing fully, and excessive dryness of the eyes. It's got to do with the lower lids - the medical term for this is ectropian - it means the lower eyelids sag and turn out, reducing the lubrication in the eyes. And so the eyes get dry, and gritty, and this may result in damage to the cornea. Reconstruction of the lower lids can be done via an operation.

In the two years that I've had this blog I've not really mentioned my eyes because they've been doing ok. I used to see the opthamologists regularly, but they were doing so well I no longer needed to see them unless an appointment was especially made. But since I've been on TV, I've noticed that I do blink a lot - unintentionally - and i guess this is to lubricate them. My eyes also run and I am constantly dabbing at them to remove excess tears and stringy bits.

When I was about 20, I was driving to work on a cloudy day. I had to pull over to the side of the road because my eyes were heavy and it felt like I had shampoo in them. The glare was too harsh for my eyes and I could barely keep them open. I remember working in the department store and just wanting to close my eyes. The next day Mum took me to the eye specialist and they told me that it is common for ichthyosis patients to experience problems with their eyes. They said my eyes were in good condition because I constantly moisturise my face with Vaseline and so the area around my eyes get moisturised too. And the opthamologists in Melbourne have said the same thing. I have a friend with ichthyosis who is now legally blind because of his ectropian eyelids.

I remember needing to go to the eye and ear hospital on the day Heath Ledger died, and I sat in the waiting room for hours waiting to see a specialist who gave me some drops. Since then, my eyes have been ok.

Until the past month or so when I've felt them deteriorate. My vision is fine. I can read from a distance, though I am not great with reading colour on colour - I think this is the combination of tears and Vaseline. But I now find the skin around my eyes is getting dryer, I'm getting more yellow build up inside them, and the sun really affects them, particularly when driving in the morning. You know when you go out on a sunny day and sneeze because the sun is bright, and when shampoo gets in your eyes. Well mine have felt like that. I guess I've not noticed much because I catch public transport to and from work. So on the days when I've driven to the post office before work, or going somewhere on the weekend, particularly straight after a shower, I've struggled to keep my eyes open. It is quite scary really. Yesterday morning I did not have sunglasses on me while out shopping, so I bought a pair and some eyedrops, which improved my eyes greatly.

I'm not sure of the steps from here. They're not deteriorating enough to affect my vision, or for me to lose my independence yet. But I will be very vigilant in wearing sunglasses everywhere, not just when driving.

With this Christmas period approaching, I don't think the opthamology clinic will be open, but I think it's crucial for me to see a specialist this week. Perhaps another trip to the eye and ear hospital. Keep your fingers (and eyes) crossed for me. 

I know mostly what to expect with the pain of ichthyosis. I can manage the day to day stuff. But it is the unknown that scares me a little. Especially not knowing how bad my eyes will get.

14 December 2011

I lost my Christmas spirit at the megamall. I found it again at Gingerbread Village.


Christmas shopping. I should be good at it. I am good at it. I love shopping. I would say it's a hobby up there with blogging, eating and going to see bands. I am usually so organised that by now I have smugly bought and wrapped all of the presents and they are sent to Santa* But this year, a week and a bit before Christmas, I still have a few more presents to buy and I am actually dreading venturing out for more shopping. And I really shouldn't begrudge Christmas. I can't wait to finish work on 22 December, go to my parents' place, relax, cook good food and enjoy being with the people I love at Christmas time. Isn't that what Christmas is meant to be about - love?

*When I was a kid, my parents would buy things from the Doubleday Bookclub and "send them to Santa" via the high cupboard in my bedroom. The high cupboard was a passage to the North Pole. On reflection, I learnt about this sort of thing in my International Business subject in third year uni - the subject where I never attended any classes because quite frankly it bored me yet I still aced it - one of my proudest moments. I digress. This sending to Santa caper is definitely some sort of economic theory: a product is made/grown in Australia - the All Right Vegemite book for example. It is them exported overseas and altered - once it arrives at the North Pole, Santa's elves wrap the All Right Vegemite book, and writes a tag in wobbly cursive. The product is then imported back into Australia - the All Right Vegemite book arrives back in Australia via sleigh - or by ute as per my header picture, Rudolph leads the way, Santa squeezes himself down the Coonara heater's chimney, and places it under the tree, drinking a can of VB on the way out. There you have it, an economic theory applied to Santa.Who said I didn't pay any attention in class?

I digress. This year, I lost my Christmas spirit at the megamall. I went to buy the bulk of the presents at my local shopping centre last Saturday. Exhausting. Parents trying to control their children, threatening them with Santa to encourage good behaviour. Really poor customer service - and they wonder why we do our shopping online now.

And there is too much choice.I think that is my problem. Too much choice. The stores yell at customers to buy things. Encourage greed - General Pants has a sign that reads "Good things come to those who want".

This makes me feel sick. Apart from the clever and eerily sung Bonds ad, I'm hating the commercialism of it all. Christmas feels like a competition of who can buy the best present, spend the most money, rack up the most frequent flyer points and give the most extravagant gift. I just want to get everyone meaningful and affordable presents - and hope the recipients love what I've chosen. And ensure I have money left over to pay for my rent.

And also, there are not not enough book stores. Who thought the store that sells the most books would be fashion chain Portmans? I've been getting my books from the social club book shelf at work. Or Portmans and Sportsgirl. I know.

I asked my Mum what I should buy Dad for Christmas. She said she didn't know. "But you live with him" I said. Gosh. I asked Dad what he wants for Christmas. "Nothing" he said. And so for the man who wants nothing, I shall donate to a cause.

And that is where I found my Christmas spirit. Causes and helping others. I went to my local shopping strip after the megamall. Found some beautiful gifts that through purchasing, support local businesses - and come with good service! I bought some cute toys to put in the charity box a work. I've given to the Salvation Army Band on the street. And yesterday I found this - Gingerbread Village by Epicure at Melbourne City Gallery. It is an amazing work of pastry art that is making a difference to the community.

I took some photos on my iPhone but I really encourage you to visit it for yourself if you're in Melbourne. There is so much detail - it is so beautiful. Gingerbread Village took chefs over two months to create. I love the Melbourne landmarks, and the cheese shop.

You can see how it was made here.

When you visit Gingerbread Village you can make a donation to the Starlight Foundation and write your name on a cardboard gingerbread man to place on a Christmas tree. So beautiful. And a great cause.

Have you lost your Christmas spirit this year? Has all the fun been taken out of Christmas because of commercialism?

11 December 2011

The great blogging divide. The in-crowd and the rest of us.

So the types of posts like the one I am about to write sometimes make me disengaged. I often wonder whether the blogger is resentful or just having a bad day. I think it's all a bit high school. But then I felt the need to write one. Because I think the blogging community that I love is changing. It's going to be hard to write this - I always want to be nice, and please people. I never quite know the damage this sort of opinion will do to me. But here goes.

Blogging is changing. It no longer feels secure and supportive. Fortunately for me, the negative comments I receive are quite low, and the friends I have made through blogging are amazing. I also know I am not going to please everyone. And that my blogging style has changed a bit. Lucky I still love blogging. But recently, I have seen bloggers get into arguments, slander other bloggers in blog posts, or have sneaky digs at them. I've seen bloggers being ignored on Twitter or Facebook. And I've known of bloggers be dropped from advertising companies because they didn't fit the mould. I've also seen bloggers stop their blog altogether, because they didn't find blogging fun.

Blogging is getting more and more exclusive. Who you know. What events you're invited to. The reach your blog has determines its worth. Blogging used to bring people together. Not I think it can drive people apart. And then when bloggers vent, they are torn down.

Perhaps it is the PR and advertisers that create the exclusiveness. As I tweeted, "When the blogging community is so open and inclusive, I think it's unfair that the PR part of it is SO exclusive. Not in the spirit." I think this is the case. Because all of the bloggers I've met have been lovely. It's the events and online communities created by the PR companies that may create the exclusive feel.

A number of bloggers and I engaged in a discussion about a recent competition to win an invitation to a Christmas party. It was an advertising opportunity disguised as an invitation. Very deceptive. And it implied there are A-list bloggers out there, and they were the ones invited to the event, the rest of us had to sell our blog space for advertising to vye for a chance to attend. Sneaky indeed. And it doesn't seem fair that, when we are all part of that particularly blogging community, there is a hierarchy.

I couldn't attend the event anyhow, as I had something on. My birthday. Cold Chisel. But these tactics made me feel like us bloggers are no longer equal. That some are celebrities and some aren't worthy. To me, we are all worthy. We all have a passion, and are mostly great people whose opinions and creativity deserve to be noticed.

There are other exclusive events - some I've been to, others I've been overlooked for. I am not resentful for not being invited. I am invited to a number of great events - for blogging and for other things - but often when they involve brands, the events are often targeted towards select audiences. Often mummy bloggers.

Don't get me wrong, I have met some great mummy bloggers. I love hanging out with them, and made some great friends. But sometimes I think the greatest emphasis is placed on mummy bloggers, because of the value of the reach, and the brands they can work with, but I think this leaves the rest of us - me genre-less - feeling a bit stranded, like we don't quite belong. And I wonder whether I should pose with a watermelon shoved up my dress just to get an invitation to an event that has apparently been advertised 'all over Twitter'.

And I've seen blogs becoming less authentic. They're no longer about the writing or original content. But about the adverts. They're becoming putty in PR hands. And the original, creative writing has now turned into the way bloggers can best spin a press release and make it their own. I recently clicked on a link via Twitter - a fellow Tweeter said 'what a great blog post' and so, valuing their opinion, I went to read the great blog post for myself. I can't even recall what the post was about now. It may have been great. Well written and thought provoking. But what caught my attention, and has stuck in my mind, was the blog was divided into three columns. One of those columns was dedicated to content. The other two were purely ads. It's a sad day when a blog has become two thirds ads. I understand bloggers need to make money. I understand blogging may be a person's only source of income. But now bloggers have the power to influence buyers, the writing sometimes takes second place.

I'm not going to deny it. I will do adverts on my blog. I may seek sponsorship for my trip to BlogHer. But I am selective about the brands I believe in, and don't want to compromise my integrity by replacing good written content with sponsored posts. I have been in talks with two brands I believe in, that are important to me, and will hopefully connect with my readers. But this blog is definitely not going to turn into an advertorial. I want to maintain quality writing and use my blog to leap into other things.

This blog, Tune into Radio Carly, is about to turn two years old. I have received some amazing opportunities through blogging. The people I've met have been the best. Conferences I've been to and spoken at have been fantastic. Some free things. Freelance writing. I even had a job interview recently, and I said at my interview that if it wasn't for this blog, I wouldn't be there. And I receive comments from strangers saying that I've helped them in some way. These are all privileges. And to have my writing read (and enjoyed) by so many is the biggest privilege of all.

I hope the blogging community continues to stay strong. We can do amazing things to raise awareness and build friendships. And there is always some great writing and opinions to be read through blogs. But as long as this exclusivity continues to drive the community apart, the in-crowd and the rest of us - it feels like blogging is no longer about writing but the notion of being a celebrity.

To end this little rant, I am not phased about *only* achieving 400 views per day. I know the value my blog has had on those with disabilities and chronic illnesses and those who have been bullied. I am damn proud of the writing opportunities I've created through this blog. And I cherish the friendships I've made through blogging. Those things are all more important to me than being in the 'in-crowd' and having my worth measured by a company.

Post script: I completely forgot to raise this in my original post. Anonymous commenters and their 'constructive comments'. I've received a few of them lately. If you feel the need to crtiticise a blog post, at least have the decency to put your name to your comment. I blog with my name, true to my values and opinion. And I've set up my comments where you can list your name too. As my friend Genevieve Maynard commented once, "As for you Anon, it is very easy to create a log in. It's too easy to hide behind a made up name, or Anon, and comment on other people's thoughts.". Comment with conviction. Just like we blog with conviction. Put your name to what you believe in.

What are your thoughts about exclusivity in the blogging community? Is this new 'exclusivity' only coming to a head in Australia, or is it world-wide?

My birthday - what a wonderful day it was!

"We gonna come together, We gonna celebrate
We gonna gather round, like it’s your birthday
~ Kings of Leon, Birthday
I had such a good day on my birthday - packed so much fun stuff in. We should live more days like they're a special day :) Everything I did was something I enjoyed. A few people have been asking me what I did - so here's the story!

I had the day off work. The day before I started work very early so I completed my standard day very early too - it felt like I had 1.5 days off! I woke up early-ish on my birthday - as I still had to cram a lot in. I opened my presents while listening to my favourite - Darren Hayes' Secret Codes and Battleships. I got more beautiful presents including handmade brooches, a set of Le Creuset pots and a Mimco handbag. I am the luckiest girl in the world.

And then I put on my best new (vintage) dress and I set off to the city for macarons with Camille. She couldn't make it to my party, but after me tweeting about the delicious macarons I received from S and T, we had to celebrate with a trip to La Belle Miette in Harware Lane. 

We had two macarons each, and a coffee for Cam and a really big hot chocolate for me. Cam had salted caramel and strawberry. I had rose and champagne. Wow. Delicious. Cam broke the blogging rule of eating her macaron before the photo was taken - but I can see how it happened when I tasted mine! The flavours are so divine. So rich and deep. I love macarons.
The windows were beautifully decorated with jars and boxes of green and cream macarons. So pretty.
We started off sitting inside, but then were asked to sit outside because they were filming for a tourism show on pay TV The owner was so lovely and apologetic - we received wonderful service and our details were taken down so we'd received vouchers - which means a return trip! Thanks La Belle Miette, and thanks Cam for the birthday treats and gift! I hope you've eaten your box of macarons by now.
After saying goodbye to Cam, my next stop was the city where I browsed the shops for a little while. The day was lovely - though a bit hot - and the sky was perfect. Here are the Christmas stars over the tram lines.
The shop was not so successful - once again I had money (vouchers) to spend and nothing piqued my interest. So I walked to Mamasita for a Mexican lunch. Even at 12.00 pm we had to queue.

I asked a stranger in the queue to take this picture after Sydney Shop Girl requested to see my working her gift all the way from Dubai. I'm wearing a gorgeous vintage dress I bought from my local shopping strip - perfect fit, perfect length, perfect colour and print, Diana Ferarri flats, a basic cardi, a beaded Curlypops brooch from Cam - perfect for this outfit, and carrying my new Mimco bag from Sydney Shop Girl - I LOVE IT!!! Thank you so much!!
Of course a day off work meant I could have a margarita at 12.00 pm. I don't know what else is in this other than grapefruit, lime and vanilla salt, but it tasted great!!
The lovely waiter gave me corn for a birthday present! This corn, topped with chilli and cheese - is the best corn ever. I was also chatting to a couple at the bar - we talked about how great it is that Mexican food is taking off in Melbourne, and how we'd like to eat it every day!
My mains were soft tacos - one filled with prawns and the other was fish. I loved the fish - it was smoky and firm. The prawn one was good too, though I'd had it before with Heidi a few weeks ago.
 Finally I had a popcorn ice-cream to take away - perfect for a warm day.
Next up was a movie - New Years Eve. Despite seeing a half-star review, I found it mindlessly satisfying. I found it pleasant - not funny or thought provoking, just an easy watch.

I went home, and took a nap, and then headed back to the city for dinner and a concert. Before dinner, I bought this dress - which I wore to work and our Christmas party the next day.

Dinner on my birthday was Vietnamese with Steph. We had rice paper rolls. I tried to be a grown up and not call them penis rolls. But I couldn't resist.
 We also had pho, which I failed to photograph, but here are the garnishes.
 My Coke was a 'mate' one - perfect for Steph and I. Mates.

 After dinner we walked to Fed Square where I met Louis. I took a photo of this toy solider at the Town Hall. Christmas in the city is so fun.
Louis and I saw Cold Chisel in concert. It was so good. They played all the hits - I loved being able to let my inner bogan loose and sing along to Cheap Wine, Khe Sanh and Flame Trees.
The concert was like a history lesson. So many songs are about life post Vietnam war, and the working class culture in Australia in the 1970s and 80s.I really enjoyed seeing the projections of images from years gone by - the drinking, the old cars, topless women and the way Cold Chisel used to be.
Khe Sanh - the perennial karaoke song - had the lyrics on screen so we could all sing along.

 The Chisel concert was a fantastic way to celebrate - so glad it coincided with my birthday!

So many friends wished me the best for my birthday. I received beautiful messages. One of my music idols Bob Evans tweeted me!
It was a beautiful day and I literally I celebrated it until the last minute of the day. I arrived home at midnight! The next day - up early, my lovely manager treated me to a cake for our breakfast meeting.

 Thank you to everyone who made my birthday so special. I love all my gifts, the ways I celebrated, and spending time with you all. I am truly the luckiest girl in the world.

08 December 2011

30. So grown up.

I was going to write something profound here. After all, it's the first day of being a grown up. Today's a milestone. A day of new beginnings. Heightened expectations. And all I got is this. My favourite picture of a cupcake.

I also have this. A line I heard yesterday. "Never wake up feeling defeated". So very true. I love this outlook. Get up each day, excited at the possibilities, smiling because you're alive. And enjoy what you have!

I'm 30 today and I am excited at what the day and next decade has to offer. Today features lots of friends, macarons, a movie, Mexican food, a nap, pho and Cold Chisel in concert. This next decade features so many wonderful opportunities - I just know it.

I thought turning 30 would mean I'd feel grown up. Nothing has changed. I still wake up looking like Freddy Kruger. I am still really untidy. Just like yesterday.

When I was little I imagined it was really old. I imagined I'd be as grown up as my teachers (who were maybe only mid twenties then anyway). I thought I may carry a briefcase, wear high heels every day and have my own office. I imagined that I'd own my own house. Drive a convertible car (but I hate the wind on my face, do the roof would always be up!). Maybe I'd be married with children. My biggest dream was to have long hair. I told my doctors, they wrote it in my hospital file and reminded me when I was in my early twenties. I have none of that. But I do have a great life! And I am glad for it. Stuff the expectations of your youth, from other people. Live life and enjoy it!

I forgot. This is me air drumming to Kings of Leon DVD with Kings of Leon drumsticks. So grown up.

Have a happy day everyone. If it's your birthday too, I hope this day is very special for you.

07 December 2011

You live, you learn.

Walking back to the city with a friend after a rock concert, I saw him. Bumped into him in a dispersed but still strong crowd. What are the chances? It was our first meeting in four years. I wondered if he felt as awkward as I did. It felt strange to see the man I used to love after so long.

The last time I saw him was not a nice time. I left feeling very unwanted. The time before that was when we kissed.

We've talked a lot more in recent months. But I don't think of him so much nowadays. And I still doubt. I didn't notice the thoughts and feelings evaporate. They just went. They went without warning, probably the best way - no time for me to resist and hold on to pieces of nothing. The feelings that have passed certainly give me hope for my current situation.

We have had safety in distance for years now.That seems a common theme for me. And unrequited love despite something between us. Something. A spark. Not enough to start a fire. But I could easily be drawn in again. Easily. There's a danger in distance too.

That night, when my ears were buzzing from the noise of the concert, body pounding from the rush of the music, my heart jumped when I saw him. He looked good. As good as I remember him.

We made small talk. The band was great. He was drinking. I'm the local, so where is the nearest pub? Was there really just water in my cup?

And then my heart sank. I wondered if he sensed it. He disappointed me. Again. With no apology. No consequence. Again. Should I have expected anything different?

I realised things haven't changed, except in my life. This time, while I was still hurt and angry, it was not the same hurt and anger I felt when I loved him those 3-4-5 years ago. And that gives me hope.
I still think of him. The recent him. The one I still love. I haven't heard from him recently. Not that I hear from him really, except a few 'likes' and that one confronting text message merely asking how I am, but his online presence has gone for for a while.

Maybe he's so happy he's not there - he no longer needs to be. Maybe he's so unhappy he's not here. I worry. I want to ask him 'are you ok?'.

I could call, text or email. But I don't. I don't ask. It is the most self control I've shown regarding him, ever.

If I do ask him I fear I'll care too much again. I'll care about a response, I'll care about not receiving a response.That responsibility feels too much of a burden for me to repeat.The heart breaks more than once. I've had enough breaks for now. My recent breaks are healing slowly but surely.
It's the last day of my twenties today. The last day of the decade where I learnt so much. Things are easier to deal with when you've learnt from the past. Maybe this is what growing up feels like.

"I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone."
~ You Learn, Alanis Morissette

06 December 2011


There are a few things I want to share with you this week. Maybe I'll start doing a regular 'noteworthy' post of the things that have made me smile. Blogging is all about sharing, right? What do you think?

Ivy's wish
First and foremost is a blog entry by Tiffany Treganza at Three Ring Circus that is possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Her little girl Ivy has a rare and severe chronic illness that affects her immune system. Ivy was recently granted her wish from Starlight to dance on stage with the Australian Ballet at the Opera House. In her blog entry, Tiff writes about the joy brought to Ivy and the rest of her family.

Ivy's smile is so cute, and seeing her dance and in awe is heart melting. I have read the entry three times now, and cried just as much each time. Amazing. Please, please read this post and be reminded at the joy in the world.

Please also consider donating to Starlight, to grant other sick children their wishes. I donate and am so glad to see my money bringing smiles to those who need them.

Tiff has given me permission to share some of the gorgeous pictures with you on my blog.

 Ivy and her twin brother Noah.
 Ivy received some signed ballet shoes.
 She danced on stage.
 And more dancing and spinning. Just gorgeous.

04 December 2011

(Almost) 30. The party. Some thoughts. Much ♥

I am clinging onto the last days of my twenties. On Thursday I won't be a '20something just telling it how it is'. I'll be older. More responsible. Wiser. 30. Still telling it how it is, probably.
Last night I had my 30th birthday party at a fantastic restaurant called Queen Street Rescue. Today, in a sign of getting older, my almost 30 year old body feels weary and I have a headache from too many Moscatos and lemon-vanilla-vodka cocktails. Though my weariness could also be from the shop-til-I-dropped day yesterday. Or from seeing the Foo Fighters on Friday night and not getting home until 1 am. Or dinner out with Stella Young the night before that. Or the channel 31 Christmas party on Wednesday night. Too much action to be had this week. It is indeed the Festival of Carly.

The party was fantastic. It was very me - an elegant dinner and drinks with my parents and good friends. I received some beautiful presents including funds for my New York trip, travel books, a vintage bag, jewellery, a gourmet food hamper, jewellery and gift vouchers (and more!). I got a stunning box of macarons from La Belle Miette...
And a mix tape from an old friend who was one of the first to introduce me to music - I laughed so hard at the cover - Savage Sons!!!
My gifts were gorgeous and I cannot thank my parents and friends enough for them. They are very generous. (There's a few gifts on my kitchen table from friends who couldn't make it - the three year old in me is saving these until my actual birthday.) And the messages that were written in my cards are so kind and heartfelt.

But above the gifts was how loved my parents and friends made me feel. Just by being present at my party. People traveled from far away to celebrate with me. A friend from uni - I carried his beer up the hill at O-Week, and he can't believe how extroverted and drinky and sweary I am since the uni days! A friend from school who I am so glad I recently reconnected with - my new shopping partner. A friend I worked with at the department store. Blogger friends Cheryl (a slave to the party hat) and Heidi. The girls I met at high tea. My babysitter and her (hot new) husband. The friends who I'd come down to stay with in Melbourne - when they were 30 and I was 17 - and they'd take me shopping and to bands (they made me the mixtape!). Friends from No Limits. Friends I work with. And my wonderful, kind, patient, generous (and sometimes strict) parents - the best parents anyone could wish for.

My Dad wrote some powerful words in the card. They made me cry.

Dear Carly. You've made it - 30 at last. How can we ever forget the day when we returned from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne without you. We didn't think you would make it, and neither did they. Thank God for the doctors. Love you heaps - Dad.


I think about how lucky I am. How sick I was. How difficult things have been sometimes. And how far I've come. I am so thankful for every day, every opportunity, the fantastic times I have had, and all the friends and family I have who have supported, encouraged and believed in me. So much love. Thank you everyone for making me feel very special, and celebrating with me. I love you all.

My fabulous friend and social media manager extraordinaire Jess and her husband.
 Cheryl - slave to the party hat
 Heidi and I
 Ben (uni friend) and I - I'm so very quiet and reserved.

 The boys from No Limits.
 Heidi and Ben

 Steph - looking beautiful

 Probably not my best face. But no wrinkles!
 Upside down, upside down. Hurry upppppp.
 Some serious No Limits reporter faces.
 Country girls.
 Simona and I


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