Posts Tagged ‘family’

cherry blossoms by Atypical Type A

I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks.

I’m not generally a fan of bloggers apologising for absences. But I do feel in this case that at the very least an explanation is warranted.

I have mentioned here or on social media a couple of reasons why I’ve been so quiet over the last couple of months (and by quiet I mean practically falling off the blogosphere). One was our recent trip to New Zealand,
the other being that a day before I was due to begin my leave for said trip, my computer died, leaving me with no way to work or blog.

I didn’t lose anything important (if you haven’t backed up in a while, stop reading this post and go do it now!) but it was still a very stressful time trying to get all of my pre-holiday work done on a borrowed computer with missing software, fonts etc. I’ve since bought a new computer and am loving it but am still running at reduced productivity while I’m in the setup process of restoring all my backup and getting used to the new software.

Anyway, so the other thing I haven’t told you is that I now have a day job again.

The pesky little voice on one shoulder hasn’t wanted to publicise this fact (“Don’t admit to the world you’ve failed,” says the voice). But the one on the other shoulder says “Be honest, be open. You’re a real person and there’s nothing to be ashamed of”.

So here’s me trying to listen to the second voice.

I am proud of what I have achieved over the last three years with my business Akimbo and with this blog. They have both opened up a world of opportunities that I never dreamed of and have  brought me in contact with some amazing people (some of whom I’m lucky enough to now call friends).

But it has also been an incredible amount of work. Now, I’m not opposed to working hard (far from it), but I was burning out. I was pouring everything I had into my business and blog, putting in some crazy hours, not being the kind of wife/friend/daughter/person I want to be, while not being rewarded with the kind of results I anticipated. Which is fine over the short term, but three years of that and my well was dry.

It was time to step back and to put my little family-of-two and our future first while I figure the rest out.

I was hoping to have everything under control before telling you all this, but the truth is I’m still working it all out. I have my existing full-time workload plus 2-3 days at my new graphic design gig so it’s quite full-on at the moment. But I am really enjoying the work (I’ve missed working in a studio on commercial jobs) and getting out of the house.

It’s also had the unexpected benefit of giving me perspective on my business and has forced me to streamline things so I’m focusing on my most important work. I am gradually pruning my ever-growing list of commitments so I am hoping that things will settle down over the next couple of months and I can start the new year fresh and with a bit more balance in my life.

So what does this mean for Atypical Type A?

The short story is: I am not going anywhere. I just need some time to adjust to my new schedule and reassess how my blogging fits into that. Of course, it means I have even less time to work on projects for the blog (although we do now have the means to save for a new house, which means way more projects in future – woop!).

My priority is keeping the quality, even if it means publishing fewer posts a week. I am also considering hiring some help (either for the behind-the-scenes admin work or for contributing writers) to ease the burden on myself. Either way, I still love this blog and am committed to producing great content for you guys.

Thanks so much for your patience while I navigate this sometimes turbulent ocean.

Are you juggling a day job with a business or blog? I’d love to know your secrets for staying sane and getting everything done!

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Dresden

We headed out of the big smoke of Berlin to the small city of Dresden.

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Dresden

Another day, another Christmas market…

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Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

The town square with the beautiful Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), sadly destroyed in WWII but since faithfully reconstructed in the 90s with donations from the townspeople. The interior has been authentically reproduced in the Baroque style with pastel frescos and gold cherubs aplenty, while the crypt is a stunning contemporary design – truly inspired if you ask me.

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

It wasn’t just the church that was destroyed during the war; virtually the entire old centre was reduced to rubble, as well as tens of thousands of casualties.

Therefore what we saw were new buildings recreated in the original style. It’s impossible to resist the charm of cobblestones and row upon row of ornate buildings, however it did have a feeling of being a bit too perfect and neat, almost Disney-fied.

Dresden

Dresden

Alas, we didn’t have time for a tour of the art gallery (it looked excellent) so we instead had a look at the medieval Festung (fortress).

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

We finished the day with a meal at a lovely Italian restaurant near the Semper Oper (Opera House).

Dresden

Dresden

I would be remiss if I didn’t share photos of our hotel in Dresden. Since we were visiting in winter, we were able to score some surprisingly affordable room rates at some really interesting hotels. This is one of the Art’Otel chains, each of which has a different resident artist whose work is featured exclusively throughout the hotel.

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Dresden

Dresden

The Man testing out the opaque-ify switch (yes, I totally just make up that term) on the bathroom window.

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Dresden

Dresden

After exhausting the novelties of the hotel, we took a short stroll to the Zwinger (fortified palace), now the home of an impressive collection of art and porcelain.

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And then many…

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many…

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many…

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Dresden

… more beautiful buildings.

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Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

One of which was the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault), a collection of all kinds of precious artefects arranged by material, such as silver, gold, coral, ivory, mother-of-pearl and gemstones. The detail and craftsmanship (not to mention obscene wealth!) were mindblowing.

Dresden

Dresden

Dresden

And with that, we said goodbye to Germany – for the time being at least.

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Berlin

It’s a public holiday here today (for a horse race, would you believe) so I wouldn’t normally post but I have so many trip posts to get through that I need to throw in some bonus posts or we’ll be here til Christmas!

Berlin

Anyway, another packed day of sightseeing around Berlin, starting with the very impressive Berlinerdom.

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Berlin

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Berlin

One of the more tasteful Baroque interiors I’d have to say (they can sometimes be a bit much!).

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Berlin

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Berlin

Berlin

The art on the remaining section of the Berlin Wall (known as the East Side Gallery) and the stories behind them were fascinating. It really hit home how recent these awful events were, so recent that in fact when I was here as a child (1991) the city had been reunified less than two years earlier.

The Man and I were getting really irritated at all the people who thought that it was okay to deface the murals their own scribbles – nothing political I might add, more of the ‘Scott was here’ variety. *shakes fist*

Berlin

Berlin

Berlin

Berlin

Berlin

Berlin

Berlin

While the history of Checkpoint Charlie is very interesting of course, I have to admit that actually seeing it in person didn’t really add a lot to the experience. Maybe we were just tired after a long day of sightseeing but it was a little underwhelming compared to some other places we saw.

Berlin

Berlin

We finished our time in Berlin with a visit to the Bauhaus Archiv. The work of the Bauhaus featured heavily in my studies at uni, so I was a bit disappointed that there was only a single example of graphic design in the exhibition (it was mostly architecture, fine art and product design – which I love, but a couple more posters would have been awesome).

On the flipside, I did discover how much my degree course was actually based on the theories of the Bauhaus, with many of the basic colour and shape studies being exactly the same as what I did as a first-year graphic design student.

Adelaide friends, I hope you’re having a great long weekend. Everyone else, happy Monday!

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San Francisco

Our penultimate day in San Francisco was packed from morning to night, so be warned: there are lots of photos in this post!

We began at Lombard Street, which was absolutely teeming with tourists, but ya know, it’s one of those must-sees regardless.

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San Francisco

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San Francisco

Plus there were great views from the top!

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San Francisco

We moved the car to a parking station and were rewarded with some unexpected stunning views of the city and bay.

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San Francisco

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San Francisco

We stopped in for coffee at the really cute European style Cafe Zoetrope, another of Francis Ford Coppola’s businesses (we had already been to his winery in Napa).

I recall watching the movie Mon Oncle with my dad when I was young so I had to take a snap of this – how great is the poster art?

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San Francisco

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San Francisco

San Francisco

For lunch we went to the famous Tony’s Pizza in Little Italy. Uh-mazing.

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San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

We took a post-prandial stroll (yes, I totally just used that in a sentence – that’s one to tick off the life list) and admired the adorable colourful terrace houses.

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San Francisco

San Francisco

(Is this like Platform 9¾?)

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San Francisco

It was a gorgeous sunny day (finally) so it was perfect to enjoy Pier 39.

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San Francisco

It was now time to catch our cruise to Alcatraz Island.

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The tour was quite interesting and thankfully not terrifying like it was the last time I was there (age 6).

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San Francisco

It was wonderful to watch the sun set over the city skyline.

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San Francisco

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San Francisco

We returned to shore and enjoyed all the twinkling lights.

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San Francisco

We finished our day with an indulgent dessert and coffee at the Ghirardelli chocolate shop – our Christmas gift to the family. I certainly didn’t remember everything from our trip here when I was little, but unsurprisingly this was one place that had stuck in my memory all these years!

San Francisco

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San Francisco

At the beginning of our second week in San Francisco, we laid low for a couple of days and had some relaxing family time since it was Christmas Eve and Day. In between the last-minute Christmas grocery shopping, the girls (Mum, my sister-in-law Jane and I) managed to sneak away for a visit to Anthropologie.

Being Christmas Eve afternoon it was quite busy so I’m surprised I managed to snap a photo with no people in it!  The interior displays were gorgeous as expected, but, well, my hands were quickly full so that’s where the photo taking ended.

I’ve already shown you the lovely mismatching bowls, but I also bought a cute top and skirt plus a small gift for a friend. Very restrained of me I thought; I was coveting half the store.

San Francisco

San Francisco

My dear northern readers will probably laugh at this, but we were So. Excited. to spot some squirrels in my brother’s backyard.

We spent the rest of the day chilling out, reading, watching movies and preparing some food for the day ahead.

San Francisco

On Christmas morning we packed up an entire fridge full of food (and seemingly half the kitchen) and headed down to the apartment block’s communal pool house. It looks like a pleasant day in the photos but in actual fact it was cold and raining. The room itself, though, was delightful and cosy.

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San Francisco

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San Francisco

It was quite a different Christmas meal to our usual sparkling red with crayfish and salad followed by pudding. Our splendid hosts embraced the traditions of their new home (and climate) and served seared scallops for entree (that’s ‘starters’ for the US readers!) and barbecued beef rib-eye and veg for main.

San Francisco

San Francisco

My brother, wanting to be authentic, even served it with candied yams (that’s mashed sweet potato with marshmallows, for the uninitiated). I think the general consensus was that it was a fun experience but not one that needs repeating.

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Palette cleansing sorbet*.

*We are not normally this fancy.

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We finished off with an insanely delicious pumpkin bundt cake. Banana cake had better watch out, I think I have a new favourite partner for cream cheese icing.

It may have been a non-traditional Christmas for us – Winter! No crayfish! No presents! – but it was definitely up there with the most memorable we’ve ever had as a family.

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Napa Valley

The weekend before Christmas the six of us (The Man and I, my brother and sister-in-law and our parents who had joined us by this time) headed up to Napa Valley. Dad found this charming family home on AirBnB, complete with open fire and holiday decorations.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

We began at Miner Wines, where we had a tour of the underground cellars including a tasting straight from the barrel.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

When we came back out into the daylight, the sun finally appeared after a very wet and grey couple of days.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

After another awesome Mexican meal, we moved on to Inglenook, one of Francis Ford Coppola’s wineries.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

It was a stunning old building, containing not just the cellar door but a wide variety of rooms and a small museum of eclectic curios relating to the winery, local history and Coppola himself.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Not your average museum gift shop!

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

In the evening, we went out for a special dinner at Bouchon Bistro (sorry, didn’t take my camera!). It was a little cramped but the food was divine.

Tomorrow: more wine!

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San Francisco

While our trip was definitely not intended for working, on one of the days The Man went off shopping while I had a total stationery geek-out day.

First on the agenda was a trip to the headquarters of Hello!Lucky. It was so inspiring to visit the studio of this modern icon of the stationery world.

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San Francisco

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San Francisco

One of these gorgeous letterpress prints came home with me.

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San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

Even though they were busy finishing off jobs before the holidays, the lovely girls upstairs were happy to have a chat (and offer Christmas biscuits!) and printer John was kind enough to let me look on as he printed a batch of letterpress cards.

San Francisco

San Francisco

I then made my way with a skip in my step to The Makeshift Society for their Lunch Bunch. I totally felt like the shy new kid at school going up to the cool kids’ group but the ladies I met were super nice and welcoming. It was fascinating to hear more about the awesome things that are coming out of San Francisco and what they thought about Australian talent.

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San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

After lunch we let founder Rena (pictured here with the cheeky grin) get back to work as fellow wedding stationery chick Andria kindly invited me back to her studio around the corner.

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Andria is the talented lass behind Lilikoi, a boutique letterpress studio which has recently relocated from LA. It was so lovely to meet someone with a similar business to mine, share some stories and learn more about how the industry is in the US.

She gave me some gorgeous letterpress goodies which I’m looking forward to framing/using at home.

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San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco

Time to hit the shops! I spent the rest of the afternoon cruising the Mission District by myself and OH MY is there some seriously awesome shopping to be done here!

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My fave was Aldea – check it out…

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See what I mean?! Perfection.

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San Francisco

San Francisco

This shop was like visiting Charles Darwin’s study. Full of taxidermy, succulents, seashells, botanical charts and all kinds of curios, it was another world!

(I forgot to write down the name though, so if any locals know please tell us in the comments!) The shop is called Paxton Gate – thanks Rena!

San Francisco

Since I was having a nice leisurely afternoon and could go wherever my whims took me, I followed this intriguing sign down the rabbit hole. What did I discover but a very cute Photojojo pop-up store.

I had already been on a bit of a Photojojo spending spree before the trip (buying gifts for some photography lovers in the family as well as picking up a tripod for our travels) so I didn’t need anything but it was really fun to see one of my favourite online stores come to life.

San Francisco

San Francisco

I would have felt like a bit of a tosser hamming it up in a photo booth by myself so you will have to settle for this photo of the empty booth.

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BellJar‘s tagline ‘Gorgeous little things’ said it all really.

San Francisco

Over the last couple of years I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Tracy of Wedding Lovely & Wedding Invite Love. She has been a big supporter of Akimbo so when I knew I was visiting her ‘hood, I just had to meet her!

We went out for some awesome tacos (seriously, you Californians should not have take your amazing Mexican food for granted) and afterwards met up with a bunch of other local wedding folks for drinks. To continue the general theme of the day, it was fantastic to hear about the wedding industry there and to share what I know about ours.

It was one inspiring day, that’s for sure!

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Scoutie Girl: Tooling Around - Make 2013 your best year yet

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, however January is a great time to consider your plans and goals for the year, don’t you think?

With that in mind, my first Scoutie Girl post for the year is all about defining your goals (business or otherwise) and some tricks to help you find the time to achieve them.

You can read the post here.

My goals for 2013 you ask? This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here are a couple of things:

  • Edit our overseas photos and create an album (February)
  • Launch the Atypical Type A redesign and shop (March)
  • Finally renovate the bathroom (Easter break)
  • Do something special to celebrate The Man’s and my ten years (!) together (August)
  • Do up the porch and front garden (September)

Plus many, many plans I have for the business!

How about you? What’s on your agenda for 2013?

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laundry after2

When The Man and I were preparing to move in together almost five years ago, we set about discussing who would do what in the household.

Having been responsible for cleaning the bathroom at his parents’ home, he volunteered to keep doing that (SCORE!). On the other hand, I don’t mind doing the dusting because I can arrange things how I want. We agreed I’d take care of vacumming the upstairs floors while he’d mop downstairs and I’d wash the clothes while he’d do the sheets and towels.

Some things were based on skill/interest (I’m more interested in cooking so I plan the meals) and others based on logic (he takes care of the car since he’s the one who uses it every day).

Bigger and more frequent jobs such as shopping, cooking, dishes and finances have been shared responsibilities.

Overall it’s worked really well, but over the last year we’ve both had increased work commitments so our previously smooth process developed a few bumps. Mail would pile up and each of us would secretly hope the other one would deal with it. After a long day we’d forget to ask if the other one had paid that bill.

None of which is conducive to a properly functioning household (or marriage, for that matter).

So we sat down and had a chat one day recently and divvied up a few of the shared tasks. A word of caution: Do not attempt this when you have done the dishes for the twentieth night in a row and are resenting it.

Giving each person more individual responsibilities might seem like a strange thing to do to deal with being so busy. But in reality, it was a huge help and I noticed a difference in not just my actions but my outlook overnight. No matter how busy I am, I know that it’s now up to me to manage our receipts. On the flipside, I don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the kitchen floor because it’s not my responsibility.

No more silent stand-offs or building resentment.

I definitely prefer having 100% responsibility over 50% of chores rather than 50% of responsibility for every chore. How about you? That’s not to say we don’t communicate with each other about the household (even if one person pays the bills we still regularly discuss finances) or that the system is not flexible (The Man will throw on a load of washing for me if I’m having a particularly hectic weekend).

The balance will vary between couples, of course, depending on your commitments and lifestyle, but I do think it’s helpful to have a clear set of expectations and responsibilities. Otherwise you risk falling into the trap of doing certain chores and end up getting stuck with that expectation and start getting resentful of your partner.

I know we don’t talk ‘relationship’ type stuff here very often, but I firmly believe that a well-oiled household routine is as much a part of a beautiful home as how you decorate it, so I thought it was worthwhile dipping our toes into these murky waters.

Now that I’ve shared how we handle chores chez Parsons, I’d love to know how things work (or perhaps don’t work!) at your place.

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Madeleine & Padraic invitation

Happy Friday everyone! I’m currently in Melbourne for the weekend to celebrate my cousin’s wedding (three guesses as to who designed the invitations).

It’s actually the second time we’ve had the whole family together this year (my brother got married in March) so that’s a lovely treat.

I’ve been working really long hours lately so it’s going to be fantastic to take three whole days off, enjoying plenty of food, wine and celebrating with family and friends.

What’s on your agenda this weekend?

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A collection of pretty meets practical ideas to inspire a happier home

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