Friday, July 31, 2009

The Crosstown Eating House

After spending more than eight years working in restaurants I have grown an appreciation for food and wine. I'm not talking really expensive stuff here, just good quality food and wine that's served with passion and respect by people who know what they're doing.

Tonight I tried new Brisbane restaurant The Crosstown Eating House with my best friend for dinner. There's absolutely nothing I love more than sharing a great meal with friends, and this one will certainly go on the unforgettable list.

The food was delicious and well-priced ($8-$24), great variety of wines (but not too overwhelming which some wine lists can be), the service was genuine and friendly (like going to an old friend's place) and the atmosphere was relaxed but still had a buzz to it. There were a number of different seating options in the converted two-story brick building, each sitting groups of various numbers which gave it a warm, private feel.

According to their website, The Crosstown is somewhere to eat rather than dine. And it's achieved exactly that. What I loved is that the food, service, decor and ambience wasn't the focus - it was about enjoying time with loved ones, and The Crosstown being a conduit of that.

Some of my fondest memories with friends feature great meals, but it hasn't been the food I remember, it's been the conversations and the memories of laughter and enjoyment. As I mentioned, tonight is the newest addition to those lists of fond memories.

If you haven't been yet, make sure it's next on your list.

Favourite love quotes

One of my favourite movies of all time is "The Holiday" starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jack Black and Jude Law.

I was flicking through my movie collection the other day and realised I hadn't watched it in a while, so popped it into the DVD player and settled in for a few brain-silencing hours.

There's an opening monologue by Kate Winslet, that I absolutely adore and want to share with you:

I've found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Shakespeare said "Journeys end in lovers meeting." What an extraordinary thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said "love is blind". Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night. And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one-sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space! Yes, you are looking at one such individual. And I have willingly loved that man for over three miserable years! The absolute worst years of my life! The worst Christmas's, the worst Birthday's, New Years Eve's brought in by tears and valium. These years that I have been in love have been the darkest days of my life. All because I've been cursed by being in love with a man who does not and will not love me back.

It's one of my most favourite movie openings, because immediately I can relate to what's happening and the character. There's no tip-toeing around the subject, Iris (Kate Winslet) just comes straight out and says it and I connect with her straight away.

There's so many ideas of love in this 30second piece that I don't even know where to start... so for now I'm just going to share it with you and then over the course of a few postings I'll attempt to tell you a few stories of my own that make Iris's words ring so true to me.

What's your favourite love quote(s)?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tutu love

I popped into Myer today on a quick reconnaissance mission to find something to wear to an event tonight.

As I was racing out I stumbled across this stunning Charlie Brown tutu.

To me, the key to knowing whether you should buy something or not lies in how much you think about it after you walk away... kind of like a first date really!

And let me just say, I can't stop thinking about it. It must be love.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dating: online and offline

I have a confession to make. Hi, I'm Me and I'm an online dating tragic.

There, I've said it. Oh I feel so much better. I've actually been on and off (line that is) since about January 2004, and yet to no avail. But I refuse to give in. Or up. If the Internet can find pretty much anything you want or need these days, why can't it find me what I want or need in a significant other? Hmm?

My experienced has been mixed. Now, I'm fully aware that I myself am not everyone's cup of tea but I think I do ok, both on the outside and the inside. My friends (bless them) think I'm a catch which actually doesn't help. I'm constantly starting to wonder why, if I'm such a good catch, am I still single? I think that may be a topic for later...

Back to the experience part. I've tried a few different sites and have come to the realisation that the ratio of good to bad is about the same online as it is offline. Which would make sense when you think about it really. Well, it does to me.

So I'm currently online. I rejoined for the umpteenth time just after my birthday this year, so that's about 12 weeks ago now. I've been on four dates, all lovely guys, however there was just no 'spark'. So none progressed to date number two.

I have had conversations with about a dozen, but for whatever reason they didn't develop into anything more. In some cases I was relieved (David Beckham syndrome comes to mind here) and in some cases I was just plain baffled as to why they didn't extend a casual invitation to share a beverage of preference at a time that was mutually agreeable. Maybe because I write like this?! No, in all seriousness I'm not sure what happened.

I like to think that I'm putting some good dating karma out there - being open, available (but not too available) and often even throwing caution to the wind and saying yes to someone I wouldn't normally say yes to, on the theory that clearly it hasn't worked out with guys I would normally say yes to so maybe I need to broaden my horizons.

When it comes to the actual date part, I perform ok. Like a job interview - witty when required, knowledgeable, a good listener, asks the right questions and maintains eye contact. And pretty much every time I've gone for a job interview I've been offered the job. But when it comes to dating I can't seem to 'close the deal'. I totally fall to pieces, get a case of the nerves, aren't sure whether to say what I'm thinking (either "We should do this again sometime soon..." or "It was really nice meeting you, all the best in finding the love of your life...") and probably end up giving all the wrong vibes. Ok not probably, I do. The ones that think I go all weird because I'm not interested I am actually interested in, and vice versa. Disaster.

Another thing I've learnt over these past years is that men are more idealistic than women. There! Put that in your love bong and smoke it! Not only am I starting to discover that a man's expectations of meeting someone for the first time are way beyond a woman's and in another stratosphere, but even if there is a shred of potential there they won't even bother pursuing a friendship. Now, I thought I was picky and hard to please but I've got nothing on some blokes. So much for the theory that great loves can blossom from friendship. Pah! Friendship in this case isn't even given a second thought. And then I'm crossing into a whole other topic "Can men and women ever be friends?"...

Are you starting to wonder about the offline dating yet? Yes? Ok. That's because I can count on one hand, no make that two fingers, how many guys have asked me out in the past five years that I haven't met online. Thinking about that now should make me the perfect candidate for therapy (seriously, what's wrong with me?!), but alas I allow myself to hide behind the excuse that men, in general, find me intimidating. Well, at least that's what my very kind and very patient friends tell me. Apparently men are afraid of rejection - who'd a thunk it? And not only that, but a woman who knows who she is, what she wants and which way she's going in life is intimidating and being rejected by that is enough to crush a manly ego forever. Or at least 'til the next easy target comes along.

And so, my quest for love continues. And my determination to define it.

I may, one of these days, even share some dating stories... there are some doozies!

Friday, July 24, 2009

What I love today

Every now and then I'll post a list of what I'm loving. Let's call it a LOVE capsule. I hope that when I look back on these lists in years to come, I still love these things (sic) and many more.

There's the obvious, of course:
  • My family and my extended families: God knows there's a million of them.
  • My other family: my friends, the family that you choose who make my life so wonderful.
Ok, that's it for the mushy stuff. Then there's the loves that are exclusive to me:
  • Clear blue skies on a crisp winter's day.
  • Memories of my beautiful golden retriever who succumbed suddenly to cancer this week aged 11.
  • The essence of brands and what makes them attractive to some, yet not to others.
  • Wine - I don't discriminate on colour, age or external aesthetics.
  • A big, booming power ballad belted out by the beauties of music (currently into Beyonce, Jordin Sparks, Delta Goodrem, Jessica Mauboy, Lily Allen, Mariah Carey) and rolling down the windows of my car and opening my lungs...
  • A smile, a hug. Any display of genuine affection, really. Kindness is very underrated.
  • Twitter. Yup I love it, it's my thing, leave me alone.
  • Being successful and not apologising for it or making any concessions.
So readers out there, what or who are your loves?


According to Wiki, LOVE is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word LOVE can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes. Its diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes LOVE unusually difficult to consistently define.

This blog is about LOVE. My quest for it in all forms - from personal to professional, internal to external, high to low, deep to shallow, bright to dark, past to future. And to find the answer to the age old adage - does LOVE really conquer all?

Your LOVE warrior,