12 things i did in melbourne

Here are 12 things I did in Melbourne this year, sadly without taking photos (with the exception of a few posted on Instagram — see right nav link)

  1. Ate many acai bowls at Green Cup each dripping with house made creamy peanut  butter and oh, so yummy!  539 Chapel Street, South Yarra
  2. Happened into a charming pottery studio on Chapel Street that is home to three ceramicists during the week and open to the public on weekends to buy wares or for scheduled classes. Pot Dispensary, 425 Chapel Street, South Yarra
  3. Had the most relaxing facial at Little Company. The perfect way to re-hydrate after a 15+ hour flight. 79 Stephenson Street, Cremorne
  4. Took in 2 exhibitions (Commes des Garcons and Keith Haring & Jean-Michel Basquiat) and a few galleries at the NGV — one of my favorite museums for its interesting roster of shows. And a wonderful way to escape the heat and humidity that was oddly Melbourne in February.
  5. Gifted myself a few pieces of Bromley & Robert Gordon pottery from their new collaboration exclusive to Myer stores.
  6. Attended a lunchtime sitting of Lune Lab — 3 heavenly courses of croissanterie and all the fancy coffee and/or Mork hot chocolate you can drink.  Lune, 119 Rose Street, Fitzroy
  7. Picked up heat and eat meals at Meatsmith because why cook if the Andrew McConnell team can do it for you. 273 Smith Street, Fitzroy
  8. Bought more pottery at Made in Japan, direct importers of beautiful wares at affordable prices. 1-7 Wynyard St, South Melbourne
  9. Ate Indian street food at Delhi Streets. All I can say is eat some Pani Puri. 22 Katherine Place, CBD
  10. Made my second visit in a second city to the Rain Room interactive exhibit. Held over through March 2020 in St. Kilda
  11. After the rain, ate beautifully crafted cakes at the Black Star Pasty Pop-Up right next door.
  12. Watched the ABC TV special on rescuing koala bears after the devastating fires. Koalas are precious. People are heroes. I cried.

Another great trip to my favorite city. You can now make your way there for as little as US$675 round trip from Los Angeles through November 2020 on nearly any airline. Do yourself a favor and go. Do Australia a favor and visit some fire ravaged areas where your dollars are needed.

gold accents

Ropers Musings GOld Accents1. This golden Swell water bottle is one I wouldn’t mind carrying around with me all day. 17 oz. $42 from Anthropologie  |  2. I covet this little purse by A-esque. It works as a clutch but also has an ingenious hidden strap that turns it into a cross body with nearly no effort. It is honestly the perfect bag for daytime or evening. Apprx US$ 300 with free shipping  |  Because everyday items should be beautiful. Brass scissors by Hay available at The Line. $16  |  4. A little flirty fun for the upcoming summer months. Fringe sandal by JCrew  $118

the little school that could

Back when I was applying to architecture schools my options were limited as a girl who hadn’t taken an art class since elementary school and who possessed an unrelated undergraduate degree (I studied English Lit in case you were curious). Living in Los Angeles, I learned there was an art school up in the Bay Area that had recently established an architecture program and while it was undergrad only and unaccredited, it offered a study option for someone like me. So off I went to the California College of Arts & Crafts (CCAC) — today known as California College of the Arts (CCA).

This school, established back in 1907 around the time of the Arts & Crafts movement (hence “Crafts” in the original name), was the most amazing place I had ever been in my life. Students much younger than I with the confidence to create things across a multitude of mediums, classes that revealed art as a true barometer of the world’s social and political history, real life practitioners interested in teaching their craft to a new generation. Painting, drawing, sculpture, graphics, industrial design and of course, architecture.

I spent only two years at CCAC (I moved on to an accredited graduate program back in LA that wasn’t nearly as nurturing or engaging and that I ultimately left after a year and a half somewhat lost and bewildered – which may just have been sleep deprivation I’m not sure). But I have to say, those two years at CCAC were the most influential, best years of my life. For real. And I wish that everyone could experience some form of art/design education in their lifetime. It pains me that the arts have been so mercilessly cut from our education system for lack of funding. And I wonder, often, what effect this will have on the world of the future.

So it pleases me to no end to see a school like CCA thriving. Their architecture program is now accredited and offers a graduate degree as well. They have built a beautiful new design campus and continue to attract top notch staff and talented students. For a school that has been around for over a hundred years, it is little known. It should be better known which is why I thought a little story on a little blog might help get the word out at least a little.

And to my classmates from that other school who reunited in Los Angeles this past weekend, I am so glad I know you and that we shared what we shared and learned what we learned together. And I am ever so grateful that many of us are still good friends today, but CCA(C) is the school I celebrate in my heart all these years later.





In doing research for my recent travels down under, I came across some really talented kids doing super creative things that kind of blew me away. I love when young people are encouraged to explore their talents. And I love, even more, how the internet brings these talents to light all the way around the world. Keep it up kids there is a bright future ahead . . .

Melie's CakesFirst up is an amazingly talented baker and cake decorator in Auckland, NZ, who has a thriving business going at 15 years of age. Just look at her cakes and you’ll understand why. Since I was celebrating my birthday down under I was seriously tempted to order one of her creations that go for $70 a pop but since I was traveling alone, I thought better of that idea. And while she is partial to baking, her culinary skills don’t end there. She won a gourmet hamburger contest that brought her to the attention of some Master Chef judges and she has even worked on the line in one of their restaurants as a result. By sheer happenstance, I crossed paths with her mother while in Auckland (it really is a serendipitous world) and she is extremely proud and supportive of her daughter’s endeavors. I’d say with her talents and that support, this young lady is well on her way to a spectacular career. Visit melieskitchen.com

LuLu's PotteryNext is a 10 year old — 10 YEARS OLD! — from Australia who makes beautiful pottery well beyond her years. I remember doing pottery at summer camp at that age and let me tell you, it is not easy to make something centered let alone beautiful. It really is an art. And to master it at that young age . . . I’m impressed to say the least.

Student Show 14Lastly, the Melbourne Museum was hosting an annual show of student work while I was there. Everything from films, to furniture & lighting, graphic design, web design, and more. The very fact that design is so supported in the secondary schools was wonderful to see. The idea that young students between the ages of 15-17 could have something on display at a big city museum was highly impressive and as one exhibitor’s proud father put it, “A really big deal!” I agree wholeheartedly.

back to school gets groovy

Colored pencils, crayons, tape and construction paper re-imagined by Todd Oldham for Target’s Kid Made Modern craft supplies. These are my favorites from the extensive line up. Who said they’re only for kids? I would buy them all.