Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'Straya Day!

Just think Fourth of July in the U.S….BBQ, flags, boats, friends, and fireworks! 
The day kicked off with breakfast tacos and a ferry race/boat parade in our "backyard".  Madness!!
And they're off!  Hundreds of spectator boats surround the racing ferries and fill up the harbour.  And don't forget the many helicopters filming the whole thing.  I've never seen so much traffic!  The bottom right picture is of a floating stage and concert that kept going by.  I love this city.
Afterwards, we geared up in our cheesy matching t-shirts at our friends place for a relaxing bbq dinner. 
A series of Jenny and I being goofy and trying to decide a pose to show off our flag tattoos.  Don't we make a cute couple?!  
Burgers galore!!  Bacon, egg, and pecorino…bleu cheese, tomato, and tabasco…compliments of the chef.
In typical tourist fashion, we ended the night at Darling Harbour for an amazing fireworks and laser light show over the water!  The day was a great introduction to the holiday and we loved every minute of it.
What else did we do for the long three day weekend, you ask? Besides the fact that it rained for TWO days straight (no exaggeration), we took it upon ourselves to lay in bed and watch Homeland (the second half of season 1 and all of season 2).  

Just to give you a perspective as to how obsessed we became with the tv series…we watched the entire 12 hour season in 1 day…and had to stay up until 5 am to finish!  Oops.  I can't believe I am even admitting this to you.  When I would hear people say they spent their rainy day watching 4 movies, I never understood how you could sit around for that long.  Now I do…and then some.  If you haven't watched the series, I highly recommend it.  And for the record, after a battle between watching Downton Abbey (my choice) and Homeland (R's choice), I ended up liking the drama more than him for all you skeptical ladies out there.  Maybe Downton will be next for us.

In lieu of awards season, we have also been moviegoing a lot lately.  While we give 2 thumbs up to Django Unchained and maybe a little less to Silver Linings Playbook, we have planned to see Zero Dark Thirty on Friday.  Django is edgy, thrilling, and weirdly funny..and I need to buy the soundtrack asap.  Silver Linings was hyped up with my favorite, J.Law...and while I really enjoyed the message and humor, it didn't exceed my expectations.  
The first picture is proof that we stayed up until sunrise to finish Homeland…and now we have to wait for the next season, which is not until September!  
This week in the kitchen:
I just had to share this adorable card that I am SLIGHTLY obsessed with.  A friend from Tennessee sent this to me today and it makes me smile so much.  On my next trip back to Texas in May, I worked out a way to stop through Nashville to see her for a weekend before coming back to Sydney.  For $1.  My husband is a genius.  The end.  

This week is full of more new adventures.  Like a giddy school girl, I started photography classes yesterday at Australian Centre for Photography.  Yesterday was Photoshop Intensive and later today is Camera Craft 2.  I am open to the possibilities of what doors they may open.  In the mean time, it's back to the basics.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Life Ain't Always Peachy

It was brought to my attention recently ( my most recent visitor) that my life "just seems perfect" and looks like I have no worries or bad days.  While there is always truth into what I post, I guess I don't completely tell the whole truth…the blog is reserved for happy stuff! Duh.  Besides, I really do feel like I am living a fairytale (in the humblest of ways)…but life ain't always peachy and we all have struggles.  And if anyone tells you different, they be lying!!  After certain life "events" shall we say, I now refer to the adjective 'perfect' as a red flag!  So, moral of the story is to take my posts with a grain of salt and know it's just for fun.  But yes, I do have my lonely days and I do get annoyed when R isn't the 'perfect' husband (hehe kidding….maybe just a little bit).  
Random life.  
FaceTime with Mema and Grandad always makes me smile.  Teddy isn't so amused.
Article clipping from the Sydney Morning Herald…the title above the drawing reads "American School Lunchbox". Not getting into politics (remember this is a fun blog) but it's interesting to get a different perspective on how other countries perceive the U.S.
Just another Wednesday for my friend who invited me to help at the studio for a photo shoot! She was so sweet to show me this side of the photography biz and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity.  We only photographed about 1,000 children's clothing outfits …and I learned the art of stuffing pretty quickly.  Such a cool day with a fun group of girls!  The day wrapped up nicely with a sunset ferry ride home and a surprise welcome from R and Teddy at the wharf.
(photo courtesy of the Sydney Theatre Company)
Date night! Sushi dinner and a performance at the Sydney Theatre Company.  We saw School Dance, which was a comedy that followed three awkward teen boys at a school dance in their journey to social acceptance.  I couldn't relate AT ALL because a. I never went through an awkward phase and b. I never tried to be accepted by my peers…ha YA RIGHT! 
Saturday fun at Watson's Bay for scenic views of the Pacific and the harbour, fish and chips, and cliff walks with Teddles!  
Have I mentioned that I seriously lucked out with the best neighbors?!  They are all so friendly and one lady in particular has saved my booty more than a few times.  Not only has she become Teddy's best buddy and dog sitter, but she has also become a good friend!  Thanks to her, I have joined the neighborhood gym (where R swims) for pilates, yoga, and body pump classes in the morning!  And yes, she is there every single day..never to miss a workout class or swim and lifting more weights than me of course.  She is so fit and an inspiration in so many ways.  

Since we are the only ones in the building during the day, I occasionally drop by to learn more about tennis (the Australian Open is in full swing here) and Teddy enjoys organic raw meat treats that she supplies to him!  Can you say spoiled?! And now she has offered to take me along in her car for a weekly grocery run! She enjoys showing me the specialty bread, seafood, and organic shops in our area which has been so valuable to me.  I treated her to lunch yesterday on the way home…coffees and a meatball sandwich to share.  It's refreshing to develop a friendship with someone who doesn't care about age differences and I don't mind having a mother hen watching over me here.  
Thought for food this week….
Falafel pita with hummus and roasted vegetables
I'm still a work in progress, but this one was fun to help with and turned out to be a refreshing lunch!
This week in the kitchen:
Simple turkey burgers and fruit salad
Kale, orange, and apple juice drink courtesy of our new juicer…ok not new.  Just as the saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure", R brought home the perfectly working and clean appliance in it's original box that had been sitting on the curb of our street with a sign saying "Free! And it's working!".  I love when stuff like that happens…and saved us a few hundred bucks. 
 We stocked up on greens and such at a farmers market this weekend to make plenty of juice combinations! 
Rice paper spring rolls with cabbage, carrot, spinach, and avocado

We are looking forward to a three day weekend ahead since it will be Australia Day on Saturday the 26th!  Lots of fun things planned.  Next week we are seeing Keith Urban play so you can imagine I'm pretty happy that R scored a super deal on ebay for that one! And you know what else makes me happy?! I just had the best day catching up with girlfriends via FaceTime.  Ooh technology, how I don't know what I would have done without you over here…and also sending a birthday shoutout to my dear friend, Haley!  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sister Sister, part II

The party is over…my sis has left me for Texas.  It is a lonely week to say the least. Good thing I have lots of memories to keep me going.  R had to make a quick business trip back to Dallas in the middle of her trip…and while we were sad to see him go, it gave us some quality girl time to share!
Beyond the "touristy" things, we enjoyed the everyday joys of watching sunsets on the balcony, reading and cuddling with Teddy, and early morning workouts classes with a view.  I enjoyed having a "tag along" to conquer the city with!
Some close-ups of the little sis! Beautiful.
Since R and I had so much fun a few weeks ago in The Hunter Valley, I thought it would be a fun girls getaway.  Our trip exceeded expectations for sure.  We enjoyed a full day wine tour and fun dinner at our resort with some new friends from the day.  I'm still amazed at how open to traveling and adventure  Australians are…everyone we meet seems to have such an interesting story and I love it.
We had fun frolicking through the vines and learning a little more about wine along the way.  
There was even a wild kangaroo spotting at our hotel as we were being taken by golf cart to our room…and in true fashion we screamed for the bell boy to stop so we could hop out and get closer!  I'm sure the poor guy thought we were crazy tourists, but it was worth it.  
We spent our last day together at the zoo, watching the cuddling koalas, family of giraffes, and sea lions.
We are such children and loved our day at the zoo!  I am seriously obsessed with the giraffes…and loved that I captured a moment with the mama and baby.
A hot summer day at the Royal Botanical Gardens.  I think my sis finally appreciated how much walking we do everywhere…like seriously it's a lot!!!
And a memorable ending to her trip commenced at Rockpool Bar and Grill.  We feasted on steak, pureed potatoes, and mac & cheese (and a few greens)..yummy!  

While I think the two of us would have enjoyed being stuck under a rock together, I must say that Sydney was the perfect backdrop for our time together. And the crazy girl is already back at school starting her last semester of college!  They grow up so fast hehe. And having her here has only made me more excited for our visitors that are yet to come in 2013!!!  Up next, Ron, Becky, and Char!  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sister Sister

So it's no surprise that I have been looking forward to my little sister visiting.  Luckily, she found some time during her break before her last semester of college to get away.  Our adventures so far...
Welcoming committee at the airport!! And straight to experiencing public transport, luggage in tow.  
Welcome home!  Teddy sure missed his "auntie".  
Well, we had planned ahead to do the Opera House tour on her first day...but knowing our luck, it just wasn't in the cards.  After standing in the slowest line to claim our tour tickets thirty minutes before, we got to the front of will call just five minutes after the tour start time and were forced to reschedule (and mind you a couple had cut us in line just before and spent about 10 minutes claiming tickets).  Hahaha guess you just have to laugh about those things…so, we took pictures instead!
Thanks to my Aunt and Uncle for this adorable picnic bag gift, we were inspired to put it into use!!
Then it was off to the wildlife park for close encounters with kangaroos and koalas!  Typical Australian thing to do.  And I finally conquered driving!  R supervised in the passenger seat.  
Thats about as close as I could get her to stand to the sleeping beauty.  Mama and baby!  
Enjoying peaceful nights at home!  It's nice to be on the go, but also to chill at home.  R always says that with our view, he doesn't feel like we even have to leave home to feel like we did something.  
Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk!  Look what we found along the way…MacKenzies Bay!  
Apparently there was a shark sighting and evacuation just an hour before we got to Bondi Beach.  You would have never known with all the people around!  
Dinner date!  Indian food and a movie at the coolest classic "picture palace".  The highlight besides enjoying Life of Pi in 3D was the live organist that emerged from under the movie theatre stage in lieu of previews. We felt like we were taken back in time.  I should have been born in a different era…
My (and now McKenzie's) favorite spot, The Treehouse.  Loving our girl time!
Hyde Park and St. Marys Cathedral tour!
Pretty sunflowers and trees galore!
A quaint afternoon in Paddington.  Just the girls while R was working hard.  We loved getting lost in the day at a french cafe sipping our lattes and admiring the terrace homes surrounding the neighborhood.  
Ok, so we made it back for our delayed tour…plenty of time to spare.  In the top right picture, you can see our apartment building from one of the foyers of the concert halls (just to put things into perspective as to our whereabouts).  
Love those purple carpets! Go frogs!
Hot afternoon at Manly Beach.  We even got our mexican food fix!
Nighttime stroll through Luna Park.
Trek across the bridge and ferry ride to Mosman….Teddy in tow of course.  The poor thing needs his exercise, too.  
We love this secret spot…always great views.  I'm not going to lie, Kenz and I were pretty pitiful by this point with all the walking and summer heat.  
Saturday night fun in Darling Harbour.  We didn't get the memo like the 20,000 people who showed up to watch a giant duck arrival and fireworks display?  Weird, I know.  We were so confused when we showed up to the area and hundreds of people were camped out on the street…later we figured it out when fireworks started going off in the harbour near our restaurant.  I love that Sydney always has so much to offer to the community!

Brace yourselves, this is just week one of my sisters trip.  More to come!  And if you think my recaps are too excessive, too bad.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

twenty thirteen

You know how New Years Eve can be overrated sometimes…building it up to start the new year off right with a big bang?!  Well, I am happy to say we were not disappointed this year.  With all the talk of how great Sydney's firework show was and how it was always the topic of conversation when people found out where we lived, I was a little worried (but also very anxious) to see if the show would live up to its expectations.  To make the day even more special, we were blessed with gorgeous weather and my beautiful sister from Texas to celebrate with!  I have plenty of pics to share soon of her trip so far.  I could get used to having her around :)
Since our neighborhood was a prime viewing spot, we steered clear of the roads and city.  Instead, we enjoyed the warm summer day on the balcony watching the many people setting up camp and boats lining up  in the harbour.  Some people were clever and waded in a baby pool on the lawn below.  The energy of being in the middle of everything was so much fun!
Champagne toast to the new year!!!!  Two different fireworks shows were displayed at 9 pm and midnight.  Teddy didn't seem to mind. He just loved all the people around!
The city and opera house were lit up so beautifully and tons of boats were in the show, decorated in lights to the theme. Do you see the lips lit up in the middle of the bridge?  They moved with the "10-9-8…1" countdown to 2013 and were part of the "Embrace" theme.   
Friends!  We enjoyed our low key evening with them just taking in this once in a lifetime opportunity.  
2012 will always be a special year to us.  We have so much to be thankful for and never could have imagined a year ago that we would be across the world celebrating new beginnings and new friends here today.  If you are a life planner like me and have your five year, ten year, heck even twenty year path all perfectly mapped out, think again!!  I learned my lesson on that one the hard way…and that sometimes God has different plans than what we intended.  Open yourself up to new opportunities and you might be surprised with what is presented to you!  
A surreal way to say goodbye to 2012!!!  I have been waiting for the fireworks to go off every night since…guess I will have to wait another year!  So worth it, though.  
Our friend, Steph, treated us all to Pavlova with Strawberries and Cream (a traditional Australian holiday dessert) to top the night off.
My sis and  R (mainly my sister) helped in the kitchen to make some simple appetizers.
Rocket Salad with apples, pecans, currants, and parmesan and a light lemon dressing
Deviled eggs
Red Velvet Cupcakes (the buttercream icing didn't turn out, but they were still yummy!)

Instead of making unattainable goals that will be forgotten about by next weekend, I am going to TRY and appreciate every day for what it is and be thankful for every day I get to spend on this Earth.  Am I being too sappy?  Whoops.  Just feeling extra grateful today (I guess my sister is to blame for that one…).  I hope everyone can find something to appreciate on this January 2013 day!!  Shout out to all our friends in Dallas who we missed celebrating with per usual. And the Peoples Pack for the many years of New Year's memories.