Touchdown!

Well, it has officially been over a week since we touched down, down under. It has been a busy, stressful, exciting and sun filled week.

Now that the jet lag has finally subsided, we are feeling more like human beings and are really starting to feel more and more settled here.

In our first week we set up phones, bank accounts, healthcare and tax stuff (for Chris), and the most exciting thing is that we got an apartment!! As of Feb 1st we will officially be North Narrabeen-ers (a suburb in the Northern Beaches of Sydney)! It only took us one day (unheard of here!) and we scored a 2 bedroom apartment with a great deck, a short drive to the beach. So much excitement!
In between all the busy busy, we have been enjoying soaking up time with friends, family, the sweet sweet sunshine and of course ANNIE!
Here’s a look at our first week – in photos…

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Yep! It’s been a pretty awesome week!

More updates to come.

The Long Goodbye.

Well, the day has come for Chris and I to fly over 20 hours from the USA to our new home in Australia.

What a massive mix of emotions.  I am so excited to see my friends and family at home but I wish that that didn’t mean saying so many goodbyes on this end.

It’s hard to put into words what the last three years has meant to me, but a couple come to mind.  Love, family, friends, adventure, travel and Annie, of course, ha!

I feel so incredibly lucky to have a husband with an adventurous spirit who is always willing to compromise and who will make this huge move with and for me.  I knew I was lucky from very early on in our relationships but I truthfully thank my lucky stars for him each and every day.

I am glad that we met and fell in love in the US and have experienced the good, the bad and ugly together.

I am SO grateful for the friends I have made here.  They became my family when mine felt so far away.

I have been to some amazing places in my three years here.  Hawaii, Tennessee, New York, Boston, Oregon, Nevada, to name a few.  I have explored up and down the coast of California and seen some of the most beautiful places.  I feel so incredibly lucky.

And most of all, I’m so thankful for my family that doubled when Chris and I got married.  I gained another sister, a brother in-law, a nephew, a niece and a second set of parents.  Of all the goodbyes, these are definitely the hardest.  In particular these two little tiny faces.

My little niece, Winter.

My little niece, Winter.

My favourite 3 year old on the planet

My favourite 3 year old on the planet

Chris and I are their only ‘official’ aunt and uncle so it definitely weighs hard on us to be so far away.  We are just going to have to be the best aunt and uncle the world has ever known to make up for the distance.

It’s hard to say goodbye, but with out first visitors with tickets already in their possession for this coming May, I know it’s really just a ‘see you soon’.

Thanks to all of my friends and family in the US for your love, friendship and support.  We will miss you.

 

 

 

The Big Apple – ‘Snowpocalypse’!

One week ago (sorry for the delay!) Chris and I flew from Boston to New York for the next leg of the #McDfarewelltour.  We come to New York a lot because Chris’ family lives on Long Island, but we really (well, I really) haven’t had much experience in the city.  I didn’t want to let this chance for some time in the city pass us by, so we decided to spend a night in the big apple!

We also happened to time our trip for the biggest storm of the year.  Hooray for us!

We arrived later than planned due to snow storms in Boston and so missed out on some of our plans.  But I was determined to get out and about in the action of New York City!

We dropped our bags at our hotel on the Upper West Side and jumped on the Subway to head downtown to the Chelsea Markets.  I had heard a lot of good things about the Chelsea Markets and it’s where the Food Network offices are so we thought it would make for a cool stop. It was filled with cool artisanal food shops, markets, and LOTS of tourists, ha!

Pretty archway!

Pretty archway!

We wandered around before our grumbly stomachs got the better of us and we decided on a beer and a pie.  Pretty funny to get an ‘Australian’ meat pie a week before flying to Australia, but it was there and it was delicious.

Beers to-go

Beers to-go

Pies!

Pies!

After our little wander and snack, we headed back out into the cold to go a Speak Easy bar that I had read about called ‘Raines Law Room’.

This was my first time at a speak easy and I thought it was SO cool! You walk up to a blank black door in the street, no sign, no nothing.  Walk down the stairs to another door and ring the doorbell.  The man opens the door and takes your to one of the curtained ‘rooms’.  Once we were seated, we were handed a cocktail menu to peruse.  Once we were ready to order, we pulled on a little chain next to our seats and the waitress appeared! Just like out of a movie! (Can you tell I’m a total tourist geek?).

Raine's Law Room.

Raines Law Room.

Our drinks were delicious and the atmosphere was awesome.

Once we were finished with our cocktails, we ventured back out into the cold to find that it had really begun to snow!  I really wanted to go to the Rockefeller Center to see the big Christmas tree and the ice skaters, so we decided to brave the snow and check it out.

I was definitely NOT disappointed.  With the snow falling all around us, it made it even more magical than I had expected.

Rockerfeller Center

Rockefeller Center

The tree was amazing!

The tree!

The tree!

Bundled up!

Bundled up!

We wanted to ice skate but then saw that it costs $27 per person.  Maybe next time, ha!

The famous ice rink

The famous ice rink

It was such a special moment for me, being from Australia and never experiencing a city in the snow.  I loved being there with the Christmas music playing, in the snow with my main squeeze.

My love!

My love!

Once we were sufficiently chilly, we decided to head back to the hotel for a quick warm up before finding a local restaurant in the Upper West Side for a quick easy dinner.  We decided on Bistro Cassis and it was the perfect little cozy restaurant for a cold and snowy night.

We had a pretty early night and woke up a snowy wonderland.  I looked out the window first thing in the morning and saw a lady cross-country skiing down the middle of the street – awesome!

Snowy!

Snowy!

We had wanted to visit the 9/11 memorial first thing in the morning but unfortunately they closed it due to the snow.  So instead, we took advantage of the free breakfast at the hotel and enjoyed a hot drink and some chit-chat with some lovely ladies visiting from Tennessee.

Once the sun started to poke out, I suggested we head around the corner to see the famous Dakota building.  John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived there and John Lennon was also shot right out the front.

The Dakota Building

The Dakota Building

We also decided to pop across the street to Central Park and got to take in the beauty of the park in the snow.

Ahhh the beauty!

Ahhh the beauty!

Snowy!

Snowy!

I was in love!

I was in love!

I love this shot of Chris with the Dakota in the background.

I love NYC!

I love NYC!

Once we were finished romping in the park, it was time to head to Penn Station to catch the train out to see Chris’ family.

I had such a great time in the big city! Even though it was less than 24 hours, I am still really glad we decided to spend the night.  It was truly magical!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ringing in 2014 in Boston!

Happy New Year!!

I know I’m a couple of days late buuuuuttt it’s still January so I think I’m safe!
I hope you all had a fantastic New Year’s Eve and got to ring in 2014 with good friends, good food/drink and good times. Or at least one of those!
I was a lucky duck and can safely say ‘check’ to all three of the above.
As part of our McD Farewell Tour of the US, Chris and I decided to spend our New Year in Boston with some of our best friends.
And this handsome devil.

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His name is Chewy, he’s our friends Wheaten Terrier and he is awesome!

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We arrived to Boston on Monday afternoon and spent the afternoon relaxing with our buddies and being treated to a delicious homemade chilli and salad dinner. With all of our hopping around the past couple of weeks I am extra appreciative of a simple home cooked meal!
On New Years Eve day, we spent some time out and about in Boston, all rugged of course!

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Around 6, we headed on out to start our New Years Eve celebrations! Our fiends had it all planned for us – we enjoyed a 6 course Chinese dinner before the restaurant moved all the tables out and a sweet dance party ensued!

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Chris and I also celebrate our unofficial anniversary on New Year’s Eve since it was 4 years to the night of our first kiss.

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We stuck around for about an hour post-countdown to boogie on down and then made the icy walk home!
It was the best way to ring in the new year!

New Year’s Day had us out and about walking through Boston (to get to the movies, ha!). I LOVE Boston. I have been there four times now and every time I go, I fall more in love with the city.
One of the coolest parts of New Years Day was standing ON the frozen pond in Boston Common! Yes, I was scared.

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We had such a good time in Bean Town. Goodbyes are the worst, but Chris and I are so lucky to have such great friends in our lives.
Until next time buddies!

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The Best Christmas Present

Amongst all the wonderful things that occurred this Christmas time, such as…
Delicious holiday treats.

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Delicious holiday drinks…

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Ugly sweaters…

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And glorious sissy times…

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Came the best Christmas present of all!
A niece for Christmas!!

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Winter Elizabeth was born on Christmas Eve and we are SO excited to meet her next week!
Isn’t she amazing?

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She’s one of the two cutest little niece/nephews ever born. She and PJ as babies are basically twinners.

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Pj on the left, Winter on the right.

Weeeeeeee! We are so excited! Being an auntie is basically the best.

We are now in Boston to ring in the new year with some buddies.

Happy end of 2013 friends far and wide. I hope 2014 holds amazing things for each and every one of you!

A Holly-Jolly Christmas!

After our fun Christmas eve festivities, we all woke up feeling a little dusty but enjoyed a leisurely morning of cups of tea/coffee and opening presents.  I scored with a Sephora giftcard from Chris so I can stock up on some things before moving home where they’ll all cost about $1,000 more!

After present opening, a  few people headed off to ski but Ash, her boyfriend Paul, Chris and I headed into Tahoe City to wander around and pick up some lunch to enjoy on the beach down by the lake.

Christmas strolling.

Christmas strolling.

Lakeside lunching.

Lakeside lunching.

Hello!

Hello!

Our lake time was also some quality sissy photo-taking time.  We took our – ‘Merry Christmas’ normal photo.

Sissies!

Sissies!

And then proceeded to try to get a ‘Christmas jumping’ shot.  Needless to say there were some outtakes…

Success!.....kinda.

Success!…..kinda.

After our time at the lake, we relaxed with a movie while we waited for everyone to get home and for the cooking extravaganza to commence!

I contributed a sweet potato casserole to the mix, but basically the rest of the dinner (for 11 people!) was prepped and completed by Ash’s housemate Lyndsey.

On our Christmas menu;

Turkey with stuffing

Guiness glazed ham

Roast vegetables

Sweet potato casserole

Broccoli and cheddar bake

It was deeeeeelish!

Prepping the ham!

Prepping the ham!

Carving and carrying.

Carving and carrying.

Sweet potato casserole

Sweet potato casserole

It was kind of tough to figure out seating for 11 people around a small table but using a side table and a giant wooden chopping board solved the problem!

All set up!

All set up!

We all enjoyed a delicious Christmas dinner followed by a pear-and-ginger crumble and finished up the night with a couple of intense Cranium sessions.

The whole group!

The whole group!

It was another wonderful Christmas with our friend-family.

I have become so used to having Christmas with friends that it almost feels weird that I might actually be home for Christmas next year…almost ;)

I hope you’re enjoying the end of 2013!.  Today is officially our last day in California…someone pinch me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Eve Festivities!

Wow!

I can’t believe Christmas has officially come and gone.  What a whirlwind it was this year, right? Those post-christmas blues are fighting their way in but are being kept at bay with a fun New Years trip to Boston (and lots of other fun things) on the horizon.

Chris and I spent another Christmas in Tahoe (the way I have for the past 5 years) with my sissy and her housemates.  Last year Ash hosted a little Christmas eve drinks and snacks soiree and it was so fun they decided to do round two this year!

Their house was definitely cozy and wonderfully Christmassy – just the way I like it!

Oh Christmas Tree

Oh Christmas Tree

Stockings!

Stockings!

Prezzies!

Prezzies!

Chris and I were very lucky with friends who love to decorate for Christmas, since we didn’t get the chance to set up our own tree.  Being around so many beautiful trees and Christmas ambiance definitely made it feel a little more like the holidays.

We ate delicious snacks of Christmas bark, pretzel turtles, chips and dip and lots of other goodies.

Deliiicccciious Christmas bark

Deliiicccciious Christmas bark

And drank some (too many) fun holiday drinks.

Drinks!

Drinks!

The night was filled with good food, good drinks, great friends and LOTS of Christmas cheer.

Sissies!

Sissies!

My love.

My love.

Great friends!

Great friends!

 

All in all Christmas eve was ridiculously fun time that was the perfect beginning to a pretty fabulous Christmas day.

I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possibly the sappiest dog post ever and do yourself a favour…

*Pre-warning! This could very well be the sappiest dog post ever written.*

Hi everyone!

Happy Friday!! While I am usually very excited about the weekend, with Annie leaving on Monday evening I definitely have mixed emotions about this one.

It will be a weekend filled with ‘lasts’ for us.  Yes, I know we will see her in a month and it will be as though no time has passed at all, but the likelihood that we will all be back here to this place together is pretty slim.  The thought of it being our last weekend to run around on our beach with her, to road trip in California and see her crazy ears flapping in the wind is definitely a little ‘weep’ inducing for me.

I mean….really?

Ears for days.

Ears for days.

If you have ever adopted a dog from a shelter then you know that the statement ‘Who Saved Who?’ (usually displayed on car stickers) rings absolutely true.  We brought Annie home two years ago at the end of May.  I had only been living in San Francisco for a month, was in a crappy job that I hated, had very few ‘solid’ friends and was just pretty lonely.

Annie (yes this is a big call) literally changed my life.  She brought companionship into my life and on some days, was the reason I got out of bed in the morning.

When we first met Annie in the shelter

When we first met Annie in the shelter

She has travelled across country with us four times, been on countless road trips, overnight stays, walks, hikes and train rides.  She has (at times) frustrated us but has always made us laugh.

When we talked about moving and the huge cost and effort associated with taking a dog to Australia (seriously, it’s a lot of work!) we tossed up our options.  We thought about leaving Annie here with family just because we worried about her on the flight and the month in quarantine.  She’s a sweet, sensitive soul and we were worried about how she would do.  But to be honest, I never really considered leaving her here.  In my mind our little family is made up of three – Chris, me and Annie.  We’re like the marines – we leave no one behind.

Our little fam.

Our little fam.

Our engagement session

Our engagement session

So it will be so hard to seal Annie up in that crate on Monday evening and send her on her HUGE journey down under by herself.  I also know that it will be so worth it to be all together again in Australia.

It just wouldn’t be the same without our little lady.

That face!

That face!

So if you’re so inclined, say a little prayer for Annie on Monday evening as she makes her loooooonng flight across the Pacific.  You best believe I will be tracking that flight like a creepy stalker!

…………………………………

Kind of along the same lines as the ‘Annie’ part of this post, I wanted to share a couple of things that I have seen in the past two weeks that have kept me thinking.

Two weeks ago, Chris and I went to the movies to see ‘About Time’.  We were expecting a cute, kind of generic, easy to watch romantic comedy — which would have been totally fine with me, I love me some romcom!

About Time

About Time

(Source)

What it actually turned out to be was an amazing story of appreciating life.  It was a movie that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.

The main character talks about living each day over again — the first time with all of the rush, the frustrations, the lack of really ‘taking it all in’.  And then again, noticing the beauty of the day, the good things, taking a moment to appreciate it all.

Of course we don’t all have the ability to travel in time (don’t worry if you haven’t seen it, that doesn’t ruin anything, promise!) and so can’t actually live each day over again.  But it really made me think about how often we just rush through the day.  We look forward to it being over, we look forward to it being tomorrow or the weekend.  While I don’t think there is anything wrong with looking forward to things, I know that there is something wrong in not appreciating the day right now.  This day.  We get so caught up in rushing.  We get frustrated when the person making our coffee or tea takes too long, or someone is driving a little too slowly or the bank teller asks you the same question three times but this is the only day that we’re promised, the only moment really.

I am slowly learning to appreciate each moment.  To smile at the person across from me, to wish them a nice day.  It doesn’t take long, just a split second to change a moment, to change someone else’s day.

See this movie.  Seriously, go see it.  It’s sad, for sure! But it is so worth it!

If you don’t have the chance to make it to the movies today, do yourself a favour and watch this Ted talk.  It’s 10 minutes, along the same lines as ‘About Time; and awesome.

So there you have it.  My sappy Friday!

I hope you all enjoy today and have a happy weekend.  I will be spending mine cuddling Annie’s face off.

See you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York & Thanksgiving # 3!

Hey hey!

I hope you’re all having a fabulous Tuesday and that everyone celebrated a fun and festive Turkey Day last week.

We had a great trip back East for Turkey day number three for me (and Annie!).

We had a full week in New York which gave us lots of fun family time, catch ups with friends and general festiveness.

The day before Thanksgiving was a pretty crappy weather day (cold and rainy) which left us with a lot of lazing around time.  Since the next day would be filled with lots of eating (and no turkey trotting – boo) I knew my body would appreciate a quick sweat session.  I took advantage of the down time to sneak in a quick cardio circuit (courtesy of PB Fingers) at the gym at my in-laws condo complex.

Quick sweat sesh!

Quick sweat sesh!

Unfortunately this was the only workout I squeezed in during the week – oops!

………………..

Thanksgiving day started out nice and early when I sprung out of bed to whip up a quick box of scones.  We received a couple of boxes of Iveta scone mix from a friend and they were really, really delicious and so easy to make! We brought one box of Pumpkin Spice (gluten-free) scones back to NY which worked out perfectly since Chris’ aunt is GF.  Starting the day with the kitchen smelling like pumpkin spice is pretty good in my books!

A little while and a little football watching later, it was time to start in on the apps and drinks!

We all congregated in the kitchen around the delicious food to chat, catch up and officially commence stuffing-of-face.

Nephew Silliness

Nephew Silliness

Gathered around the food

Gathered around the food

Family!

Family!

In between the app eating and sitting down for actual Thanksgiving lunch, we took the opportunity to snap a couple of family photos.  With Chris and I leaving soon it’s important that we take advantage of documenting these family moments.

The whole clan!

The whole clan!

The (soon to be) family of 4!

The (soon to be) family of 4!

P.S Can you believe my sis-in-law is 36 weeks pregnant?? She looks so fab.

Sistahs!

Sistahs!

My little fam.

My little fam.

 

We sat down for lunch around 3:30 and enjoyed a delicious spread! I didn’t snap any pictures but we had a huge delicious turkey, cranberry, turnips and parsnips, brussels sprouts, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole etc etc.  SO GOOD! And for dessert, pecan pie and apple pie – dessert heaven!

We finished up our Thanksgiving with some after dinner drinks, some more football watching and relaxing with happy bellies.  A very successful Thanksgiving!

………………….

The rest of our week was filled with family fun times.  We made especially sure to soak up lots of time with this crazy monkey…

Crazies.

Crazies.

It's fun to be 3!

It’s fun to be 3!

Chris and I ventured over to Westhampton beach a couple of times.  There’s just something so beautiful about the beach in winter.  The cold temps weren’t keeping people away though there were people and dogs galore!

Beeeaauutiful!

Beeeaauutiful!

It was especially awesome having Annie with us for thanksgiving.  For the simple reason that it’s just better when she’s around but also because it gave Chris’ family a chance to say goodbye.  Annie is making the trip to Australia this coming Monday so it was the last time they’ll get to see her for a while (yes I am tearing up just writing this).

She certainly is a sweet little lady.

Annie!

Annie!

And her big buddy isn’t so bad either!

Ollie!

Ollie!

 

All in all it was a pretty fantastic Thanksgiving week with the family.

Now we are back in California and preparing for a couple of (very!) busy weeks ahead.

Give me strength!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Funday.

Hellooooo! Happy Thanksgiving week American friends and happy ‘another week in November’ everyone else!

We survived our flight to the east coast (ALL of us)!

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Fun fact -> this is Annie’s 4th time to the east coast!
We are now safe and sound in NY and ready to celebrate with Chris’ family on Thursday by stuffing our faces with turkey.
Bring it on!
………..

I promise I will do a general life/love/leg update soon but for now I wanted to recap our fun little Sunday.

As you might remember, when we moved from the city down to Montara, we needed a second car. Since we had plans to move to Aus, we only needed one for a short period and so took over the end of someone’s lease. It just so happened that the car we ended up with was a pretty sweet BMW which has been a fun ride over the past 10 months!

Well, we had to return the car yesterday and so decided to take it for one last hurrah on Sunday. We wanted to really enjoy how well it drives and get out there on the road!
Chris had mentioned a while ago that Ridge has a vineyard up in the mountains near Cupertino and since I love an excuse for a little wine tasting, I jumped at the chance!

Ummm if you live anywhere near the Bay Area you should make a point of visiting Ridge Monte Bello. The drive is beautiful, the wine is delicious and the views are spectacular!

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The view from the parking area – peeking through to San Jose.

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Hey handsome!

I have had Ridge wines on several occasions and am always a fan so it was awesome to try some of the varietals that I hadn’t tried before.

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Delicious.

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We paid a little extra to include the Monte Bello in our tasting and it was a very good decision. This might be the best red wine I’ve ever tasted. But at $160 for a bottle, that bad boy was staying safely on the shelf.
We ended up choosing two bottles of the primitivo but if you leave with anything from here, I would say you’d be pretty stoked. I don’t know much about wine so all that really counts to me is that it tastes good – mission accomplished.

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After our tasting, we wandered the grounds for a little while to take in the sunshine and the amazing views.

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Pretty awful, right?

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Loaded up with my goodies!

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After the winery, we drove into downtown Los Altos to grab a burger, a beer and catch the end of the Giants game (boooooo) before heading home.

Quite the Sunday funday and the perfect way to farewell the Beemer.

On to fun family times!