Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Floundering at Oreti Beach

Anyone who knows me knows that I have said more than once, "I don't fish."  This has been the case since I was about 7 years old.   I had a traumatic experience as a child at a fishing pond in North Carolina.  It was a super hot day, I had a candy bar, was attacked by flys, and then yelled at by my brother all the way home because we had to leave (hysterical crying over bugs and fishy do not mix).  

I knew you would understand.....but on this day I went with the fisherman in what you might call a supportive role.  You know, drive the truck down the beach, make sure the dogs don't drown, and move the fish bucket as directed.  

Toby was more than happy to "help" as well, and by help I mean continually chew the rope and get in the way of the flounder net THE ENTIRE TIME.  

I am happy to report that the boys got about 26 flounder all together.  Which is apparently very impressive (insert fishermen ooh's and aah's). I am sure my supporting role contributed to this some how. ;) 

Once we got home we dined on fresh pan-fried flounder with a buerre blanc sauce.  I was inspired by the Dover sole we have had on past trips to Paris and wanted to try to recreate this masterpiece.   It wasn't too shabby for a first attempt.  Overall the day definitely made up for that other fishing experience so long ago! 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Let's go sailing!!!

During my last trip to my parent's house I discovered how much my dad likes sailing. I never knew this before. This information came at the perfect time because I was trying to figure out what to get him for Christmas.   You know, the man who has everything.....

When I got back to Auckland I booked tickets to take my dad and my mom sailing on an Americas Cup boat around the harbor.  This was followed by multiple prayers for good weather.  

Fast forward now to December 23 when I picked up my parents from the airport. This is when I told my dad he was getting his Christmas present the next day.  He was so excited he could hardly sit still! He said, "when you get to be my age there are few presents that really excite and surprise you....but this is one!"  Well, as the second person in the dynamic brunette duo of our family (me & my dad) I was thrilled.  But still praying for good weather, this is New Zealand after all.

The next day was fabulous.  Two hours of wind in your hair, grinding, learning about all things sailing and enjoying the amazing views.  It was as close to the perfect present for my dad as I could get.   Additional bonuses: it didn't rain, my mom wasn't cold and she had fun too!!! 

While I love getting presents I have always thought that giving gifts is better than receiving them.  This story proved that this is so so true.  I will never forget the look of joy and wonderment on my dad's face the ENTIRE TIME we were out on the water.  It was a memory that I will treasure and look back on often...

Queenstown for New Year

After Christmas in Auckland we drove down to the South Island.  After a few days driving and lots of potty breaks for Toby we arrived in Queenstown.  While we were driving my parents embarked on a 5-day motorcycle tour of the South Island (Harley Davidson, in case you were wondering) and five days later we were all back together in Queenstown.  

Relaxing with a Rosé

This was our view for the week......from every room in the house! This made our walk up the steep hill worth it.  This area, known as Queentown Hill is a prime location because it's close enough to walk to the Center of town (and the action) but up above the hustle and bustle at the same time.  You feel like you're in your own peaceful little world. The best of both worlds really! 

Took some time to start writing with my new fountain pen from dad! Such a great Christmas present!!!

Shout out to my man's amazing ribs!!!! 

Couldn't get enough of this view!!! 


Fireworks and champagne on our balcony! Great way to ring in the New Year! 

Dad looking for deer on his NZ HUNTING ADVENTURE!! And my brother-in-laws dog, Oscar photo bombing him ��. 

Millbrook Resort, Arrowtown is where we stayed for the last two days my parents were here.   This is a beautiful location that feels more like a private estate than a golf resort.  

Evening stroll after a divine dinner at the Millbrook restaurant.

Baked Alaska is making a come back here in New Zealand (why it ever went out of vogue I cannot say) and this one was delicious! 

We laughed, loved, cooked, ate, drank, talked, watched football, hiked, and laughed some more.  That's one heck of a kick off for 2015 if you ask me! 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014


Here is one of the photos from my first photo shoot.  A big "thank you" to my friend Brian Ng for your triple help with styling, shooting and editing.  It was a fun experiment while feeling slightly awkward at the same time.  It also was part of the motivation to get a new camera, which I did on my last trip home. Now dont getme wrong, I love my Iphone.  Sometimes you just need more in the photo taking department.  I went with the Canon D3200 and am learning about all the features.  The one thing that I have learned more than anyhing is that I will learn the most by USING IT! No amount of reading will replace taking the camera out and experiencing life through it's lens.  So that is what I plan to do and share with you in the near future!!

PS: If you do have any tips or tricks that you would like to share I am all ears!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Moving: bad, very bad. New neighbourhood: good, very good

Well, after sorting, purging, cleaning, packing,  then moving followed by more cleaning, sorting and unpacking we are starting to get settled in our new house.   After all of this the fact that I HATE MOVING has been solidified in my soul forever.  This may seem dramatic, but it was very stressful!

We have moved from Mission Bay to Ponsonby.  To my friends in the US this probably means very little. So to compare the two in a way that makes sense I can say it like this... Mission Bay = a kind of suburbia while Ponsonby = is a hipper, edgier neighborhood with more pep in it's step.  A BIG BONUS for us is that we can walk to a plethora of great cafes, restaurants, shops, salons, wine bars, even a grocery store and a bank.  There is something great about not having to get in you car to go to the places you enjoy.  In other words this area just feels more like a city (which makes me, a true city girl, happy).  

The house is smaller and older than the house we rented in Mission Bay. This type of house is referred to as a villa (clearly the Kiwi's don't see eye-to-eye with the Italians on this term).  Here that means means that it is a single level home with 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms in the front and the living, dining and kitchen area is in the back.  From here, there are french doors that open to the deck and backyard.  Toby is already enjoying the yard and deck and all the sunshine so it's just what we need!

Now I am slowly making it our own.  It needs some sprucing up....I've already made a list and checked it twice, nothing major but little things cosmetically that I think will make a big difference. Meanwhile, pictures are going up, new couch covers have been ordered and the Christmas tree and decorations will make an appearance this weekend.  My preparation is reaching a feverish pace as the date my parents arrive quickly approaches. I am super excited and want things to be looking as close to perfect as possible for their first Kiwi Christmas!!  Here are a few pictures of the house so far... I will share more as I make more progress :)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Sealed with a Pura Vida Kiss….

I was so fortunate to recently get to go to Costa Rica for a wedding.  My dear friends Shelly & Blake decided to have a destination wedding on the beautiful beaches of Santa Teresa ( on the Pacific coast in Costa Rica). I was fortunate to pick the seat next to Shelly for the two years of hell that we we called CRNA school.  She instantly became a dear friend. I really don't think I would have made it through without her friendship and support. 

The time we spent there was such a testimony to what incredible people these two are.  It was a time full of love, laughs, hugs, drinks, sun, surfing, fishing and swimming (I myself did as much of "nothing" as I could squeeze in).

58 men, women and children traveled for almost two days to reach this magical place.  Not only was the scenery gorgeous, but each person there added something beautiful to this collage of friends and family.  It was one of those times that I felt so lucky to be a part of something this special. 

Big shout out to Casa Yin Yang (a Mariposa Vacation home): Ben, Anna, Thomas, Kurt, Mona, Laurence and I (and there may have been a mouse in the mix too).  We got a chance to spend non-school, non-anesthesia time together relaxing and it was SO MUCH FUN!  I feel so much closer to this group of incredible people than ever before!   Laurence was the resident chef for the week and spoiled us with an array of fresh, delicious food.  I really didn’t want to leave..EVER!

Two days before the wedding over multiple pina coladas (made from scratch FYI) I told Shelly that I would make her a bouquet for the wedding day.   I was so happy to be able to do something to contribute to her special day.  The flowers kept in the fridge and looked fresh and beautiful when the ceremony started (insert sigh of relief). Even though it was something small I was so happy to get to do something for my dear friend on her most special day! 

Shelly and Blake are two of the kindest, nicest, most giving people I have ever met.  I am so glad that I got to be a part of this time to honor them and their love for each other as they start their married life together.  Thanks you two!

I am sure I will be finding sand in things and “places” long after I am back in New Zealand.  But I am pretty sure there are a few grains of that magical Costa Rican sand that found their way in to my heart and will be there forever.

What an amazing couple.  What an amazing journey.  What an amazing wedding!