Sunday, 22 February 2015

When you wish upon a star....

I love award season. And tonight is the pinnacle of that season: The Oscars!!!! I have always loved watching the red carpet and commenting (criticising) on all the stars hair, gowns, shoes...and Jewels.  Oh, the jewels, they make my heart skip a beat!!! Serious palpitations!!! I have loved all that sparkles from the time I was just a little girl and was constantly playing in my mom's jewelry.  This love runs deep so in honor of my love of jems, jewels, and the Oscars here are a few to get your heart racing! Your welcome ;) 



Thursday, 12 February 2015

Happy Valentine's Day to us all

This past week I have spent time catching up with some amazing women.  What I noticed as we talk about different things going on our lives is that too often as women we don't own our self-worth.  As if that is some sort of selfish act.  You don't want to be seen conceited after all (says the voice in our head).  Why do we often feel, that to think or even say that we are amazing is a bad thing? Well, it's not! So in honor of Valentine's Day, the day of love, let's all start by loving who we are first!! Own your greatness!!  We are all beautifully flawed people.  We are wives, mothers, partners, friends, sisters, and more! In each of these roles there are things that we do that we do well, really well.   Own it, love it!!!

Be passionate about yourself!

Let's see something positive instead of always focusing on our faults

Let's respect who we are as individuals and expect that from others

Let's fill our hearts and lives with love for life, ourselves and each other.  So full, that there is no room for negativity or people who will not see our worth. 

Let's not hold back in our opinions, our love, our needs, our dreams. 

Let's love with abandon!

I made cupcakes for Valentine's Day for some of my fabulous girlfriends. Oh, and one for myself of course ;) ����

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Golden anniversary?! Shouldn't 50 years be gold, covered in platinum, covered in diamonds?!

We were so grateful to celebrate Laurence's mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary in January.  Everyone from the Mawhinney clan came together for dinner. There were a few surprises, an amazing handmade cake (thank you SO much Tammy!!), good food and lots of laughs! Congrats to you 
Kerry and Marie! 50 years together, wow, it's such an amazing and increasingly rare event to celebrate! 

When music and fate collide

This past weekend we went to a concert in Gibbston Valley.   This valley is one of my favorite places in New Zealand.  Filled with row after row of vines growing future wine nestled amongst these majestic mountains.   Throughout NZ during the summer months, concerts are held at vineyards all over the country.  Music and wine, well that is always a good combination!! 

We went to see Three Dog Night, Foreigner, and Heart (three of my husband’s favorite bands).   Foreigner was my favorite of the three and was again on that day.  It was such a fun afternoon surrounded by what I like to call "NZ splendor" and enjoy good food, wine, and company.  Jamming to some great classics, "be a jukebox hero, got stars in his eyes” Ah-mazing!

Now, for quite some time my husband and I have been looking at property in and around Queenstown.  At first I thought that I wanted to get something in the center of the town.  Then we started contemplating buying land and building and would spend many a weekend morning discussing all the options that were before us.  We even went so far as the contact realtors and look at a few properties.  But there was never a moment when we both went, “this is the one.”   Last month we put the search on hold after the process began to bring more frustration than enjoyment.  

Segway back to the concert, where my hubbie and I both thought that Gibbston Valley could be a great place to have a home. This lead to an online search, which then lead to a drive on Sunday, and this drive took us to an amazing property.  Standing on it, looking out at the mountains with the vineyard spreading out below us….that familiar but rare feeling rushed over me and I knew “this is it!”  Far less poetic, my husband’s “ah-ha” moment was when a couple living in the same area stopped to offer their help and ended up sharing a photo of the latest deer the wife had shot from the kitchen, LOL! 

Then there was a week filled with a flurry of calls, offers, paperwork and texts back and forth. Today, I am very happy to announce that we are officially landowners of a beautiful piece of Gibbston Valley.  We even met with an architect yesterday (eek!).  It’s very surreal that in such a short period of time we are beginning this amazing journey of building our first house. Surreal, as well as exciting and slightly terrifying!! 

This will be our gorgeous is this?!? 

I feel so lucky to be at the start of this process (feels like the first time...).  Proving, once again, that in life when it’s meant to be it’s meant to be! Was that a line from an 80’s rock ballad? Well, it should have been!

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!