Wednesday, 28 May 2014

in Remembrance.......

Words are powerful things.  I have always loved and "collected" quotes. They are mighty combinations of letters and words that can excite a riot within you or move you to tears.  There have been moments in my life that I have read quotes that are perfectly timed for that particular time or moment.  It's as if the words were there waiting for me, to speak what my heart could not say, to give me hope in time of darkness, to bring joy, to make me laugh, to teach me something, to show me a new direction......Are you like me and sometimes feel like something written was penned just for you?!

This morning, I found out that Maya Angelou (Marguerite Annie Johnson) has died.  But her "mighty combination of letters and words" will live on! 

I wish I could thank her for sharing this part of herself with us.....but somehow, I think she knows.

It is impossible to pick a favorite (for me at least) but here are a few of my top picks.

" I can be changed by what happens to me.  But I refuse to be reduced by it"

"I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel"

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently"

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some STYLE"

"Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it!"

"You may encounter may defeats, but you must not be defeated.  In fact, it may be necessary to encounter defeats, so that you know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can come out of it."

What's your favorite Maya Angelou quote? Share with me in the comments below!

The patient report......

Well after a week of a lot of nursing, patience for the patient, and peanut butter(I mean, how else are you supposed to take pills) Toby is doing much better.  He is still in a plastic cone, but I am happy to report he has mastered eating, drinking, and going potty.  The plastic cone is full of taped cracks and scratches from banging into walls, our legs, doors, anything in his path really......

He had eye and mouth surgery all in one day, two days later scratched his stitches out of his eye and we had to start over....but he is healing nicely and got a good report today at his checkup.  

The first few nights were filled with lots of worry and very little sleep....exercise, cleaning, writing and even my sanity went out the window.  I felt like it was a "trial run" for motherhood.  Until I re-discovered valerian root and "helped" my poor doggy relax.  Now all mom's reading this please don't hate me! I know it cannot compare......but I must admit I felt like I got a small glimpse into this world and was left with an enormous respect for moms who go days, even weeks without leaving the house, showering (well hopefully only days for this), getting real are unsung heroes. And I am glad that my "trial run" was short because it was not AT ALL sweet.  I know, I's not the same, but still.....

Only 1 more week to go! Then Toby and I are going to have a de-coning party ;) 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Everybody loves some bunny sometimes.....

I typically live in disregard of most commercials....I record shows so that, with smug delight, I can fast-forward through them.  I think you can agree with me that when watching commercials you are more often than not filled with a confused irritation about the exasperating fact that someone was paid to produce the 30-second clip.  That combination of images and words that is responsible for decreasing your overall number of brain cells.....

Until this commercial came along which I instantly fell in love with.  This is thanks to the Fisher & Paykel commercial entitiled "Patience".  The level of cuteness verges on the unbearable.  

From the first time I watched this I have wanted a bunnie of my own....Well, I really want a frenchie of my own but now is not the right time so I'll settle for the bunny. :)  I happen to know a guy who could get me one ;) and it arrived last week!!!!! I was like a little kid a Christmas :) Thanks babe!

Meet the's sweet simplicity is what makes it so endearing.  I found out recently that the bunny's story has a new chapter.  It doesn't end in the doggie bed of the cute puppy. This special bunny (and his friends) has made it's way to a Thai orphanage, Baan Tharn Namchai.  Rescued from a "darker side" of Thai society, these two beautiful girls below have been given a second chance at life.    I am hoping to have a chance to travel there in January to participate in a charity event which includes a visit to the orphanage.  

For these sweet girls this bunny is more than a fluffy friend to cuddle.  It is a symbol of hope, hope for the future....hope that they too can live life simply as little girls with a bunny.....

Check out HANDS ACROSS THE WATER website.  They are the organization that helps keep this orphanage running:

From a washing machine to a dog bed to the arms of little girl....that's some bunny! 

Kate Spade says, "Surprise!" You have to check this out.....

What a pleasant surprise!  Here are some treats that I found while browsing this surprise sale by Kate sure to check it out!!

Ice Cream Heels, $199 (org. $550) for this triple scoop.  Say "What?!"

This little treat for $129 (org. $328) is a playful addition to your wardrobe

Southport Avenue Linda for $139 (org. $428) that's a steal!  This is a great summer day bag.

This Black & White Mini Penelope  for $99 (org. $298) is black and white and cute all over!!

Last one that I will share but there's so many more.......

Book clutches, these are HOT right now and you can snag either for $129 (org. $328)!!!!

Happy hunting!

Monday, 19 May 2014

My heart skips a beat....item of the day!

There are things in life that make my little heart skip a, that "special look"from my guy, puppy kisses, diamonds, one too many burpees during a workout ;)....  What's yours "skip a beat moment"?  Here is a wonderfully chic way to always keep those moments close to your heart....

Sarah Chloe, named after this designer's first daughter, is total "daily chic".   It's the pieces that you will never want to take off......check out the website link below and don't be surprised if you have a little heart flutter while shopping it ;).

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Shakespeare once said, "Tis an ill cook who cannot lick his own fingers"

Oh the shanks, the shanks!!!!......many a time have we tried to slow cook them.....or Laurence has.  Up to now we/he have never been successful.  Today, the attempt was on me.  So I found a recipe, and started cooking at 2:00pm.  I chopped, sautéed, and made the braising liquid that the precious meat was to slow cook in.  I carefully followed the recipe, covering and uncovering the meat at the appropriate time.  I even cross-referenced other recipes and cooking web sites to make sure that I was doing things correctly. Now it is 6:30pm and the outcome of this dish still seems uncertain.  I bought a roasted chicken in the event that I "stuff this up" as they say here. I stealed myself for the disapproving look from the hubbie if the outcome fell short once again.  This was, after all, a fine piece of meat that he worked hard to get (hunting and gathering). 

Now, I am sure that this is going to sound ludicrous  (and I am laughing as I am typing) but this evening as I am cooking this venison, there is part of me that wants to be transported back to the time of some (any will do) Shakespearean court so that I might wax poetic about how making this dish will surely win my true loves heart (or something along those lines-the way to a mans heart is thru his stomach, but like William would say it).  

Well my "true love" is home so now and the moment of truth is upon me.......insert a short bridge of "impending doom" music.....Stay tuned, Shakespeare and I will be back to finish the tale of the venison shanks....

Fast forward to the next afternoon we are now at T plus 10 hours of "low and slow" cooking, And.......I have pulled it off!!!! Let the victory bells ring!!!!  The meat has tenderised and is falling off the bone...the braising liquid is deliciously rich and flavorful.  The only tragedy left in what had the makings of such a Shakespearean tale is that the hubbie out of town and I must dine on this goodness alone (hehehehehe). In honor of Shakespeare's quote from Romeo and Juliet I did lick my fingers....more than once.  

I sent these photos with descriptive texts to my husband so he didn't feel as if he was totally missing out. Not to fear my love, there are leftovers for your return home tomorrow night.  

Here's the Tom Valenti recipe I used courtesy of my Epicurious app. This app consistently delivers great recipes that can be easily executed.  They used lamb shanks in the recipe below and I used venison but that doesn't really matter.  What varies greatly, as I found out, is the cooking time that is required :) 


Also, the suggested white bean purée recipe is super easy and absolutely delicious! With chicken or venison it's a "no-fail" side. I used canned beans instead of dry and this shortened the boiling time from 90 minutes to 50 minutes.   

Happy Birthday to Toby the wonderdog

I cant believe that it was 9 years ago this month this little bundle of joy came into my life.  My mom, dad, and sister came with me the day I went to pick him out, he was only 6 weeks old and so cute I could barely stand it.  We still talk about that experience to this day.  We will never forget 10 boxer puppies running out onto the deck at the same time to greet us (that much cuteness is unforgettable).  The funny thing is that he ended up picking me that day and from his first puppy kiss I was forever smitten. Four weeks later I claimed him as my own.

He didn't stay little for very long
Through the last nine years he has been my constant friend.  My buddy, that always made sure I never felt alone (even if I wanted to).  There is something amazingly sweet about the fact that no matter when he saw me last, or how long it had been, he always greets me with the same immense joy and happiness!  This always puts a smile on my face no matter what my day was like.  Dogs have this amazing ability to love unconditionally without reserve......Toby has a special way of showing you this love and taking possession of a piece of your heart.  Once he gets it, he is there for life.  I have been privileged to love and be loved by this dog.  As the years go by all too quickly I find myself wishing I could rewind the clock and have the last nine years all over again.  Ok, well maybe some of it I wouldn’t want to repeat.  Those of you who are pet owners or have had to pick up after Toby know what I mean ;). Potty training, chewing, slober (lots of it), etc etc......

Ask anyone who has met him, you can't help but love this guy
His big goofy, loveable personality in action

Toby has traveled the world (more than some people have).  He was born in a small town north of South Bend, Indiana.  From there he lived on Chicago's northside.  My second floor walk-up gave him lots of practice going up and down stairs.  Then I met and fell in love with my hubbie (so did Toby) and we moved to Huntington Beach, California.  This is where Toby discovered how much he loved the beach, peeing on sand castles and digging in the sand for absolutely no reason!  

In October we moved to New Zealand where after his 10-day quarantine (which almost killed me-not him) he has adjusted very well to his new house, walking routes and local park.  

At "his" park, where we go every morning
One of his favorite pastimes....napping

Happy Birthday Toby! I know I'm partial but there will never be another dog like you!!!  Here's to another nine years with this crazy, loving, loyal friend of mine....
One of my fav's that my brother took!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." Thomas Morton

It was on one rainy weekend on the coromandel peninsula I came across these two.  It would of course rain on me during what was supposed to be a beach holiday, so this particular weekend we were forced to find alternative activities.  It was at Hot Water beach we found ourselves at a great little art gallery.  I was drawn to two sketches in particular (think it was the nurse in me).  These drawings were done on pages of an old anatomy book.   The artist is an elementary school teacher according to the guy working at the gallery.  I thought that fact added such an interesting twist to the story behind these........still haven't decided where to put them in my house but I get them out to admire them on a regular basis.

Title:  Day of the Dead

Title: Rambo (lol, I love the name of this one) 

These were drawn by the very talented Jo Newsham check her out at

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

My 30 x 5 update......

30 minutes a day, 5 days a week

I have been running (x3), and have gone to my gym for a class called Grit Series.  It's a combination of cardio and strength training in fast paced 2-minute bursts  (4 moves each interval) with 1 minute rests in between.  It's crazy intense and done in 30 minutes. I love it.  

Did 30 x 5 last week and am on target for the same this week! I'm attacking it one week at a time, one day at a time! 

I tried my Yoga Studio iPad app for the first time today.   it was cold and rainy outside and this typeof weather often sucks any desire to drive to the gym right out of me.....

The classes are 15, 30, or 60 minutes.  Beginner, intermediate and advanced levels are available.  And each class has lovely yoga music and a teacher who talks you through the class. My own personal yoga teacher in the comfort of my home.  I can even record my classes in my personal calendar. 

Download this app and try it as you work towards your own 30 x 5 this week!   Let me know what you think.  Namaste :)

My job search, it goes on and on and on and on.......

There is a tightness in my chest and I feel like I am going to cry…..This is because I have been frantically (well it feels frantic because I have worked my self up to that state) trying to email my information to recruiters in the US and because I overslept and there is a 19-hour time difference I feel stressed because maybe I missed a window of opportunity.  Insert internal groan followed by a deep breath, all I want is a chance to get some experience and work as a CRNA! My mind is racing as I over-analyze and wonder if sleep cost me a job offer.  Really, Katie who sleeps until 10:30…. On a Tuesday??!! Dumb you are really, really dumb… and so goes the conversation in my head….I promise I am not crazy, promise!
...some of my school ID's
In all my CRNA finery!

Ok, much calmer now....Most of you know my “unique” story but for those who are reading this and don’t, here it is in a nutshell…….6 months before I graduated my husband was offered a promotion, accepted and shortly thereafter left to start his new position in New Zealand.  Since I didn’t finish school until August I stayed in California, then I sat for my Board examination in September (and passed first try FYI), then I packed up the house and by October 5 I was moving to a new country.  The emotional experience of knowing that at the end of my journey through school, I was going to essentially walk away from the start of that career is something that is very hard for me to put into words.  It was a new emotional experience for me because while I knew that it was a good decision (hubbie’s career and our future) it was one that brought angst and uncertainty at the same time.  

The very good looking graduating of 2013
Since October I have looked what job options there may be for me here in New Zealand.  These options seem to be dismal at best and none of them include actually doing any anesthesia (thanks to a very strong opposition against CRNA’s from the anesthesiologists of NZ-but that’s another story).  If I could work here even as an advanced practicing nurse I would. But, from what I have found out, to even get my nurse practitioner license is an uphill, (at least) two-year battle.  I’m not sure if I have that in me.  I just made it through an emotionally draining, physically exhausting two-years known as CRNA School.   So, I have opted to look for jobs in the US rather than here in New Zealand for the time being.  Once I am able to work enough hours to secure my US license then I will explore what options I may have here.  Then I will be, not only a girl gone kiwi but a nurse gone kiwi too…..and that’s when it will get interesting.
This is my office (or was and will be again) :)
As of now there are some US leads that are showing some promise, so fingers crossed, the anesthesia world may see me yet!!!!

Does a fragrance by another price smell as sweet...or sweeter?

I know that living in another country comes with a list of concessions that stand out as “changes” one must adjust to no matter how small they may be.  What you have to pay for beauty products happens to be one of those concessions (which I have balked at).  Although I have tried to come to terms with the fact that things here in NZ are 2, 3, even 4x’s the cost they would be in the US (this is not an exaggeration) I don’t like it…at all.  But it is a fact of life while we are living here.  So, I try not to make the mental comparison as I shop-but it’s really hard.    As someone who is a self-proclaimed “bargain hunter” it is difficult to shut down that part of my brain.  The voice inside my head says, “How much is it??!!  It would only be ____(this much) in the US, that’s just ridiculous!”  At this point you are probably thinking what does this have to do with smelling good.  Well, it brings me in a round-a-bout way to my story of this amazing new perfume that I discovered in NZ……

I have never been a “perfume person” really.  I have one or two perfumes on my dresser that I love but 9 times out of 10 I would walk out of the house and forget to put any on. So the pretty bottles of fragrance would sit full and get an occasional dusting. Until now….

this is a fragrance line that I cannot get enough of.   I discovered it while shopping at WORLD here in Auckland.   I got #45 Bulletproof from the Femme Fatale Parfum collection.  It’s an intoxicating combination of smoked tea, coconut milk, cedar, and ebony wood. It’s delicious, it is one of those scents that for me is invigorating while drawing the lyrics of West Side Story song “I feel pretty, oh, so pretty!” from my little heart.  Now at the time I didn’t think about the price really…..ignorance was bliss.  But then on my recent trip home I discovered it at Sephora. Oh the joy!! My new obsession at a fraction of the price??!! Amaze-balls!! So I got another bottle of #45, and bottle of #10 Everything & Nothing (this is a divine blend of orange, floral, dessert moss and tea leaves).  I also got some bath gel, body lotion, and lip gloss. I  got all of this in the states for what I paid for my first bottle here in New Zealand.  Now when I use my new products I smell orange , floral, moss, and sweet sweet shopping victory......

Thanks for sticking with me on that wandering road of a go check out ToykoMilk!