Saturday, July 31, 2010

Got my nails done!

I'm in love with gel nails. If you haven't tried them before, you should because I am ADDICTED. If you don't know what they are, the nail artist paints the gel on just like nail polish only it has to be cured under a UV lamp for 2 minutes between layers so it takes about 2 hrs for a manicure instead of 1. But, when you're finished, you have the most perfect manicure of your life and it lasts 3 weeks before you have to get the cuticles filled. 3 weeks after that you get them soaked off/filed down and start again!

I don't have a photo of my nails, but my inspiration was this photo:

She did a great job, mine look *exactly* like that and I love it! The best part is that once you leave the salon your nails are 100% dry so you can't dent the polish (cause it's not polish) and they also make your nails SO strong. If you have trouble growing your nails because they tend to peel or break off, try gel nails! They actually make your nail healthier and they don't have to do any of that grinding down on your nail bed like with acrylic. If you like the french-tip look they can do that for you too and it looks just as good as acrylic without all the damage.

I'm an official convert. :)

I'm holding out.

This was one of the busiest weeks I've had to date since I moved here and I'm LOVING it! I'm a very social person, so I'm just thriving on all the attention I've gotten lately. :) I've been booked up every single night this week and even got to spend a whole day in Sarina with Ashleigh which was SO refreshing. It's so nice to be able to spend time with someone who you can say anything to, even if it's politically incorrect or might make you vulnerable, someone who accepts you as you are....I love that. :) Some of my newer friends in Moranbah can make me feel embarrassed about my opinions or choices sometimes and it makes me feel so free with Ashleigh. I don't have to think, we just hang out and it's easy. And I LOVE her baby Ezra. I think she's my adopted niece, officially. I freaked out the other day because I realized that she's not going to stay a baby forever. I know it should be obvious and it is....but it still is mind boggling that one day soon she'll be speaking to me. And that in 10 years time, which seems like such a short time to me, she's going to be in 5th grade....I think I realized how quickly childhood passes and that scares me. Part of me just wants to freeze her as she is now, so precious and innocent and the whole world is new and exciting to her....but I'm also really excited to see her grow up. I feel so much love for Ezra and she's not even mine, not even blood, so I can't fathom the love Ashleigh must feel for her or what it will feel like when I have my own.

I've felt really happy and fulfilled this week. :) Maybe because my social needs as an extrovert have been met and even exceeded....I don't know. I didn't realize how much I thrive on social interaction, but I feel more alive and motivated this week than I have since I was visiting fam. in Texas so I think I need to start making more dates with people!

I have to be honest about something. I am 100% happy with my life the way it is. I like my freedom and that, you know, if I want to drive out to Sarina for 2 days in the middle of the week I can and that I can go to the gym every day and cook a new recipe for dinner every night and cuddle my kittens and read a book and watch a movie any time I want to...I like my life this way. I've felt pressured by some people to find a job, any job, straight away and I confused that pressure as something I wanted....but it's just confusion. I would LOVE a hairdressing apprenticeship, so I am holding out for that. Period. I don't want to find a random full-time job doing something I hate and adding stress to my life and filling my days with work that leads to no end goal. I wouldn't mind doing some casual work here or there...but I'm not going to hunt down a full time job just because it's what people expect of me or think is best for me or something. I've decided. So, I've given up on admin. work, officially. I'm just not cut out for it. The job description says things like "must have high numeracy skills (ha!) exceptional time management and organization. (ha and HAAA!)" and the list goes on. It describes a person opposite to myself....I get anxiety just thinking about it. *YES* the money is unbelievable...but we don't actually need all that money. We can afford for me to hold out for hairdressing. I'm also just starting to find my groove and happiness in Moranbah and I really don't want to mess that up by throwing a fast-paced desk job into the mix. Maybe this all sounds really spoiled...I don't know. It is a privilege to be able to hold out for something I love. But Chris said that there's already one person in the house doing something they hate for the money and he doesn't do that just so I can go off and do the same thing and be miserable... So I'm holding out. :)

The house is still relatively clean, after a whole WEEK of us living in it too. Surprised? So am I. ;) I even had Mel and Hayley over for dinner tonight just in case this is the only time our house is clean enough to entertain. I should take pictures. LOL

I love y'all! Sorry this isn't a more in depth update, but I'm sleepy and have to go to bed.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekend Update Jul. 24

Okay, so it's only saturday which is a little early for a weekend update, but what can I say?

This was a great week! I got a new cookbook in the airport last weekend called "The French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook" by the author of that book French Women Don't Get Fat, have you heard of that book? She was on Oprah. You can google it. lol Anyways, the recipes are really simple to cook and are so different from anything I ever make and are also, apparantly, healthy for you! My goal for the week was to cook dinner every single night and I have succeeded with the help of this book! The theory behind the whole French Women Don't Get Fat thing is that you should ask do I need or do I want the next bite. It's like shopping: do I want or need the new shoes? So many of us just buy the shoes either way, but if you can't afford them, you're more likely to not buy the shoes, right? Well I've tried to apply that to eating. If I am eating just because the food is there and not because I'm hungry I tell myself I can't afford to take that next bite, it costs too much (i.e. my health because I am obese and have a family history of diabetes.) And it's working so far! I've also been in the gym at least twice a week and so far I've lost 15 lbs since a month ago. This only puts me back at where I was in oh, say, April. But progress is progress. :)


This is Melanie, or Mel:

This is Hayley:

They are my new friends I keep talking about! Hayley is a 5th grade teacher and just moved here from Brisbane. She has had trouble adjusting to Moranbah life after living in the city too, so it's been nice to have that in common with someone. Mel just got a new job as an admin assistant with a company here in town. She is born and raised in Moranbah and actually went to elementary school with Chris even though he doesn't remember. lol They are both good friends. Mel has been going to the gym with me and we started a Zumba class together this week. It's HARD but fun! It reminds me of when we used to go to those drill team workshops at the high school as kids....I'm not in the shape I used to be though, that's for sure! Maybe I'll actually be able to salsa dance after all this though. I've been trying for years and just look silly....something about the hip swirling just doesn't compute to me. lol Anyways.

After Chris and I had dinner last night, we went up to the pub with Hayley and her friend Amanda. Chris has NEVER been to the pub with me so this was quite exciting! I think he was nervous because I do look at him with rose-colored glasses and have a tendancy to dote...and he was afraid no one could live up to this. Except for that he IS all that I say he is and more! Everyone loved him of course and I even overheard some friends (when they thought I wasn't around) saying they didn't think guys that great existed and how cute he is and I just beamed and beamed and feel so lucky. Can you tell I am in love? hehehe I think there are other nice guys out there for my friends too, I just don't think they're going to find them at the Black Nugget at 10pm on a Friday night. I'm just sayin!

I was thinking about leading a speed dating group once a month or something...there is just NO WHERE for any of the nice single girls to meet the nice single guys except through mutual friends and it's just not possible for everyone to know everyone else like that.... I don't know if anyone would go, but there's needs to be something. Some kind of mixer or something. I don't know!! Ideas anyone?? I feel like mine are cheesy. lol

Tonight I am going over to Mel's place to watch a movie and have a girls night with Hayley. It should be nice. :) I think Chris will appreciate the time to play a PC game or two while I'm away as well! :P I gotta be ready to go in about an hour though (which if you know me is pushing it!) so this is all I got for now.

I hope all of y'all are well and that this was a good update for everyone!

Our weekend away

So much to talk about, so little time!

So, Brisbane was pretty much one of our best visits ever. I don't know if it's because it's been a full year since our last stay there or if it's because it's been so long since we took a romantic weekend but it was just a really special time. The Wintergarden (shopping centre adjacent to the Hilton) on Queen St. is undergoing a lot of renovations at the moment, so that kind of forced us to get out of our comfort zone and walk further than we usually do. There's lots of new shops and things going in everywhere you look, it's really exciting!

On Friday we were lucky enough to have our luggage be the first off the carousel giving us just enough time to SPRINT to the train ticket stand and be on our way with one blinking minute to spare as the green sign so kindly reminded us. I was not going to sit on that platform for 30 minutes in the freezing cold! This worked out well because we were able to check into the hotel by about 9am and go straight to Coffee Club. They make a better Flat White than anyone anywhere, hands down! Then we proceeded to partake in one of our very favorite pastimes: people watching. :) We like to make up stories about the people as they pass. And 9am is one of the very best times because you get to see all the people commuting to work. I must say, everyone in Brisbane is much thinner on average than anywhere else we've been. It must be all that walking! Perhaps if we were looking at the people who drove to work they would be significantly softer. Perhaps. ;)

After Coffee Club, I'm not quite sure what we did with all our time. Mostly just browsing shops while Chris trailed behind me I think....but before we knew it it was noon and time to start heading to ARIA for lunch. But we were le-tired and decided to order room service and have a nap instead. lol It was my first steak in months and it was everything I'd dreamt it would be. The nap was nice too :) From there we proceeded to trek to Spring Hill for our appointment with our photographer and boy is Brisbane hilly! They don't call it Spring Hill for nuthin! My calves were screaming in protest, my forehead was glistening and I was a bit huffed and puffed by the time we got to the studio. And the secret of all the thin ones in Brisbane is revealed: hills. I am decidedly out of shape, but that is quite beside the point isn't it? :P

We spent the next 3 hours poring over 900 pictures and were, somehow, meant to narrow them down to less than 200. It was a really special time for us though. It was different being able to look at the photos in real size without a watermark and some that we'd completely looked over before became real gems in our eyes. One of the most special moments for me was at the reception as I was dancing with Daddy and seeing the way he looked at me. That one's going in a frame! We hired Marcus 1st and foremost because of his unbelievable ability to work the landscape around you into the shot in ways you'd never imagined and some of the shots just took our breath away! These are our top 3 shots:

He loves:

I love:

We love:

After our appt. with Marcus, it was almost time for pre-dinner drinks and canapes which are free in the executive lounge of the Hilton when you are in an executive level room. So I got my party dress on and we had a couple beers and tried all kinds of different canapes...only to find an hour later that we were both stuffed on canapes and didn't need dinner after all! So we went downstairs for the ceremonious overpriced cocktail in the lounge and found that they have DISCO'D my favorite cocktail. :( In all the years we've been going to the Hilton, I've gotten the same thing and now they don't even put it on the menu?? Sad day. Ah well. We had drinks until about 9pm and planned on going upstairs and ordering room service and maybe watching a movie...but next thing I knew it was 4am and I was in bed, fully clothed, shoes and all. Chris was much the same next to me. HA! You'd think we were seniors.

Saturday we had the breakfast buffet downstairs and it was SO nice. Gourmet chef doing omelets made-to-order in the middle of the restaurant, every fruit, muffin and danish you can imagine. Fresh barista brewed coffee any way you like it! It was the nicest breakfast we'd had in a long time. We were happy chappies. :) After breakfast we walked to the Myer center. There I found out that there actually IS quite a good selection of nice fashionable plus-size clothes designs for women in Australia, just not in Mackay! (I'll remind you "plus-size" in Oz is anything over a US size 10.) But Myer is coming to Mackay, they're building it as we speak, so I could be in luck after all. :) Okay, I am seriously digressing from the point of our trip to Myer: TWILIGHT ECLIPSE! woooo! I even bought a sparkly ring from this new accessories shop in the Myer center that's two wolf heads. It's prettier than it sounds and does NOT look like two llamas as my friend Hayley keeps insisting. It's my Wolf Pack ring, in honor of our trip to see Eclipse. :) It was so good! I only read the book once like 2 years ago now so there was some stuff I'd forgotten about and of course there wasn't enough fight scenes for Chris but we both agreed it was one of the best movies we've seen all year. Maybe if I was more of a "twihard" or whatever I could complain about it, but I just thought it was great. :)

That night we had dinner at a place called Gusto da Gianni, because I was craving GOOD pizza and had looked at reviews online that said this isn't the best in Brisbane but is still worth checking out. (pizza is my favorite food in case you didn't already know.) We had so much fun! I don't know what it was, it felt like it did when we were dating again when everything is new and fresh and exciting. We laughed through the whole meal and shared stories we never had, even though we thought we knew everything there was to know about each other. We went back to the Hilton and had a few cocktails in the lounge (yes there's lots of alcohol in our weekend away, what can we say? :P) and there were a bunch of beebs there for their "formal" which, from what I can gather, is like the Aussie version of a prom. It was so precious!

We had another early night and were in bed before 10pm but still slept in until 8 the next day which was nice, and had a quick breakfast in the exec. lounge before heading back to the airport.

Last weekend was so good for our marriage! I don't know what it was, it's not like we were having problems or anything before, we're both still very much in love and that's never wavered...but it's like last weekend put a bit of that uninhibited infatuation back into our marriage and it feels like the honeymoon phase all over again and it's really nice. :) Even though it was an expensive time away, I think it was worth every penny when it brings us this much closer. I'd recommend it to anyone. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hey you, with the face!

It's been a while! I'd be lying if I said I've been so busy I couldn't update, it's more that nothing of consequence has really happened until lately so now I am updating!

We are leaving for Mackay tonight and fly out to Brisbane in the morning. Woo! We're creatures of habit, so you won't be surprised that we're staying in the Hilton on Queen St as per usual and don't have any real plans other than to finally choose our photos for our wedding album and have a look at the video footage they took. That should be really special, I'm going to wear waterproof mascara!!! hahaha Our only other goal is to see Eclipse (Chris actually really likes Twilight btw, I think he has a man crush on Jacob and laments often why anyone would choose someone so pale and skinny over a ripped werewolf. ha!) and that new action movie Knight and Day. We're seeing them in Brisbane instead of Mackay because Mackay cinemas are, frankly, shit. For lack of a better word. They just are. :P I'm going to try and find a theater in Brisbane with digital projection too so it should be great! Other than that we plan to take full advantage of the executive lounge at the hilton with their free breakfast and pre-dinner drinks and canapes and maybe have dinner at South Bank. Dunno. We'll just play it by ear!

We went into Mackay yesterday because, and I don't want to freak anyone out, Chris needed to have a CAT scan. He's just been having headaches lately and they want to rule out everything, most likely there's nothing wrong with his brain.... It meant he got the day off though and we got to have breakfast at Coffee Club, my FAVORITE thing for breakfast, and a mug of yummy steamy frothy flat-white. You can't beat that. The most exciting thing that happened yesterday was that I finally found out, once and for all, what size I wear in Australia....drum roll pleaaase! 20!! And I'm not ashamed to say it. :):) Because I can actually walk into Jeanswest now and buy a pair of jeans. This is a first for me! I should note that this is a 20 misses and not a 20 womens (plus) which is also nice to know I can shop outside of a plus size store. Woot! Life will be a lot easier when I'm an AU 16 so that I can buy clothes most everywhere, but all things in good time. ;)

I'm getting my hair done today! We've been slowly slowly going more and more red, but it's still more of a dark auburn at the moment and I'm shooting for more of a light auburn a la Ashlee Simpson (haters keep hating, but I LOVE HER. so shutup. :P)

She's also wearing the Juicy Couture motorcycle hoodie jacket that many have copied but few have mastered. I covet it. Anyways. Ever since she went red, I've loved her color and have been working up the guts to go red too. I think I would have done it a long time ago but I have been every other color under the sun and I know, without a doubt, that I look best as a deep brown. End of story. So I tried to just be happy with brown....but I can't. I have to know what it feels like to be red. I've been just about every shade of black, brown, blonde and even platinum and I have to explore the red spectrum before I can go about my life normally again. Yes. It sounds crazy...but that's just me! Her hair is really light though, like a level 6 and I'm def a level 4 underneath even though I'm a level 5 on top so it's going to be a while before I can fully get there. I'm getting a little impatient. Where's one'n'only Colorfix when you need it??

OH! And, before I forget, we've booked the tickets and are def going to the Hillsong conference next year. I enter in with a healthy level of scepticism as there's still some things about that church that I just don't trust....but the conference should be good regardless and I'll bring a healthy grain of salt along with me just in case!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Weekend Update

I had a great weekend! I can't tell you what I did all weekend, I don't really remember....but yesterday was our ONE YEAR anniversary! Wooo! It was just a magical day, I don't know how to describe it felt a bit like Christmas when I first woke up. The house was FREEZING cold as we had a "cold snap" yesterday and it was 6 degrees Celsius when I woke up (about 43 degrees F) which is officially my coldest cold experience since I've been in Queensland. It just doesn't get very cold in Moranbah! lol But it was so nice...I think it felt like Christmas because I felt excited and the whole house smelled of coffee and bacon and we had the heater going so it was nice and was just nice! We had butter croissants stuffed with bacon for breakfast and then we listened to some music from our wedding day: Vitamin Quartet performing "I don't want to miss a thing" which was our processional, A. R. Rahman and the Pussycat Dolls performing "Jai Ho" which was our recessional and then Explosions in the Sky "Your Hand in Mine" which was our first dance song. It was pretty emotional actually, listening to the music, and we exchanged gifts then as well. Chris gave me 20 paper roses (1st anniversary gift is traditionally paper) on each of which he'd written one thing he loves about me (teary!) And then he'd also ordered a hand-made leather-bound journal from Italy that has yet to arrive (he printed a picture of it for me) on which I'm meant to catalog the next year of our life together since I love to journal. I gave Chris a 435 x 315mm rosewood photo album with 17 pages. I thought that we could have the first page be our wedding and the next 16 will be scrap-book pages summarizing our life together that year. So that's 16 years of marriage. :) I'd like to make a tradition of it. For example, this years would have a picture of our house, our kittens and our garden which catalogs what we've spent most of this year doing. Some pictures from Christmas in Texas too. :)

Just about everything in Moranbah is CLOSED Sunday evening, so we just went out for Chinese. It was yummy! We came back here and compiled a fruit and cheese platter for dessert and also cut into the top tier of our wedding cake. It was surprisingly delicious for being a year old in an ancient freezer down at the beach house! The frosting tasted a little freezer-ish but the cake itself was delicious. Yum yum yum! Chris's parent put together a gift bag full of paper gifts for us and came up with witty little sayings for each thing. For example baking paper so the bad things in life might roll off and a few scratch-off lottery tickets so we might keep dreaming. It was really sweet! Overall a really perfect day. :)

We're going down to Brisbane as our big thing to celebrate our anniversary. I'd wanted to go to the Whitsundays and chill at one of the resorts, but we decided that a more anniversary-ish thing to do would be to fly out and go into the studio to finally choose our wedding pictures so we can have our album and video put together. Finally. lol Should be nice! And I always love an excuse to stay at the Hilton besides. hehehe

On a completely different note, I lost 6 lbs last week. Woo! Probably just water weight for the most part, but I'm back in the 230's now so I'll take that. ;)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moving Forward

I am in So. Much. Pain.


Why do I do this to myself? It's only been 2 months since my last workout and I'm officially back to sqaure one. I did Slim in 6 Tuesday morning and then a Tae Bo class that evening and now every part of my body aches! Tae Bo was like, an HOUR long and turned out to be a lot of identical moves to Slim in 6 so it really kicked my butt. I haven't been back to the gym yet, but I'm going to try to work out some of the pain with some cardio later. Maybe Chris and I can just go for a walk or something.... anyways. I'm dying. Nuff said.


I'm tackling the kitchen today. It's fairly disgusting. I don't know how Bean manages to coat EVERYTHING in hair because he is a short haired cat! But it's stuck to the cabinet doors, it floating in corners, it miraculously lands in my curry sauce. I'm done! First I'm going to shave off all of Bean's fur and then I'm wiping, vacuuming, and mopping every crevice of that kitchen until it shines. Okay, so maybe not the shaving part, but the rest is on my To Do for the day. I want to start perfecting the art of cooking good tofu and I can't do it in that kitchen the way it is right now!


I've been catching up with friends and it's been fun! No more restlessness. I still haven't met Karen's new baby, Isla, yet though so hopefully I'll see her soon. It's been so good to get out of the house every day and see smiling faces, old and new friends, and start to re-embrace Moranbah life.
It's always hard coming back into Moranbah after visiting my family in Texas. I'd come so far in accepting this town and it seems that every time I visit DFW I regress a bit, fully convincing myself that I hate and despise everything about rural Queensland. But, you know, that's not really true at all. I think the only thing I truly hate is how separated I am from friends in Mackay and, of course, family back in Texas. But I've also grown to love some things about Moranbah that you just can't duplicate anywhere else, so I will list them here in case I ever try to convince myself otherwise:

Horses near Moranbah by mcmahong.

- I love the peace here. Every day is full of constant bird songs and it's always quiet enough to hear it. There's no distant roar of traffic, trains blowing their horns, ambulance or police's just peaceful. The noisest noise I ever have to manage is children playing and, you know, I think I can get used to that too. This pic was taken off the highway on the way out of moranbah. It's not mine, but I think it captured the essence of this area beautifully. :)

- I love how so many women are stay-at-home moms. When I visted DFW I was taken aback for a moment when I realized that everyone would be working throughout every day and realized how spoiled I am that most of my friends here are available to go out for a coffee at 10am or to do lunch any given day, leaving the evenings for us to spend with our families. As much as I'd love a 9-5 job, I'd also miss being a part of that world where we can all just have morning tea on any given Tuesday, no worries.

- I love how you can go alone to the pub on a Friday night and know you'll run into at least a handful of people you know to have a drink or two with. No phone calls, no plans, and there's something so liberating about that. I know you might be able to duplicate that in the city if you frequent a certain bar often, but I don't think it's quite the same. People make fun of it so often, but I love the Moranbah Black Nugget in all it's understated overpriced glory. It's not a cocktail lounge by any means, but it's unapologetic simplicity is what I like about it. :) I also like that no one can smoke inside which is one of my pet peeves of bars in Fort Worth: you always leave with your freshly done hair and new shirt/dress/purse/jacket REEKING of smoke. I'll never be a fan of City pubs, (although The Flying Saucer in FW is digging a special place in my heart!)

- I love that there is NEVER traffic. I'd be willing to wager that I spent at least a cumulative 15-20 hours of my visit to DFW sitting in traffic. It reminded me how I was able to learn all the words to so many albums in the past and struggle to even know all the tracks on some of my favorites today, but I will NEVER miss wasting that much of my life sitting in a car. The Moranbah definition of "traffic" is having to wait more than 30 seconds to turn right onto Mills Ave. We don't have any traffic lights, and I think I've seen maybe 3 stop signs. Maybe. I love this. :)

- I love how approachable the people are. It seems like just about everyone is ready for a chat at any given time, whether you know them or not and that's a breath of fresh air. In DFW it seems that everyone is always in a hurry to get someplace or do something and no one in Moranbah has ever made me feel that way, friend or acquaintance or perfect stranger. That's nice!


SO in case any of you have ever had an earful of all the things I hate about Moranbah, please know that, in spite of my City-Mouse-in-the-country venting, there are some things I truly love here, even more things I like and a lot of things that are starting to grow on me. It's an adjustment, yes, but I think it's becoming Home too. :)