January 30, 2013

T-minus 15 days... 'til Valentines Day.

on a wonderful day.

January 28, 2013

On a wonderful day like today,
I defy any cloud to appear in the sky,
Dare any raindrop to plop in my eye
On a wonderful day like today.

On a wonderful morning like this
When the sun is as big as a yellow balloon;
Even the sparrows are singing in tune
On a wonderful morning like this.

May I take this occasion to say
That the whole human race should go down on its knees,
Show that we're grateful for mornings like these
For the world's in a wonderful way
On a wonderful day like today.

-- Anthony Newley - 1965

I am posting this at exactly 12:01 AM because as of one minute ago, Monday officially began. If you were to ask me about the last seven days, I'd probably say I'd rather not talk about it. My lip wax last Tuesday? Rather not talk about that either. And whether any of my major/minor end-of-January-crises are warranted or not, I'll take defying raindrops (or snowdrops) and 12:01 AM. 

you know?

January 17, 2013

1. Les Miserables. I have nothing new to say on the subject, so I'll say it in three words: I loved it.* I read the novel when I was 19 and it immediately became one of my favorite books, so combining the story line with the music was unbelievable. (I still have yet to see the play!) Needless to say, Meet Joe Black is no longer the reigning, remaining favorite movie of mine.

2. Is it just me, or is Winter probably the best of Vivaldi's Four Seasons?

(2 1/2. I have two rules which Max refuses to understand: listening to classical music if I'm making dinner, and listening to golden oldies when I'm cleaning.)

3. My current online activity includes checking for job opportunities at the Ellen Degeneres show...?

4. I am convinced that I was born genetically prone to liking boy-bands. Don't judge, One Direction makes you happy too. Admit it.

5. Is anyone else confused on who this guy named Te'o is, who his girlfriend was, and what the hoax is all about? I've read seven articles today (seven!) and I still have no idea what is going on.

6. Helen Keller is the best Apples to Apples card you can have.

7. "I'll wear your granddad's clothes, I look incredible." You've probably heard it, too. I like it.

8. I spent an hour (or two) in bed this morning watching "Learn How to Speak French" videos on Youtube. It's still not coming.

9. If you were born in the late 80's and are female, you most likely saw at least one of the Mary Kate & Ashley movies growing up. The movies that somehow always left me questioning why their parents never interfered with their pre-teen love lives? Anyway, I should mention that somehow (I really don't even know how this happened) I started watching part 3 of Our Lips Are Sealed and I was so embarrassed for them that I covered my eyes. I literally covered my eyes while watching it. I was dying. I still am.

10. Max doesn't get home from class until late on Thursday nights, so going 14 hours without seeing him feels like 14 days. Because of this, Thursday nights often turns into our late night/make-up-for-lost-times date night and we've already talked about it: but seriously? Buy one Big Mac, get one for 1¢? You'll know where to find us at midnight.

no words necessary.

January 11, 2013

And last but not least, my personal favorite part of our New Zealand adventures

The Green Dragon Inn.

January 10, 2013

So for our last and final trip, we ventured back to Hobbiton. I've already shared pictures of what our experience looked like from the last time we visited, but this year was a real treat solely because of:
1. Our cute little old tour guide, and
2. The Green Dragon Inn.

 (Samwise Gamgee's cute little hobbit house!)

The Green Dragon Inn 

The Green Dragon Inn was just finished in December 2012, so if anyone is planning on a trip to the Shire any time soon... You're in for a real treat. After the tour, you actually get to go have drinks (on the house!) at the Green Dragon Inn for some real honest-to-goodness (nonalcoholic :) ginger beer. I honestly felt like I was in a LOTR movie, as we sat around the table as our tour guide told us stories of Middle-earth. It was never on my bucket list before visiting, but it definitely felt like a once in a lifetime sort-of experience. (And truth be told, the pictures hardly do it justice)

Cathedral Cove, Coromandel

January 9, 2013

 (photo quality courtesy of my father)

Cathedral Cove: blue skies, blue sea, and the magnificent archway that everyone should see (or have their significant other carry them through) at least once in their lifetime. This is where The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe movie was filmed, (ps. I couldn't remember it either) And yes, for those of you wondering, to get here requires a hike through the mountains that my mom claims will kill an old soul (we deserve a medal. where is our medal?)

It's beautiful.

Auckland, West Coast, Hamilton etc.

January 8, 2013

Downtown Auckland is one of my favorite places to go when I visit my parents, Queens Street especially. With Japanese restaurants literally lining every street corner, Max thought he had died and gone to heaven. Although a lot of the restaurants serve fish galore, my favorite place to get lunch is Elliot Stables, where I promise you can find the best margherita pizza in all the world (plus it has the best street view of the Sky Tower).

West Coast beaches/Northland

The Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), two thousand years old. 
You can't tell from the picture, but it's 42ft around the base of this tree!

Walking along the beach at night, seeing dim lights from sailboats dotting the water, and the moon reflecting off the ocean, I'm certain, is one of the best things in life. I'm too afraid to go swimming after dark, but just looking at it was so pretty.

Hamilton, New Zealand

It felt so funny the first couple of years celebrating the holidays in sunny, 80 degree weather. But twinkle lights in palm trees, a trip to the temple, and having the entire family together (first time since our wedding!) entirely made up the difference. Spending Christmas on an island? Worth it.

Russell, Bay of Islands

January 6, 2013

I have a million things to say about our trip to New Zealand, but I have to start with my favorite: Russell.

Russell is a small town situated in the Bay of Islands, far north on the north island of New Zealand. Surrounded by miles of ocean, sail boats, and the most beautiful holiday homes I've ever seen, it's quaint and charming and perfect. Although most of the homes on the island cost millions of dollars, (one of the resorts can even cost upwards of $25,000 dollars a night (!!!)) I'm absolutely convinced that if I were to ever strike it rich, my first purchase would be here.

We usually spend an afternoon in Russell when we're visiting, always grabbing a bite for lunch at Sally's (the pasta is molto bene!) But I imagine if I were to ever live here, I'd spend my days eating Tim Tams from the bakery, and my evenings watching outdoor movies at one of the local hotels (this really happens!) or by taking long walks on the beach at night :) Yes, this has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.

new years.

January 4, 2013

Instead of posting a list of personal resolutions, I thought I'd post instead the one excerpt from the one talk that I read and read, over and over, so often that I nearly have it memorized. It fits just about any time of year, circumstance, or occasion - new years, too.

If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted it and lived for it, it is right now. Don't give up when the pressure mounts. You can find an apartment. You can win over your mother-in-law. You can sell your harmonica and therein fund one more meal. It's been done before. Don't give in. Certainly don't give in to that being who is bent on the destruction of your happiness. He wants everyone to be miserable like unto himself. Face your doubts. Master your fears. "Cast not away therefore your confidence." 
Stay the course and see the beauty of life unfold for you.
-Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence"

the best of times.

January 3, 2013

New Zealand has been a home away from home in so many ways since 2009. The last four years seem to have gone by in the blink of an eye, but when I think of all that's happened, all that's changed since then, 2009 seems like a lifetime ago.

I have found that the older I get, the more nostalgic I become... about nearly everything. My eyes sting with tears hiding behind them whenever I am faced with change, happy memories, or ... lets just be honest: anything really. Season finales, airport goodbyes, Auld Lang Syne... I've just learned not to think about it until it's already over and done with, I'd rather spare myself the tears. So as we packed our bags and drove out of Auckland for the very last time, I kept my mind on everything but the fact that it might be the last time I will see that skyline for a very, very long time.
(i made max pinky promise twice we'll go back)

The end of this year felt like two goodbyes in one. I say I will miss 2012, and how I will miss New Zealand, but really, it means I will miss all that came with both of those things. So many things. Yet had I not closed the chapters that came before then, I never could have had experienced all that I am grateful for now... so here's to another new beginning.

They say the future is as bright as your faith, right? So helllllo 2013! New year, new jobs, new home... Salt Lake City, here we come!

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