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Red Door

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A couple of things have happened since my last post, the biggest being that we have moved again.

That’s four homes in less than four years. Exhausting? You betcha. However, always necessary. The first two places we had (amazing) room-mates. And our last place was the size of a small cupboard. Our new place…how to accurately describe it?

IT’S AWESOME.

I don’t see us moving anytime soon, let’s just put it that way. It’s a size in which we can grow. And, as we surveyed it during the open house, there is room for a Baby French. Eep!

One of the things Simon and I have always wanted is a red front door – or burnt orange. You get the idea.

I came home today to this…

Red Door

Ruby slipper red. There is no place like home.

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Don’t forget the Animals

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Don't forget the Animals

Growing up in Australia, bush fires are as unfortunately common to the summer season as sunscreen and water hoses.

As a matter of fact, my grandmother just sent me a hand written letter where she told me about a time growing up when her family almost lost their home during bush fires. They did lose something like 40+ chickens and several little buildings.

Here is a photo of poor little Charlie, whom endured burns to over 50 percent of his little pug body from the current Dunalley bush fires.

Veterinary Surgeon Gareth Stephensen from the Tasmanian Animal Hospital in Hobart is seen here caring for him. A hero, in my book.

Praying for all those affected by fires in my home land.

Picture: Richard Jupe/Newspix / Rex Features

A resolution? Week One – Mützen.

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When I was sixteen, I won a German exchange student scholarship which saw me travel to, attend school and enjoy life as an honorary German citizen for about three months.

I went at Christmas time to the beautiful northern city of Lübeck. It was the first time I ever saw snow. It was the first time I experienced the sun setting at 3pm, plunging us into darkness and throwing my circadian rhythm spectacularly off. It was the first time I drank too much. It was the first time I was away from home completely alone. It was a lot of firsts. And definitely a life changing experience. I learnt another language and that the world was truly a very large and wondrous creation.

The night before my first day at high school, my German “parents” asked me if I knew how to ride a bike. Well, yes of course I do! Duh. Was probably my reply.

First mistake. I struggled the entire way on that bloody bike. Who knew real cyclists can’t touch the ground with their feet, at all! (It made stopping at cross walks comical and also completely dangerous.)

I wanted to look perfectly angelic on my first day. So I got up extra early to wash my hair. This was when I was still wearing it au natural (curly). I had a system whereby I had to dry it with a towel a certain way, apply a specific frizz conditioner using a particular method and then…. let it air dry. Maybe, then maybe, it would dry looking like perfect mermaid hair. Maybe. More often, not.

Second mistake. Walking out the front door at 7am, being hit by the utter chill of a European winter, struggling and failing at riding a bike, all the while catching bronchitis (which remained with me my entire three months in Europe) because over the course of my leisurely bicycle ride my WET HAIR TURNED INTO ICICLES. Legit. My hair was frozen by the time I got to school.

Oh I certainly learnt a lot of things NOT to do in good old Deutschland.

Anyway, what I really wanted to share is my new years ‘resolution.’ I’ve decided to try out a new recipe every single week. I see this as an opportunity to a) learn how to cook b) build up a repertoire of recipes from which I can easily execute time and time again, other than pasta c) learn how to cook.

Christmastime in Germany was magical. Truly magical. One of my favorite memories was attending a Christmas Market and indulging in Mützen. They came out hot and steaming in paper cones, sprinkled generously with powdered sugar, and tasted like edible clouds from heaven above. Seriously. They are like deliciously light donut holes… for lack of a better description.

So despite the fact that yes, technically Mützen is a desert, I did it. I learnt a new recipe. And…they tasted good. Perhaps not as fluffy as a true Deutsch recipe but I hope to perfect my version over time.

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N.B. Definitely not my Mützen, way too perfect. But this is how they should look. Not like messy blobs of cooked dough (that still tasted delicious, may I add).

I found the recipe here.

So, here’s to keeping resolutions.

….And learning how to ride a proper bicycle.

Take that!

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Oh yeah! Just finished my article on Natalie Nichole of L.A’s Nail Swag. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finishing a master piece of an article. Ha! Did you catch my sarcasm there?

I thought the Sex And The City marathon would distract me from getting down to business. And admittedly it did for one and half episodes. But bless Carrie Bradshaw for inspiring me to turn the T.V. off and get writing! (Nothing is more motivating than her NYC-fashion-sex-freelance-writer-constant-brunch-lifestyle).

In other news, Harvey Magazine has commissioned L.A based freelance writer, photographer and stylist, Ashley Tibbits (see her fabulous blog here) to begin work on Harvey’s equivalent of the Never Ending Story. The concept is quite interesting. Each issue will see different writers conjuring up a fictitious tale based on the theme of the issue, allowing an open-ended ending for which the next writer can pick up the story and carry on. I’m very excited to see what her marvelous brain thinks up.

Next Sunday I’m heading down to San Diego with Simon, writer Jillean Tucker and our friend Jack. We’ll be taste testing Ol’ Boy Brewing Company’s custom Harvey beer and Jillean will be profiling Justin Knight (founder and brewing master) which will feature in Harvey’s launch issue.

Countdown is on.

Fall and Fireplaces

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I won’t even acknowledge the amount of time that has lapsed since my last post.

Oops, I just did.

Anyway, fall is here. IT IS HERE. No more sweating it out in hades our apartment. It is time to welcome the sweet gas smelling thermostat, chunky knitwear, UGG boots (yes, I own a pair) and hot, steaming beverages.

The holidays are approaching! Last night I put the wreath on our front door and we’ve made grand plans to escape to our own Christmas Chateau in Lake Arrowhead with our nearest and dearest from Sydney and L.A. alike.

In the meantime, Harvey is launching in mere months (!!) so I’m busy ignoring my procrastinating self and getting-to-it! Writing articles, taking photos, beer tasting (I swear it is for research purposes). It’s all happening and I’m loving it!

Hope you’re all enjoying the welcomed cold weather too!

Pay no attention to our evil twins

N.B. Sorry, looks like I never did get around to chronicling The Great Griswold Adventure. I suppose those memories will have to live indelibly in my mind. Apologies to the rest of you.

New Winter Coat?

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Not that I really require a legitimately warm coat for an L.A. Winter (and perhaps I am mad for even thinking about such things when we are still enduring a very stubborn heat wave) but I have found myself trawling online websites and thrift stores for a new coat of my own.

How crazy amazing are these ones by London label Meadham Kirchhoff? Now just to find myself a spare $7,000.

Why hello 2am, it’s been a while!

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And hey, wow, you brought along your good friend Insomnia, right? How have you been? I thought it’d be a good while yet before you came back into town. I guess I was so exhausted from family adventures to have noticed you travelling back here, huh? I wish I could say that you’ve looked better. But all those late nights have caught up with you darling, haven’t they?

Oh you’re in a relationship now, really? What’s their name? Anxiety, huh? Interesting. I thought you and Excitement were a much better couple. I guess that’s none of my business, is it? Right.

So how long will you and Anxiety be staying with us? An indefinite amount of time, I see. Well, I don’t know if that really works for me. You see, I’m kind of busy, well, really busy actually. I have Uni, plus Harvey Mag, an upcoming church plant, a blog, a marriage and a Puggle that really requires a lot of attention.

So I just don’t think I can accommodate you AND Anxiety at all right now. I really need my sleep and besides, there’s no room in my Queen size bed.

Nope, sorry. No room.

I said, NO ROOM.

Insomnia, please. Don’t embarrass yourself, just leave will you?!

There’s the door now, thank you. Yes, I’ll consider a visit when I have babies and tighter deadlines.

Oops, don’t forget your dog, Doubt.

My Island Home

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Mum and Dad left this morning.

For the past few days I have really tried not to think about their impending departure but found myself silently shedding tears anyway. Mainly late at night when everyone was in bed.

The shuttle was late, and we all paced around inside and outside the house, waiting. Trying not to think about the fact that it will be months and months until we see each other again, the date not yet determined. Trying to hang onto the last remaining moments we had together.

Trying not to cry.

When the shuttle finally arrived, the heaviness I felt – knowing that they were actually leaving now – almost crushed me.

“No tears ok.” Mum said, solemnly. I nodded. She kissed me and we hugged for a long time.

Dad hugged me and gave me several pats on the back. His sunglasses hiding his eyes.

“See you next week!” I called after them as they boarded the shuttle.

“Next week?”

“Let’s pretend?” I’m so grateful they didn’t hear my voice wobbling.

They climbed inside and took their seats. Lots of kisses were blown and received. The doors closed, and I couldn’t see them through the tinted glass. I couldn’t see them anymore. I still stood there, waving, smiling and blowing kisses. I stood there until the shuttle disappeared around the corner.

The house feels empty. It’s such a classic statement, but it is wholeheartedly true. For three weeks we’ve had family staying with us. In our small, cramped and hot little home. There were definitely days where I wanted my house back, sick of sharing the little double sofa bed in the office with Simon. Our bodies so long and too big for the tiny space.

I would now happily sleep on that sofa bed a hundred more times if it meant they could stay with me for even one more night.

Simon once asked me, a year ago perhaps, if there would ever be a day when I wouldn’t cry my eyes out when family left/we left family. I think I replied with “When I can afford to just jump on a plane and go and see them whenever I want.” And I guess that still rings true. But I think I know, deep down inside, that living in a different country without my family will always render me inherently sad.

Growing up, I never thought I could be away from Australia for more than 3 months. I get so homesick for my country, for its beauty, for its people. It will always be my home. Somehow, life and God has led me to a life in America and if it weren’t for the amazing people He has placed around me, then I’m sure I wouldn’t have survived. America is a wonderful country and I love the opportunity it has provided Simon and I. I just wish so bad that Australia would have been able to provide the same wonderful oportunites.

This week Simon and I sign the papers to extend our Visas another three years, and we also start the Green Card process next year.

Without a doubt there are still many more tears to come.

N.B. I start Uni today, officially. I do not intend to neglect this blog and in good time I will recount the amazing Griswold adventure that was just had!