Friday, September 16, 2011

Looking back over 2011

So - it's nearly the end of 2011. Good Grief. That means in January, I'll have been in the States for 4 years. Yikes!
Looking back, its been a crazy, scary and fascinating time. Dean and I have celebrated seven years of marriage, been made redundant (or laid off as they say here), started a new business, weathered the shite economy (only just!), sold our home in Wellington, and added a new addition to our family this year (just a puppy, people - don't get too excited - her name is Reese, she's a Manchester Terrier x with Chihuahua and she's 2yrs old.)

Sit, Stay, Reese!
I've met some lovely new friends (That's you, Megan, Marguerite, Lori and Mickey!) and have discovered the joys of a drinking spiced rum on the dock of our local pirate bar.
Rum on the dock of the Pirate Bar

We've hosted friends and family: Mum and Dad, My sister, Paula, Steve and Thomas from Orangebox, Aaron and Malcolm on their way to shoot stuff in Alabama, and Emerson Lyon.  I also managed to catch up with Hong Kong based Sue Doris in LA where we stayed with EJ.
I have learnt more than I care to about US politics, corruption and Teabaggers, and I admit it -  I have a crush on political commentators Bill Maher and Anderson Cooper.
Splinter Studios on set

I've been lucky enough to have visited Dallas, TX and New York City on the back of jobs we've had in for Splinter Studios.

Dean and I have also been to Jamaica a few times for the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, where I've worked as a travel coordinator and sponsorship sales manager.

Kauai, Hawaii
Where else are we wanting to go to in the near future? To visit our friends in Kauai, Hawaii - looks a lot like home, and I miss those mountains!

I still think New Zealand is the most gorgeous place on the planet - biased opinion I know. Kiwi's really don't know how good they have it, and whilst I'm enjoying this grand adventure,  I'm looking forward to settling down in my little piece of NZ paradise sometime soon (no plans yet, but working on it!)

2011 has been a crazy ride, and one I'm ready to get off. I'm looking forward with anticipation to 2012 and wonder what new people, opportunities and adventures the new year will bring to us all.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Well - it's been over a year since I last posted in this blog - how very slack of me!
I guess we've been busy building our lives here in Ft Laudy, and writing about everyday life gets a little dull. So - here's a quick re-cap on the year that was:

Lots of Visitors!

Luckily we had a two bedroom condo and an airbed so we were able to host our lovely guests:
Steve and Thomas from Wellie
Paula from London
Mum and Dad from Akld
Ej from LA
Colin from Wellie

New Condo
Florida is one of the worst-hit states in the housing market bust and subsequent recession. Unfortunately our landlord was a victim to the sub prime loans and lost the apartment to the bank. We didn't have far to move - just right across the river in fact! Our new apartment has great water views and is larger than our last one - and we have a spare room for all those visitors... (check out the view from our balcony - our old apartment building!)

A New Direction

After a couple of years at Da Vinci, Dean decided to part ways and start up his own company - 'Splinter Studios' Focusing on Education, Content, Technology and Services, Splinter Studios will be based out of 'G-Star School of the Arts for Motion Pictures and Broadcasting' in West Palm Beach. We're currently in funding rounds so watch this space for updates! The job market is still very depressed here so I'm spending a lot of time helping Dean with the marketing and sales aspect of Splinter Studios. I'm also involved in some contracting work for small businesses which helps get some $'s in the door.

Sight-seeing in Florida
This year we stayed closer to home and had a 'staycation' as they call it here. We went up north to Sarasota for our 5th Wedding Anniversary, visited St Augustine, Tampa, Mt Dora (note: there is no 'mountain!) and oh yeah, I went to the Bahamas with Paula for a couple of nites.

Things coming up that we're looking forward to:
The Winterfest Boat Parade 12th Dec,
Visitors in Dec: EJ, Sue Doris, Colin, Emerson (hopefully!)

Well - that's pretty much the year summed up!
Hope my lovely readers are all keeping well and continuing to smile. Miss you all and hope that we'll see more of you in 2010. (The only fee to stay is a jar of vegemite and a packet of gingernuts!)


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ole Blighty - Trip to London Town

One of the good things about not working is that I get to travel with Dean. So - when he asked me if I wanted to go to London with him for a week, of course I said YES! I'm not going to pass up the chance to see my sister, Paula. (she's been living there for 8 years now)
Beside the fact that I'm understood over there, I discovered that they now have my favourite bread - VOGELS (so much better than the sweet bread in the States) I managed to sneak two loaves back with me...

Dean and Paula were working during the day, so I took myself off to a couple of museums for a few hours - something I never really got around to doing whilst on my OE - 20 years ago (ouch!)

The British Museum was fantastic - complete with the Elgin Marble series - stolen bits from the Parthenon and other greek ruins which are now under dispute about who owns them.

I also visited the Victoria and Albert museum which had the best museum shop ever! One of the most intriguing displays was the plaster/wax casts taken of ancient buildings and monuments. Bizzare. They also had a Chihuly glass sculpture and the most breath-taking exhibit of jewellery throughout the ages...mmmmm...bling....

Dean and I visited the Imperial War Museum and saw a great exhibit about Ian Fleming - the author of the James Bond series. Learnt alot about him and his life and how it influenced his work. Also visited the very harrowing Holocaust display.
After all that war and grimness, it was only right that we celebrated life by downing a cider or two in the glorious english sunshine - ah..that's what I remembered about living in London - A pint and a plate of chips. Cheers!

I also managed to catch up with my lovely friends, The Joyces. Simone, Andy and their wee family are visiting from NZ and were en route to Spain with Andy's family to celebrate his big 4-0. I spent the day with them touring London on a double-decker bus and we also visited the Tower of London.
We were lucky enough to be at Buckingham Palace at the right time to see the Changing of the Guard. Loved all that gorgeous English pagentry and tradition.
London is only 8hrs away so I'm hoping to get back there more often and spend time with my sister! (That is if I don't get a job anytime soon!!)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Moving in May

May has been a busy month for us - hence the lack of posts. We've finally found an apartment in Fort Lauderdale and have now moved in. Yay! - Our very own place!

We're in a very swanky apartment building called the 'Symphony'. Comes complete with valet parking (for visitors), pool, spa, movie theatre, shop, business centre and day spa!

We have fantastic views of the river, it's boat traffice and we're very close to Las Olas Blvd and the Riverfront.

Dean and I spent last weekend shopping for the basics - a bed and a sofa. So nice to be able to have new furniture. I'm also happy to announce I'm no longer an Ikea virgin! We spent a few hours in their huge warehouse store buying a coffee table and TV console, we then spent a further 2 hours putting the damn things together! (I missed my electric scewdriver

Dean's commute is about an hour (return) which isn't too bad. However as we're a one car family it means that I have to use public transport or feet to get around town. I've discovered there's a water taxi service so I'm looking forward to checking that out.

Because we're closer to Miami we're able to get to more concerts and acts - we're off to see Eddie Izzard next week (one of my all time fave comedians - and I'm hoping to get to Madonna's 'Sticky and Sweet' concert in November.....

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Vegas Baby

Yep - they even have one of these over here! And a l'arc de triomphe....just so wrong, yet it seems to work......
Vegas is a weird town. We drove from LA to Vegas across the flat moonscape desert dotted with Joshua trees, and then, out of the middle of no-where, BAM! You're in Vegas, Baby! She looks haggard and well worn in the harsh light of day. Even the people look dumpy and depressed. But, when the lights come on, Vegas turns out in all her glory ('Cept the people still look dumpy and depressed)
I played 'Corporate Wives' with some of the other women whose men who were attending NAB - the big exhibition/conference that Dean was attending. We had a blast lunching in grand hotels, drinking mojitos & shopping -the outlet malls in Vegas are fab!

Dean and I caught David Spade's show at the MGM Grand - he was good but not great - I still prefer the English comedians to the Americans. Danny Bhoy is my fave of all times and Yeah, I know he's not English he's Scottish!

Three days in this adult disneyland are enough for me - specially as I don't like to gamble. My luck is non-existant and I can't even win at the slots. Probably just as well as I'm not earning any money yet!

Pictured - My friend, the Lovely and Charming Alexis in the Conservatory of the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Movies I have seen so far....

As my days are free from work at the moment, I'm enjoying taking myself off to the movies for a couple of hours.
I'll keep updating this posting with my comments - Feel free to add yours! Here's a run-down of the movies I've seen to date :


* 21 - Based on a true story of MIT students ripping off Vegas casino's. Kevin Spacey never fails to turn out a great performance. Very watchable.

* Enchanted - Ok, so this was on the plane on the way to LA, but it did star McDreamy so what's a girl to do but watch it! Cute Disney-esque, sugar coated lght entertainment. Cute!

* Jumper - future 'suspense/thriller'. OK - got a bit motion sick watching this one - will be interesting to see the sequel...If I can be bothered

* Semi-Pro - another non-funny Will Ferrell 'comedy'. Woody Harrelson was the only saving grace for this sorry excuse for a movie

*Smart People - Featuring SJP (Sarah Jessica Parker - the working girl's goddess), Ellen Page (The chick out of Juno) and Denis Quaid (ex hunk). Witty, caustic dialogue an interesting film that kept my attention.

* The Other Boleyn Girl - A good take on the book by Philippa Gregory if you can get past Scarlett J's impossibly huge lips. Annoying film direction in some parts though & shot very dark.

* Vantage Point - A very annoyingly-shot movie. After seeing the same scene 5 times I kinda gave up trying to follow the story! Featured 'Jack' from Lost (one of my fave TV shows) as one of the 'bad guys'. Hmmm.....

* Baby Mamma - Great comedy from Tina Fey and Amy Pohlen (they're famous comedians from Saturday Night Live) I recommend this as a great chick flick!

*Harold and Kumar - Escape from Guantanamo Bay - Dean and I went to see this on a Saturday afternoon...after a few beers and margueritas. Suggest you do the same before you watch it!

*Indianna Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Predictable, poor effects and way too long. Ok, so Harrison does a good job of being the elder, but the new kid (Shayla laBouef) is just not up to par.

*Ironman- Robert Downey Jnr totally kicks ass in this movie as the (cute!!) reluctant hero. Special effects are believable (even Dean was impressed!!) and the storyline is real and gripping. A must-see movie!!

* Juno - TOTALLY deserving of the Oscar award this year! Great story and performances. Get to see it if you havent already

*Made of Honour - I'm not a big 'Mcdreamy' fan and this movie reminded me why. A total chick flick and great for a rainy day.

* No Country for Old Men - TOTALLY deserving the Academy Award!! Fantastic story - violent, surprising and extremely well acted. Leaves you wanting more!

*SEX and the City - What can I say?? THE Most perfect chick flick of all time - and an R rated one at that! Met and exceeded all expectations - I want more!!

*What Happens in Vegas - Cameron D and Ashton Kutcher - why wouldn't this movie be fab? Something for me to watch, and something for Dean to watch... A fun, honest and appealing comedy with more than its share of 'oh no he didn't!' moments!

*Bucket List - Nicholson and Freeman join forces to deliver an emotional and yet entertaining story about two old buggers who face death together. Bring a tissue.
*Cloverfield - A classic si-fi horror flick that holds your attention even if it is filmed on a very tight budget. I jumped a few times and thought the effects were, well...effective!
* Get Smart - Having been brought up watching this with the rest of the family, I was pleasantly surprised to see the new version stayed true to the original. Agent 99 was smoking hot and Maxwell was appropriately bumbling and endearing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Easter in the States

Easter here is celebrated with egg wreaths on the doors, plastic inflatibile bunnies in gardens, easter baskets, egg hunts and of course, chocolate. HOWEVER, the States don't have Good Friday or Easter Monday as holidays - how mean is that?!
(It also happens to be Spring Break which means drunk babes on the beach in string bikinis -too bad the weather has been crap all week!)

I decided to celebrate Easter in LA with my lovely friends Michelle (from Napier) and Sue Doris (now living in Honkers).
We all stayed with EJ (Hottie and former flatmate) in his gorgeous home in Laguna. A total riot and loads of fun. Michelle was on a mission as the shopping here is soooo much better than NZ for variety and prices. I never thought I'd say this, but if I never see another shopping mall it will be too soon (God - I think the heat is getting to me!)
EJ and Morris da Dawg! We all celebrated Sue Doris's birthday by taking a trip to Santa Barbara for the weekend. Gorgeous wee town with lots of Californian style bungalows, great beaches, bars, restaurants and wineries - my favorite kind of place.
Highlight of the trip was all 4 of us cramming into a bicycle rickshaw and going up State Street in search of a good bar that wasn't packed out with students. The Blue Agave tequila bar was just the spot!
Great friends, great times - this is what life is all about!