Friday Favorites: School Holiday Edition

First of all I want to thank everyone for their kind words, comments etc. on my post over what I have learned this past year. Self-reflection is always a little awkward (at least for me) and so it was nice to see so many people felt the same way and enjoyed reading it. You guys are the best! Alright enough mushy stuff and on to the post…

While everyone in America is enjoying their summer holiday (or at least teachers and kids) it’s currently the tail end of our end of term break. Since summer and Christmas fall at the same time here, they have a quite a few weeks off at the end of the school year, which runs January-December. Then after each ten week term they have two weeks off.

I am not going to lie I feel a little guilty being on a break when I spent several weeks of the past term playing tour guide and traveling, but what can you do?

It’s been a couple weeks since my last Friday Favorites, so this one is covering my favorites from the past two weeks of my little school holiday.

Girls Trip to the Granite Belt

I will definitely be posting more about our trip once I get around to sorting through all the pictures we took. Two of my fellow school teacher/American friends and I headed into the country for a lovely couple days of wine tasting, antique browsing and other activities.

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It was so fun to get out of town and see a different part of our great state of Queensland. Everyone in the small towns we went to were so sweet and it felt like southern hospitality all over again which was great for three girls from three southern states.

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Plus I got to see my first of Australia’s giant things, if you check out that wikipedia page you will see I still have a long way to go.

Coffee (and Dessert) Dates

Between hosting visitors, playing tour guide and working it had been a while since I had spent some time with my girl friends. These past two weeks I was able to have multiple coffee dates that lasted for hours (my favorite) and reconnect with my friends. I feel like I have said it a million times, but I have been so lucky to make such great girl friends since we have been here.

Also, if you are in Brisbane you need to stop what you’re doing and go to Chester Street Bakery. Good coffee, delicious treats and please just look at this Nutella Hot Chocolate…

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Teneriffe Festival

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Last Saturday was our neighborhood‘s festival and it took place directly in front and behind our apartment.

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For the entire day they had the street shut down and food stalls, artists, boutiques and much, much more were set up. There were stages set up all over with singers/DJs etc, pop-up bars and even a cheese market. My personal favorite was the piglet races. We had sooo much fun and it just reinforced how much I love where we live.
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It was the 4th of July and they actually had some old US military jeeps on display, so of course we had to get a photo with the American flag.

Glasshouse Mountains

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The “winter” weather here has been pretty phenomenal lately so my friend, Jillian, and I hiked one of my favorite mountains on Wednesday. I have talked about Mount Ngungun here and here so I won’t bore you with the details now. This time we picked up some cheese and crackers and fruit for a little picnic at the top but we weren’t hungry by the time we got up there (a bakery pit stop is to blame) so we ended up enjoying them from the comfort of my couch afterwards.

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I can count on one hand how many hikes I had been on before we moved here, now they are one of my favorite past times.

Travel Suggestions

We got our visas for Vietnam this week, woohoo!! Now we just need to figure out what we are going to do there. We will be in Hanoi (but spending most of the time on the Halong Bay Junk Boat) then Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh/Saigon. I also am taking suggestions for Thailand, we’re doing Bangkok-Phuket-Ko Samui (3 days each).

Help! We have all of our hotels and flights booked but only the Halong Bay tour planned, I want to get some sort of itinerary set in the next few weeks. I can not believe we leave in less than 6 weeks!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Over at our house we are challenging ourselves to spend $50 or less all weekend. We will see how it goes…

Linking up with Andrea and Heather as usual!

Friday Favorites: Live from Cairns

Hi friends, today I am reporting to you live from Cairns, home of the Great Barrier Reef. We are here for a few days with our family to see some fishies and soak up some UV rays.

Now let’s backtrack a little to the beginning of the week to review the favorites…

1. Pitch Perfect 2

Tuesday night I took our visitors to the number 1 Brisbane tourist destination- the movie theater! I just couldn’t wait much longer to see Pitch Perfect 2 and luckily my sister-in-law, Morgan, felt the same. We watched the original the night before in order to catch up my mother in law and to annoy Travis, so we were more than ready Tuesday night. And the verdict… SO good. I thought it was a lot funnier than the first one and I loved the music choices.

2. Throwing Shrimp on the Barbie

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Just a little clarification on this common “Australian” phrase- they don’t call it shrimp, it’s prawns. Sunday afternoon after church (another tourist hotspot) we headed down by the river to have a true Australian BBQ. Travis made sure we didn’t starve by providing us with lamb, kangaroo steaks, shrimp, brussels sprouts, potatoes and a cheese plate.

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It was all so delicious and we even had a little party crasher- a brush turkey.

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We topped off the meal with a glass of Prosecco that Travis and I had bought in the McLaren Vale. Perfect Sunday afternoon.

3. This Scented Candle

The lovely people at Airwick Australia sent me two candles this week to try out, the Amber Mandarin Glow Silhoutte and the French Vanilla Romance. I love candles and try to always have at least one lit when I am home, so I was pretty excited to test these suckers out. In fact, I was so excited that I tore them straight out of the box and then realized I didn’t know which scent was which. I am typically a big fan of anything vanilla scented so I was hoping to light that one first, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized I had lit the mandarin candle and loved it. BUT that isn’t the best part- these candles CHANGE COLORS. I don’t understand science or technology very well so this BLEW MY MIND.  Morgan and I stared at it for the longest time trying to figure out how it worked, and then I just gave up and just took a snapchat video of it changing colors. So, now I have a new favorite candle that smells amazing, is in a pretty jar and is actually magic. Back to the smell though- I can light it in the kitchen and still smell it upstairs in my bedroom. Clearly magic. Now I want to creep on over to the store and pick up some reed diffusers to put in our apartment for during the day so I don’t accidentally burn the house down. I am eyeing the Crackling Fire and Cinnamon Spice scent since it is getting into winter over here.

4. The Rosie Project

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Source: Text Publishing

I kept seeing this book on other people’s book lists and had been waiting for it to come off hold at the library. I finished this book in less than a week (which is really fast for me), I loved it so much. It’s an adorable love story told from an unexpected narrator/main character who reminded me of Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. Now that I am done with The Rosie Project, I am already starting on sequel- The Rosie Effect.

5. Travel Misadventures

One of my favorite things about traveling are the misadventures. If everything goes as planned then you don’t have a good story! Our first day here we spent the afternoon searching out a nice beach to hang out with and wound up at Australia’s ugliest beach. No cabs in sight and an hour wait for the bus- we found a restaurant, ordered a bottle of wine and laughed about the situation. The rest of our trip went much better and I can’t wait to share everything we’ve done but the look on everyone’s face when we walked up the brownest ocean I’ve ever seen was one of my favorite misadventures (and we’ve had a few, read about them here).  Note: water appears much bluer in the picture. It looked like mud. 

Linking up with Andrea and Heather

Friday Favorites: April Edition

It has been a couple weeks since I have shared my Friday Favorites with you so I figured it was long overdue.  ☺️

1. Low Key Weekend

It’s been a pretty crazy last few months and with the busy long weekend last week it was nice to have a low key weekend.

Saturday we went on a walk up the hill by our house and walked around the park.

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The first most exciting thing was this hobo camp/meth lab that we discovered.

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The second was when Travis almost stepped on this not-so-little guy and screamed like a girl.

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The third was when we were down the hill and almost home when I realized I had left my sunglasses at the park since I had removed them to hang upside down from the monkey bars. This was not Trav’s favorite part of the day but I was just happy that I remembered where they were and got them back!

Sunday we spent the afternoon at Bribie Island. The island is less than hour away and connected by a bridge to Brisbane but we had never made it there before. It wasn’t the prettiest beach we have seen in Australia but it was convenient and it was a nice day to lay on the beach and soak up the last of the warm weather.

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It was all fun and games until Travis got upset that I didn’t offer him a bite of my ice cream cone. Which for some reason reminded of this scene from Knocked Up… Not much comes between my food and so if you think you want any you better act quick. But you know ’cause we’re family we share (just watch the video).

2. Plans, Plans, Plans 

I’m not sure what it says about my personality that I have to have some sort of plan/schedule to follow in order to get anything accomplished. But I’m just going to roll with it because I love schedules. In fact, I used to want to be a high school counselor just so I could make kid’s schedules.

I’m currently at an all time max on the number of plans I’m following and loving it…

She Reads Truth Bible Study Plan

Couch to 5k Running Plan (I’ve failed twice at this one, cross your fingers third times a charm)

Tone It Up Weekly Workout Schedule

Duolingo Spanish “Regular” Plan

And my favorite… My Weekly Meal Plan

So if you need me to do something… Just make a cute graphic or app that tells me exactly when to do it and I will be all over it!

3. Kikki K. 

kikkikTo go along with all my planning my friend, Emily Anne, bought me the BEST birthday gifts from Kikki K aka the best store ever. The to do list is awesome and big enough to for all the menial tasks I write down (just to cross off). The meal planner has places to plan every meal plus perforated shopping lists and pages to write down where to find certain recipes. Those two plus my 2015 Planner from Kikki k. are my life savers. I am way too scatter brained to not write EVERYTHING down. 

4. These Recipes 

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Warm Quinoa Salad with Grill Halloumi and Parsely Dressing

Panko Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon

We made both of these this week for the first time and they earned an A++ from me! Go check them out. I love finding new (delicious) recipes to cook during the week. Food is always a favorite.

I’m thinking of starting a monthly Recipe Roundup post sharing my favorite recipes. Would anyone be interested in reading that/linking up?!

5. The Weather

It has technically been Fall for awhile here but I think someone forgot to tell the weather. This week it has FINALLY started to cool down- I am actually chilly in the morning  and I can wear jeans at night without them sticking to me. This is exciting people.

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Linking up with Heather, Andrea and Natasha. Happy Friday everyone!