Monday, November 28, 2016

Link Up Reminder

Happy Monday all! Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and long weekend and got lots of shopping done. Just a quick note to remind anyone who wants to link up with us, this Thursday the 1st is the next What's New With You link up.

We hope you'll join us!

What's New With You


Have a great week!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Posts I haven't published

I know technically Alyssa's challenge is over, but I know she won't mind if I am a bit late! I know this prompt is probably more for the posts I want to write but haven't hit publish on, but I am going to do a mixture of those kinds and ones I just haven't been bothered actually writing.

alyssagoesbang

This is like a weight off my chest because I was able to delete so many draft posts that would never grow up into real posts.

- Recipes from Australia: I am not sure what I was thinking when I started it. I don't know any recipes from Australia, I barely know any recipes in general.

- Ratatouille a la Kristen: I am not a food blogger, I have never shared a recipe, I am more of a 'throw it all in a pot and guess measurements and see what happens' kind of cook, and that doesn't translate well to sharing recipes. If you want me to share it, here you go: a bunch of veggies in a pot, tomato sauce and quinoa. Voila.

- Stop with the shaming: aka a huge rant about body shaming anyone, regardless of size. The thing is, it's all been said before, and nothing I share is going to make a body shamer stop shaming, or make them aware that their comments are, in fact, hurtful to some people. So, yeah. Deleted.

- How to make a good cuppa: I wrote this ages ago and it's supposed to be kind of funny, but it's probably only funny to me. I meant to take photos, never did, and it just sat there. It has lost its funny. I wrote it back in 2014, I shit you not.


- Planning a trip to Australia: Eh, I am the worst person to ask if you are going to visit and want to do touristy things. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but I haven't done a lot of touristy things and I don't stay in hotels or anything.

- Travelling to Australia; my tips: same as the above. I only know how an Australian acts, and as a tourist, you should act as a tourist. Why the bloody hell not. Who cares if you say put another shrimp on the barbie even though we don't have shrimp.. we do have barbies and someone will throw a snag on for ya.

- Go to meals: I wanted to share our go to meals, you know, we all have them, the same meals we make over and over.. But they weren't anything new or exciting - the same as everyone else's I'd imagine. Pasta, tacos, etc.

- Louisville vs Sydney: I don't know where I was going with this one, but I didn't get very far. Made a joke about how it wasn't like sports team vs sports team and didn't write anything else. But I did create this awesome picture.


- Aus vs US/moving back home: I have two drafts on this subject so clearly I thought it important enough to talk about.. but honestly, writing about why doesn't help make the decision, and doesn't create solutions to problems.

- What working at McDonalds taught me: Even I don't care about this post and I wrote it.

- How living in the US has changed me: Basically I eat and drink more. Not much more to it.

- Things I would miss if I ever moved back home: Basically, drive thrus and things being open all the time. Oh, and free refills. See above.

- Long distance taught me: eh, a boring post about our long distance relationship. Clearly it was an awesome relationship because we broke up ha.


- Bookish thoughts: another 'funny' book post, but I could only think of two things. 

- How we saved time and money in Europe: eh, nothing mind blowing or new here, so no point in sharing.

- My budget/meal planning/grocery tips: Our grocery budget is allllllways more than I budget, our meal planning is like 'hey you want chick fil a for dinner?' so I am in no place to give tips.

- There is NOTHING wrong with loving yourself: we all know I used to hate myself, I talk about it all the time. I get so angry when I see or hear people talk shit about themselves - like every time I'm on snapchat someone is talking and they say 'sorry I look so gross/ugly/fat' and it's just like STOP. Stop hating on yourself because you think you have to, that you think if you rock no makeup someone will call you vain. Guess what, that ass is gonna call you vain anyway. And if you really believe that shit? Snap out of it! Love yourself for pete's sake, you only have one life and you spend the ENTIRE thing with yourself. Who would want to spend their lifetime with someone who hates them? STOP IT.


- Different book formats; my pros & cons: snoooooze fest, who cares.

- The things I say that get the most 'what the f*ck did you just say?': There are a few things that I still say from home that people always react to. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember many of them and some of them are hard to explain. The number one is how I pronounce the letter H. 

- My bookish personality: I wrote this long ass post on things that will make me pick up a book, and things that will make me go 'ew I don't want to read that', but seriously. Boring.

- How I organise my books on goodreads: Again, pretty boring post about how I shelve my books on goodreads. People who are on goodreads can see it, and people who aren't don't care.

- A shopaholic loose in LA/Vegas: A post about everything I bought on my trip with my mum 2 months ago that I still haven't recapped. I bought a lot and I thought it would be fun to share like my old shopping posts. But. I haven't yet.

- A post about my mum and father, or just my father: The post about my mum and father is not my story to tell. As for the post just about my father and the consequences of being his daughter.. Honestly? I am not proud of who my father was, but I am proud of the person I have become in spite of having him for a father. Plus, there is no way to talk about what a horrible person he was without either going on a rant or sounding like I am inviting pity, which I am not. I think both were just therapeutic for me to write out and don't need to be shared.

Ahhhh feels so good to delete all those posts that will never be published. I now only have 52 drafts. How many do you have?

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Swappin' Countries with Erin: Fall vs Spring

For anyone new around these parts, Erin is an American who lives in Australia, and Kristen is an Australian who lives in America.  The two of us regularly talk about our experiences and lives swapping countries.  One of the most bizarre things to get used to when moving to a continent located on the other side of the planet in a different hemisphere is the opposite seasons. 



Basic facts:
American fall (Australia doesn't call it "fall"; it's called autumn) = September, October, November = Australian spring
Things that Erin typically associates with "fall" = football, MLB post season, fall leaves, Halloween, Thanksgiving, boots & sweaters
Things that Kristen typically associates with "spring" = Melbourne cup and racing season (spring carnival), just the fact that it's getting warmer and the end of the year is nearing so I always felt the need to get my life together and spring clean all the things.
Erin:  I live in a country that doesn't care much about American football (aka "gridiron").  We have ESPN.  It's an Australia/New Zealand programming version of ESPN.  We get football games.  But, you get one choice.  Whatever the programming director of ESPNAuNZ chooses and is able to show due to contractual obligations with American channels of ESPN, ABC, CBS, Fox Sports.  That's the game you get to see.  Sometimes it is live, and other times it's shown on a delay.  Oh, we have Fox Sports too, but they don't show American football.  They are showing things more interesting to Australian viewers.  So, any of my football viewing is occurring during Spring now.
Football "viewing" through online updates can be stressful

Kristen: In Australia, both football seasons - the NRL (National Rugby League) and the AFL (Australian Football League) - go from March to October, but regardless of which country I am in, I have never been a fan of football. KC is though, so it's always on during the American football season. I never pay attention, I'd rather read and can tune his shouts out easily. However, I have been to a couple of games and I enjoy it way more in person, and the atmosphere is insane compared to a game back home.



Erin:  ESPNAuNZ does show post season baseball games.  I'd care about them a whole lot more if my Astros were contenders.  Instead, I watch this Astro play ball a lot more often than I watch MLB games on tv.


Kristen: At home, spring always meant the spring carnival or 'racing season'. When I was 18-19, I worked at the racecourse, but at about 20-21 I started attending the races instead of working them. We definitely take our races seriously at home and it's just the thing to do. It's not the classiest of events (unless you pay lots of money) but it's always a good time. I'm very lucky I moved to Kentucky and I still get to attend the races often in American spring.


Erin:  Fall leaves.  Not happening right now for me.  Let's be honest, Texas isn't really known all that much for the changing fall leaves anyway.  Instead, now, I get Jacaranda trees in bloom. 

photo source
Kristen: Spring is beautiful no matter where you are, and you can see above how gorgeous Sydney is in the spring. However, at home the leaves don't really fall off trees in autumn quite like the spectacular way they do in Kentucky. I mean, science is science and the leaves do still fall off, but there is something about the way the America I know does fall.

photo source
Erin:  Halloween is growing here in the 8 years since I've moved.  C'mon, we know that America is great with marketing, advertising, and commercializing things.  So, yes, Halloween is a big deal in America.  It was my favorite holiday.  I have never dressed up in costume for Halloween since I moved here, and I used to do it all the time.  Last year was my first time to hand out candy...oops..."lollies" to trick-or-treaters, and I ran out!  I was better prepared this year. 


Kristen: As Erin mentioned, Halloween is picking up in Australia, but it was non existent when I was a child. I never dressed up, I never went trick or treating. I never had kids come to my house either - mum said she got her first trick or treater the year I left, and she had no candy for him. I did dress up for Halloween once as an adult - 21 or 22? Megan and I did a ghost tour I think and we dressed up as a 'sailor' and a cheerleader. We were the only people in costumes that we saw all night. We didn't care, because we were like 22, so whatever. I wish I had photos! I have dressed up for a few Halloweens since I moved here though, this past Halloween was the first that I didn't.


Erin:  Thanksgiving, oh, Thanksgiving.  This is the holiday that I get the most homesick because Australia doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving.  And, I know all my loved ones are getting together stuffing their faces with yummy goodness and watching football games together.  My guy has done a pretty great job at learning recipes (he's a much better cook than I am) and presenting a Thanksgiving meal for me.  Last year, some of our loved ones got together for it.  I still get overly emotional every Thanksgiving, missing my family and all, but the outpouring of love and support from my close circle here is nothing to sneeze at.

2015 Thanksgiving Australia

Kristen: I like Halloween, I like Christmas.. I have no strong feelings about Thanksgiving. Like Erin said, we don't have anything like it. It's very important to my mother in law though, and she takes it super seriously, so I obviously attend. I'm not a huge fan of the food - though I still eat it because, you know, food. I really like all the sales that happen online around this time.


Erin:  Wardrobes change with the seasons.  I ain't gonna lie.  I love putting on some boots and wearing hoodies.  But, I love flip flops, sandals, and cute dresses even more. 

Kristen: I think I fail my blogger certification because I am not as in love with fall fashion as others seem to be. I like sweaters and stuff, and I feel more comfortable in more clothes vs shorts and a tank, but the only plaid I own is a scarf. I have tried to buy things before based on how they look on pinterest, but I end up wearing them once and feeling like an idiot and getting rid of them. Like the below, I was so excited to look all 'fall-y' that I wore what I wanted regardless of the weather, and you can see my friend in flip flops, so.. yeah.


Erin:  I've always said that spring is my favorite season.  Yes, it's still bizarre for me to think of "spring" as September, October, and November, but accepting differences is imperative to embracing life as an expat.

Kristen: Basically what Erin said. You can complain and compare all day, constantly thinking of home or how it 'should' be, but that will only make your life as an expat harder. Instead, just eat some candy and be grateful that you have the opportunity to experience two very different countries and all their differences.



We will continue to share some joint posts based on questions from you, some of our blogger buddies (thanks to those who contributed).  Keep an eye out for those.  Who knows when they'll happen.  This ain't an assignment, and we aren't on a specific timeframe. 

Do you prefer fall or spring?

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekending in Richmond

Over the weekend I got to tick another state off the old 'to visit list'. I'd been to West Virginia in 2009 but never Virginia, and a runcation was the perfect excuse to see a new place and catch up with Alyssa, Tracy & Lisa. It was a busy weekend, so I figured a weekending post with Biana was fitting.

I might be all organised with packing for longer trips, but I am not with weekend trips. I always pack last minute and just throw a bunch of things in a bag, especially if it's a road trip because there is no limit. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring Millie.


I made the 9 hour drive to Richmond on Friday and it was thankfully pretty uneventful. I have never done that long a drive on my own, so it's nice to know I can, though I wouldn't be sad if I never did it again, ha. I listened to music when it was dark and a book when the sun came out. Crunchy snacks and chewing gum also kept me from feeling tired, so thanks for all the suggestions everyone!


We hit up the expo to pick up our packets and whatnot, and then went for dinner.


^ the one on the left just makes me laugh so I had to share it.


Saturday was the race so we were up bright and early. From what I could tell, it was a pretty big race and I thought it was really well organised.


Like I mentioned in my last race recap, I'm not really one for details when talking about my races - I ran, sometimes it was good, sometimes it was bad, I was happy when it was over because of the food. I stayed with the girls for about 3 miles before slowing down, my goal for this one was just to run the whole thing (I ran 10 miles for Urban Bourbon and ran/walked the rest) which I did. Time wise, I just wanted to beat Urban Bourbon, if only by a second.


^ this is the first race I have ever gotten a blanket for - isn't it awesome? You can see how much we all loved them.

As for how I went, I beat my Urban Bourbon time by a few minutes, which I am stoked about. It was a good race, I felt pretty good and the course was pretty and entertaining. What more could you ask for?


After the race we headed back to the hotel to clean up before heading out to lunch. Everyone else left after lunch and I stayed an extra night because of the long drive. I meant to go to sleep early but Wreck It Ralph and then Pretty Woman captured my attention and I did not get enough sleep at all.

The drive down/sideways/whichever direction I went was easy as pie and I didn't feel tired at all, but the first few hours of the drive back were awful. I was so tired, my eyes were so heavy and I could feel my head nodding. I stopped at a gas station as soon as I felt like that, splashed some water on my face and bought everything that looked like it would help me stay awake.

I am not a coffee drinker, but I figured I could stomach one if it kept me awake, and thankfully it did and I didn't have to resort to the other things - the guy selling it all to me was like 'um, miss, you probably shouldn't take all this at once'. I was just trying to be prepared! But like I said, the coffee drink more than did the trick and I got a second one a few hours later. I still thought it tasted gross and it did not miraculously turn me into a coffee drinker, which is a good thing apparently because several people advised me that my drink choice wasn't really coffee. It sure tasted like coffee to me, and it did the trick which is all that matters. I enjoyed the chocolate milk I had afterwards even more.


I fibbed to KC about what time I left so he was expecting me around dinner but I surprised him before lunch. Then I did absolutely nothing for the rest of the day, and it was great.


And because I like to see all my times together:

2011: 2:37:15
2012: 2:04:48
2014: 2:39:15
2014: 2:33:21
2015: 2:50:36
2016: 2:32:12
2016: 2:23:55
2016: 2:19:38

I am done with races for 2016 - bring on 2017!

Oh and of course, it wouldn't be a race for me if I didn't do this:


Happy Monday to you, hope you have a fabulous week!

ps. Happy Birthday Sara! Love you!



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Currently

Happy Thursday everyone. Felt like a currently kind of Thursday to me. Linking up with Kristin & Joey.

Feeling happy that today is my Friday. Fridays are my busiest day, which means today is going to be busy trying to get all my usual Friday stuff done, but I don't mind. A short week is always a reason to celebrate.

Laughing at the humour section of pinterest. Whenever I need a good laugh, that's where I go.


Wanting to volunteer and donate my time and money, I want to educate myself on how I can support the things that are important to me. I currently donate to two organisations monthly and those two are both important to me for different reasons and I am happy with my contributions to them both. But I want to know more, I want to do more, give more. I just don't know where to begin.

Listening to all sorts of things, surprisingly. I normally only listen to the P&P soundtrack at work, but lately I have been listening to the music from Miss Fisher's (yes, my middle name is obsessed) and my 'fun' playlist on spotify. The two most recent additions to that playlist are Still Falling For You by Ellie Goulding and Hold My Hand by Jess Glynne - both from the Bridget Jones's Baby soundtrack. Still Falling For You gives me all the feels. If you've seen the movie, it's the song at the end.


Working on paying off that debt y'all. Thanks to ebates (not an affiliate link, but you should be using it if you're not!) I made a large payment on one of my cards and I am *this close* to paying it off and I am SO proud of myself. I am trying really hard to get them all paid off before or as close to my 30th as possible. 

Reading 2 books, I almost always have a real book, a kindle book and an audiobook going at the same time. Listening to The Boston Girl and kindle reading Lilac Girls. Just finished On Dublin Street (real book) last night. If you like romances, check it.


In case you are wondering how or why I read 3 books at once, it's because I am like Rory and it depends what I am in the mood for or what I am doing. I generally read the kindle before bed like before lights out, the real book is my reading on the couch or in bed but not before sleep book, and the audio is for the gym or driving. If the kindle or real book is super captivating, obviously I'll read regardless of whether I'm about to go to sleep or not, but I rarely listen to the audio unless I am driving or working out. I also have the kindle app on my phone so whenever I am waiting, in line somewhere or look like I am playing on my phone I'm actually reading.

Really exciting stuff, I know. 

Watching nothing! I know, are you proud of me? I haven't started Miss Fisher's for the 4th time. I want to though, it's just hard with the current living situation (one TV in one large room and it's football season). I did cry a bit when I saw this though:


Don't judge me.

Hoping the appraisal for our house goes well. The inspection went well and we have 3 small things to fix. The appraisal is the last hurdle, and though I am not worried about it appraising for sale price, I am worried that something will come up based on the type of loan and type of appraisal (according to our realtor). Once that goes though, I will stress a little less about this whole thing. That's probably not true, I will probably continue to stress until we walk away from the closing. 

Eating raisin bran for dinner. Can't stop, won't stop, should probably stop.



Drinking water, diet coke, tea and baileys - obviously not all at the same time, but that is basically all I drink all the time, in order of amount of consumption.


Excited for this weekend - tomorrow I drive to Richmond, VA to meet up with the girls for another half marathon and it's been so long since I have seen them, I'm sure we're gonna have a fabulous time.

Not excited for the driving part though - if you have any suggestions to help me stay awake on my long solo drives, please share!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Books Lately

I did not pick up a book for a little over a month. We have all talked about it before, our book reading habits go through phases and I'm happy to let my phases take me where they wanna go. I'm still kind of in the funk, but I am sure it will pass soon.



A Gathering of Shadows - Victoria Schwab  - 5 Stars

I really loved this book, same feelings as the first one. It took me a bit longer to get into, but only because I was in a bit of rut and didn't want to push it. I can't quite put my finger on why I enjoyed both books so much, but I highly recommend if they sound like your jam. The 3rd and last comes out next February.
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult - 4 Stars
I  received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

There is no denying Picoult is a great writer and she always handles super tough topics and stomps all over your heart with no regard for your feelings. I dig it, I expect that when I pick up my annual Picoult book - because seriously, my heart can't take it more than once a year. I read this book in one night, cried a bunch, thought a whole lot and tried to look at myself with the same scrutiny. It's hard to say I enjoyed a book like this, because it is so heavy, but I did enjoy it and I do recommend it.
Illuminae - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff - 4 Stars

This book was really good and I really enjoyed it, but lordy it was hard to read! I know lots of people loved that and all the little weird art things or different formats but it just gave me a headache. Other than that, the story was interesting and I laughed several times and annoyed KC with reading out lines.
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) - Sarah J. Maas - 5 Stars

I finished book #4 well over a year ago, so I had forgotten basically everything. It took me ages to get into, though clearly eventually I did. If you like this series then obviously yes I recommend. Just gird your loins emotions. So many emotions.
You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) - Felicia Day - 4 Stars

I only knew Felicia Day from Supernatural, but even when I watched that show I remember thinking I'd seen/heard of her before. I am definitely not 'geeky enough' for a few of the things she talks about, and I tried to watch her web show but it just wasn't my jam... but overall what I loved about this book/her message was that how great it is to find fellow weirdos, or your own little community of people that say 'hey, me too!', whether that's in real life or on the internet. Regardless of your passion- gaming, books, lizards, fan fiction, you will find someone else who loves what you do, and that is such a fabulous feeling. It was an entertaining listen, and even if you're only slightly geeky, I recommend.
The Silent Sister - Diane Chamberlain - 3 Stars

This book was odd for me. I have never read a Diane Chamberlain book and I'm not sure it was what I was expecting. I was super into it at first, but then it started to irritate me. I thought it was super predictable, the main character was so frustrating and annoying, sometimes it read like a soap opera, I felt absolutely zero connection to any of the characters.. I feel like it could have been way more thought provoking but I just kept thinking hurry up, something happen, get to the point I know is coming. It sounds like I hated it, I didn't. It was just fine.
Brooklyn - Colm Tóibín - 2 Stars

Oy am I in the minority with this one! First off, I just found it kind of boring and tediously written. I just wasn't a fan of the way it was written 'Eilis did this and felt that and then did this and this cost five dollars and she caught the train' like stop telling me things and start telling me a story you know? We can piece together some things ourselves. And then honestly, I didn't like the ending and certain things that happened right before the ending. I don't know. Personally. I did not like this book and do not recommend it.

I did watch the movie immediately after because I'm weird like that, and while I still didn't care for the story as a whole, it was a well done movie and they handled the ending much, much, much better. In my opinion.


I also read My American Duchess which I thoroughly enjoyed, if you like those kinds of books I highly recommend.

I recommend all the books in the top section if they sound like your jam, if not, I don't. I would recommend the new Jodi Picoult if you don't mind a heavier read. 


Linking up with Steph and Jana.

Life According to Steph


Read anything decent lately?