Sunday, January 22, 2012

I won!

...why, you ask? because back in November, a blog that I love reading, CAKIES, was having a contest. I submitted an entry, and then I was off to Australia! with my mind on little else but my travels, you can imagine my excitement when I got an email from a social media rep at Houzz saying that I won (that, and I've never won anything before)! what's better is that my prize was a $250 gift card to Anthropologie. amazing!

I received a $200 gift card and a $50 gift card by email. since I was relying a lot on others for accomodation after I left Darwin, I decided to re-gift my $50 gift card to Virginia, the daughter of my host parents, and her fiance Craig as a thank you/wedding gift. they let me stay at their place in Melbourne for three days, and they hadn't even met me before. such kind, generous people - they definitely deserved it. I think they really appreciated it, and I know they'll use it to get something super cute for their apartment :)

I waited until I got home to spend my card, thinking that Jordan and I could look at the house and home section and see if there's anything we'd like to have in the apartment.

here's what we bought:

I can't wait for it all to arrive! I loved shopping around on anthropologie's website. although their clothes are really nice, I wanted to get things we could both use (except for the tights - a little something just for me :D) and I think we did pretty well. another BIG thanks to Ruby - you should all check out her blog! it's full of beautiful photos, heartfelt sentiment, and creativity galore. you'll love it as much as I do :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

kawaii goodies

so, I've decided that even though I'm not in Darwin anymore, I still want to update this blog. I have too much fun with it to desert it. plus, if I travel elsewhere, I can change the title, and viola, a new blog is born.

in light of this, here is a small update, and somewhat Darwin-related.

I decided to get myself a necklace from one of my favorite etsy shops (Kawaii Culture) as a homecoming gift, and it arrived yesterday! when I was deciding which to buy, it was a toss-up between the avocado necklace (which I will own some day!) and the mango necklace; both of which represented the fruits I ate HEAPS of while in Australia. I had to go with the mango. at first, Sarah didn't have any mangoes in her shop, so I requested one, and the result was gorgeous!

the colors are absolutely beautiful, and I love how she sliced one side of it :) cute enough to eat!

it really meant a lot to me that Sarah remembered me, and included an adorable note and gift with my necklace. isn't she the best? her shop is full of the most adorable mini food jewelry, which she hand-makes from clay. definitely check out her etsy shop, and be wowed by her talent! but beware, you might just find that one piece that you must have (I found several)!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

celebrations and settling in

now that I can post photos again, I'm ready for an update!

Aussie Santa uses the NT news for wrapping :O
as I mentioned in my last post, I crashed at my parents' house for a few days when I got back to the States. while I was there, we celebrated Christmas, my birthday, and my dad's birthday, in a pretty rapid-fire fashion. it was tons of fun. we celebrated Christmas right away - Aussie Santa even came with Aussie gifts for all :)

happy birthday to my favorite dad! ;)
for my birthday, my mom cooked at home instead of going out. I was a bit relieved, as I was still in settling-in mode. she made chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, stuffed shells, and pavlova for dessert. it was, of course, incredible. I'm only sorry that I didn't have a better mind to take a photo before we all dug in. Jordan and his parents came over and we all feasted. shortly after, they had to leave to pick up Jordan's brother and his wifey from the airport, but I'm still glad that they came.

(mostly demolished) sashimi tuna
@ Bull's Head
then, I spent a couple days touring around the state with Jordan to have Christmas(es) with his family. we went to his aunt's house for dinner and back to his parents' house for new years. we spent a little time in the casino on the way through, which was fun, even though I didn't gamble. there were a couple notable times when I got really sad missing Darwin, and New Years was one of them. I remember excusing myself to go to the bathroom just to pull it together.

coneys @ One Stop
after the weekend, Jordan dropped me off back at my parents house and went back to Grand Rapids while the fam and I went out for my dad's birthday. my mom and I spent the whole day shopping, which was frankly miserable, and I think she can agree. we came home a while before dinner at least, which was a relief. we went to a restaurant in town that we had never been to, which was quite deserted, but quite good. we were all so stuffed that we saved birthday tiramisu until the following night, which was soooo good.

drinks @ Hopcat
since I've been back, I've been a bit indulgent in a few of my favorite GR spots. The Bull's Head, One Stop Coney Shop, Hopcat, Flanagan's, Founders, we went to a Griffins game, and to Peppinos... I also stopped by at work and filled out some tax forms so I can start making money again. I think working will help improve my mood. it will get me out of this apartment on days when I don't have class, for one. classes have begun as of the 9th, but I'm only taking 2, and teaching one day/week until March. my new student teaching placement seems wonderful, and I'm sure I will love working with my new (very tall) students. first time teaching high school!

my very snowy strreet
lunch @ Founders
I still get sad sometimes, but I'm working on coping. I know that it's okay to feel that way because it just means that the people I met and the experiences I had really made an impact on me, and they will be with me for life. for now, I'm here. I'm graduating in May, there's snow on the ground, and I have lots to look forward to and be happy about.