Wednesday, July 27, 2016

What's Up Wednesday

Good morning! Today is one of my favorite posts of the month. I love me some What's Up Wednesday. It's just got a little bit of everything!

Today's edition will have to be an adapted Australian version, but I think it's just as fun! :)

Here's what's up this month! 

What I'm Eating

Hah....uhhh. If you've been following me on snapchat, you know very well what I've been eating. A whoooooole lotta ice cream. And coffee. 

I promise I'm eating amazing meals at amazing restaurants, too. But ice cream is just a lot more fun to take pictures of. I've eaten ice cream almost every single day. And I'm not even on the "vacation" part of this Australian adventure yet. Bless my heart. And my love handles.  

What I'm Excited About
Ummm.... the Olympics. 

I'm such an Olympic junkie. Eh - okay actually I'm really just an Olympic gymnast junkie. When I was little (probably 1996, hello #magnificentseven), I put a looooong piece of masking tape down the center of my mom's living room, and that was my balance beam. I jumped, cart-wheeleed, and cat-walked to my heart's content on that tape beam.
...and then left it for so long that when we pulled it up you could still see the line and my mom was really mad and had to get new carpet. #oops

The Olympics have since kinda been a bigger part of mine and Jeff's relationship. The summer Olympics were on the first summer we met/worked together. So we'd flirt talk about the various events that happened the night before and try to keep each other off the internet so we didn't spoil the current night's event. Then the winter Olympics happened the month we started dating, so what better way to break the ice than to watch some people skate on it? #badumCH

And then THIS year he'll be visiting me in Australia so we'll be cheering on USA from afar. I just love me some Olympics. I'm so pumped. 

What I'm Loving


This is seriously one of the most amazing places I've ever been. And I've been working 5 days a week - I haven't even seen the half of it! Since I arrived, I've become besties with a koala, got the daylights scared out of me by a couple wallabies, sunbathed with kangaroos, learned some fun Australian facts, and this past weekend went to a coffee festival on the harbour and watched the sunset. Yeah. I'm loving Australia.

What I'm Dreading

....the Great Barrier Reef. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to see it, but I know I'm going to be a stress case for 48 hours. I've told you before that ocean life scares the poo out of me, so the fact that I have to be swimming around in it already sends my stress-levels to the edge of the charts. 

THEN I was talking to some of my coworkers about my fear, hoping to get the "oh, no you'll be totally fine" response, but instead they respond with "I'd be more scared about the crocs." 

....I'm sorry. The what now? 

Oh yes. There are SALT WATER CROCODILES on the beaches in Carnes. ...and they eat people. I'm doomed in the water, I'm doomed out of the water, and my stress levels are so far off the charts you can't even see them anymore.
#thislittlepiggywenttoasharkmouth #thislittlepiggywenttoacroc 

Plus I have to be in a bathing suit. Remember what I've been eating? #woof

What I {will be} Wearing

So I could show you the work clothes I'm wearing, but booooooring. So instead, I'll show you some of my eagerly anticipated Nordstrom Anni Sale items I've purchased. Because yes I still participated way over here. The sales are just too good!

I wanted to link back to the items, but sadly - these are the only items I got that still are in stock. Demand was crazy this year!


What I've Been Reading/Watching

Well, lucky for you I just did my July book review a couple of days ago! I read books by two new authors and fell COMPLETELY in love with them. I also found a must-read "Jesus-book" that will give your prayer life a spiritual jump start. You can read about them here.

And since then, I've started Emily Giffin's new one!


As far as watching? Yeah I'm still watching Brothers & Sisters. Seriously one of the greatest shows ever. If you are a Parenthood fan - you MUST watch this one, too!

What I'm Listening To

This song. On repeat. It is my current country jam and it's AMAZING.

What I'm Doing this Weekend

Let's see...on Sunday I'm going with some people to see a real-life rugby game and, you know, embrace my inner Aussie. you think they have hotdogs there? 

Other than that I might do some shopping, hit up a beach, and probably eat some ice cream. It is my last weekend alone before a certain someone (Jeffrey Daniel) comes to visit me!!!!! :)

What I'm Looking Forward to Next Month

Carnes (minus the ocean life)
New Zealand
and more Sydney

....just to name a few :)

And that's what's up! Have a wonderful hump day everyone! I'm about to get some shut eye and kick off my Thursday. 

....still so weird to me.

Until next time,

Monday, July 25, 2016

July Book Review

Y'all - I am so stinking excited for today's book review. 

Like... I haven't been this excited since I told you about The Royal We. 

Right before I left for Australia I didn't do much reading. Those last few weeks consisted of a lot of packing, hugging, and binge watching Brothers & Sisters. 

BUT - since I've been in Australia I've done a lot of reading...and not necessarily because I'm by myself. Primarily it's because I don't drive. Anywhere. I take the train/buses everywhere I go, and I have a book with me always. I'm basically reading anytime I'm commuting. 

So I basically look like this.

....but really. Everytime I get off the train and can't put the book down (sometimes you're just at a good part!), I think about this. And naturally get the song stuck in my head. 

This month I have three fictional books and a Jesus-book (a must-read if you're looking for a new devotional book!). Of the three fictional books, two were NEW authors - and both were HUGE successes in my opinion! I honestly loved them more than the "old" author. 

Let's begin....

Silver Girl
by Elin Hilderbrand

Ohhhh Elin. If you've read my book reviews before, you know I'm an Elin Hilderbrand fan. I discovered her when my girls and I decided to start a book club (pretty sure it lasted about 2 months...) and a Hilderbrand book was our first. I've been reading them ever since! Elin really develops the characters and makes you feel like you're living on Nantucket. Not to mention all of her novels are based here, so by my 5th or 6th novel, I actually am familiar with street names! 

It wouldn't be my #1 pick from her repertoire, but it still was a good read! What intrigued me about this one was it was about two ladies in their fifties. A lot of books these days (...or maybe just the ones I'm reading) are about young girls in their late 20s/early 30s. So if you're sick of reading about young love and wish those silly girls would just grow up - maybe give this one a try :)


The Best Man
by Kristan Higgins

Kindle recommended this book to me and I'm completely sold. Sign me up. I've never heard of  Miss Higgins before but we are going to get along juuuust fine. I've told you how much I love Catherine Bybee books, and this is very similar writing except less... "saucy," as my mama likes to call it. I laughed out loud, I got choked up, I seriously just loved it. It's totally a love story, and kind of predictable (hello - title much?), but it's so intriguing and does have some unexpected twists/turns. 

I just really love the way she writes. It makes it enjoyable and easy. If you need a summer read - I'd highly recommend this one. This is part of a series and I can guarantee that you'll see one of these books in each of my reviews the next few months. Actually - you know what this reminded me of? A Hallmark movie. In book form. Agh - so good!


Cancel the Wedding
by Carolyn Dingman

This book was AMAZING. 
And not really at all like what you would expect from the title. 

I originally expected some dramatic story line (insert all those rom-coms here), but it actually was a love story mixed in with deep roots of family mystery and history. I ran into a trashcan reading this book (obviously I'm not as smooth as Belle). I just couldn't put it down. I found myself intrigued with the romantic layer but more-so trying to predict (albeit, unsuccessfully) what was happening next. 

And it is SU-THERN. Like they eat boiled peanuts. And say "bless your heart." Someone hold me.

I also completely fell in love with her writing (and often chuckled out loud). The second I finished I immediately went online to see what else she had written that I could read. And much to my dismay, this is her first book. Sigh. Oh well - when her next one is available I'm totally pre-ordering. 


The Battle Plan for Prayer
Stephen and Alex Kendrick

If your prayer life needs a kick-start, re-boot, or downright slap in the face - you need this book. I'm not even halfway through (I read a chapter a day) and it has already done wonders for my prayer life. It speaks to your soul and wakens up your faith. The kind of faith you should have in prayer. You know - the faith that prayer can literally do the impossible. May the next "Jesus-book" you buy be this one. 


And those are my books! Any other must reads? I love walking into large immobile objects when I read. So if there's one that I must add to my list, please let me know! 

To see my other book reviews, click here.

Have a great day everyone!

Until next time,
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Oh I have an exciting post for y'all today!

When debating what to do this weekend, I knew I wanted to do something special - because this weekend I figured I'd be a little homesick. I'm missing this year's Camp Meeting (family reunion on my dad's side), AND our good friends' wedding (Jeff was the best man). SO - needless to say it was a pretty big weekend in the States, so I wanted to make it a pretty big weekend in Oz, too!

I decided that Saturday would take me to Featherdale Wildlife Park. 

This place had come up a lot in my "pre-travel" research, and also came recommended by a couple of people. It's about an hour train ride from the city, so I woke up early, grabbed my book, and headed out!

After paying my entry fee (about $20), I grabbed a map and headed into the park. The map showed a kangaroo-looking shape near the entrance, but when I looked around at the cages, all I saw were birds. So I'm walking the trail, looking down at my map, when all of a sudden this big brown thing JETS across the trail right in front on me, and then another one shoots out on the trail right behind me. 

....and I just about wee-wee on myself. 

I start frantically looking around (I'm laughing as I type this because I probably looked like an idiot), trying to figure out what on earth just happened and if I should be alarmed for my safety. Then I see the people behind me pointing to a corner of the trail, and so I walk over and see this...

This precious little nugget (commonly referred to as a wallaby) is what just about sent me into cardiac arrest. And then it hit me that I was in a wildlife park - not a zoo. And in wildlife parks, these things are free roaming. The only other wildlife parks I've been to in the States are the drive-through ones. So this? This was new for me. 

Side note: it is slightly terrifying to be half blind in a wildlife park. Sometimes I'd be crouched down, focused on one wallaby and then look to my left and another was staring me in the face. I'm laughing again. Pretty sure I screamed "AH!" about 7 different times in that park. 

The park has cones full of feed available for purchase so you can feed the animals. I wasn't quite sure what to do (and still a little shaky from almost being road kill), but I bought some food, crouched down, and soon had brunch with a little friend :)

I now have an obsession with wallabies. They're so stinking adorable. They look a lot like kangaroos (especially from the back), but they're a lot smaller and their arms are quite short. This guy is a full grown wallaby and smaller than a baby roo (which you'll see later). 

I love this one. He's like the poster child for a happy wallaby.

About mid-cone, this wallaby (let's call him Walter) had a him (let's call him William). And then I was feeding TWO wallabies! And by this point I'm pretty sure I looked like a kid on Christmas morning. #purejoy

I love William's face in the back. Looks like he's straight up eatin' a taco. 

I will say, if you're planning to visit Australia (which you should), and you plan to come to Featherdale (which you should), then you definitely should come in the morning. They feed the animals at lunch, and as I was walking out to leave I saw a lot of unsuccessful feedings from the visitors. But when I got there around 10:30 they were eager and hungry!

Also like kangaroos, wallabies keep their babies in pouches. Towards the end of my visit, I passed the wallabies and saw this: 

Y'all. Do you see that? That little pink 5-padded paw? THAT'S A FOOT. The stuffed animals that show a cute little furry head popping out are not 100% accurate. Maybe it's because I haven't reached motherhood yet but this seriously gave me the willies. And I apparently showed the disgust on my face because she looked at me and then hopped inside her house. Sorry, mama. 

After the wallabies I continued on the trail to the wombats. Now these not-so-little guys were enclosed a bit more than the others. I was curious as to why and then saw the sign that said "I bite" next to them. Right. Got it. 

You could still feed them, so I bought another cone, held it over the top of the railing, and then he stood on his hind legs and came up and got it! 

Aaaand considering he is known to bite, I didn't put up too much of a fight when he took the whole cone in one chomp. All yours, Mr. Wombat. ....sir. 

At this point I decided it was time to see a 'roo. I've loved kangaroos ever since I was little (did a project about them actually), primarily because they were always the animal that showed up next to the letter "K" growing up. So it was time to please 5-year old Katy.

I walk into Kangaroo Kingdom (I wish I was being cute but that's really what they called it), and this is what I saw....

...and not gonna lie, I thought the one on the right was dead. Turns out that when kangaroos sleep (or sunbathe), that's how they lay. #chillin

Then I saw these other two roos over on a grassy knoll with a couple of girls, so I went to check it out. One of the girls asked if I wanted her to take my picture, and then the other girl told me that she was a photographer. That made my answer quite easy. It also gave me this little gem. 

  I was feeding one, petting the other, and on an all time high. 

One of the coolest experiences ever!! 

Then I went and found a post-pouch joey. We hung out and I fed him a snack. As you can see, his arms are much bigger than the wallaby. 

 I actually took a video of both the roo and wallaby eating and put them side by side. You can check them out on either Facebook or instagram :)

I hung out with them for a while and then continued through the park to the koala cuddling. Now, as you know, you can't hold a koala in New South Wales. And while you still couldn't hold them here, you could pet them. #gettingcloser 

Meet Cooper.

He slept through approximately 569,253 visitors petting and taking pictures of him. I was beginning to think he was stuffed, but he happened to move to the other side of the tree right before my turn. 

I actually thought about doing a little match-making and telling him about a cutie named Wattle, but Cooper seemed to So I decided to just stay out of it. :)

The next time you see a picture of me and a koala, I will be holding it like a small child.

Last on my list was to see the dingos. The dingos sadly weren't free-roaming. Their info said they didn't eat people, but I guess large-dog-wolf things running around would likely scare small children. 

...yeah okay. I can see how that might be scary. This one was definitely the alpha male. And then I saw this one trotting around a corner and his mannerisms (and big ole head) reminded me so much of Charlie. I still don't know what kind of dog(s) Char is, but heck - he could be part Dingo!

Look at those eyes! That is Char Man! And then when I was headed to leave, this one curled up in a ball under some shade and started licking himself. Yep - just like my boy. 

These were my main stops at the wildlife park, but there were also tons of birds and reptiles. As birds and reptiles scare the absolute bejeezus out of me, I stuck to hanging out with my fuzzy, warm-blooded marsupial friends. 

All in all - a FANTASTIC morning/afternoon. I would 100% recommend this little adventure!

And then I took myself on an amazing date night tonight. I'm a great catch :)

 But this post is long enough; more on that later!

Until next time,