Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Currently - The Autumn '12 Edition

Current Book
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff for Mums


Current Playlist


Current Colour
Blue for jeans. Black for paint. White for snowy alpine dreams.


Current Food
Porridge, soup, teas, yoghurt, fresh fruit, protein shakes.


Current Favourite Show
New seasons of Mad Men & Downton Abbey. I am enjoying Masterchef so far. About to start Game of Thrones too.


Current Movie
  • My Blue Valentine - I had Tivo'd this ages ago and thought I would watch it. While it was harrowing and sad, the acting was brilliant. Yet I didn't find myself enjoy the film.
  • The Ides of March - This was James's pick and I thought after hearing the cast list, this would be a sure thing. Alas, it was not. The characters were not detailed enough, it skipped in sections and I felt like vital parts of the story were missing. Ryan Gosling was the star. Clooney felt arrogant and boring. Evan Rachel Wood was a standout too.
  • The Hangover Part II - I attempted to watch this on the flight to LA. It was so terrible. The story was exactly the same recipe as the first movie. The same lead roles but the supporting cast was terrible. I skipped through half of it and even then, I still knew what happened in the end.


Current Wish List
* More downtime
* Tropical holiday with my extended family
* Patience and forgiveness
* Do a creative course at Apple about making videos


Current Triumphs
This is the big one. I lost 12.9kgs on the Michelle Bridges 12WBT program. I finished in the Top 8% of the program. I am currently sitting at 15kgs lost since January 1st, which is just amazing. Granted, I still have a long way to go till I reach my goal weight, but I am pretty stoked that my hard work is paying off, well falling off! 


Current Abigail
My little love dove is turning 4 in less than 3 months. I cannot believe it. She is quite the comedian, cracking jokes and talking in funny voices. She hates showers and loves baths, although this changes every week. She loves Masterchef and watching people cook. Ironically, meal times are a real struggle at the moment. She shuns most new things until she sees her baby brother try it first. She loves jumping and dancing. Her favourite books at the moment are Finding Nemo, Dig Dig Digging and The Tiger Who Came to Tea.



Abi + Ted posing at Kiama Blowhole last weekend


Current Edward
14 months old and we have a walking baby! He recently had his first hair cut too. On the weekend, Teddy ate tuna sashimi and prawns. He eats absolutely everything, especially if it's on my plate! He sleeps 13 hours a night, loves the bath and water. We started Gymbaroo last week and he seemed to like it. Not too many words yet, but that's ok. He's a listener, I can tell. The slippery slide, wheely bug, blocks, arrowroot biscuits, custard, bananas and ham are all other favourite things.



Half asleep at brunch @ Berry SourDough Cafe last weekend




Current Celeb Crush
Don Draper/Jon Hamm




Current Blessings
Good health, a supportive family, fresh air, sunshine, time for the gym, new friendships blooming, cocooning myself in the doona every morning.


Current Excitement

  • Starting Round 2 of Michelle Bridges 12WBT in 3 weeks. I am aiming to lose 15kgs.
  • Birthday extravaganza has begun. Many birthdays on the horizon, lots of shopping + cards + cake.
  • Planning a trip to the mountains in August for some skiing and alpine R+R.
  • Having just attended The Nursery Workshop hosted by Tim + Kesh Coulson, I have never been more inspired to take photos and feel connected to photography. I have a separate post with more debriefing coming soon. Here's a photo I took my with newfound skills!



Current App
Instagram for photography
Weatherzone for my necessary weather report before leaving my bed
Virgin Active to book gym classes

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day




Here's my card, which I adore. It's from Abel and Game, my favourite card shop.

Beautiful, simple words were strung together. Abi signed her own name and drew a chocolate cake and her and Teddy too.

We are off to Doyle's at The Rocks for a family lunch including 9 adults, 3 preschoolers and Teddy too.

I hope today is special for each and every Mum out there. To the old and young, the Mum's who are expecting a wee bub soon, to the Nannas and Grandmothers. My heart goes out to anyone who might struggle through today. We lost our Nanna right before Mother's Day and the feelings were still so raw when we had to celebrate a few weeks later. Go easy today my friends.

With that, I'm off to pick outfits and sip my latte.

Happy Sunday to you all and Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coachella 2012 Day 3

The sun rose in the desert and Day 3 of Coachella began. The final stretch. The home run. 

We ate a light brunch at the hotel, sitting in the shade letting the water fans spray mist on our skin. We watched young people in their early twenties, dancing around the pool, drinking and burning themselves in the sun. I watched one young woman's skin turn leathery like a baseball glove. 

After losing each other in the crowd a few times, James and I, as cheesy as we are, decided to wear matching shirts to the festival. Not from the same store, his from Country Road, mine from The Gap. Curious people on the shuttle asked if we were twins or at least related. Other festival staff at the bar and food areas thought it was fantastic and said it was the best way to find your friends in the sea of people.


The last time on the SHUTTLE


The shuttle trip on the last day seemed to take forever, possibly a sign to absorb as much of the experience as I could. Because in 24 hours, we would be boarding our flight home to Sydney and heading back to reality.

As we arrived, the vibe had changed as soon as we entered the gates. More people everywhere. It seemed crowded and busy in every area. 

Because of the slow shuttle ride, we missed seeing Santigold which upset me at the time. But it was out of my control so I got over it.


I'll miss seeing these...

We drank Belvedere cocktails in the shade of the VIP tents and watched a really terrible band on the main stage. We walked right past Tony Hawk and my husband was pretty star struck. I had been spotting celebrities all weekend, including meeting Dita Von Teese and having chat with her in the VIP loos, but James is adamant that Tony was the best spotting of the weekend. 

Twins!


The Hives took the main stage and were absolutely brilliant. I've seen them before at Splendour In The Grass in Byron Bay, and they put on an amazing show at Coachella. By now, the crowd at the main stage was really swelling.

After The Hives, we headed to see The Weeknd, an upcoming hip hop singer from Toronto, Canada. The amount of drugs being smoked at this stage was unbelievable. Let's just say if you were an asthmatic, you would definitely struggle at Coachella.


The Weeknd in full force


His set was mind blowing. Such talent! All my favourites songs were played which always enhances a set for me. The sun was setting over the mountains, my eyes stung from smoke, dirt and sunlight. As the set was coming to an end, I had a real moment of exhaustion that took over me. Wondering how I could stay another 6 hours. Walking and weaving through the thousands of people in the crowd. I had a *slight* whinge to James who told me to promptly pull it together and get over it. So I did.

We decided to grab something to eat at this point and headed back to the food trucks to sample the Kogi BBQ truck which had the biggest line the entire weekend. We waited in line for over 20 minutes and started chatting with some local girls from Los Angeles. They worked in media and fashion, slightly predictable but very LA. They mentioned that the drug taking seemed to be really bad this year, more so than usual. They said they come every year, despite the lineup. Coachella to the locals, is about the experience. The camping, the music, the sun, the friends. We noticed many people weren't that interested in the acts playing, but just enjoying sitting on the grass, talking with friends, taking photos and just having fun.

We headed over to Calvin Harris who was playing in the huge dance tent on the other side of the festival. The crowd was really into it, the light show was pretty amazing so we headed into the VIP Rose Garden area.


Calvin Harris about to start


A few cocktails = husband reenacting scenes from Hot Shots


We grabbed a seat on a sofa with a prime viewing spot of Calvin playing his set. 


Comfy sofa = festival win!


Calvin Harris - You Used To Hold MEEEEEE


His set wrapped up and back to the main stage we went, to see At The Drive In reunited for the first time in 10 years. The crowd was really beginning to peak now for the main act of Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre who would take the stage very soon.


Giant prawn sculpture that blew fire!


We contemplated braving the impossible crowds to see Florence and The Machine who was playing at a smaller stage but knew we wouldn't get back in time for a good spot to watch Snoop and Dre so we stayed put. I have tickets to see Florence in 2 weeks so I figured I would be seeing her back in Sydney anyway.

Finally, the crowd went silent. The stage was dark. From the moment Snoop and Dre took the stage, mayhem began. Both being local to the Los Angeles area, the locals were in 7th heaven. The special guests rolled out including Wiz Khalifa, Kurupt, 50 Cent, Eminem and of course, the infamous hologram of Tupac Shakur. Hip Hop royalty on stage at the same time. It was one of the best things I have ever seen.

I saw Snoop Dogg when he toured Australia a few years ago, but his show then felt really forced and I didn't enjoy it all that much. But his performance at Coachella was amazing. He played my absolute favourite song from his collection which had me dancing and swearing like a sailor.

As the last song was performed, we made a beeline for the exit and realised a few thousand people had the same idea. Luckily we stayed in front of the masses and boarded a shuttle bus promptly and headed home. It was over. I had done Coachella and it felt amazing. Just as I had hoped for, all these years.




We completed our nightly routine of speaking to the kids, showering the dirt off, and falling into bed. Knowing in 24 hours, we would be high over the Pacific Ocean heading home.

Our last facetime chat with the kids... Teddy looking so grown up after his first haircut.


The next morning we headed to the Cabazon Shopping Outlet in Palm Springs to do a quick spot of shopping. This turned into a 2 hour blitz in Nike, Gap, Converse and Ralph Lauren. James told me our suitcases were full and we simply could not buy anything else! 

So in true shopper's form, I planned the route to Marc Jacobs in Hollywood for a few quick gifts. Then onto Century City for Kate Spade and a light dinner before bidding farewell to LA and returning our rental car.

We checked into our flight and waited to board. Reality hit and I just wanted to be home with my babies. Our flight was full of Zumba instructors, including the creator Alberto Perez and his legion of gorgeous Zumba freaks. James was lucky enough to be seated next to one of them. She was ridiculously beautiful. James was stoked to say the least.

Exhausted, James slept most of the way. I, on the other hand was kept awake from the severe turbulence we encountered for hours. I was calm about the situation, but also frightened. Thoughts of the movie Castaway came into my mind.


Coming into land on the A380


Finally, we descended, landed, and jumped into a taxi, zooming home to our babes. Teddy was so unbelievably happy to see us and Abi wanted to know every single detail of our holiday. They opened presents and sat in our laps and had to endure hours of kisses and cuddles from us both.


Abi in her new Coachella tee


Would I go again to Coachella? Absolutely. Next time, I will rent a villa closer to the festival. I will wear comfier shoes! I will take a small digital camera. I will arrive earlier and enjoy the smaller bands. I will ride the ferris wheel. But I'll be back for sure... One day...


Monday, May 7, 2012

Coachella 2012 Day 2

I woke at around 11am on Saturday, Day 2, which felt amazing. Before my head even lifted from the pillow, I could hear our neighbours next door already pumping the music, smoking on the balcony and astonishingly, partying in full force. Where do these young adults get their energy?!

We headed out for the essential coffee and brunch to revive ourselves. Driving through Palm Springs before noon and the temperature gauge read 40'c. Another hot day on the horizon.

Downtown Palm Springs


The locals of Palm Springs were very accustomed to having tourists and Coachella attendees in town and were more than happy to ask where we had come from, did we like the town, will we ever come back etc. The majority of locals appeared to be aged and retired. They loved the warm weather and quiet lifestyle. 

The icon of the desert


Deciding it was too hot in the middle of the day, we had an extended brunch and leisurely drive around town. Mid afternoon, we showered and jumped on the shuttle to begin our journey for Day 2's program.

Riding the shuttle on Day 2


I made the mistake of taking my DSLR which has detachable lenses. According to Coachella's guidelines, my camera was deemed for 'professional use' and we were denied entry. Camera-less, I went through the VIP gates, while poor James had to run back to the general admission entrance to store my camera in a locker but he was refused entry again as the lockers were inside and through the main gates. Finally, a decent security guard let him in but warned us to not bring the camera on Day 3. Hence why ALL my photos were taken on my iphone. I foolishly should have at least packed my trusty Canon Ixus camera but alas, there wasn't much I could do at the time. James said the pat down at the main gate was worse than coming through Immigration at LAX airport!

Arriving at the site, the heat was just so overwhelming. At 4:30pm, it was still 41'c and I was overcome by the dry desert sun. We decided wisely to sit in the shade of the VIP tents and sip beer, watching artists on the main stage. 

Kaiser Chiefs were splendid, loud and fun. The crowd was quite small which surprised me. We ventured out into the main area to meet with our friends who had travelled from Sydney, New York and London for Coachella. We stood in the general over 21 drinking area and listened to Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds who were amazing. Noel even belted out some Oasis classis including Little by Little and Don't Look Back in Anger, a crowd favourite. 

My vid of Noel, the highlight of the set


View from VIP to main stage


Next on was The Shins. I've seen the Shins at Fuji Rock Festival in Japan but their set at Coachella was much better. They played one of my favourite songs named 'Australia' which I grooved away to.

The Shins kicking it

Our friends split up from then on, some to ride the famous Coachella ferris-wheel, others to see Feist, Kasabian or David Guetta. James and I headed back into the VIP and settled for another beer and early dinner of vegetarian pide which was sublime. The sun had set but the temp didn't really drop at all. 

Lining up at the various food outlets in dining area


We moved into the crowd and up the front in time to see Bon Iver take the main stage. My heart swelled with emotion. I was lucky enough to see Bon Iver 6 weeks ago at the Opera House so to see them again so soon, I felt blessed.

Bon Iver take the stage

The breeze was perfect, the stars were shining, the palm trees swaying in the shadows, so by the time Bon Iver had started, I had to pinch myself that I wasn't in a dream. A perfect experience that I tried to soak in for minutes. Right there, in that moment, I was utterly at peace and overjoyed with happiness.


Bon Iver performing 'Blood Bank'




Bon Iver was wrapping up so we headed over to see Miike Snow on the Outdoor Stage. According to stats later on, apparently 40,000 people squashed into this small area to catch a glimpse of Miike Snow's extraordinary talent. Black & Blue, Sylvia and Animal were crowd favourites. I danced away in the dark and dirt, blissfully gleeful.

Miike Snow

Lovers goofing off










We headed back to the VIP for a cocktail while Radiohead began. To be honest, they were a little underwhelming which really surprised me. The crowd didn't seem to be getting into it either so we called it a night and made the long walk back to the shuttle. 

Trying to cool down at the misty fans

After another quiet dark bus ride home, we spoke to my family again, assured that the kids were having a great time, although starting to show signs of missing us.

Our view of the kids looked as we face-timed back home


We showered the festival dirt from our skin and climbed into bed around 4am, weary and exhausted knowing we still had ANOTHER day of music ahead of us.




Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coachella 2012 Day 1


The drive from LA seemed to drag on, zig zagging for miles over drab grey overpasses and freeways. Finally, we pulled off in Palm Springs and James and I were both pleasantly surprised at our destination and how quaint and unique this little piece of desert was. It is such an iconic little town, known for its parties and weekend sojourns celebrated by Hollywood royalty both past and present. 





We checked into our hotel which was full of young people, drinking and partying like the American cliche that is Spring Break. A quick outfit change and we were ready to head to Coachella. I was so nervous I could barely pick an outfit, pack my bag or get on the shuttle bus to head to the festival. My mind was racing and my nerves were getting the better of me. I pulled it together and we made the 30 minute shuttle bus ride to the festival with a bus load of eager people like us. Drinking was abundant on the shuttle rides, as was preparing joints for the day.

View from our balcony in Palm Springs

The festival is actually in Indio, about a 30 minute drive from Palm Springs. We didn't mind the shuttle ride every day. Most people slept on the way home. It was dark and a great time to unwind and reflect on the day's events.

I purchased VIP tickets months in advance and the benefits were already obvious when we arrived at the festival. We were hurried to a very private VIP entrance into the festival with a minimal bag search and light pat down. Our friends who had General Admission tickets told us terrible stories of being frisked and harrassed as they entered the main gates.

Once we walked into the VIP area, James and I were literally speechless at how amazing everything was. Huge bars with no lines, air conditioned toilets with mirrors (an essential for any festival attendee), sofas to lounge on, phone charging stations, mist fans to help cool down, shaded areas, food trucks with amazing cuisine including mexican, ice cream sandwiches, fish n chips, espresso bar, smoothie bar, pide, japanese and the american staple, burgers. But best of all, the VIP area is gated off from the main area with plenty of space to sit, and it's elevated which means you can see over the crowd for maximum viewing.



Watching Arctic Monkeys in the VIP


Palm Springs sweltered in a heatwave. Across the 3 days at Coachella, the temp didn't drop below about 35'c.

While standing to get our Over 21 drinking wrist bands, I spotted Alexander Skarsgard from True Blood. I was WAY too shy to ask for a photo with him so I took this sneaky pic instead. He is beyond sexy in real life. And so tall, he stood out in the crowd so easily.



While sipping a few beers to help release the nerves, we watched Arctic Monkeys on the main stage. Having seen them a few years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to hear how much better they are live. They played a tight set and a mix of new and old hits. Next we watched Pulp who were fantastic. Seriously, Jarvis Cocker is a god of some sort. He was dancing and twirling around, spilling red wine all over the stage and himself. He entertained the crowd and delivered the most popular hits from their songbook.

We nibbled on a few pulled pork tacos for dinner while we waited for Mazzy Star and The Black Keys to begin.

Border Grill food truck


Mini tacos = pure delight

Amazing art installations around the festival site


The Do-Lab, electronic beats & people smoking dope


Such a pretty sight


We had a prime view for The Black Keys in the VIP area and they played a super fun set with songs from both albums.

Towards the end of their set, we bolted over to the Mojave Tent to see M83. They were amazing, as usual. I saw them a few months ago at Laneway and they were even better at Coachella. The vibe in the crowd was much more intense. Midnight City got the biggest roar & support from the crowd but they finished on a high and we headed back to the VIP area to catch the start of Swedish House Mafia's set. I twisted James's arm to indulge in a chocolate cookie ice cream sandwich which DID NOT disappoint. The cookie was goey inside, the vanilla bean ice-cream was a heavenly way to end a 41'c day in the desert. 

Ice cream cookie sandwich for dessert? What would Michelle Bridges say?!


So beautiful... Our 1st night at Coachella was a success!


We walked the 1.5kms to the shuttle pickup and headed back to our hotel. The bus was silent and dark. My mind was racing, trying to process and store memories in my mind, to capture what I had seen and felt. 

We arrived back at the hotel at around 1:30am and decided to speak to the kids via facetime. It was so amazing to chat with them and see their little faces but I admit, I cried when we hung up the phone. With a huge time difference, we had to speak to the kids early in the morning. This didn't bother us at all since getting home from the festival + added jetlag in our systems meant that we didn't climb into bed every morning until about 3am. 








LA + Coachella Wrap-Up Pt 1

The 7 day trip flew past so quickly, I had to really stop and soak in every moment or lose it in the hurried pace of our days.


On the morning of our departure, we woke early and savoured the quiet time with the kids. Ted was sick with croup but my Mum assured me he would be in fine hands with her, my Dad and sister who would be caring for them for the week. We dropped them off at Mums, unpacking their bags and preparing their things in the kids room at Mum's house. We set up toys and books and the playpen for Ted. We said our goodbyes and kissed and cuddled. It was really hard driving away, watching them wave goodbye to us.


We whizzed to the airport in a car transfer and barely had time to enjoy a drink in the lounge before our flight departed. 


The flight to LA was surprisingly good. I watched countless episodes of Modern Family then switched to movies including Bridesmaids, My Week with Marilyn and started J. Edgar but couldn't get into it, in my tight surroundings. I watched other Mum's on the flight, settling their babies, changing nappies and playing with their kids and I felt saddened I wasn't with my babies, but I told myself to enjoy the moment, knowing that holidays without kids are far and few. 


After arriving in LA at 9am and picking up our massive rental car, we headed to our hotel, The London in West Hollywood. We were upgraded to a suite which was a nice treat. We had views over Culver City and Downtown. We spent the next 48 hours, shopping in West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, The Grove, Santa Monica, walking hand in hand talking about the kids and how much we missed them. We dined at a super cool mexican Cantina in Hollywood, scoffed In & Out burgers and enjoyed the gorgeous Gordon Ramsey restaurant at our hotel. 


Friday morning came, and it was time to drive the 2.5 hrs to Palm Springs where we would be based for the next 3 days. 


Here are some photos of our time in LA;  mostly taken on my iphone. I chose to only take my DSLR and to leave at home, my Canon & Panasonic point and shoot cameras. This decision came back to haunt me later in the trip, read on in Part II.


The night before, showing the kids what type of plane we were going on



Still have a long way to go!



Poolside at The London, West Hollywood



Rooftop lounge, we spent a few nights here at the bar



Shopping at The Grove



Getting homesick watching families enjoying this patch of greenery at The Grove



Sunset shopping, still at The Grove



View from our room in LA



Looking back to Sunset Blvd



View from the balcony, Culver City in sights



View from our room



Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in the hotel, where we dined for breakfast daily


Santa Monica beach


Urban Outfitters, Santa Monica



Beers and mexican at Mission Cantina, Hollywood


Mission Cantina, Hollywood



Very hip mexican Cantina with stained glass, round arches and fire pits


I was shocked that the Munchkins had a star... 



Grauman's Chinese Theatre... So touristy & pretty tacky. I couldn't understand why thousands of tourists were taking photos of stars.



Gorgeous window display in Louis Vuitton




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