Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Aussie Celebration!

Last Saturday November, Damien & I renewed our vows at our Blessing of the Rings ceremony. It was a lovely morning ceremony and mass followed by a brunch reception. Originally we had planned to have an old fashioned picnic brunch outdoors, but due to poor weather and lots of rain, we quickly came up with an indoor reception plan. We had so much help from family and friends and I don't know what I would've done without the input & creativity from my sister in laws.

The ceremony was so beautiful! We had incredible singers who gave us goosebumps while singing our favourite worship songs. Our priest, who is a good friend of Damien's, gave a great sermon which was more like a Damien roast! He was quite hilarious --- Damien has yet to get over it ;) We chose the Beatitudes for our Gospel and it was beautifully tied into the sermon.

The reception was very laid back, decorated with hand-made doilie banners, yellow Australian wild flowers in tin can vases, as well as yellow & pink roses in mason jars tied with lace. The theme was rustic picnic and we did our best to create that effect indoors in the seminary dining room. The food spread was quite amazing -- we had mouth watering mini muffins, salmon and cream cheese rolls, lemon poppyseed loaves, chive 'n' cheese cornbread, cheese platters, and meat platters all labelled with doilie food labels. For drinks there was homemade sangria made by my Basque-born brother-in-law (his family's recipe), mimosas, beer for the blokes, champagne and strawberries, and OJ & soda for the kiddies. We had a guitarist playing acoutic music during the reception and everyone had a good time (so we heard). For wedding favours I baked up some heart-shaped sugar cookies and wrapped them in a doilie envelope tied with cooking string. It's amazing how innovated you can be with doilies!

We had an abundance of picnic baskets, so we used them as decoration wherever we could. It was a very simple event, very laid back and full of great Aussie humour!

Towards the end of it however, I had an allergic reaction to one of the foods! My throat started tingling and swelling up and I had bad stomach cramps for about 9 hours. I have never had a reaction like that, but thankfully I didn't have to use my epipen. I did however have to leave the reception to go to the dr's, but all was back to normal the next day!

We missed all of you and wish you could've been there to make it that more special. You were in our thoughts during the day. I've attached some pics for you to see, hope you enjoy!


All photos: Life in Oz


We were so amazed by our musicians that I wanted to share a clip of them singing the 'Desert song' during Communion. They are so talented and helped make our ceremony so blessed. Song has such an powerful impact!

Hope you enjoyed the pics and the video!

Monday, 14 November 2011

5 more days!....

..... 'til our wedding part deux!

Things are coming along very smoothly and although this is crunch week, the stress levels have been relatively low (minus Sunday!). We have so many family and friends who are helping us out that it has been practically effortless. That combined with some frugal creativity, I think we might just pull this off!

One of our guests happens to be our caterer who is putting together a light menu of mini muffins, salmon and cream cheese rolls, and various cheese platters. I am baking up lemon 'n' poppyseed loaves as well as chive and cheese cornbread. My sister-in-law is making up her delicious hummus, and in addition to that we will have breads and meat platters. As well, we will be having hot brunch-like finger foods which include sausage rolls, mini quiche and a few other goodies! My brother-in-law will make his infamous sangria and we will also have mimosas and beer for our guests.

This week I will also be baking up our wedding favours which will be pink heart-shaped sugar cookies wrapped in a doilie envelope for the guests to munch on after brunch. We will have a basket of footie balls and other toys for the boys to play with their mates. Damien's friend James will be playing acoustic throughout the reception and my youngest sister-in-law will be making up a playlist in addition. We've hired 3 students from the high school my father-in-law teaches at who are specializing in hospitality, to serve food and drinks.

My other sister-in-law (there are many!) from Sydney will be doing our photography. We are both romantics at heart and detail-oriented, so I know she will do a great job. Dami's mate Johnno will be videotaping the ceremony for all y'all back home! He will also be our MC. Our flowers will be provided from the friendly florists down the road, who are so enthusiastic to put together our flower arrangements.  We couldn't ask for better help!
Now all we need is a nice sunny day for our picnic brunch and life will be grand!

After the brunch reception we will be heading to my in-laws for an after party and good ol' Aussie BBQ for whoever wants to come. There will be quite a few family members from out of town, so it will be a great chance to hang out with them.

All I need to figure out is how to do my hair --- I can't believe I don't have that thought up. Ah well, I will figure it out! Other than that, everything is pretty much set. We only had one glitch with the flowers --- we are unable to get ranunculas, so we are substituting them with some beautiful light pink carnations. I am usually not a fan of the flower, but these look surprisingly lovely and romantic!

Can't wait to post pictures and let you know how it all went! Just picture pink flowers, picnic baskets, doilies everywhere, twine, lace and hints of yellow and grey....

Be seeing you soon!

- Alex

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Squeaky & adorable

On Friday night Damien and I took a walk down to the pier at sunset. We grabbed some Mackers (McDonald's) and headed down the boardwalk. It was a beautiful night, and St. Kilda came alive with the bright lights of Luna Park, the nightlife of Acland Street and the broadway show at the Palais Theatre.

All Photos: Life in Oz

We caught a beautiful sunset - actually, more like stunning! The weather was perfect and things couldn't have been better!

Just a regular catch....I am definitely not at Lake Ontario anymore!

 As we were walking down the pier we heard a little squeak in the rocks.....low and behold, this is what we found....

Little fairy penguins!

They seek refuge in the rocks at night here in St. Kilda

It's hard to see them clearly because we couldn't use flash, as it blinds them

This little guy quickly realized that wrappers aren't food :P

These two little chicks were waiting for their mamma to bring home the bacon!

We had heard from a friend that people had spotted penguins here, so we really hoped we'd see them, we are so thankful we did! Not far in Phillip Island, they charge tourists over $70 to see these guys come in at night. To think we have them in our backyard for free! Such a wonderful experience to see them, and we will definitely be back to visit.

After a beautiful sunset and penguin spotting, we decided to conclude the night with ice cream cones and a bottle of coke in a glass (because it just tastes better!) We became like kids again. There was nothing that could've made that night more blissful. (Ps, we do actually eat healthy on a regular basis!)

Luna Park

Yup, we're goobers!

For a more clear shot of these one and a half foot wonders, click here -->

Much love & big hugs!


Monday, 7 November 2011

Pumpkins, engagements & cupcakes

Happy belated Halloween everyone!

This wonderful holiday is not widely celebrated in Australia, which is pretty saddening. Since it is one of my favourite holidays, we decided to bring it to Melb! Before we found out I had to leave the country we planned to have a big Halloween party at our place, but unfortunately we had to cancel due to that. My thoughtful and loving parents sent us a whole care package of Halloween goodies for our party! Thanks again mom and dad! xo

While I was gone, Damien bought a pumpkin because he was so looking forward to carving it with me. I am proud to say that he carved his very first pumpkin and he was a complete natural at it!! Can't wait 'til next year to go crazy on carving pumpkins together!

Even though we had to cancel the party, we were able to celebrate a belated Halloween party this past weekend :) There were only four of us, but it was really nice. Our two guests, our friends Adam & Mardi, were just recently engaged so we wanted to do something for them. So it was sort of an engagement celebration with a Halloween twist!They are great people and we couldn't be happier for them :)

Below are some pics of our Halloween events!

The first time Damien felt pumpkin innards!
All photos: Life in Oz

Proud papa! He did the Ned Kelly mask idea (after his ancestor, Ned Kelly) with the typical pumpkin mouth

Our engagement/Halloween cupcakes

Got this inspiration from Martha Stewart. Thought the ghosts could be Adam & Mardi! We like to call it, "the ghosts of their single lives" ;)

Stacked books with scary titles: "Crime & Punishment", "Beyond Good & Evil", etc
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The Visa Has Come Through!

Photo: Life in Oz
After months of hardwork and patience awaiting my Partner Visa, it has finally come through! We got word from our immigration officer 3 Monday's ago notifying me that I would need to leave the country in order for it to be processed. Knowing the wedding was coming up fast we needed to make a quick decision, so two days after we received the email from Ottawa we booked my flight to Buffalo and I left the following Saturday!

We had been thinking about where we would fly to for a while --- Fiji, Bali, Thailand, New Zealand crossed our minds. But my loving and understanding husband, knowing how much I missed my family, friends and my hometown, and not knowing when we'd be able to come back to Canada to visit, decided it was best for me to fly back home.

We decided to make this trip a complete surprise, I had only told a few friends from out of town about it and my trusty friend Shawn who I had called to pick me up from the airport! It couldn't have worked out more perfectly!

I left Melbourne on Saturday October 22 at noon and arrived in Buffalo the same day at 9:30pm. It just so happened to be my mom's 50th birthday that night and we arrived in St. Cath at around 11pm. A few hours prior, Damien had texted my mom saying Happy Birthday and that we'd be calling around 11pm. I didn't even tell him to do that, the genius thought of it himself! He is just as sneaky as I am ;)

I have surprised my parents before, but nothing compared to this surprise! My sister happened to surprise them by coming down for the weekend from Toronto, when originally she had to work, so I surprised her right back! I wish we had a camera to capture my family's faces -- it was utterly priceless and I am so lucky to have had that moment! It was worth the 27 hour trip just to see the look on their faces!

More from the trip below :)

The Trip Part One - Onward to Canada...

Pumpkin patch at De Vries Farm in Fenwick
All Photos: Life in Oz
I woke up Sunday morning with hugs from my mamma and a glorious cup of coffee on my nightstand! Jet lag wasn`t so friendly to me this trip, but that didn`t stop me from having a full, enjoyable trip. My sister was able to get an extra day off of work so we were able to spend the day together on Sunday! It was a beautiful fall day and she wanted us to go for a drive in the country! So we went to one of my favourite places in the world - Ridgeville! There we got some pumpkin spice coffees and took a walk to grab some apples from my favourite farm in Niagara - De Vries! That evening we were able to have some family time, which we all craved. We haven`t had that quality togetherness time in quite a while, so it was very much enjoyed. It was also nice to see my cats again - I have missed having a pet and I especially missed my girls. My cat Bailey (who would never sleep in my bed), snuggled with me every night. I`d like to think it`s because she missed me :)

My favourite part of this trip was having some good quality time with my family and friends -- that itself was such a blessing. I am grateful for my friends who came from out of town just to have lunch with me - I love you and appreciate the time we were able to spend together. I have so missed girl time! So much has happened since I left Canada - three weddings and one engagement - so it was great to see all the friends and family who have had such wonderful changes in their lives!
 During the week I was able to meet my baby cousin Emma for the first time! She is the most beautiful baby in the world and I am so glad I got to meet her. My mom and I thoroughly enjoyed having coffee and delicious pumpking spice cupcakes with her and her mom Sarah. Sarah is an amazing mom, and I hope when Damien and I start having kids, that I can be just as natural and relaxed as she is with Emma. I was also able to meet another new addition to the family - Evangeline! She is tiny, snuggly and full of wrinkles! She`s Lara and Nick`s new bulldog puppy! What a cutie!

Every year Lara and I look forward to celebrating `Fall Day` - a day where we celebrate the beautiful season by doing ridiculous fall things! We kick off the day with breakfast in Niagara on the Lake and then we grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks and head to Jordan and Ridgeville. This year we celebrated our 7th Fall Day! I have missed having Pumpkin Spice Lattes and although they have Starbucks here, they dont carry those types of lattes, so I was super psyched to have one again! It was great to have a Canadian breakfast again. I have missed that soooo much! Homefries, sausages, pancakes galore! Breakfasts in Oz just aren`t the same. When we arrived in NOTL, I went all out and had the Hungryman breakfast! Deeeelisshh!
It sure is my favourite!


Heck yes it is!
My sister was able to come home on my last day back which was great. She`s such a trooper - she took a bus at 6am from Toronto just to make it for our family brunch. She was picked up by my other `sister` Deanna who took a bus from Kingston to see me for the weekend! Such great girls! That night we were able to celebrate Halloween a little bit by carving pumpkins and watching a scary movie since I would be missing Halloween during my flight. No matter how old you are, pumpkin carving never gets old :)


I had such a wonderful visit back home - Birthday celebrations, family dinners, lunches with friends, enjoying the fall leaves, meeting new family members and good ol` quality time. There were so many family & friends that I wish I could`ve seen, but it was such a quick trip and since it was a surprise, nothing was planned. It was quite freeing having nothing planned and to be able to go with the flow. Thank you to everyone who made my trip home so perfect :) I'm sending lots of love and big hugs to you! xoxo