the midwest changes you

Representing the Show-Me State! We are such tragic Missourians (& proud of it).

It has been 13 months since we moved to Brisbane but a day hasn’t gone by that we are not reminded about our time in the Midwest of the U.S.A. Mainly, it’s thanks to sports and of course, the undeniable connections we still hold with family (my husband’s parents) and our dear friends (who thanks to the beauty of social media, has made keeping in touch much easier). I know for a fact that we will always have a connection to Missouri beyond our family and friends and our beloved sport teams.

It is in the Midwest that we made the commitment to one another (our marriage license was granted to us by Boone County and we got married at the Newman Center on the University of Missouri’s campus). We built our first home on the best name street I’ve ever had the pleasure of living on (Funderburg Mill Drive – I mean, come on, the word FUN is in it). The Midwest taught me how embrace my community and all that it has to offer. Midwesterners are the most generous and accommodating people. It is in Mid-Missouri where I truly started my career. I was given a chance to build on my confidence (and we all know that Americans in general are the most confident group of people you’ll ever meet) and go after what I want and share what I have to offer.

So really, spending six years in the Midwest gave us much more beyond our unbridled support for the Tigers, the Cardinals, the Chiefs and the Cougars. Since the best way to show your affinity for ones favorite place is through shirts, hats, etc, we can’t help but wear our Missourian gear all around Brisbane. Partly we’re hoping that one of these days we’ll get stopped by fellow Midwesterners – we always enjoy when that happens.

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we are so random

It's all about the breadsticks. #OliveGarden

My husband receives the most random instant messages from me. This was one I sent him earlier this week, during my week as a woman of leisure.

But in all seriousness, I was/am still craving Olive Garden. One of the perils of watching shows through Hulu Plus and Netflix is having to endure all the US-based commercials. Denny’s, Olive Garden, even the State Farm commercials get me (It’s Jake, from State Farm).

hashtag blizzard of 2015

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Call me crazy, but I miss snowstorms. All this talk about #blizzardof2015 has got me reminiscing about six year’s worth of Missouri snow days. There was something so calming and soothing about watching the snow fall, the drifts and watching the snow come towards you on a windy, snowy evening. The novelty wears off rather quickly only when things get icy and you have no choice but to drive in those treacherous conditions. But once again, all is forgotten when a beautiful snow fall comes through and blankets the roads, the trees and surrounds all over again. It’s one of those experiences that doesn’t compare to what you see in the movies or view via photos. I highly recommend it.

the grandest place

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I came across this article this evening and it immediately brought me back to the Summer of 2013 and to one of the best 4 days of my life: visiting Yosemite National Park.

No, no, no. We didn’t free climb our way up El Capitan. We just merely enjoyed the grandness of Yosemite. Oh, it was a wonderful trip! There we were, driving our bulky white God-knows-what-model-year Crown Vic around the windy roads of the Park that hot Summer week. It was glorious, it was one that I will always remember.

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Every picture taken was perfect, every stream we crossed divine, every sweat that trickled down my forehead was worth it. I was simply in awe of this place and I am almost selfishly wishing that no other National Park will ever top it. I want my memories of Yosemite to be the ultimate of my life (as far as Parks go, that is).

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I told Zach that one day, when we’re old and wrinkly, I want to make another trip to Yosemite and re-visit the places we reached and check on the giant sequoia tree that we re-named the Houston tree.

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 One day I will be back and all of those warm and fuzzy memories will come flooding back. I look forward to that day.

when you care enough to send the very best

In all honesty, my ultimate dream job is to work for Hallmark.

I love greeting cards. Sending them, receiving them, picking them out and even just perusing through them when I’m trying to kill some time at the store. I love the sentimental ones as much as the humorous ones and everything in between. During the six years we lived in the U.S., I kept Hallmark in business because I had over 20 family members living back here in Australia who celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, engagements, weddings, etc. Any and every chance I had, I would send a card – just for the heck of sending a card. I love a good witty card and I am of the belief that Hallmark makes the best kind.

It just happens, Hallmark is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri and I had the pleasure of visiting their Hallmark Visitors Center in KC many times while living in Missouri. I remember getting giddy over the free bow maker they had at the center along with all the memorabilia and the dozen or so Hallmark decorated Christmas trees they had on display. Kid in a candy store, I was. Then we got a different doze of Hallmark right across the road at the Crown Center with the best Crayola store known to mankind, a Hallmark store on steroids and one time they had a wonderful Wizard of Oz exhibit.

i am for pineapples

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We’re in the midst of Spring here in Brisbane, which means Summer fruits are emerging from Winter hibernation (not that Brisbane has much of a cold spell anyway) and nothing screams Summer than pineapples! Delicious, sweet tasting (& smelling) pineapples. Yum, yum. We managed to score three decent sized pineapples for $5 at our favorite market over the weekend (at Rocklea). So naturally, I searched for pineapple recipes on Pinterest and stumbled upon one for Dole Whip.

When we went to Disney World a couple of years ago, I had heard about Dole Whip on the Disney Forums (which I frequented as part of my Disney research). Basically, Dole Whip is magic and, as if it was even more possible, it made the happiest place on earth even happier. Unfortunately, since our Disney schedule was so jam-packed, I had completely forgotten about Dole Whip until our very last day at Disney. I was so determined to try it out that we travelled all the way from Epcot just to go back to Magic Kingdom so that I could stand in a line and order this marvelous concoction made from pineapples. And yes, it was worth it.