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Well folks, I finally made it. I am writing this from my hotel room in New York City. Remember way back when I said it was one of my goals to get here for work – well, here I am!

But DAMN that’s a long flight! Throw in a bit of plane malfunction and flight changes, and about 28 hours later I made it to my hotel. The first Air New Zealand flight (AKL to SFO) was a dream – dinner, a couple of movies and then slept until they woke us up for breakfast. United Airlines? (SFO to JFK) – yeah, not so much. Middle seat, no individual tv screens, crap programming, no food…oh and did I mention plane malfunctions? yeah.

Anyway, after a good while of getting horizontal on the plushest bed ever, I was ready to face this:

View from my hotel room

My dear Mina (a native New Yorker who I studied with) came and picked me up in the afternoon. We quickly jumped on the subway and caught the Staten Island ferry right on dusk. The sky changed through amazing colours as we cruised past Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty

The ferry ride was really cool – we stood outside both ways, and braved the icy wind (it’s about 3 degrees here). definitely needed the scarf & hat!

Mina & I on the Staten Island Ferry

By the time we returned the sun had gone down (4.30pm!) and the bright lights of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge were lighting up the sky. So beautiful! The Empire State Building is currently lit up in yellow, orange and red for Thanksgiving – I am waiting for it to change to red & green for Christmas!

Manhattan lights

We hopped off the ferry & headed uptown to Bryant Park (to see the cute Ice Skating Rink) and Times Square. The last time I was here was New Years Eve 2005 (the coolest night ever – but would never do it again!) so it was neat to see all the lights. So much has changed – there are new stores, new billboards and new lights. I love the hustle & bustle of it all!

Times Square!

We had soup, salad & breadsticks (felt weird to be ordering soup, but it was delicious!) from Olive Garden before heading home for the evening. I love how in NY state they are required to list the calories of every meal on the menu – makes you think twice about what you are ordering! haha!

Before I jumped out of the car, Mina gave me a gift bag filled with goodies to welcome me back to NYC. I wanted to share just how many items of awesomeness are in this wee bag:

Goodies!

– bottles of water (tap water = yukky)
– A notebook with a lovely letter from Mina
– snacks including chocolate covered pretzels – yummm
– socks to keep my tootsies warm
– A Michaels gift card (can’t WAIT to go to this store & get some stash)
– A bottle of wine
– A corkscrew to open the bottle of wine
– A christmas themed wine glass (so gorgeous!) to drink the wine in
– A subway map
– the T-Shirt from the 5K Thanksgiving run that I didn’t get to run due to flight changes 😦
– Gorgeous NYC embellishments (for when I get to put these pics down on paper!)
– A Mamma Mia CD……..

AND…..

– TICKETS TO SEE MAMMA MIA ON BROADWAY! YUSSS, I cannot wait for next Saturday night! I love Mamma Mia (refer the whole “sailing around the Greek Islands on the Mamma Mia tour” blog post) and seeing the show on BROADWAY no less will be amazing.

Best goody bag ever! Thanks Mina!!!

Ok, better get to bed – the working part of this trip starts tomorrow!

xx Leah

Hi dear blog readers,

I need your help. I am a finalist in the Sisters Ridge blog competition – and I need your votes! 

The competition is to be the voice of Sisters Ridge wines. We had the choice to write about two topics – “Top 10 tips for a girls night in” and “Top 10 tips for squeezing the juice out of life” – and there are two finalists per topic. But only ONE person per topic will be chosen – that’s where you come in!!

Voting is easy. If you have a facebook account all you need to do is click the ‘like’ vote button at the end of my entry: http://www.sistersridge.co.nz/blog/amber/leah_evans/

If you don’t have a facebook account, just register your vote by posting a comment on my entry.

You can only vote once – and the girl with the most votes wins.

But wait, there’s more! When you vote, be sure to register here and you will go in the draw to win two bottles of our fabulous Sisters Ridge wines. We will give away one double pack per week of voting.

Fingers crossed!!

xxLeah

I just LOVE getting parcels in the mail. Inside the boxes, courier bags, or envelopes is generally something pretty darn exciting!

In the last few weeks, thanks to moving house, I have redirected my mail to my work address – which means the most gorgeous things have been landing on my desk!

This week – the best EVER parcel arrived from London. The lovely Natalie had given me the headsup that something was on it’s way – thanks to this wee blog post here – and I was waiting impatiently for it to arrive.

Inside was two gorgeous little bags – one for shoes, and one for lingerie – which fold up inside themselves and pack away easily. Perfect for travelling! I can’t wait to use them on my trip to New York next week!

Nat also sent me the cutest Thank You tag – and inside a tiny box was a gold chain with a turquiose stone on it. Definitely my colours! I have been wearing it non stop the last two days and had loads of comments. Love ❤

Thanks gorgeous girl! xxx

Wonder what other goodies will land on my desk this week?!

After the success of my Learn Something New Every Day book, I have decided to take on Journal Your Christmas – another online class by Shimelle. A month or so back, I spotted Ali Edwards’s December Daily album – and I loved how she was setting it out. However, I knew I was going to need the daily prompts, which Shimelle is so good at, to keep me going throughout such a busy time of year.
I know that December is going to be manic for me. There is a fair bit of travelling going on for one thing (NYC to NZ, Wellington to Ohakune & back, Wellington to Auckland & back) as well as Christmas parties and housesitting and working and all of the daily craziness that Decmber seems to bring!
My solution? Use the December Daily page layout, create my album well prior to December hitting – and wait with my supplies at the ready for the JYC prompts to roll in. I got my album done in the weekend and here it is – all ready to go!

My front cover

Examples of interior pages & dividers

Examples of interior pages & dividers

Examples of interior pages & dividers

Examples of interior pages & dividers

Examples of interior pages & dividers

Examples of interior pages & dividers

Examples of interior pages & dividers

Back Cover

That’s just a sneak peek of the inside of the book – I will share the detail page by page as I create each daily entry!

Bring on December!

Monday: 55min HARDCORE abs workout

Tuesday: 45min express Pump class

Wednesday: 45min Shape up for Summer Team Training workout of the week

Thursday: Day off

Friday: 55min Pump class

Saturday: Nothing

Sunday: 5Km run on the treadmill, triceps free weights workout & mini ab training session (thanks Jase!)

Excitement this week – found out my friend Mina is running a 5K race in a couple of weeks time, so I decided to join her. The exciting bit? That race is in New York! It will be my first 5K, it will be winter there, I am gonna be doing it with a dear friend, it’s on Thanksgiving, and it’s in NEW YORK (did I mention that?). Excited – yes! Bring on the challenge.

Monday: 4.5k run on the treadmill

Tuesday: Nothing

Wednesday: 45min Shape up for Summer Team Training workout of the week

Thursday: 45min RPM class

Friday: 4k run on the treadmill + moving house (approx 30 trips up & down 2 flights of stairs + heavy lifting)

Saturday: MOVING DAY (so more heavy lifting + stairs)

Sunday: Exhaustion. Never moving house again!

Last weekend we headed up to Auckland – on the train.

Most of our friends/ family thought we were slightly crazy. Yes, it was going to take us 12 HOURS to get to Auckland from Wellington – a distance we could fly in 1 hour (even the bus was faster – getting in to Auckland 2 hours earlier than the train, and cost $8 less).

But travelling by train was something that Jase and I both wanted to do – check out the countryside, sit back and relax and see where the train took us. It was an ADVENTURE!

Boarding the train

We were up bright and early to board The Overlander at 7am. A quick look around confirmed that yep, we were the only ones without grey hair!

Grey Grannies on the Overlander

Once we got going the scenery was beautiful. Some of the time the train followed along State Highway 1, but other times it ducked through countryside we had never glimpsed before. I spent most of the time like this…

Snapping pics out the window

We read the paper, our books, played cards, chatted, people watched. We went for a walk through all the carriages (a lot harder than it sounds, getting rocked & rollicked the whole way) and ended up at the open air part of the front carriage. I was enthralled by watching the tracks whizz by under the train…

Whizzing tracks

A highlight was going through the Rangitikei Gorge and then a tunnel while on the open air deck. Such great views!

Rangitikei Gorge

Jase & I

We were really impressed with the Overlander – they gave a wee commentary throughout the trip which meant we learnt lots about our own country as well. The Raurimu Spiral was definitely more interesting being on the train (rather than going to the lookout – which is up there on the list of Most Underwhelming New Zealand Attractions). The back of the train had an observation lounge where we sat for a while – a lovely place to share lunch with your fellow train goers 🙂

The view

We stopped at Ohakune for a pie & a coke (it’s what you do when you travel train styles apparently) and then we were on our way again. The scenery became more standard the closer we got to Auckland – and by 3pm I was ready to just hurry up and get there. The train stopped at Pukekohe, then Papakura, and then Middlemore and I was starting to groan, thinking we would be late into Auckland if we stopped at all the suburban train stations. But then we turned onto the eastern corridor, shot through the back of Mt Wellington, Kohimarama and then suddenly we were cruising into Britomart! Arrived right on time, 12 hours later to Auckland.

It was a great trip, really interesting and scenic, a wonderful service, stress free….but once was enough! 😉 Glad we have done it!

My favourite part of the trip? Seeing the matching Christmas jumpers that this gorgeous couple were sporting…GOLD.

Oh those matching jumpers!

Yikes – just catching up with last week! Here is what I got up to – not as much as I would like unfortunately!

Monday: 6k run on the treadmill

Tuesday: Nothing – but went up and down the stairs packing the house up enough times to work up a sweat!

Wednesday: 45min Shape up for Summer Team Training workout of the week

Thursday: Nothing

Friday: Sat on a train all day – so nothing

Saturday: Walked the dog. Unfortunately as the dog is 11 years old and very slow – it took 30minutes to get to the corner dairy.

Sunday: Nothing

Wow. Total exercise #fail. Must do better this week!

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