sydney

Sydney Love...

Hello there. I'm sharing more pics of Sydney today. My experiences there were completely amazing and I can't even express the joy and gratitude I felt. Pictures do a better job than I can with words...

the stunning Harbor.

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a stormy sky over Palm Beach.

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a magical tree at the Royal Botanical Gardens.

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feathers in the grass at Circular Quay.

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  the beauty of the Opera House.

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G'day.

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a beautiful morning at Balmoral Beach.

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gazing up at the Ferris wheel at Luna Park.

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a dear friend's charming beach cottage.

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a cake made with love to share with friends.

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bug-hunting with my best friend's daughter.

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exploring Manly Beach.

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sipping bubbles while...

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gazing at this lovely view.

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my last day.

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coming home.

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It was bittersweet to leave the place where I spent most of my childhood days but coming home to my family was wonderful. I got to see my old friends and their new lives. I got to meet their children and visit their homes. We shared many laughs about the old days but the best part was seeing how they have all grown into amazing, beautiful and successful women. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for dropping everything for my visit, showing me a fabulous time and welcoming me into their hearts and homes again. I felt truly blessed to be surrounded by their grace and love.

Have a lovely rest of the week and thank you for letting me share these with you.

xo,

Ivy

Room service at Dawn

Hi there! Happy Friday! Wanted to share a few more Instagram snapshots from my Sydney trip. One of my favorite mornings there we ordered a room service breakfast, promptly delivered at 6 am. Jetlag didn't really slow us down, it just had us going to bed early and waking up with the birds - which - actually turned out to be a gift. Watching the sunrise over Sydney harbor is quite breathtaking and enjoying a hot cup of tea in the snuggly hotel robe wasn't too shabby either...

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I have a thing for itty bitty jars - especially when they say "Made in Australia".

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What a magical way to start the day. I felt so grateful for this sweet indulgence.

Have a gorgeous weekend!

xo,

Ivy

Home again

Hi dear readers! Yes, I am home from beautiful Sydney and I'm still trying to take it all in. It is always a bit surreal when one day you are in another country and the next you are in your own bed. Always trips me out a bit. We actually got home a week ago but my family stayed on to celebrate Grace's 7th birthday...so...this is my first chance to sit down and post. I have dozens of photos and I promise not to unload them all at once but I thought today I would just share some of my favorite Instagram shots from the first day of our adventure.

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We landed at 6:07 am. Bright and early!  After enduring all the fuss of customs and luggage wrangling, we jumped into a cab and headed to the Four Seasons Hotel. Even though I was exhausted, my heart was beating fast with excitement! I was actually here. The view from our room brought me to tears. Of joy.

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Like good little travelers, we resisted the urge to stay in our room and sleep and instead went for a brisk walk in The Rocks district, discovered a sweet cafe, downed a few coffees and a tasty breakfast.

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The feeling of being back in Sydney was rather indescribable. Surreal, bizarre, overwhelming, exhilarating. I was overcome with gratitude that somehow, in a matter of a few days, my dream of returning to my birth city had been actualized. I was in Sydney, with my beloved husband, staying at a beautiful hotel and only hours away from seeing my childhood friends. To quote my dear Aussie friend Jo - "I was completely spun out!"

After a very short nap, we got up showered and felt somewhat human again. We had to seriously rally because we were off to the Opera Bar for sunset drinks with my mates!

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The Opera bar was swarming with people, all taking in the gorgeous view, the warm sun and of course the lovely drinks. I scanned the hundreds of people looking for familiar faces. The butterflies in my stomach raged and my trembling hands were doing their best to steady a glass of white wine. I was nervous and excited at the same time. What would it be like to see these girls after 19 years!?

Just when I thought that perhaps we arrived before them, two hands fell on my shoulders and spun me around. In front of me was two of my girls. Claire and Natalie. We screeched, laughed and embraced in one hysterical mess. I'm sure we looked crazy but we didn't care. Before I knew it, another two friends arrived with bottles of bubbles, warm hugs and endless giggles. While the champagne flowed, we caught up with one another like no time had passed at all.

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The night unfolded beautifully! We ended up at a sushi place where we were joined by another friend. Chris celebrated his birthday there - the actual day had been lost in time when we crossed the date line!

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After that we meandered the Rocks, linking arms, sharing stories old and new and laughing about high school memories. My heart was flooded with happiness.  It felt good to be home.

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Okay more to come - I will break it up a bit so I don't bore you to tears - I promise.

What have you been up to while I was away? Anyone else travel or start a new Spring project? Do tell.

xo,

Ivy

Hello, Sydney.

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Hi there my lovely readers!

Well, I have some exciting news to share with you today - we are leaving for Sydney, Australia on Thursday - yes, as in two days from now!! A last minute opportunity landed in our laps yesterday, when one of my hubby's clients invited him to an executive retreat in Sydney. Well...as many of you know, that is my birthplace and there was NO way in hell that I wasn't going with him. So we scrambled and made arrangements for my parents to fly in and take care of the girls! I'm in total shock!

I've gotten in touch with several of my childhood friends, so I hope to meet up with them and catch up! I haven't been back since we left in 1994!! I was in the 11th grade. It was so hard to leave all my friends but at the time we kinda idolized America and I had fanciful notions of becoming a cheerleader, dating a quarterback and going to Prom! ha! Things didn't quite pan out like that...

Anyway, I have always wanted to go back and visit so I feel incredibly grateful for this chance! I will be taking tons of photos and hope to post a bit while I'm there!

See you when I return from the land Down-Under...

xo,

Ivy

Royal Wedding Cake Designer

I don't know about you, but I'm really excited for the Royal Wedding! A prince, a princess, a gorgeous dress, a famous city, an amazing ring...I mean what's not to love? Growing up in Australia, we were very focused on the Royals, following their every move and relishing in all that lovely (and not so lovely) gossip. I even got to see Princess Diana in person when she and her entourage paraded through Sydney's Royal Botanical Gardens one summer. It's such a vivid memory to me. Her gilded horse-drawn carriage glided through the crowd as onlookers craned their necks to catch a glimpse of her beauty. She waved and smiled - a perfect princess.  As the carriage came closer, I ran to the front of the crowd and (I swear) she looked right at me and waved! I frantically waved back, grinning like a fool! I was starstruck. I was twelve and I can see it like it was yesterday...

With a childhood memory like that, it's no surprise I'm a little obsessed with the upcoming Royal nuptials! Today, I found myself perusing the official Royal Wedding site and  I couldn't resist checking out the chosen cake designer, Fiona Cairns. A perfect wedding needs the perfect cake, of course! No pressure. From what I can tell via Fiona's website, I think she will deliver a gorgeous, whimsical cake...check out these pics of her work...

Beautiful right? So will you be watching the event? My TiVo is all set to record!

xo,

 

All images via fionacairns.com

Travel Visions

Hi there. Well...unfortunately, I don't have a Friday Escape for you today. My little Grace is home sick with an ear infection so my attention needs to be on her. But...I didn't want to leave you with nothing, so I'm sharing some of the beautiful travel images I've collected for my Pinterest Travel board.

A majestic landscape in Val di Funes, Italy.

The gorgeous city of Prague.

Colorful hot air balloon over Paris.

Simply charming tea houses in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

Last but certainly not least, my beautiful home town, Sydney, Australia.

Hope you enjoy these. I want to hear from you - where would you like us to explore on our Friday Escapes? Any ideas? I'm making a list.

Hope you have a beautiful weekend!

xo,

 

Etsy Love - Trish Grantham

Happy Tuesday! Hope your morning is going well. Today, I have a new favorite, Portland artist to share with you. Her name is Trish Grantham and her work is absolutely delightful!

Back in early December, I attended the most lovely, curated Sunday Best Holiday Show with my friend Amy. It featured some of the best handmade art around. Trish had her table up front and was my first stop! I quickly purchased a stack of her gorgeous postcards and drooled over her wood & resin originals. One day, I will own one!

Her work makes me smile. I love the whimsical nature of it, the distinctive way she varies her line weight and of course, the layering of all those precious vintage papers! Her little characters are enchanting and authentic, conveying an unexpected dose of emotion and feeling. And yes, I'm a sucker for her birds! I'm a bird freak...I know.

Have a look....

Her paintings have been shown all over the world, including Tokyo, Sydney and London! Get your very own piece from her Etsy shop and check out her full gallery of work on her site.

So inspiring!

xo,

All images via TrishGrantham.com

A New Member of the Family

After losing our dear cat, Sydney in early December we sorely missed the presence of a furball in our home...so...I trotted down to CAT (The Cat Adopotion Team) and adopted a sweet kitten, originally named Hickory. I thought I would share the story of our meeting... Upon walking into the Kitten Room of the shelter, one could NOT miss the tiny white and black kitty desperately scaling the walls of his cage, while meowing with all his might!

"Oh boy"  I thought, "That one looks like trouble!"

I gave him a finger pat on the head and moved on to the sleepy, quiet kittens.

"Meeeooooooow!!! Meeeeeooooow!!!!"

Hickory was hard to ignore. I couldn't help but feel bad for the little guy. I put my finger between the bars and he grabbed on with both tiny paws, bringing it to his face. A loud purr began. Cute. Very cute.

But..... I withdrew my hand and went back to looking at the more mellow cats.

CLANG! BANG!

Hickory had once again climbed the sides of the cage, but this time he had knocked over his metal water bowl.

"MEEEEEOOOOOWWWW!!!!" he yelled at me, like it was my fault.

Okay! Okay! I told the adoption consultant that I would visit one on one with Hickory in the "meeting" room. Once in my arms he scrambled up to my neck , gave me a few head butts and curled up under my chin. He sounded like a little engine with that purr!

Smiling like a fool, I carried him into the room and sat cross-legged on the floor. He unfurled himself, jumped from my arms, pounced on an invisible speck on the ground, ran circles around the room, leaped over a chair and then hopped back into my lap...head butted me again...and then off he went on his circuit of adventure around the room. Every few seconds he would check back in with me, head butt, purr and then back to his kitten antics. He put on quite a show. I found myself laughing out loud. I liked this little guy. Trouble...yeah maybe, but he looked confident and playful, perfect for dealing with a four-year old. Dear old Syd, had been terrified of Grace and we rarely saw her during the day.

For good measure, I visited with three or four other kittens but while they were all adorable, they didn't have the personality that Hickory did.

Half an hour later, I was driving home with him. His eyes closed, purring with contentment. He had gotten his way.

Hickory, now renamed Toby, has made an amazing addition to the family. He is so sweet and loving. Playful and patient with Grace (and all the neighborhood kids who visited him). We couldn't be happier with our new little fur baby.  He had a blast with everyone over Christmas! Thought I would share some of the photos...

He loves to "help" Grace color...

He surely wasn't going to miss Christmas dinner...

and unwrapping presents was a highlight...as was scaling the Christmas tree...TOBY!!!!

The best part of having Toby in our life - Grace has a new best friend...

xo,

I will miss you Sydney.

Tonight we put down our cat, Sydney. She had stomach cancer. This afternoon she was sitting in my lap and now...she's gone. It's amazing the emptiness a pet leaves when they are gone. The house feels empty, her food bowl sits there undisturbed, her catnip mouse lies in the corner. I miss her so much. She was a shy kitty. I mostly saw her at night, once Grace was in bed. She would come and sit with me, quietly purring. A warm weight on my legs. But tonight...nothing. I'm left only with warm tears running down my cheeks.

My only comfort - she is with my other kitty, Gabriel. They used to sleep together. Now, I hope they lay once more, in each others arms...

xo,