Monday, September 23, 2013

A Whimsical Venue - Yesterday Spaces

We found a wedding venue! After searching and searching we narrowed it down to 3 different choices...and after visiting them all we chose Yesterday Spaces in Leicester, NC. It's gorgeous! On my first tour I went with mom...the wedding guru...and we fell in love. She was all over it. The owner has thought through everything! They have a plan for everything...and mom's favorite plan, the rain plan.  They have two barns on the property...the main event barn and the dairy barn.  The dairy barn is the rain plan.

As you pull up to the property there is a huge field on the left for parking and then on the right you turn in to the farm. Immediately off the road (it's a tiny back-road) there is the farm house (that you can rent for family) and the dairy barn.  A bit behind the farm house is the second rental house that was recently purchased...score.  Then you drive up the road the main event barn.  When we toured it was a heavily fogged misty day, but yet it was so enchanting. To get to the ceremony space you walk through a row of gorgeous to the field where the mountains peek up in the background.  There's a lovely tree you can get married under but we might end up doing an arbor...we'll see.

The back-up dairy barn is gorgeous. We're actually going to use it for our rehearsal dinner which we're really excited truck! The barn has some original wood inside which is gorgeous and some dried flowers hanging from the ceiling...and it has a walk-in silo...what?!?! So neat!

The main event barn is gorgeous...the porches have beautiful log posts in a rich color. When you enter, the whole barn area is strung up with lights. The walls and floors are all a lovely oak wood and they have gorgeous hand-made oak round tables for us to use.  The whole barn (inside and out) is hooked to a sound system that you can control personally...ipod wedding. So easy!  They have 2 kitchens (one upstairs and one down) and our favorite part? Gorgeous bathrooms!! Beautiful hammered sinks and hand-made stall doors...they didn't miss a detail.

Downstairs are the stalls...and yes they have animals :) They had a donkey and mini pony when we visited and they said they were getting some llamas! So excited! You can go downstairs (and music is there too!) and pet the animals and most people set up a photo booth below. Pretty cool!

They also have an event field outside with a fire we will definitely be playing some lawn games (I hear Andrews uncle has lawn darts...oh dear) and cooking up some smores and late night weenies!

I am so so excited! Things are coming together :) Now to figure out attire, photographer, caterer, and all the other little details...we have some good I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Jumping Out of a Plane

So once we arrived in Auckland...we went straight to Auckland Skydive.  We had a GrabOne Deal (basically like Groupon) and Andrew and I had never been skydiving so we were really excited.  We were a bit nervous, but I would say more excited than anything.  So we got our instructions from the team...and then put on our gear...then it was time to go up in the plane.

I was fine...the whole time...and then Andrew was the first to go.  I'm sitting there, all excited and calm...and then I watched Andrew and his tandem partner jump heart sank.
The nervousness and fright set in.  Then the next guy went...and ohhhhhhh was he scared. It was like putting a cat in the bath tub.  He clawed his way out of that plane...attempting to grab at anything he could to stop his tandem partner from throwing him out the plane.  His guide didn't care....and off they went! Then it was my turn...the guy must be really used to people freaking out because he just pushed me right to that edge. I was so nervous. I looked down and there went my heart again, right in to my stomach.  And then one, two, three! Off we went! I was screaming like a bat outta hell! It was SO INSANE! And SO AWESOME!!! The free-fall was only a few seconds...I think like 60 seconds maybe...but oh my goodness was it a rush.  Once he pulled the shoot it was just a float down to the bottom. Very relaxing, and absolutely gorgeous scenery.  So neat.

One of the best experiences and one that I highly recommend to anyone who has considered doing it.

From there we took the bus to Auckland.  With alllll our crazy amounts of luggage.  A lot of lot.  And there we sat at the bus stop for about 2 hours waiting on Karla to get off work and come get us.  Man was it hot...and man was it awkward sitting at a bus stop with enough luggage to live off of for a year.  Karla is one of Andrew's friends from the Polo playing days.  It was so nice of her to let us stay with her and her adorable mother! Once she finally came to get us, we spent the afternoon at their home as Andrew and her reminisced of past times.  Drinking wine on their amazing rooftop deck that looked over the Bay.

I did a bit of work while we were staying with them since Karla had to work during the day as well.  But once she was home we did various things...went and saw her horsey...went on some walks down to the water...went in to town for some sushi.  On that Friday, Andrew and I went in to town ourselves to do some exploring and pick up some souvenirs.  We, of course, missed our bus stop on the way home...and got INCREDIBLY LOST trying to get back. Buses in Auckland are confusing. And apparently we cannot navigate them well.  Oh well. We eventually got back haha. That night we went out with some of Karla's friends downtown.  Very inviting group. We partied all through the night, bar hopping, had a blast! Then once all the bars closed we went through the drive through, while in a taxi, on the way back to the house.  That was a first. The last day we did brunch with some of Karla's friends then went down in to Auckland again for 'the best' ice cream later in the afternoon.  It was pretty good...Our flight went out that after ice cream Karla took us over the the airport.  It was odd saying goodbye, not knowing when you'll be back again.  Then off we went for the States....on a 13 hr flight.

We flew in to LAX and my cousin Johnny picked us up so that we could have a little celebration on our layover with my California family.  First stop was of course In-N-Out Burger...Andrew's first experience. He was hooked. Stupid that we stopped to eat on our way to dinner but you can't go to LA and not stop at In-n-Out Burger (haha).  Once we arrived at my Uncle Bob's house we had a fantastic dinner and Andrew got to meet a lot of my family for the first time.  Some yummy salmon and salad and wine, great company...Not a bad use of time for a 10 hour layover ;) That evening they took us back to the airport and off we went again.  One last layover in Chicago...and Andrew slept on the floor.  It was cute.  And then home at last in NC.

Overall, an absolutely amazing trip.  We might be ridiculously in debt from it...but it was WELL worth it! I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.  And who that I'm in love with NZ, and engaged to a kiwi, we might be moving there in near future...Talk about a dream come true huh?


The Maori Welcome Dance

So it turns out, I never finished my blog! I got so caught up on being engaged, then hurried off to the North Island (where I had no wifi)....So I figured, hell, why not...I'll finish it off so I have the memories forever in writing ;)

So after getting engaged we went up the next day, Friday, to our last polo match of the trip in Culverden. We drove up in the evening and ended up reaching town (which was a few hours away) around night fall.  We met everyone at the local pub for a drink and then headed out to the house we were staying at.  And on the way...ANDREW AND I GOT PULLED! I was so excited! Neither of us had been drinking and it's kind of just an expectation that you will get pulled when you leave a pub...everyone does...its just a safety thing...but still! It was so exciting! I even asked the cop if I could take a picture of the lights. He laughed. And knew I was foreign...haha. Who cares, I thought it was exciting.

The home we stayed at was one of the family friends and it was on this lovely farm, situated just high enough up on to the top of this tiny hill.  It made all the difference.  The view from the house was spectacular. You could look out and see the whole property. Quite neat. The next day was the first round of polo matches.  The day wasn't anything too exciting...but we had some lovely weather and got to go to a barbecue at the end of the game. That was fun! And the stars were out and absolutely beautiful.  I wish I could have been able to get a shot of the stars. They are something out of this world.  I never knew there were so many! And I'm a country girl! You can actually see the milky way! An amazing sight to see...

The next morning we said our goodbye's and headed off to Christchurch to fly out to Auckland.  In Auckland we were picked up by Andrew's bestest friend in the whole wide world...Harley. Oh how I loved Harley.  Such a character.  He comes in to the airport with his crazy dreadlocks and bare feet.  So funny!

He took us up to his home up in Whangarei where we met his lovely girlfriend Courtney.  I can't remember all of the details of what we did, but I do remember that on that first day we got to meet his two sons, William and Xander...adorable.  Andrew is their Godfather.  And William sure did know it!  As we were sitting outside on the porch we heard him come in the front door...Harley asked "Do you know who's here?" And William said, "Yeah! My Godfather!" and he raaaannnnnnnnn out to go say hi to Andrew.  SO FREAKING ADORABLE! I melted.  Andrew is quite awkward around them...Xander in particular...he said its because he doesn't want to break the baby.  I guess I can see that...haha. Still awkward.

Then, that next day (or maybe it was the same day I cant remember), we got to go on a beach trip! Up to Whale Bay.  Absolutely freaking gorgeous! The pictures say it all...and I saw my first nudist!! So funny...we walked away from all of the crowded area, tried to get to a little cove for just us...and we ran in to some people who had the sammmmeeee idea.  I'm sitting there...staring off in to the ocean...and I notice a guy walking out in to the water...annnnnddddddd I see his naked butt...I was like waiiiiittttt a minute. Is he? YEP! He's naked! I couldn't stop giggling. I'm such a little girl.

The boys proceeded to dig holes and play around as Courtney and I laid on the beach reading and soaking up the sun.  Then we went and had a small hike over to a beautiful look out.  And had a photo shoot.  Acting like a bunch of goobs. Then we drove back in to town, with a stop to get some ice cream at a local dairy.  Popsicles for all!  And then took the curvy drive home, jamming to Cherry Oh Baby - Ub40 ... "Yayeeyayeeyayeeyayeeyayyay" ...Great day.

No, we aren't in a gang...haha
That night (and some the night before) we got to meet all of Harleys fantastic friends.  Loved that!! And they did a Maori welcome dance for us! I mean...well...Zak did a Maori welcome dance...the rest...well...participated. I have it recorded somewhere....Great fun. We laughed and laughed and stayed up wayyyy past bed time haha.

The next day Andrew and I went off on our own for a little waterfall walk/hike.  Beautiful spot and a great time to just relax and have some alone time.  Not that we don't love all of our company.  And trust me, I adore the NZ company.  The waterfall was gorgeous...a  bit touristy...but the walk after that was nice and calming.  On the way through the forest walk we saw some AMAZING Kauri trees.  They're HUGE and take something like 1000 years to grow full size. Gorgeous trees...going extinct...obviously when they take 1000 years to grow.  I got to hug one :) I feel special.

On the way out of the forest...we got chased by chickens! Yeah...chickens. Just chillin in this forest. Chasing people away from the Kauri trees. It was hilarious! We were walking and all the sudden we heard this rustling behind us.  I looked and there were like 3-5 we started picking up the pace. They went faster. So we started running...and they chased us! It was so funny! We lauuughhhed and laughed. And then got lost. Sort of. We were waiting for Courtney to call us and tell us she was going to pick us up. So we decided, we'll walk towards town.  We obviously had no idea where we were going. We walked and walked and walked. I got pissier and pissier (haha)...then we finally hit town. And as it turns out, found the best fish n chips spot in town, right next to the salon that Courtney worked at! Funny.

Overall we had a fantastic time in Whangarei...can't wait to see all of our new (and old) friends again! After Whangarei, Harley drove us down to Auckland...the 'big city' of New Zealand, where we jumped out of a plane... ;)