Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wow it's been way too long....

Sorry it has been so long since we have done a post! I had no clue that the last one was in June! Whoa. Well to give a quick update of what we have been up to...

The beginning of July, we drove off to Coramandel, NZ for our one year anniversary! I cannot believe we have been married a year now! We spent an extended weekend in a place that completely reminded us of our honeymoon. It was bliss. We went to Cathedral Cove, which has a beautiful beach and amazing rock formations that are unforgettable; dug a hole in hot water beach to sit in at low tide, and did some discovering of the town of Coramandel. We had the best weekend and still cant believe how far our lives have come since that wedding just over a year ago.

At the end of July, we got the great pleasure of spending two weeks with my brother and sister-in-law Justin and Gina. They came and visited us, and we did a lot of site seeing in and around Auckland. We also went to Rotorua for a weekend, with a site trip to Waitomo to the caves to see glow worms. By far the coolest adventure we have had in NZ. If you ever come to NZ, go to Waitomo and do the glow worm caves! I cant remember half the things we did while they were here, but to name some. we went to Piha Beach, Waiheke Island where we did lots of wine tasting, and saw dolphins on the ride over! That was really cool, and Matty's and my first time seeing them. We also explored Auckland city, showed Justin and Gina the church we have found here, went to Hunua Falls, and did some amazing hikes in those park regions, went and saw Harry Potter in gold class (a very cool and expensive experience haha), luged and zorbed in Rotorua, did the Waitomo caves, and probably more haha! We had such an awesome time with them, and we miss them so much already!

Right before Justin and Gina came over, we got the news that Matty's work wants to keep him, and he signed a contract to stay with them until the end of July next year. So here's the big news in this one; we are staying in New Zealand until mid next year! We are excited because we love NZ, and we havent seen enough of it. We also have some really great friends over here that are all extending their contracts as well, and we arent ready to say goodbye to them either. We are getting ready to go through the visa extensions, so its not official yet, but that shouldnt be too hard. Our old contract is up at the end of next month, which is so hard to believe that we have been in NZ almost 11 months now. We arent ready to leave, but we do miss family a lot! We are happy to say that we will be making the 13 hour plane ride home for Christmas for two weeks! We are so excited to see all of our family, and be in Reno for 2 weeks! We cant wait to see you all! Mark your calenders.

I would have done some blogging after Justin and Gina left and when we got this news, but we also ran into some computer problems. Our laptops were not working well with us, but we got a new one once my parents came to visit us, which was for two weeks! They came at the end of August and just left last Thursday. It was really wonderful to see them since it had been 10 months! We had another wonderful two weeks with family, and it went way too fast! I cant believe they are gone already. We did a ton of exploring around Auckland city, saw the city getting spruced up for the Rugby World Cup coming to New Zealand, went to church, went to Piha Beach, did some hiking, went to Devonport, which is a cute little town outside of Auckland, took a ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island, which is a bird sanctuart. We saw some really great birds there, saw some baby lambs!, hung out with our good friends Mo and Matt Dearing, went to Hawkes Bay in the middle of the North Island, where we did some wine tasting and site seeing of the beautiful country, and my dad even got to be a part of the Auckland Mustang Owners Club, where we got treated like a celebrity. All-in-all, it was a great way to end the time of visiting family, at least for 2011. If anyone wants to come visit us, we are open :) We miss you all already.

It is usually really hard to say goodbye to family, knowing it will be a while again before we see you all again, but this time was meant to be the hardest, because my parents are the last ones coming. But the blow was lessened with the coming of the RWC 2011 to Auckland. My parents left September 8th, and the opening ceremony was September 9th, and only a 10 minute walk from our apartment. I had a lot on my plate, and we had a LOT to look forward to. We have never lived in a city that hosted anything this big, and we hardly even know what rugby is living in the USA, so this was extra cool for us. We got to follow a new sport! The opening ceremony was really cool, albeit extremely packed and crazy! We had a lot of fun, and got to see some really cool fireworks, and the opening match that we watched from a friends place. We also got the great opportunity to go watch a match in person! We saw Australia v Italy, where we became honorary Aussies for a day. All of our friends that we went with are Aussie, so we had to cheer for them :) It was so much fun, especially since it was my first professional sports game ever! Too much fun! Yesterday was also USA's opening match against Ireland, and although we didnt see it in person, we got to cheer them on on the anniversary of 9/11 (in NZ anyway). We olayed a good game, but still lost. Good job USA!

Thats what we have been up to, and I am in the process of uploading pictures for you all to see of the things we have been up to, but you can find me on facebook to see them too. We love and miss you all and Im looking forward to keeping up the blog again!

Carla and Matty

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Carla

I just wanted to do a quick post about my birthday! We have the greatest friends here in New Zealand, and we were able to go out to dinner on Friday night to The Waterfront Cafe (which Matty and I have been to A MILLION times haha!). Of course, you cant get away from the rain in NZ, and walking is not fun in the rain! We had to walk from Matty's work to dinner, which was a good 15 minute walk in the rain. Lots of fun haha! But once we got there, we enjoyed the heat lamps, yummy food and much needed cocktails! Also, Matty had it planned that our friend Claudia would make me an awesome cake! Was so pretty and mighty yummy! Thank you to everyone who came to dinner and for all the wonderful pressies :)

Saturday, woke up to nice weather (we take it when we can), went to the farmers market, got a cake tray from a baking shop, got some "lollies" from The London Lolly Shop, and headed to lunch at our favorite japanese restaurant, Haro No Yume, where I got a free sushi roll for my bday. Yes, they do know us by name, as we do go there at least once a week haha. :D After lunch, we headed home, got to skype with all of the fam, talked to my brother and his wife about coming over (3ish weeks to go!) then went to a wonderful dinner at a cute little french restaurant, La Cantine du Torchon. Had the best steak ever and Matty enjoyed some Beouf Bourguignon. Then went home, watched a movie, and called it a night!

Overall, best birthday ever, even though my mom thought I was turning 25 not 24. Thanks mom! Haha just kidding, love you lots :)

Here's some pictures from my bday:

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hanua Falls

Thanks to Queen Elizabeth (the original Queen) having a birthday, Matty got a day off work yesterday, which of course meant that we had a three day weekend. We wanted to make sure that we made good use of it, but since we have an anniversary coming up, we want to save a little bit of money. We decided not to go out of town, but we still wanted to get out of the city, so we rented a car, and each day we went a little ways out of the city.

Day 1 we went to Albany, to the Westfield Mall (yes this is where the tornado was. but its ok, were safe), which is about 20 minutes by car away from where we live. The mall was a girl's heaven, and we spent ALL day there. We didnt spend all our money there but we did manage to get a casserole dish so I can make Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignon, we got groceries much cheaper, and we even saw X Men First Class. I know this makes me a huge dork, but MAN that was a great movie! I would definitely recommend it to anyone thinking about seeing it.

Day 2 (Sunday), we found a church! Woohoo! We have been trying to find one for a while now, and our pastor back home (thanks Pastor Dan!) found this one for us. Funny enough, its called Grace Baptist Community Church. The only problem was that it is pretty far from where we live and without a car, its sure not easy to get over there. We wanted to take advantage of having the car, so we went, and fell in love with the church. Its really tiny, but they teach what we believe, so we will be finding a way to get there every weekend if we can. The best part of this church is that it is run by an American pastor with the last name of Walker! Too funny!

After church on Sunday, we took a drive just an hour away, to a place called Hanua Falls. It is a nature reserve that has a 30 meter waterfall right off the road! You dont even have to take a hike to get there! Thats pretty awesome! Here is my funny husband posing for a picture in front of the fall.

And me.

After seeing the fall, we took a small hike, and were able to see some pretty awesome plant and bird life. NZ has some really great birds here. We saw the famous Tui bird, who sounds like R2D2 (google it; its awesome), and another bird called a Fantail. He was so cute and he seemed to be following us around. Too cute. We even saw a hawk, but was unable to take a picture of it.

And for the last day of the weekend, we spent it skyping with family and friends, and went back to the mall (I know, I AM a girl afterall). It was SO much fun and a relaxing weekend.

Here is the link to the rest of the pictures from Hanua Falls.

Also, go check out to see our new apartment.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hanging out with the Walkers

Hey guys!

Sorry its been SO long since we have done a blog post! We havent been up to much, trying to save some money, spending time moving into our new apartment, and most importantly, trying to save up money so we could spend some time with Matty's parents!

I will put up pictures of our apartment on my baking blog so you can see that I can no longer call it "Cooking Without a Kitchen".

Matty's parents arrived here on April 13th, left NZ on the 28th :( and we hit the ground running and didnt stop moving the entire time! As Matt and John like to say, we were going 90m/h or 144.8km/h the whole time they were here haha :D.

Unfortunately Matty had to work, so he wasnt able to spend the entire time with his parents, but the first weekend we all went up to the Bay of Islands, which is about 3 hours north of Auckland. Over Easter weekend, Matty took Thursday, Friday and Monday off and we flew down to Queenstown, one of the most southern parts of the South Island. So although Matty had to work most of the time, he was able to spend a lot of good time with his parents, and we were able to see A LOT of the country!

The very first day the Walkers arrived, we took a walk downtown, went to the Sky Tower, walked all the way to Parnell (which is about a 30 minute walk from the city, and I may have underestimated the walk a bit haha), had lunch and took the bus back to the apartment! John and Denise were happy about that :)

Here's what we did while they were here:
-Viewed the CBD and Parnell
-Went to the Auckland Museum
-Ate dinner at the Sky Tower
-Ate the best dinner ever at Pasti's (French restaurant)
-Went to the Bay of Islands
-Took a 40 minute drive to Piha Beach
-Ate dinner at Buenes Aires, an Argentinian restaurant
-Flew down to Queenstown for Easter weekend, where we got to hang out with our good friends Mo and Matt Dearing (oh yeah and also got to see Sam Neill at a wine festival). Queenstown was such an AMAZING town, we didnt want to leave! We got to go see so many things, and got to spend so much time with Mo and Matt, who recently moved from Auckland to Christchurch, so we dont get to see them much anymore. The colors were so pretty (its fall here), and the South Island is a lot colder than the north, so they are hitting fall harder than we are here. It was so much fun, we didnt want to come back here! I could live in Queenstown EASY!
-Watched people bungy jump (no way we didnt do that!)
-Went to Waiheke Island (a 40 min ferry ride from Auckland)
-Went to Devonport (a 20 min drive from Auckland)
and SO much more that I cant even remember it all!

We had such an AMAZING time and we were all sad to have them be leaving. It was so great, and to us, it honestly feels very surreal. It almost feels like a dream. It went by so fast, but it is so nice that we were able to have such a special time!

Im going to post a link to the pictures, and I will post more later. I had to stop uploading them because the internet was having some problems, but I will post more as soon as I can.

Enjoy and check back soon, because I PROMISE I will put up more as soon as I can :)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Art Auction

Hey Everyone!

So as everyone knows there was the big earthquake in Christchurch, NZ. And now there has been a huge one in Japan... pretty crazy things happening in the world right now.

One of my friends and fellow animator at work, Claudia Kleinheinz, has organized an art auction where all the money for every piece of art we sell will go to the Red Cross charity for Christchurch. I have donated a piece of art along with some incredibly talented artists from around the world. We have got character designers from Walt Disney Animation Studios and animators and illustrators who are internationally known. Check out the link below and see some of the art that has been submitted so far. When the auction begins, feel free to bid on some art work. You could buy an incredible piece of art for your home, as well as contribute to a good cause.

Thank you for checking this out and we appreciate your support.
Matt & Carla

Saturday, February 26, 2011

People of Auckland

Hey everyone!

Its been a while since the last post, but we are doing good! On a serious note, there has been a huge earthquake in Christchurch, which has made international news. Its pretty bad, but Carla and I are safe. We are actually quite far from the damage. But the people down there are going through a hard time, so our prayers go out to them.

But to lighten things up a bit, I wanted to do a post about the people in Auckland. I walk to work everyday and I see SO many interesting people in the city. There are some characters in this city! So I've made it a goal of mine to find someone everyday that sticks out to me. Then when I get to work I sketch them! Its fun, and it gets me off to a nice, creative start to my day of animating. Here is a few of the people I see around Auckland, New Zealand!

Backpack Surfer

All Angles

Little Fat Guy waiting at the light

Mr. Slick
Right out of the 50's

Ultra Skinny Woman grabbing a pastry

Tiny Legs
Gracefully skipping over a puddle (shoes in hand)

Morning skateboarder
Running fingers through her hair

I hope you liked them, I'm still learning everyday. And there are certainly some challenges that I'm trying to get through.... the dreaded hands! haha But I'm really enjoying this creative outlet. And like I said, its even helping my animation. I'm seeing posing clearer and developing a strong shape language. Everyday I'm learning more and more.

Oh, by the way, I got a new desk at work! I'll do a post with some pictures soon!

-The Walkers

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Auckland Seafood Festival

Yesterday Carla and I got to go to a really fun event. The Auckland Seafood Festival! It was so cool. We were by the water with all of these really nice boats around. And it was a day that we got to try some really good and fresh fish!

First we tried some smoked marlin. That was so good with a really nice smokey flavor. Next we went and bought some fresh full prawns! Here is Carla with a basket of them.

So if you know me, Im picky and I dont really like shrimp. But I thought hey, Im at a seafood festival, I might as well try! So I did and they were so good! Carla and I had a great time pulling them apart and eating some great prawns.

It was a really cool festival with tons of people. We even got some ice cream later. It was definitely a day of trying new things, we even saw something we had never seen before. And that was a woman walking around wearing nothing but paint! We are certainly in another country! But we had so much fun, and the food was fantastic!

We also had some wine there which was great and we got these cool wine glasses that we can keep forever!

Here are Carla and I at the end of the festival. We had such a great time and got to try some fanstastic seafood!

And again, heres a link to the rest of the pictures:
Just to let you guys know, we will still be putting up posts, but we are going to be trying to stay in a bit to save up some money so when our families come and visit, we can go on some adventures with them!
Keep checking in!
Matty and Carla