Wednesday, March 14, 2012

East Coast

My incredible Mike has been so good on this trip, driving both coasts so we can soak up some scenery. NZ is stunning when it comes to how much can change within a mere 30 minutes of driving.

We started with tropical paradise, cruising down the west coast with sharp rocks and windy roads. We drove through a cloud through Arthur's Pass. We wound our way to sunshiny Christchurch. Wiggled our way over to Kaikora through amazing farms and made it to the surf town which is SO cute! I had really wanted to spend a few nights in Kaikora but we only had a quick stop by, enough for me to want to go back soon! We're back in windy Welly and making our way up to Auckland by Saturday. A lot of driving, a lot of beautiful sites to take in.
(proper photos coming soon)

Cow crossing!!

Finally got my fix of crayfish... not at the right place though :( there is a gyspy type caravan (like the one I used to live in, painted and all) passed Kaikora... I was mistaken, thinking it was before... so we stopped in town to have a tasty crayfish. Next time, caravan crayfish, you're mine!

This picture doesn't do this view justice, massive amounts of kelp/seaweed sparkled in the sea down this stretch of coast, it was gorgeous.

My tourist, my love: Mike.

Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand has without a doubt become a second home. When I'm in Canada, I call it home; when I'm in New Zealand, I call Canada home. I have two homes and I love it.

We just spent a week in Christchurch, the city where I met my love, the city where I lived for a wee six months, the city that has not fallen, but certainly picked itself up. It's incredible how little the city has actually changed. Other than some piles of rubble and closed roads, it's still the same quaint city with lots of charm and beautiful people. The people in Chch have made the city. Canteburians, you're doing great! As an outsider only visiting for a mere 7 days, I can tell you that I've felt the love in your city.

This trip, I was on the right side of the bar ;)

My beautiful twin, Beer Baroness, master of multitasking, sharer of clothes and shopping habits, kind, smart, charmer, force to be reckoned with: Ava.

My bestie, goofball, funny facemaker, best listener, adventurer, dreamer, sun beauty, challenger, my best friend and fairy: Aidan.

Big props to the garden city for showing us a great time, our fabulous friends and Chch families: Keeley and Jen, Alex (x2), Rob, Andrew, H&H, Jeff, Chef, Marion and Steve, the Pomeroy's, Sezzler, and most of all, my bridesmaids Aidan and Ava!

Miss you already.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


After a very long drive through the most beautiful west coast, we've made it back to Christchurch. We are very much looking forward to adventuring what we can of the town to see what all has changed since the February 22nd earthquake. What we do know is that the people here are still amazingly friendly. It's quite humbling to see humans come together in such light after going what I can only describe as heartbreaking.

Never the less, we're back with our pals. And after MUCH giggling and hugging and laughing, I've got my bridal party complete! Aidan and Ava will be standing up there with Mike and I on our big day and I couldn't be happier with my blushing beauties. It's been a year today since I've left this city and it's like only a day has gone by. That's how you know your friends are the best and what you have is true. I love these girls to bits! They've held a big part in our lives and I can't wait for them to venture back/over to Canada!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fam Jam

We're here and loving it. Mike is over the moon to be back with his family and especially his Raven dog. It's been lovely and surreal just hanging with family and catching up properly minus the crackling connection of skype.

First day tasty indulgences (in no particular order):
  • steak and cheese pie (I would have gotten a photo but we woofed them down too fast)
  • L&P
  • Mum's pavlova with real cream infused with passion fruit! I'm drooling.
  • Pineapple Lump bar
  • Pixie Caramel (this is new to me and may just be my new favorite)
  • Double IPA's
  • proper coffees!
  • Kapiti cheese, you honestly haven't tasted cheese until you've had Kapiti

These are all food based. And honestly, we could move here on food alone with the perks of family of course ;)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

It hasn't even been a year since I've been back and I'm already leaving again! Wonderful!

Great timing too. We'll be catching the beginning of the New Zealand autumn, seeing beautiful family and fabulous friends. We're totally hoping to geek out and partake in some LOTR tours, dreamy!! And going to some sites that I missed visiting before. We're having a much needed adventure.

We fly out in mere hours. I have lots to ponder on this long haul, too much. And if I don't feel like pondering, I'm totally popping some gravol, maybe I'll even slip some into Mike's drink too (Mr. Can't Sleep on Planes).

New Zealand, we can't wait to see you! It's been too long? Yes, it has.

Start pouring the pints! I'm already thirsty!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Although I miss my NZ friends and hunny, I must say, I've never been so smiley (even with all the snow!!). I'm SO happy to be home. There is nothing quite like it. It's irreplaceable. The comfort of my pillowy, crisp, white bed. The variety of clothing, jewels, and shoes after months of one backpack. The smell of Ming's grilled cheeses on the stove top. My moms hugs. My dads pinches. Granny's warm house. It's all mine and I'm so grateful to be back to relish in it all once again.

Traveling any time soon? Likely not. I plan on staying put for a good while; smiling at what I have because I am one lucky lady. This girl has had enough adventure for at least a good couple months (or until the bank account is replenished ha).

Till the next adventure me mates... Check out my other blog about daily finds, pics and random thoughts of ting.


I heart HK

From thousands of pandas, markets, skyscrapers, gold medals and bowls of congee, Hong Kong, you still have me; I doubt you'll ever lose me.


From living in a fairly flat place for 6 months, I now know why my mate loved big cities. From the moment I landed in Hong Kong, hopped in the taxi in the dark pouring rain, my mouth agape and eyes wide out the window. Love. As much as I want to stray from the city, my heart will always remain with 60 story buildings, concrete jungles, people, trains and shopping.

I met my father in Hong Kong for his tai chi tournament. I planned 7 days there. I lasted 6. I cracked. Being on a mega budget for 7 months, I destroyed it in Hong Kong. Granted there wasn't much to break... but whatever money I had left from New Zealand was all spent on the delicacies of Hong Kong. Well done HK. You win this round, round 4. You'll likely always win.

Best bowl of congee EVER. I miss this place.

I'm a sucker for markets; fish, meat, fruit, trinkets, I'm all over it. Warning to those who like fish markets, wear proper footwear, otherwise you get smelly toes. Fact.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Farewell Christchurch

For now.

I was never supposed to be away for this long. I was never in fact supposed to be in Christchurch for over a month. This is why one way tickets come in handy. Your path isn't set, you in fact set your path. Mine led me here.

Being here in Chch, I've now met so many beautiful people, worked in a pub, lived in a caravan, went completely broke, got stuck on a hill in a broken down car, had a keg as a fellow passenger, fell in love with a man, and lived through a natural disaster. Yep, not at all what I was expecting; not at all what I came here for either. I love the way the universe plays with you and you with it. Life's path is magic.

During my 7 months away and 6 months in New Zealand, I've seen and done many things that I'm so appreciative of. I love my life. I'm so lucky to have lived amongst magic. Chch, you're going through a rough state. During this time of horror, it's amazing to see how humans are coming together, working with their hands, like the man from Chang Mai; building together a new future; coming together at night like a community. Chch, I love you! I know I'll be back. You are one of my newfound homes. I look forward to seeing the new you.

To the crew at Urban Rooms, in particular, Mark, Michael, Deirdre and Fleur, I love you guys. You are real people. You are magic. I will never ever forget you guys!

To Pomeroys, you are some of the best, welcoming people I know. Pomeroys will always be a place of warmth, community and pure fun. Chef Clayton, I'll miss our love hate banter and most of all your dinners, sans pasta. Mark, you goblin, you are irreplaceable! Hugs to all the bar staff. Steve and Vic, thank you for everything you've done, everything. To the crew on the other side of the bar, it's been a pleasure! I still need to come back for thirsty Thursdays with the Kingi's. David and the 150 boys... thanks for all the beers, same to you Dutchie. General Andi, I hope your baby is as healthy and beautiful and charismatic as you are.

To my mates, Ava, Jen, Sez, Aids, Hera you guys have each given me a lil sparkle. You are all one of a kind gems. Irreplaceable. Irresistible. I carry each of you with my stones, close to my heart. Like Florence and the Machine, You Got the Love. You are all love.

Ava, my twin, we are now split in two. We never got our lock and key but I can see mine on my arm. And it reminds me of you. You are light. A beautiful light. Shine bright little star.

My mike. I hope to see you real soon my kiwifruit, so we can start up where we left off in each others arms.

Farewell Christchurch. I will definitely miss you garden city.

strike my heart!

Sneaky bestie and sneaky boyfriend. A plot to get me out of the house when all I wanted to do was stay in the house...

My mike, is the sweetest man, my man. He writes me small poems when he's hanging from roofs. He writes me small poems when he's under houses. Most of all he writes to me. I love words. I love his words.

A heart hung above the bed to grace us with the sweetest dreams of love. Our love.

My Girl Named Ting

There is such a thing as unsurmountable beauty,

And it's all bundled up in one wondrous cutie.

Her name falls on ears with the most unforgettable ring,

I'm speaking of course, of my girl named Ting.

With a smile so sweet, she sets a heart a flutter,

With eyes so warm, I fear to melt like butter.

With skin so soft, to touch is irresistible,
Before I met her, I must have been miserable.

My arms are held wide and voice bursts lips

"I love you sweet Ting, right to the tips!"

Although time with you may have been short,

It seems that in this sea of love I'm undeniably caught.

I've put into writing that which I want to say,

And all going well by the end of this May,

I'll be in the air soaring above oceans,

To hold you again! What a wonderful notion!

There is such a thing as unsurmountable beauty,

And it's all bundled up in one wondrous cutie.

Her name falls on ears with the most unforgettable ring,

I'm speaking of course, of my girl named Ting.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

shake, rattle & roll

Christchurch, Tuesday, making some lunch. I didn't know I was in for an epic day of terror, tears and tremors. My story has been posted here.

These photos are progressions of how much worse my surroundings got after hundreds of aftershocks. Some people are asking if we are still getting aftershocks, YES, yes we are. The isn't a day that goes by that the mother earth doesn't hiss at us.

This crack in the road is just on the corner of where I was working and living, Pomeroys Pub. The first photo was taken just after the 6.3, the second photo, a couple hours later and the third photo, taken a couple of days later.

Eager to do something after a couple of days, my good mate Sarah sent a message out to help her clean up massive amounts of silt on her property. Mike and I had arrived and luckily the student army had cleared a path up the drive, but there was so much still there. We opened her garage door and it had crept in over a foot high. Everything in there was buried in this heavy clay, so compacted I could barely shovel.

My bestie Aidan was worried about her mate, so the evening of the quake, we ventured down Fitzgerald Ave, to get to Morgan. This is the road we trekked.

Just beyond the spilling water crack above was this tower (taken right after the 6.3, and about an hour after), situated behind the pub. Holding on by one white column, I'm happy that no one was inside.

The pub, still standing. 120 year old historic building and ready to be repaired! I was on the top floor in Aidan and mines flat when she shook like thunder.

This car park was directly behind the pub, this image was the first thing that I laid eyes on as I ran out of the flat and behind the building. I didn't know how bad it was...

Lucky to be alive. Lucky that all my friends and family are safe. Hearts and hugs go out to those who have lost loved ones in this charming city. It will be charming again, with many hands, and many hearts, Christchurch will be better than ever.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Let Someone Love You

My mate Thomas used to tell me lots to let someone love you today. What a lovely thing to say to someone. A reminder of sorts to open your heart and be loved. Welcome the warmth.

This is my first tiny rose from my Mike, to be permanently pressed in the book of travels. xo.

Permanent Words

One can't help but be flattered when they comment on how neat your writing is. So what's the word for when someone wants your style of script permanently inked on your body? Speechless with a rougey cheek.

A brand of sorts. A brand by ting. Ha. From one artists hand to another artists needle, tattooed words will always make me smile. To mark oneself with words will remind you everyday what you literally need to do. Breathe. A reminder to open ones heart. To laugh and love.

I blushed when my star twin Ava asked me to script out her latest tattoo. Live Laugh Love. Something we always hear, yet not always practice. Ava is woman; wise and powered, yet cheeky and youthful. She practices living, laughing and loving every second of everyday. Usually giggling, she graces people with her power to share the three L's. She now graces me with her newfound message on her arm. Thanks for the three L lesson Ava. Never stop.

Mike at Ink Grave, Christchurch did an outstanding job on our tiny tats.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Everyday is an adventure. What was supposed to be a 7 hour drive took Ava and I 12. Not because we chose too, but the universe just wanted to toss us a few last curve balls before we ended the track of 2010.

The drive up to Golden Bay was stimulating. The warm air brushing through our hands, our voices cracking from singing so loudly and the car conking out twice is what road trips are all about.

Not to worry, we managed to pick up our keg from Onekaka's Mussel Inn, tossed down a pint of feijoa cider and drove to our final destination. A gorgeous nook of wilderness tucked away in the hills with a rippling river winding through it was where we were to close our year and open a new one. We were so exhausted the first thing we did was tap the keg and pour a pint. It was a lovely new years with lovely people and a galaxy of stars above us. The perfect end.

2010, you clawed at my back and roared in my face but you ended purring at my feet. I don't regret anything about you but alas you're over. I welcome this new year with open arms, ready to kiss whatever you throw my way.

Monday, December 27, 2010

One Warm Christmas

It was like a Hollywood movie scene where the family crowds around the delectible table of homemade goodness.

Relishes stewed with love. Iced water dripping with fresh mint, juicy lemons and colourful flowers. Roasted ham on the bone with hand speared cherries. Italian breads, creamy cheeses, crisp tomatoes. Mouthwatering eye candy.

The sun was warm and the skies were cloudless for my first summer Christmas and my first Christmas away from home. The families, the friends, the warmth, the love will not soon be forgotten.

The day started with an emmaculate brunch, followed by a gorgeous lunch and ending with a hearty dinner with the orphans. Good company, good drinks is all it takes to make you feel like you're at home once again. Thanks NZ! Thank you Pomeroys, Gainsfords and my favorite orphans of urban rooms.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Love Letters

I was never a huge fan of cards. I have an appreciation for them, but rarely buy them... Until now.

I've had the most fun wandering into small shops, flipping through sparkeled, colourful cards, choosing which suits which pal.

There is something about being in another hemisphere and getting momentos from someone you love. I skyped my mama Ma today and she got my parcel of holiday cards. Swoon! Shocking realling since the post lady told me I missed the deadline. Now I can't wait for the rest of the crew to get theirs!

Happy Christmas lovers! May magic occur with your loved ones and mistletoe grow above every one of your beautiful heads.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


A flatmate recently loant me a book about traveling called 'No Shitting in the Toilet' by Peter Moore. Four pages in and Moore is histaricaly correct!

This image with the description of travel sums it up perfectly. He says travel isn't about taking a break, as I realize working 6 days a week.

Travel derives from the Latin word 'travail,' now here's the kicker: meaning spending ridiculous amounts of money to be miserable, homesick and frightened! Hahahhahaha! He's so right. It's the experience! There were parts of Thailand where I was miserable. I was homesick when my sister launched her band to the world wide web!! I've been stuck in darkness in an italian train station in a city unknown for 9 hours on a cement patch with an italian man blowing kisses to me all night... Frightening. And I'm spending ridiculous amounts of money in NZ because they have such cool clothes?!

5 star resort holidays are a projected image of what you want your life to be. Traveling will make you feel every emotion you never thought you had.

I am a traveler. And I wouldn't ever change it.

Don't die wondering

The age of discovery is never over when you are the discoverer.

I was skyping with mama Ma the other day and like every loving mother, she got all concerned... About my blog! Haha. Where are all your posts Justine? Are you ok? You aren't blogging! Haha priceless. It's true, I haven't been blogging because my days are becoming a blur. I sleep, I work, I repeat. Of course this isn't what I had planned, I didn't have a plan at all in fact. The truth is, my bank account is empty, I don't even have money to leave the city, let alone the country. Thus equaling an uninspiring writers block.

But because I love my mother so much, I'm going to blog again. About the daily things I run into, the uneventful happenings of her youngest daughter. And in due time Ma, I'll have enough money to blog about me skydiving in queenstown.

The graffiti below, I come across almost daily as I sip my double flat white with soy at my favorite cafe C1.

Don't die wondering is one of the best things you can read on a brick wall whilst soaking in some vitamin D. Live life regretless friends. Look back and turn back if you must but let's squeeze this life for every drop it's got.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It's quite natural that everyone gets a little homesick on a trip. today is my day... to be utterly, helplessly homesick.

Not only am I actually sick, and this is just where you want your mom, or in my case, my big sister/ best roommate, to make you special tonics and soups, with an abundance of advil; (They don't have advil here. And there is no one to call to from my little caravan. Sigh.) but this said sister just launched her band DreamFace to the world. Now I can't help but brag, these guys are phenomenal and will blow your mind. Be prepared to fall in love with dreams again.

I'm so proud of you DF! You're going to spread love through dreams. I miss you more than you know!

On top of DF, I miss the days where I'd spend hours on 'we heart it' and google reader. I miss my big bed. I miss driving. I miss Lord of the Rings (yes I watched it all the time). I miss the Royal Bison. I miss my jewels. I miss my sister. I miss my girlfriends. I miss my fam. But not enough to book a ticket yet. ;) haha. Love.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good Morning 26

It's days like today that I fight for. Cloudless skies, eternal sunshine, pressed coffee, and the chance to change.

Farewell quarter life crisis! You will not be missed. This will likely be the only year that I'm ok with growing older and I'm determined to make it great. It's bound to be! I celebrated with my favorite cafe with my favorite friend in warm sunny NZ. This is officially my first warm birthday. Surreal.

As I walked to meet my bestie at C1 cafe, I ponder how life/people can change so quickly. I was never supposed to live here in Christchurch. I never imagined myself working in a pub! I should technically still be in Asia according to my plan... Things change. People change.

As I think this, I imagine what life would be like with a plan... Boring! Life is no dress rehearsal. Life needs no map. Life needs two feet and a heartbeat.

Being 25 taught me great experience. The drive to see something foreign, the adventure of making a new home, the feeling of being terrified to go back, meeting amazing, brilliant people; it's all about the experience.

Welcome 26, I can't wait to get to know you minute by minute, day by day, with nothing further to say but a smile on my face.

Location:Christchurch, New Zealand

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Poom Poom Pom.

It's become quite clear that some of my dear friends have no idea what I'm doing... I'm no longer laying motionless on a beach, nor diving with deep sea critters (although, I'd very much like to).

I'm back with my bestie, kickin' it in Christchurch, New Zealand, slingin' beers at ye 'ol family pub. With 19 taps of craft NZ brewed beers, I have no idea how I will ever come back to Canada without being such a beer snob. I get drunk off a pint and a half?! WTF! There is something in these kegs that turns the Rexall draught into golden garbage! (oh, I feel bad for saying that... I still love you Rexall liquid gold!) I drip beer on my shoes almost every night. I'm still mastering the art of the perfect pour while memorizing the different taps. The locals know me as the replacement Canadian, some even call me Ting, it's real cute. I'm starting my new little work family.

I did have a moment of panic one morning, staring into the white wall, my mind screaming that I needed to go back to MO to design, but it was short lived. I try real hard not to miss my little macbook. There is a reason it was not brought, I needed to try something new and I am. I'm loving it. Creative Suite has officially been swapped with massive amounts of beer. That sounds real unhealthy... but it's true! It's been great, razzing the chef, getting to know the regular old flirty men, meeting people from around the globe!

This is my new life for the next couple of months, that's the update... so come visit!