Search results for ‘australia’

Celebrating Australia Day

January 27th, 2013 — 10:18 pm

Friday, I enjoyed a girls night out with visiting Aussies Louise, the friend of my Sydney-based galpal Sue, and her classmate Sharon. Our delightful evening coincided with Australia Day – and reminded me of why I have such affection for Oz and its people.

Louise, Sharon and me

We met up for dinner at Asian bistro amber on the Upper West Side. Louise and Sharon filled me in on their once in a lifetime visit to DC for a political conference that included meeting Jesse Jackson and James Carville – and catching glimpses of President Obama and Michelle during the Inauguration. As they spoke with great appreciation for the day s pageantry, I felt a surge of pride for my country – and  more than happy to share why I remain so smitten with theirs.

Australians have mastered the art of work life balance and they are some of the most fun, genuine people you will ever meet. It’s easy to feel like old friends when you’re among them and Friday was no exception.

The three of us fell into easy conversation about marriage, parenthood, travel, and following your passion. When they asked about single life in new York, I was candid about the ups and downs of it…and glad to tell them about the Aussie old flame who has recently resurfaced. I think 2013 is going to be full of romantic surprises if this month is any indication.

Comment » | Australia, Australian men, Girls Night Out, Upper West Side

By The Numbers: Farewell To Australia Edition

January 20th, 2009 — 07:08 pm

As I write this, I’m in the middle of my 20+ hour journey home, sitting between two charming natives of Western Australia — an adorable aspiring actor moving to L.A., and the female owner of a strawberry field (WA is apparently renowned for them) heading to Miami and Key West.

Only a pair of Australians could make being in a middle seat in coach for 14 hours feel like an adventure instead of a sentence.

Over the last nine days, I’ve been fortunate to experience that signature Aussie charm over and over again. Here are some of the great memories I’m taking with me from my fourth jaunt Down Under — By The Numbers:

Number of islands visited: 3
Number of times snorkeling: 2
Number of flights (commercial and charter) taken within Australia: 8 Number of hotels stayed at: 5
Number of personal items lost (including — arrgh! — my camera and all of the pictures from Queensland on it): 7
Number of Aussie friends seen: 2

Longtime friend and Canberra resident Dave and I reminisced and caught up over cocktails next to Sydney’s Opera House

Number of press trip journalists who graciously gave me his camera to use for my stay in Sydney: 1
Number of hunky Aussie males who threw me over his shoulder (and patted my derriere) so I wouldn’t have to walk across a rocky shore: 1
Number of business meetings that might lead to a blind date with an Aussie: 1

That blind date would be courtesy of Charlotte, Hilton’s charming regional PR manager for Australasia.

During a three-hour lunch at Hilton Sydney’s chic Glass Brasserie, our conversation eventually moved from work and the many natural wonders of Australia to dating and the pitfalls of social networking websites.

When I mentioned that I’m single, Charlotte told me about a thirty something male friend of hers who happens to live in New York. She offered to connect the two of us. Yes, please.

Charlotte and I also talked about America’s new president and how his election has created a renewed sense of hope and optimism not just in the U.S. but around the world. On this historic Inauguration Day, I feel excited about the new beginning that President Barack Obama is ushering in for the U.S.

A whirlwind trip to Australia and a brand new president — two more amazing reasons to celebrate when I turn 35 tomorrow!

Comment » | Australia, Barack Obama, Inauguration Day, Sydney, Sydney Opera House, turning 35

By The Numbers: Farewell To Australia Edition

January 20th, 2009 — 02:08 pm

As I write this, I’m in the middle of my 20+ hour journey home, sitting between two charming natives of Western Australia — an adorable aspiring actor moving to L.A., and the female owner of a strawberry field (WA is apparently renowned for them) heading to Miami and Key West.

Only a pair of Australians could make being in a middle seat in coach for 14 hours feel like an adventure instead of a sentence.

Over the last nine days, I’ve been fortunate to experience that signature Aussie charm over and over again. Here are some of the great memories I’m taking with me from my fourth jaunt Down Under — By The Numbers:

Number of islands visited: 3
Number of times snorkeling: 2
Number of flights (commercial and charter) taken within Australia: 8 Number of hotels stayed at: 5
Number of personal items lost (including — arrgh! — my camera and all of the pictures from Queensland on it): 7
Number of Aussie friends seen: 2

Longtime friend and Canberra resident Dave and I reminisced and caught up over cocktails next to Sydney’s Opera House

Number of press trip journalists who graciously gave me his camera to use for my stay in Sydney: 1
Number of hunky Aussie males who threw me over his shoulder (and patted my derriere) so I wouldn’t have to walk across a rocky shore: 1
Number of business meetings that might lead to a blind date with an Aussie: 1

That blind date would be courtesy of Charlotte, Hilton’s charming regional PR manager for Australasia.

During a three-hour lunch at Hilton Sydney’s chic Glass Brasserie, our conversation eventually moved from work and the many natural wonders of Australia to dating and the pitfalls of social networking websites.

When I mentioned that I’m single, Charlotte told me about a thirty something male friend of hers who happens to live in New York. She offered to connect the two of us. Yes, please.

Charlotte and I also talked about America’s new president and how his election has created a renewed sense of hope and optimism not just in the U.S. but around the world. On this historic Inauguration Day, I feel excited about the new beginning that President Barack Obama is ushering in for the U.S.

A whirlwind trip to Australia and a brand new president — two more amazing reasons to celebrate when I turn 35 tomorrow!

Comment » | Australia, Barack Obama, Inauguration Day, Sydney, Sydney Opera House, turning 35

The Australia Countdown Begins

December 24th, 2008 — 06:00 pm

In about two weeks, I’ll be heading to Australia on business, visiting the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and then stopping over in Sydney for a combination of work and pleasure.

It’s been three and a half years since my last trip Down Under, a ten-day jaunt to Sydney that I spent brooding over my then-boyfriend not being Mr. Right and what I was going to do about it. I’m so thankful that I’ll have the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite parts of the world, this time with a clear head.

Along with my excitement about seeing the Great Barrier Reef and great state of Queensland for the first time, I’m eagerly anticipating my reunion with the two people responsible for my love affair with Australia — my dear friends Suzanne and David.

All Smiles in Sydney: Australian friends Sue and Dave during my first trip Down Under, January 2002

I met Sue and Dave back in ‘94, during a whirlwind Contiki bus tour across Europe that covered something like 18 countries in about as many days. We all hit it off immediately and managed to stay in touch over the years.

After Sue came to New York twice — including a memorable New Year’s Eve that found our faith in humanity restored when a cab driver returned the wallet she left in his car — the time finally arrived for me to go Down Under. For the first time in seven years, Sue, Dave and I were all together again, effortlessly picking up where we had left off.

When I said goodbye to them at the end of my January 2002 Australian jaunt, I had a feeling it wouldn’t be for long. Sure enough, I returned in May — just in time to celebrate the birth of Sue’s daughter, my gorgeous goddaughter Isabella. My five month stint as a Sydneysider brought us even closer and afforded some great times with Dave in Canberra, Australia’s capital, with his growing family.

I can’t wait to see Sue and Dave again. In the meantime, I have another reunion to look forward to — with an Aussie old flame who’s heading this way for New Year’s. I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2009!

Comment » | Australia, Canberra, friends abroad, Great Barrier Reef, New Year's Eve, Queensland, Sydney

The Australia Countdown Begins

December 24th, 2008 — 01:00 pm

In about two weeks, I’ll be heading to Australia on business, visiting the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef and then stopping over in Sydney for a combination of work and pleasure.

It’s been three and a half years since my last trip Down Under, a ten-day jaunt to Sydney that I spent brooding over my then-boyfriend not being Mr. Right and what I was going to do about it. I’m so thankful that I’ll have the opportunity to revisit one of my favorite parts of the world, this time with a clear head.

Along with my excitement about seeing the Great Barrier Reef and great state of Queensland for the first time, I’m eagerly anticipating my reunion with the two people responsible for my love affair with Australia — my dear friends Suzanne and David.

All Smiles in Sydney: Australian friends Sue and Dave during my first trip Down Under, January 2002

I met Sue and Dave back in ‘94, during a whirlwind Contiki bus tour across Europe that covered something like 18 countries in about as many days. We all hit it off immediately and managed to stay in touch over the years.

After Sue came to New York twice — including a memorable New Year’s Eve that found our faith in humanity restored when a cab driver returned the wallet she left in his car — the time finally arrived for me to go Down Under. For the first time in seven years, Sue, Dave and I were all together again, effortlessly picking up where we had left off.

When I said goodbye to them at the end of my January 2002 Australian jaunt, I had a feeling it wouldn’t be for long. Sure enough, I returned in May — just in time to celebrate the birth of Sue’s daughter, my gorgeous goddaughter Isabella. My five month stint as a Sydneysider brought us even closer and afforded some great times with Dave in Canberra, Australia’s capital, with his growing family.

I can’t wait to see Sue and Dave again. In the meantime, I have another reunion to look forward to — with an Aussie old flame who’s heading this way for New Year’s. I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2009!

Comment » | Australia, Canberra, friends abroad, Great Barrier Reef, New Year's Eve, Queensland, Sydney

A Review of Baz Luhrmann’s Australia

December 13th, 2008 — 04:42 am

Last Saturday, my friend Tiffany and I went to see “Australia.” Though the much-publicized epic has garnered mixed reviews, I ultimately found myself swept away by Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic love letter to one of my most favorite places.

After a slow start that feels as campy as Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge,” the 2.5 hour tale finds its footing, with the story unfolding through the eyes of Nullah (newcomer Brandon Walters), a young Aboriginal boy.

Set during World War II, “Australia” follows the unlikely romance between English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) and an Aussie cattle Drover (Hugh Jackman). Suddenly widowed and facing bankruptcy, Lady Sarah draws both Drover and Nullah in to saving her husband’s cattle farm, which leads to a complicated, dangerous trek across the Outback.

Romance Down Under: Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman find love in the Outback in “Australia”

With lush, sweeping photography of the Northern Territory and lots of dreamy closeups of Kidman and Jackman, Luhrmann evokes films in the grand tradition of “Gone With The Wind.” A key scene that finds Lady Sarah and Drover causing a stir at a high society ball reminded me of Rhett and Scarlett’s scandalous dance at the Atlanta Bazaar in GWTW.

Though “Australia” doesn’t consistently reach those same lofty heights, the chemistry between Kidman and Jackman is enough to make up for it. Jackman has never been more engaging or movie-star handsome and Kidman becomes more sympathetic and vulnerable as the movie progresses. But it is really Brandon Walters who ends up carrying the movie on his more than able young shoulders.

A Star Is Born: Newcomer Brandon Walters lights up the screen in “Australia”

The 11-year-old is a revelation, delivering a powerful, heart wrenching performance that lifts “Australia” well above just another big love story to a tale of abiding connection with one’s country and kin. Nullah’s fate is the film’s lynchpin and the reason I got choked up more than once.

Bottom line, Luhrmann delivers an affecting big-screen epic worthy of the hype that will leave you with a lump in your throat and a desire to explore the majesty of Australia for yourself.

Comment » | Australia, Baz Luhrmann, Brandon Walters, Gone With The Wind, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman

A Review of Baz Luhrmann’s Australia

December 12th, 2008 — 11:42 pm

Last Saturday, my friend Tiffany and I went to see “Australia.” Though the much-publicized epic has garnered mixed reviews, I ultimately found myself swept away by Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic love letter to one of my most favorite places.

After a slow start that feels as campy as Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge,” the 2.5 hour tale finds its footing, with the story unfolding through the eyes of Nullah (newcomer Brandon Walters), a young Aboriginal boy.

Set during World War II, “Australia” follows the unlikely romance between English aristocrat Lady Sarah Ashley (Nicole Kidman) and an Aussie cattle Drover (Hugh Jackman). Suddenly widowed and facing bankruptcy, Lady Sarah draws both Drover and Nullah in to saving her husband’s cattle farm, which leads to a complicated, dangerous trek across the Outback.

Romance Down Under: Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman find love in the Outback in “Australia”

With lush, sweeping photography of the Northern Territory and lots of dreamy closeups of Kidman and Jackman, Luhrmann evokes films in the grand tradition of “Gone With The Wind.” A key scene that finds Lady Sarah and Drover causing a stir at a high society ball reminded me of Rhett and Scarlett’s scandalous dance at the Atlanta Bazaar in GWTW.

Though “Australia” doesn’t consistently reach those same lofty heights, the chemistry between Kidman and Jackman is enough to make up for it. Jackman has never been more engaging or movie-star handsome and Kidman becomes more sympathetic and vulnerable as the movie progresses. But it is really Brandon Walters who ends up carrying the movie on his more than able young shoulders.

A Star Is Born: Newcomer Brandon Walters lights up the screen in “Australia”

The 11-year-old is a revelation, delivering a powerful, heart wrenching performance that lifts “Australia” well above just another big love story to a tale of abiding connection with one’s country and kin. Nullah’s fate is the film’s lynchpin and the reason I got choked up more than once.

Bottom line, Luhrmann delivers an affecting big-screen epic worthy of the hype that will leave you with a lump in your throat and a desire to explore the majesty of Australia for yourself.

Comment » | Australia, Baz Luhrmann, Brandon Walters, Gone With The Wind, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman

NYC Block Party: Australia’s Stars, Emmy’s Honorees and Macy’s Cheerleaders

November 26th, 2008 — 09:50 pm
Monday night, I headed over to the Ziegfeld Theater for the NYC premiere of “Australia.”

Despite barricades and cranky security guards, I managed to catch a few fleeting glimpses of the eagerly-anticipated epic’s stars. This was my view of Nicole Kidman…

….as she posed for the throng of photographers under the media tent.

That Aussie Magic: “Australia” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman (photo courtesy: Wire Images)

Nicole’s dashing co-star Hugh Jackson made a heroic entrance, stopping to sign a few autographs and greet his fans. With a dazzling smile and heaps of Aussie charm, it’s easy to see why Hugh was chosen as this year’s Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.

Hugh and his fans (photo courtesy: Getty images)

I jumped on a barricade to get this shot of Hugh on the red carpet!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, a smaller group of photographers were snapping the nattily dressed folks arriving for the International Emmy Awards.

As I walked away from the Hollywood hubbub, I noticed a big group of teenagers lined up in front of the Hilton hotel, all wearing Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sweatshirts.

Ready For Their Closeup: HS Cheerleaders gearing up for their performance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Turns out they were part of the Mike Miller & Associates troupe of 650 cheerleaders from high schools all across the U.S. One of their chaperones told me the group was heading to a rehearsal for their two numbers. You can catch them in the Macy’s Parade’s big opening sequence tomorrow at 9am EST, then again at 11am.

As I hopped into a cab to begin part two of the evening’s festivities, I marveled at all that was happening on one square block. Just another quiet night in the city that never sleeps!

1 comment » | Australia, Hugh Jackman, Macy's Parade, Mike Miller And Associates, Nicole Kidman, Ziegfeld Theater

NYC Block Party: Australia’s Stars, Emmy’s Honorees and Macy’s Cheerleaders

November 26th, 2008 — 04:50 pm
Monday night, I headed over to the Ziegfeld Theater for the NYC premiere of “Australia.”

Despite barricades and cranky security guards, I managed to catch a few fleeting glimpses of the eagerly-anticipated epic’s stars. This was my view of Nicole Kidman…

….as she posed for the throng of photographers under the media tent.

That Aussie Magic: “Australia” co-stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman (photo courtesy: Wire Images)

Nicole’s dashing co-star Hugh Jackson made a heroic entrance, stopping to sign a few autographs and greet his fans. With a dazzling smile and heaps of Aussie charm, it’s easy to see why Hugh was chosen as this year’s Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine.

Hugh and his fans (photo courtesy: Getty images)

I jumped on a barricade to get this shot of Hugh on the red carpet!

Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, a smaller group of photographers were snapping the nattily dressed folks arriving for the International Emmy Awards.

As I walked away from the Hollywood hubbub, I noticed a big group of teenagers lined up in front of the Hilton hotel, all wearing Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade sweatshirts.

Ready For Their Closeup: HS Cheerleaders gearing up for their performance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Turns out they were part of the Mike Miller & Associates troupe of 650 cheerleaders from high schools all across the U.S. One of their chaperones told me the group was heading to a rehearsal for their two numbers. You can catch them in the Macy’s Parade’s big opening sequence tomorrow at 9am EST, then again at 11am.

As I hopped into a cab to begin part two of the evening’s festivities, I marveled at all that was happening on one square block. Just another quiet night in the city that never sleeps!

1 comment » | Australia, Hugh Jackman, Macy's Parade, Mike Miller And Associates, Nicole Kidman, Ziegfeld Theater

Lunch With The Blender Girl

May 17th, 2014 — 09:51 pm

One of the many wonderful things about my job at The Westin New York Grand Central is it connects me with amazing people I wouldn’t get to know otherwise. That serendipitous occurrence happened once again – during a delightful lunch with wildly popular blogger/cookbook author Tess Masters a.k.a The Blender Girl.

Tess and me

Tess and me

Tess and I met while she was staying at the Westin as part of a multi-city tour promoting her fabulous new cookbook. Named for her blog, The Blender Girl features 100 gluten-free, vegan recipes that excite even an unabashed carnivore like me. The cookbook is generating plenty of media buzz and with good reason.

Tess and I were introduced via email via a mutual acquaintance a few months ago, and we clicked immediately. Like everyone else I know from Australia, Tess is charming, fun and down to earth. During lunch, we bonded effortlessly over our shared background in TV, love of Westin’s wellness programs and appreciation for the differing attributes of L.A. (where Tess lives now) and NYC.

My first experience of L.A. was 20 years ago with then-boyfriend and CA native Mark (a.k.a Sparky). I saw so much of it during the year that we dated that its charms were somewhat lost on me. Over time, though, I’ve come to enjoy it as a very welcome respite from the relentless hustle and bustle of my hometown. Coastal, beachside living and a more laidback attitude are very alluring when you reside in the concrete jungle of Manhattan.

Thankfully, NYC is finally enjoying one of LA’s best attributes – beautiful weather. After our long winter, I’m slowly emerging from a seasonal dating hibernation. It feels good to get back out there. To realize that each time I take a crack at meeting someone special, I am growing and evolving in the process.

A new season indeed.

Comment » | dating, Los Angeles, Westin New York Grand Central

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