How Life in Australia is REALLY Going

Has it really been 7 months since I moved to Australia from the U.S.?! Time seriously does fly by. It reminds me of this quote I love, “The time will pass anyway. You can either spend it creating the life you want or living the life you don’t. The choice is yours”. I’m a full believer that taking small (even tiny) steps towards your goals is way better than standing still. If I had spent the past few years just “thinking about it”, I would still be in that same place, dreaming of some other life, going through the routine of a life I didn’t want. I’m not saying everything is now magically perfect or something – I have shared before my struggles with debt and money, and dealing with the judgment from others about some of my choices. There are plenty of things I am still working to make better in my life, but I choose to focus on where I am going and not be dragged down by the things I’m working to change.

Okay now that Kristin’s life lessons are out of the way (yep, just referred to myself in third person), here is a little update on how life is going down under!

U.S. vs. AUSTRALIA

This is something most people want to know about – what do I miss about the US, what food do I miss, how different is it, etc. To be honest, in many ways it’s not that different. Yes we call sandals thongs here (Stephen wears thongs on the daily, hehe), and beer cans are tinnies, popsicles are ice blocks (what?!), and bicycles are called pushies (cracks me up every time), but overall it’s been an easy transition. I love the plants and vegetation here, I can ride my bike to the beach now (sorry, ride my pushie to the beach), and I can successfully drive on the other side of the road, and the car, without injuring others.

People here are nice and super laid back – probably because they actually get a min of 4 weeks paid holiday time a year instead of the U.S. standard two weeks (oftentimes less than that, I used to only have 1 week). While I laugh because now I technically have NO paid vaca time being a business owner, at least I am in control and can work on-the-go from wherever around the world I choose if I need to, or just take that time off like I’m doing when we go to New Zealand in May. I’m working on setting up a future with passive income in mind instead of constantly exchanging time for money (money is renewable, TIME is not), but that’s another whole story in itself. Overall I’ve been really happy over here, I haven’t encountered any deadly creatures (yet), and I’m 100% confident I made the right decision to move.

THE HOUSE

After starting completely from scratch we’ve slowly but surely filled up a lot of the house. When our shipment from the U.S. finally arrived it really helped add that homey touch I was craving with our little knick knacks and personal items. Even though for a while the house felt pretty bare, starting all over was really nice. For years I just toted around all my stuff from apartment to apartment, never really evaluating if it meant anything to me. Those places were so cluttered with “stuff” I couldn’t appreciate those things in there that were really important. I’ll admit, I might have had a slight hoarding habit. But after getting rid of 50% of my things before heading to Europe, then letting go of even more before coming to Australia, it’s been nice to have a space that feels more open now.

It’s been a fun adventure decorating a new place with… a BOY! Okay he’s a man, but Stephen’s been great about letting me kind of do what I want decor wise. I’ve been purposefully not making the place too girly, it’ll always be a work in progress. As I am sure you can imagine, starting from scratch and having to buy EVERYTHING for your home isn’t exactly cheap. So for now we’re pausing on the home updates, even though I do get urges from time to time to run out and buy rugs, new lighting, curtains, and can you really ever have enough throw pillows?

THE NEW BIZ

As many of you already know I launched a new business, Girlboss Designer, last month. It’s why I stopped worrying about this blog for a while, and why I became almost non-existent on my S.B. Instagram. After trying to figure out how exactly I wanted to position myself in this sea of designers for so long, one night while sipping Sauvignon Blanc on the couch, the concept just clicked. I knew my purpose needed to be super clear and I wanted a business name that also made sense right away… I really believe I achieved that. Creating and running a business on your own takes a TON of self discipline, I mean if you’re not going to make it happen, who is? My introverted, hermit tendencies were channeled into countless unpaid hours of obsessively creating Girlboss Designer. But in the end, totally worth it.

I am so thankful for all the support I’ve received since sharing it with you all, and am happy to say it didn’t take long at all to start booking new clients! I really do love the audience I chose, sharing my talents with other women business owners and bringing their vision to life is so rewarding and fun. And because I can’t just stop there, I have some other things in the works coming this year for Girlboss Designer! EEEKKKK so exciting, I’m not giving away anything yet, you’ll have to stay tuned. Now if I can just find the time to make it all happen…

THE SECOND NEW BIZ

AND because all of that isn’t enough (this is why I can barely make it through a whole movie, my mind just can’t stop) I am also now officially signed on as a Consultant for Rodan + Fields. R+F is the #1 skincare brand in North America and was created by the same doctors who made Proactive (so it’s legit people). I was actually on board with them back in September when they launched here in AU, but wasn’t allowed to work on my temp visa until now (thanks partner visa!).

 It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because for the past 6 months I’ve been getting to know the products, falling in love with them, and transforming my skin. This the only makeup I’m wearing in this picture is a bit of mascara & blush- no filters, editing or anything.  We can cover up our faces with loads of makeup to make ourselves look “beautiful”, but what truly gives us confidence is having beautiful skin you don’t feel like you need to cover up all the time. To me, that is worth every penny.

Maybe you’re thinking, “well this is random you’re doing this too”, and I can kind of see that. But I like variety – it’s so nice to get out of freaking photoshop or WordPress sometimes, to have some conversations not about design, to meet some incredible new people and share products with others that will actually offer the results they crave and make them feel better about themselves. I won’t get too into this new adventure just yet, more to come on this later, but never hesitate to reach out to me to learn more about how our products or if you’re curious about getting in on the business side of R+F too.

MAKING FRIENDS

So let’s see, in 6 months I’ve… moved across the world, started two new businesses, and made all of these new amazing friends right in our town! Ha… one of those is completely false. While there have been some awesome things happening lately, we’ve been struggling with the whole making friends in a new place thing. I know things would be different if we were in a major city where there are a lot more socializing opportunities, or if I was working for a business where I could easily meet people at the office. Instead we are living in a tiny little coastal town where 50% of the population could be my grandparents, and I work from home where some days the only people I verbally talk to are Stephen and our dog. While I love it for many many reasons – it’s so gorgeous and peaceful here – it’s not the ideal place for making friends at our age.

For months this honestly didn’t bother me – we were consumed with setting up the house and then I dove head first into creating my new business. But now we’re kind of looking around going, okay… we need to start actually hanging out with other people. This is way easier said than done as you get older – everyone is already set in their ways with their group of friends and routines. Around here almost everyone our age has kids (which is totally fine, I’m not knocking kids okay!), but it just further limits them from being open to adding new people into their life. I also find it difficult to find people I relate to. One of my goals this year is to start utilizing a coworking space up in Byron Bay – just to get out of the house once in a while and to surround myself with others who are in a similar working lifestyle. I know it’ll be a work in progress and we’ll get there eventually, but in the meantime I do feel so lucky Stephen and I have each other and his family close by to lean on.

Overall I am so thankful to be where we are and to be doing what I am doing professionally. I can definitely say I’ve checked off some big things on my goal list – living by the beach, buying a little white SUV, getting a dog, working from home, paying down debt – but there are still so many more things to accomplish.

We’ve gotta keep dreaming, keep aiming high, and reminding ourselves these crazy ideas in our head are actually possible if we are willing to put in the work.

Settling in to Life in Australia

G’Day Mates! Kidding, I am pretty sure I can’t get away with saying that anytime soon. It is now exactly a month since I’ve been here in Australia and I am loving it so far! I know, total shocker right. The weather has been fantastic since I arrived, our house is a five minute drive from multiple beaches (hopefully getting a bike soon) and it’s been really nice for Stephen and I to reconnect and spend quality time together after being apart for 2.5 months. And I mean a LOT of quality time together, we barely know anyone around here…

Moving usually comes with its ups and downs and moving countries definitely is no different. Living in a different country puts you more out of your comfort zone because your norms are totally flipped around, sometimes literally flipped like driving on the other side of the car, AND the road. I am lucky to be in an English speaking country so it’s not as big of a transition as moving elsewhere in the world, but it still comes with plenty of new experiences. Today I am sharing some of what I’ve experienced in my first month of living down under. And since I prefer to end of a happy note- let’s begin with the not-so-easy stuff.

Shopping- Where do I go?

O how I miss you Amazon, Target and TJ Maxx- you have no idea! We do have a version of Target and TJ Maxx here but it is just not the same. You can’t compare to the amazingness that is our Target in the US or the absolute ecstasy that is Amazon Prime. I read Amazon is coming to Australia in 2018 so if that happens I may cry out of pure happiness. Shopping has been an adjustment for me for sure- I am having to relearn where to go for what I need. We are also living in a small coastal town, not very close to a major city, so when you’re trying to buy EVERYTHING for a house and don’t have many store options around (and you’re super picky) it can be frustrating. We’ve taken a few trips up to the Gold Coast which has 1000x the places to choose from. It’s come in handy when I can’t find what I am looking for around here, but it’s an hour away. For example, I looked everywhere for the perfect sectional couch- I had this idea in my mind for what I wanted but I could not find it. If we were going to shell out some decent cash for this piece of furniture I wanted it to be right. We ended up finding it, in the Gold Coast, and since they don’t deliver down here we have to make the trek all the way up even further to their warehouse in Brisbane to get it. Not convenient, but in the end it’ll be worth it. We actually pick it up tomorrow, AHHHHHH, so goodbye camping chairs finally. I realize this might be completely petty of me to be frustrated by shopping choices, but after living in Atlanta for so many years, with almost anything I could need/want easily accessible, it’s been an adjustment for sure!

Starting Completely from Scratch

Usually when you move your belongings might be unorganized in your new place for a while, but at least you HAVE stuff. You know, things to eat off of, places to sit, a bed. This past month we’d bought everything from appliances to plates, to a bed and clothes hangers- all the way down to the salt and pepper. I will say I feel extremely fortunate because of Stephen we are in a position where it hasn’t been a financial strain, but you’d be surprised how fast the home budget disappears. After all the shopping we’ve done the house still feels empty to me, and for someone who is extremely visual it’s not so easy. My surroundings really affect me- I am distracted by the blank walls, the empty rooms, and have ideas swirling around in my head constantly I can’t do anything about yet. If you saw my last apartment you know I like stuff around me, knick knacks and art makes me feel at home. But I am learning to be more patient and let them come together over time. I think the addition of the couch tomorrow will make a huge impact and let me settle down a bit. Also our shipment from the US containing artwork and more personal things for house arrived in Sydney by boat and should be coming to us next month- yay!

BEACH BEACH BEACH!

Some people are mountain people, some are city people, some are beach people. I’m probably a little combination, but coastal living is so ingrained in my being and who I am. Living near the ocean is something I’ve been wanting and dreaming of for as long as I can remember, and now it’s a reality. And not those beaches where it’s literally just sand and then condo, condo, condo- yea they’re nice sometimes but that’s not the environment I wanted (sorry Destin and PCB). Goodbye annoying spring breakers, frat guys and too many families crowding up the beach! No offense to the families but spring breakers and frat guys, get your shit together and act right.

Here in Australia and in particular our area, the beaches are private, expansive, clean, natural and peaceful. I’m usually at the beach a few times a week- either for a midday run/break from work or for a walk with Stephen when he comes from work. Last week after a busy day of errands we packed 2 beers, left the shoes at home and just sat on the beach for a drink, admiring the water and thinking how thankful we are to have this so close to home.

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and bring eternal joy to the soul.”
— Robert Wyland, marine life artist

Working 100% Remotely at Last

Back in Atlanta many mornings consisted of dreading the alarm, rushing around getting ready for the day, sitting in my car for 45 minutes, office for 8 hours, car for another 45 minutes, then cramming in errands and more work at home just to hopefully enjoy a little bit of down time before doing it all over again. Even though I was working remotely while traveling around Europe, when I returned it was back to the in-office grind on a regular basis. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted, I had taken strategic steps away from it but then circled back in order to make larger dents in my debt payoff. It was worth it, but I was so ready for the lifestyle change.

These days I am typically up by 6:30am for a coffee, then open my laptop to begin work around 7am. The morning is prime time to talk to my US clients because of the time difference so often I have a call or two first thing in the morning, then the day’s schedule is up to me. Despite the distractions of our empty house just waiting for a makeover I’ve found I am much more productive working outside of the office. No more people popping in for little things and interrupting my thought process- I feel I can actually FINISH things faster and be more efficient. Depending on my mood I’ll work from the dining table, my office or sit out on the front balcony like I am doing right now. I love having the freedom to work when and where I want, to take breaks when needed, and to be able to do errands during the day to places that are only open until 5pm. It feels great, and is definitely the type of lifestyle I have been after for a while now. My office, like much of the house, is still pretty sparse, but I have plans for a big collage inspiration wall and my prized Apple monitor should be arriving from the US next month.

New Beginnings and More to Come

The other day my mom cracked me up on the phone- she said “so what else is new besides, you know, your entire life”. Shes right, it’s literally like stepping into a new life (one that includes no dryer and me hanging all of our laundry on the clothes line outside, but that’s another story). I hope you’ve enjoyed a little look into this new life in Australia, and I can’t wait to share so much more! A few things I have planned coming up are a home tour, DIY projects around the house, a little closer look into relationships, and how you can ditch the “norms” of society and go after what you really want in life too.

Stay tuned, stay positive, and for God’s sake have a glass of wine, you deserve it.

For a more regular, behind the scenes look make sure to follow Sauvignon Blue on Instagram!

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