Christchurch, New Zealand. Behind the Lens

There is so much to see and do in Christchurch, New Zealand. But this city has so much meaning to us since it’s my husbands’ hometown. I invite you behind the lens to see all the city, beaches, trails, and rebuild of the city post earthquake. 

Christchurch, New Zealand. Behind the Lens Come take a tour of this great city!

Our time in Christchurch, New Zealand has come and gone. My husband (aka the kiwi) is from Christchurch. He’s been training for Ironman New Zealand up in the north and down here for the past 5 weeks. I flew over 10 days ago. It was perfect timing too, just in time for his taper and for me the “sherpa wife” to take care of the meals, relax, and basically just be at home.

coconut rice and watermelon salad bowls tropical orange protein muffins

Our days have been simple. Cook, bake, eat, go for tea or coffee, work a little, sleep, read, walk/train. And when we have access to a car, we venture out for a little afternoon drive to the small towns just in the outskirts of Christchurch.

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I’d say this trip has been quite soothing. Soothing in the fact that we have no plans but just to take care of each other and catch up. Soothing for our marriage, which feels refreshed. So we embraced the simple and the slow, because next week will be rushed. We head up to Taupo via Auckland for what might be his last ironman. Then home to Texas after that to face reality and taxes, haha!

So while I have a wee bit of time and free internet connection, I thought I’d give you tour! Behind the lens that is, both DSLR lens and iPhone.

New Brighton Beach

brighton beach and ocean
New Brighton Beach

Just a small glimpse of the Botanical Gardens in Hagley park. The park IS HUGE and full of beauty.

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Port Hills trails and Scenic View of Lyttleton harbor

port hills trails, NZsheep in NZ littleton view

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View of Christchurch from the top of Port Hills

veiw of christchurch from above (New Zealand)

Watching the surf at Sumner (another suburb of Christchurch). One of our favorite spots! Cute shops, markets, the beach, and ice cream!

sumner harbor new zealand

Well guys, thanks for sticking around for my picture overload. I hope you all get to New Zealand some time, it’s worth every penny!

What place is on your MUST SEE list?







Do You Need a Digital Detox?

I often reminisce about our time in New Zealand back in 2011-2012. You see, those were the days when all we had was a local Nokia phone with no extra features, our car had no radio, and the only access to internet we has was when we were at the house connected to wi-fi. That means when we left the house, we DISCONNECTED. We did not have access to email, facebook, instagram, twitter, etc. And when the kiwi was out training for ironman, I’d often tag along and walk or read a book while he trained.


On rest days we’d take day trips and just relax.


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When we got back to the states our lives went from 50mph to 100mph again and I found myself trapped in busyness trying to run a business. Work Work Work, go go go. Crash, burn, repeat. It wasn’t until this past year that I really tried to channel that slowdown and work on disconnecting. Yes, work on disconnecting more. Sounds so easy, right?

Recently, my good BLEND Jess decided to take a complete 7 DIGITAL DETOX to celebrate her 10 year anniversary with her husband. I couldn’t wait to hear about her trip, and honestly, I wanted to hear more about her time AWAY from it all. No phone, email, social media, etc. I recruited Jess to share her digital detox “musings” here, today!

digital detox

Birds chattering. Crickets chirping. Loudly. All evening and all morning. Waves lapping the shore. Toes in the sand, warm and soft. All of these are quiet, seemingly small moments. But to me? They were monumental.

st. lucia

It meant I was in the moment. Soaking it all in. Completely present and undistracted. Truly there.

Sure, it would’ve been fun to share all of this on instagram. I fully admit that I’m a totally instagram addict when I’m at home. I love sharing snippets of my day in photo form — to me it’s sort of become my form of ‘blogging’ now that I don’t blog any longer. However, instagram was the farthest from my mind in these moments.


To say that I learned a lot while Scott and I were away in St. Lucia to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary would be a giant understatement.

For the first time in Lord knows how long, we completely unplugged. And I truly believe it was this disconnecting to reconnect that brought us closer than ever before. It all hit me about halfway through our trip. There was a singer on the stage near the pool after dinner, he sang country song covers all night long and was taking requests.

When he sang the first few chords of ‘We Danced’ by Brad Paisley – our wedding song – I felt the tears on my cheek, the rush of emotions (that took me by surprise quite honestly) and I leaned my head on his shoulder. After just a few days completely detached from the ‘real world’ – a life at home that we adore but that is typically chock full of activity –I finally took a second to exhale. Letting my mind rush back to our wedding day soooo many years ago and that very first dance. I remember how excited I was. I was over the moon in love with my new husband and excited to share that with my family and friends who surrounded us while we danced.

dinner on beach

In these moments, over ten years later, it was just Scott and I. Our song playing. I was simply in awe of this man with his arms around me, a man I am ridiculously proud to call my husband. A man that I all too often am so distracted around, that I simply don’t spend enough time just being with him. Just us. No electronics. No distractions. Appreciating him for all that he is and all that he means to me. Truly there.

As our week away neared its end, and we realized this little digital detox of ours was almost over, I was a little bit sad. It was so nice to just focus on Scott, on each other, and on nothing at all (and surprisingly WAY easier to disconnect than I thought it would be…).


Why on earth do we NOT do this more often?? I mean sure, we have jobs, we have commitments and responsibilities. But we have a choice in how we spend our down time, our free time. Why not make that ‘free’ time, truly FREE? Uncluttered by all things digital entirely. If you think about the word ‘free’ even – by definition it means open, unrestricted. And if I look back on our time in St. Lucia, I’d absolutely define that time as open, unrestricted and yes, liberating.

Now that we’re back on home turf, I’m taking what I’ve learned to heart. And lucky for me, Lindsay asked me to share that learning with you guys here.

Lesson learned from our digital detox

  • To be free, to have free time, to have the freedom to choose to spend that free time however we want is a gift.
  • It’s a gift to yourself as much as it is a gift to the loved ones around you.
  • Give wisely. Give freely. Give often.
  • Time literally slows down when you aren’t constantly checking in on facebook, instagram, twitter and foursquare.
  • My mind felt at ease that week, no mind crazies, no fretting over what I was eating, drinking, doing for my workouts (or not doing). Coming home, it’s been far harder to shut the mind crazies down but I’m trying.
  • Conversations were more engaging, we weren’t constantly half listening to each other. We were REALLY listening.

Also? I learned that I love my husband a whole heck of a lot more than a week ago.


Sounds pretty Marvelous, yes?


Do you need a Digital Detox? 



Flashback Friday: Kiwi Cotter

As I sit here, thinking over this past year, I almost get a little teary eyed. For me, that says something. I may be corny, but shedding tears of emotion? Pah-lease. Haha, actually, I share in tears of joy. And that’s why I am writing this today. For me, to share joy, to look back at life and THANK GOD for all He’s done.

You see, a year a go today we were on a plane to New Zealand. We wanted to escape, we wanted to rest, we wanted to heal, we wanted to simplify, we KNEW it was worth the risk. And oh how it was totally worth it!

We sold a lot of our stuff, put the other half in storage, and just went for it!

hills and james

It was in New Zealand that I realized I had life all backwards. I often thought that I needed to do more, be more, make more, and please more. A constant state of stress and pressure brought upon solely by myself. And the same goes with James. He stressed over trying to provide more, give me more rest (even though I wouldn’t take it), and make me happy. We danced around one big stress ball 24/7 . His  training and my health suffered as well.

But when you move thousands of miles away with nothing else to do but to take care of each other, rest, and just be a wife, you learn that that is more than enough. I struggled for the first half of that move. I struggled with being restless. Not knowing what to do. And then it was if God physically said to me “STOP, take my PATH!”


Oh yes, I listened this time.

Rest. Love. Listen. Work to live, not live to work. Disconnect to reconnect. Have Faith. Have Hope. RESPECT each OTHER. Laugh. Be kind. Ask for Help. Give a helping hand and a listening ear. Hug. Stop and Smell the Roses. Buy Flowers for yourself. Walk slow and take in the scenery. Read God’s Word. Worry less, thank more!  Dream BIG.

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Those words, those phrases, have been glued to my mind ever since we left New Zealand to come back to the states. I try to remember them daily. The hubs does a pretty good job of reminding me as well. To say that we never get caught up in the busyness and stress of life back in Austin would be a LIE. It’s hard not too. But as soon as I start to feel that way, I look back at this year, I look at how far I (we) have come. I look back at how much we have slowly gained (physically, spiritually, and mentally). I look back and see how our love (and marriage) grew stronger. I look back at it all and smile. A year of true growth and I don’t want to stop! Amen!

A year ago today we left for New Zealand. We were nervous, anxious, happy, excited, tired, and weary. Can you tell from our eyes?


A year later (picture below), we are so much more restored and THANKFUL for new strength.

us again

I know this was totally off the beaten path today, but it was on my mind and I had to share. I wrote this post for me. And boy did it feel good!

Enjoy the rest of your Holiday weekend! And be sure to checkout the Healthy Bites Facebook Page tomorrow for a Small Business Saturday discount!


The Cotters

All things Green and Winner

This is a semi wordless post. It’s not too important. Well, besides the announcement of the HEALTHY BITES winners!! Oh yea!

In order to not make it too lame, I will talk about my big realization this weekend. Green! Yep, it’s everything and I didn’t even notice before St. Patty’s day.

I know I know, important stuff!

Happy Sunday!

I see green, I wear green, I look green, I snack green, my breath is wintergreen, but thank goodness my breakfast cereal didn’t turn out green.



I definitely miss THIS green (New Zealand)


Oh and I pin things green… maybe a little too green but it’s still cute, right?


Are you sick of green yet?

NEVER! It’s actually my favorite color.

What was your GREEN this weekend?

Oh and last but not least… I’m greening grinning with excitement to announce the healthy bites winners.

These were randomly selected but I have to say, I love all these ladies and their responses are just plain AWESOME!

Congrats to the 2 Healthy Bites eBook winners.. Lauren and Sarah!!! You ladies had some crazy tell all TUESDAYS!


I’ll be emailing you the eBook soon!

And congrats to THIS WOMAN who finally get’s her hands on some

 Healthy Bites.


Email me your flavor choice and address woman! And good luck at your race today! Smile

Thanks to all who entered. I’ll be sure to do this again.

 Happy Sunday!



30 Min Thursday: The “NEW” Routine

ROUTINE ——> It’s a funny word in the Cotter House. You see, we rarely have a SET routine. It changes all the time. If something works, we stick with it, if it doesn’t then Buh-bye. And how do we know if it works? We see results in the way we LIVE with and for each other.

A Year ago I was in a routine that looked productive, but in reality it was destructive

Teaching classes almost everyday, running 30 plus miles a week, trying to expand a business (Healthy Bites) while still juggling nutrition work, “trying” to take care of a professional athlete (hubs), stressing over everything, and ignoring certain health symptoms yet again.

This is when we decided to that New Zealand would be GOOD for both of us. Time away from it all, mental rest, and hopefully some good healing.

Being in New Zealand did help us focus on that. It helped us realize that we were in need of a new routine. One we felt GOOD about. One that BALANCED each other out. One that STUCK with us, even when coming back to the states.

This is us, just 1 hour after landing back in the States.

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Jet lagged faces and all.

In New Zealand we…..

  • didn’t create unnecessary busyness
  • Spent time together without phones, computers, other distractions
  • We budgeted so finances were not a stress
  • We didn’t feel guilty about resting MORE

In New Zealand I……

    • I learned to “UN”-routine in order to create a better “US” routine
    • I started to finally slow down my pace of life
    • I learned to enjoy walking/hiking instead of running

It’s crazy how much an environment change can impact you so much.

And I am so glad it did.

Now we are working on replacing our old routine at home with our new NEW ZEALAND routine.

To say it has been easy would be lying. It’s not. Life is so much faster here.


We realize that working toward that goal is even more CRUCIAL than before.

My thirty Minute Thursday looks a little different this week. In fact, it might look a little different for a while. High Intensity workouts will for sure return, but for now I will be focusing on 30 minutes of “Good for YOU” routines. A break from the OLD Routine. Winking smile

15 Minutes in the morning


Stretch while the coffee is brewing

Keep your phone and computer off

Go for a walk with no iPhone

Sit and eat breakfast at a table….SLOWLY


15 Minutes in the Evening


Have a cup of tea

Cuddle with loved ones (fur children included)

Call a friend

Read a book, devotional, etc.

Be a BUM

Create a routine that’s not TOO ROUTINE.


Do you have a “Good to YOU” routine?




Don’t forget to enter the HEALTHY BITES giveaway. Winner picked this weekend!

Fake it Friday

Ahh yes. Friday has come. Although it’s just another day in the Cotter house, it still feels good to say it’s Friday.

I think my brain and body are finally on the Friday wavelength too.

So what is the best way to overcome jet lag? I say “fake it.” Fake like you never left the time zone that you are currently in. This means you get up, eat, sleep, etc. all at your normal hours. It means going to be when you are not tired and waking up when you are still SUPER tired. We’ve been on the “fake” routine the past 3 days and last night it finally worked, slept the WHOLE night. No sleeping pills needed either. Although I was “this close” to taking them. haha.

While we’re on the topic of “faking it,” and no I don’t mean that kind. Winking smile  I mean the attitude kind, a few people have recently asked me how I (we) stay so positive and “happy”. You know what I say?


I’m a firm believer of FAKING IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. Well, for most things.

If you put yourself in a situation where you must persevere in order to reach your “potential” or reach your “dreams” per se, then the only way you can survive is through positivity. This is just my opinion. It’s what works best for my our brains.

We are striving towards a dream. We are taking risk. It’s bloody hard. It’s disappointing at times. It’s draining. It’s A LOT to handle.


If we focus on the good that comes from each trial. If we look past the current situation. If we see each setback as a chance to then LEAP forward, then we just might….




And if we don’t, then at least we grew stronger trying.

That’s real strength, no faking it there.


Let’s see, what else do we tend to “fake?”

I think it’s safe to say we “faked” liking our sweet get up car we drove in New Zealand.


But like I said, some things you just can’t fake.

Some things are better off seen as they are.

You can’t fake racing a half ironman when training 4 months for a FULL Ironman. Yep, that about explains it all.

I think the hubs said it best here.

IMNZ Race Day Photos


I promise that’s James. It’s the headless cotter shot I took. Whoops!

2nd out of the water, and 3rd onto the bike!


And the run, where look on his face explains it all.

No fake smile there and that’s TOTALLY OK!


Oh and there was no faking me hiding out in the car for 20 minutes after the swim portion.



Guilty as charged.


This post is just a little explanation of our thought process. Some might think the same way, while others don’t. I totally get that. You gotta THINK the way that’s BEST for you, right?

So what’s your motto? Are you a Fake it till you Make it person?





To thank you for such amazing support, i’ll be hosting a giveaway next week. It’s a personal one, and it just might have to do with Healthy Bites.




“I don’t think we’re in New Zealand anymore Toto.”

Yep, my exact thoughts.

As soon as we landed in LA, a rush of adrenaline hit. Yes, half of it was the jet lag and strong coffee combination, but the other half was just REAL.

Let me tell you our travel plans, just humor.

4 hour drive from Taupo to Auckland, wait 5 hours for our flight. Then 12 hour flight from Auckland to LA. Layover was suppose to be only 2 hours but then flight was delayed last minute. Left LA at 8pm and got into DFW at 1am. Construction on the highway so didn’t get to my parents house till 2am. Woke up at 7am (darn you body!!!), laundry, then drove another 3 1/2 hours to Austin. PHEW!!!!

Customs were probably the worst part, thankfully they did not take away our beloved marmite! ha!

But the highlight of it all was DEB!! Sweet, amazing, kind, loving, and GORGEOUS DEB!! The best layover present a gal could ask for. That and Trader Joes of course.

Thank you Deb for rescuing us from the LAX airport. And thank you for being YOU! We needed someone as special as you to ease us back into US society. Winking smile

photo 1

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Speaking of society, jet lag, and homecomings… Here’s a little clip of my first day back in the good old US of A!


And thank GOODNESS these treats were waiting for us when we arrived home. It was like a Christmas for the GF blogger. YAHOO!

Note: Home right now is a PO box. gotta love the nomad style.


ahhh, the brands I love!

So comforting. yes!

But the best thing… the very BEST thing… was REUNITING our CHILD.


So here’s to jet lag, to long layovers with friends, to reuniting with fur babies/friends/family, to old favorites, and to continuing this journey

American style.”


What’s your best homecoming memory?




The RACE recap by the Hubs is up. I think it sums it up just right.

Victory in the Land of Long White Cloud

Are you wondering about my title? No? Well, you should. New Zealand is “supposedly” referred to as the Land of the long white cloud. Just click the link for the history. I won’t go into detail here, don’t you worry. But what I will go into detail about is my time here. So sit back if you will….

Just to preface, I recently signed up for the GLAM AUTHOR Program. It’s a paid opportunity, but it also allows me to choose what “themes” I want to write about. I jumped at this idea because it allowed me to support the hubs while we were in New Zealand, and trust me, we needed EVERY LITTLE PENNY!

One theme that I found I could relate to was about “small wins,” but in my mind I like to think of them as “small victories.” Here’s the exact wordage.

Theme: We want to know how you reward yourself and maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle in the ‘smallest’ ways. Whether it is a quick 10 minute walk in the morning or eating a piece of fruit for dessert, what are the ‘small wins’ you experience that lead you to a healthy and happy day? Sponsored by Quaker Oatmeal


Now, I know I Quaker Oatmeal is the sponsor of this theme and I totally love that they are! But small wins didn’t come from just healthy food, it came from nourishment. Food is nourishment though, right?


But you know what else provides nourishment?

Self Love.

Does that even make sense?

Let me explain…………..

When I left for New Zealand with the hubs, I up and left my “busyness and hyper-productivity” in the States. That meant a whole new world was waiting for me when I arrived. But what did that look like?

I didn’t know what to expect really. In fact, I didn’t even know if I could handle being just “simple” me.

You see, I had been thriving off of the “always doing something, over-working, busy-body” lifestyle. I hid behind this BUSYNESS so much that I actually had no identity without it.


In New Zealand there was no “schedule” or  “plan.” And to be honest, the first month I felt guilty living at such a slow pace, which also led me to feeling a bit lost and anxious.

Why was this? Wasn’t part of the purpose of this trip to slow down, to rest, and to take care of each other?

Yes. Yes it was. But that also meant I needed to take care of me and reconnect with ME! Be still and ENJOY…… ME!

Sounds a bit selfish but in fact it was/is the most humbling experience I have gone through.

Each day I found Small wins in taking time to “know” me.

I strolled in the park…


I walked to get groceries..

I woke up early just to watch the sunrise….

hills 2

I stopped at every corner just to take pictures….


I cooked..


I baked…


I drank coffee at several cafes…


I read my bible and disconnected from everything, to pray…


I enjoyed a glass of NZ wine….. every night.


Do I sound like Eat Pray Love yet?  haha. Just kidding. I was far from that. New Zealand wasn’t about spending time discovering life.

It was about reuniting with ME!

Yep…. ME! Simple Me.


Stripped of every busy detail and distraction in my life,

I was left with one thing……the real me.

And guess what I found out?

I LIKE the REAL me.


So I guess you could say that the time we spent living in New Zealand has been my me “small win” so far this year. A small victory that played a HUGE part in rebuilding my confidence.

It has been my nourishing bowl of oatmeal in the morning, fueling me for more of life to come.



The benefits of a warm, filling bowl of oatmeal can keep you going all morning long. Energy. Fiber. Heart Health. Quaker Oatmeal.

A super grain breakfast.



Simple yet Sassy LC

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Quaker via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Quaker.


I will be participating in a GLAM twitter chat this Thursday, March 8th at 4pm PST/7pm EST .

We’re continuing the topic of  “Healthy Rewards: What small steps in the morning do you take to keep healthy?” Feel free to join in.  I know there will be prizes randomly drawn for those who participate. Plus GLAM is giving out a GRAND PRIZE to a random participant who participates in the series of  these discussions. Anyone want to win a $1000 Amazon Gift Card? Sweet!!

The Grand prize winner will be chosen at random after the series is completed. For complete rules, click here..

It is what it is..

This morning I woke up and just so happened to have an online devotional sent to me in my email. Thankfully, we had 1/2 G of data left so I could read and pass it along to the hubs. It was hard to read, yet comforting at the same time.

These words were loud and clear.

“As an offering of trust, we must give up that which could so easily bring us down.

Not give up as in discouraged surrender. But give up as in placing this desire in the hand of God and saying, “Either way, I will see Your answer as the good answer and walk in trust.”

As a wife, it’s hard to see your husband’s career take off then backfire due to injury. It’s hard to see him FULL OF CONFIDENCE then have to start all over, building it up again from scratch. And to be honest, it’s hard to see him sacrifice so much only to be feel disappointed in the end.


It is not the end. We are staying positive, yet realistic.


Realistic in the fact that there is a time to feel angry, disappointed, and frustrated. Those feelings need to be let out, am I right!?


2012 still awaits for us. It’s our last year to really go for those dreams. We will focus on that. No looking back, no looking forward.


With that being said, New Zealand did bring us healing. In ourselves, our marriage, and so much more.


Tonight we board our plane for Austin. Our journey here may come to a halt, but it is not over. Just switching gears you might say.


Cheers to New Zealand.



I have race pictures and a recap coming up later. First we must get home and settled. Winking smile


Thanks for always supporting TEAM COTTER. Thanks for letting ME (the wife) share my life here. Thanks for following us on this crazy ride.

Mother Nature cancels Ironman

In 12 hours the hubs was suppose to be racing a FULL IRONMAN, but around 4 pm today, Mother Nature had other plans in mind.


After 4 months of hard work, training, etc. the poor guy doesn’t get to race the full event. There was frustration, there was heartbreak, and there was upset.


Clouds starting to roll in.


We know that the safety of the athletes comes first. We know that racing Sunday is still do-able for us (phew!). We know that the weather should be cleared and all the conditions safe.


We know that this could be a blessing in disguise. God has his ways, so we’re trusting that. Yes! Stay positive.

So if we can’t change the forecast, then we won’t change our prep time here either.

There will still be a good taper and rest time.


There will still be a good Fueling.

Gluten Free Pasta with Lamb and peas please.



There will still be good compression socks worn….

Yes, I am wearing them even though I am not racing.

Hey, when in Rome, right? Winking smile



And last but not least….

There will still be a good Half Ironman RACE come Sunday……

rain or shine!


Thank you to all who have followed us on this journey.

Here’s to blessings in disguise!


Cotter Crew