Posts in Lifestyle
How I Feel Home for the Holidays, While Living Half a World Away

"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." It's always been one of my favorite Christmas carols and something my brother and I used to cross our fingers for every year. Sledding, snow men, snow angels, snow cream, snowball fights - it doesn't get much better for a kid. Growing up in North Carolina, then beginning my TV anchoring career in Ohio, and spending five years at Fox News Channel in New York City - I was lucky enough not to just sing about having a white Christmas, but actually have a white Christmas - a number of times.

This year the only white Christmas I'll be seeing - isn't snow - but white sandy beaches. Santa will be riding a Sea-Doo instead of a one horse open sleigh, and ugly Christmas sweater house parties will be replaced with ugly Christmas wetsuit beach parties. For real! You see it's summer where I live. I live in the place Americans fondly refer to as The Land Down Under. I'm not complaining, just noting the stark contrast.

I'll be kicking off my Christmas morning with a cool swim at Australia's most iconic beach, Bondi Beach, and then heading to my brother-in-law's house for a poolside Christmas feast with 'prawns' the size of your fist! That's 'shrimp' for folks in our corner of the world!

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Recipe! Peppermint Forest Christmas Shop Pecans: A Kooiman Family Tradition

It's that time of year again when the calories don't count!!!!!! Yay! Eat what you want! That's the rule I'm going to live by as I take on my Aussie Christmas feast in Sydney this year. And to make me feel home for the holidays I made several batches of a famous Kooiman family sweet treat.... Peppermint Forest Christmas Shop Pecans!

Being that I am just wrapping up my 8th month of pregnancy, I am VERY excited to be using the excuse... "I'm eating for two" when it comes to this Kooiman Christmas staple.

During my time in New York City hosting Fox and Friends, producers sent me home one year to make the pecans, chat with my mom, dad, & bro about our North Carolina traditions, and pay a visit to the family biz. To WATCH the video, click here.

Every year growing up I would help my mom bake batches and batches and batches. Then during several busy holiday weekends, I would walk around the Peppermint Forest Christmas Shop serving the customers the famous pecans along with shortbread and hot apple cider.

So what are these special pecans I speak of!? Quite possibly the best Christmas goodie on the planet! The treats are great with ice cream and pie for dessert, they are a decadent sweet potato soufflé topper, a divine salad cruncher, and the old faithful way to eat them is just as a standalone, festive snack.

You should try them out! Here is the recipe:

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An American Thanksgiving in Oz, with a Bun in the Oven

This opinion piece first ran on

I’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving as an American living in Ohio, North Carolina and New York. And now I enjoy living in Australia – a wonderful place except … Aussies don’t celebrate the wonderful holiday.

This is quite understandable, given that Australia is a place far, far away – where back in the 1600s there were plenty of kangaroos, but neither Native Americans nor Pilgrims.

What do you think of when you smell apple cinnamon and pumpkin spice? It’s something we don’t even have to think about as Americans, right? The holiday season, of course


I’m willing to bet you’re getting a warm, fuzzy feeling inside your tummy this very second. It’s why Starbucks makes such a killing this time of year selling their festive lattes. Those tempting aromas mean Thanksgiving is here and Christmas is just around the corner.

Let’s continue my game for a moment. What do you think of when you smell coconut sunscreen and salt in the air? Again, as Americans our mental rolodexes flip to beach vacations in the months of June, July and August.

OK. Now flip everything you know on its head. Let’s travel to another hemisphere. Let’s go to the wonderful land of Oz! A faraway land where the seasons and corresponding months are just the opposite of all I’ve ever known.

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Tasty Turkey Taco Chili

This turkey taco chili is so simple, delicious, and nutritious! I have made it about 100 times, 100 different ways. After a lot of trial and error, this is definitely a recipe worth sharing! Let me know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube if you try it!


  • 1.25 lbs ground turkey (.5 kg turkey mince)
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannelli beans
  • 1 can sweet corn
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 carton beef stock (can also use chicken or veggie)
  • 2 sweet peppers (red/yellow/orange)
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 packet guacamole seasoning

  • arugula/cilantro/avocado/Greek yogurt/cracked pepper

  • Combine kidney beans, cannelli beans, sweet corn, crushed tomatoes, and guacamole seasoning in large pot. 

  • Stir ingredients in large pot. If you will be at the house, go ahead and begin cooking on low. 

  • About an hour or two before you want to eat the meal, brown the ground turkey with the taco seasoning. Also chop and sauté the peppers with a bit of taco seasoning.

  • Combine cooked turkey and peppers with everything else in the pot. Increase the heat to medium. Stir periodically. It is ready to serve in about and hour. But it can be held for a good while on low.

  • This is a mild chili. I've added Frank's Hot Sauce in the past for a little kick. I think that adds just enough zing, but prefer it just like as I've laid out above. 

  • Garnish as you wish. I like to use arugula (rocket as they say in Oz) and avocado. I add Greek yogurt, lime, and cracked pepper when I prep it for my husband. Choose your own adventure!

  • ENJOY! 

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Best Beach Hair Products Under the Sun

I like to use beach sprays two ways... I'll give my mane a little misty mist... spritzy spritz before I head down to the sand... and let the wind do the styling for me.... Or I'll use it on dry hair that is looking limp and haggard... to give it some swagger. ;-) Give it a whirl... You'll be singing... "I Whip My Hair Back and Forth" in no time!

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How to Get the Perfect Pink Pout

I just discovered a super fun and flirty pink lipstick and have to share! I normally wear more neutral colors like MAC Brave Lipstick with MAC Cultured Lipglass (gloss) or MAC Please Me Lipglass (gloss) on top... But this new MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande lipstick makes such a statement. I've been getting so many compliments. It's not an everyday color in my book... but it is definitely a head turner... and screams energy and confidence!

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Baxter Update

I have been counting down the days until my Baxter Bear gets to be with me here in Bondi Beach, Australia. A lot of you have asked about Baxter on social media. And I haven't wanted to talk about it much because it is so hard. It is a painstaking process and it seems ridiculous. My heart aches when I think about it. Off and on I have been cursing the Aussie quarantine regulations. But I understand why they are in order. Australia is a wondrous place with unique and protected ecosystems and leaders want to keep it that way. The strict conditions are designed to manage biosecurity risks. 

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Big Move! New Website! Let's Keep in Touch!

Friends! How ya feelin!?! I have missed you so much since my big move from television in New York City! Let's keep in touch. I'm so happy you found me here. I'm getting settled into my new home at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia with my husband. My hope is that this lifestyle blog dares you to dream... inspires you to take on new life adventures... and welcomes you to travel along with me on mine! xoxo

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Anna Kooiman Lifestyle Philosophy

I am all about trying to live a beautiful and balanced life. This lifestyle section is a mix of whatever shenanigans I'm getting into... fashion, beauty, or home products or hacks that have made me happy... and hopefully they will serve you well too! 

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