Behind the Scenes: House Hunters International

Well the reviews are in... maybe we didn't make total fools of ourselves on House Hunters International!

If you're from the United States or Canada, you've probably heard of HGTV's House Hunters International, and if you're from the UK or New Zealand, they've got lots of similar shows (I think it airs on the Living Channel in NZ eventually - just waiting on an air date). 

The premise - a couple looks at 3 houses in a foreign location and picks one to live in. Sounds simple, but it was so interesting to see the work that goes into making a 23-minute episode. While I can't give away all of the secrets of reality TV, I thought it'd be fun to share a behind-the-scenes look at our 'Nesting in Napier' episode. When five days of filming gets cut down to 23 minutes, there's all kinds of good stuff you don't get to see...

... Like the fact that I also have a job and didn't just 'follow' my doctor boyfriend to New Zealand. ;) What you didn't see: My friend and co-worker Charlotte and I filming a scene at my office. 

I used to religiously watch the House Hunters International in the states. It always inspired me to live abroad and showed me that living abroad was doable and maybe even affordable. When Joe and I decided to move to New Zealand, after much encouragement from friends, I applied to be on the show. The producers liked our story, we did a Skype interview and soon it was official - we were going to be on House Hunters International!

The real appeal of House 1 - ALPACAS in the neighborhood!! What you didn't get to see: I made Joe pull over so we could say hello!

(We've moved to Wellington since filming the show almost a year ago, so it's exciting to look back on our time in Napier!)

Te Mata Peak - This became one of our favorite hiking spots. When it's not so cloudy, the Pacific Ocean is a beautiful turquoise color. What you didn't get to see: A guy walked up to us while we were filming this 'decision' scene and said, "Are you guys filming House Hunters International? Is it gonna be house 1, 2 or 3?" haha!

On the first day of filming, we were so nervous pulling up to the first house.

I didn't know what to expect and didn't want to say anything stupid. I was apprehensive about how we might be portrayed in the episode... Because let's be real - sometimes the couples on House Hunters are super annoying. 

But really, those curtains were ugly. ;)

As the sound man taped a mic under my shirt I thought, "Great, now he's going to hear my heart pounding and know how nervous I am."

Why yes, I am wearing a wire. 

The crew was super laid back and put us at ease right away.

Director John hunting for good sound bites. 

Soon it was as if we'd known them for years. It was as if the camera wasn't even there!

Seriously though, House 2 was kind of amazing.

I remember at the end of the first day Joe turned to me on the car ride home and said, 'That was easy! I could definitely do this for a living.' Psssh! We're basically like the Kardashians. Right? ;)

Getting the GoPro ready before our drive around the neighborhood 'Kardashian style' - just swap Kim's Bentley for our Subaru. What you didn't get to see - me shrieking and Joe slamming on the breaks as a rabbit dashed in front of the car while the GoPro was filming. If only this were a comedy show.

Over the course of five days, we viewed three houses, did 'couples' and 'single' interviews about what we thought of each house, explored Napier, toured a Waka (Maori ship), tasted lots of delicious wine at Black Barn Vineyards and had plenty of fun off camera and at lunch with the crew. 

John our Director asking us what we thought of house two.

Drinking on the job at Black Barn Vineyards, one of our favorite wineries in Hawke's Bay.

Drinking on the job at Black Barn Vineyards, one of our favorite wineries in Hawke's Bay.

Taking a stroll around Napier. What you didn't get to see: the belly dancing class that set up shop in the background while we were filming. Time for a new location?

I didn't really know anything about Maori culture before moving to New Zealand, so I loved getting to experience it on the show and share it with US.

House Hunters International was a great opportunity to explore Napier, but more importantly it was a great way to share memories of our experience in Napier with family and friends back home who wouldn't get to visit. 

By the end of five days of filming, I had such an appreciation for all the work that goes into making television.

I loved our little beach house in Napier and will always treasure the time we spent there. 

When I finally got home after we wrapped the final scene, I actually felt a twinge of sadness that it was over and that we'd have to say goodbye to the friends we'd made. The crew was off to Christchurch the next day to film another episode. 

My very favorite spot in our Napier house with the best views!

I'm so glad we decided to do the show. It's been so much fun hearing all of the hilarious comments from friends and family back home. Thank you to our wonderful crew who made this such a fun experience and to HGTV for capturing our story. 

Stay tuned, as I'll soon be posting the episode online for all of you who missed it!

Photos courtesy of our amazing Director, John Hagen!

Set your DRV for House Hunters International!

I'm so excited to announce that Joe and I are going to be featured on House Hunters International on HGTV! I've been a fan of the show for a long time, and when I decided to move to New Zealand, so many people told me, "You should apply to be on House Hunters International!" I never thought it would actually happen.

Photo my friend Rob sent. So surreal!

Elizabeth on Elizabeth Road in Napier.

The episode 'Nesting in Napier' airs Sunday June 28th at 11:30pm/10:30c and again Monday June 29th at 2:30pm/1:30c in the states. 

Is there a slight risk I'll be 'that annoying girl that hates the curtains'? Maybe. Is there a possibility that I'll totally embarrass myself? Yup. But we had a blast filming the show, and I'm so grateful to have had the opportunity to document my first home in New Zealand and share that with my friends and family back in the states. 

We won't get to see the show for another three weeks when the DVD arrives in mail, so let me know how it goes. Will we choose house 1, 2, 3? Guess we'll have to wait and see!

'The decision'

Stay tuned for some behind-the-scenes pictures up on the blog after the show airs!

Photos courtesy of our amazing Director, John Hagen!

It's not goodbye Hawke's Bay, just see you later!

Today is a very bittersweet day for me. Today I pack up our trusty Subaru 'Murray' and say goodbye to my first New Zealand home - Napier. Joe's work brings us about 3 hours south to the 'city life' in Wellington, New Zealand. And while I am excited for a change of scenery and the unexpected adventures to come in this vibrant and creative little city, it's difficult to say goodbye to a place that has been so good to us and has really started to feel like home.

Getting paid to get inspired in New Zealand: Guest Blog

It's hard to believe I've been living in New Zealand for nearly ten months. I must admit that some of the newness has worn off. Although the green mountains, boat loads of sheep and stunning views never cease to amaze, the novel phrases and unfamiliar quirks finally feel somewhat commonplace. Today I'm sharing New Zealand through fresh eyes... Maddie Lochte's eyes to be exact.

Bubbles & Black Barn Retreats

Last weekend I had the great privilege of previewing Black Barn Vineyard's newest and most luxurious retreat hidden away in the hills of Hawke's Bay. I don't blog about design nearly as much as I'd like to, so I jumped at the chance to get a sneak peek into what I could only assume would be a beautifully designed home. The event was limited to a small number of guests and photography was not allowed, so you'll have to use your imagination a bit.

Wine o'clock at Black Barn Vineyards

It's always wine o'clock in Hawke's Bay. One of the best things about living in this region is having wineries and vineyards at my finger tips. It's not often that you can climb a mountain and stop for a bottle of wine and a cheese platter afterward, but in Hawke's Bay, it totally flies! While I'd probably never even consider wearing my hiking boots to a wine tasting in Sonoma, there's something so friendly, rugged and unpretentious about most of the wineries I've visited in Hawke's Bay.

Drinking our way through Hawkes Bay

Before Joe began his first day of work, we needed to do one more fun activity to end the weekend with a bang! We opted for Coastal Wine Cycles, which I highly recommend for wine lovers visiting New Zealand. Super fun activity, and a very helpful and friendly staff. For just $30 (since we arrived late in the day), we rented bikes and toured several wineries along the coast.