WHEN Catherine Russell announced she was looking to purchase a house in Queanbeyan her father immediately grabbed the real estate section to look for potential properties - preferably ones located across the other side of the border.
But Ms Russell has become accustomed to some questionable reactions when she reveals her choice to live in Queanbeyan.
"When I first told people [about moving to Queanbeyan] they would warn me not to live there and they weren't being sarcastic, they were serious," she said.
With that sort of negative reaction, Ms Russell admits she used to actively avoid telling people where she lived. But the quaint, old town has charmed her and in the last few years she's come out of hiding and is proud to announce she's a Queanbeyanite!
Ms Russell and her family initially moved to Queanbeyan out of necessity.
After deciding to create a home and raise children in Canberra "a compromise between living in the city and country" in 2007, the family was driven out of the tight housing market and decided to temporarily settle in Queanbeyan.
"I've grown up in many NSW country towns so it wasn't that different to adjust to Queanbeyan," Ms Russell said.
"In the last five to six years, I've noticed a real difference, I don't know if it's the new council but there's a real emphasis on beautifying Queanbeyan. It's very noticeable. When we got the signs that was real bug bear, I was happy when we got those.
"It's not only the aesthetic of the town but with the new apartments being built we're seeing a different set of people coming in."
Ms Russell is part of a new wave of residents who work in Canberra but chose to live and play in Queanbeyan.
She said the turning point for her, when she first realised she was a "Queanbeyanite", was during the 2010 Floods.
"When the Queanbeyan River flooded that's when I admitted to myself 'I think I'm here for the long run'," the 33-year-old said.
"All the funny, interesting characters were out and the sense of community spirit, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find that type of thing in a Canberra suburb."
A public servant by day and blogger and contributor to HerCanberra.com.au by night, Ms Russell unintentionally launched a campaign this month to celebrate all the weird and wonderful things that makes Queanbeyan such a notorious little town.
Her post titled "Like Queanbeyan (with apologies to the Like Canberra campaign)" details her changing relationship to the town.
Living in Queanbeyan was just a temporary solution to her accommodation bind but now it has become a town she's grown to love.
She said she never set out to create a campaign, it all came as bit of surprise.
"I wrote the article and I thought it might be interesting but no I didn't think it would be the start of something.
"The editor of HerCanberra actually changed the title and that's what kicked it off. It's gone viral and some of the comments below the article and on Facebook have been fantastic. Very positive," she said.
"We'll be rolling out a series of posts about Queanbeyan over the next year. We're hoping to get 175 things people like to match up with the birthday."
While Ms Russell admits her dad still hasn't really come around to the idea of her living in Queanbeyan, she said she almost managed to convince two friends to jump the fence.
She's been luring them over with outings to local cafes and restaurants as well as town events like the annual regatta, rodeo and she said surprisingly the American Car Show is a big drawcard.
"I guess the gist of the article is that the whole persona around Queanbeyan is not actually true and it's stopped people considering it as a place to live or visit.
"The stigma [of being in Queanbeyan] is a badge of honour, now it's becoming ok to say you like Queanbeyan, I've picked up that tone in conversation," she said. "There's plenty of things to like about living here."
Put your two cents in, what do you like about Queanbeyan? Post your answer online at hercanberra.com.au, on Facebook or on twitter and tag with #likequeanbeyan.
Like Queanbeyan: Catherine Russell's Top Five
Queanbeyan Town Park - It's a great place with beautiful trees
Heritage - I'm a big fan of the older buildings in Queanbeyann
Proximity - Almost everything you need is within walking distance
People - They're friendly and happy to strike up a conversation, that's probably the most noticeable difference from Canberra
Family-friendly - It's a great place for kids to grow up