Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TWM_August26_2014_8You know in sitcoms when a kinda normalish character has a totally ridiculous view of the city and you just kind of roll your eyes and think uh-huh honey, whatever. Well, this past week, we were cat-sitting in London and the flat we were staying in has exactly one of those views. It was the kind of perspective that makes walking up five floors totally worth it (even when you’re carrying a typewriter and a bottle or two of wine!). It’s a pinch-yourself-each-morning kinda view, and when you hear Big Ben ring every hour, you definitely feel blessed.

(For all ya’ll who are shrugging your shoulders, here’s another photo. Yep, that’s Westminster, Big Ben, Parliament and The London Eye and The Shard. All places I like a helluva lot better from up above than I do walking by on the ground.)

TWM_August26_2014_9Tuesday morning was rainy and grey and cold. In typical English fashion, we all obsessed over the weather and I kept stating that it definitely feels like autumn whilst sitting in the cocoon I made out of a duvet on the sofa (I’m so good at being British, you guys). Liam, on the other hand, was a total trooper. He poured himself a hot cup of a coffee, put on a sweater jumper, and just got to work.

TWM_August26_2014_10I really love homes that have an eclectic, lived-in feel. Every object in the flat we were staying in had a story– from the mid-century modern furniture to their paintings and their mugs– which were all Disney mugs. And boy, did they have a lot of Disney mugs! But the 101 Dalmatians mug was my favourite.

TWM_August26_2014_11When it comes to homes, natural light is #1 on my must-have list and I especially like homes that have an open plan with windows on both sides (or, better yet, all sides!) of the space.  This flat had the previously pictured fantastic tourist trap view and then a beautiful view of Vincent Square on the other side. Since the flat was nestled in the eaves of the building, it was almost like we were floating above the neighbourhood, secluded and private in our white-washed oasis. I absolutely loved it!

TWM_August26_2014_12Speaking of white-washed, how ’bout this beautiful marble table?! I don’t know who they paid to carry it up five flights of stairs but whoever it was, I hope they got paid some major cash money, as opposed to my “movers” who are really my friends and who I pay in pizza and beer.

TWM_August26_2014_13Even though I’ve been working for myself for a while now, I still feel guilty about spending my time planning, creating, and editing posts for our Gradient blog during business hours. I’m always like This is fun! Surely I shouldn’t be doing this right now. But then I give myself a grown-ass lady talk and remind myself that I am my own marketing and business development department. Then I feel better about doing things to promote myself. In this instance, I was getting my ducks books in a row for this month’s Gradient Reads post, which took me two days to get around to actually shooting because I kept thinking Oh, I’ll just do that later after I do some real work. Ugh. When will I learn?!

TWM_August26_2014_14One of my favourite things about London are all the secret gardens. The city is full of green spaces that must of us will never see or ever even know are there. Green spaces like this. Sure, it’s not a forest or anything, but it’s still mighty fine.

TWM_August26_2014_15Two things that I think make a home really great are lots of books and original art (it doesn’t have to be expensive art!). This flat had plenty of both, which is why I think we all felt immediately comfortable upon walking in. It helps, too, that the flat also had a charming and beautiful cat. I’d like to say that no home is complete without a cat but I do know of a few cat-free homes that I’ll happily retreat to, thereby disproving this rule. But a cat helps. Usually a lot.

TWM_August26_2014_16Nick fell hard for this beautiful (and oh-so-comfy) Saarinen Womb Chair. Funny enough, as we were watching Legally Blonde later that evening, we realised that Elle had the same chair in her dorm! We always knew Nick had good taste, we just didn’t know how good.

TWM_August26_2014_17

 

After it stopped raining (finally), I rallied the troops (Liam and Nick) and we set out on a very important mission. A coffee mission! We were out of our usual Perk & Pearl roast, so we trekked to the nearest Workshop– my London favourite– for some beans and a flat white. Not only does Workshop do killer coffee, their shops are wonderfully inviting and unique to boot. Their shops are more than just another café, they’re coffee experiences. And I think that’s really important.

TWM_August26_2014_18Once the coffee was finished, it was time for a cocktail! Together, we headed to my current favourite bar in London, Berners Tavern in The London Edition hotel. Whilst sitting at the bar, Liam realised that he used to work right next door to what is now the restaurant before he moved to Tunbridge Wells. “What was it before it was a hotel and restaurant?” we asked. He didn’t know. Whatever it was, they had some pretty great ceilings!

TWM_August26_2014_19The best thing about being in London this week was being able to take advantage of the wealth of ethnic food the city has to offer. We at Turkish, Mexican, Indian and, in this case, Korean. (We also ate lots and lots of gourmet pizza. You know how I roll.) Thanks to an old friend who was gracious enough to be my Korean culinary guide whilst I was in college, I fell hard for Korean cuisine and consider many Korean dishes amongst my all-time favourite meals. Lo and behold, Tunbridge Wells doesn’t have any Korean restaurants, so hitting up Bibimbop in Soho was a rare treat. And a pretty delicious treat, too!

TWM_August26_2014_20With full bellies, we meandered toward home but stopped outside Daks to plan our AW2014 wardrobes, which we’ll wear when we go fox hunting with Her Majesty The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, and The Prince of Wales, of course.

I’ll have this, this, and this, please!

TWM_August26_2014_21After we made it back to Pimlico, the boys went home and I wandered the square and the surrounding streets to a) find wine, and b) talk to David on the phone. One of the things I loved to do when I lived in Boston was aimlessly wander the streets at night whilst talking to the phone. I’d chat to whomever (my parents, mostly) and ogle the beautiful interiors (I saw lots of crown moulding and chandeliers) of the stately homes in Beacon Hill, Brookeline, and along Comm Ave whilst laughing and sharing stories with the voice on the other end of the line.

Since moving to the UK, I don’t talk on the phone much and I don’t speak to my friends and family in The States the way I used to– spontaneously. The time difference dictates that our communication is something that needs to go on the To-Do list– To Do: Text Mom to Arrange Skype Call– rather than the comfortable and easy hello that it used to be. Instead of daily catch-ups full of hum-drum tidbits that I happily listened to and shared as I circled city streets, we now keep our catch-ups limited to just the big events.

Okay, I’m actually getting weepy writing about this right now. Ugh. Anyway! TUESDAY: So on Tuesday night, as I walked through Pimlico and looked through every residential window I could, I called and talked to David. We didn’t speak for long as we had only been apart for one day, but in that short time that we spoke, I was reminded of those streets in Boston and the way we fell in love in the city. I remembered telling my mom about David for the first time whilst I walked through Brookline. I stopped at a park and was sitting on a bench when I did the whole “I met someone” thing, the scent of summer roses heavy in the air. I could hear her breathing on the other side of the phone as I told her more. I watched a family walk past as I spoke and imagined their daughter calling and saying the same thing I was saying to my mother to her own mother, who had curly hair and a stern mouth. It’s nice talking to someone on the phone when you’re outside in the city– it reminds you that the things you’re saying aren’t the only things that matter. That we all have stuff to say, people we love, people we’ll hurt and disappoint, and people we’ll pass in the night and never know. Cities are cool like that.

Back in Pimlico, the square was quiet as I said goodbye to David. A man with a dog confidently walking lead-free beside him passed me and I could see a woman in a bathrobe flip channels as she stood in the window of her third floor flat. I felt alone but totally connected to so much that was happening around me. Alone, but electric. When Big Ben told me it was 9 o’clock, I pointed my lens between the railings of the fence surrounding the green and took this picture. My heart was aching with nostalgia.

TWM_August26_2014_22

Back in the flat, we enjoyed some wine and decided to watch Legally Blonde, which is when Nick had his realisation that his beloved chair was actually Elle’s chair which temporarily gave him mixed feelings about it.

TWM_August26_2014_23Because taking a photo of the movie would be BORING, I decided to take a picture of our vacant hosts’ art books on their bookcase, which spanned the entire wall. I was so jealous of their books and their massive bookcase, which is basically everything I ever dreamed of. David and I are already planning to make (ahem: buy)  a copy-cat bookcase of our own because it was just so simple and good and perfect. It literally made me feel the same way Belle’s bookcase in the Beast’s house palace? made me feel when I was six years old, which was a pretty amazing feeling of desire and aspiration.

TWM_August26_2014_24When the evening came to a close, I went to bed alone. But I wasn’t really alone because the eye is always watching!!!!!!!!

And that was my Tuesday, friends. What did you get up to? I want to know everything.  (No, seriously I do.)

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sometimes I think about how much of our daily lives revolves around consumption. We consume food so we don’t die, we work so we can buy food, we spend our excess money on stuff that we want and occasionally need and as we cross things off our To Buy list, we add new items to it. We have to work harder because the list keeps growing and consuming is a tough cycle to break. Here’s a day in my consumerist life.

TWM_August19_2014_8As a child, I was quite taken with Willy Wonka’s meal gum. As I’ve grown, I’ve often daydreamed of its invention as it would make life much more productive. I’d love to replace time spent eating with time spent making, creating, and doing. As someone has yet to invent a chewing gum food alternative, I’m forced to settle for the second best: The NutriBullet. Every morning for the last few weeks, I throw a bunch of healthy stuff into the bullet and BOOM, fifteen seconds later it’s drink-able. 

Mundane drinking > mundane eating.

On this morning, my smoothie included oats, almond milk, spinach, strawberries, zucchini, and blueberries. Scoff if you must (a few weeks ago I would have), but it’s actually pretty tasty and, more importantly, totally convenient!

TWM_August19_2014_9My chilli plant has gotten big big big and is producing lots of chills, which is exciting. It’s miraculous to me what a little bit of water, some soil, and a seed can come together to create when sunlight’s involved.

TWM_August19_2014_10Lately, David and I have been dreaming about shipping container houses with ample garden spaces, hoards of plant babies, and lots of natural light. But we’ve also been thinking a lot about central city flats with small balconies and public parks. Problem is, we want both. Both the city pad and a country oasis. We want modern, stream-lined homes with energy efficient appliances and we want homes full of found objects from centuries past that are sustainably repurposed for our modern desires. We want to save the environment, but we want to get on planes and travel the world, see the sites, and take something back to prove we were there. We want both, we want it alland all this wanting is quite frankly ridiculous.

I often wonder, is all this wanting just a fixture of our entitled and over-stimulated generation or is it a by-product of being an ambitious person? I’d like to think it’s the latter, but more often than not I find myself thinking it’s the former. The wants of our generation are not sustainable. Or can we really have it all?  

I don’t think many people will be happy with the answer. 

TWM_August19_2014_11When I catch myself double-tapping my way through Instagram or clicking through the pages of my favourite blogs and getting lost in the fantasies of the lives of others, I often close my eyes and remind myself to work hard and stay humble. To chase my dreams, but keep simplicity and sustainability at the forefront. Our lives are great and we have much to be thankful for. Our worries are small and our opportunities are huge.

On the topic of huge opportunities, Liam and I are marching forward with Gradient and are constantly striving to push ourselves to grow and learn. This last Tuesday, we were especially focused on our business consumption– specifically relating to our finances and business plan. When it comes to both money and hardcore business planning, I’m the first to admit that I’m not especially great at all the nitty-gritty details, so it’s important that I find great resources to help me navigate those uncertain waters.

For business planning, I can’t recommend the book Business Model Generation enough. David initially bought it for me whilst we were living in Boston. At the time, the two of us were hatching a plan to start a social network-esque community engagement product and though our plan fizzled out, the communicative illustrations and real-talkin’ messages conveyed in the book stuck with me. Whilst Liam and I decide how to push forward with our own model, I’ve been referring to this book time and time again. And as our model changes and our business grows, I’ll likely keep thumbing through it.

TWM_August19_2014_12

As much as I love and believe in planning, I also believe that a very important part of any business plan is to be adaptable. We never know when a client will fall through or a new acquaintance will ask us to deliver a big job. It’s important to be open to new opportunities and advancements, but to be able to think them through to fit the overall plan. That’s why I like planning with sticky-notes. Things feel in flux with sticky notes, but like building blocks, too. If something changes an a particular block doesn’t fit where it used to, there’s room to restructure and build in a slightly different way.

TWM_August19_2014_13Now, I realise that this post is beginning to sound very heavy-handed, but I promise we’re not like that. See, we like to keep things light-hearted and fun! We enjoy laughing, we like connecting with our clients and believe that no matter the price of the things we want in life, the most valuable things that we have are our relationships, our smiles, and our memories. Working together, Liam and I remind each other that the reason we’ve pioneered out on our own ins’t to Scrooge McDuck dive our way into piles of dollar bills, but because we care about what we do, we enjoy it, and we want to help others who care about what they do better communicate about their brand of awesome, too. We believe that when people care about the things they make and the people they work with– like, really care– the world is better for it. If caring were a currency, we’d be rich.

TWM_August19_2014_14But caring isn’t a currency and people like me who would like to trade on good-will, beautiful trinkets and thoughtful favours need to get wise and name a price. Then we need to deliver on our promises, send out invoices, and– more often than not– chase ‘em up. And for me, that’s the most difficult part of having a business. (Though I have to say, whenever I start to get queazy about money matters, I refer to Kathleen Shannon’s post about thinking of money as energy. So so good, though I’m admittedly not always great at it.)

TWM_August19_2014_15After our planning session wrapped for the day, we meandered our way through town. After all that capital-b-and-p Business Planninge, ducking into Chapel Place Gallery to scope out some art was a very welcome diversion. This piece, Touch and Go by Henrietta Dubrey, caught my eye. I like the tension between the two figures. They remind me of interlocked fingers or barges narrowly passing each other in a harbour.

TWM_August19_2014_16We stopped in The Pantiles, which was charmingly decorated with bunting, and enjoyed a coffee as we prepared for a meeting that was sure to be especially taxing to a brain like mine. Enter excellent resource #2: BSR Bespoke, Accountants Extraordinaire.

TWM_August19_2014_17After learning so much about setting up our business, tax exemptions, and how I can’t keep buying my clients coffee/lunch and thinking we’ll just claim it back, Liam and I walked out to a beautiful rainbow. Was this a sign of pots of gold on the horizon? I don’t know, but I was feeling pretty blessed either way.

TWM_August19_2014_18With our heads full of numbers, we were happily lured into Wetherspoons for a last minute beer with our friends Sam and Scott. Sometimes I think that maybe I consume too much on the alcohol funtimez-front, but then I walk into Wetherspoons where half the occupants are basically human beer casks and feel a little better about my personal intake. Like, it could seriously be so much worse. 

TWM_August19_2014_19You might remember Sam from his TWV posts here, here, and here. Scott, however, has not done a TWV but you may have seen his face here once or twice due to his involvement in the Tunbridge Wells Writers.  Scott, in addition to being a brilliant comedian, is also the man who develops most of my film. One day, I want to take some really horrific photos on a roll of film and drop it off like “Oh, hey! Here’s another roll of film full of boring pseudo-artistic tourist photos and stuff. Kbye!” and scare the crap out of him.

Buuuuut now I’ve just given that secret away so I probably won’t do it but would’t it be so funny if I did?! 

TWM_August19_2014_20After a few bottles of beer, Liam and I headed toward my house so we could do some last minute gift-wrapping. You see, Tuesday was Nick’s birthday and we were late to the scheduled celebration.

TWM_August19_2014_21Our wild celebration started with some prosecco and Thai take-out. Fancy.

TWM_August19_2014_22The evening continued with a Disney sing-along and a deep discussion about which Disney characters and moments shaped us. We were sitting in the dark for most of the evening, which was both strange but also helpful as it gave the nature of our conversation more drama. Birthdays should always be about drama, don’t you think? It makes them more memorable that way.

TWM_August19_2014_23Liam and Nick’s three cats were not invited to the party as they are basically furry, land-walking piranhas and eat e’rything they find, regardless of whether or not it’s edible. They could smell our prawn crackers and hear our laughter so they sat directly outside the door, trying to peer through it and find a way to break in.

Keeping cats is kind of funny when you think about it. Don’t get me wrong, thinking about the amount of love I have for Le Chat sometimes makes my heart feel like it’s going to explode, but on a less personal not it’s funny that we buy these animals, feed them, clean up after them (which can be really yucky, can I get an amen?) and get what in return? Indifference. Bad behaviour. Dirty paw prints across freshly cleaned floors/tables/beds/keyboards. But then they jump on our laps and purr and give us lovely little nuzzles and somehow that is worth it to us.

TWM_August19_2014_24And the love we feel for these little creates and for the other things that we nurture and grow– like my wonderful chilli plant– it consumes us.

Consumption, people.  It’s everywhere.

Tuesday With NOUS

I said I was back… but this time, I brought someone with me. LIAM! Liam’s last day at his full-time job was the Thursday before last, which meant that we were able to work together full-time this entire last week, which has been awesome. Since I once told everyone to “share what you do!“, we decided to take our own advise and do that this week.  Enjoy!

TWM.August12.14.8

TWV-8K: Tuesday morning was a sombre one.  Within minutes of waking up, I had learned the news that Robin Williams had died, and that was really really heartbreaking.  After postponing some planned digital outreach until our collective consciousness had time to process and mourn, I wrote David a note and went out for a run and a ponder.

L: Sad news first thing is never a great way to start the day so I decided to stay positive by focusing on the new life sprouting in my kitchen. My chilli plant gifted to me by our mutual friend Ed is growing like crazy and this is the first thing on it that actually resembles a chilli.

TWM.August12.14.9

TWV-9

K: My run was only a short one and I was back home, showered, and sipping some hot lemon water for the start of the business day.  Though I like to start my mornings quietly at home, I’m always taking a beat on the conversations and stories that are unfolding in the digital landscape.  Starting the day in-the-know is crucial to what we do.

L: Clearly our brains are in-sync (or NSync!) as I did a little bit of skipping – my current ‘I’m too lazy to run’ exercise of choice – before getting ready to face the day.

TWM.August12.14.10

TWV-10K: Oh heyyyyyy. Liam came over shortly before 10:00 for a quick catch-up before we headed off to a meeting.  Tuesday was only our second day working together, and as we’re still in the early days of this new partnerships, we’re still trying to find what works for us and our schedules as we move forward. As with anything, it’s a process– a really fun process, though!

L: We had to take a ‘OMG, you take a photo of me whilst I take one of you!’ photo. It just needed to happen.

TWM.August12.14.11

TWV-11

K: Mid-meeting. There’s nothing Liam and I love more than a good brainstorm session when ideas– no matter how feasible– are flying around the room and everyone is excited about the opportunity at hand.  Harnessing that energy and using it to create momentum as the project pushes forward is usually the difficult part for clients, which is why we think it’s important to meet with our clients often for enthusiasm/brainstorm/rallying sessions.

L: Secret time: Kate’s photo of me is a lie, I’m the worst at taking notes and I mostly just fake it. When I do take notes, I never look at them again. We have an agreement that note taking is Kate’s job, I just throw ideas out there and Kate filters the ones that are worth noting or not. My photo: We drank delicious Perk and Pearl peppermint tea.

TWM.August12.14.12

TWV-12

K: After our meeting, we met Ed for lunch. The three of us have one of the most amazing running text message threads in the history of all text-kind, and when we’re together it just escalates into a flurry of wonderfulness IRL. People who sit at neighbouring tables probably think we’re a little ridiculous with all our joking and laughing and big-dreaming, but we don’t mind.

L: Ed’s shoes are worth photographing multiple times and yes we always have a hoot in person and in virtual land.

TWM.August12.14.13

TWV-13

K: Over lunch at The Black Dog, we talked about art, depression, our favourite Robin Williams memories and the constraints of the human spirit.

L: The Black Dog is one of our favourite coffee places in town, it is effortlessly excellent every time and they have awesome teapots that are ‘For Life’.

TWM.August12.14.14

TWV-14

K: After lunch, I went into the office. My jade plant is doing super awesome, you guys.  It makes me really happy.

L: I recently attended a charity yoga weekend with my dear friend Alice from May Yoga Massage. After our limbs were stretched into shapes and our yoga mats were rolled away, we ate the most delicious vegan feast. Long story short, these soya chucks were fried in spices as a delicious meat substitute and since then I’ve wanted to try them myself, so I popped into our local ‘shop that sells this sort of thing’ and grabbed a bag on the way back from town.

TWM.August12.14.15

TWV-15

K: Do you collect things? I do. I collect coffee sleeves from indie coffee shops all over town. I make it a point to reuse them whenever I can as I find it incredibly wasteful to throw them away with a coffee cup just because my hand touched it.  

L: I hung out with Boodle (His ‘real name’ is Gus, confusing, I know!) before a dentist appointment to have my first ever filling – ouch!

TWM.August12.14.16

TWV-16

K: Okay, the office really isn’t one of the most exciting places, I admit it, but is this not the coolest USB port everrrrrr?  (It is.)

L: Post filling, I looked through my Seaside Retreat film photos as feeling in my mouth came back. Most people probably wouldn’t know that film expires and the quality naturally deteriorates over time. Fun Fact: Put it in the fridge to keep it fresh! This film was stored in the fridge but not before I bought it, so the ‘fine film’ is now very grainy.

TWM.August12.14.17

TWV-17

K: Sky-gazing. I was meeting up with Liam again to prep for a meeting we had the next morning. I always enjoy looking up at The Eye of Sauron (aka my lovely neighbourhood crane) when I walk past it toward his house.

L: I love the synergy between our photos. Same sky, different place.

TWM.August12.14.18

TWV-18

K: After an entire week of working with Liam, I can say that the biggest change to our process is the fact that we get to work during the daylight hours. I mean, during the summer we’ve pretty consistently started work in daylight hours, but now we get to work in the morning! In the middle of the day! At night! During all of the times! Together!  It’s really exciting and I’m both impressed by and proud of how much we’ve gotten done this week. Even if I am kicking up my feet, sipping a beer and wearin’ my Chucks whilst doing some of it.

L: We work, we neck back beers, we’re cool like that and we have cool lampshades!

TWM.August12.14.19

TWV-19

K: When I first meet people, I like to decide what colour car they have before I see their car.  When I met Liam, I knew right away that he was a red car kinda guy. Turns out, he has a little red car. A car that is exactly like our car (though he had his first), except red. Isn’t that cute?  Car twins!

L: I went into the garden to tend to Scully the Chicken – remember Scully! We have three cats but the garden is Napoleon’s domain, who spends a lot of time looking really pretty amongst the greenery.

TWM.August12.14.20

TWV-20

K: As some of you locals may know, our favourite pizza joint recently sold their pizza place to other people who like to make pizza so we’re in a pizza void. BUT, Ed mentioned that a local pub near his studio does Italian food. When he told me this, I was like, whatItalian food? Are you sure? But yes, he was sure. It’s a ITALIAN English pub. And it serves PIZZA. And, though it wasn’t quite as good as La Fiamma, it is now my favourite pizza in the area. GIMME GIMME GIMME.

L: Yes, cats hunt, kill and bring in poor creatures that don’t conserve much dignity once the cats have set about making toys of them. This summer has been the worst for cat kills and rarely a day goes by when a poor animal isn’t dragged in as a present to us ‘servants’.

TWM.August12.14.21

TWV-21

K: So sometimes when I’m shooting TWM, there will be people who are totally weirded out that I’m taking pictures so sometimes I just take weird photos of things like the branding on the balsamic vinegar so they don’t feel too uncomfortable whilst eating their dinner.

L: Before bed I decided to do a little more film photo editing. Digital is invaluable to Gradient and my photography business but film has a charm all of it’s own and viewing images on a computer doesn’t compare to admiring the tangibility of a negative.

TWM.August12.14.22

TWV-22

K: Whenever we come home, Le Chat stalks us, but at the same time pretends to be way too cool for petting/loving/kitten cuddles. She likes to play hard to get like that. But as soon as we tucked ourselves into bed, she was right there snuggled on the foot of the bed.  She’s a big softie deep down.

L: When I am home Lord Fluffington lll (Fluff for short) is my sidekick, since becoming an old man indoor cat around 2 years ago, he rarely leaves my side. He spends a lot of time snoozing so after taking this photo I copied him and went to bed.

I’m Back

TWM+JULY_1_2014

I’ve started writing this post so many times. So. Many. Times.

One version is a very introspective look at how David’s heart attack has made all my clocks start ticking: my Be A Successful Businesswoman by the Time I’m 30 Clock, my New House Clock, and my (gulp) Mommy Clock* and how that’s made me re-evaluate how we spend our time and money.

Another version is a light-hearted tale about metamorphosis in which my blog hiatus was cocoon time that has allowed me to quietly transform. But don’t be alarmed, I’m not turning into a butterfly! I just have big changes going on at Gradient– which you can read about here– that are rapidly pushing us forward.

The third and final version is a story of how broken and frustrating the immigration services are in this country– and this version is definitely the tale that nobody wants to hear but that I’ve told to all my friends in the pub whether they want to hear it or not. But I’ll spare you, dear reader. I’m kind like that.

TWM+JULY_15_2014

So, all the stories aside, I withdrew for a while. I needed a break. In the time since I last checked in I:

  • Travelled to Minnesota for the 4th of July and for my brother’s wedding!
  • Encouraged my friend and business partner, Liam, to quit his job to work at Gradient full-time
  • Went to Swanage for a seaside retreat with Liam, Nick and my Redcoat
  • Re-evaulated my entire business/life plan and started to be more proactive about accomplishing my goals and making cool shit under our Gradient umbrella
  • Had my dear friend Kate come to visit from Switzerland
  • Got super stressed about everything, basically

TWM+JULY_22_2014

But I’m very happy to report that yes, the rumours are true. I will be back to TWM and TWV. In fact, we (Liam and I) will have a pretty special TWM (Tuesday With Nous?) coming later this week.

I’m looking forward to sharing with you again, dear reader. Onward and upward! xx

*I want a dog

TUESDAY WITH MOI

Oh, hello again!  I have been so so shit at Tuesday With Moi-ing lately.  This is largely due to the fact that I’ve been rushing through my Indefinite Leave to Remain paperwork/bits and bobs so I can stay in the country.  This involved a week of cramming for my Life in the UK test (which I totally over-prepared for) and a week of freaking out about whether or not I had enough paperwork saved to prove that I lived in the country with David for the past two years (sadly, maintaining a weekly blog doesn’t count as proof).

Somehow, everything came together and yesterday I was granted Indefinite Leave to Remain here in the UK and I don’t need to touch another immigration form for a very long time!  (I think… I should maybe double-check that, though?) Fa-la-la, yay!

Back to TWM– last Tuesday was the day after I passed my Life in the UK test and subsequently the morning after my celebratory cocktail evening.  The stress of pulling all my paperwork together was about to set in, but I gave myself one day of sport, food, friends and wine before worrying too much about it. This is that day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TWM.June24.14.9I bought David some badass new cookbooks a few weeks ago and it was the best decision of my life. Seriously, he’s been making something mighty fine every night for dinner and I’m the luckiest lady in the world because I haven’t had to lift a finger!

TWM.June24.14.10Tragedy of tragedies, I was all out of coffee so stopped for my morning brew at The Velo House.

TWM.June24.14.11Excellent news: I finally figured out what my jade plant needs: water! Maybe that’s obvious to others, but I thought this bad boy only needed, like, two drops of water a month or something. WRONG! It needs more water than that. Now that I’m simulating a mini rainstorm for it every week, it’s in a much better place!

TWM.June24.14.12These dresses in the Isabella Grace window make me want to get married all over again. Swooooooooooon!

TWM.June24.14.13For lunch, it was a quick trip back to The Velo House with my tech shaman, Justin.

TWM.June24.14.14After lunch, I went home to watch Federer’s Wimbledon match. Being your own boss is awesome like that.

TWM.June24.14.15Le Chat tried to steal my attention away from the tennis but she wasn’t very successful. (She was very cute, though.)

TWM.June24.14.16After the match, I went back to the office and watched my officemate build some new furniture.  He didn’t F around with that little IKEA wrench thing– he went for the power tools instead.

TWM.June24.14.17And the furniture was made in no time. Hello, new desk chair!

TWM.June24.14.18Aaaaand then it was back to The Velo House to watch England’s final World Cup match on their big screen.

TWM.June24.14.19Which was, I’m sorry to say, so boring, so we left to come home and watch something more entertaining instead: The Good Wife.

TWM.June24.14.20David made a beautiful pasta dinner inspired by one of the recipes in his new cookbook.

TWM.June24.14.21And we enjoyed some wine.

TWM.June24.14.22Whilst I worked on some introductory branding concepts for a client. Being your own boss sometimes means that you just don’t know when to turn off. (And yes, that’s totally a picture of Frodo. I like to sneak my LOTR obsession in wherever I can.)

TWM.June24.14.23And then, after so much good food and so many thoughts, David convinced me to fully switch off so we could go to bed.  THE END.

Tuesday With Moi

So I’m changing up the TWM format a little bit. I love photographing and writing Tuesday With Moi, but lately, life is getting a little crazy on the posting front.  Gradient is growing and so too are our Artists Unveiled obligations. My personal life has also imploded lately and I have a visa to sort, a brother who is– SURPRISE!– getting married in a few weeks, and a subsequent trip back to The States all planned in the next week. Unfortunately, my growing obligations and commitment to my work and my friends means that this wonderful passion project needs some restructuring, so from now on, I will be posting Tuesday With Moi and Tuesday With Vous posts on the weekend.  Hopefully this will be better for me, but also for my contributors.

So Tuesday is now on a Saturday/Sunday. Let’s do this!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday was a loony-tunes day, so most of these photos were taken a little after the hour. I’m a cheat sometimes. But this is my blog so I can do what I want.

TWM.June10.14.8

I arrived back from a trip to Switzerland (which you can see photos of here, here, and here) late the previous evening and was tired yet happy to be back home. David was in China at the same time, so Le Chat was extra excited to have me back!  Our morning began with Perk & Pearl coffee and lots of kitten snuggles. I’m always a little fuzzy until the coffee & kitten quota has been met.  <3

TWM.June10.14.9After a few days away, I felt like the flat needed a good airing.  So I lit a Temple Spa mini candle. So fresh and so clean clean!

TWM.June10.14.10Ten o’clock!  Time to get out of my Kimono and into my work clothes.

TWM.June10.14.11Summer is lovely.  When the sun is shining, I mean.  the lavender is beginning to mature and it’s about to get reaaaal good out there!

TWM.June10.14.12I bought some Swiss chocolates whilst visiting my friend in Rapperswil last week. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I brought them to the office so my officemates could eat them. Aaaaand I ate one too. It was delicious!

TWM.June10.14.13On my way to lunch I stumbled upon some cherries. But they weren’t local so I didn’t buy them. I’m holding out for some good local cherries!

TWM.June10.14.14My real lunch was from Gusta.  It’s a local newbie and it is delicious.

TWM.June10.14.16Office. Blah blah blah blah blahhh.

TWM.June10.14.17And then I Skyped with my brother and he was like, “I’m getting married in Minnesota in three weeks! Please come for the wedding!” and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I just broke out into full-body hives and my visa is up in three weeks and I can’t really afford it and ohmygosssssh.”

But obviously I was like, “I am your sister and I will do everything I can to be there.”

Aaaaand fingers crossed it all works out. (Does anyone know anything about the process of applying for residency here in the UK?)

TWM.June10.14.18After my conversation with my brother, I was super stressed.  So I went home and went for a run. Because I’m one of those assholes now and I go for a run when I’m stressed.

TWM.June10.14.19After my run, I had to quickly get changed so I could…

TWM.June10.14.20Hang out with these two!! Yup, I met with Liam and Ed so we could head to The Grey Lady and see my girl Hannah of Kudos fame serenade us with some songs.

TWM.June10.14.21

She’s the lead singer of the band, which is called When Colours Collide. Isn’t she dreamy?!

TWM.June10.14.22After Hannah’s band finished, a local group called Mercia performed. They were pretty badass. Ed was transfixed…

TWM.June10.14.23After all the music ended, we headed home. My gentlemen friends were perfect gentlemen and they walked me to my door.  Thanks, Nick & Co! 

Since Tuesday, David has gotten back and things have gotten even crazier! But things are on the right track now… I think.  #PleasePray

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday did not go to plan. So I abandoned the plan.

TWM.June3.14.8David’s left me alone again, this time to go to Shanghai. I always sleep on his side of the bed when he’s gone. I’m romantic like that.

TWM.June3.14.9When David left at the beginning of the week, I thought,Great! I have a whole week to get shit done and kick some butt! But then I accidentally triple booked myself to do All. Of. The. Things. (so so typical) and ended up feeling a little overwhelmed, instead. This peony kind looks how I felt as I looked over my Get It Done list yesterday morning. (Coffee #1 consumed.)

TWM.June3.14.10So I took a deep breath and decided on a strategy: Just put one foot in front of the other. Go where this day takes you.

TWM.June3.14.11Okay so, speaking of stress, my aloe is stressed because she hates sunshine. Everyone else I know keeps their aloe plants on a sunny windowsill and the plant is like Yeah, man, this is my jam! but mine is like, Get me off this windowsill. I’m turning orange.  What’s with that?  So I moved her to the floor. She’ll get better in a few days. This happens all the time.

TWM.June3.14.12Thank God for Apple extension cords, can I get an amen?!

TWM.June3.14.13Just after noon, the walking began. I made my way to the other end of town to meet with some Mac Men for coffee and lunch. We sat outside and experienced all the seasons over the course of two hours. Hot! Cold! Windy! Sunny!  English weather is confusing. That’s why we they talk about it all the time. (Coffee #2 consumed.)

TWM.June3.14.14When the sun came out, we ordered water (mint water! Thanks, Cake Shed!) and counted the iPhones on the table.  There were four. There were only three of us…

TWM.June3.14.15After lunch, I put on my Artists Unveiled/half-marathon training hat and met with Ed. We first made a visit to Perk & Pearl for some coffee and a catch-up.  (Coffee #3 consumed.)

TWM.June3.14.16And then we went to The Black Dog.  (Tea consumed because of coffee overload.)  Ed is reading this rad book he picked up at Oxfam last week. I won’t surmise to know all of the philosophy behind John Holt‘s work, but from what Ed was telling me, the guy was pretty gung-ho about a Libertarian-esque learning idea where teachers could teach what they wanted and the market would dictate what was taught and who was a capable teacher.  I thought the following quote was pretty badass, too, especially because it pretty much sums up my attitude about the Social Media Coaching we offer over at Gradient:

“It must always be the first and central task of any teacher to help the student become independent of him, to learn to be his own teacher. The true teacher must always be trying to work himself out of a job.”

As I see it, if you’re not teaching people to be capable and self-sufficient at what they do, then what’s the point?

TWM.June3.14.17After a brief visit home, I headed out to hang some work at Stefania’s, a one-month old cafe and bakery on Camden Road.

 TWM.June3.14.18

At Stefi’s, we helped Richard Hays take his work down (he’s preparing for his South East Open Studios opening!) and  ogled her breads/cakes/general deliciousness. (Coffee #4 consumed.)

TWM.June3.14.19

And then we helped Scott Heasmer hang his art in the space.

TWM.June3.14.20The art is very abstract and colourful, which is quite the juxtaposition to Stefi’s more shabby chic aesthetic. Does it work?  Stop in for a slice of cake (and a coffee) and decide for yourself!  (We think it looks pretty rad.)

TWM.June3.14.21After all that art hanging, I was hungry (and a little hangry, to be honest).  Instead of just going home to eat a bowl of popcorn for dinner, Liam forced me to come to his house for a more substantial meal.  I’m forever indebted to the men in my life who make sure I eat balanced meals. They are too good to me!

TWM.June3.14.22The dinner was delicious and we had a great time laughing and planning and sharing whilst we ate.

TWM.June3.14.23Back at home, I settled on the couch for some digestion and internet catch-up.

TWM.June3.14.24And then I took some time to watch Le Chat sit on the window sill.  Le Chat has never been outside and never tries to escape, which fascinates me.  She’s quite content to just sit in our flat and occasionally meow on the windowsill whilst moving her tail back and forth like a metronome. Last night, I watched it move back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until finally, it was time for bed.

xx

Tuesday With Moi

Over the weekend, I was hanging out at our Artists Unveiled sound exhibition in the Corn Exchange when a friend came by.  She noted my stuffed up nose and sleepy eyes and then made an observation, “You get ill a lot, don’t you.”  I’d never really thought about it because growing up I was always a hearty Midwesterner and I really didn’t get sick very often.  But since moving to the UK, yes, I do get ill a lot.

David thinks this is because of “The Damp” in the air.  Damp is a thing here.  The Damp.  It lives in walls, it causes chest infections, it chills us to the bone when really, it’s not that cold. But I’m not convinced that The Damp is to blame. I think I might just be softening and becoming a little less hearty now that I’ve been displaced from the good old Midwest for so long.  Or maybe I’m just a whiner. Whatever the reason, fact remains that yesterday was a sick day.  And today was one, too.

TWM.May27.14.8I’m loving my morning strawberry harvest.  I love waking up every morning and seeing how many strawberries have ripened over night! The idea of growing my own food is getting more and more appealing and I’m yearning for a garden the way some people yearn for babies. GIVE ME PLANT BABIES, PLEASE!!

TWM.May27.14.9I bought these beauties at Darling & Wild last week and it’s been a pleasure watching them slowly unfurl from tight little knots into beautiful, loose blossoms.  I firmly believe that fresh flowers make for a happy home and peonies will never cease to put a smile on my face. Even when I’m dying on the coach. 

TWM.May27.14.10I was out of almond milk so I popped to the grocery store to get some– and to also buy a big huge box of tissues. This is me rockin’ my Kathleen Kelly sick at home in a trench coat look. Those pockets are great for carrying a million tissues!!

TWM.May27.14.11Tea time all day loooooong.

TWM.May27.14.12Remedy me.

TWM.May27.14.13The French Open through Wimbledon is one of my favourite times of year. There’s no better soundtrack to a day than that of tennis balls firing back and forth across a court. And there’s no better eye candy than Roger Federer.

TWM.May27.14.14Lunch. The more something looks like a pizza, the more I’m going to love it. I’ve been really good at feeding my cold. Like, really good. Now that 30 Days of Fitness is temporarily off the table, I’m probably going to turn into Jabba the Hutt in no time.

TWM.May27.14.15So many beverages and so much kleenex.

TWM.May27.14.16Outside lurked THE DAMP. This whole week, THE DAMP. I swear, I could write a horror story about it.

TWM.May27.14.17And The Damp and all the tissues were too much for me, so I decided to take a nap.

TWM.May27.14.19After I woke from my nap, I hustled down to Fuggles for a meeting. For a few hours, I put my game face on and talked all things branding, strategy, and planning with an exciting new start-up.

TWM.May27.14.22When I got home I was drenched in THE DAMP so I took some time to dry off on the couch while David flirted with Le Chat. Le Chat looooves David. It’s so sweet watching her watch him, sometimes. Then we went to bed.

And then I woke up still sick.

Please feel sorry for me. :(

Tuesday With Moi

Finally….

First I was busy (so busy!), then I was sick and busy, and now I’m just sick.  But I am here!  So let’s do this.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TWM.May20.14.8I bought a strawberry plant last weekend and have been waking up to little red strawberries every morning.  They’re tart and lovely and I’m ever so happy to have a strawberry plant as part of my indoor garden.

TWM.May20.14.9David and I are becoming quite the grown-ups lately.  In addition to scoring a new vintage table on eBay last weekend (which we have yet to pick up), we also purchased a lamp. Now we need a lampshade, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!!

TWM.May20.14.10Le Chat always gives me the sweetest goodbyes.

TWM.May20.14.11Desktime.

TWM.May20.14.12I need more visual interest in my office.

TWM.May20.14.13My dear friend Caro gave me a new phones case a while ago.  I have this bad boy in both black and blue now.  I dig it, though I must confess that I actually use it as a wallet/change carrier rather than a phone case.

TWM.May20.14.14In-office meeting. Queen Cat presiding.

TWM.May20.14.15Hanging with Liam, yo. We had two Artists Unveiled exhibitions launching this past weekend as part of Unfest, so we were busybusybusy with plans.

TWM.May20.14.16Yellow tape!  One of our exhibitions was a sound installation in the Corn Exchange and Liam and I were meeting to specifically go over details for this piece. One of those details was exactly how we were going to use our yellow tape to add visual interest to the sound experience.  This is how we ended up using it. It was great to see people actually lay on the body outline, close their eyes, and experience the sound in the space.

TWM.May20.14.17Next on our Grown-Up Things To Buy list is a bookshelf… We really really need a bookshelf!

TWM.May20.14.18I’ve been feeling less than picture-perfect lately so I treated myself to some new Temple Spa skincare. My girl Lucy at No6 Clinic introduced me to the brand and they keep my skin silky soft.

TWM.May20.14.19And then, after doing my wifely duty* of spending our money, I did my wifely duty of putting on some laundry.

TWM.May20.14.20But I did not do my wifely duty of making dinner, so we went to La Fiamma instead. This is our pizzascape. It was delicious! 

TWM.May20.14.21Still light at 9 PM!  These days are my favourite days.

TWM.May20.14.22Kitten. Again. I closed out the night with kitten snuggles, poetry formatting, and meeting prep. Just like a rock star!  <3

Soooooo that was my Tuesday.  I can’t believe my next one is already tomorrow!  xx

*Wifely duties, LOL.  I know my sarcasm doesn’t always come out in these posts, but please know that I am 100,000% joking when I allude to wifely duties and all that jazz.  Because really, gender roles do nothing but cramp our styles.

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 

TWM.May13.14.8Scrolling through Instagram with a coffee in bed and missing the homeland so so badly.

I woke up yesterday morning and boy oh boy was I sore! Since starting my 30 Days of Fitness, I’ve been very much into the Yoga Studio App and have been practicing with a selection of classes on my no-run days. The class I did on Monday kicked my ass.  Or, more specifically, it kicked my back which was so so so sore!

TWM.May13.14.9I’ve really sucked at eating breakfast at, like, breakfast time this week.

TWM.May13.14.10Exciting news!! The passion project I started with Liam, Artists Unveiled, is featured in the new art-inspired issue of Kudos!  If you can’t get your hands on a copy, you can read it here.  We collaborated with the wonderful Matt Harquail (remember Matt?) and the Kudos Fashion Editor on their Love Fashion feature, too.  Check it out from page 28. So exciting!!

TWM.May13.14.11Yesterday was a crazy day. One minute it was all blue skies and the next it was dreary. This is the divide.

TWM.May13.14.12Death Part I: My jade almost died when I was on holiday. When I came back, her leaves were all mushy and weird. I think she’s on the up-swing though. She’s looking better. (Someone, help! Mom?)

TWM.May13.14.13Sorry, I just can’t help myself… So excited about this Kudos feature!

TWM.May13.14.14Death Part II: Around 1:30, I went home for lunch and ate some leftover Indian food. After said Indian food was finished, I was still hungry so I made myself two boiled eggs. I don’t know why, but for some reason, whilst eating the eggs, I had a *danger* flash.  They didn’t taste or smell bad, I just had a feeling that something was up.  When I looked at the egg carton, I noticed that the eggs had expired in February.  FEB. RU. ARY.

Naturally, I texted this photo to David and was all like “OMG ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?!”

TWM.May13.14.15Then I had a meltdown and spent too much time swivelling around in my office chair, waiting for massive diarrhoea and vomiting to start and then for the dehydration to set in, which would eventually lead to death.

TWM.May13.14.16But just as I was on the cusp of dying of egg poisoning, my friendly fresh veg delivery people  who I buy my eggs from told me some crazy news: They recycle their egg cartons!  I love recycling and I love eggs. Suddenly my symptoms all went away and I felt fine. It was so weird! 

TWM.May13.14.17Thanks to my remarkable recovery, I was able to keep my coffee date with Matt.  (Remember Matt? Again?) We went to my new favourite between-my-house-and-office cafe, The Velo House. Matt ate a pink cupcake and I had a chocolate croissant because I am a man. Or more of a man than Matt, anyway.

(JKJKJK MEN CAN LIKE PINK TOO I’M JUST JK.)

TWM.May13.14.18To work off my chocolate croissant, I enjoyed a short (but very enthusiastic) walk home. Full disclosure: I did not work out yesterday.  In fact, yesterday was the first day on my 30 Days of Fitness challenge that I didn’t make time to exercise. Why? Because I could hardly bend over and thought that it was probably better for me to just do some passive stretching throughout the day rather than over-exert myself and wind up with an injury. Injury prevention… that’s a type of fitness, right?!

TWM.May13.14.19After stopping at home to catch up with all the Beyoncé drama, I walked over to Liam‘s to drop off some Perk & Pearl coffee I had for him. On the way, I got caught in a rain storm (that’s fitness, right?!). And then I saw this rainbow which made the whole thing worth it.

TWM.May13.14.20Liam and Nick just finished all the seasons of Breaking Bad and now they feel like they’re living for nothing. Know the feeling? Personally, I remember it well. I would’ve kissed up to a Heisenberg coffee mug to console my sadness at the time, too.

TWM.May13.14.21After ditching my work husband for the night, I went home to my real husband. He was lovely and adorable in his Christmas pyjamas. PLUS, he made me a wonderful chicken dinner which had Le Chat very jealous.

TWM.May13.14.22Speaking of Le Chat…

I wish I could say that I went to sleep very early on in the evening, but I didn’t.  Instead, I watched three episodes of douchey Suits with David and then I read tons of stupid comments about Beyoncé and Solange because I am a very deep person. I didn’t photograph those wonderful moments because I didn’t want you to be jealous. You’re welcome.

THE END.

xx