Monthly Archives: April 2013

A Saucy Soirée

La+Fiamma+4Back in January, when I was still falling in love with Tunbridge Wells, I felt there was just one thing the town needed in oder to win me over completely, and that was a great pizza place.  You know, a place with a proper pizza oven, a dedication to fresh ingredients, a simple, delicious wine list and a staff that remembers your name.  A place with a commitment to quality and a fiery passion for the food they’re placing on your table.  What Tunbridge Wells needed, I thought, was a place like La Fiamma. 

La+Fiamma+2Last night, La Fiamma celebrated their grand opening with a delightful soirée that David and I were lucky enough to snag an invite to.  Whilst sipping and snacking on their delicious offerings, we rubbed shoulders with other enthusiastic supporters and chatted with neighbours we’re pleased to now call friends.  The hostesses took excellent care of us and the owner and head chef, Simon, was gracious enough to let us step into his kitchen whilst he tossed dough and prepared each of the pizzas.  He even let me get up-close-and-personal with his pizza oven which, I can assure you, is hotter than the sun.  It was awesome!  So, so awesome.

La+Fiamma+3

La+Fiamma+1

An enormous thank you to Simon, Clare and everyone else on staff for being so hospitable and kind, and a major thank you to David, too, for helping me take some of these pictures and for holding my plate whilst I was leaning into the pizza oven.  It’s no coincidence that we got engaged in a pizza place- David, he’s a keeper.

Anyway, La Fiamma is located at 42 Mount Ephraim in Tunbridge Wells and, in addition to booking a table with them right this instant (seriously, call them: 01892 615999), I urge you to also follow them on Twitter to ensure you’re privy to all their specials and mouth-watering updates.  And you guys, I promise I wasn’t paid to say any of this stuff– I just really love pizza and really really love La Fiamma and I think you will, too. So stop in one day and enjoy yourself.  And maybe invite me, too?   xx

La+Fiamma+5
La+Fiamma+6

American in England

American+In+EnglandMy officemates at Create DM recently introduced me to the above book.  Originally a pamphlet written by the United States War Department in 1942, it’s full of timeless advice and interesting facts for Americans roaming the war-torn British wilderness.  Each page reveals a new nugget of wisdom, some which is genuinely interesting, and some that serves no other purpose than to make me laugh and feel slightly embarrassed for being a loud-mouthed Yankee.  Seeing as my one-year anniversary of being an American in England is fast approaching, I wanted to take a moment to share some of my favourite quotes with you.  Enjoy!

The whole of Great Britain– that is England and Scotland and Wales together– is hardly bigger than Minnesota.  As a native Minnesotan, this kinda blew my mind.  Seriously, my brain is hurting. Minnesota?  Really? 

You will find that the British care little about size, not having the “biggest” of many things as we do.  Americans, always so humble… and subtle.

The British don’t know how to make a good cup of coffee.  You don’t know how to make a good cup of tea.  It’s an even swap. Generally speaking, this is spot on, though I will say that the English are growing their appreciation for coffee whereas I still make a crap cup of tea (just ask David) and really can’t be bothered to learn how to rectify this inadequacy.  

Another difference.  The British have phrases and colloquialisms of their own that may sound funny to you.  You can make just as many boners in their eyes.  It isn’t a good idea, for instance, to say “bloody” in mixed company in Britain– it is one of their worst swear words.  Oh, how the times have changed!  Also, boner?  What! 

In “getting along” the first important thing to remember is that the British are like the Americans in many ways– but not in all ways.  You will quickly discover differences that seem confusing and even wrong.  Like driving on the left side of the road, and having money based on an “impossible” accounting system, and drinking warm beer.  But once you get used to things like that, you will realize that they belong to England just as baseball and jazz and coca-cola belong to us.  Hahahahaahaaaa.  But yes, warm beer and driving on the left side of the road are most definitely confusing and wrong.  I mean, c’mon you guys, stop that! 

Anyway, I hope that made you smile. The entire book is an absolute gem, really.  Happy Monday!

Meejahub, Youjahub

I’ve come to realise that I’m a terribly people-shy photographer, so I guess this is what happens when you put me and my camera in a room with a group of local creatives:
Meejahub+7

Meejahub+6

Meejahub+5

Meejahub+1

Meejahub+3

Meejahub+2

Meejahub+4After work last night, I packed up my things and head to Sankey’s for Meejahub, the monthly networking event for media professionals, creatives, and people who are generally all-around awesome.  As always, it was a really fun evening– maybe even too fun as I seemed to fall into a time warp somewhere around 7:00 pm and spent almost five hours laughing and chatting with my fellow hubbers.  Oh, how the time does fly you’re drinking wine and meeting new friends, amirite?

If you’re in the area and want to come to the next meeting on May 30th, I can assure you that you’ll be welcomed with open arms.  Meejahub.  Youjahub.  Let’s all hub. Whad’ya say?

Tuesday With Nobody

TuesdayWithVous

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you of this terrible news: there is no, I repeat no, Tuesday With Vous this week.

“Why?” you cry as you beat your chest and throw ash upon your forehead.

Because a contributor wasn’t able to fulfil their photo-taking duties and I didn’t have my camera available to pick up the slack.  It’s sad, but it’s okay.  We’ll all move on together and next week will be back to normal.  Promise.

Now, let me take this moment to again invite those of you who are interested in contributing to Tuesday With Vous to please step forward.  I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again, this format is excellent if you:

  • Enjoy taking pictures and want to share your photography skills or the unique way in which you see the world
  • Do something creative for a living and want to visually show potential clients or customers what goes on behind the scenes whilst educating them about how you do that awesome thing you do
  • Own or work for a small business and want to share with the world how lovely your shop/boutique/restaurant/bar/zoo/salon/bowling alley/whatever is.  Seriously, I’d love to know what goes on behind the scenes of my favourite places, and I think a lot of other people would be, too.

So what are you waiting for?  Get in touch and let’s share your Tuesday!

Tuesday+With+Vous+contributors

Oh, Richard.

Cumberland+WalkStorytelling is often electric and fun, charged with energy and illuminating ideas, but other times, it can be a chore.  Right now, when it comes to my personal writing, I’m stuck feeling a bit of the latter. You see, a group of us in The Tunbridge Wells Writers are working on a project.  It’s quiet exciting, actually, and we’re writing short stories about famous Tunbridge Wells writers of yore.  Turns out there were a number of interesting characters that lived and wrote ’round these parts– suffragettes, classical novelists, political revolutionaries, etc. I’m sorry to say, however, that my writer, Richard Cumberland, is not one of these interesting characters.

In fact, Richard Cumberland was profoundly boring.  I’m currently combing through a 359-page essay about his life and the most interesting thing I’ve uncovered is something I’ve known from the beginning: there exists in town a walk named after him.  It’s a nice walk, a quiet walk, and one that I enjoy a great deal on warm, sunny days.  Days like today, in fact.  But the fact remains that this man who wrote 54 plays (half of which were comedies), a handful of novels and a smattering of religious texts is still less interesting than a bit of pavement surrounded by nature, and that, my friends, makes me a little sad. But it also makes me feel challenged; how can I make this story interesting?  How I can I tell it to a modern audience? And it’s this challenge that makes storytelling so interesting and exciting. It’s this challenge that makes telling stories (even if they’re boring) an absolute delight.

Whence I’ve eked it out of that part of me that makes up stories, I’ll share my piece on Mr. Cumberland.  And I’ll share where you can read the other stories when they’re finished, too.  So look forward to that, folks, and happy St. Goerge’s Day!  xx

Earth Day

EarthDayHappy Earth Day, friends!

This Earth Day, I’m thinking a lot about bikes and houseplants.  First, because we live in a small town and don’t have a car (or, in my case, even a license anymore…), we walk a lot.  This is great, but I’m getting to the point where I’m craving more freedom and think I may be ready to brave the English roads.  Right now, I have my heart set on a tokyobike (particularly the Bisou in White) but my practical side (David) is urging me to get a cute second-hand bike before I invest in one that’s so beautiful and expensive.  He has a point.  I mean, what if I don’t like cycling?  What if helmets make me feel stupid and the narrow lanes make me feel unsafe?  So much to consider.  Le sigh…

Second, as any of you who follow me on Pinterest already know, I’m obsessed with the idea of a jungalow and am looking forward to collecting more house plants and growing an indoor herb garden this summer.  I’m still working out how I’m going to do this, so if any of you have recommendations for keeping plants in small places, do let me know.  In the meantime, I’m going to soak up some inspiration from James Wong and see where that leads.  Exciting times, indeed!

Off now to hug the world.  BYE.

The Power of Social

ThePowerOfSocial

I’ve been really thankful for social media this week, and not just because I get paid to help small businesses excel at it.  Sure, our social feeds sometimes feel over saturated with iPhone photos of lattes, unimaginative promoted content, or memes, but the times that these platforms allow us to organise, educate, and meaningfully connect with one another far outweigh any of the grievances I’ve heard from people opposing their use.

On Monday, I learned about the explosions at the Boston Marathon the same way I’ve learned about most major news events in the past five years, through Twitter.  Moments after the bombs went off, my social feeds were full of photos and updates from people near the tragedy.  With my heart in my throat, I read Facebook updates from friends assuring their loved ones that they were shaken, but safe.  I kept a close eye on Twitter for updates from my favourite news agencies and scrolled through eye-witness images in real-time on Instagram.  It was harrowing and it was powerful and it made me realise how truly lucky we are to live in such a connected world.

In addition to the marathon news, since Monday, I’ve learned about the earthquake on the border of Pakistan and Iran, the fertiliser plant explosion near Waco, Texas, and the touching applause at Thatcher’s funeral, all through social media.  I’ve also learned that The Mount Edgcumbe has a delicious-looking burger on their menu this week, that someone has re-invented the wheel, and that David Sedaris advocates for one of my favourite writing tips AND has a new collection of essays out soon.  All this information has been unsolicited but illuminating and I’m pleased to be aware of it.

For the nay-sayers out there, sure, social media can be trivial, and sometimes it takes a lot of work to cut through the b.s. and create a meaningful connection.  But when it does, social can be powerful, too, and this week, I’m extra thankful for the ability to carry my friends, my favourite informants and my go-to web curators easily in my pocket.  This week, I’m especially thankful for social.

Photo of my phone displaying Justin Erswell’s latte from Basil, shared via Instagram on Tuesday.  You may remember Justin as my tech shaman and you can look forward to seeing more from him in the next couple weeks.

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, April 16th
Somber 

9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 23Wandered through yesterday with a heightened sense of nostalgia and thankfulness.  I’m hoping we have answers soon.

In other news, I’m listening to Muchacho by Phosphorescent on repeat these days, especially ‘Song For Zula’ which will likely be the track that will forever sum up spring 2013 for me.  I’m also enjoying intermittently wearing my sunglasses and am falling even more in love with England as the spring unfolds.  I saw Cloud Atlas with my book club last night.  The book was much better than the film, but that’s often the case, isn’t it.

As always, thank you for reading. xx

Heartbroken {and inspired}

BostonAt first we were stunned, then terrified, and then frantically trying to get in touch with all our friends back home to make sure they were okay (they are).  Then I was thankful, but angry.  I was confused.  Who could do this?  Why?!

Today, I’m heartbroken.  Heartbroken for the city I love.  Heartbroken for the victims and their families.  Heartbroken by the violence that tears families apart all throughout the world.

But, I’m also inspired.  Inspired and touched by the kindness, the bravery, and the generosity of those who have volunteered to help in light of this tragedy.  The world really is a beautiful place– a tragic, but beautiful place.  My heart is with you, Boston.  xx

Inspired By: These Are Things

hatersgonnahate-02 modern-world-map_01_1024x1024

Are you familiar with Jen Adrion and Omar Noory, the Brooklyn-based dynamic duo behind These Are Things and creators of some of the sweetest illustrations on the internet?  In addition to being the creators of the Haters Gonna Hate gif, they also design modern, eye-catching maps, easily digestible infographics (perfect for people like me who go into a coma at the sight of a line graph) and an assortment of posters that I’d gladly hang on my walls.  All my walls, cover them!

They first came on my radar whilst reading Volume Two of Cereal and, after visiting their website, I was sucked into the blackhole that is their blog for longer than I care to admit.  These two, they’re so creativeAnd they have their shit so figured out.  They’re honest, they do honest-to-God good work, and they’re refreshingly open about their growth, their challenges, and how they manage to make time for their own projects while still producing awesome work for others.

So, in case you haven’t figured it out by now, they’re totally inspiring me– inspiring me to do more and be more, both for myself and for others.  And yes, I totally have a career crush on them.  I mean, how cute is their website?  The cutest!  Le sigh…

photos via These Are Things