Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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Operation Wake Up Early has been relatively successful. I woke up just after 7:00 yesterday and did some writing and planning whilst Le Chat slept on my feet, keeping them toasty warm.  With David gone this week, I’m extra thankful for my kitty cuddles.

(Sorry, I just have to add that a part of me dies every time I write “kitty cuddles” but I can’t stop because I love them so much and oh my gosh is this what being a mom is like kinda?!)

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For my birthday last week, I was gifted a film camera (!!) and film to use with it (!!!).  Film is precious. Much like Charlie’s bar of Willy Wonka birthday chocolate, I know it’s something that must be used in order to be enjoyed, but I feel a great burden to not waste it or be frivolous with it. As a defect of my personality, I run the risk of keeping this film forever for fear of wasting it on a silly subject only to find it one day expired, so I was thinking some friendly reinforcement would help me get out and start using my new camera.

My idea is this: Film Lover Photo Walks in Tunbridge Wells! If you love shooting film and like walking, let me know and let’s arrange a walk with some like-minded friends! And maybe you can give me some film photography pointers, too…?

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You Guys, meet The Bag. The Bag, meet You Guys.  The Bag is my super perfect, beautiful, always-there-for-me friend.  And You Guys are my totally fun friends who constantly make me smile.  I think the two of you will really like each other!  Talk amongst yourselves whist I go top-up my drink… Bisous!

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Seriouse Face Time: my friends are way too good to me and I’m so thankful for their (and your!) kindness and support. My office-mate, Martin, who has to put up with me all. day. long. got me a blackboard mug for my birthday. Every morning (when I’m in the office) I’m going to write or draw something on it and either Instagram or tweet a picture with the hashtag #mymorningmugshot. Make that a latte with an extra shot of creativity, I guess!

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Obsessed with autumn. Obviously.

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I hate throwing styrofoam away but I like making friends out of it! Meet Jim. He just ate a pomegranate.

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Obsessed with autumn, take II.

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This table sits there all day and dares me to eat my lunch on its matte black surface.  But I don’t. Instead, I eat my lunch hunched over my keyboard like all the other civilized people…

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Pretty sunsets these days make me want to be like, so I guess my work here is done… but then I look at the clock and realise it’s only 4:00 and I cry a little inside. #WinterIsComing

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I didn’t explicitly mention it last week on my Birthday Resolutions edition of TWM, but I have big plans for my business this year.  The first step?  Hiring myself to re-inspire my outpouring of unique and useful engaging content. The number one challenge my clients have is not knowing how to talk about their own awesome work, so I’ve decided to lead by example and take on the task of being more open about my own awesome work.  Yesterday, I published my first business-related post in a long time.  I’ll be honest, it was exciting but also a little bit scary.  Take a look!

>Pitch Time< Blog posts! Tweets! Newsletters! + and all the other fun ways you have of communicating with your people! What do they have in common? They all need interesting and engaging targeted content. If you’re someone who struggles with knowing what to say and how to say it, I’m here to help. And right now, I’m offering complimentary 30-minute Skype consultations to anyone who’s interested in digitally expanding their outreach. Interested? Drop me a line at kate(at)ladykatherinesims.com.  >Pitch over<

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Washing dishes with my rings off. Living like a single lady for ten minutes. Oooh, la-la!

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You know when you wash dishes and tidy the kitchen so you can cook dinner and then by the time you finish you’re too lazy to cook so you go to La Fiamma instead?  That’s exactly what happened last night.

Right now, the restaurant is completely decked out for Halloween, which is adorable. My stomach also thought the cheesy garlic bread and pizza were adorable, too.  So much so, in fact, that when I had finished, my stomach sent my brain a message that read: “Yumyumyum. I love it here so much that when I die, I hope I wake up to find that La Fiamma is heaven!”  Sooo cute, right?!

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After a delicious dinner it was time to go to a very special Fright Night meeting for the Tunbridge Wells Writers. We were running a tiny bit late (I was carrying a pizza baby, remember?) so I snapped this photo as we walked past Trinity Theatre. Spooky, no?

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Oh, the writers!  They are a lovely group.  We crowded around a candle-laden table in a function room at The Black Pig and read bone-chilling stories that were written by our very own talented members. In this particular photo, we have the ever-wonderful Jess reading her piece.  Her presentation skills are spooktacular (sorry, I had to) and her story was creepy in all the right ways!

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My fellow North American in the group carved this pumpkin for us. Wasn’t that sweet of her?  You betcha it was!

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After listening to something like 15 stories, I couldn’t help but feel that something wicked this way was really truly coming and I was already anticipating the nightmares.  In fact, I was almost to the point where I would’ve sold my soul to a witch if it meant that David would magically be whisked back to England to sleep by my side so I guess you could say I had a case of the creepy crawlies real bad.  I mean, take this picture, for instance– can you see that tiny ghost?!

(The frightfully fantastic story that I couldn’t get out of my head last night was by Simon Jon Cox and you can read it here: Atoc. But be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart!)

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But David was not magically in bed when I came home last night.  But do you know who was?  Le Chat! And with her nestled beside me, I drifted into a surprisingly lovely slumber.

As always, my dear sweet reader, thank you for sharing my Tuesday with me. xx

Content: Curators, Creators & Stealers

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I have a confession: Every time I sit down to write about my business, my clients, and what I’m lucky enough to be able to do for a living, I find myself repeating the same thing my clients do when it comes to creating their own digital content– “But I just don’t know what to say!” Whether it’s for Twitter, Instagram, or your blog, online sharing can feel like a daunting, time-consuming task  But– da da da!–  I’m here to help!  Today, let’s talk about Content Curators, Creators, and Stealers and then you can tell me which one you want to be!

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one  //  two  //  three

Curators: Remember when you were little and you’d say to someone “I love vanilla ice cream” and then they’d say, “I love vanilla ice cream, too!” and then you’d become best friends?  Even though we’re adults now, the world is still this simple and we’re still attracted to people who like the same things we do. Lucky for us, the internet is full of gems on just about everything and anything you could possibly enjoy, so if you’re a digital treasure-hunter, creating a space and plan to curate these findings may be an ideal form of content generation and sharing for you and your business.

My suggestions for Curators is to start a bookmark folder or Pinterest board (keep it secret if you’d like) to organise on-brand, sharable content.  When you have free time or need a break from another task, write posts for this content and use what you’re sharing as a frame for your own story and work. Wherever you choose to share, make sure the content you’re curating is on-brand, accompanied by text that explains why you’re sharing it, and is properly sited. Sharing is caring, after all!

Some of my favourite Digital Curators: The Fox is Black, Andrew Sullivan, & Jay Parkinson

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Creators:
Many creators will have a very clear idea of how they want their content to look, sound, and feel and will therefore choose to create it themselves.  They’ll have an aesthetic and model that they conform to and the ability to shape their own experiences to tell a larger story. A talented Content Creator can turn a photo of their flat white into a story about their love for local businesses, an anecdote about client meetings, or an account of their morning routine, and in so doing will attract other like-minded partners and customers to them.

A tip I like to give to Content Creators is to always push yourself to experiment with what and how you share. You don’t want anyone to get bored– least of all yourself!– so focus your content on moving forward and staying creative. An entire blog composed of posts sharing “5 Tips for Businesses to Fill-in-the-Blank!” will become stale  quickly, so try to offer a varied mixture of engaging– and sometimes surprising–  content.

If you’re just starting out, don’t be discouraged if all the pieces aren’t coming together perfectly right away; remember that practice makes perfect, even when it comes to sharing!

A few of my favourite Content Creators: Tales of Endearment, And Kathleen, Park & Cube, & Kate Miss.

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Whoa, hold on a minute, what if you want to be both a Creator and a Curator
?! 
Great question and good news– you can be!  An ideal digital content strategy will include curating and creating.  Create on-brand, unique content to tell your customers about what you do, how to hire you, where to buy your products, and why your services are valuable. In addition to that, curate engaging/inspiring/interesting content that will make your customers say YEAH!

For instance, let’s pretend that you have a store and maintain a blog to help you sell your products.  Two or three times a week, you may want to curate content that you and your customers will identify with to keep a dialogue going and reinforce just how impeccable your taste is. This content could be a Spotify playlist, a photoshoot in a magazine, or an article you found inspiring.  In addition to this, you may want to create and share photos of new products and exciting updates about what’s going on in the store.  Mixing the two types of content works incredibly well and creates a robust strategy. If you decide to try this and need a model to follow, look no further than one of my favourite brands, Huckberry.  They’re so cool and Kings of Content Creation.

Stealers: Stealing is wrong, we all know that, and yet so many people feel comfortable stealing the work of others to promote themselves and their businesses online.  This is not okay.

But at the same time, I get it. Finding time to responsibly source content, edit it, and say something genuine about it can be time-consuming. Plus, it’s not something that comes naturally to many people. Luckily, there is help.

If you’re someone who feels they could use some guidance in setting up a digital content strategy, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at kate(at)ladykatherinesims.com. I’d love to help you shape your content, tell your story, and grow your business. Aaaaaand, it just so happens that now through November 15th, I’m offering complimentary 30-minute Skype consultations with potential new clients.  Email me, tell me what you do, and then let’s chat about what you can share and how you can share it. It’ll be really fun! Promise.

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Yesterday was my birthday eve.  I tend to get nostalgic around the time of my birthday and wind up thinking a lot about where I am personally, emotionally, and professionally.  As I’ve always believed that the beginning of the calendar year– which is essentially just one cold, dark hangover– is a terrible time to make resolutions, I instead make resolutions on my birthday.  Today, as I share my Tuesday photos, I’ll also share some of the things I’d like to work on in my 26th year of life.  (Spoiler Alert: it basically boils down to the fact that I just want to be more like Lucy Liu and less like Drunk Kate.) Enjoy!

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First and foremost, I’m going to really try to be a morning person this next year even though doing so basically goes against my nature. You see, I like to think that I’m far more energetic and creative in the evenings but really, drinking wine on my sofa and reading Gawker until two in the morning does not count as being energetic or creative no matter how ferociously I’m opening tabs and clicking through pages.  Ergo, I have come to the conclusion that I could use my time much better by waking early, starting work earlier, and exerting my energy whilst the sun is still out.

When I was young, I read somewhere (probably the back of a Wheaties box) that Michael Jordan always woke up when his alarm went off.  Even at the age of ten (okay, fifteen…?) I was able to recognise that as the super-human power it so clearly is. So, to take a tip from Mr. Jordan, I’m incrementally setting my alarm earlier and earlier and plan on settling on a 6:45 AM wake-up time here in the next few months.  Please pray for David as this transition from night-owl to morning person will definitely be a tough one for him.
#DontTalkToMeUntilIveHadMyCoffee

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David has brought it to my attention numerous times in the last year that I’m kind of a slob. The fact that he and I essentially live like students and don’t have real furniture (as I touched on last week) doesn’t help, of course. But this year, I am going to get organised. And yes, I’m going to stop leaving my clothes at the foot of the bed. Okay, David?!

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Stop and smell the flowers! Stop and crunch the leaves! Stop and take a photo of the gorgeousness all around you! When I started Tuesday With Moi I was going through a difficult time. I had just moved to England and was finding it really challenging to figure out what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I had lost my naturally optimistic edge and found myself getting really negative about my environment and life, so I started TWM to focus on the good.  Once an hour, on the hour, I would focus my lens on something beautiful around me and in doing so, I hoped to start mentally focusing on the beautiful, the good, and the inspiring as well.

Happily, my ability to look on the bright side was restored and now, after over a year of shooting TWM, I want to focus my eye and my mind on another challenge, living in the moment. More often than not, my mind is 15 steps ahead of my body. I know exactly where I want to be in five years but have no idea where I’ll be tomorrow.  I want to pace myself a little better in that regard and start paying more attention to the here and now instead of the long-haul.  This year, I don’t want to wake up on Monday mornings wondering where my weekends went– instead, I want to maximise my productivity and enjoyment and focus more on doing awesome, fun, and good things now. RIGHT NOW.

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You know what else I’d like?  I’d like to spend more time in nature.  I’d like to be able to inhale and pinpoint the different scents of each season.  Lately, as I wander down the sidewalk, I’ve been trying to focus more on scent.  The evergreens are especially fragrant, as are the soggy acorns and wet leaves that sludge under my feet.

Did you ever see the movie French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline? In it, he asks her to smell bits from the different plants that grow in his family’s vineyard and he tells her what each scent is– mint, lavender, chili, whatever.  To be honest, I’m a little fuzzy on the specifics as it’s been over ten years since I saw the film, but what winds up happening is he then gives her a glass of his family’s wine and she can then pinpoint the scents in the flavour.  Not only is that 1) the most romantic thing ever! it’s also 2) a good thing to know and appreciate in life.  I’d like to know more about how the different elements in the fields around me influence the makeup of our lives and the food I enjoy.  I want to eat a more seasonal diet and spend more time in nature, silent and observant.

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And I’d also like to make more art.

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AND I’d like to eat my lunches (real lunches, not just a few handfuls of nuts) somewhere other than my desk.

(Please note that I missed my 13:00 picture because I was in a meeting and didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask my client if I could pause going through his web copy with him so I could snap a quick photo. I hope you understand.)

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Whilst I make goals for my birthday every year, I’m not always great at keeping them.  This is because I don’t monitor my goals constructively.  This year, I’m changing that.

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Lately, David and I have been thinking a lot about moving… Again! But this time, not quite so drastically.  In fact, we want to stay in our lovely little town, but ideally we’d like to live somewhere with a little more space. Open space, that is.  And big windows, too! I want light– lots of light!– and I want a dog, which our current building’s association doesn’t allow. So yes, moving.  Exciting!

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Now that I’m older and wiser I should probably start being a little more well-behaved at work so Martin doesn’t glare at me from behind his monitor anymore… Let’s put well-behaved on the list then, too.

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Here’s something we all need to work on (providing we’re in a relationship) and that’s being a better partner.  This birthday card came in the mail yesterday and it made me chuckle because I didn’t change my last name when I got married.  Kate Cox. Ha– that is so not me!  No, no, I will always and forever be Kate Sims as I am very fond of my surname and think I’d have an identity crisis if I changed it.  That being said, I do love being married to Mr. Cox and really should be better at doing all those wonderful things that married ladies do. You know, like vacuuming, mending socks, and keeping thoughts about how useless he is when he forgets to turn on the towel warmer! to myself. Little things, you know…

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I hate it when the sun sets early and walking through town at 8:00 PM feels like walking through town at 11:30 PM.  It’s just so depressing and sometimes a little eerie, too.  Last night, as I was walking to meet with my writer friends, I stopped to take this picture and a drunk young(ish) man came up close to me and asked me if I was okay. “I’m fine, thanks,” I said rather curtly as I lifted my camera to my eye and focused the lens.

“I was just trying to look out for you,” the man said in an aggressive tone that seemed to indicate that I, an able-bodied young woman alone on the street in the darkness and holding an expensive camera, should have fawned on him for showing attention to my well-being. And it was in that moment that I thought– which happens now and again– along the lines of if this man came at me could I outrun him/kick his ass?  The answer, in this case, was probably yes as he was small and appeared quite intoxicated, but there are some times when I stand next to a man (David, my Giant Husband, for instance) and look at how tiny my wrists, hands, legs, whatever are compared to theirs and think of how little effort a person of that size would need to really hurt me.

Whoa, don’t get the wrong idea here– I’m not living in fear or thinking every man I pass in the night is going to hurt me– I’m just trying to say that I want to be prepared should it ever happen.  This is one of the many reasons I’ve started running.  I want to be able to run far and run fast.  I want to be able to know the difference between running an eight minute mile and a five minute mile and then be able to push my body to different speeds as if it were a machine. I want to able to run five miles without stopping by the end of the year and even though I’m not even halfway there yet, I think I’m going to make it.

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This one sucks, but I want to start to drink less.  Yes, folks, you heard it here first– I’m cutting back.  I, Lady Katherine, a wannabe cocktail connoisseur, am going to reel in the awesome sauce.  Not completely (Oh God, never would I ever), but a little bit because, let’s be honest, I don’t need to drink half a bottle of wine every time I want to veg out and watch some Project Runway.  #SadTruth #TrueTruth

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Hanging out with my Tunbridge Wells Writers friends yesterday and listening to their awesome projects and their passion for their writing made me realise that I need to actually start dedicating some time to creative writing.  What used to be Wine Time can now be Writing Time or Reading Time or general Creating Time.  Doesn’t that sound like a Fun Time?

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But the time I spend with friends, will always be a really special time.

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This is totally superficial, but I’ve decided that I want to start wearing mascara again this year.  I haven’t worn it for months because I’m lazy, but to be 100% honest, I think I look a little more alert with a swipe of mascara on my eyes so I’m going to start wearing it again.  What brands do you recommend, ladies?  I’d love suggestions for something that won’t wash off in the rain/snow/tears, please.

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And finally, I want to invest in nice things that will last for years.  Like my new bag!  I’ll tell you more about it soon. Promise!

And that, my friends, was the last day of me being 25.  Here’s to a whole new year together! xx

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

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David and I woke up one day this past weekend, looked at our dresser (and the surrounding room) and decided that we both kinda/sorter live like students. So, Operation Get Our House Sorted is officially underway! As I tried to coax myself out from under the duvet yesterday morning, I dreamed up ways to make our room more comfortable. Getting rid of this dresser and doubling the size of our closet is pretty high on the list.

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Autumn light and laptop keys. Yes, trusty Methuselah is still carrying on in her steady, occasionally rainbow-wheely way.  I keep threatening her, saying I’m going to get a MacbookAir soonsoonsoon! but she sees through my threats. She knows how much I love her.

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That being said, actual changes– not just those pertaining to my laptop– are on the horizon.  Like changing my socks, for instance!  And oh, what a fun change this will be!  Over the weekend, David surprised me with two pairs of socks by my favourite sock company, Hansel from Basel (which I also wrote about here).  Hansel From Basel is an awesome LA-based company and David found these pairs at the shop at Bluebird in Chelsea.  I’m in love.  Obviously.

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But I wasn’t quite ready to initiate a new pair of socks yesterday. Instead, I wore these tried and true silk beauties (also by Hansel From Basel) that are my absolute favourite.  They’re really cheerful, these polka-dots.

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I have lots of projects on at the moment and all of them have a box. This requires a lot of time thinking in the box and out of the box. Accepting the box. Being one with the box. Breaking down the box. You know…

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To be honest, I’ve been feeling a lot like my pen holder lately: jammed full. one of the biggest things I’m working on changing (which does not yet have a box) is restructuring my days so I can maximise my time, my space and my productivity. I need to be less jammed full and more fulfilled.

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I also want to maximise my time with David. Lately, he and I have been passing each other like ghosts in the night. He’s gone before I’m up and I’m sliding my key in the door just as he’s going to bed. When I chose these two rings as my wedding rings, I wanted them to symbolise two people working together but moving separately through life. The together bit of that needs a little focus these days. Marriage– it’s a balance. And it’s work*.

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This is a snippet of a personal project I’m working on. I’m still in the story-boarding phase but I like where it’s going. I only have a few more weeks to get it done (!!!), so I’m hoping to share it in early December. Get excited, people!

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This time of year is full of changes. Changing light. Changing leaves. Changing seasons.  Being born in October, it’s no wonder I’m addicted to change.

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Beautiful things from LA seems to be a mini trend in this post. This, my friends, is a gorgeous letter from my friend Natalie, who always has the best stationery and lives in– you guessed it!– LA. This was a very welcome piece of post to receive as I’ve been missing her like crazy lately. Love you, Natalie!

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After work, David and I left for the train station as we were off to have dinner in London with the ever-charming Peter of Artful Consulting.  It was nice to have some Together Time on the train. Modern romance, le sigh…

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And within the hour we were at London Bridge. Isn’t this flower shop the cutest? I don’t buy enough flowers– I should at that to my To-Change list.

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Upon our arrival, our gracious host offered us delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine.  But the best part? The conversation.

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You know those evenings where you talk with someone and it’s exactly the conversation that you needed to have in order to reinforce everything you’ve been thinking, obsessively mulling over and challenging yourself to commit to paper?

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Last night was one of those evenings. Everything from my obsession with kraft paper to my plan to fill my life with meaningful clients, collaborations and content was confirmed.

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You know, every time I go to London I fall a little bit in love and daydream of living there. Wouldn’t it be great to… I think as I walk past restaurants I want to try, shops I’d like to explore and galleries full of curiosities.  London is great– so great!

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But Tunbridge Wells is really great, too.  I’m not yet ready for a change that big.  But maybe one day, because wouldn’t it be nice to….

As always, dearest reader, thank you for letting me share my day with you.  And remember, if you would like to share a Tuesday With Vous, scan the details and get in touch! I’d love to have you.
xx

*Don’t worry, Mom, everything’s fine. Promise!

Tuesday With Vous: Liam Rogers in NYC!

When my dear friend Liam went to America last month, he pitched the idea of sharing a Tuesday With Vous on video. At first I was a bit hesitant because videos are noisy and distracting and I’m a curmudgeon, but then I thought, wait a second, I LOVE ARTISTIC EXPRESSION! and said yes. Et voila, here are my two English friends, Liam and Nick, enjoying a Tuesday in New York City in 2 minutes and 53 seconds. It’s super cute. Enjoy!

Name: Liam Rogers
Location: NYC via Tunbridge Wells
Occupation: Photographer / Film-maker
Camera Used: Nikon D7000

Are you someone creative and fun who would like to share your Tuesday with everyone? Get in touch & let’s make it happen! xx

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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The previous night was the Launch of Artists Unveiled. We had a terrific party at La Fiamma (culinary artists extraordinaire!) featuring the work of Chris Burke, Ed Liddle, Caro Spinette, Liam Rogers and Chooc Ly Tan.  This scroll featured charcoal and chalk portraits of partygoers by Chris Burke. You’ll see some in a moment… 10

When David bought an iPad a couple years ago I wasn’t super into it.  But then I downlaoded the Paper by 53 app and bought an Adonit Jot Pro stylus and now I love it. Our case is by Gräf & Lantz and I love that, too! 11

Sharpies taste the rainbow…. 12

At our launch party, Chris Burke sketched portraits of some of the attendees. This is his portrait of Liam. His head isn’t really that big IRL. Promise.
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However, this is exactly what Ed Liddle is going to look like when he’s a silver fox.  FOXY!14

The days lately have been grey. Autumn is here. It’s my favourite time of year! 15

At our launch, we had props with a camera set up for people to use to take their picture with.  Ed made this awesome paper crane.  I keep it on my desk now.  16

See you in Minnesota, November! (p.s. How talented are my friends who made their invites themselves?  They’re so creative! Check them out– Facet & Forge!) 17

Oh, yeah. So running is something that I do now.  I don’t hate it, but I’m not to the point of loving it yet, either.  I’ll probably write a post on running (jogging/walking/struggling) sometime soon because I know I would’ve found it useful as a beginner.  So look forward to that!  Or don’t. Whatever.  18

Riding in cars with boys.19

Liam and I stopped at Art Pull together last night.  This was my favourite piece.  It’s by Diana Poliak and is called the ‘Stalking Stork’.  I love how primitive it feels.  So textured and strong.  I love the vibe.  IT MOVES ME. 20

Back at home, I unrolled the scroll that was on one of the tables at the launch asking artists to ‘leave their mark’.  Here’s the mark of Will Charlesworth of Inquisitive Cows and Widow Burpy21

Speaking of Widow Burpy, this photo was taken as we were on our way to her house! As is tradition, we watched Breaking Bad with her and her husband, Justin (aka my Tech Shaman). 22

On this particular night, we were watching the series finale.  It did not disappoint.  In fact, it was the most perfect ending I ever could have imagined. SPOILER ALERT: Don’t do drugs. 
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Then we walked home.  This is the Eye Of Sauron which watches us always and forever as we sleep. And as we wake, too. The Eye Of Sauron is building condos.  Of course.  

And that, my friends, is Tuesday With Moi. Glamorous? Perhaps not. Fun? Absolutely!  If you want to share your Tuesday (which is great if you’re a freelancer! small business owner! person with a creative eye!), please get in touch. Find all the details here right here! and then email me and we’ll become BFF.  xox