Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

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The Christmas lights are a twinkle light bedroom lamp again.

8Breakfeasting on  bagels that I made myself, yo.

It was just over a year ago that I first made bagels. Remember? I love experimenting with different flours and spice toppings. This batch I made with spelt flour, sea salt and rosemary. Delicious!

9My friends Liam and Kate have inspired me with their 2014 resolutions and it’s changed the way I enjoy two things: my time with friends and my coffee.

First, Liam decided this year to sit back and enjoy the things we take for granted on a daily basis.  Things like good coffee and good wine. Things like kitty snuggles and sandwiches.

Kate inspired me with her resolution to put her phone away when she’s with friends so she can focus more acutely on being with the people she’s spending time with.  I think that’s really nice, don’t you?

Anyway, coffee! I’ve cut back to one cup a day and I only drink the good stuff (thank you Perk & Pearl!). I Aeropress it and then I savour it and it’s awesome. No coffee dehydration, no caffeine shakes. Just delicious coffee. And maximum enjoyment.

10David and I stumbled upon a mid century furniture treasure trove over the weekend and scored these Gordon Russell nesting tables. The lady who ones the place, The Kula, is amazing.  I like to refer to her as my Furniture Fairy Godmother.

11I’m juggling a number of exciting projects right now and they’re all in various stages of completion.  Here’s a snippet of an upcoming video shoot that’s still in the sketching and storyboarding phase.

12I know, I know, I need more stuff in my office.  I got nothin’ besides this jade to photograph. It’s getting kinda sad.

13On my lunch break, I went out to buy some coconut oil and other provisions. Whilst walking back to the office, the paper bag I was carrying ripped open and everything fell out. #Sadface. So this is the awesome photo I took with my one free hand whilst walking. So good, right?

14One of my provisions. Almond butter. Yum!

15This is just someone I saw on the street and decided to sketch. Hey, dude.

16Oh, did I ever tell you that I work with psychos? Because I do. This is proof.

17Green tea sipping vessel. No matter how many times I look at it, I can’t help but think of a penguin.

18And then it was time for a meeting at my favourite meeting spot, Fuggles!

19And it was at Fuggles where I had the great honour of hanging out with Matt Harquail.  He’s the incredibly talented photographer behind Kudos and he’s just as lovely in real life as his photos are. This photo does him absolutely no justice (sorry, Matt!) but trust me when I say he’s super handsome and also a giant.

20And then, after a little while, Liam joined us. Also, it’s come to my attention that Liam hasn’t always been credited in my blog soooooo here is his Twitter, his website, his other Twitter, his other website, and his Pinterest. Love you, Liam!

21And then Nick arrived.

22And then David arrived (wherever I go, I make it a party!) and, when we got hungry, we all went to La Fiamma because, well, obviously.

23After a delicious dinner, we went home and began an episode of Dexter but I was tired (and intoxicated, so maybe I didn’t sit and enjoy every sip of my wine quite as much as I should’ve… or maybe I enjoyed it too much?) so I went to bed.

And then I slept a wonderful sleep. The end.

Remember, people! If you’d like to contribute to Tuesday With Vous, you can find all the details right here. It would be great to see what a day in your life looks like!

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

8Foggy mornings with Lucille.

9It was cold yesterday, guys! After my shower, I jumped back in bed as I decided what to wear to work. Then I definitely had a little bit of a clothing crisis. Do you ever have those? Like, when your mood and your entire wardrobe are not aligned. At all. And then you kind of want to light a match and just burn your house down because what’s the point of a house if your clothes are all wrong, you know?

10But then I chanted my mantra, changed my clothes 15 times, ate a banana and put some lipstick on and everything was okay.

11I’m on a major green tea kick these days and, at the rate I’m sipping, I feel like I’m definitely going to live to be, like, 500 years old at least.  Last week, I picked up some fill-my-own tea bags and have been filling them with gunpowder green & peppermint tea from Perk and Pearl. It’s really nice. I highly recommend!

12 View from the office: sunny, wet, and cold. Reminded me that I need to buy stamps.

13On my walk home for lunch, I had a momentary flashback to summer. The sun was perfect and there was an almost warm breeze that stirred the leaves into a chorus of summertime sound. It was amazing! But fleeting.

14Second lunch. I can feel a cold coming on so I’m loading up on vitamin C. (But, like, aren’t I not supposed to ever get sick because I’m drinking so much green tea?!)

15I kept a tissue handy just in case Operation Green Tea & Citrus didn’t work.

16And then I went to Scallywag for more tea (!!!) and to meet my friend Charlie, who is a film critic.  He is just now starting to incorporate social media into his digital outreach so I gave him a few pointers and a little bit of Twitter homework. You should follow him if you’re into film, maybe?

17Back in the office, tip-tap-tapping away.

18There was a chill in the air and, more specifically, on my ankles so I warmed them on the radiator. Note to self: need to polish my boots.

19And then, after packing up for the night, I started my evening at Fuggles, my other home away from home. Some people have a third place, but I seem to have a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place…. No complaints.

20I love this.

21After a bit of wine, cheese, bread and meat and Fuggles, we went to La Fiamma for some wine, cheese, bread and meat, but in a slightly different configuration. I wonder when goop is going to feature my diet on their site… #SoHealthy

22And then it was 10:00 and I didn’t realise how late it was and omg we were still at La Fiamma oops! Like I said, I have a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth place and sometimes I mistake one or two of them for my living room and just sit there cackling for ages.

23After we got kicked out of the restaurant (too much cackling) I went home and cuddled in bed with Le Chat (David was in Spain on business, #sadtimes) whilst reading this great article in Rookie about the new Beyoncé album. I’ve always liked Beyoncé, but I haven’t loved any of her solo records until now. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved many of her songs, but the albums in their entirety just haven’t done it for me.  Until now. This latest album (visual album! Ugh, so good) is awesome. And I don’t just mean that in a way that like, I’m American and that’s awesome man! I mean it in like, I am literally in awe. In awe of her talent, grace, bravery and strength. I’ve been playing the album non-stop since Sunday and I loved reading the Rookie take on it. Those ladies are smart.

And that, my friends, was my Tuesday. Thank you for reading and remember, if you’d like to contribute to Tuesday With Vous, you can find all the details right here.

Voyage to the Beginning of the World

Liam has a photo exhibition called Voyage to the Beginning of the World up at Javabean Cafe this month and, as there are only 11 more days for you to see it, I wanted to give you locals a kick up the bum to get in there and ogle his photos whilst enjoying some cake and coffee.

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Beautiful-PlaceTo accompany his photos, Liam asked The Tunbridge Wells Writers to share poems and short stories inspired by the collection.  To me, the photos are about companionship and loneliness in old age, so I wrote a poem exploring that theme.  A few friends have recently asked if I’d share the poem again, so I thought I’d do that here.

WhenYou'reOld

All photos by my talented friend, Liam Rogers

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

8

Early morning journaling in the blue morning light.  I signed up for Braid Creative‘s email series, Coaching for Creatives, a few weeks ago and started the 4 week, 16 part series on Monday.  Yesterday was my second day and prompted me to journal with the mantra Be Here Now in mind. Here’s some of what I wrote.

It’s fitting that I’ve started my Be Here Now journal on a Tuesday, the day that I focus my mind and my lens on one thing that is happening around me on the top of every hour. I started TWM with the intention of focusing on the present but I need to be honest– lately I haven’t felt inspired by my TWM posts. My photos feel tired and dull. I’ve been blaming the light– or lack thereof– for this change, as the English days are dark and grey, but the real problem stems from feeling a lack of creativity and passion.  

Just writing those words felt liberating. Simply admitting that I’ve needed space and time to explore creative forms of expression made my head clear and I realised how nice it felt to hold a pen in my hand and to write for myself rather than for a client or a deadline. It slowed down my thinking and made me feel present– and in that present place, I felt creative, passionate, and resourceful. And then I did something that I haven’t done since college, I turned the page in my journal and wrote the lyrics to one of my favourite songs, Be Here Now by Mason Jennings.  The verse I love best goes like this:

Be here now, no other place to be
All the doubts that linger, just set them free
And let good things happen
And let the future come into each moment
Like a rising sun

After setting the tone for the day with that journal entry, I decided to take a simple, silent moment to be here now before shooting each of the following photos.

9As I was admiring my shadow in the morning light, I thought about how funny it is that we live with things that are unfinished, sometimes.  I painted these striped walls over a year ago and I’ve still not  managed to sit down and paint the baseboards. Every time I walk through the hallway I think, I should really paint the baseboards, and yet I never do.  Why is this?
Do you have a totally easy unfinished home project like this?
Do you want to make a pact to finish them?
I’m being serious.

10Great news: I haven’t killed my bonsai yet!
Bad news: Le Chat keeps eating my bonsai tree.  See those nibbled leaves in the upper right-hand corner?  Yep, Le Chat. Feasting!  She’s so weird.

11A stray paper feather is all I’ve got in the Desk Decor Department right now.  Go ahead and add my desk space to my “unfinished decoration” list… Though I have a sneaking suspicion the desk will come along faster than those sad baseboards.

12Yesterday was Jez‘s birthday so I drew him a cake. It was a very healthy cake. Zero calories.

13The leaves on my jade are picking up a burnt red hue now that she sits in direct light for much of the day. (Please note: “direct light” not “direct sunlight”. This is England, after all.) I like watching the subtle changes my plants go through. I like the way my fern arcs toward the sun, the way my aloe gets sunstroke if I leave her in the window too long, and the way this little jade, whose leaves are thick and heavy like rubber, slowly changes colour.  It’s such a joy to watch.  (Ohmygosh, is this what having a baby is like?!)

14Look, you guys, blue skies!  I am always very thankful for blue skies and sunshine.

15Even though I’ve been in the new space over a week, I didn’t get my keys to the office until yesterday.  Now that I have keys, I have a feeling I’ll be spending a lot of late nights here.

16Green tea, yellow teapot. Over the past few months, green tea has replaced coffee as my beverage of choice. Throughout the day, I’m always sipping something green from Perk and Pearl (they have a terrific selection), but when I need to get away from my desk for a while, I head next door to Scallywag Café and order a pot of it.  There’s something so nice about drinking tea from a teapot.  The ritual, the soft clink of the pot’s spout as it graces the edge of the cup, the dizzy noise of a cup and saucer… it’s all very nice, don’t you think?

17Liam and I have been working on Artists Unveiled ideas (did you see that we have an AU Meet and Greet this Saturday?!) and our own little master plan for the future a lot lately and we’ve made Scallywag our own little office away from office. It reminds me of living back at home-home (as in Minnesota), all this coffee shop hangin’, and I really love it.

18What I especially like about Scallywag is that they’re open until 7:00 PM. Plenty of time to accommodate our lengthy laptop-crowded discussions.

19At 6:30, Liam and I met with a wonderful local business at The Black Pig to talk about their needs and how we might be able to creatively meet some of those needs together. I won’t say anything more about it until the time is right…

20Except this: we’re really excited!

21After our meeting concluded, Liam’s gentleman and my gentleman joined us for a drink.

22And whilst they chatted together, Liam, Sam (who had joined us by this point) and I snuck upstairs to the function room to hang out with the Tunbridge Wells Writers.

23After we’d chatted with some new and old friends, it occurred to us that we hadn’t eaten yet. With rumbling bellies we fumbled around searching for a place other than the kebab shop to grab a late dinner. Much to our surprise, we learned that you can order food until 11:00 PM at the Bar & Grill.  Did you know this? Nightcaps at the Bar & Grill, everyone!

24The clear skies from earlier in the day were long gone by the time we left the restaurant and rain was falling as we zoomed home toward warm beds and…

25a very sleepy Le Chat!

Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again
Sun comes up and we start again

And so concludes my Tuesday.  Thank you for reading! And don’t forget, if you’d like to contribute a Tuesday With Vous, you can find all the details right here.  xx

For Theo, Finally

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My friend Theo recommended I watch Frances Ha ages ago and, on December 8th, I did. And I loved it. First, it needs to be said that the main character, Frances, is a little bit like all of us: hopeful, uncertain, trying to find a way to manage her values and dreams whilst still being able to pay her rent. Greta Gerwig, who wrote and stars in the film, wrote a story and gave a performance that made me feel– made me feel a whole lot– and I’ve been carrying the film with me and mulling it over for quite some time.  After my initial viewing, I told Theo that I’d send her a response soon. Well, Theo, this is my response. And soon is a relative term, right?

Theo,

I wept at the end of Frances Ha not because I was nostalgic for a time that once was, but because I wanted to be. If you took the reel of my life and rewound it four years, I was in a place where I would’ve watched this film and said “Oh, I am Frances!” and I would have felt excited and safe knowing that a future of 20-something struggle, mishap and adventure was mine for the taking. That it was normal.  At that time, I was loving my single lady life in Boston. I had moments where I hit the sauce too hard and made some questionable life decisions, but I had good friends to pass the time with and a solid support system. It’s like that Sinatra song: “When I was 21, it was a very good year. I used to walk through the city and feel like everything around me was raw and electric and full of opportunity, when I was 21!” (Oh, those aren’t the lyrics? Oops.)

I met David in February of 2010 and I can now see that my own life trajectory is also a lot like Sophie’s, Frances’ best friend played by Mickey Sumner.  Like Sophie, I fell in love (unexpectedly), said bon voyage to my roommates, to all my undergraduate furniture and to the vagabond uncertainty of my single life and exchanged it for the special kind of freedom that comes with being in a committed relationship. The freedom to focus. The freedom to mix your books on the shelf with someone else’s and not worry about getting them all back when the lease is up. The freedom of knowing that no matter how bad things get, you have someone who’s going to fight for the future right alongside you.

I wouldn’t change my decision to marry and move to a new country, but this film made me wonder what would’ve happened if I hadn’t met David, if I had instead moved to Minneapolis or New York, or even stayed in Boston, and had to figure my shit out on my own.  What crappy job would I have taken and where would it have led? What roommates would I have gotten drunk with and cried in front of and how many broken hearts would I have survived– both romantically and otherwise? Would I have given up my dreams or would I have fought, alone, for whomever it was that I wanted to become? It’s silly, but this film made me nostalgic for the life I never lived. It opened the door in my imagination to the land of What If.

Over the weekend, David and I went to London to visit a friend who lives in a great apartment (one that wasn’t very self-aware, might I add) with three roommates, all of them living on top of each other like puppies in a cardboard box, lovingly tumbling over ears and paws and tails until they’re scooped up, one-by-one, and brought somewhere new. It’s a transitional kind of happiness, these roommate situations. Little families are formed and a special kind of balance between intimacy and privacy happens. It’s exciting but it’s stressful and sitting at my friend’s kitchen table, with empty bottles lining the cupboard tops like trophies, I felt that familiar undercurrent of raw electricity and my Frances musings came full circle.

In the film, Frances says, “I’m so embarrassed I’m not a real person yet” and when she said it, I was like Yeah, me too sister. Even though I have a mortgage and a cat and a permanent roommate (hi, David), I can still relate. We always think the next step forward will be the answer to all our uncertainties, will make us a little more whole, but we’re all still figuring it out.  We’re all a little bit like Frances, regardless of whether or not we can be categorised as “real people” yet.  And isn’t that kinda the beauty of life?

I feel like I’m saying this all wrong, like I’m not really making sense, but I hope you know what I mean. A little bit, anyway. Maybe we can talk about it over a drink one day.  I would really like that.

Until then,
K

*Yes, there are a lot of generalisations in this post. No, I don’t want to get into a discussion about how problematic that is.  Thanks. 

Photo via Frances Ha

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

8David bought me a Bonsai tree for Christmas and thereby ensured that I can never move out of the country. Me and this tree are partners for life. (Unless I kill it.)

9You know, I’ve always quite liked the idea of being a carpenter.  Of working with my hands, standing on a sawdust floor and cutting, sanding and staining beautiful pieces of wood. As I’m not (yet) a carpenter, I’ve found a real one to make our next bed: Tom of Steady-On Designs. Tom’s philosophy on furniture design is all about quality and legacy, and the fact that he’s based an hour away in Brighton is especially awesome seeing as discovering and supporting local makers is basically my love language. Anyway, the bed is going to be great but we’re still deciding on materials. Tom sent some wood samples for us to look at and I surprised myself by falling for the darker wood, the elm.  Isn’t it pretty?

10I started my workday at Scallywag Café with a flat white and a meeting.

11My new office is conveniently located just a few doors away from the café, where I love eyeballing the furniture and odds-and-ends that are all for sale. I’m always looking out for treasure!

12I have yet to contribute to the ambiance of the new office save one element: this jade plant.  There’s nothing like a pot of green to brighten a day, don’t you think?

13I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: sweater weather is my favourite. Lucky for me, it’s always sweater weather in England! So I’ve decided to start knitting so I can make my own sweaters jumpers.  I’d like to get good enough to knit this one. I’ll tell you all about it when I finish in ten years…

14Here’s an example of some of the beautiful art currently on view in the office…

15Luckily, our view is a little nicer than the great works adorning our walls. Yes, I’m kind of a pizza stalker, I’ll admit it, and I enjoy longingly gazing at La Fiamma in the middle of my work day. Can you blame me?

16To get me started on my knitting quest, I bought a nice ball of wool to practice on. (And hopefully make something nice out of?)

17After work, I had a quick cuddle sesh with Le Chat.

18And then wandered down to Javabean for a Knit and Knatter!  Yes, friends, I joined the local knitting club! I mean, there wasn’t an initiation ceremony or anything, but YAY!

19And we all happily gossiped and knit as Liam‘s photos twinkled above us like stars in the sky…. or something. His photos are up at Javabean for the rest of January, so make sure you get down there and take a look if you haven’t already!

20Once my stomach started rumbling, I knew it was time to walk home, past this place where the zombies live, and into the loving arms of Mr. Cox.

21Together, we sat on the sofa and watched mindless television whilst I knitted and counted and knitted and counted and knitted….

22And counted and then realised I had dropped a stitch, which caused me to frustratedly search Youtube videos about recovering dropped stitches. But the videos weren’t very helpful and I was very tired so I unraveled all my work and, with maybe a tear in my eye, threw the ball of tired yard as far as I could (not very far) and swore off knitting forever!

Until today. Fear not, Debbie & Co., I will not give up that easily!

And that was my wondrous Tuesday, dear reader.  Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday With Moi: New Year’s Eve

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013. What a year! Already, it feels so long ago.

10Le Chat made many resolutions for 2014. The first is to tweet more. The second is to manicure her paws more regularly, and the third is to overcome her eating disorder. (Sometimes she overeats and gets sick. It’s a problem.) Le Chat’s fourth resolution is contingent on receiving a particular gift; if she does receive said gift, Le Chat would like to learn to use the toilet this year. She thinks it’s far more sophisticated than using a litter box. I couldn’t agree more.

11I’ve said it once and I’ll probably say it a thousand times more as the years come and go, but I can’t help but feel that January 1st is a terrible time to start doing anything drastic and life-changing.  January is bleak. The entire month is essentially a 31-day-long hangover and everything from the weather, to the time the sun sets, and the state of our bank accounts is generally depressing. There are much better days to declare resolutions– birthdays!, anniversaries!, the third tuesday of July! Any day except January 1st.

12I mean, the only pressure I want to feel on the morning of January 1st is that of a duvet atop my sleeping body.  And maybe Le Chat curled on my feet. You know?

13But all that resolution stuff aside, the real conundrum of the season is that I never know when the time is right to take down my Christmas decorations.  It doesn’t feel right to get rid of them before the New Year, but if I don’t do it soon I just know I’ll have them up until February…

14Turns out my rule is this: if the garland still smells nice, leave it for a while longer.  And then paint your nails and use your wet nail polish an excuse to not do any decoration clearing at all. Voila! Conundrum avoided.

15The problem with waiting for the rain to clear is that sometimes it never does. In these cases, you just have to be brave and lace up your boots and pretend to be an American pioneer venturing out into the wilderness to feed your family. Assuming the families of American pioneers needed coffee, booze and chocolate truffles, of course…

16True story: New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day are the two nights out of the entire year where you will never, under any circumstances, find me in a bar, pub, or restaurant.

17Why? Because on New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, the world is full of people with expectations. On these two nights, fate hangs in the stars and people will their destinies to change. Personally, I don’t pay to spend time in tight quarters with people who are frantic for something exciting to happen. It depresses me. I’d rather sit at home with my feet up, thanks.

18Every year, on these two special nights, David and I stay in. This year, I made the two of us a surprisingly delicious dinner. Isn’t it great that we can eat avocados year-’round in England?! Avocados in December– it truly is a great time to be alive!

19After dinner, we opened a nice bottle of wine.

20And then David did some party tricks. It was wild!

21After lighting some candles and putting the chocolate truffles out, our friends arrived.

22And, as they were our hostages until midnight, we forced them to play Settlers of Catan with us.

23They were good sports but I was the winner. Twice.

24And then it was time for kisses and toasts to a New Year.

25But nothing changed or felt any different. And it was still raining. Obviously.

26After our friends left, David and I poured ourselves cups of Detox tea, settled in for an episode of Dexter, and then slipped into a beautiful sleep knowing we didn’t have to do anything the following day.

And just like that, January was welcomed in the laziest, cosiest, most wonderful way. I think it’s going to be a great year!