Category Archives: American in London

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.

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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.

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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, 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!

Lunch at St. John

Pernod+at+St+JohnWhen I find a restaurant I really like, I’m happy to eat there time and time again ad infinitum.  In Brussels, it was a small neighbourhood place called Via Rome, in Minneapolis it’s French Meadow, in Boston it’s The Franklin, Toro, or Hungry Mother, and in London it’s St. John.  What do all these places have in common?  They’re comfortable, they serve consistently good food and they have a staff that takes good care of their clientele while reinforcing the overall ethos of the restaurant.

As such, it was a no-brainer that David and I booked our anniversary lunch at St. John yesterday.  I had big plans to document our day (and meal) in pictures.  I wanted to capture the soft light, rows of tables and hooks that hung heavy with jackets along the wall to share the ambiance of the restaurant with you.  I wanted to take photos of the mackerel with pulpy horseradish that made my gums tingle, of the purple-green broccoli vinaigrette, and the softness of the rhubarb trifle, but as I focused my lens on David taking a sip of Pernod, I realised that I didn’t want to spend my anniversary with my eye behind a viewfinder.  I didn’t want to live tweet it or instagram each course.  No.  I just wanted to enjoy it.  So I did.

Thank you for the sweet comments, tweets, emails and texts over the weekend, you guys.  We had a lovely day and an absolutely lovely meal.  I hope you did, too.  xx

Harriet Clare @ Margaret St. Gallery

I went to the Transient opening at the Margaret Street Gallery last night and was really taken by Harriet Clare‘s ‘Woebegone‘ series; the kaleidoscopic images, which were printed on large sheets of heavy paper and hung with bulldog clips, felt modern, minimalist, and casually chic.  Natural elements like tree branches, leaves, and snow, were imaginatively manipulated to create something familiar yet fresh and the pieces invited the viewer to find symbols and shapes in the converging lines.

I really love her work and think it would show well in many settings (like my hallway, living room, or office, for instance).  If you’re in London, I encourage you to stop by the gallery and check it out for yourself because these pictures, they’re not doing the work any justice.  Trust.

> Transient will be on exhibit until Frebruary 26th at the Margaret Street Gallery in London <

@ Blessings


My friend Lauren is one of those women with a signature scent.  In her case, it’s Chanel No. 5, but I’ve never known another woman to wear it with the same finesse.  The perfume joins with her own personal fragrance to create a scent that’s distinctly her own— Tenacious, luxe, Lauren.  You can sense when she enters the room, know when she’s just walked past, and track her movements through a crowd.  I hadn’t seen Lauren since May, when we were back in Boston and saying sloppy goodbyes after a long night at the F; but we saw her yesterday and picked up right where we left off nine months ago- continued with laughter and stories, photos and dreams.  And Lauren, she smelled exactly the same.  Some things, like friendship, just don’t change. 

>  Photos taken at Lauren’s friend’s new bar in East London, Blessings <

Faux Vacation Weekend

I decided to take the weekend off.
No projects, no work, no stress allowed. 
David and I ate pastries in the park. 

We sat at cafes in the sunshine and I gave people the stink-eye from behind my sunglasses.  

And we drank some wine. 
It was a much-needed retreat from our every day lives and I’m glad we did it.
Onwards!

Looking Down, Briefly

Just a piece of sidewalk in Soho that caught my eye and made my wheels start turning.  Inspiration comes in all kinds of unexpected places.  The blue glass just kills me…

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This has been a really good week.  David and I both got news that put smiles on our faces and allowed us to feel a little more hopeful about the next couple months.  I mean, things were getting a little dark there for a while and I was beginning to think all my optimism was for naught.  It turns out life really is just as great as I always believed it to be and David and I didn’t ruin our lives by moving to this country.  So yay for all that! 

To everyone who’s been supportive throughout this entire moving process, thank you!  Things aren’t perfect by any means, but they’re looking a damn sight better now and I’m crossing my fingers that the Redcoat and I will be able to disappear somewhere for an actual honeymoon before the year is over… I know it sounds whiny, but we could really use a vacation.  xx

5 Months

Espresso-fueled strolls through London make me happy. 

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The Redcoat and I have been married 5 months today.  It’s really not a big deal, I know, but it’s insane to think about how much has happened in those five months.  I mean, it’s August!  We’ve lived in the UK for almost three months!  I’ve started freelancing and David has shaved off his beard.  I have long hair and have started writing again.  We eat most of our meals at home.  I sleep late and go to bed early.  We do DIY projects and have a mortgage.  I mean, who are we?

It’s been surreal, to say the least.  It’s like that Talking Heads song, Once in a Lifetime, and I have found myself living in another part of the world and I’m asking myself, well, how did I get here?  Of course, I know how we got here, but it still doesn’t feel real.  Despite the fact that everything has changed, everything still feels exactly the same.  It’s as if everything is happening just as it should but it’s all really weird.  But good.  But weird.

So there’s that.

Goldfish on the Edge

On Monday I visited The National Gallery for the first time.  I’d agreed to meet a new friend there who happens to have a Masters in Art History and strolling through the galleries with her was like being on my own personal docent tour.  She pointed out influential pieces and explained the technical skill behind the work; though we didn’t see all of the museum (impossible!), she gave me a terrific introduction to the Gallery’s bountiful collection.

As we meandered past amazing works by Titian and Raphael, Da Vinci and Monet, one piece especially jumped out at me, A Girl at a Window by the French artist Louis-Léopold Boilly.  What struck me first about the piece was the fact that it’s composed entirely in black and white.  It feels crisp and modern despite the fact that it’s over two hundred years old, and I was immediately quite taken with it (I mean, those goldfish!). 

After watching a terrifying amount of the Olympics the other night, my live-feeds fell silent so I began a search for more of Boilly’s work and was delighted with the results!  His pieces are flirtatious and sweet, silly yet truthful.  They maintain a spirit that is almost modern and capture moments that were charmingly unusual- in fact, the scope of his work reminds me of Norman Rockwell a little bit, in that it is a combination of intimate daily-life portrayals, more commercial crowd scenes and some lovely silliness.  I shall stop my blabbering as my opinions about art are incredibly unfounded and generally don’t go far beyond “pretty!” or “Mmmmm?”,  but I simply just wanted you to know that I love Boilly and I’m excited to have come to learn of his work.