Category Archives: Books

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Guys, before I start, let me apologise for using this absolutely atrocious font in these photos.  I don’t know what I was thinking but I blame jet lag.

Getting out of bed was, no joke, the most difficult thing in the world yesterday.  Like, if Gandalf had invited himself into my house on any other day and told me I had to carry The Ring to Mordor, it would’ve been easier than waking up on my first morning back in Hobbit Country England. Oh man, I was draggin’.  Laggin’?

10But look! My new light! I don’t even want to think about how much of a P in the A it’s going to be to dust so let’s put that out of our minds for the time being and focus on cuter things. Things like…


Le Chat! She missed us very much whilst we were away and has been a super aggressive snuggler, which is just her way of showing us that she cares. And just for the record, I don’t run Le Chat’s twitter account. David does. So sweet too, right?!


I was on deadline yesterday and had to finish my story for the Tunbridge Wells Writers’ Christmas Advent Calendar.  It’s a really great project where we submit short stories, scenes, or poems that will be revealed one by one on our Advent Calendar.  These were my “notes” for the “story” I wrote. What day will it debut on the advent calendar? You’ll just have to check it every day to find out!

13After finishing my “story”, I went for a jog sidewalk shuffle.  After not running sidewalk shuffling at all in Minnesota (too cold!) yesterday’s effort was a little tough, but– and this is the part where I will sicken you ‘exercise is fun’ BS– it felt really good to get back out there.

When I returned home from my excursion, I was absolutely ravenous and made so much pasta it didn’t fit in the bowl.  Strangely, it had no problem fitting in my tummy…

14And then, after a lovely morning, I finally made my way to the office.

15And I hung out with Lucille for a little while.  (Her new haircut is really great, right?)

16And I doodled with some chalk.

17And then I went and visited the Christmas tree that the handsome English gents at Create DM have in their office.  I especially like their birdhouse. Tweet tweet!

18Once work was done and dusted, my evening began. First stop was just off Camden Road at Art Pull Gallery where Liam and I saw the work of over 50 local artists! It’s a really great collection of work (including one of Liam’s photographs) so be sure to pop in to see it.

19After Art Pull, Liam and I had a very exciting meeting at Oxfam Bookshop.  As some of you may know, my life-long dream is to have a shop and sell wonderful, beautiful, well made things that I love to people who will cherish their new items forever and for always!  So, once upon a time, I tweeted that I get weak in the knees every time I use a self-checkout because it makes me feel like I’m working in a shop and that’s when Oxfam tweeted me and said something along the lines of “You can volunteer in our shop and for real work in a shop”.  So that’s precisely what I’m doing this coming Sunday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM!  If you’re a crazy stalker or just someone who wants to come in to buy some books and/or stocking stuffers, be sure to come by and buy. They’ve got loads of goodies, but remember to bring cash!

If you can’t make it in on Sunday (for shame, for shame!), you can follow along on Twitter as we’ll be live tweeting the entire day!  Prepare yourselves for photos of our shop window, the strange books we find, and maybe our my kinda/sorta wacky Christmas outfit, too.  It’ll be so fun!  CAN YOU TELL I’M EXCITED?!

20After Oxfam, it was time for Stop Number Three, this time with the Tunbridge Wells Writers!  Can you spot Liam and I between the measures and tumblers?  HI!

21As always, there was much laughter at our bi-weekly gathering.  If you’re a local writer (and by “writer” we simply mean someone who writes– whether it be for yourself or others), stop by at our next meeting on January… You know what, I don’t know what day we’re picking back up in the new year!  Look, if you’re a local writer, here’s what you should do: follow us on Twitter or check the website for updates. I’m sure someone at some point will let you know when our next meeting is… (Ahem, guys, can someone tell me when are next meeting is?)

22Come 10:00 my burning flame of passion, excitement, and energy was burning low.  Jet lag, it’s a bitch.

23So I went home and snuggled next to an equally sleepy David. But even though I was so tired, I wasn’t too tired to scroll through Instagram and like a photo that Sam took of me taking a photo for Tuesday With Moi.  And now that photo is here. How meta.

Aaaaand there you have it, my fascinating Tuesday.  Thank you for reading!


Mothers+DayYesterday was Mother’s Day in The States.  I didn’t call my mom because I’m a terrible person, but I did send her a card (handmade, so there) and I’m pretty sure it even got to her on time.  (Did it?)

Remember when I said I was crap at watercolour painting?  See, I wasn’t lying.  BUT, I’m pretty confident that you can at least tell that the flowers are lupines.  I love lupines!  Lupines remind me of one of my favourite childhood literary heros, Miss Rumphius, who strove to make the world a more beautiful place.  Like Miss Rumphius, my mother makes the world around her more beautiful, too, and that’s just one of the many reasons why I love her so much. She also makes really great food and gives good shoulder rubs.  She’s really great, my mom!

So happy belated Mother’s Day to my mother and all the mothers out there.  But especially to my mother.  I love you.  Thanks for making the world beautiful and thanks for making ME.  xx

Desktop Still Life

Cereal+Magazine+Still+LifeDavid picked up Vol. 2 of Cereal for me yesterday whilst in London.  I’m looking forward to spending the weekend nestled between the pages, reading about our staple tabletop seasonings (salt & pepper), Welsh getaways, and fiery Korean condiments.

Also this weekend, I’m planning on finally making some DIY business cards (my linocutting skills are about to be truly tested), creating more sharable content for The Etiquette Shop, and taking a long walk to TN2 to buy some cheese.  I have some homemade, chilli-infused honey sitting in my cupboard and I think it’s about time I crafted a cheese plate to pair it with.

Before I disappear for the weekend, I just wanted to share a few things that have inspired me throughout the week.

  1. “Connection is why we’re here.” Brené Brown‘s TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, reinforces everything I believe about sharing content and running a small business in the digital age.
  2. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”  15 Social Media Tips from Dr. Seuss– so creative and so spot-on.  
  3.  ”About herself, she said, ‘I’m very kindhearted, naive at times. I’m lost and scared.’”  I’ve carried Chris Arnade‘s stories of addiction, brokenness,  honesty, and hope with me for over a week now.  His lens and words give us a window into a world that is all too easy to ignore and by telling the stories of the Hunt’s Point addicts and sex workers that he’s come to know, to care for, he’s giving them a voice and empowering them.  Empowering them to be recognised for what they are, human beings with insecurities, ambitions, families and sorrow, and empowering them to hopefully get clean, get well, too.  By ignoring stories like theirs, we simply perpetuate the problem.  Let’s not do that.  Let’s encourage people who are struggling, who have ugly problems and need help, to do better, be better, and let’s make this world a more beautiful place.


Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, February 24th

These days, I get up early.  The room is dark and cold; I turn on the heat, but not the lights.

It takes me three minutes to walk to The Warehouse.  Four, if I’m walking slow.

I like living within walking distance of where I work, I like passing the same people every morning and giving them that I’m-walking-to-work nod as we shuffle past each other, our hands in our pockets, our chins buried in our scarves.  I like having a place to go to, a key that fits in a lock, a desk that is my own.

It’s only been a week, but already I feel at home in my new space.  I drink coffee and tea throughout the day, cup after cup after cup.  I still work for myself, but I do it amongst others.  Work feels like work again, which I like.

Our windows look out on an old graveyard and some very handsome trees.  The birds sing to us throughout the day and when it’s foggy it’s almost as if we’re floating in a cloud.

The atmosphere in the office is cool and relaxed.  The three of us who share the space get on with our individual projects and sometimes break to tell stories, refill our coffee cups, or ask for a reality check.

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been taking myself through my own branding method, the Brandstorm.  I’m learning a lot.  Soon, I’ll start sharing my experience with you.

We like to celebrate here in the office.  Yesterday, our neighbor on the first floor, Paul, had a birthday.  We made him a card and then gathered for cake, candles and champagne.

After a moment of birthday cheer, it was back up on the top floor for a few more hours of work. 

And a few more cups of coffee and tea, too.

Slowly, I’m moving my things into the my space, slowly I’m making it mine.

Meanwhile, my desk at home is becoming less and less mine with each passing day.  Tom is living with us right now and my at-home studio is operating as his man cave.  

Last night, the Tunbridge Wells Writers gathered again.  The Black Pig was only accepting cash for the evening so I stopped in a grocery store to visit an ATM.  As someone who enjoys good food and eating well, I find big-box grocery stores incredibly depressing. And these flowers?  If my significant other bought me any of these flowers for Valentine’s Day, I’d break up with them.  Even if it wasn’t Valentine’s Day, I’d break up with them.

After the depressing grocery store incident, I enjoyed many inspiring conversations about books and writing, art and philosophy in the function room at the pub.

We had a terrific turn-out last night and it’s exciting to see the group grow and mature.
It’s funny, I’ve only been to Tunbridge Wells Writers meetings on three occasions, but already I feel like they’re mine, my people, my tribe.  I enjoy the dynamic personalities in the group, the diverse writing styles represented in the group, and their willingness to open up and share their work and wisdom with others.

They’re also incredibly obliging when it comes time to leave and a lady would like a lift home.
My friend Peter often plays the role of DD and, along with his dashboard friends Bernard and Oscar, he gave a group of us a safe and warm ride home.

To close out the evening, I read a few pages of my much loved collection of short stories by Andre Dubus, which I’d meant to lend to my friend David earlier in the evening but had forgotten at home.  I think Dubus is a masterful storyteller and I admire his work enormously.  If you’re looking for a good read, I highly recommend any of his books though Finding a Girl in America and Broken Vessels are two of my favorites.  
After a few pages, it was off to bed, and thus concludes my Tuesday.
Thank you for reading.

Read Books [shop local]

Two things before we all embark a weekend of holiday shopping and merriment-making:

ONE:  I read this article about Karen Hayes and Ann Patchett’s indie-bookstore and, you guys, I cried. Happy tears, wet face, shoulders shaking, all that.  The bookstore is called Parnassus Books and if you’re ever in Nashville, you should check it out.  If you’re somewhere else in the States and want to buy a book for someone, please buy through your local independent, which you find find here

If you’re in the UK and have any great independent bookstore recommendations, I’d be delighted to hear them!  I’ve found a couple small, specialty shops but I’d love to find others, too!  Hobbit Town, sadly, doesn’t have an independent bookstore.  Alas…

TWO: I’m off to London in a few hours to spend the evening with my friend Jill and while I’m in the city, I’m going to purchase the first issue of the new- and totally gorgeous!- Cereal Magazine.  I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m going to love it. 

And for all my Boston friends, if you’re interested in getting your hands on a copy of Cereal, too, my friends at Olives & Grace are stockists.  They’re in the South End.  Check them out.

Anyway, I must dash.  Have a pretty & literary weekend, friends. xo

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, November 13
Oh man, Rebecca.  I couldn’t put it down!  I’d stayed up until 2:00 the previous evening and, as soon as I awoke in the morning, I picked it right up and continued on.
She’s worse than a coke dealer, that Daphne Du Maurier! 
Though I knew I should put a bookmark in and get on with my day, I stayed in bed with my coffee and my book until almost 11:00.
At which point I went into my newly finished studio and started to get on with some work.
Prepare yourself for many snippets of my studio space.  I’m quite pleased with how the room has turned out and I’m overjoyed to finally have my own place to work.  My things are organized, my mind is clear, and my heart is happy!
Everything has a place again.
I cannot stop smiling! 
Though I have yet to find a place for this beautiful Jonathan Singer Sargent mirror…. I have a few ideas as to where I’ll put it.  
New shoes seem to be a theme lately.  These Minnetonka Moccasins were a lovely birthday gift from one of my oldest and dearest friends, Christa.  I pad around the flat in them every day.  Until the warmer months come once again, they shall be my house slippers.  Very Minnesotan of me, don’t you think?
Had a snack and realized how dark it was getting.
I miss the daylight so much this time of year.  
Another shelf scene from the studio.
I gave David the ‘together’ card around the time we got married in March.
It’s by Yellow Owl Workshop and I really love it.  I love all their work, actually. 
Throughout the day, I took little reading breaks and eventually finished Rebecca (naughty of me, I know).  Next on my list is this book, Paper: An Elegy by Ian Sansom
This is the beginning of my inspiration wall in the studio.
These are things I like.  I can’t wait to see how it grows.
Instead of a chair, I opted to use a fitness ball in the studio to help my posture.
So far, I’m quite pleased with the decision.
Finally, my favorite time of day: Wine Time!  
We’ve lately been enjoying this fairtrade, organic, blah blah blah Running Duck Shiraz.
It’s a great price, easy to drink, and is sulfite free which means, like italian table wine, it doesn’t get you drunk or leave you with a hang over.  We like that. 
Deal with it.
David got a haircut yesterday.  He looks so handsome with his hair short.
Finally, time for bed.  This is how Le Chat says goodnight.  
All in all, a productive and comfortable Tuesday around Cox Quarters.
As always, thanks for reading.

Be The Worst You Can Be

Last week, I stopped in a little bookstore in Shoreditch called Artwords Bookshop and though it was small, I could have stayed there for years days hours.  As many of you know, there is nothing that brings me more joy than a good bookstore and the well-curated selection of art, design, and fashion books (amongst other topics) at Artwords, not to mention their massive selection of not-so-mainstream magazines, made me want to turn cartwheels of joy.  Instead, I browsed.

While there, I bought Be The Worst You Can Be by Charles Saatchi, which was terrifically flippant and deliciously irreverent.  

The book is comprised of questions from journalists and inquisitive fans to the infamously private art collector and ad man, Charles Saatchi.  His answers are intriguing and wildly entertaining and through them it’s all too clear that Saatchi is an eccentric and intelligent man with a sharp wit and vast interests, regardless of what he says otherwise.  The book is light, fun, insightful, and pretty to look at; I really love it, and I think a lot of you will, too.

What are you reading these days, dear reader?  I’d like to get lost in a novel soon.  Something really good, thought provoking and truthful.  Any recommendations? 

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, August 28
I know I said I wasn’t going to do any more boring TWM posts, but you guys, I am boring, so you’re just going to have to hang in there as we go down this sad and lonely journey.
Let’s begin:
I’m just going to come on out and say it: I hate waking up in the morning.  Well, wait.  That’s not entirely true.  If I have something to do (work, meet a friend, an appointment, etc.), I enjoy waking up.  But if you give me an opportunity to sleep in, I will take that opportunity every. single. time.
 There was so much green in this window, it was overwhelming!
High brow, low brow.
 The worst part about working from home is having to keep up with washing the staggering number of dishes that pile up next to the sink throughout the day.  Coffee mugs, tea mugs, water glasses, toast plates, more toast plates for when you realize your first serving of toast just wasn’t enough, random cutlery, cheese graters, etc.  Alas, prune fingers for meeee!
I love honey.  I love things that are produced locally.  I love this honey.
Got groceries.  Filled my fruit bowl.
That ‘Z’ depresses me.
Le sigh…
The view from my window.  Sometimes I worry that if there’s a fire I’ll have to jump into those bushes, which would hurt a lot a lot a lot.  I hope there’s never a fire.  If there is a fire, I’ll just wrap myself in my duvet before I jump into the bushes. That should protect me from some of the twigs, right?
When I went to Italy last year, a client graciously lent me the book- which is not to be confused with the atrocious movie starring Diane Lane that is based on the book- Under The Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.  I’m just now getting around to reading it and wanted to pass along a word of warning to anyone who follows in my literary footsteps: you will need to drink wine whilst reading this book.  It’s like Pavlovian Wino-ism, and I can’t even look at the book without wanting to uncork a bottle, put my feet up, and eat figs that grow along the terrace whilst drinking a glass of red… except I don’t have a terrace, but whatever.  If you read this book, make sure food and drink are close at hand!  I’m serious.
 David made me dinner.  Again.  He’s too good to me.  
I don’t can’t wear heels as often as I used to.  This is mostly due to how much walking my villiage-life requires of me and is tragic because I only own two pairs of socially acceptable flats.  This is also tragic because my little feet miss my beautiful heels.  To combat my high heel withdrawal, I sometimes wear heels around the house.
Last night, I put on these beauties and strut down to the gas station to buy some ginger biscuits.  Then I came home.  It was glamorous!
This is the point in the evening where everything just kinda fell apart…
You see, David and I started watching Breaking Bad last week and we’ve accidentally become Breaking Bad junkies.  Like, we just can’t get enough.  It’s a problem.
But hopefully not a problem for long seeing as we’re blowing through seasons faster than Elton John blows through money and are optimistic that we’ll have this little ‘problem’ out of our system by next week. 
Anyway, that was my super exciting Tusday.  Don’t die of jealousy, okay.