Category Archives: Family

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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On Monday, I had food poisoning and slept for 20 hours. You can read more about the glorious details of my illness over on the Gradient blog, but all you really need to know is that I woke up yesterday feeling alllllmost back to normal, which was awesome.

9I used to read Vogue and eye-roll so hard every time some model-turned-art collector was like “Oh, my moisturiser is life changing, you know?”– Yeah, whatever lady.  But for real, this shiz is the shiiiiiz.  Since moving to the UK, my face has experienced various states of hydration (or lack thereof) and lustre, and this stuff is like smoothing silk directly onto my face. No, it’s like turning my face into silk. And I thought so even before I read the description saying that it’s “liquid silk for the skin”. Forget the fact that this bottle is more than my mortgage, I need it.

10Because it was raining and I hadn’t eaten solid foods for over 24 hours, I decided to take it easy and work from home for the day whilst I experimented with eating toast.

11And eating cereal.

12And drinking lots of tea. This book kept beckoning me to read it but I stood my ground and did not read it. Instead, I worked.

13And Le Chat snuggled at my feet and gave me loving nuzzles of encouragement.  JK, she slept like a little kitty baby.

14Another reason I decided to work from home yesterday is that I had a very busy night ahead of me.  To prepare for this very busy night, I had to run a few errands.  Here I am saying “See you in a few minutes, baby cat. I need to buy cat litter, cat food, and laundry detergent!” Sexiest shopping trip ever? I think so!

15When I returned, I was very tired. So I ate more toast.

16And then I packed my bags and was whisked away in a…

17Rather steamy taxi. To Heathrow!

No, I wasn’t taking a fantastic mini vacation to somewhere tropical.  Instead…

18Instead, I was meeting my parents! They had a long layover on their way home to Minnesota from India and decided to spend the night with meeeeeeee.

Edited to Note: I am so 1,000% my mother’s daughter. Compare this photo with my 14:00 photo.  Go, do it.  See anything similar?  WE. DID. NOT. PLAN. THIS.

19Anyway, we went to the Heathrow Radisson Blu and did what my family does best together: eat and drink.

20Over appetisers and wine, they told me stories about the ministries they visited and are working with.  Ministries that are helping orphans, protecting religious freedoms, and rescuing young girls and women from the sex trade.

21Over dinner, they showed me photos and told me stories that made me laugh but also want to cry. It’s crazy to think that I live my life in various states of awesome when there are so many people living in unfathomably crap conditions (literally and figuratively) all over the world.

22Over whiskey, we talked about how it’s encouraging (and inspiring) to know that there are people out there giving their lives to help save people in need whilst we sit in nice restaurants and moan about slow service.

23But hey! Enough with the existential sad stuff.  My parents! Were in England! And we got to hang out and laugh together for the first time in months!  That was pretty fun.

24Before we settled into our separate hotel rooms for the night, they gifted me this beautiful cashmere scarf from Kashmir.  I shall wear it and think of them often.

And that was my lovely Tuesday.  So fleeting, so sweet.  xx

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, November 26th, 2013

Greetings from Minnesota where I’ve been laying low for the past week. After running here there and everywhere seeing my nearest and dearest, I have finally found a moment to share my day with you. Enjoy!

8First, and most importantly, let me introduce you to the newest addition to my family: my MacBook Air! Methuselah is getting angry and uncooperative now that she has to share my affection with another, but she’ll enjoy retirement, I think.  She and the Spinning Rainbow Wheel of Doom will have many happy, quiet years together now that they’re empty nesters.  It’ll be cute.

9These Minnesota days have been bright and sunny but also freezing cold. There’s nothing like a warming coffee to get the gears working in the morning.

10Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? I did. His name was Little Fox and he was (you guess it!) a little fox that would follow me around and keep me company.  When my mom saw this  ornament, she immediately thought of Little Fox and got it for me. It actually looks a lot like Little Fox except my LF stood on his hind legs and smoked a pipe, naturally.  Still, I love him! His scarf is adorable.

11What’s great about the US is that there’s a definitive Christmas season and it begins after Thanksgiving. In the UK, it starts getting cold and suddenly you enter a waiting game where we all watch each other trying to guess who will be first to say the ‘C’ word. Here, we all know that it’s not time for tinsel and holly until after the pumpkin pie has been devoured and someone has gotten trampled at a midnight Black Friday opening at a Best Buy or WalMart. We don’t start listening to Christmas music until Thanksgiving day. That’s the rule and it’s a sacred one.

12We call this room in our house The Library.  I didn’t realise that calling it that was pretentious until I went to college and some girl in a writing class called me on it.  Anyway, it’s a super cosy room and I love our little library, which is full of books that include The Atlas of Middle Earth, a set of Encyclopaedias from the 80s, and basically every book written by C.S. Lewis ever. Plus so much more. It’s a magical place and I have many happy memories here.

Also, my new knit scarf! Isn’t it pretty? It’s by The Gold Thread Collective, a group of insanely talented Minnesotans.  Be sure to do some shopping with them in their Etsy store and, if you’re local (in Minnesota, I mean) be sure to visit them at the Holiday Bazaar on December 7th. It looks like it’s going to be a really fun day and I’m super bummed I won’t be there for it!

13You guys, Minnesota is such a magical place.  People who have never been to Minnesota don’t understand this, but Minnesota, and specifically the Twin Cities, are a mecca of talent.  Food! Music! Art! Medicine! Big Thoughts! There. Is. So. Much. Talent. And whoever made this Huevos Rancheros at The Kenwood Restaurant is among the super talented. It was so good!

14After devouring our delicious meal with our dear friends Sarah Vande Kamp (remember her?!) and Joe Whitson (who should totally do a Tuesday With Vous because his life is like a magical hipster history book), we went for a walk around my favourite lake, Lake of the Isles.  The lake had already started to freeze over and our faces were quickly following suit so we abandoned our walk after strolling only a quarter of the way around the lake.  Despite the frigid temperature and wind chill, it was still a beautiful walk.

15To bring some warmth back to our limbs and faces, David and I stopped at French Meadow Bakery & Cafe for some hot chocolate.  Just like the wizards in Harry Potter, I firmly believe that hot chocolate has healing powers.

16Back at home, we watched the sun set and waited for the next part of our day to unfold.

17Sitting on the sink in our powder room, my mom has put together an adorable rock tower with stones she collected at Lake Superior over the summer.  Isn’t it the cutest?

18I can’t even tell you how nice it’s been being home with my family.  It’s nice to take the time to stop and smell the flowers and to eat too much and drink too much, too.

19It’s also been nice to see my family’s neighbours that I don’t often see.  Neighbours I’ve grown up with who used to feed me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches after school and now feed me bourbon. I don’t complain….

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Friends who we kiss goodbye under the mistletoe.

21Every time I visit, I daydream of moving to Minneapolis. And when I do move back, I’m going to move right next door to Bachelor Farmer. This was my favourite dish of the evening, the Beet Carpaccio. The flavours were spectacular, diverse, and surprising in all the right ways.  Everything about the meal was fantastic, in fact– the food, the music, the ambiance, A+ all around! Plus, one of my favourite bars in the city, Marvel Bar, is conveniently located directly beneath. If you go, be sure to have a whiskey sour. It’ll change your life! (Okay, maybe it won’t change your life but it will certainly make your night a little more fabulous.)

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There’s nothing I love more than a hearty meal and great conversation.  Sitting around a table with my love and my parents is one of my all time favourite ways to spend an evening. I’m thankful to have such spectacular people in my life!

23On the way home to the ‘burbs, we drove past the most intricately lit tree in the whole wide world. Every branch is wrapped in white lights and has been standing as a beacon of joy for as long as I can remember.  It’s a sight to behold and you can read all about it right here.

And now, my dears, is Turkey Time.  Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for reading!  KISSES!

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

This post is two days late.  I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

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I’ve been rising at 7:07 lately.  A strangely specific time, perhaps, but I like setting my alarm for odd numbers rather than round ones.  It increases the urgency of waking up for me.

The mornings are dark now and I like sitting in bed with my laptop, a mug of hot coffee, and my twinkle lights whilst the room grows light around me.  I’m still a long way off of being a ‘morning person’ but I’m getting there and I like that.

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The To-Read list grows daily, but tip-top right now is Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer, which I picked up in Boston and have yet to delve into (it’s a little daunting, right?), and the beautiful book A Sky Full of Kindness by Rob Ryan which my dear friend Caro (remember Caro?) gifted me on my birthday. Helena Bonham Carter describes it as “A bedtime story for every age” and that’s an endorsement I can certainly get behind!

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I decided the night before to work from home in the morning and then take the afternoon off to meet a long-lost friend in London for lunch. Every single time I’ve gone to London in the last two months, it’s rained. I’m starting to think I’m cursed, you guys…

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But I’m tough. I can live without sunshine.

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Surprise surprise!, I ended up stopping in the office to work on a project for an hour before jetting off to the station. Here’s the rainy day view of my office neighbours. Hi, guys!

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And here’s me galloping to the train. Hi!

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And here are some pigeons. Hiya, pigeons!

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One of the things I miss most about America is Mexican food.  “We have Mexican food!” my British friends say as they pour cheese sauce over Cool Ranch Doritos, “We love nachos here!” No bueno.

Wahaca is one of the very few and far between  places in the UK where my Mexican-tooth is satisfied.  It’s been so long since I ate authentic(ish) Mexican food that I can’t really 100% tell you if it’s for-real-good or just okay-good, but I’d like to say that it’s pretty damn good. Plus they make delicious margaritas.  My friend, who’s a food snob in the best way, seemed to enjoy it so I think I can definitely recommend you visit one of their locations should you journey to the Big Smoke. Plus the guacamole at Wahaca isn’t puréed, giving it a banner of gold stars in my book! I mean, WTF is with the puréed guac in this country? It’s an outrage!

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After our late lunch, we wandered the streets of Covent Garden.  I wanted to buy an umbrella to fit in The Bag as well as a few surprise gifts for David at Muji, so we window-shopped our way over.

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Though I’d been planning all day (and preparing myself mentally) to take a commuter train home, I chickened out last minute and ran for the 5:01 to Tunbridge Wells.  I knew David would be on that train and felt an almost frantic need to be near him, which is strange as I’m usually the last one to leave the party, even if the party is just two people walking through Covent Garden and catching each other up on the last three years of their lives.

Once on the train, I found David and sat beside him. Turns out the two of us spontaneously bought each other little presents. This book, Creative Confidence, is what he got me.  It’s written by two brothers and the first page alone made me get a little teary. I’m looking forward to properly tucking into it!

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As we bolted under the dark railway bridge right before reaching Tunbridge Wells Station, David and I discussed taking a taxi home from the station. I think it’s silly to take a taxi as it only takes nine minutes to walk, but David wasn’t keen on walking and as we both had lots to carry, I gave in and accepted the ride.

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Back at home, David prepared to go for a swim with his son, Ben.  They were starting on a new fitness kick together, which I was supporting with great enthusiasm.  I sipped tea whilst waving him out the door.

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But then my tea was kind of boring and I felt frantic again.  Felt like I was unraveling, much like this twine, and that I had to do something.  I was supposed to go to see my Tunbridge Wells Writer friends, but last minute decided not to. Instead, I texted Liam asking if he wanted to meet for a last-minute drink at our local pub and, after he replied in the affirmative, I walked out the door.

This is when I break my rules and start using my iPhone to take photos…

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I got a call from Ben around 8:20 saying that David wasn’t feeling well and asking me to come home.  I’m going to be totally honest with you and admit to finishing my entire glass of wine and some most of my cheese plate before entertaining the idea of “rushing” home to check on my man. As someone who felt awful and even puked on the first big (still quite small) runs they went on, I assumed David simply felt unwell because his body wasn’t used to exerting itselfAfter almost twenty minutes had elapsed (I’m the worst), I rolled my eyes, corked the bottle of wine I was sharing with Liam, and headed home.

Much to my dismay, David was legitimately very ill.  He looked pale and complained of a strange sensation in his chest.  Not a pain, per se, but an uncomfortable tightness that braced his chest and brought tension through to his throat.  Ben and I insisted we call the paramedics.  They came just before 9:00.

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Before I continue, I’d just like to note that every experience I’ve had with the NHS since moving to this country has been terrific.  Sure, I’ve heard the horror stories, but I’ve never experienced anything but genuine, good-hearted health care professionals giving me a good service.  I’ve never felt the care here is any worse– or better– than it is in the States.  The only difference, which is pretty radical, is that anyone can get health care here. That’s really powerful, I think. People aren’t ashamed or scared to go to the doctor here. They go because they can, they go because they need to.  It’s just really healthy. >Observation over.<

After running a few tests in our bedroom, the paramedics told us that we’d be taking a trip to the hospital. I didn’t think too much of it until they asked us to pack a bag for David to spend the night. With his bag in tow, we relocated to the back of the ambulance to run more tests.  For some reason, I couldn’t shake the feeling that all of us were just playing pretend.  The paramedics asked us questions about what did for a living and we talked a little about Breaking Bad.  We compared smartphone models whilst they injected David with drugs. It was all very strange but very normal, too.

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But when we got to the hospital, things started to get real.  A nurse pulled the curtains around David’s stretcher and asked him to strip down before escorting me out of the room. They told me they were running more tests and would collect me when they were finished.

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In the meantime, David’s sons, Tom and Ben, joined me.  We were all very thankful for our iPhones in that period of waiting. And I was really thankful they were both there, too. Waiting is so much nicer when you have company. (You, dear reader, should be thankful that I made these photos black and white because the colours in the hospital are OMG awful.  I can’t even describe the colour of these chairs without wanting to vomit. For real. And that clock? Atrocious!)

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Around 12:30, a doctor came to tell us that David was ready to see us. I can’t remember who told us that David had suffered a heart attack, but someone said it and I didn’t believe them. No, that was not a heart attack, I remember thinking.  Heart attacks mean you fall on the floor and are short of breath and feel like you’re being stabbed. I’ve seen movies, I know what a heart attack looks like!  We walked into the cardiac unit and found David on a bed with a naked chest and monitoring devices everywhere.  He was high on morphine and in good spirits but also, starving. A nurse found him a piece of coffee cake (coffee cake?!) and I embarked on a mission to find something more substantial.

The first vending machine I found on my hunt was filled with chocolates and BBQ and steak-flavoured chips. No. I journeyed on to find a vending machine full of frozen sandwiches that could be heated in a designated microwave. I didn’t have enough change to buy the Mediterranean Vegetable Panini so I caved and got him the knock-off egg and sausage mcmuffin.  The only thing I’ve found truly appalling about the hospital (because let’s be real, most hospitals lack aesthetic appeal) is the contents of their vending machines. That food is certainly not suitable for sick people! Heck, I don’t even think that food is suitable for healthy people. So yes, I fed my husband a goddamn sausage & egg muffin sandwich hours after he had a heart attack. I’m not proud of it, people, but my hands were tied.  :(

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The ambulance ride to the hospital didn’t seem to take long but the drive home took ages.  Who knew Ashford was so far away?! Certainly not I.

One thing I’ve realised  in the past few days and is now of the utmost importance in my mind is that I need to learn to drive in the UK. I cannot for one moment handle being reliant on others in moments of great need. My step-sons have been amazingly accommodating and gracious as they take me back and forth to the hospital these days, and I’m thankful for the lifts, but I am so over being a damsel in immobile distress.  I must learn. I will learn.

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Finally, home. Alone. I slept on David’s side of the bed that night, though slept might not be the right way to describe my repose.

Tuesday. You were a beast!

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After visiting David in the hospital on Wednesday, Ben said, “This has been the longest 48 hours.” I agreed. Then it occurred to me that it hadn’t even been 24 hours yet. It’s been a long and challenging week and we’re all tired.

That being said, we’re all okay, too.  We were scared at first, obviously, but David’s doing great and will be released from the hospital later this afternoon. We’re counting our many blessings every chance we get and are so incredibly thankful for our family and friends who have supported us through this– from the uncertain OMG?! phase to the Do you mind if I just ask for a hug and then go home and take a nap? phase, which I’m still in, to be honest. Hugs are the best. They get you through a  lot.

As I write this, David and I are both looking forward to many happy and healthy years ahead. My goal of being more like Lucy Liu and less like Drunk Kate just became a lot more real and we’re excitedly planning a more balanced lifestyle. Who knows, this little hiccup could be the greatest thing that has ever happened to us!  Our minds are firmly planted on the bright side.

Onward and upward! And thank you thank you thank you for reading, my dears. Honestly, it means the world to me. To us.  xox

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

22

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?

23

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

24

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.

25

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 Vous: Luke Sims

The oldest of my two younger brothers, Luke, moved to Bangladesh a month ago, where he lives and works with his girlfriend, Beki, at a University.  He and I finally caught up with each other over Skype last week and it was as he was telling me stories about his new life– full of questionably sourced meat, political protests that shut down the city, and festering trash– I asked if he wanted to share a Tuesday With Vous to give us a look at a part of the world we might not often see.  He happily obliged, but because a planned political protest was scheduled for Tuesday and he was thereby advised to stay home lest he be seen as siding with the wrong political party, we decided he’d take pictures on Saturday instead.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Name: Luke Sims
Location:
Chittagong, Bangladesh
Occupation:
Communications Director at the Asian University for Women
Camera:
Canon T1i

9

Waking up at 9:00 is now considered “sleeping in” which thoroughly depresses me.  Despite getting used to sleeping with a mosquito net, it is still terribly difficult trying to worm my hand out to reach my alarm clock.  I fell back asleep for about 30 minutes, naturally. 10

NFL.com decided that I should automatically have my subscription to NFL Rewind renewed.  I’m not complaining.  Turning to Jaguars.com I noticed that the London Jacksonville Jaguars lost (again).  Good thing I can now watch them lose 10-14 games from the comfort of my Bangladeshi home! 11

Beki and I decided to go for a walk to the War Memorial a few roads down before everyone else in the city woke up.  Like most anything during Eid, it was closed. So we contemplated the inability of Chittagong to clean up their own garbage instead. 12

One of the pleasures of living in Chittagong when you are tall and white is that you are continually stared at.  In order to avoid the craning necks of rickshaw riders and rickshaw drivers, Rebecca and I ducked into a shop and came away with a fairly pretty vase that we eagerly unwrapped upon getting home. 13

Today was shoeshine day.  From my vantage point on my porch I shined my shoes, watched a thunderstorm roll in, and observed the continual craziness that is Bangladeshi traffic. 14

Lunch was a simple affair that involved heating up leftovers.  Our cook had Eid off and Beki and I almost forgot how to do dishes.  We figured it out eventually. 15

Rebecca found ‘Back To The Future’ on TV which fit perfectly with the thunderstorm outside.  It was a pleasant break from pretending to do work, especially since the electricity was undependable. 16

Disregarding the potential electrical failure, I went up to the gym to have a quick run and lift some weights.  We have been warned that if the power goes out while running there is a potential to fall flat on your face.  I successfully stayed upright today. 17

I was informed by Rebecca that we were going to get drinks at the Peninsula Hotel (the only place in town that serves alcohol) rain or shine at five. Of course she was not ready when five rolled around so I sat out on the porch and began re-reading The War of the Worlds.  It isn’t nearly as good as my early teen self remembered. 18

Our favorite place to sit at the Flamingo Cafe was overtaken by a party that actually wanted to celebrate Eid so we were forced into a corner spot that was bombarded by flies.  Our worst dining experience yet, but that may have been because we were also drinking Coke instead of our usual alcoholic beverages. 19

Fortunately the Isles Bar right next to the Flamingo was now open for business since Ramadan was ending.  Our first experience was one of almost complete darkness.  It was one of the creepiest places I have ever been to drink/dine but it was definitely worth our $15 drinks with no mixers, if only for the experience of not really knowing what you had in front of you.  This was taken only after we requested that a little light be added 20

We caught a CNG* home.  Or, rather, we tried our hardest to explain where we wanted to go and panicked when he almost took us down the wrong way.  We got out and ended up walking.  This was probably a good choice as Chittagong’s CNG’s are all enclosed in bars and makes me think that there is no way to escape if we were to topple over or get hit by another vehicle. 21

Time to turn to bed and read.  I crawled under the mosquito net, under the covers, popped my retainer in the like a good ex-braces wearer, and turned back to the fantastical world of H.G. Wells.

Thanks for letting me give you a peek into my life!

*A CNG is also known as an Auto Rickshaw or a Tuk Tuk.  It’s essentially three tiny wheels with a seat, a covering, and a motor.  CNG stands for Compressed Natural Gas.  A few have been known to blow up.

                                                                                                                                                             

An enormous hug to my charming brother for sharing with us. And remember, if you want to contribute to Tuesday With Vous, have a look at the details and get in touch.  Thanks for reading! xx

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Birthday Edition

8

Yesterday was David’s birthday (the celebration of which, as you will soon see, is  responsible for this post’s tardiness) and this is the card I painted for him. I wanted to paint a much nicer design on the tie, but David came home from work early and disrupted my painting the previous night, so I settled for this.  Not my greatest work, I must say, but still made with love.  9

Growing up, I always wanted to have a house that had trap doors and hidden passageways.  Cox Quarters doesn’t deliver on either front (YET), but if you pull our mirror aside a pile of books is unveiled and I guess that’s kinda cool.  But not as cool as a crawl space to a hidden dungeon.
10

It’s been warm recently.  Not so warm that that I’ve filled a kitty pool with ice and am sitting in it, wearing only a swimsuit, in the middle of the living room, but it’s pleasant in the shade and hot in the sun.  Now that we’re actually having a summer this year, it turns out that I quite like English summers and much prefer them to the humid, swampy heat of Boston, where you would sweat through your clothes slowly walking to work and getting on the T was unbearable June through September. Anyway, all that to say that I finally bought myself a new pair of sandals!  These Chloé beauties I got for a song (does anyone say that anymore, got for a song?) at The Changing Room over the weekend.  I’m liking them very much. 11

Remember when I went to America in May?  No?  Oh, is that because I still haven’t posted any photos from the trip? Well, I went to America in May and visited my family.  During this visit, my mother gave me so. much. pottery.  She’s been taking classes and I guess the stuff just piles up, so she gave some to me.  I really love the shapes of her pieces and her earthy glazes, and I promise to dedicate a whole post to her work soon.  Until that day, enjoy this preview of a candle in one of her bowls.
12

This is a close-up of the cover of Cereal Vol. 3.  I’ve written about how much I love Cereal before (here and here) but this third volume has blown me away again.  It really is one of the most beautiful magazines I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading and I savour each volume like Charlie savoured his yearly chocolate bar.  The insect photography in this volume is particularly amazing; I urge you to check it out. 13

You know, I really do have the nicest friends.  No matter where I am, I’m just really lucky to fall in with truly fantastic people.  For instance, on the 4th of July, I showed up to my networking breakfast with the Tunbridge Wells Business Network to find that there were American flags and red, white and blue party necklaces on all the tables.  I’m the only American in the group and they went out of their way to make me feel special.  Isn’t that the sweetest?  I still have the flags on my desk and they make me smile as they flutter in the breeze.  So, if you want to network with some great people, follow TWBN on twitter or get in touch and let us know.  We’d love to have you along!
14

Speaking of local business owners, look at this guy, chilling in his Google glasses (not to be confused with Google Glass), getting a ton of work done.  Rad.
15

As it was David’s birthday, he decided to treat himself to a midday shopping trip and I decided to help him.  16

And it was on this shopping excursion that a funny thing happened.  As david was trying on clothes in a dressing room, a gentleman walked past me, gave me a look, and then asked, “Lady Katherine?”  Now, because I’m not a real lady, this was quite shocking– for how did a stranger realise that I was, in fact, a lady of the highest made-up degree and should be addressed in public as such?  Turns out the gentleman was none other than Neil Chapman and recognised me from Twitter, where I’d posted a photo of my iconic red shoes.  Long story short, my shoes are famous in Tunbridge Wells.  Also, Neil is a super nice guy.  It’s so fun to make twitter friends real friends, too!
17

Back in the office, I downloaded the new app Crowsflight by CW&T. I haven’t had a chance to play around with it too much yet, but it seems really cool.  As it turns out, Minneapolis is 4,035.45 miles from me, as the crow flies.  Cool! 18

Also at the office, Lucille now has a hat to wear to help her keep cool in the heat.  Don’t you think it suits her?
19

And here he is, guys, the birthday boy.  I took him to Thackeray’s for dinner and it was excellent.  20

The service was excellent, the food was excellent, and we had an excellent time! But we always have an excellent time.  Well, almost always. 21

After dinner, we relocated to their terrace and had one of the best cheese plates I’ve ever had.  Seriously delicious.  I highly recommend.  22

And then the light went away and we were left in the dark.  We also, by this point, were joined by some friends to continue the celebration, which was lovely.  23

We laughed and drank and had a merry old time. 24

Until the point where I was like Okay, pack it up, time to go home!  Oh, no, wait.  That wasn’t me who said that, it was the barman at Sankey’s who kicked us out… so that’s why this post is going up so late: because I have a hangover from partying like a teenage last night though, as you can tell from my forehead wrinkles, that I am not a teenager anymore and these old bones need sleep.  Older and wiser?  Maybe one day…

(Edited to note that Liam Rogers, who you may remember from his Tuesday With Vous post, took the last picture of my scowling face.)

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S

congratulations+1 congratulations+2
An enormous congratulations to my older brother Neal and his wonderful fiancée (!!!), Kate. I’m so happy for the two of you and, in my opinion, there can never be too many Kates in one family. <3

I LOVE YOU BOTH & WISH YOU ALL THE HAPPINESS IN THE WORLD!

The Badlands

And the Worst Blogger in the World Award goes to Kate Sims!

Seriously you guys, I’m sorry.  I’ve been everywhere but here lately and, now that I’m booking clients, founding events (more on this another time) and moving my business forward, I’m not adjusting to the life-work balance quite as seamlessly as I’d hoped.  In fact, I’m happily drowning in work, but every second that I’m working means I’m not writing for myself and maintaining this space, and no matter how I cut it, that just doesn’t work for me.

So let’s play catch-up and look at some photos from my Wild Wild West adventure.  Today, let’s focus on The Badlands.  Badlands+1 Badlands+2 Badlands+3 badlands+4 Badlands+5 Badlands+6 Badlands+7 Badlands+8 Badlands+9

Badasslands* is more like it!  Seriously, it’s like going to Mars.  How are those land formations even real?  How do they go from looking like extraterrestrial craters one moment to melting creamsicles the next?

As we drove through the Badlands National Park, my head was poking out the window with my camera to my eye as I snapped photos of the strangeness all around.  After hours (and hours and hours) of the flat expanse of Pro-Life billboards and never-ending fields that is South Dakota, I was amazed by how starkly different and unique the badlands are.  It was eerie, this sudden change in scenery, but it was beautiful and welcome, too.

Whilst winding along the wall and around hills, we saw a coyote (or was it a wolf?), scampering prairie dogs with screams like chirping birds, bighorn sheep (above), wild turkeys, bison and deer.  At 244,300 acres, the Badlands are vast, and desolate, any every time we saw a living creature I was moved by their fortitude, ’cause whether you’re a beast or man, living in a place like The Badlands can’t be easy.  As we wove along, my mind kept flashing back to games of Oregon Trail  and I imagined how soul crushing it must’ve been to pull a covered wagon up to The Badlands, wipe the sweat of your neck and let out a low whistle thinking, Damn, we’re going to break so many wagon wheels and lose at least three kids to snake bites and dehydration on this here stretch.  Those pioneers were brave people– if I’d come from Virginia and set my eyes on The Badlands, you can bet your butt I’d have turned around and gone back home.

Or maybe I wouldn’t have.  Maybe I’d have ridden through The Badlands on the back of my pony and thought about how the patterns in the sand looked like melting creamsicles and daydreamed of petting a bison.  Some things never change, after all, and my attraction to The Badlands will always endure.

*I almost made a sheep-noise pun about the Badlands but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.  You’re welcome.

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Minnesota Edition

So, it turns out that developing film takes a while.  Oops!  Regardless, it was a lot of fun to use Brother Luke’s vintage Minolta XD5 and shoot film for the first time.  No, really, I’d never shot film before and was terrified that none of these pictures would actually turn out.  But they did turn out! So here they are.  Finally. 

6This is the view from the window in my childhood bedroom.  It’s been a lot of fun to watch this crabapple tree grow over the years– it’s so big, now!– and it’s especially pretty in the spring.

7

Jet lag has been a welcome gift these past two weeks.  It’s been nice to rise early and get work done from bed before the rest of the house begins to stir and the day falls into place.

8lt’s also nice to enjoy a quiet breakfast alone.  Avocado toast is my favourite.

10The crabapple tree is next to a lilac bush that my grandmother gave my father for his birthday one year.  Together, they make our yard smell amazing.

11I was beginning to feel very insecure about the fact that the light meter in my brother’s camera didn’t seem to be working, so I re-read the manual and decided it would be best to only shoot in spots that are very well lit.  So here’s the floor.  And my feet.  And some sunlight.

12A bird (or a bird couple?) has built a nest on the flower wreath on the front door. I’m terrified that one day, the door will open, the nest will fall, the eggs will break, and the baby birds will die. Silly birdbrains!

13It’s been raining daily since I got here.  I wasn’t joking when I said I brought the English weather with me.  :(

14This is my chauffeur, Luke.

15He’s also one of my younger brothers and, when I twist his arm enough, he drives me around, fans me with large palm leaves, and tells me I’m fabulous.  On this afternoon, he took me to the Mall Of America.  Why?

16Because I wanted to see this guy: my older brother, Neal.  He’s a (fantastic) personal shopper at Nordstrom. If you want to spend way too much money on fabulous clothes that you probably don’t need, he’s the guy for you!

17After enjoying a sushi happy hour, we got down to business…

18If shopping counts as business, I mean.  These are my new shoes.  I love them!

19After my MOA adventure, I went to visit with my friends Angie (remember Angie’s TWV?) and Marlo.  They’re basically the most creative people on the planet and Angie’s house is the perfect place to play a game of I Spy because she has the coolest stuff.  Like these photo slides!

20Over wine and cheese, we chatted, laughed, and dreamed together.

21We also hung out with Angie’s GIANT dog in the backyard where this yellow chaise lounge lives.  I think this is a double exposure.  I mean, I know it is.  Kinda cool though, right?

22And then we talked some more even though we were beginning to feel sleepy.

23And then we said goodnight to Angie’s antlers and to each other.  It was a lovely evening– a lovely day.  And it was great to learn that film photography is not as scary as I thought. It’s just kind of expensive.  But fun!

So thank you for being patient with me this week, dear reader, and thank you for spending my Tuesday with me. I’ll be back in the UK on Monday and will be back to posting regularly next week. Have a great weekend!

xx