Monthly Archives: December 2012

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, December 25
Christmas Edition
 Christmas morning, Christmas rain.
Christmas coffee in a mug my mother made.
Christmas window. Fa la la!
Christmas fern, Christmas bow.
A Christmas walk through the parking lot after a Christmas visit to the pub.
Christmas sunshine.
Christmas Kate. 
(Hi hi hi!)
Christmas cribbage.
And Christmas twinkle lights.
Christmas berry branches.
Christmas cards.
Christmas kitten, Christmas Redcoat.
And Christmas mashed potatoes, too.
Christmas twinkle lights reflecting on the wall.
And Christmas glow.

‘Twas a merry Christmas in Cox Quarters.
Much love to you and yours.
Kate & David

Christmas in Cox Quarters, Part 1

Today, I’m decorating… finally.  Some jazzy tunes are floating through the flat, tea lights are twinkling, and David and I are snacking on minced pies and sipping red wine.  It’s quite nice.

And yet, there’s still so much to do, so much to reflect upon, so much to be thankful for… We’re incredibly blessed to be where we are, we’re thankful for the gifts we’ve been bestowed with this past year, and we’re looking forward to a low-key Christmas and a few days of peace and laughter to recharge our batteries and launch into 2013 with the force of 10,000 ninjas. 

Have a tremendous weekend, my friends, and I’ll see you back here on Monday.  xo


Today, dear reader, I would like to introduce you to my newest must-read, the completely gorgeous quarterly magazine, Cereal.  Full of captivating imagery, interesting articles, and even a few mouth-watering recipes (and, might I add, no ads) the magazine has me flipping through the pages time and time again.

The magazine’s strap-line says it all, almost: “In pursuit of food and travel,” but also, I think, in pursuit of community.  Intellectual community, creative community, and a vibrant global community united through the shared love of food, travel, craftsmanship and beauty.  Editor Rosa Park brings focus to the world around us, highlighting delicious details like those found in the simple, yet lovely, multi-purpose handkerchiefs by -Cheif or those being uncovered by the team of diverse food enthusiasts at the Nordic Food Lab.  Articles teach us about the many varieties of carrots and take us on a walk through one of the most cherished arboretums in all the world.  The magazine is truly a delight for the senses and is a publication that deserves a prime spot on any coffee table or bookshelf.  I cannot recommend it enough.

For those of you scrambling for last-minute gifts, a subscription to Cereal would charm most any reader interested in food, travel, and thoughtful design, and at £35 for four issues, I feel a winning gift is but a click away.

If you’re of the ilk who would prefer to purchase your copy in the flesh, I bought mine at the gift-haven, Magma Books, in Clerkenwell (seriously, there’s a book or magazine for anyone and everyone there), but if London isn’t convenient, you can check out their other stockists located here and there throughout the globe, too.


Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, December 18
Single Lady
Kate Sims awoke early on Tuesday to Le Chat purring in her ear.  Begrudgingly, she slipped on a sweater and sleepily walked to the kitchen where she squeezed some jellied meat chunks into a bowl, dumped the plastic food casing in the bin, and promptly made her way back to bed.
When she woke again, an hour or so later, the room around her was cold.  David was already out of bed and she could hear the shower running in the en suite bathroom.  She burrowed under the covers and dozed until she was presented with a cup of coffee.
“Good morning!” said David.
She nodded in return and watched the steam rise form the mug.
Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up really early, she promised herself, as she promised herself every morning.  And if it’s nice out, maybe I’ll go running or something, too.  
A rumbling stomach brought her back to the kitchen, her moccasined feet padding lightly on the wooden floor.  As she waited for her bread to toast she admired her new aloe plant, a gift from her sister-in-law.  So weird that I have a sister-in-law, she thought to herself, so weird that I’m married. Funny how things just happen.  Before I know it, I’ll wake up and be sixty-five. Maybe.
The toaster snapped and the toast popped up.
Funny, this life, she thought as she took the butter from the fridge.
David was buzzing around the kitchen, gathering bits of paperwork, ironing a shirt, sending emails.  He was going away to celebrate Christmas with some friends.  After everything was in order, he kissed Kate goodbye and jollily left.
A day and a night all on my own.  She hadn’t been alone for twenty-four hours in over seven months and the idea of being a single lady for the evening was quite appealing.
As she got on with work, she began to weigh her options- how would she spend her brief single-lady life?  Would she have a wild dance party in the living room?  Would she take out all her art supplies and make a Christmas mural on the wall?  Perhaps she’d pop out for a drink at the pub and maybe she’d meet a new friend…  Or maybe she’d put on sweatpants and watch a movie that David would never want to watch with her.
What’s a girl to do?
It also occurred to her that she could sneakily unwrap all the Christmas presents her parents sent from the States and re-wrap them after discovering their contents, but that didn’t seem particularly exciting, either.
She drummed her fingers on the table and read an article about Bill Murray instead.
In the middle of the afternoon, she began to grow restless.  She buttoned her black velvet blazer, tied a cheerful scarf around her neck and went on a short walk.  The air was warm and humid and it brought her joy to stretch her legs and walk through the streets.

Upon arriving home, she decided she wanted to bake something and after taking an inventory of the cupboard she set to the task of chopping and sprinkling, mashing and mixing.
And an hour later, it was ready!  Delicious baked oatmeal with apples and mashed bananas.  The kitchen smelled like cinnamon and fruit pies.  She closed her eyes and inhaled, for a moment she felt like she was home.
Though it had been weeks, she still had a lingering cold- a chesty cough and, when tired, a bit of a fuzzy head.  To combat whatever germs were still holding tight within her, she drank a steaming cup of Lemsip.  Drinking it made her mouth turn down, its citrus-sweet taste offensive to her tongue.  To tame the nastiness, she drizzled a bit of Jameson in, too.  Cupping her hands around the mug, she pretended it was a hot toddy.
It was dark out, of course.  So dark.  It felt much later than it was and yet she had the whole night before her still.  Only three days until the solstice, she reminded herself.  Three days until days get longer.  She wondered how people in the far north- places like Iceland, Alaska and Sweden- handled the darkness.  She looked out the window at the cars driving past and the giddiness of spending the night as a single lady faded.  She felt very alone.
Again hungry, she began to prepare some pasta with a leftover bolognese sauce that David had made the night before from scratch.  It had been ages since she’d cooked for only herself and she ended up with the biggest plate of pasta she’d ever eaten.  Well, maybe.  Nonetheless, she ate it all and washed it down with a glass of red wine.
After dinner, she again flipped through the pages of Cereal.  I must remember to take pictures in the morning light tomorrow so I can post about the magazine on Thursday, she thought.  She admired the cover, the brownish-grey of the pine cone.  How strange but also how obvious that pine nuts come from pine cones.  She wondered how difficult it would be to harvest them and imagined it would be quite a lethal activity for manicured fingers.
With a sigh, she settled onto the couch with her laptop.  Just like the days when I was a single lady, she thought as she watched a really silly video that someone, somewhere, had made, edited, and then released to the world.  Who are these people? she wondered, what compels us to share so much with the world?  Are we happier now, connecting this way, or are we drowning in a glut of information and entertainment?  
She felt silly, too.  Small.  Humble.  Kind of pathetic.
The box from the gifts her family sent sat on the floor.  She’d heard somewhere that cats, like children, enjoyed playing with boxes, but Le Chat had shown no interest in this one.
Eventually, the evening disintegrated into the worst kind of Netflix binge and she decided to stop taking pictures.  For the next three and a half hours, she consumed television as most people do, half-heartedly, lazily.  So that’s what if feels like to be most people, she thought as she closed her computer and made her way to bed.  What an absolute waste of time.  
She lay diagonally on the bed, covering as much of the surface as her body allowed.
I’ll be better tomorrow, she promised herself.  She closed her eyes and lay quietly, waiting for sleep.

The End.

I hate to hate, but I hate.

Everything I’ve tried to write since Friday sounds clunky and inconsequential.  Either too trivial or not enough- not strong enough, poignant enough, insightful enough.  I’m angry, too, and as everyone who’s ever written anything out of anger knows, angry words lack the clarity they need to open minds and warm hearts.

I hate what happened in Newtown.  I hate that it’s more difficult to get a driver’s license than it is to get a gun in the States.  I hate that children have another reason to dislike school and that safe places cannot be guaranteed.  I hate that the technology available to us and our cultural lust for never-ending content, rather than quality, has sullied facts, rushed reports, and damaged additional lives.  But most of all, I just really hate that this happened.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the nation and my votes will be with law-makers who support stricter gun control, advocate for the health and care of the mentally ill and don’t want to fight violence with more guns, more violence.

I don’t bring up political issues often in this space (though I find this particular case to be a human issue rather than a political one) but my silence on the topic isn’t because I don’t care and tomorrow, when I go back to posting about other things- less important things- it’s not because I’ve forgotten.   I will never forget.  Promise that you’ll never forget, too. 

Let’s make this world a more beautiful place, a safer place, a better place. 

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

A Picture, A Scene, A Kitty Cold

“Where are you gonna go?”
He shrugged, kicked his shoe in the dirt until he made a small hole.  ”Guess I’ll go wherever I think they’ll need me.”
“But what about this?” With the sweep of a hand she motioned to everything: the house they’d grown up in, the orchard, the wood, the flower beds, and the pool, still glittering in the sun like nothing ever happened.
Again, just a shrug.  He glanced at her sideways and she pulled her knees up, wrapped her thin arms around them like they were all she had.
“And what about me?  What I am gonna do?”
“The same.  Go where you can, find some kind of work.  Leave this all behind.”  
She let out a sob- just one loud, heartbroken cry that came from somewhere deeper than her lungs, her throat, her mouth.  They were silent a moment, listening to the world turning around them, the wind blowing through the trees.  She stood with a sigh and walked toward the door.  ”We best be goin’ then.  Come on.”
For the last time, he followed.

Everyone in our house has a cold.  Me, David, Le Chat.  Can cats get human colds?  I don’t know, but she seems drippy and slow like the both of us.  Good thing kitty sneezes are the cutest, I guess.

Tuesday With Vous

Today’s Tuesday With Vous is brought to you by my wonderful friend, Sarah.  She lives in Minneapolis and is always up to something interesting-  whether it be starting a new business, working a gallery opening party at the Walker, going to local shows, writing books- whatever.  She’s a Jill of all trades, if you will, and I’m enormously pleased that she’s taken the time to share her Tuesday with us.  Enjoy! 
As always, all italics from here on out are mine, everything else belongs to SVK.  
Tuesday, December 11
Sarah Vande Kamp Edition
I actually woke up slightly early on my day off, all to indulge in this spicy chai tea, on a bright snowy morning. I had never tried this chai before, but I would definitely recommend it! Very delish and very easy to make (just add H20).

Helped a friend come up with her Etsy store name. We also decided to form a partnership over this, and so I will be doing the business side of her clothing and jewelry design company. She is such a talent, so look out for her and Auroral Elements. 

Went to meet my friend and business partner at her house. We went for a walk in the frigid air with her dog. 
My face froze but it was invigorating.

That snow!  So jealous. Maybe?

This is delicious lunch she made for us before we got down to business. Yum!

Just starting to work on ideas for the book we are collaborating on. It is on innovation and we will being using case-studies and market research to substantiate it.

So many books. Sorry this is a boring photo, but we were still working away in the office, and I do love books.
So starts the hour in the car I spent driving, well not driving, more like surfing over the road with my car. Birthday present in hand(passenger seat), I picked up some great czech dark lager from a specialty beer store and headed to my brothers place. It’s his 21st today.

More driving. Or more like “not driving.” As I waited in traffic in the Uptown area of Minneapolis, I snapped this photograph. Oh Minnesota, I love you and your snow, but not on the roads…

And here is the birthday lad! Relaxing before the festivities. And here, also, are my $15.00 prescription glasses that make me feel like I’m continually looking through a fish eye lens. I only need to wear them 6 days total, due to Lasik surgery…sooon. 

This was taken exactly at 18:00, which I’m very proud of. A beautiful cityscape. 

So much MPLS skyline these days, I love it! 

Wrote a blog post for my new blog The Business Observer. It’s very new, but do check it out, especially if you like businessy things. I also just started this very interesting book on Hallucinations. 

At the bar! In honor of my brother, many people showed up on a Tuesday at a great bar called The Acadia. We have dark ale, a cider, and a lighter ale pictured. Kate, you will be jealous knowing that the two beers on the right belong to Amanda Kogle and Joe Whitson.  

So so so so so jealous.  Hi, friends!

There was also live music at the bar. Yesss.

Going back to my brother’s place with the gang. The snow is still clinging to the trees which I love. 

We ate cake, confused some of the other guests by using esoteric language (including the fact that we used the word esoteric), and then smoked hookah. 

I’m going to break the rules here, but I really wanted to include this picture because I like it.  

Finally in bed with one sock inside out. Long day full of morning relaxation, an afternoon of hard thinking, slippery roads, and day-end celebration. I count it as a day well spent.

Thanks, Kate, for letting me be a part of your wonderful blog. It was a pleasure, really so much fun. And it forced me to capture some great things that happened throughout my day. Miss you much xoxo.

As always, thank you for reading.  I think I’m on the cusp of another cold and am having a restful Wednesday with my laptop on the couch and Sufjan Stevens’ Silver and Gold playing in my ears; I hope yours is cozy and bright day, too. 
I’ll see you here tomorrow.


Whilst working on some linocut prints on Saturday night, David made this.  He took a paper cut-out I’d made of the Minneapolis skyline, rolled some ink over it, and then scribbled a park in the foreground and some windows on the buildings behind.  It may not be geographically accurate, but it sure does make me smile.  I think I’m going to write a story to go with it.

Please know, dear reader, that I left the house today and ‘hung out’ in town and all the while made a concerted effort to suppress my bitch face.  It was fine, or whatever.  Perhaps I’ll go out again tomorrow.  Who knows!

And speaking of Minneapolis, I have another TWV coming your way tomorrow from that part of the world.  It shall be very, very exciting!

Can’t We Be Friends?

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally accepted that I’m the only one holding myself back, from, well, everything*, and really, it’s so stupid.

You see, I haven’t made a single friend here in the last seven months.  I have friends in the UK, of course, but none here, in Hobbit Town**.   I don’t have anyone to invite over for a last-minute meal on a Tuesday night or anyone to meet for coffee on a Thursday morning.  No one to go shopping with or with whom I can share a Sunday lunch.  Why?  Because of me.  Because I keep saying, What’s the point if we’re just going to move? but we haven’t moved.  We’ve been here for seven effing months.  And in those months, I’ve continued to live on American time, work with american clients, and skype with my American friends and family.  Which is all wonderful, obviously, but means that I’m not really living here, and that is a problem.

As such, my winter goal is to get out there and meet people, like I used to.  Start hanging out in coffee shops during the day and complimenting strangers on their great boots or asking where they get their hair colored or whatever.  People must actually do things in this town, and it’s time I started finding what that thing they do is- I need to start living here and start finding a friend.  Or two.  Or five.  And then finding a network.  And then world domination.  You know…

* Writing, moving my career forward, planning adventures, getting shit done in general, etc.
** I realize that calling it “Hobbit Town” is not going to make any locals shine to me.  So I should probably stop doing that, too.  Grumble grumble blah. 

The above photos were taken at our Nuptial Cocktail Soiree in March, at Backbar.  They are of some our friends and were taken by our friend, Oscar.  We had a marvelous time that night and are looking forward to many more marvelous nights, here, there, everywhere.