Friday, 5 December 2008

White Christmas

Anyone who tells you that it snows in Missouri is lying.

Sure, it snows, but it's not real snow. The tiny wet flakes pierce your skin as they fall to the ground and dust the grass with a spilled salt look.

I have heard that it has been snowing a lot back home but I hope the Chicago skies save some of its large, fluffy flakes for me. I'll be home again in 12 days and the storyteller in me always hopes for a white Christmas.

Monday, 1 December 2008

I will never drink red again

So, I am back in CoMo. Back to my apartment, back to a queen sized bed (as opposed to the twin sized cocoon I sleep in in Western Springs) and back to college debauchery. When Laura and I returned to our William street home yesterday we were welcomed by a large splattering of fruit punch-colored vomit covering the sidewalk that we are forced to use to enter our house. How do we know it's vomit and not just fruit punch, well it ain't smooth.

To make matters worse, this morning I left my house, forgetting about the barf, and walked right onto it/slid over the frozen mess. In the real world will there be no barf to avoid when you want to come in and out of your house?

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Hi Aunt Kim

So, my aunt may be the only person still reading my blog, nonetheless, Aunt Kim you deserve something to read. And because I had the probably the lamest day on planet earth, here is something I wrote a while back for my Intermediate Writing class about my voting experience. I thought this would make for more interesting reading:

Fallen leaves crunched under my flip-flops as I walked the four blocks to my polling place. It was November 4th, Election Day, but it sure didn't feel like it.

I gently shuffled through the piles of leaves blanketing the sidewalk. Looking down at my feet, as I usually do when I walk, I noticed that the leaves on the ground were intact. Usually at this time of the year, sidewalks and streets are covered with the remains of beautiful foliage that has been pounded into a brown dust. But no dust here, in fact some of the trees in Missouri have yet to even change color.

I think the temperature reached 75 degrees that fall day, but for my Chicago blood it might as well have been 105. Having taken only a few steps out the door, I regretted not grabbing my sunglasses. The sun was still bright at 3:00 p.m. At least I had swapped my jeans for shorts.
This unseasonably warm Election Day would eventually make the history books for more than one reason, but for me there was one historic first that super seeded all the rest: this was my first time voting in a presidential election.

Although I was registered to vote at home in Chicago’s Cook County, I filed a change of address form and became a registered voter in the state of Missouri. My vote mattered more here anyway. So, I was to vote at a local Lutheran church a few blocks away from my East Campus apartment. Convenient, especially since my friend Lisa was voting there also.

"I guess we picked the hilliest route," I said to Lisa as we trudged up Anthony Street. "You think?" she seemed to say with the raise of her eyebrows. There was no time for a verbal response in between her deep breaths. As the sidewalk narrowed from college students' unkempt lawns and overgrown bushes, I mechanically got behind her. At that moment, I realized I was glad I wasn’t alone. My overly sensitive self had secretly wanted someone to share the experience with.

At this point in our walk, my anticipation was palpable. As we drudged steadily up the hill, I felt like I was on a roller coaster climbing to its peak. I am typically a very anxious person; even the thought of a situation I am unfamiliar with will make me sick to my stomach. I think of it as a vastly magnified fear of the unknown and in the weeks preceding the election I had dreams, or rather nightmares, about voting. In one I got to a polling place and was handed a blank ballot, and no one would acknowledge that there was anything wrong with it. In another, people kept stopping me to talk and eventually my time ran out and the polling place closed- without my vote.

I’ll be the first to admit that this fear about voting is somewhat unjustified. After all, I went to public schools that served as polling places in my hometown, so I knew what they looked like. I knew they were extremely informal and actually really anticlimactic. However, when I thought about people voting in the hallways of my school what really stuck out was being told repeatedly to be quiet and not disturb the adults. Now, I would be that adult hoping for others' silence so I could make conscious and thoughtful decisions.

In reality, I didn't need silence to cast my ballot. My mind was made up months, probably even years ago.

As we approached the doorway to the church, Lisa paused for a moment. She looked at me and said, “I’m the one who’s with you your first time voting.” Yes, I nodded. “And you are always going to remember this moment.” I nodded again. And she’s right. I think this experience can definitely be classified as one of those rights of passage that will never really escape my memory.

When we walked inside, there was no line. I had heard of longer lines at Starbucks with people waiting for their free coffee. Nonetheless, I showed them my id and was given a ballot and a short explanation as to what to do. I couldn’t tell if my voting location just happened to be particularly efficient or if I had just come at a slow time, but there was nothing to be anxious about, or even really excited.

Instead, I did my patriotic duty, got a much sought after “I voted” sticker and walked out proud to be an American, just as the song suggests.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

So, as it turns out senior year is actually really busy. So busy in fact that I haven't blogged in one month, which is terribly sad because I have had quite a few exciting developments in my soon-to-be-a-college-graduate world.

Last month, I had an interview with a recruiter from Southern Progress Corporation, which is the division of Time, Inc. that publishes Cooking Light, Heath, Southern Living, etc. Besides the magazines, this branch also has book publishing, advertising and web development divisions. The interview was an open interview that the J-school sets up so that students can meet recruiters hear more about the jobs/internships and then get their resume in someone's hands before the actual applications are due. The woman I met with was nothing but nice and made me really excited about their 6 month (paid) internships for post grads. I am applying for the graphic design internship, which in the past interns have been able to work with the art directors for different magazines. What an awesome opportunity. The only downfall, I would have to move to Alabama for 6 months... she did say it's near the beach though :)

This week, I found out I was accepted into the most competitive capstone in the magazine department of the J-School: Advanced Magazine Design. I was really nervous because I essentially came to Mizzou so that this would be my capstone, and last semester 40 students applied and only 16 got in. I didn't think I would find out for a couple of weeks, (I turned in my materials on Tuesday) but Thursday night I got an email that I was accepted! Very exciting for me!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Medical Miracle

Thank goodness I was sitting in the library yesterday so that I heard this:

There was a rather rude young man making an appointment (over the phone) with the student health center. He described his symptoms as "my throat. it hurts." He then must have gotten transferred to someone else because he repeated, "yeah, i need an appointment for my throat." After a brief pause he explained to the receptionist, "well, i've been drinking ice water to soothe it, but that didn't do anything."

Duh. What an idiot. And now everyone in Ellis Library knows you are an idiot too.

So for all of you that were looking for that cure-all for a sore throat, it's not ice water. Sorry.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Why I write

In my Intermediate Writing class we were asked to explain, in one to two pages, why we write. I thought my interpretation of how I got interested in writing might be interesting to others:

On a cold February morning, my mother was rushed to Hinsdale Hospital in Illinois to deliver her third daughter. In the most dramatic of fashion, I was ready to enter the world breach with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. While this is ordinarily a difficult pregnancy, and definitely was in 1987, my mother’s doctor was going to attempt to deliver me naturally. A small crowd of doctors, nurses and medical students gathered in the delivery room to watch the doctor perform this difficult procedure. Needless to say my mom was not happy with the audience, but the whole situation now seems rather fitting for the most dramatic of her daughters. Always the little performer, I consider this the first of many grand entrances.
As the youngest daughter in a family of three girls, I have been looking for my own voice since birth. With my sisters being almost polar opposites, the big question when I was growing up was whom I would be more like. To everyone else’s shock and surprise I developed as an exact hybrid of the two, not without my own drama and flair.
As a kid I loved to read and was extremely articulate at a young age. That, along with my petite size, was quite the sight. I thrived on the attention I received and from there my creativity only grew. I can remember narrating my actions in my head as I went through my day, and as my vocabulary grew even self-editing the little stories I created in my head.
Once I grew older, I found that writing came fairly easy to me, which was most likely a result of all my reading and story creation as a child. At some point in my childhood, I developed a great deal of stomach and chest pain that only increased as my oldest sister left for college and my other sister’s wild streak began to emerge. I found myself retreating inward. My extremely vocal and dramatic personality dwindled, and instead I found it easier to express myself in written words as opposed to spoken. In hindsight, my newfound introspection and anxiety triggered my interest in writing.
I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome accompanied by lactose intolerance as a junior in high school. For those who are unfamiliar with IBS, it can only be controlled, never cured. Most of the treatment involves lifestyle and diet changes, including stress-management programs to control one of the major symptom triggers. At the time, my great stress release was the hours and hours of dance classes I was enrolled in. Not only did I love to perform, just as I had as a child, but I also loved the concentration and body awareness it required.
I had always danced, but developed a real passion for it as a high school sophomore. When I left for college, I not only lost my one sure-fire stress reliever, but also gained a great deal more stress. It wasn’t until I was encouraged to journal by both a doctor and a journalism professor that I finally got the hint. Although I journaled a bit in high school, I didn’t give it a fair shot until college. Most of the time it just helped me to clarify my thoughts and worries. Soon though, I realized how much I enjoyed looking back on not just particular situations, but the honest feelings that accompanied them.
Once I became comfortable with the idea that I was a decent writer, I began to let others in. I spent the last semester in London and kept a blog for family and friends to read. To my shock and amazement, I actually had quite a following. From other teachers at my mother’s school to my sisters’ friends reliving their own study abroad experiences, I got numerous emails about how much people were enjoying my writing, and if the continued praise and feedback isn’t a reason to keep writing, at this point, I don’t know what is.

Thursday, 28 August 2008


As I told my sister this morning, I have senioritis. Bad.

Since I have currently abandoned the idea that I will be a journalist after I graduate, I am getting frustrated by the people who ask me what I am going to do when I graduate, and even more frustrated by those who won't accept the answer, "I have no idea!"

And the thing is, I don't have any idea. I'm okay with it, so why aren't other people? I have a lot of "marketable" skills, so I'm not that worried. The world is my oyster, or rather New York city is my oyster.

In college they have places you can get pitchers of beer for a penny. This isn't helping the senioritis. Don't worry family, I'm making good choices :)

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Shutterfly Share Site

I use Shutterfly to upload, share and order pictures, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't use it, especially with the new feature they offer users- Share Sites. Basically a website with all my albums, you can view, save and order pictures from any of these albums (including all my London photos).

Check it out:

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Senior Walkout and Bid Day

Here is a link to my shutterfly album of Senior Walkout and Bid Day:

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Apartment Science

Great news- Mediacom, our cable and internet provider, came during a scheduled appointment time (for the first time since I moved in a year ago) and installed our cable and fixed our internet, which means no more marking out exact locations in the apartment where I can use someone else's wireless network. Phew!

Today is the last day of work week, and this old girl is more than ready for rush to start.

Last night my roommates and I cleaned out our fridge (exciting, I know. Don't worry, we went out afterward). After all the sub-letters this place had seen, you would be shocked and horrified to know what we pulled out of the back of the fridge- perishables dating back to January, strains of mold that probably never before existed and more cans of half eaten Funfetti frosting than I could have ever imagined (left open after a few months, not as fun...). We took three garbage bags to the dumpster, wiped down all the shelves and are looked at our happy little faces shining back in the reflection of now barren shelves realizing we probably needed to grocery shop....

Friday, 15 August 2008

Found Internet

I finally found a place in my apartment that will pick up someone else's wireless internet, so the blogging can continue. Except not now. I have to go to the house for work week.

Saturday, 2 August 2008


Today Glamour magazine's September issue unveiled its top 10 college women, one of whom is my dearest friend, Laura Merritt. Laura never ceases to amaze me with her talents and warm heart, and in the last few years she has finally been getting some much deserved recognition.

Most recently, Laura has been pouring her heart and soul into an internship with Senator Chris Koster, a democratic candidate for Missouri Attorney General. For those of you who are eligible voters in Missouri, get to the polls August 5th.

Laura's baby, however, is her nonprofit organization, I am, which promotes stem cell research. Laura lives day in and day out with rheumatoid arthritis and would greatly benefit from advancements in stem cell technology. We are currently working on a new website, and until it's up, contact me with questions or if you have any desire to get involved :)

*Orgullosa means proud in Spanish.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

I'm Back

After taking a little summer vacation, I'm back to the blog. And I have to say, I really missed it. I am about to embark on my last year of college (eek!) so there should be a lot to share :)

Monday, 28 April 2008

Sweet Home Chicago

Well. I'm home. I'm doing laundry and missing London. If anyone is in the Chicagoland area and wants to hang out, please call me. The cell's back on.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Last Day in London

It's my last day in London. Wow. This is really weird.

Another four months of my life have sped past me and today I can't help but feeling like digging my heels in.

I would definitely say that I am ready to come home. I never thought I would miss my family and some very loyal friends so much. But the last few weeks here have been really great and there are a lot of people that I am afraid I met too late.

There is so much to say, and at the same time, nothing to say at all because I feel as though the ways in which I have changed speak for themselves. You'll all see, some in just a few short hours.

Alright, time to embrace the last day on this side of the pond (at least for a while). Cheers.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Last day at Drapers

Today is the last day of my internship and I have already finished all the work I am supposed to do today.

I just checked the weather in Western Springs also :)

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Another one bites the dust

Sarah has just informed me that she killed another mouse last night. In her words:

i did. yeah, it was sad. i had just gotten into bed when i heard shannon scream. i walked out of the room and could hear the little mouse crying! his leg and the side of his body was stuck to the paper. he kept trying to pull his head up but he just made himself bleed. i felt so bad for him. i didn't know what to do, and i couldn't smash his head with anything, so i stuck in him the toilet and flushed it a couple times. he's in the happy mouse hunting ground now.

How traumatic. I have never been so thankful to be such a sound sleeper.

And, unfortunately, it was not the fatty that ran over my foot the other night, it was a little baby- probably the fatty's baby. Gross.

After drowning it, the girls placed him in a plastic bag and threw him out the window. Our neighbors are going to think it is raining mice- hell, maybe it is.

For those keeping track- the death toll in flat 5 has now reached 4.


Not only is my name now synonymous with high class hooker (thanks to the woman at the center of the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal who used Kristen, spelled incorrectly of course, as her call girl name) but it is virtually impossible to pronounce correctly if you are British. While in London I have been called everything from Kirsten, Kiersten, Kristie, Kirstie, Kristina, and Christine- and that's after I pronounce it for people.

Fortunately, another American intern at Drapers whose name is Cara feels my pain. She continually gets called CAR-a.

Oh well, only 5 more days of this nonsense...

Monday, 21 April 2008

Last week at Drapers

Today is my last Monday at Drapers. I am losing my voice and that, coupled with my American accent, is making if very difficult for people to understand me. No one seems to know what I am saying when I ask if they are selling any flip flops. Oh well, only two more days of morning rush hour on the tube- now that is something to smile about.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Obama's my momma

I just applied for an internship with Barack Obama. I am getting pretty desperate here folks.

Weekend Update

As I embark on my last week in London...

Friday afternoon was spent at the Imperial War Museum with Jon. Although the museum itself was pretty cool, my favorite part was definitely all the little boys who ran around dodging invisible bullets and making the accompanying sounds. They had an extensive Holocaust exhibit also, which I appreciated considering I missed the opportunity to see the museum in DC on my eighth grade class trip when a boy feel asleep in a Borders while we sat on a bus waiting for him for hours. Thank you, James Bailey.

Saturday Sarah and I headed to Portobello Road and made some great purchases at the markets (perhaps a few gifts for family and friends...) We then returned a cello she rented (because, yes, Sarah is also an accomplished cellist) and I met Kiernan and Jon at the Nordic Bakery, which is known for minimalistic environment and delicious cinnamon buns.

Saturday night a mouse ran over my foot. My bare foot. I was turned off the bathroom light and apparently that's where he was headed. I felt his fat, warm body whiz over my foot and then heard his little paws continue across the bathroom floor. I will not be entering the bathroom without shoes, unless to suffer through a shower.

This morning, Sarah and I headed to Euston to the Wellcome Collection (I don't really know how to explain it, so I'll let their website do it for me: Wellcome Collection is a unique mix of galleries, events, and meeting, reading and eating places where you can consider what it means to be human.

It brings to life Sir Henry Wellcome's vision of a place where people could learn more about the development of medicine through the ages and across cultures.

to see a photographic exhibit: "Life before death". A journalist and photographer captured the final months of fatally ill hospice members (including a portrait of them after they had passed). The exhibit provoked some really interesting questions on what we can learn from death and those who are dying. I assure you, it wasn't all as morbid as it sounds, but I did tear up at the story of a mother with breast cancer.

Thursday, 17 April 2008


Yesterday was one of my favorite days in London. I woke up to sunshine and headed to the highly-anticipated Tower of London (of course my camera battery ran out when I got there, but don't worry, Sarah got a picture of me with the ravens).

The Tower was actually really cool (thanks to the weather I'm sure). Our first stop was to the infamous ravens that Grandma Barb told me to see. They were huge! Their wings are clipped to keep them from flying away, so they kind of bounce around their green lawn. Their attempts to fly looked more like a deranged chicken dance, or some dance I have yet to even discover, but I loved it.

We checked out the Jewel House too (complete with moving conveyor belts like at the airport) and saw an incredible amount of wealth. Strange to think that a some points during history people actually carried around jewel-studded swords...

The rest of our time was spent viewing the grounds from above via raised walkways (oh and we saw the underwhelming 'Torture at the Tower' exhibit). The weather was amazing (finally) and made the trip really excited. I just wish I had my camera.

Afterwards, I grabbed lunch with some of my favorite people on the trip. I am very thankful for these fun conversationalists who have the ability to make me forget my 9 day countdown.

The afternoon was spent in Hyde Park frisbeeing (definitely not a word). Of course my team won, but this was honestly some of the most fun I have had in weeks, and I think everyone else enjoyed themselves too. It's nice to know I can still run continuously for 20 minutes :)

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


Well, it is finally sunny in London. But of course, I was at work. Lame.

At least there is no BLC tonight. And no work tomorrow. Finally I will see the Tower of London.

Oh, anyone want to employ me this summer? The job hunt isn't going so well...

Monday, 14 April 2008

Oh, and a dead mouse count

I thought everyone should know, that the entire building has captured and killed 6 total mice in the past two weeks. There was a dramatic event with one in a shoe last night that was audible through two floors and my headphones. No one is safe.

No worried though, last night I opened up my suitcase that is stored behind the bed expecting to find a mouse family living there, but I'm safe (or rather they are because if I found them in there, there is no telling what I'd do).

Someday in my life I will inevitably write a book about all this... Its title will most likely be "London Tails" or something with an equally clever pun.

No love in london

For those of you that were afraid that I would come to London, fall in love and never want to come home, rest assured that there is no way that will happen. I am 100% certain that in my remaining twelve days I will remain loveless and alone.

On that note, I did see my tube boyfriend this morning. His hair was darker... guys who dye their hair freak me out, especially when it is like just a shade or two darker. High maintenence men are certainly not for me.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Call the coroner

In talking to my mom today, I realized there was a Marvin update to share. After making a death defying leap out our fifth floor window and landing on our neighbor's back porch, he inevitably died because we have learned that once a mouse is attached to the tape thing, there is no way for them to come loose.

Another mouse was caught this way and while trying to be set free outside of the flat a passerby informed the group that there is no way to get a mouse off a trap like that, that you will only end up ripping off its feet or fur to which it would die from the bleeding anyway... gross.

So Marvin is officially dead, and at least he wasn't drowned in the toilet like the other guy.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Check out Laura...

... she's on the Missouri homepage: How can you not be proud?

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Showering is hell

I never thought I could hate showering. Then I came to London.

I think I actually took better showers when I was a camp counselor and it was smelly well water that was getting me "clean." I mean, the low water pressure didn't exactly get all the soap out of my hair, but at least it wasn't singeing my skin like the water in the shower at 40 Hogarth.

The temperature of the water is either scalding or frigid. And although I thought I mastered the trick of switching back and forth to get a somewhat comfortable temp, I haven't.

Since the recent death of my flatmate Marvin, I don't even have a bathroom buddy anymore. Marvin had recently taken up residence behind the toilet, which not only limited my time in the bathroom, but also forced me to wear boots every time I stepped foot in the room (I don't want any furry bodies breezing past my ankles).

I may have to join a gym just for the shower. Nah. I'll just tough it out. I could never cheat on Lifetime like that.

Ding dong the witch is dead

We did it. We killed Marvin.

Or so we thought.

I saw him struggling under the sink and we realized he was attached to a sticky board thing. Shannon bravely put a small plastic box over him and scooted him out from under the sink. Then she flipped the box over and closed the lid, with his tail in. When we heard him start squeeking, Shannon threw him out the window with such force, we were sure we finally killed him.

But no.

The flat downstairs has a balcony that we went out on to see where Marvin landed. To our shock and horror, he is on the porch of our neighbors, out of the box, still stuck to the tape, and struggling to live. If he gets away, he will surely come back angry. Hopefully he will die from the sheer exhaustion of the entire situation. I know I'm ready for bed after all that excitement.

Monday, 7 April 2008

2 down...

We caught another mouse. A baby. Which leads me to believe that Marvin has definitely given birth in our apartment. Gross. But it makes me sad that we can only catch his naive offspring instead of the reproduction machine himself.

A girl on the tube was listening to "Pieces of Me" by Ashley Simpson. It was absurdly loud. How can anyone be expected to enjoy a ride on the tube with such inconsiderate people polluting their ears so early.

At least class was cancelled tonight.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Sunday Sunday Sunday

After an absolutely beautiful 60 degree Friday, I woke up to snow covered rooftops this morning. I truly cannot escape the winter that Chicago is having at home.
I headed to the Tate Modern to try and beat the winter blues, and finally saw the giant crack in the floor.
The rest of the afternoon was devoted to some stupid semester long project for my International Issues in Reporting class. Good thing it is due next Monday.

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Walk MS

Our family friend who was recently diagnosed with MS is raising money and participating in the Walk MS in Lawrence, Kansas (I know Mizzou fans) on April 12. To date, she has raised the most money of any participant in the walk.

To read more check out the article in The Daily Kansan and ignore the fact that it came from the Kansas J-School.

For those of you who, like the Noe family, know how difficult it is to raise money and want to donate to Walk MS (and Kelly) go to her website.

New Return Date

All your wildest dreams have come true because I am coming home a few days earlier than expected. So, get out your diaries (planners) and keep Sunday, April 27th free for the general celebration of my homecoming.

And yes, it has been confirmed that we did have a death in the flat. Junior, the smallest of the mouse family inhabiting our flat, has been trapped (and disposed of).

1 down, countless more to go.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Mouse Trap

We have caught a mouse. It's dead in a trap. I think. I saw a turned over trap and what I thought was a small gray bodied mouse half underneath and half coming out. Needless to say whether it was or wasn't, I will probably never eat again (as I saw the trap when I went to make a small piece of peanut butter toast).

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Tube Hatred

My hatred for the tube grows everyday, and my hatred for the tube during rush hour grows even greater. This morning I rode at least five stops with what I think was a hand on my rear because we are packed in so tightly that no one can be appropriate. I also watched a mother ignore her child and guy pick his teeth and then hold on to the railing. It's hot and smells sometimes and there are never enough seats.

The only positive thing about my mornig tube ride are the days that I see this cute boy that resembles Prince Harry. He must be about my age and has a very English look about him. He is nicely dressed and reads The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara (so I know he's smart). With my limited days, I should figure out something to say to him...

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Photos Up

Here are the pictures from Mom and Dad's visit last week. Enjoy!

Marvin and Co.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he's back. Or rather, the gang's all here. I have seen two mice this week after a long hiatus. One can most definitely be identified as Marvin, but the other was either Marvin, or his larger counterpart, Fatty (One of my roommates is also convinced there is a small baby mouse. Ew).

I saw one run across the hallway from the comfort and safety of my top bunk a few night back, and last night when I went to turn out the lights watched Marvin scamper across our kitchen floor. I bought antibacterial wipes and wiped down the counter, but I am sure it will be filled with crumbs and sticky messes in no time.

Adventures in Laundering 2

Just got back from doing laundry to discover that almost all of my clothes have some sort of chocolate stain...

Also, a foreign lady in the worst laundry-day outfit I have ever seen (complete with furry vest, pleather belt and nasty thong) was telling the guy that runs the place that his machines are "shit". She complained that when she took the clothes out of the machines they smelled "dirty, worse than before." Gross.

Cambridge and Oxford Boat Races

Yesterday after finally getting Mom and Dad on a flight back to the states (I didn't say which state), a bunch of us headed to the Thames for the historic Cambridge and Oxford boat races (on of the few free sporting events in London). Since 1829, the two schools have challenged each other to this race, which officially begins the English "social season" (whatever that means). I guess Oxford won (we were along the middle of the course), but I couldn't see anything anyway.

In typical London fashion, what started out as a nice day became miserable about the time we departed the Hammersmith tube station for the race. The wind made is quite difficult to hold my umbrella and Heineken and the umbrellas infront of me completely blocked my view of the river, but I was happy to be alongside fellow Londoners participating in such a valued tradition. Above is a shot of the race from the area we were standing and "watching".

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Earth Hour

Lisa asked me to remind everyone in my 'Sweet Home Chicago' to participate in Earth Hour tonight (March 29th) at 8 p.m. Turn out your lights for one hour. Earth Hour.

As you may or may not know, Starcom has joined forces with Leo Burnett and Tapestry on Earth Hour – a major event designed to make a positive environmental impact on the city of Chicago and in all participating cities around the world. Below is an update of the most recent activities:

Chicago's Skyline Update

Here are just a few of the key Chicago skyline buildings who have confirmed participation - Navy Pier is turning off the 16,000 lights on the famous Ferris Wheel. The Sears Tower, Adler Planetarium, John Hancock building, Merchandise Mart, Hard Rock Café, The Drake Hotel, Wrigley Field and Soldier Field are all turning off exterior lighting. The Oriental, LaSalle, Auditorium, Chicago and Goodman theaters are all switching off their outdoor marquees.

The theatre community is being very creative with their interpretation of the Earth Hour theme – following Blue Man Group's role in our TV PSA, the cast of "Wicked" will now also be performing scenes from their show on the street, on Earth Hour night.

Central and local restaurants and bars in the city are also getting into the spirit of Earth Hour – one example is the Weather Mark Tavern who are creating a special Earth Hour-themed evening. Another coalition of independent restaurants is creating a 'green' menu for the night, which will consume less energy to produce. Schools and colleges all over Chicago are arranging in-school events and assemblies about Earth hour. If your family is interested to know more, is full of information and advice aimed at schools.

Big Brands on Board

I'm happy to tell you all that Burnett client McDonald's has shown us maximum support by confirming that they will be participating in all 485 outlets. Our client Walgreens is also on board and is creating a dedicated promotion, which you should start seeing in your neighborhood soon.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Mid-week recap with Mom and Dad

Good news- Mom and Dad survived on their own on Tuesday! I met them after work and we headed to Covent Garden to the Royal Opera House to watch a masterclass of Royal Ballet dancer Edward Watson and his coach. The Linabury Studio was a very intimate venue for the rehearsal, and this has definitely been on of my favorite london experiences. I think Mom and Dad liked it too.

Yesterday they came with me to my weekly British Life and Culture lecture on the British legal system, which was actually entertaining and very relavant. After class I took them to the Kensignton Creperie and then back to my flat to check internet and clean up after my roommates. We had our "field trip" in the afternoon, which was a tour of the inns of court in the Temple area. Our guide was very interesting until the tour took over an hour and a half and we didn't get to see legal proceedings in the Royal Courts of Justice (where Paul McCartney and that bitch just settled their divorce).

We met Sarah for High Tea at the Hyatt Regency. The feast they brought us was delicious yesterday, but not so good last night when I spent hours in the bathroom. It's my own fault for ignoring all my dietary restrictions.

Stuffed and exhausted from the walking tour with no end, we saw Lars and Real Girl last night at the Odeon in Covent Garden- a real tearjerker... well at least for me. I would suggest this movie to just about anyone. It's funny (?) and heartwarming.

Today I am back at work (despite the lack of sleep I got last night) and Mom and Dad are at the changing of the guard, London Eye, and Tower of London. We are meeting tonight at Vinopolis, a wine museum with self guided tours and wine tasting. Afterwards, dinner with suzi and a bath in my parents' hotel.

Hopefully I get work off tomorrow...

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Look at Laura!

For those of you who don't know Laura Merritt, you should.

Laura is the most talented, faithful and compassionate person I have ever met, and I am exceedingly proud to call her my best friend. She may be the hardest working and most driven person on the planet. All her accomplishments are incredibly well deserved, including her most recent: being named a 2008 Truman Scholar. This nationwide scholarship competition is extremely prestigious and I could not think of a better recipient. Way to go Laura!

Check out her profile on their website!

Hoppy Easter!

Sunday morning Mom, Dad and I had a delicious brunch at Balans on Old Brompton Road. Suzi had taken us there when Lisa was in and I couldn't wait to return. All three of us cleaned our plates and when our waiter came to clear the table I told him "we didn't like it, you better bring us something else" (I have used this joke on multiple occasions with the Brits and it always gets a good laugh).

Since it was a rainy Easter Sunday, we wandered down the road to my favorite museum, the V & A. I took them through the fashion exhibit that I love and then headed upstairs to the some of the exhibits I hadn't yet seen. From there, we went to Westminster Abbey for a proper church service (which was lovely, except for when I got yelled at for having a guide book).

We took the inevitable Parliament and London Eye pictures, but the tourist activity was too much for me to handle, and I escorted Mom and Dad back to the peace and quiet of South Kensington. Hungry, we went to an incredibly delicious (and expensive) tapas restaurant I have been eyeing. Apparantly, we are supposed to tell Lisa we were thinking of her while eating tapas, but all I was thinking about was how our waiter could be so good looking!

Yesterday, I had the day off of work so we went to the half price ticket booth in Leicester Square and bought tickets for Les Mis. After standing in the snow (I am convinced my parents brought the Chicago weather with them to London), we got reduced tickets for the show that night. We then headed to Kensington High Street (not without a bus mishap first) and ate a Wagamama, a london noodle chain. We then stopped by Uniqlo and a couple other high street stores before going to Kensington Palace, via the Kensington Gardens. We were able to catch the Princess Diana exhibit before it closes on 31 March.

Last night, we saw Les Mis, which was even more amazing than I could ever have imagined. I was super excited to see the song Katie Holmes sang in the episode of Dawson's Creek with the Miss Capeside pagent, and the actress who performed it blew TOMKAT out of the water. From our front row balcony seats, the evening was definitely a high point of my time in London.

Today, I am at work and Mom and Dad are on their own...

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Mom and Dad are here!

Mom and Dad arrived safely (although delayed) this morning! They had all their luggage (which is a step up from Lisa's visit), but somehow forgot to pack cameras. I think they were so excited at the prospect of seeing me that they couldn't be bothered to remember cameras.

Today we got them settled and they finally saw the infamous flat 5 at 40 Hogarth. Mom said it was everything she expected (and probably nothing more). I made sure their first meal was fish and chips and then we headed to the markets on Portobello Road. We were a little late, but I think they got the idea, plus it was absolutely freezing so I don't think they minded cutting the trip a little short.

I don't know why everytime someone comes to visit me it gets colder. I think they maybe bringing some Chicago weather with me so that I don't feel left out of this miserable winter they have been experiencing. Honestly, I'd be fine without it.

( The picture is of Mom, Dad and I on their last study abroad visit: Spring Break with Lisa in Barcelona. This year's visit doubles as a 30th anniversary trip too, so you know it's going to be better.)

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Photos Up

Here are the photos from last week's field trip to Blehniem and Oxford. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 18 March 2008


So I didn't get a Guinness hat for drinking 5 Guinness in one sitting, but I did celebrate the luck of the Irish this weekend. Sunday, despite the freezing cold, clouds and rain, I ventured to Picadilly Circus to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade. Man, do I love a parade. With a warm Guinness in my gloved hand I felt perfectly Irish. Unfortunately, my camera battery ran out just as I snapped a photo of the Irish Setter leading the pack.

Last night, Sarah and I headed to The Enterprise in Chalk Town for a benefit concert in support of her friend Charlotte who is about to leave for volunteer work in Syria. Our friends' band, The Blisters, performed and I drank pear cider out of a green bottle. All in all, a great St. Patty's in the UK.

Monday, 17 March 2008

A hair raising adventure

I did it. I allowed someone besides my trusted stylist at home to cut (and color) my hair. After more than two months here, I decided I was in definite need of a haircut and also, if my nerves would allow it, a highlight (blonde hair doesn't stay this nice on its own). Two of my flatmates had had success at a salon down the street from us, so Saturday morning I got up ready to beg them to fit me in. I got an appointment for later that afternoon, which allowed for a quick trip to Brick Lane in hot pursuit of a bagel shop my friends wanted to try (Beigel Bake on Brick Lane- open 24 hours, delicious and cheap).

I had been in the salon previously to check out the prices and had been given a coupon for 25% off appointments with their new stylist (here's where the weakness of the dollar forces me to put my hair at risk). Jay was very nice and although he does foils (highlights) in the strangest way I have ever seen, it turned out really great. He was WAY overbooked for that day, so while I waited for him to cut and style my hairm (after it was colored), I got a deep conditioning treatment, steam treatment and head and neck massage while I waited.

The cut is a little cheesy (very layered) but I think it will allow me to wear my hair wavy more often (which is perfect for the foggy bottom I am living in). If I wasn't at work, I would attach a picture for people to comment on.

Friday, 14 March 2008


I found out this morning (via my mom and The Doings) that Eurythmics is going to Nationals this year! This morning, on my ride to work, I beamed with pride for the entire 45 minutes after reading the article Mom sent me. I am so proud of them for being one of the only public high schools invited to the competition. I have never seen the piece they are performing, but I am sure it is wonderfully choreographed (by Mr Randy Duncan) and danced by the lovely ladies of the Eurythmic Dance Company. Check out their promo video for 2007 (I'm in the footage from "Cell Block Tango").

Thursday, 13 March 2008

TOMS Shoes

Drapers featured an article on this awesome endeavor in the fashion industry: TOMS Shoes. For every pair of shoes bought, the company (founded by Blake Mycoskie) donates a pair of shoes to a child in a developing country. To date, TOMS has donated 63,000 pairs of shoes to children in Africa and South America, and hopes to have donated 200,000 by the end of the year. Check out their website and help them achieve their goal.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Read this

Here is an excellent piece of writing I came across on, where else, A brilliant exposition on such an important topic. Check it out: I'll Leave my Tights on

I went to Hogwarts

Today we were driven to Blenheim Palace (more like Blah- heim Palace) and Oxford. Blenheim is the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, so there was plenty of Churchill Memorabilia, but the rest of the old stuff didn't exactly dazzle. The grounds and its many gardens were gorgeous, however the forceful wind gusts made it difficult to enjoy the outdoors. The highlight of the trip was definitely seeing Christ Church and its Great Hall in Oxford where they film scenes from Harry Potter. Check it out- Hogwarts!

Saturday, 8 March 2008

I'm Back

Sorry for the lack of contact. Since our return from Berlin, I have been forced to the dentist in the land of poor oral hygiene and stricken with a flu. Gross. However, my mouth is fixed and the flu-like symptoms have started to subside. I am currently working on some shutterfly albums from the last few weeks, so check back.

Album from Lisa's visit now up.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

I'm in Berlin!

I am blogging from my surprisingly cozy hostel in Berlin. It is not your typical Spring Break, there are certainly no bathing suits or sunglasses in sight, but we are enjoying the vaca nonetheless. We got caught in the rain this morning in our quest for flea markets, no we came back for dry socks and to check the weather on the internet and replan our day. After the twenty minutes is up, we are on our way out again. We may be headed to the Pergamum Museum (thanks Mrs. Dettori) or some of the sites suggested by Mrs. Jamie Holben. Until later, auf wiedersehen.

Friday, 29 February 2008

Funny Games

I went to a critics' screening last night (with a friend who is a critic, and undoubtedly reading this). Check out the trailer:

Thursday, 28 February 2008

London News

Apparently I slept through (of course) an earthquake Tuesday night, the biggest to hit London in 20+ years. Here are two stories (UK shaken and Quaking all over) from my favourite (like that spelling) paper here in London, The Independent.

Also, there are a lot of protests going on surrounding the expansion of Heathrow Airport. I am honestly very surprised that a country that seems to be environmentally conscious is going to put so much money towards a detriment to the environment. Earlier in the week, Greenpeace members climbed atop an airplane to release banners of disagreement, and yesterday protestors scaled the roof of Parliament to get their message across (story here).

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Sports Camp

For those of you who don't know, I have been volunteering as a camp counselor at the for about four years now (I am starting to lose track...). I was a camper at Sports Camp when I was in junior high and high school and the counselors always made the week for me, so I jumped at the opportunity to be a counselor as soon as I was asked. Unfortunately, enrollment has been pretty low (which is unbelievable considering how fun camp is) and last year we were unable to have it at all. All the staff was heartbroken, but more importantly that meant a year that there were kids missing out on all that Sports Camp has to offer, which believe me is a lot.
Sports Camp is a week-long camp in Princeton, IL that is sponsored by the UCC. It is an amazing opportunity for kids with all levels of athletic ability and faith to come together and just enjoy a week away. Campers are grouped into "families" to foster friendship and sportsmanship, while competing in Olympic style games, but to understand the Sports Camp "magic" you'll have to experience it for yourself :)

So, this year we are back in full force making sure that everyone knows exactly what they have been missing. Our wonderful camp directors have put us on the web: and have included a blog where they, and other staff members, post information and updates, as well as favorite memories and stories from the past 30+ years.
I really cannot stress how fun, and rewarding, Sports Camp is (and you all know I can usually find a way to write about anything). I have been on both sides of the camp dynamic (camper and now counselor) and consistently camp is one of the best weeks of my entire year.
I am hoping that by spreading the word to all your family and friends (especially those with kids who have just completed 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th grade) that I will be able to share this experience with so many others. Please email Suzy, Marc and Scott ( if you have ANY question. They are seriously some of the nicest people I have ever met, and they love camp even more than I do.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


So I guess I can start panicking about how quickly my time here is going... my midterm break starts this Saturday! I am headed to Germany (Berlin to be exact) on Saturday. After a few days there, we will be trekking to Rostock on the Baltic Sea to visit the land of Laura's ancestors and will be finishing the trip on Wednesday in Frankfurt (the rest of the week will be spent with the lovely Shayne Zotti in London). Any suggestions on places to stay, eat, visit, etc. are greatly appreciated. Leave it here, or email me

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Lisa's Visit: A week in review

Suzi and I had the pleasure of hosting Lisa, Bridget and Bridgette this week. Here is a recap of their visit (also known as the best week of my life):

Sunday: Brunch at Balans, Portobello Markets and the ElectricSunday started off with breakfast at Balans, the greatest place for eggs benedict in the entire city (thank you Suzi). Afterwards, we went to the markets on Portobello Road, which is an excellent weekend activity in London, but I was too excited by the girls' arrival to shop seriously. Drinks and appetizers at the Electric were the perfect end to the day.

Monday: Historic Pub Crawl along the Thames River

The girls' met Suzi and I after work for the London Walks Along the Thames Pub Walk. It was a chilly night, but we stopped in some cute pubs along the way to warm up.
Tuesday: London Eye and Thai Pub

Dusk proved to be the perfect time to take advantage of the London Eye. Neither Suzi nor I had been yet, so the girls' visit was the perfect opportunity to see the city lit up from above. Afterwards, we went to a pub in Nottinghill, The Churchill Arms, which doubles as a Thai restaurant. It was some of the best Thai food I have had here yet (besides the Papaya Tree on High Street Kensington) and was extremely reasonably priced.

Wednesday: Dover and Canterbury

This week's field trip featured another boring trip to a castle in Dover with absolutely no sign of any white cliffs...

Afterwards, we were back on the bus to Canterbury (I'm still not quite sure why) and in their cathedral. The architecture inside and out of the cathedral was beautiful, but with the prospect of my birthday in the near future, I lost interest quickly.

I did notice this very cool tile on the cathedral floor that made me think of my cousin Michael.

Wednesday night we kicked off the birthday celebrations at Maddox, and I had my first drink as a 21 year old.

Thursday: Birthday!

"Birthday festivities" (Lisa's term for opening presents sent from my wonderful family) began at Suzi's and preceeded the best dinner of my London career at Signor Sassi. Singing waiters and a delicious meal were more than I could have asked for, but the night continued to The Loop for drinks. I am proud to say, I woke up without a trace of a hangover the next day!

Friday: Buckingham Palace and Dolce

I took the day off Friday and went with the girls to Buckingham Palace (we didn't see Harry). At night, we met up with some of Suzi and Mia's friends at Dolce, which is probably the sweetest place I have been yet [the male company wasn't bad either :) ].


Friday, 22 February 2008

I am still alive

Lisa has kept me on my toes this week, which has kept me away from my computer (and my blog). Rest assured that I did survive my twenty-first birthday, with flying colors I might add, and will be back tomorrow to give a review of Lisa's visit. Check back.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Lisa's Here

She may not have any luggage and she may have been a few hours later than expected, but she's here with all my birthday presents in stow. I am so excited for the best week of my life (including the best 21st birthday in history).

Saturday, 16 February 2008

The Best Day Ever

Yesterday was definitely one of the most exciting of my life.

I went to my first catwalk show: Louise Amstrup (not the show I thought I was going to). The show was at the Royal Academy of the Arts, which is a much smaller venue than I was anticipating, and was a part of On/Off (a portion of London Fashion week). Before the show, I was interviewed while waiting in the holding area. Check out the interview.

The collection was very naturalistic. The clothing was a odd mix of tailored pants and flowy dresses. I was definitely captivated the entire time though.

After watching so many seasons of America's Next Top Model, I now understand why a model's walk is so important. Some of the models were not very seasoned, as seen in their bouncy walks, poor posture and duck-like faces. Those girls definitely took away from the clothing,
however those that could walk made me want to wear whatever they were wearing.

After getting the afternoon off work to go to the show, I came home for a short cat nap
following the catwalk :)
Last night, Sarah and I went to see the Royal Ballet perform three pieces: Chroma (the most amazing thing I have ever seen choreographed to an orchestra's rendition of the White Stripes), The Different Drummer and The Rite of Spring. The theater itself is magnificent with red velvet seating and soft lighting throughout, but the performances certainly outshined the venue.

Chroma was a perfect display of the athleticism of a professional ballet dancer combined with the fluid grace and strength of their movements. I could have been knocked over with a feather watching these gorgeous women wrap themselves around their partners as though they were no more than a strip of rubber. The men were exquisitely strong and incredibly flexible and fluid as well. All in all, a perfect contemporary display of traditional ballet technique taken beyond the tutu.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

After giving my roommates a pep talk on how Valentine's Day is for all types of love, I headed off to work in a very "loving" mood (and wearing a red top). I also read a valentine from my Grandma three times over. When I got to the office, however, my coworkers sucked the love right out of me. Apparently, Valentine's Day is not celebrated the same way as in the US, and it was kinda depressing...

My faith was reaffirmed when I got off the tube at the end of the day and saw countless men racing around with bouquets of flowers, and a group standing in front of a streetside flower stand.

And to all my family and friends who are concerned that I may fall in love here and never come home, rest assured, for even on Valentine's Day, when love is in the air, it is nowhere near yours truly :)

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Blondes really do have more fun and blue eyes...

Check out this article that my blue-eyed, blonde-haired (kinda) sister sent me: All blue-eyed people can be traced back to one ancestor.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Happy Birthday Sarah

For Sarah's birthday we spent the day in Brighton, a quaint seaside town south of London. It was a gorgeous day to get out of the city and enjoy the weather on the beach. More photos here.

The Prince of Tek

Only in London could I drink while writing a paper for my weekly British Life and Culture class. I have escaped to a local pub to write, and despite the loud music, it is surprisingly more conducive to writing than my apartment (perhaps that's the lack of internet). Apparently, a glass of merlot is all I needed to make my analysis of Shakespeare’s writing more concrete. More to come...

Friday, 8 February 2008

What a wonderful world

This morning on the tube I was trying my best to continue reading the book I am currently absorbed in (The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards) when the a woman next to me said, "Isn't it just wonderful?"

I looked up and she nodded towards the book. Oh yes, I am really enjoying it I told her.

She said she was about a hundred pages ahead of me and told me I was just about to uncover something good. She began to tell me what she liked about the book, which included the perfectly detailed descriptions that make you feel completely immersed in the scene. The next thing she said pinpointed put my exact feelings about the book into words: It really requires concentration though.

How simple, yet profound. Although I love the story, I have been struggling with it. At first it was just identifying the characters and feeling sympathy for them, but more recently it has been feeling as though I was missing the subtleties that really brighten Edwards' writing.

When I got to my stop, I told her to enjoy the end. She replied, "You too. Take care."

What a wonderful way to start my day. This woman, a complete stranger in a city I am only just becoming familiar with, had been able to verbalize the secret to enjoying the same novel I have been working through since I left the states. She was much older and, judging by her accent, not from the UK either, yet we could find similar enjoyment in one story. I never thought that reading on the tube would make me feel smarter, more connected to a complete stranger and less alone while traveling abroad.

With a positive outlook on the day, I was extremely productive at work. From reading my earlier post you know I was also fortunate enough to get a ticket to a London Fashion Week show, and then was allowed to leave work at 3:30 PM. I spent the rest of the day reading and writing in Kensington Garden watching a peach colored sky fade into the tree spotted horizon. Dinner (sushi) and a movie (Juno) with Ambika and I am happy to call it a night.


All of my wildest dreams have just come true. My supervisor has just told us that we have invitations to a catwalk show at London Fashion Week next Friday afternoon. I think I will be seeing the collection of Aminaka Wilmont, but I was so excited that I blacked out for a second and missed the designer's name. What am I going to wear?

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Warwick and Stratford

So this Wednesday field trip was, simply put, dull. We saw some pretty views from the top of Warwick (oh, and everything here that ends with "wick" is really just "ick" so the city we went to is war-ick), but other than that were disappointed to waste such a beautiful day on a bus. In Stratford we toured Anne Hathaway's family cottage (she was Shakespeare's wife) and Shakespeare's birthplace. Both are now museums and not in the original condition they were in when they lived there. Not even close. Anne Hathaway's cottage had more than quadrupled in size had modern windows and the roof was currently being rethatched like it is every 2o years. "The birthplace" (of Shakespeare) as they referred to it all day long, was certainly not the "Shakesperience" that our guides hyped. At least I got some good photos.

To sum up the day:

The courtyard at Warwick Castle

Anne Hathaway's cottage

The birthplace

"I must be cruel only to be kind;
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind."
-William Shakespeare

From work

I probably shouldn't be blogging at work, but we just got this week's issue of Drapers and I am listed in the masthead as a contributor! Hooray! I guess some of my hard work has paid off. Check out the website if you haven't already.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


We are in hot pursuit of Marvin. He came out in tonight with all three of us watching, so we have now set a trap (pizza box with peanut butter in it) and are poised outside of it. We have turned the lights off and plan to close him inside and throw him out the window.

The only problem is that this is not the "Marvin" I saw the other day. My guess is he brought his girlfriend back to our place...

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Searching for Shakespeare

"I wish you well and so I take my leave,
I Pray you know me when we meet again."

-William Shakespeare

Tomorrow we are going to Warwick and Stratford (the birthplace of Shakespeare). Until then...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

I Saw Marvin

So, I finally saw Marvin (the mouse that cohabitates our flat).

I am now hiding up in my top bunk because I am too afraid to go anywhere near the kitchen. Perfect time to recap my weekend:

Friday night Sarah and I ventured to the infamous Brick Lane as suggested by locals at both of our internships. It was a little scary at first with lots of abandoned buildings and foreign men trying to scoot us into various middle eastern restaurants, but we found a charming little place to have a couple of drinks. The atmosphere was very cozy and the service was great. Next we walked down a little alleyway flooded with people. There were foodstands on both sides and judging by the smell and the crowds, the food must have been pretty good. We didn't get anything. We then saw another interesting looking place and ventured inside to find the perfect combination of lounge and bar. Good crowd, not too difficult to get a drink and comfy leather couches. The creepy guys that tried to carry on a conversation with us were the only negative.

Saturday was a cold day in London. After an enjoyable lunch with Suzi, I headed to Trafalgar Square and visited the National Portrait Gallery. The collection was very interesting and informative- A great way to learn about history. One of my favorite exhibits was on the artist's process, which was a cool way to look at portraiture by seeing exactly how some artists put together a seemingly straightforward piece of art. Let me tell you, its not as obvious as one might think. I also got to see the entries for the Photographic Portrait Prize 2007. There were some very creative shots, and also some not so creative ones, but a good collection nonetheless.

Afterwards I braved the cold and walked around the fountains in Trafalgar Square. There was quite a crowd despite the gloomy weather. I walked around what would be the equivalent to the theater district in Chicago and stumbled upon the Covent Gardens marketplace. I heard live music and clapping, so I followed the cheers and found a string quartet of twenty somethings entertaining a huge crowd. They all danced while they played their instruments, which was quite a feat for their bassist.

Today Ambika and I went in search of some much sought after food items and were extremely successful. First stop was a creperie that was more than worth the wait. I hope to take some visitors back there. Afterwards we headed to The Hummingbird Bakery to satisfy our intense cravings for cupcakes. I went with the red velvet (only to find out it had a cream cheese frosting) and Ambika got vanilla with vanilla frosting. You can order birthday cakes from there too which is good to know :)

We finished up the afternoon with a little shopping in Knightsbridge. If only I didn't have to go to work tomorrow...

City In Reverse

My favorite blog, The Winger, has recently added former NYCB member Kyra Nichols (pictured at the right in all her splendor) as a contributor- a wonderful addition, in my eyes. Her first post was about a young girl she had met while in the company who is now a very accomplished cellist. Her name is Ashley Bathgate and after visiting her website I am completely hooked on her music (and listening to it as I write this). I don't claim to know much about music, and even less about cello music, but if you are at all interested you should go to her website and have a listen.

That got me thinking that I could use my blog to shameless promote my own family's musical pursuits. Check out my cousin Kevin on bass in his band, City In Reverse, at their myspace page. Be sure to listen to Sunglasses- it's my fav.

Thursday, 31 January 2008

"Such is life"

So this blog is a day belated. I wrote it, but had to save it to deal with some things at home. Fortunately, I have a very good friend who gave me the advice-inspired title for this blog.

Happy Birthday Erica!Today was the first of a few 21st birthdays to be celebrated across the pond (Mine is the last I think). Not your typical 21st since we all have to get up and go to work tomorrow, but nonetheless a reason to celebrate!

Today we went to Tate Britain for our BLC field trip and learned about some of the finer points of ancient British art. I was naturally drawn to two pieces, a sculpture and a painting, that featured three girls- sisters. The first piece of art on the tour was Antonio Canova's statue "The Three Graces." The daughters of Zeus stand together and represent the qualities of beauty, elegance and joy. Later on, we saw Sir Joshua Reynolds painting of three sisters in "Three Ladies Adorning a Term of Hyman." The women in the piece are gathering flowers to decorate an alter for the Roman god of marriage, Hyman. I liked this one because the youngest sister is knelt down looking up at the older two in admiration. No photography is allowed. Hopefully these will suffice:

Afterwards, Ambika and I went to Yo! Sushi in the Food Hall at Selfridges. We were in search of these adorable birthday cupcakes for Erica that we had spotted weeks earlier, but needed to make a pit stop at Yo!'s. It was my first time eating at a sushi bar with one of those conveyor belts and I loved it. Everything was delicious and the limited amount of carbs was a nice change from the life of cereal and peanut butter and jelly that I currently live. I picked up some pear sorbet for dessert and came home for a quick nap before a quaint birthday dinner (For those of you wondering, Marvin wasn't invited). All in all a pretty nice day off work.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Jane Austin, you are so wise.

"Nobody is healthy in London, nobody can be."
- Jane Austin

I just ate yogurt with a knife so that I didn't have to wash another utensil. Erica just corked a bottle of wine with a paper towel. Ambika is sitting on a half eaten bag of prawn crackers.

You are so wise Jane Austin, so wise.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Adventures in Laundering

Sarah and I attempted to do laundry tonight. A word to the wise: Save your 20 p's. The machines only take those and pounds, which we found out after struggling with them for ten minutes. Hey, at least there was a drunk Australian helping us...

I'm hoping that the purple tank top he was folding was a girl's. However, by the looks of him, the only girl this guy ever brings home is Stella Artois (I know because she was with him at the laundrette).

I'll feel bad if he reads this. But then again, I'm not entirely sure he can- read that is.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Born to Hand Jive, Baby

The last Friday of every month the V & A stays open late, brings in a dj and serves drinks. We got there a little late, but definitely saw the best that the museum had to offer that night: a group of guests so moved by the atmosphere, and who knows what else, that they turned the entranceway into a dance floor- and tore it up.

After taking a spin around the museum, the first floor of which I have already studied in great detail, I stopped in the front entranceway underneath an enormous Chihuly glass sculpture. I sat on a bench to examine the delicate forms of blue and green glass swirling down from the ceiling. At the same time, something else caught my eye. The dj was located in the same entrance rotunda that I had stopped in and a group had gathered in front of the speakers. The dj was joined by another guy who prompted the next track by saying, "He always tells me not to play this, but I'm going to anyway."

I was nervous. But the next thing I heard was the familiar intro of "Born to Hand Jive." As a dancer, I couldn't stay seated. I stood up by a few friends who had gathered by me and started to casually rock to the beats. Suddenly, all attention was drawn to a couple whose dance moves were nothing short of spectacular. Breaking out in a 50s style swing with improvised partnering, all eyes were on them. They moved in perfect unity despite the spastic movements of their choreography and with an inhibition that is usually only expressed in front of one's bedroom mirror.

But when I looked around, what I noticed was even more interesting. My passion for dance has stemmed from many years of training and studying the art, but what is truly amazing about it is that anyone, anywhere, can dance.

The two in the center of a loosely formulated circle danced so freely that others were slowly drawn to them. They looked like they were having so much fun that others around, who weren't going to be as footloose or fancy free as them, found their own level of comfort with their moves. Coming out from the center of the circle, invisible tiers formed for different levels of energy and steps. There were women swaying with their friends, a drunk guy off by his lonesome and me, two-stepping in place with the occasional hand jive movements. I loved that everyone just put what they had out there. Whether it was a freedom and carelessness that allowed them to go all out or an understated little sway in rhythm with the music, the atmosphere was perfect for all.

What a wonderful way to bring people together. To evoke joy and lightheartedness. To burn a few calories. And to enjoy London.

I was absolutely obsessed with the energy in the room. People clapped and cheered when the song ended. There was a sense of unity felt by everyone in the room, whether they were workin it on the dance floor, or a few steps back groovin to their own tune. It was all smiles, and I truly think everyone around who could acknowledge this was sublimely happy. I know I was.

What a wonderful art, dance. The ability to make people happy and feel good about themselves, to find their own level of comfort, to be able to do it anywhere and with any level of expertise (including none at all).

I am so fortunate to have this as a hobby and to have found a way to experience it here in London.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Ruffles are in

After almost a week as an intern at Drapers, I have learned many things. The first and foremost is that I hate riding the tube. It is so crowded in the morning and it takes me 45 minutes to get to the office. Imagine standing crammed in between dozens of strangers while you all bump back and forth into each other for almost an hour. Not pleasant. Oh how I long for the relaxing nature of the BNSF railway from the western suburbs into the city- A much more desirable morning commute.

I have been doing a lot of cold calling this week, which is nothing less than thrilling. Not. But I am becoming familiar with certain brands and names, which is proving to be more and more helpful everyday. I am also getting to do some writing tomorrow that will appear in the Feb. 2 issue of the magazine. I think you should be able to check it out online.

The office is very cool- new and modern. There are lots of magazines in our floor and no real separation between each one. The entire place is open (no cubes mom) and so there are always people coming and going.

There are two British interns who are very nice, and unfortunately leaving tomorrow. I spent a lot of time with them today and got to ask a lot of questions about the internship and London in general. They are a very valuable resource to me and I will be sorry to see them go.

I am completely wiped out at the end of the day. I don't have to be up nearly as early as I did this summer, but for some reason I am more tired and less hungry at the end of the day. I'm sure I will get used to it as time goes on. Until then, I will continue to go to sleep at 9:30.

Family that is coming in the summer: Let me know if there are any places you want me to check out for you!

Splish, splash I was taking a bath...

Wednesday was our first out of town field trip to Stonehenge and Bath.Stonehenge was not at all what I thought it would be (I don't exactly know what I thought it would be). I thought it was going to take up a massive area and the stones were going to be very spread out. The stones themselves were massive, but the area that they were in was a lot more compact than I thought it would be. What is cool about Stonehenge is that even though it is in the middle of nowhere, it is so significant. There is so much mystery in the area- why is it there, how did it get there, etc.

In a way, it seems as though the rocks have just been sitting there for hundreds of years without any rhyme or reason. Yet, in actuality, there was so much thought and planning that must have gone into the final act of building the creation. It is crazy to think of the lack of technology that put together this amazing structure, and the fact that it still remains.

It's hard to describe. I felt like such a tourist, because like I said it is in the middle of nowhere, so you have to go with the intent of seeing it, but at the same time, it felt very meaningful to be in a place with so much history where so many people have been before me.

Afterwards we were back on the buses and headed to Bath. We toured the Roman Baths, which we also cool because they operate with the exact same natural pumps and drains as when the Roman were there. What an advanced civilization!

The water was as green as the pictures indicate. It may or may not be radioactive, and steam is constantly rising up from it. A little creepy, but cool none the less.

The town of Bath was remarkably quaint. It is exactly what I think of when I think of a tiny European town with short streets that wind around in every which way, little shops with homemade goodies and vendors in the streets. It was a perfectly grey day in England and I managed to find yet another fashion museum. Not as cool as either of the other exhibits I have seen, but it had worthwhile information and some cool sketches of original designs.

Here are the photos.

After our day in the country, it's back to work.