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.