Friday, December 16, 2005

Goodbye London morning routine!


Or shall I just say "till we meet again..." Today, Jason and I head back to Raleigh for 5 weeks for the holly-days. So I'll shelve my morning routine until I return. I'll miss you cinnamon toast! Au revoir morning chats with my Euro-gals. See ya later Starb... Right. Who are we really kidding here? I'll still have my coffee every morning.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ice skating at Kew Gardens

Tonight, Jason and I went ice skating in Kew Gardens. Bear in mind that I have never once in my life strapped on skates and set foot on frozen water. Never. Yet, there I was paying good money to partake in such activity. The second my skate touched ice, I was petrified. Literally scared stiff. Possibly because I have had less than desireable experiences with ice in the past which resulted in a totalled car and several staples in my scalp. However, I did ok once I got going. I clung to Jason the whole time and started out by letting him just pull me around. By the time we left, I was actually starting to get the hang of it. And I didn't fall once! Here are a few pics.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's t-shirt Thursday again!

So last week, I invented "T-shirt Thursday". It didn't occur to me at the time to make it a regular feature but there are just too many funny t-shirts out there not to share them.

Barbies are slutty

A few people have asked me where I came up with the title for my blog - Life in a Nutshell. Honestly, it's a reference to a Barenaked Ladies song. They were one of my favorite bands in my college/post-college years. Actually, I do still like them quite a lot but I guess their heyday was mid-late 90's. We've been to see them in concert countless times and own all their cd's. It's a kind of nostalgia for me. I have some seriously good memories that relate back to BNL songs and shows. Many of you also know that one of our 2 cats is named after a BNL reference. Elwin - it comes from one of the live hidden tracks on Rock Spectacle. Anyway... Jason once put this one on a mix tape (that's right folks - I said TAPE) he made for me many many moons ago. Here are the lyrics:

When she was three
Her Barbies always did it on the first date
Now she's with me,
There's never any need for them to demonstrate

She's like a baby, I'm like a cat;
When we are happy, we both get fat and still
It's never enough, It's never enough,
It's never enough

But I don't tend to worry 'bout the things that other people say
And I'm learning that I wouldn't want it any other way
Call me crazy but it really doesn't matter
All that matters to me is she

Her life in a nutshell
No way would she want it to change me
It's not that easy 'cause
My time is often decided for me
For me

She memorized every pencil crayon color in the box
Her blue-green eyes complement the burnt sienna in her locks
She's at the movies, I'm on the phone;
When we're separated, we're never alone, but still
It's never enough, It's never enough,
No it's never enough

Her life in a nutshell
No way would she want it to change me
It's not that easy 'cause
My time is often decided for me
For me

I fell down with no one there to catch me from falling
Then she came 'round
And only her tenderness stopped me from bawling my eyes out
I'm OK, and that's why

Her life in a nutshell
No way would she want it to change me
It's not that easy 'cause
My time is often decided for me
For me

Monday, December 12, 2005

The explosion in Hemel Hempstead and our trip to Whipsnade Park

On Sunday, we journeyed out of the city to visit Whipsnade Animal Park with Charlotte & Brian and Monique & Murray. It just so happened that on this very day, there was a HUGE fuel plant explosion in Hemel Hempstead which is exactly where we were going. This photo is of the black smoke cloud in the distance and of all the cars qeueing up for petrol since they didn't know if there would be a shortage or if the prices would rocket. It was kind of mayhem! Anyway, we eventually got to the park and had a great time! Here are the pics.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

"The true meaning of Christmas" or "Baby Jesus may have been a rapper"

So, for a glimpse into my life, here's the jist of our dinner conversation last night...

Jason: So, what are we going to do about Christmas gifts to each other this year? Buy them here and exchange before we leave or after we get back? Or just do it in Raleigh?
Me: I think we should just do it in Raleigh. Everything's less expensive there anyway. We'll just have to know to get each other small-ish and lightweight stuff, nothing big that will be hard to carry back.
Jason: Nice. How convenient for you. I wonder what sorts of things you might be referring to?
Me: Well, let me think... You know, jewelry is small.
Jason: You know what's nice about Christmas? It's a nice family holiday. Not a romantic holiday. So there's no pressure to buy fancy things like jewelry.
Me: Yeah, well, that would make jewelry all the better a choice - unexpected!
Jason: You wanna know what angle I would have taken there? I would have said something about one of the three wisemen gifts being gold.
Me: Yeah, well I don't want gold. Anyway, I hardly think the three wisemen brought Jesus gold chains like bling bling.
Jason: What, you think they just brought him a big honkin' brick of gold? "Here you go kid!"
Me: Well, I think that's more plausible than P.Diddy-ish accessories.

A minute or so of silence while we both chew and gaze at the Christmas tree for a minute. Then...

Me: Great. Now I have this image of Baby Jesus laying in the manger decked out in a track suit and a big gold chain with a huge "J" pendant on it. His rapper name could be Baby J!

End scene.

There you have it. These are the type of conversations we regularly have. Now you all know why I like him so much.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

That's right kids! It's "T-shirt Thursday"!


Okay, so there's really no such thing as "T-shirt Thursday". But I saw this one and thought it was really really ridiculously funny. So here you go. Can I get a what-what?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm dreaming of a white (trash) christmas

It's the tackiest little tree that ever was. But I love it. We are coming home in 9 days so we only have a short time to enjoy it but it just didn't feel like "the season" without a tree. And how lame am I? I couldn't stand the look of a "bare" tree around the bottom so I went out and bought wrapping paper and wrapped up a few empty boxes to put under there. Oh my God. Now that I've seen it in print, I really can't believe I did that.

Monday, December 05, 2005

My first British Sunday Roast


Yesterday, we had yet another "American Girls in UK" get-together. We went to a British pub and had traditional Sunday roast. It was YUMMY! Yorkshire pudding is super good. It's not pudding like we think of it in the states - it's like a pastry thingy. Highly recommended.

Then we all took a field trip to the American candy store. They have so much awesome stuff there that you can't get anywhere else here! I bought six DIET MOUNTAIN DEWS! Oh my lawd - I'm in heaven! They cost me an arm and a leg - and possibly my first born child, I don't know... I stopped listening when I saw the beautiful shiny green can. Prrrrreeeettttyyyyyyy. Seriously, over a pound per can and that's like $2. PER CAN. Not to mention the Reece's Pieces, Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, War Heads, Peanut Butter Twix, Pixy Stix. Not to mention the fact that my wonderful Aunt Sandy sent me 2 packs of Peeps which arrived last Friday! Ok. Gotta go. Sugar coma setting in.

Lunch Pics

Thanksgiving, Part Deux















So, this past weekend, we had our second Thanksgiving courtesy of my new friend Charlotte and her husband Brian. It was a get-together of several American girls in the UK and their husbands. It was amazing! The food was delicious and there was even a proper Green Bean Casserole and pumpkin pies... And lots of wine. Lots. You can see the effects of said wine in the pictures - mostly in the late-night karaoke session at Lucky Voice. It was great fun though!

Thanksgiving Dinner and Karaoke Pics

Friday, December 02, 2005

I don't normally post twice in one day but...


I could NOT resist this. Those who've known me a long time know that I had quite a passion for Pez dispensers in high school/college. I still collect them, just not as fervently as I used to. Then, today, I saw this. Swarovski crystal Pez dispensers!!! Wow. My passion has been rekindled! I want, I need, I have to have one!

This ain't a fashion show people, but come ON.....

What is it with people at the gym? There's a percentage at every gym I've even been to that just don't know how to dress to work out. They usually fall into two distinct groups: those who overdo it and those who don't do it at all. I'll 'splain. Yesterday, there were no less that 3 guys who walked in wearing woolie hats. Who, WHO, I ask you, wears a winter hat to work out??? This isn't an Abercrombie and Fitch photoshoot! Then, of course, there are the girls who show up in more makeup than I wore on my flipping wedding day. As for the other category, I've seen a couple of guys wearing the strangest things... Like, black dress socks, chino shorts, and a golf shirt. WHAT THE HEY?!? Did you not know you were going to the gym? Did you just walk by and think, "Hey, I think I'll go in there and hit the treadmill!" Then again, if you're wearing black dress socks with chino shorts on the street, you've got bigger problems than what to wear at the gym. I feel like ringing up Trinny and Susannah and having them stake-out the joint, randomly accosting people who dare to show up in these atrocities.

Open note to members of David Lloyd at Fulham Broadway:

Please have consideration for others when chosing your active wear. Let's all try to stick to the basics, shall we? Adidas trainers, alma-mater tees, grey hoodies... There truly is a plethora of acceptable alternatives out there. Get thee to a Foot Locker and stock up! And ladies, I, nay WE, beg of you to unhand your blush brushes and sparkle eye shadow and (here's a novelty) actually wash your face free of makeup prior to hitting the spinning class. It's never pretty when your eye makeup ends up sweating itself down to your cheeks anyway.

Sartorially Yours,
Sporty Spice

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Two guys, a doll, and an Italian place


My life is now complete. Last night, I sat about 50 feet from Ewan McGregor all night while he sang and danced his way into my heart all over again. Guys and Dolls was one of my favorite shows I've ever seen I think. All the actors were just great! Jane Krakowski (some Ally McBeal fans may remember her from that show) was sooooo good as Adelaide. And something about Ewan doing that harsh 1940's New York accent really flipped my switch! And I thought I might pass out cold when he sang "Luck be a Lady". Not to mention that we started the evening off with possibly the best lasagne I've ever had in my entire life. All in all, not a bad night. Great food and my number one and number two men in the same room with me. And before someone asks... OF COURSE Jason is the number one!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Who says there's no Thanksgiving in Great Britian?

I beg to differ. Last night we had some friends over for quite a feast and next Saturday, we're going over to another friend's place for yet another Thanksgiving dinner! I've decided that this year, I'm most thankful for the following:

-the amazing opportunity we've been given to live abroad for a few years
-a wonderful, amazing, incredibly good-looking husband with whom to share it
-the new girlfriends I've made so quickly here (shout out to Pandora, Kate, Monique, and Charlotte)
-the old girlfriends from home that I miss so dearly (shout out to Catherine, Melanie, and Jenny)
-Starbucks' seasonal latte offerings which they so cleverly serve in adorable red cups
-iTunes/iPod
-the really hot guy in the new Lacoste cologne ad
-Ewan McGregor live on stage in Guys and Dolls

and probably a lot more stuff but now all I can think about is Lacoste guy and Ewan McGregor...

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Workout Mistress is In

So, I've put together quite a workout mix for my iPod and it really keeps me motivated at the gym. I have to actually force myself to leave after an hour and a half. So I thought I'd share my knowledge for others who are searching for similar motivation.

I'll split the songs into three categories - The Kick It Up, The Break It Down, and The Transition Between The Two (I thought my fellow Better Than Ezra fans would appreciate that little reference). The Kick It Up means kick it into high gear and run your arse off on the treadmill or elliptical. The Break It Down songs are good for either weights, strength machines, or jacking up the incline on the treadmill and going at a slow pace to work your bum and thighs - I call it the "slow climb". That's a little tip I picked up from my friend Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas. Otherwise known as the best butt in the biz, so I figure if anybody's worth taking workout tips from, it's her. Word? Word. The Transition is basically songs that are good for your powerwalk pace - everything that happens in between running and slow climb. Samples of all these songs should be available on either iTunes or amazon.com. So without further delay.......

THE KICK IT UP
The Rockafeller Skank - Fatboy Slim
Song for the Dumped - Ben Folds Five
Toxic - Britney Spears
Switch - Will Smith
She Wants To Move - N.E.R.D.
Blitzkrieg Bop - The Ramones
Pump It - Black Eyed Peas
Ray of Light - Madonna
Bodyrock - Moby
Without Me - Eminem
Objection Tango - Shakira
Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
Bubble Pop Electric - Gwen Stefani
Because We Can (from Moulin Rouge soundtrack) - Fatboy Slim
An American Girl - Tom Petty
I Wanna Be Sedated - The Ramones
La La La - Jay-Z
Mr. Brightside - The Killers
Just a Girl - No Doubt
End of the World - REM
Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz
Do Somethin' - Britney Spears
Take It Off - The Donnas
One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solem Faces - Ben Folds Five
Beautiful Day - U2
Paint It Black - Rolling Stones
The Obvious Child - Paul Simon
Last Chance - Jet
Lose Control - Missy Elliott
Somebody Told Me - The Killers
Can't Get You Out of My Head - Kylie Minogue
Crazy In Love - Beyonce
Devil Inside - INXS
Hey Mama - Black Eyed Peas
Lose My Breath - Destiny's Child
Judy is a Punk - The Ramones
Pon De Replay - Rihanna
What You Waiting For - Gwen Stefani
Dammitt - Blink 182
Add It Up - Violent Femmes

THE BREAK IT DOWN
Soldier - Destiny's Child
Izzo - Jay-Z
Juicy - Better Than Ezra
Candy Shop - 50 Cent
Jesus Walks - Kanye West
Lose Yourself - Eminem
Lady - Lenny Kravitz
In Da Club - 50 Cent
Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
99 Problems - Jay-Z
P.I.M.P - 50 Cent
Magic Stick - 50 Cent
Gold Digger - Kanye West
All These Things That I've Done - The Killers
Naughty Girl - Beyonce
I'm Real (Murder Remix) - I'm Real
Disco Inferno - 50 Cent
Beverly Hills - Weezer

THE TRANSITION
Baby Boy - Beyonce
My Perogative - Britney Spears
The Boogie That Be - Black Eyed Peas
Change Clothes - Jay-Z
One, Two Step - Ciara
Work It - Missy Elliott
Outrageous - Britney Spears
Diamonds - Kanye West
Float On - Modest Mouse
Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani
Pop - Nsync
Rockin ' the Suburbs - Ben Folds
Don't Lie - Black Eyed Peas
Whenever, Wherever - Shakira
My Humps - Black Eyed Peas
Don't Phunk With My Heart - Black Eyed Peas
Dirt Off Your Shoulder - Jay-Z
Cold Hard Bitch - Jet
Hella Good - No Doubt
Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
Right For Me - Justin Timberlake
Booylicious - Destiny's Child
Crash - Gwen Stefani
Goodies - Ciara
My Style - Black Eyed Peas
Rock Your Body - Justin Timberlake
Gossip Folks - Missy Elliott
Let's Get It Started - Black Eyed Peas
Superman - REM
Hott - Missy Elliott
Senorita - Justin Timberlake
Make Over - Christina Aguilera
I'm a Slave 4 U - Britney Spears
Rich Girl - Gwen Stefani
Like I Love You - Justin Timberlake
Dirrty - Christina Aguilera
Rollover DJ - Jet

So there you have it. If anyone else has any really good workout songs, lemme know. I'm always up for adding to my repertoire! You can all send me lovely bunches of tulips to thank me when you have Fergie's butt and abs...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

My British television debut on MTV!!!!

So, another American girl I met here called me today and said she had tickets to TRL on MTV for today's episode! How cool is that?? So I got all dolled up and went with her... It was so much fun! I recorded it on our SkyTV box and I'm watching it now. I'm watching us on MTV! Who would've thought that I'd make my MTV debut at 28 years old? And I thought I was past my prime... Unfortunately, there wasn't anybody of much significance to me on the show today (a recently booted contestant from an American Idol-like show) but it was still awesome! Thanks Monique!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I suppose they call it "trivia" for a reason

Well, I've been known in some circles for my knowledge of random tv sitcom trivia. While I agree it's a rather nice talent to posses, I think it may have gone too far. I was watching Season 4 of Sex and the City and thought a guest character (an artist selling works at Charlotte's gallery who then began a relationship with Samantha) looked really familiar. After some thought, I had it. I thought way back to the Cosby Show and remembered an episode where Theo had a problem with a teacher who was really tough. Mrs. Westlake. Or as Theo called her - The Dragon Lady. It was the same actress - I just knew it!!! So to confirm my conclusion, I went to www.imdb.com (Internet Movie Database) and searched it. BINGO!!! Her name is Sonia Braga and sure enough... noteable TV appearances include Sex and the City and ta-daaaaaaaaaaa! the Cosby Show!!!!! I mean, this was in 1986 that this particular episode of the Cosby Show aired! I must be some sort of TV idiot-savant. God I love it when I'm right! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS.

Naked naked everywhere!

Ummmmmm, maybe it's because I'm American and we're trained from birth to be very hush hush about sex and nudity but I cannot help being shocked by my locker room at the gym. Women just walk around completely buck NAKED! Not even bothering to try to cover up their "biscuits". The first time, I thought maybe it was just a one-off occurence - one of the many mainland europeans living in the UK. But ohhhhhh no. Everytime I go, there's somebody waltzing around with all their bits and pieces jiggling about. And they'll stand there and have completely normal conversations with each other. "How was your weekend?" "Oh fine, I walked around naked for most of it and then went to the cinema. How about you?" Meanwhile, I'm scurrying to the closed stalls to change clothes just trying to keep my eyes on the floor. I'm not ready for this... I freak out just getting a bikini wax!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The best comedian of all time

Dane Cook. Enough said. Check out a few clips here. My faves are Growing Up Catholic, I Gotta Dance, and Knowing You're Drunk. Absolute comic genius.

Friday, November 18, 2005

A few of my favorite things

Here are some of the things that are currently making me happy:

The Daniel Powter CD

The new David Gray CD, Life In Slow Motion

Downloading current episodes of Desperate Housewives and Lost on iTunes

My new dustbuster (sad, I know but when you have a little flat, you can get away with dustbusting instead of hauling out the full-blown vacuum)

Kit-Kats (an oldie but a goodie!)

The redcups are here!!! A grande skinny gingerbread latte makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

These two hysterical commercials (weird, but hysterical):
Nutri-Grain Bars
Knorr Beef Tonight (Sorry, video's gone now...)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Working out is super fun!

I joined a gym on Friday and today was my first session with "James". Personal trainer James. Personal trainer James looks like Freddie Prinze Jr. except with lighter hair. And he says "bum" quite a lot. As in "Now lift your bum up just a bit there" or "You should really feel this in your bum". Why didn't I join the gym sooner?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Everyone said it would happen

And it did. The major wave of homesickness. Major. I'm talking crying and frantically looking for cheap flights home major. I'm talking "What have I done, I can't possibly live here for 3 years?!?" major. So Jason, being the sweet, caring husband that he is asked me if I wanted to go to Outback. If I were a cartoon, I would have been doing the classic double take. "What did you say? There's an Outback here? As in Outback Steakhouse? As in 'No Rules Just Right' Outback Steakhouse?" Nothing he could have said would have made me happier at that moment. So there we were. We walked in and for all anyone could tell, we were in the Outback on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. It was exactly the same! Free drink refills and everything, which is unheard of here. It was truly just what the doctor ordered. There, over a Bloomin' Onion and Jackaroo Chops and Queensland Chicken & Shrimp, Jason talked me off my ledge. So for him, I reserve my highest praise: "Snaps for Jason!"

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Oh God!

I've just had a realization. I'm an ellipsis abuser. You know, the three little periods people use when they want to trail off cleverly or want to trick people into thinking they're still mulling philosophically over the sentence they just wrote when really they were just too lazy to really complete the thought? Take a gander at my previous posts and you'll see what I mean. From this moment forward, I vow to only use an ellipsis when I give it thought and determine that it really is an appropriate use of punctuation. Or when I really really really want to.

Monday, November 07, 2005

I'm an aunt...again!

Our second neice was born on Friday - Anna Claire. I'm really sad we couldn't be there with everyone. But we'll see her at Christmas which isn't too far away!

A word to the wise...

My tip of the day: don't come home at 1:00am and start downloading music off iTunes after consuming copious amounts of alcoholic beverages. I won't get into details but let's suffice it to say I have a lot of new material for my iPod.

Friday, November 04, 2005

"Reading is fun. Can we start the story now?"


Before I left the states, my sister-in-law, Jenny, passed one of her books on to me to read. It's called Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. I've just started it recently and I must say, it is one of the most hysterical things I've ever read! It's not they typical type of book I read - fiction chick lit like Jane Green and Sophie Kinsella, and some more Oprah Book Club-ish stuff like Maeve Binchy and Anita Shreve - mostly in that it isn't fiction, but I have caught myself laughing out loud several times already. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I'm back...

So, after a brief internet hiatus, I return. We FINALLY have a broadband connection in our flat. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get stuff set up when you have no credit record in a country. Anyhoo, we're officially rolling now and tonight, we're ordering our satellite tv package. So after that, I'll officially have no reason whatsoever to leave the flat. Ever. Just kidding. Kind of.

So Jason and I came to a realization last night over dinner that what I really need is a gay sidekick. I mean, it makes perfect sense doesn't it?!? Carrie had Stanford, Charlotte had Anthony, Grace has Will, Karen has Jack, Becky Bloomwood had Danny, Catherine Warner had Si ... you get my point. This leads to the obvious question - how does one go about getting a gay sidekick? A personal ad? "Fun, fashion-conscious, designer jeans addict seeks young homosexual male companion for shoe shopping, watching Sex and the City reruns, makeovers at the Harrod's Stila counter, and general girly good times"? Hmmm... That doesn't sound half bad actually.

After my little wave of homesickness, I began thinking about the really cool things about living here. Here are a few that I've come up with so far:

1. I get to watch the original "What Not to Wear" on BBC starring Trinny and Susanna. Not that there's anything wrong with the American spin off with Clinton and Stacy (yet another chick with her gay sidekick - they're everywhere I tell you!) but there's something cool about getting back to its roots. I say this without a hint of irony.

2. Riding in the top of a double decker bus is way fun!

3. We have this awesome sushi place - Yo! Sushi - which Jason insists on calling "Yo Yo Sushi" like he's some gangsta rapper or something. Hilarious, I know. I'm blessed. Back to the point - you walk in, grab a seat around the bar that circles the whole of the restaurant and plates of sushi drift by on this little conveyor belt and you just grab what you want! How fun is that? No waiting for the chefs to prepare your order. You can literally walk in and start chowing immediately!

4. It's pretty fun walking around and running errands with your iPod. It puts that extra little spring in your step. I mean, how can you not prance just a tiny bit when you've got "Lose My Breath" by Destiny's Child blaring in your ears? The world is my catwalk.

5. I read the "Shopaholic" books a while back but brought them with me to read here because they're about a girl in London and I thought it would be kind of cool to experience it firsthand. (Kind of like watching Dawson's Creek and being like "Oh, I've been there!" "Ooh! I've seen that restaurant!!" etc...) Until I cracked the first one again, I had totally forgotten that the main character lived in Fulham - my real-life neighborhood!! And the book described it as the "trendiest neighborhood of London, full of it-girls" and so on... And it talked about her shopping on Kensington High Street, standing on the sidewalk with the shops to her left and the tube station to her right and I knew exactly where it was talking about. I was shopping exactly there just last Friday! Anyway, probably dull to anyone reading this but pretty flippin' cool to me.

Toodles for now!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

My niche

So I think I've found my daily cup of comfort. Upon purchasing a TV guide-thingy, I discovered that at 7:30 every morning, Friends, followed by Just Shoot Me, Will & Grace and Fraiser are on BBC 4. So has begun my morning routine - get up as Jason's leaving, preheat the oven, make a cup of coffee, and prepare my cinnamon toast. While it's baking, I then get out of my jammies and into actual clothes (else the jammies will never come off until I leave the flat) and by the time I've changed and brushed my hair - breakfast is ready and I settle in front of the telly for my morning programming! I can't believe how comforting this little routine is - and how warm and fuzzy American sitcoms make me feel. It's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

And so it begins.

As my loyal readers probably recall from my previous post on the matter, my friend Catherine and I decided we wanted to learn to knit (prior to my departing the US) since us ladies-of-leisure need hobbies such as knitting to fit into the ladies-of-leisure clique. So we went straight to the Knit Master. The Mr. Miyagi of knitting, if you will. Otherwise know as Catherine's mum. After our lesson, it was clear that Cat was jealous of my mad knitting skills as I had also become teacher's pet, despite her DNA connection to the KM (Knit Master). I recently sent the KM a note of thanks (as proper ladies always should) which stated that I felt as though my potential would have been better realized had Cat not held me back at the lesson by being rather daft about the whole knitting process. It took her forever to even cast on her first row. Lame. Meanwhile, I had created a lovely begining to my scarf. Jealous much? Anyway, Catherine has since challenged me to an International Knit Off. I accepted. Thus begins the website she created to provide interested parties (undoubtedly, there will be legions of them) with everything they need to know about said Knit Off. Here it is: The Knit Whits

Monday, October 24, 2005

Sigh...

So, I’m having a bit of homesickness… I’m sure it’ll pass soon but if you’ll indulge me, I’ve created a list of the things I miss about home:

Chargrill hot dogs and Bojangles
SportsCenter and ESPN in general
MTV/VH1 reality TV – Best Week Ever, Real World, My Super Sweet 16, Hogan Knows Best, Surreal Life… It’s the train wreck syndrome. You know it’s bad but you can’t force yourself to look away.
Watching football on Sundays
Saks 5th Ave. and Belk and malls in general
Our fluffy, comfy sofa
Target – Oh how I long for the big red bullseye.
Napa Valley wine
Light beer
Sweet iced tea
Free soda refills, ice, straws – Here when you order a diet coke, you get either a can or a bottle and sometimes, a glass to pour it in.
Ranch dressing – Dreams are made of this creamy, fatty, tangy goodness.
Washing machine and dryer – Here, it’s once machine and it’s tiny. Doing laundry here BLOWS.
Ellen Degeneres show – “Oh, Mama!”

That said, I should also mention that it is pretty flippin sweet that we have almost any cuisine imaginable less than a 5 minute walk from our door. Friday night, we were strolling around our ‘hood trying to decide where to eat and came across this Lebanese place. It was GREAT! Don’t get me wrong, I’m keepin’ it real. I’ll still meal out on McDonald’s any day…

Shout out to Chuck Siler – We went to a Dali exhibit this weekend. Last Halloween, we had to dress up at work and Chuck came as a Salvador Dali painting. I guess you had to see it to really understand how he did it but it was really cool. But now that I’ve seen more of his work, I’m a little worried about you Chuck. That dude was CRA-ZAY! I’ve never been more shocked, confused, disturbed, baffled in my life…

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Our anniversary trip to Paris


So, for our 2 year wedding anniversary, we went to Paris for 5 days. It was FAB! Here's a rundown of what we did (and a link to pictures at the end):

Saturday

We arrived and after settling in at our hotel, the Renaissance La Defense, and relaxing for a short while, we ventured out into the city. Our first stop was the Arc de Triomphe. We decided to just check it out from the ground today and come back later for the climb to the top... We then strolled down the Champs-Elysees and found a great spot on the bank of the Siene River to watch the sunset by the Eiffel Tower.

Sunday

We decided to do one of the walking tours outlined in our Lonely Planet guide book today. It was quite laid back and a good way to start the day. We ended up at this little garden square thingy and saw Victor Hugo's (the author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame to name a couple) home and listened to a small classical music orchestra play on the street.

After that, we decided to walk over to check out the outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral (saving the inside for another less-crowded day). Saw the infamous "flying buttress" architecture that we all got earfuls of in college and then strolled to the Latin Quarter (the academic district) for a coffee before heading back back to the Arc de Triomphe to make the climb to the top.

After dinner that evening, on the walk back to the hotel, we stopped to check out the outside of the Musee de Louvre and that big glass scupture thing in front of it (which I think is heinous, personally). You can see in the pictures what a few glasses of champagne will do for one's architecture appreciation.

Monday

Today, we stared things out with possibly the best lunch/brunch experience of my life (many thanks to one of Jason's French co-workers for the recommendation). It was a souffle restaurant, La Cigale Recamier - the kind of place where one needs a reservation even for lunch and according to said co-worker, also where French celebs chow down - exciting! You gotta love having a bottle of wine with your first meal of the day. After an approximately a 2 hour meal, we headed back to the Notre Dame to check out the inside.

I had no idea that some of the oldest known stained glass in the freakin' world was in there. Original and in tact, with only minor restorations. Amazing... Then we decided to do the ultimate tourist thing and go to the Eiffel Tower. It was tres tres crowded and honestly, much prettier from the ground. We did get some nice photos of the view from the top though... Coincidentally, it was Euro-Mullet central here and we got two really good ones on camera (just for you, Tim)!

This night, we had the most amazing dinner (and most-expensive... OUCH!) of our lives thus far at Maison Blanche. Words cannot do this meal justice so I'll just stop there.

Tuesday

Today was supposed to be our Louvre day but we got there and found out it is closed on Tuesdays - DOH! So, we decided to check out the Musee d'Orsay, which is more my style anyway because I really like the Impressionist/Post-Impressionist stuff like Van Gogh, Toulousse-Lautrec, Degas, etc... Yes, I know it's cliche for my favorite painter to be Van Gogh, but what are ya gonna do? I like what I like and I think his techniques were pretty cool... It's pretty weird to be face-to-face with an actual Van Gogh or Monet, Matisse, etc. You study them in college and you probably had a poster-print of one in your first post-dorm apartment, but to see the real deal like a foot away is pretty breathtaking.

Anyhoo, after we'd finished at the museum, we decided to head over to my Graceland, the Moulin Rouge and Montmartre. My absolute favorite movie of all time is Moulin Rouge (which is big, because before that, it was Breakfast at Tiffany's) so I absolutely had to visit the area of Paris that served as the inspiration for the story. As well, anyone who was at our wedding knows that our first dance was to "Come What May" from the movie... The actual Moulin Rouge is on the main street running through the area and it's pretty funny because it's now basically one sex shop and peep show after another. But if you follow the sign to Butte de Montmartre (Montmartre Hill), and head up the San Francisco-like STEEP streets and gazillions of stairs, you get to the heart of it. The originiation of the famous Bohemian movement of the late 1800's. Tiny cobblestone streets, old-fashioned windmills (just like in the movie), artists selling paintings... And the Sacre Coeur (Sacred Heart church) is just beautiful. It sits at the summit of the hill and the views of Paris are unbelievable.

Later that night, we got all fancied up and went back to the Moulin Rouge for a show. It was so fun! The can-can (a staple of the old-fashioned burlesque shows) actually originated there and they, of course, still do it there to this day. It was my fave part of the show. A very exciting way to cap off our last evening in Paris.

Wednesday

Last day here - we decided to check out the Louvre. There is some really old stuff in there!! Among the most amazing things we saw were the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo sculpture, and Hammurabi's Code - the original "law of the land". Um, wow. WOW. There are pictures of all those except the Mona Lisa (it's not allowed).

So, after that, we began to make our way back to catch our taxi to the EuroStar terminal. The EuroStar was actually pretty nice. Especially if you have champagne. And a Kit-Kat. And some Peanut M&M's. After some thought, I realized that I had at the very least, two glasses of champagne every night on this trip. Now that's livin'.

Here are our pictures if you want to see them!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Life's great dilemmas

Ummmmm, so where do people who live in city apartments put all their stuff?!?!? I've gotten roughly 1/16th of my fall/winter wardrobe into my closet here and I'm officially out of space. And that's not even counting my pajamas! I'm cursing myself for all that pre-move shopping I did.

So what does a normal person who's run out of closet space do? Perhaps part with some lesser-used items? (As if. I already sold everything I didn't want at our pre-move yard sale.) Maybe abandon proper hanging and folding methods and start cramming stuff in? (Hardly. Cashmere wrinkles and leather creases.) Who knows...

What did I do, you ask? I went down the street for McDonald's lunch to eat away my woes and spotted a street market. "I'll just pop across the street and walk back to the flat on that side so I can check it out.", I say to myself. "What's this?!? A black peasant skirt for 3 pounds?!?!? That's too good to pass up..."

Long story long, I am back at the flat 5 minutes later with yet another article of clothing to add to the pile of stuff that already won't fit in the closet. Genius. But that skirt is fabulous. It goes perfectly with my cowboy boots for that western chic look that's in right now. Keep an eye out for me on Glamour's "Do's and Dont's" page. As a "do", of course...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Parting is such sweet sorrow



Well, I had some issues leaving our babies. (They're called "cats" by the majority of the rest of the population) Particularly Elwin just because he's so kitten-ish and he kept jumping into my bag as I was trying to pack the night before we left. I like to think George is a bit stronger and will look after him until February when they make the long haul across the pond...

All our stuff has cleared customs and will be delivered on Monday morning thank God! It will be nice to actually be able to hang up our clothes!

We went out for our first big city shopping experience today. Household basics like geting a trash can, iron, coffee maker, etc... are quite an ordeal. But we did finally get it all back to our flat so we're slowly getting everything set up. I'll post pics of the flat once all our stuff gets here and I've had a chance to hang pictures and things so stay tuned! It'll be a nice chuckle for all you guys back in NC with your nice big 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom houses! Although, I must say, our 'hood is rather happening. We're in a fabulous location. Out our huge (floor to ceiling for 2 stories) living room window, I look across the street to a hair salon, a very chi-chi dress shop, another very chi-chi purse shop, a dry cleaner, and a nice bar. And we live essentially above a grocery store and a Blockbuster. I could literally walk down there in my jammies if I was so inclined... That's a bit surreal! Quite a change from the North Raleigh lifestyle!

Well, we're headed to Paris next weekend for our anniversary so check back for those pics as well. We miss everyone so drop us a line or call!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Jason's 30th Birthday


So, my husband is officially OLD. He turned 30 on Saturday. I got him a Red Sox t-shirt with his name on the back and a 12 DVD set of last year's ALCS and World Series games. He was pretty impressed with my gift picking-out skills. I also threw him a little surprise party at Oliver Twist. Here are some pics. I especially love the belly dancer!

Jason's 30th Birthday

Friday, September 30, 2005

Let the games begin!





GO SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My last visit to The Point (no, really it is this time)


So, last night I had my last taste of dim sum at least until Christmas. That stuff is like crack in a dumpling! More importantly, I got to hang out with good friends. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...

The Point 9/28

Monday, September 26, 2005

It's officially really truly official...

We have two one-way tickets to London for Tuesday, October 4. Woah. That's a really strange feeling.

Friday, September 23, 2005

My very Hollywood hobby


In an effort to fit into my new leisurely lifestyle, I decided I wanted to learn how to knit. I mean, if it's good enough for Gweneth Paltrow and Madonna, it's certainly good enough for me! So, I enlisted the help of my friend Catherine's mom since she's quite the expert. We set a date and got to work. I still can't knit.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Aaaaaack!!!

So, for the past two days, the movers have been here and all our stuff is gone. Scary! Well, maybe not ALL our stuff... Our "tenants" are actually my sister-in-law and my almost-brother-in-law and they're keeping some of our furniture. So, at the moment, I am still sitting in my favorite chair and Jason is snoozing on our favorite sofa. At least some things never change...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

More random outings...


So, in my time prior to moving over to London, I've been trying to cram in as many activities with my friends as possible. Here are some photos from my recent adventures:


Jewelry-making Night

Oliver Twist

Dim Sum at the Point

As well, here are a few pics from my last day at work a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Ahhhhh, London theatre


On the final night of my first visit to my new almost-home, we went to see "As You Like It" - the Shakespeare comedy. Such a nice way to cap off the trip! The theatre was small so it was quite intimate - the perfect atmosphere for a play like this. Sienna Miller (sometimes more commonly known as "Jude Law's fiance") was in it and he lead role of Rosalind/Ganymeade was played perfectly by Helen McCrory, who is apparently pretty famous in the UK. Next up - "Guys and Dolls" starring the second love of my life, Ewan McGregor. I'll be on the front row for that one!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Day, New Experiences

So today, I ventured out all on my own. I took the tube by myself and didn't get lost. Very exciting stuff. I wandered all around Knightsbridge and Picadilly and had a nice afternoon reading in Green Park. And tonight, I tried Moroccan food for the first time! It was great. It was very Greek-esque (feta cheese, cous cous, cucumber and tomato salad, etc.) which I liked... More flat hunting tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cheerio!

Cheers from Jolly old England! So, it's my 2nd day here and I'm still jetlagged but will hopefully be recovered by tomorrow. On the first day, Jason showed me all around Central London - Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent Gardens, Hyde Park, etc... It was fab! I'm trying to learn the "tube" so I can become a true city gal. So far, so good. It's much easier than the NYC subway... I've been looking at properties today which is exhausting - so tomorrow, I'll treat myself to some leisurely shopping. We went out for Indian food tonight and it was amazing! Soooooo yummy... I even tried something I'd never had before - which is quite an accomplishment for me. Right now, we're sitting in the Marriott Kensington bar sharing a bottle of wine. I think I could get used to this... More to come!

Friday, August 26, 2005

My last day at work...

So today is my very last day at my job. I don't really know how to act considering I've never left a job that I didn't actually want to leave. I have so many friends here and I'll definitely miss them all. Here are just a few examples of the chaos that ensues when we get together...

The Dodgeball Team

The Original Bowl Your Ass Off

Bowl Your Ass Off 8/24

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It's finally official...

We'll be permanently moving to London the week of October 3. We're going over the last week of August to finalize our housing and pick out our car. We're getting a Mini Cooper! Red or blue....?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Why the Redsox are so freakin' awesome...

During last night's game against the Rangers, the Sox were totally robbed of a homerun that hit above the red HR line of the Green Monster and bounced back into the park. The umps didn't call it a home run even though it was clearly above the line on the replay - which, sadly, umps don't have the luxury of using... So, the Sox retaliate by scoring 16 runs against the Rangers' pitiful 5. Welcome back Kenny Rogers. Boo-yah! Go beat up some more defenseless cameramen who are just doing their jobs.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Our Trip to Greece in March

I've had a few requests to put our Greece pics online so here they are: Greece - March 2005

Maybe one of these days, I'll get our Italy pics put on CD and get them online...

Monday, August 01, 2005

Newsflash

So, a bit of news on the London front... We found out on Friday that Jason will be starting his new position there as of Sept. 1. I'll probably join him there later in Sept. It's becoming very very real now. Lots to do... rent the house, move the furniture out, etc. It's going to be a busy August!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Is there a rehab program for Peanut M&M abusers?


I think I have a real problem. But I don't necessarily know if I want to fix it... The chocolatety, peanuty goodness is just too much to resist sometimes.

In other news, it was supposed to be announced to Jason's group at work today that he's transferring to London. So it seems things are moving along. I'm getting antsy to know more details though. More to come...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Picture of the day


This never ceases to make me laugh.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Still don't know what I'm doing

But I figure if I spend the majority of my day at work messing around with this for a good month or so, I'll be straight. Which reminds me of a quote from one of my favorite movies:

Bob Slydell: You see, what we're trying to do is get a feeling for how people spend their time at work so if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah.
Bob Slydell: Great.
Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh - after that I sorta space out for an hour.
Bob Porter: Da-huh? Space out?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

I'm hoping I'll figure out some really cool stuff to do on here with pictures and such so if any of my friends who read this have blogging knowledge, please share. And keep in mind I'm about as technologically savvy as a box of hair. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I have no idea what I'm doing

Well, I just got this idea to start a blog because I'm moving to London sometime in the next few months and I thought it would be a great way to chronicle my adventures and post my random musings so family and friends could keep up with what's going on in my life. I suppose that's all for now. My very first official post! Yay me!