Monday, December 28, 2009

Reflections of a California kind

I'm here in the town where I grew up, outside of San Francisco, dare I say it, a place worse than suburbia where yesterday I passed the headquarters of the Republican party (yikes) and where once stood one of our large supermarkets, now sits a dull parking lot without any cars.
I pass signs such as the one above advertising food. This is America, I remind myself. The photo below is of a 'greasy spoon' down the street from my house.
I am sipping on a mountain dew Slurpee, waiting to pick up a friend at the airport and escape to San Francisco.
I'm thinking about the movie I saw that my cousin brought over yesterday, of his 2 year old birthday party. It was weird seeing myself on screen as a child, my voice from long ago, foreign to me, funny even to see that I dominated him and the other kids (I was six years older), my nannying or motherly instinct prevalent at the time. I blew out his candles and wanted a piece of both cakes. My mother looked beautiful, stunning and and so skinny. My father didn't stop talking, his glasses proper 80s style. I never saw a home video of myself or my parents. We cannot go back.
I cannot go back.
I am restless.
This place is much different than I've known. I just have to get used to it I suppose, it will be OK, in time.

I wish for the new year to come. I think there is a consciences that 2009 wasn't the best year, a busy year yes, but a year of trials. I look forward to the tick of the clock when it passes into 2010 and I am anxious to see what unfolds in the year that is next upon us.

Photos found on flickr

Monday, December 21, 2009

Later London

Suddenly I flee!
I am just so sad, so sad to go.

It's snowing here in London. My bags are packed with my life of the last four years. I am trying not to cry too much. I'll try to wait till I fly off, if my plane isn't cancelled, and keep my tears in the sky.

Image found here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Birthday Bowl

I love bowling!

The worst bowling shoes ever!

Laura's bowling moves, she does a little swish, a little hop and then throws that ball....STRAIGHT INTO THE NEXT LANE!

Emma, Steph and I with my Birthday Christmas balloon (they had poppers too)!

Lindsey, she loves those gutter balls!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas party Shinanigans

As I think I've mentioned before in this blog, Brits really know how to have fun at a work 'do'(aka party). At our Christmas or end of the year party, held around the corner from our offices at 1920, everyone was on top form. My coworkers gossipped and all danced a lot and a few people did the walk of shame in the morning.

A photo of one of my bosses and I. He left before he got too tipsy and one of us had a go at him, poor guy. It happens (only in London).

Below, me and Asher from IT. You would think IT would be quiet, nerdy almost. Not so, by the end of the night there was a huge mesh of IT people sprawled on the dance floor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Nothing changes

Oh Obama, you disappoint me. Give back your Nobel Peace prize. There is no peace in sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Next it will be Iran, when will it stop?!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I'm better....

I've got to buy my ticket back home.

Something positive found on Wasting

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas party dress

I'm helping our social committee with the Christmas party which is on the 3rd (a little too early for my taste). The theme: black and white ball. I need a little black dress for the event, one that is not too dressy nor too cold. I found the following two dresses, the first from Urban Outfitters and the other from Asos (my favourite online shop),there are dresses a plenty there. I'm off to search some more!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sometimes you just feel like this.....

I felt like I wanted to hide last Friday and although my weekend was a good one, today is gray and I've got the Monday blues.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ich liebe Berlin

With my visa renewal deadline fast approaching and the fear of almost a year without a passport I urgently booked a flight a few weeks ago to Berlin, a city I always wanted to go to. I asked along my coworker and friend Rose who gladly accepted. Last Friday we went off (much to the envy of my boss) to the Berlin wall, or what was left of it. I am German you know, but until this past weekend I've always been a bit timid to admit it.

We started our trip off right with a party flight Friday night which distracted poor Rose who has a great fear of flying. There was a group of 25 men on a 'stag do' who talked with us and we sat next to a nice musician, Lucio, who helped us catch a train and directed us to our hostel in it's perfect location, in Pfefferberg, in Mitte, right in the centre of the city. Lucio also recommended a place to have a drink and so after a bite we made our way to Scotch and Sofa, a local with retro 70s furniture, a DJ and good strong drinks.

Saturday morning we woke up and tried to find a certain vegan restaurant recommended by our co-worker Magnus. On our way there we happened upon a street fair which we explored. When we finally got to the resto, it was closed and because we were so hungry decided on Suicide Sue next door whose menu we couldn’t read, but whose waitress told us (in English) was all about bread. We got to choose from a variety of spreads to put on our long hearty slice (see photo).

The rest of the day was spent touring the Spree by boat (see photo below), exploring Berlin's wide boulavards, walking all the way to the Jewish museum to find it was closed and then went to a gallery around the corner, The Berlinische with modern art concentrating on the East and West divide and the development of the city of Berlin.

Later we ate proper German food, potatoes, sour cream, meat (well Rose ate the meat).We carried on drinking till late in the night chatting with locals at bars around Mitte, like Weinerei, a wine bar on Veteranenstrasse where one pays a euro for a glass and then leaves money in a jar on the way out depending on how much one drinks (though they do try and regulate). We liked the feel of the place and the big floral lampshades. Two other bars we went to projected movies on the wall which I find adds to the whole socialising, drinking experience.

Sunday we weren’t exactly energetic, but we survived with a huge breakfast buffet; crepes, salmon, cheese, yogurt and all. After stuffing our faces we went to a vintage/junk market near part of the wall still standing. We each bought a hat and then went and watched artists graffiti the wall.

We attempted to walk to the modern museum, the Hamburgerbahnhof that everyone said we must go to, but with darkness approaching and closing time evident we decided on the Jewish museum because it stayed open late. This time it wasn’t closed and we spent a good two hours on the main exhibit which was just so full of information. The museum’s physical structure is a modern architect’s delight and Rose repeated a few times how much she loved the building. We were a bit tired from our activities the day before so after dinner, after the museum, we decided to call it a night.

Monday morning, our last day, we woke and realised that the modern museum, Hamburger Bahnhof was closed on Mondays! The closure of places (or tables full in the case of restaurants) occurred a few times during the trip, but there was always something else near by. We just resolved to return again to Berlin to see more another time and and so headed to the West to the Kathe Kollwitz museum, a small gallery devoted to the works by Berlin’s most famous female artist of the 20th century. Her black and white etchings echoed social revolts and experiences of the time, war time struggle and motherly love. I’m glad Rose suggested it.

Later we walked to the largest deparment store, KaDeWe and explored its sixth floor food market which was massive, larger than Harrods'.

Although rents are meant to be cheap in Berlin and their economy is suffering, we found the shopping and drinks/food on par or if not more expensive than London, but I guess we also weren’t too particular about finding the cheapest option. Larger than London, but with half of London's population, the city has a great feel and the people are generally friendly.

Also see below, 'a quick update' for more Berlin information.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guy Fawkes day

Unfortunately I missed all of the celebrations of Halloween back home, but luckily I had Guy Fawkes day (the British equivalent to Fourth of July) to celebrate last Saturday. It's all about the fireworks, and they shot off with some great music!
'Great balls of fire'

And the spa day was great...Nuria and I at tea after being highly relaxed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last week was action packed (and v stressful).

We had our pub quiz at work which I helped organise. My team, We thought it was a roller disco, came in 2nd by half a point. Below is a photo of my team, with the winning trophy that we pretended we won. We were robbed of the title by the CEO's team. In the movie picture round we confused a photo of Tom Cruise with Top Gun when it was Born on the 4th of July. And I chose incorrectly Howard's End vs the Remains of the day, same difference I think!

Thursday I met up with Stephanie at the Tate Modern. The fabulous thing about her banking job are the perks including regular nights at galleries or museums with free food and booze. We got there at the perfect time, stuffed our faces before it got crowded and power networked or in Steph's case, tried to 'pull' guys (just kidding Steph). The exhibit is worth a visit, Pop Life with Jeff Koons, Keith Haring (my favourite), Andy Warhol, a whole host of 80s memorabilia and a lot of porn, the decade was decadent and raunchy.

Two days later I made my way to the other Tate, the Tate Britain. Leaves fell around me and the rain blew, it was a perfect day for the museum. I got there early enough so it wasn't too crowded and I could be at peace with all of the British artists and their less modern art.
The winds have turned and I am looking for a new flat or a new way of life.
I leave you with a funny photo of Stephen and Steve at the quiz, 'Please let us win,
please, oh the suspense!'

This is one cool kid! CUTE!!!!!!!!!

Found here on the Carousel website.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oh the horror!!!!

Last night I found a mouse dropping IN MY BED! I must move, I must move now!
So disgusting...I want to cry.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Passion for print

Image from 100 layer cake

Did I tell you how much I just love stationary? And did I tell you how much I love receiving and sending post?! It's not ideal at the moment as there is a postal strike here in London, but if I had my way I would get married or have babies quite regularly just to send out these lovelies.
An invite on oncewed:

And how great is this card from Enormous champion:

My love of blogs doesn't only consist of designsponge and fashion blogs, but I heart all of the many print blogs out there like Beast Pieces and Oh so beautiful paper

I'll leave you with another wedding stationary from Dolci Odille below:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A quick update

Wow have I been busy!
Our house guest has moved to Fulham so the house is back to normal (sort of). We have other house guests now, ones that just won't go away! Mice! It's terrible!

My friend Stephanie called me Friday to say she scored tickets to an Arsenal football (soccer) game. The stadium is down the street from my house and I had never been to a match so of course I gladly excepted. We had great seats although she told me yesterday that the colleague who passed on the tickets was sadly sacked!

We, as in Belen and I, booked tickets to go to Berlin in November. I can't wait, she's been before and really loved it. We are staying in this hostel whose name I cannot pronounce in the much sought after Mitte district. I hope to go to the Jewish Museum Berlin and I heard of this great wine bar, Weinerei. Finally my boss whose obsessed with the Berlin wall and Berlin in general recommended Rodeo Berlin to dine.

And this weekend I cannot wait for a spa date with the gals. We are going to probably the poshest spa in London, The Sanctuary. Can you believe they have a sleep room with low frequency sound wave beds?! Although I'm very excited nothing can compare to my favorite spa in San Fran, Kabuki springs. We will then be 'ladies who take tea' at Brumas (photo below). All in all I forsee a perfect Sunday.

Fashionista heaven by way of a blog

I found this photo on one of the many fashion blogs I've been scouring lately, like this one: Jak&Jil. It's a fashion revelers delight, like the Sartorialist, but not. This photo so reminds me of a herd of giraffe, or sheep (yet beautiful black sheep). Rush, rush, rush to the shows.

There is also Sea of Shoes, this gal is living the life of dreams with her shoes in Texas. It looks like she gets her style from her mother.

And of course there is always the fabulous fab: , brought to you by my friend Samantha (second from the right).

One blog leads me to another and to another and so on. There are some that are so utterly imaginative, some where the writing is fab, but the pictures are not and some whose content and photos overwhelm.  Is this heaven  (there is something for absolutely everyone) or hell (how many photographers/writers are out there)?!With all these new blogs popping up, and this stream of constant new information, I can't help thinking, how can one keep up?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Animal treats

I just found these works of art on .

I've bought the elephant print above by Grand Ole Bestiary for my bathroom as I love elephants and black and white photos.

Others like this one above by Berkleyillustration's I imagine in a young child's bedroom wall as an old family portrait looking down on ones faux ancestry. While being grand I find them quite comical. It makes me think a business man is really a bird or a polar bear in a suit! We are all animals (roar)!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A few visits to the bar

Last week was a bar/pub filled week due to a visit from Belen's friend Vanessa.
Wednesday and Thursday we were out and about going to The Green (two for one cocktails are always a good thing) and Keston Lodge which is filled with character though the beers are a bit pricey.

Saturday we hit up the bars around Spitifields/Brick lane. Commercial Tavern is one of my all time favourites. They were playing loud show tunes, Doris Day style and the lingering sunlight of summer cast its warm rays through their huge windows upstairs (photo above).
The Ten Bells was second on our list, a place where Jack the Ripper used to have a few and where there was an unusual large amount of people lingering about. The pub happens to be next to Christ church where a wedding was taking place with Tony Blair in attendance (think posh dress and beautiful head gear from the ladies). We got a nice view of him and the other guests and then carried on to The Light Bar

I've got a few more up my sleeve like: Tart Bar They make delicious cocktails which are two for one on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.
And, a newly discovered small little place with character that my friend Emma took me to called Bar 23 . The DJ mixed some great music, it reminded me of home. It's website doesn't do it justice.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Read worthy: The Winter Vault

Anne Michaels is one of my favourite writers, her newer novel, The Winter Vault is beautifully written though sorrowful. Not as lovely as Fugitive Pieces, her first novel, but still a must read.

Bits from the book:
'The market at Wadi Halfa was a place where every human whim had found a shelf. It was a catalogue of desires, a market of the broken and the lost, haunted by the hopes of both buyer and seller.'

'But no one said what was surely simple and obvious: you need flowers for a grave. Flowers were the very first thing we needed. Before bread. And long before words.'

'He had not said what he wanted: send me a signal across the river, by lantern light or bird call, come under cover of darkness, I will know you by your smell, come with the rain.....'

Thursday, September 24, 2009

London living: oh the little things

The good:

Hearing someone on the street say 'you bloody checky bastard'
Arriving to the bus stop just as the bus you want pulls up and opens it's door to you
The normalcy in going for a quick pint after work
The diversity of people, each area has it's own diversity, it's own pocket.

My coworker/friend Stephen said, 'London grew organically, it's not on a grid, and I like that'.

The bad:

Hearing your neighbours above you singing kareoke late into the night
Waiting for the bus while three buses pass you going the opposite direction
London is kind of dirty and its customer service is appalling.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Haitian remembrance: Première partie

Last night I had a flashback to Haiti, the rebellious country of sunlight and poverty stays with me still. I don't think it wants me to forget it and I don't want to because it was so significant to me before, during, and after the whole six month Peace Corps experience.

Transportation in Haiti was at times frightful and at times liberating. One could catch a ride by flagging someone down on the road, jumping in any car. Other times I would be with a group of people standing straight up in an open flat bed truck, holding on for dear life, rocking with all our human bodies thinking when one slips, we all will fall into the hole stricken roads.

Once I was on a windy mountain road journey (the tree barren lands of Haiti are more mountainous than the Swiss Alps) sitting next to the bus driver who was drinking a Colt beer at 11 in the morning. It's early, I told him and he cackled back.

I've recently connected with fellow volunteers. Ben, a great guy, posted a photo (see above) of our volunteer group during our training. The photo was taken on an old school bus we took up the hill to visit a monastery. On our way up, the bus turned into a driveway and then reversed back. Instead of reversing and stopping, the bus continued down the hill backwards. The driver's brakes failing, we rolled down a hill, collected speed and then collided into a tree in front of a small haitian house (thankfully the tree was there or we would have killed someone). There were a few cuts and pinned legs amoung the group. We piled out and walked the rest of the way up. The bus driver still charged us. This was Haiti.

I will always remember the rides, squeezed between smelly arms, holding tight. I remember the people I randomly met, being a white face, being different. I will remember the tap taps (public transportation) and the chickens I shared a ride with and the banging on the side of large vehicles signaling a desire to get off. I wanted to get off, I wanted to leave the island most of the time I was there, but when the time came, when we were forced out because the government fell, when we were told we had to go, I didn't want the ride.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Globe theatre

Who: Belen and I plus my co-workers Magnus and Anna
What: An American experience at the Globe theatre. B was a bit disappointed it wasn't Shakespeare, as was I.
When: Last Friday from 7 till 10:30 (the play was long)
Why: Because Magnus got the best seats in the house and none of us had ever been.

Check out their website here

'We have it in our power to begin the world over again’
Thomas Paine's Common Sense, 1776, referenced in Barack Obama's inauguration speech, 2009.

A New World brings to life a world turned upside down by notions of freedom and liberty. American independence and French revolution, battlefields and bedrooms, prisons and printing presses are all brought to the Globe stage in this compelling story of a remarkable man.

This world premiere celebrates the life and loves of Thomas Paine with songs, music and a huge carnival spirit. The much-acclaimed writer Trevor Griffiths is best known for his landmark play Comedians and Oscar-nominated screenplay Reds.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I kept calling it the wife swap even though no wives were involved, well actually maybe a few. What I meant to say was clothes swap or swishing (not a fan of this name) and I am loving this fairly new trend among my peeps in London.

Last night was the second time I went to a clothing swap at a friends house and it was BIG. My co-worker Rose and her flatmates Laurion and Anna hosted the event at their home in Clapton. The thing about Rose is that she’s got a lot of friends! Except for a friend I brought, she had a gang of twelve lovely ladies bounding into the house bearing wine and clothes that they no longer fit or wanted anymore.

The night started with a few drinks outside in the garden. Yesterday we had a freak spell of warm weather and it was lovely outside. There was a lot of laughter and excitement and everyone was super friendly. My mate and I reflected post swap how very strong/independent and intelligent each female individual seemed.

After drinks in the garden we moved to the clothing, and were there quite a lot of frocks! It was a hot mess of arms, shirts, shoes, perfume, scarfs, wine, and smiles. ‘Whose is this’ someone asked, ‘who cares,' another retorted, it’s yours now!' 'I've never been to a party like this!', Rose's friend Steph exclaimed. After awhile we all felt we were unable to really see all of the great pieces in the many piles so Rose held up items to ohhs and aahhhs and ‘I’ll take that’s’. Items we didn’t want found a place in a huge bag bound for the charity shop. We finished the night outside. Many a friend put on their new clothes, my friend Emma wore her three new flowing skirts all in one go.

I, as my mother always says, 'made out like a bandit', with two bracelets, a jacket, a few tops and even a little bottle of perfume. A clothes swap party is a great way to meet new people and get new clothes for free. I'm definitely looking forward to another.
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