Tuesday, 30 June 2009

I love you Martha!

Can I just say that I love this photo? I get a daily tip from the empire that is MARTHA everyday and when I opened this email I was just delighted. The pink and light aqua colors are gorgeous, plus would you look at how clean and organized that under sink area is??? 

I have been meaning to clean out my under sink cupboard for ages and this is just a reminder of how untidy I've become! There's even designer cleaning spray, I used to get it at Kowalskis! This picture is so zen to me, thanks Martha!

Last Camping Post

IMG_0219, originally uploaded by rheaj.

The best part about the weekend is that it felt like the days lasted forever. The campsite was amazing. It's part of an association of campsites in Europe that have a Chateaux on the grounds. I had never been to a campsite like this before. It had this beautiful old Chateaux, a cafe, restaurant, play areas for kids and grown ups, very modern and clean showers and bathrooms, canoes to take out on the small lake, bikes you could rent, a little shop and swimming pools. It was like being at camp! It was so beautiful and peaceful. I feel in love with it. You could hear the little French birds chirping. Oh and there were also chickens!

We set up our tent and I had a little nap! Matthew and I spent the afternoon playing boules and sipping local cider. We also drove into a small town called Honfluer. Honfluer is such a special place. It's a small medieval harbour village and it's is absolutely picturesque. We wandered around a bit before settling in to a cafe along the harbour. It was such a beautiful town.

That night we went to a talk in the Chateaux bar. The woman who runs the campsite now gave a talk about its history. It was fantastic to hear about her life during the war and all the struggles the Chateaux went through. It drew a good sized crowd and she was a good story teller.

Sunday we headed to two other coastal towns that are right next to each other. Deauville and Trouville sur Mer were both nice little towns on the sea. I definitely like Deauville best. We went to the beach for a bit and read the paper, I looked at French magazines and had a nap there. Then we found a great little restaurant where we had wine and moules and frites. It was lovely.

We didn't have to be back to get on the ferry until 9 p.m. so we took the scenic route back. It was just the best weekend I've ever had. It felt like we did so much and it was very relaxing at the same time. I feel so lucky that I am able to head off to France for a camping weekend at a moments notice. France is just so beautiful and the food! I ate a lot of Camembert in the car whilst Matthew was driving!

I am looking forward to many more special weekends with my husband, he's a great traveling companion!

Castel Camping Le Brèvedent

IMG_0233, originally uploaded by rheaj.

Good morning! Ok, where did I leave off....so we had to make a made dash to drive to Portsmouth. Of course traffic was a bear even at 8:30 p.m. at night, but we made it with a few minutes to spare and found a place in the queue. We had two more concerns. We were almost out of petrol and we only had one bank card with us. Matthew was worried that for some reason it wouldn't work in France. It was a Visa debit card and I wasn't too worried, but if it didn't work we would be in a pickle. We decided to leave that worry for the next morning.

The nice thing about the 11 p.m. ferry is that you just sleep on the journey and you get there nice and early. There weren't any cabins left to book so we had sleeper seats. We ended up bringing our blankets and pillows up from the car and sleeping on the floor. Some people had gone all out and had blown up big air beds to sleep on. It wasn't too bad sleeping on the floor, although I was looking forward to our cabin we had booked for the return. We were leaving France on Sunday night at 11 p.m. and since we both had to be back to work we booked a cabin. The cabin is a good idea and it's not expensive at all. We got a good night sleep and a shower in our own room.

We arrived in France around 7:30 a.m. and went straight to the petrol station, Matthew was relieved that his card worked. With a full tank we set off to the campsite. What can I say about driving to the campsite in France? It was delightful, it was a sunny morning and the air smelled of lavender. What more could you want?

Amazing last minute camping weekend in FRANCE

DSC05026, originally uploaded by rheaj.

Photos of beautiful France!

Now this is going to have be a two part post, it's five to midnight and I should have been asleep an hour ago! For now I will post the link to some of the photos from my most amazing camping weekend in France.

On Friday Matthew called me up to see if I wanted to go to Angers, France for the weekend. He had seen an article about it in the Metro and they had some cheap fares. Turned out that the cheap fares were all gone and it was going to be too expensive. So, still having the bug to get out of London we had a look at what it would cost to take the ferry over to France.

This is how it went down. I got home from work and we were sitting on the couch waiting for Eastenders to come on. Matthew suggests getting a ferry over and then I suggest that I take a look in the fantastic book he bought me for my birthday and find a place to camp. He gave a really great book called Cool Camping Europe. So we found a cool campsite and booked a ferry with 20 minutes to pack up and head out the door. The ferry was leaving at 11 p.m. and we had to be there an hour before. It would take us about an hour and half to get to Portsmouth.

We sailed from Portsmouth to Le Havre, and what a great ferry! more to come tomorrow. I promise. nighty night

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Random Masacara

retouched, originally uploaded by webwandering.

Now this is just a little post about putting mascara on whilst on public transport. I've been noticing it a lot lately. Ladies applying mascara while on a crowded bus or tube. What gets me is the amount of mascara they put on.

The other day I watched a girl on my bus put on mascara from the time I got on, at Adelaide Grove until Shepherds Bush Central line station. That's a long way, about seven minutes! It takes me under a minute to put on my mascara. I coat my lashes so they look dark, but I don't want spider lashes so I keep it to a coat and a half at most.

I wonder if I am just not putting enough on? Do they know something I don't about the proper application of mascara? I don't like putting make up on whilst on the public transport, maybe a bit of lip gloss or a quick powder. This mascara thing is just beyond me......

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

How Twitter found me my first job in London

Rechord, photos of my office

Finally I am going to write about my first job! That's what this blog was all about. My journey to finding my first job, the good and the bad. The triumphs and the tears. Finding my first job after college in London has been one of the most challenging things I've ever had to do. It hasn't been easy.

So you all know the story by now and if not you can find it all here within the pages of this blog. I had spent months looking for my first job in London, so imagine how surprised I was when it found me. I came to "find" my first job in London through Twitter.

One day I received an email from my now boss. She had come across my digital CV on my Twitter profile after setting up a search to find a web manager for her agency. She had set up a search and my feed appeared in it and she had a look at my extendr profile and decided she liked what she found. I had my contact details on my extendr and so she was able to send me an email with a link to the job description.

I couldn't believe it! I was over the moon, a job that sounded amazing had found its way to me. I got in touch with her and came in for a trial day.I've been at Rechord for one month now.

It's so crazy that I would get my first job this way, especially after what I had been going through. At first I thought it had just fallen in my lap, but I had also made a conscious effort to use social networking to help me find a job. When I first started looking I remember thinking that it would be cool to find a job just using Twitter. It's funny how things work out.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Speaking Freely

"This is my first blog post through on my mobile phone. Apparently you can only leave a short message. I recorded a blog post a second ago but it's too long. So yeah it might be something new on ___ and. Cheers bye." spoken through SpinVox

Well that was my first blog post spoken from my mobile.Whenever I call my boss and leave a voice mail I get a message telling me that my voice mail will be converted into a text message through a service called SpinVox.

So yesterday I had a look at this SpinVox thing and found that I could record a voice message on my mobile and it would upload to my blog.

I thought that sounded pretty neat. Just talk away and let the voice recognition do the work. So I gave it a go. The draw back is that you can only leave a short message. I tried to speak a blog post and was cut off. I was also trying to speak slowly and clearly, you don't get much time. Also it feels really weird to be speaking a blog post, it's a very different process than writing. I felt a little strange... I might try it again, but I don't know if it will catch on with me. It reminds me a little of being a private eye and having to talk into one of those little recorders.

It was a fun little experiment, we shall see....I am all for trying something new!

++++++I tried to make another blog post through my mobile yesterday while I was sitting on a train at Euston station. I don't think I will be using SpinVox for blogging. I had a look at the message once I got back to work and it didn't come through very well. Also you don't have very long to speak your message and it just doesn't feel the same as sitting down and writing. It has more of that note to self feeling. It was fun to try it, but I am back to old fashioned typing.

The Urban Bean

The Urban Bean, originally uploaded by kaitlinolson.

I hate the idea of writing another blog post about not being in the mood to blog, but here it is. I think about all the things I want to write about. Things that would be important to record and to share. For some reason I am just too tired to be bothered and I feel bad about it.

I think it has to do with the fact that things in London have definitely improved. I've got my first job, I've been making some friends and I am feeling better in general about a lot of things.

On the other hand I still really miss Minneapolis. I miss all the places and people. It's hard to exist between two places. I don't write to my friends as much I would like to. I always feel bad about not staying in touch as much as I would like to.

Every day I think about all the emails that I should send and it just makes me tired. The thing that gets me is that I used to be so good at staying in touch with people. I used to love to write letters and emails, but now it just feels like a chore.

I feel really bad about saying that. It makes me sad to think that there are people I love out there that I am just not making the time to stay in touch. I am sure that once I get a bit more settled in my job that it will get better. I just hope that my friends and loved ones don't think I don't care about them, or that I've moved on and don't need them anymore.

It's just not true. In fact being so far away from everyone makes me value the friendships that I have. I feel like the luckiest person in the world, I have so many people to love. I just wish I wasn't so far away.

This photo in this post is from a coffee shop called the Urban Bean. I used to live just around the corner from here when I was going to MCAD. I used to like going there and writing letters. I was thinking about this coffee shop the other day and I couldn't remember its name.

I went on Google Maps and was able to locate it and "see" it. Which is great. I sometimes go on Google Maps and visit Minneapolis. It's nice to see that the places I love are still there.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

On my way to work this morning

I've always been the kind of person who likes to change up my travel routines. Back in Minneapolis I would take different routes to and from work, just to mix it up a bit. Here in London I can only really get to work one way. I guess I have a few options, I can either walk or take the bus down to the train station, but that doesn't really count. Sometimes I will walk on the opposite side of the road.....wild I know.

Although today I took a different route to get to the bus stop. It means I back track by a half a block, but it's nice because I go by the coffee shop I like and get a hot cuppa for my journey. Anyway, I went to the coffee shop and then headed to the bus stop. I have to go through a little weird pathway to get to the next street. While walking through it I saw a lovely orange tabby cat.

I was so delighted! I love cats and I miss Miso and Sanders very much. So whenever I see a cat it's a real treat. This cat however appeared to be eating something.

It was. A mouse! I knew it was eating a mouse because I could see the mouse's hind legs and feet hanging out of its mouth. Let me tell you I was soooooooo disgusted. What a sight to see in the morning. It's precisely the reason why my cats in the States were house cats. I wouldn't want them munching on rodents. Trust me people, it was pretty disgusting. I guess that's what I get for wanting to take a new route to work. meow.....

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

stamp collector... oh yeah

stamps, originally uploaded by rheaj.

sooooo tired, but wanted to post. wanted to get back into the swing of writing every day. I brought back some random bits and pieces from Minnesota and I found a few packets of stamps from my collection.

Stamps...... I love 'em! But that's a post for another day. The stamps were in this fun little envelope that has some fun super hero stamps on it. Just some cheerful reminders of my American Geekness :)

nighty night!

at the drive-in

at the drive-in, originally uploaded by massdistraction.

I found this photo on my friend Sharyn's Flickr stream, she takes amazing photos! I usually have a look at her uploads a few times a week. She's a true cities girl and I like living vicariously through her images.

I found this one yesterday and I immediately felt home sick. I love the Cottage View drive in theater. Going to a drive in to me means it's the beginning of summer. The summer in Minnesota is hot, so it's nice to go to the drive in theater mid June. It's warm during the day, but it gets cool at night. There's just something about the drive in. They always say the movie starts at dusk and then you have to figure out exactly when it might start, when does it officially become dusk. So you get there early and wander around, see who's there. You go to the concessions stand and get some popcorn.
I have fond memories of going to the drive in as a teenager, it was such a simpler time back then.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Drinks in the Bush

Originally uploaded by rheaj
I met up with my friend Mary after work last week at one of our locals, the Defectors Weld. It's a good pub, that tends to get a bit rammed on Friday and Saturday night, but if you get in early during the week it can be pretty lovely.

It was also a very nice surprise to walk in the pub and see a drink waiting for me at the table. What a nice thing to do, eh? To have a nice cocktail ready to go. Very thoughtful.

I have to say I feel pretty lucky to have friends who live in my neighborhood. London being the big city that it is makes it a bit difficult if you want to see someone during the week. You've always got to make sure that you can get back by tube, which closes at midnight. Unless you don't mind taking several buses to get back. You've got to weigh what the journey home is going to be like against how badly you want to see the person.

Thankfully we both just live off the same road, with just a few streets between us!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Free WiFi at McDonalds

Moments before this photo was taken I was walking to the train station from work. I was on my mobile having a chat with Wayland and I was just saying to him that I have to go right by McDonalds on my way to the station and that I wanted to fight temptation.

Alas the double cheese burger was calling my name and they have free wifi at McDonalds so I can work on my lap top. Oh this modern world we live in.........I am loving it!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

What the heck is this Switch she keeps banging on about

I've made some obscure references about getting a Switch for my birthday and a few people have been a bit unclear about what a Switch is. Well, it's just a faux hair piece. You might know it by it's American name of a fall, but a Switch is just a Switch of fake hair.

So, how did I come to get a Switch for my birthday well it all started maybe two weeks ago. I went round to Mary and Pete's one Sunday evening for a beautiful meal and some fine Dino wine (Dino is a brand of Pinot Grigio sold at Tesco's. It usually retails for 8.99 but it goes on special offer from time to time and at 3.99 a bottle you can't go wrong). Mary being the queen of cool that she is introduced me to a wonderful Australia program called Kath and Kim. I was delighted by the show and they were kind enough to lend me season one to finish watching at home. I ended up watching the rest of the first series the next day, it's that good people!

Anyway, there was a tiny bit in the one of the episodes where Kim wants to buy a Switch to wear at her mother's (Kath's) wedding. For some reason I really liked that bit and the fact that the fake hair was called a Switch. Mary being the good friend that she is remembered that I liked that bit about the Switch and bought me my very own for my birthday! It's very glam and I promise to post some photos soon.

In the meantime check out Kath and Kim, but steer clear of the rubbish American version staring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair. It's just not funny, but I am not surprised. It's like the American Office, so unfunny and I can't understand how people who like the British Office also like the American Office. I guess that's a post for another time!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Sucker for a new product

Here's a little known fact about me, I love perfectly groomed eyebrows. I think a pair of brows that are thoughtfully shaped can do wonders. I've always hated grooming them myself. I can't stand tweezing, not because of the pain, just due to laziness. I prefer to have the suckers waxed and let me tell you there is nothing better than having your brows done by a talented esthetician.

When my brows are in check I feel like I can do anything! Back in Minnesota I would have my brows waxed at Estetica salon. I used to work there part time as a receptionist and I highly recommend it. It's a beautiful Aveda salon in the historic Cathedral Hill area of St. Paul. Anne Marie Roe is the best and I always look forward to when I go home for a visit to seeing her. She won best waxer of the year in 2007! I love phoning in from London to make my appointment.

Anyways, I haven't had my brows done yet in London. Mainly because I don't really know where to go. I am a bit skeptical about threading which seems to be the popular method for facial hair removal. I am just not sure it can achieve that same smooth look, but I could be wrong. I should give it a try. If any of you ladies have good things to say about threading leave me a comment or better yet if have your brows waxed by someone you adore let me know where!

So, I've let my brows go a bit....and I decided today to try a home wax kit. I've tried this once before about 9 years ago. The result was pretty disastrous and I ended up loosing one half of an eyebrow. I thought that there might have been advances in home waxing technology so I was confident that it would turn out better. I had to cut the strips into appropriate shapes, but it wasn't too difficult.

I bought these Veet strips at Superdrug about three minutes before they closed. I was looking at another product that was specifically for brows, but the box was a bit battered and dusty and I didn't recognize the brand. Plus you didn't get very many, so I went with the Veet.

I would say that it was a fairly decent experiment. I wasn't able to do too much shaping, but I cleaned up the areas above and below without doing any major damage. Veet also throws in some nicely scented wipes to sooth the skin, which were very nice. Also the fact that you get 20 strips of 3.50 compared with 14 pounds for a wax, I would say it's good value for money!
Happy waxing ladies!

My S'Bush Birthday bash

The Love

The Husband

The Flatmate

The Awesome Friends

The Lodger

I wasn't planning to do much on my actual birthday. I've got my heart set on a cheesecake and wine picnic in Hyde park once the weather decides to quit being a jerk. So I arranged a little get together at a local boozer, the Shepherds Bush Wetherspoons. Now it's not a great place, I'll admit. What it's got going for it is its cheap and that it's close to where I get off the train. Perfect.

It was a good little crew. Mary and Pete, my flatmate Wayland, our lodger Vance and my husband. The thing I like about the Wetherspoons is that you get people from all walks of life there. It's a real mixed bag and there was even a pigeon in there too! Hiding in the rafters, although he did manage to swoop down and steal a chip off a plate!

We also went from calling Wetherspoons, Old Spoony Love (Vance came up with that one) to just calling it The Love, which I think is pretty cool.

There was a bit of pre birthday celebrations the night before, the same crew was assembled at my flat to watch the final of the Apprentice. We had a bit of wine and some champagne! We got pretty rowdy, but that's what happens when it's the final of the Apprentice.

I also would like to say that I got some very nice gifts! Matthew gave me two books about camping in Europe, a cd, a tennis racket and balls, a lovely kitchy notepad, a dry measures cup and he sent me flowers at work. Mary and Pete gave me a lovely switch
and a great dvd that I've been meaning to watch The Darjeeling Limited. Very thoughtful, I will explain more about the switch reference in a separate post. Wayland gave me a lovely card and bought me a drink after I demanded he buy a birthday drink.

Vance has not come through yet, which is pretty bad form. I am letting the guy stay for free in my flat.....for the second time! Lets see if the lodger comes through, he usually isn't a DB but you never know.....Thanks to everyone, you're great friends!

Cheers to being another year older, it ain't so bad. I accomplished most of what I set out do to before I turned 31 so I am good to go. Here's to a great year!

My She Says Mentor

Live as is you were to die tomorrow.
Learn as if you were to live forever.

I had my first meeting with my SheSays mentor on Sunday and it was great! I think I wrote a while back about the SheSay network and that I had become a part of it.

Long story short, months ago when I was trying to make contact with people in London to find a job a woman I used to babysit for in Minneapolis put me in touch with Michelle ( Currently an Executive Producer at Wieden + Kennedy)
and Michelle told me all about the SheSays network and how amazing it is and so on.

SheSays was exactly what I was looking for and I was over the moon that it was suggested to me. I had been looking for this kind of group here in London, but had no idea if one existed or how I was going to find it. Well, I was lucky enough to be put in contact with Michelle! I joined the group, they have a lovely Facebook page and LinkedIn group and so far I've been to two events.

SheSay is all about supporting women who work in digital media, here's what they say about themselves:
What's it all about?
The world is pretty much half men, half women (give or take Loughborough, which is chock full of rugger buggers). So why are there hardly any females in the creative department of most digital ad agencies? We decided to stop chatting about it and do something - hold events, where top females in the industry would share their thoughts and help people to either get started or work their way up. To the attractive pay packets, private car parking spaces and buckets of champers at the top.
So, what can we do for you?
We can introduce you to industry experts, tell you anything you want to know (about advertising), where to look for info, offer one to one mentorship, and feed you wine, beer, and a black olive or three. It's fun. And it's free.

I decided to checkout the mentorship program that they offer. I don't know anyone working in the idustry out here so I thought it would be a good place to start. I sent an email to the Who's Your Momma mentorship coordinator and eagerly awaited to be paired up with a mentor.

I met with Nicola McAdams ( Co-Founder & Client Services Director at Defected) a few months back and she and I had a chat about what I was looking for in a mentor. My reason for finding a mentor was that I want to have a successful career in London. Most people know that I am a very ambitous person and I am curious about people and finding out what kind of jobs they have and how they got there.

At the moment I don't know exactly what I want to do, what kind of job it is I am looking for. I had hoped that a mentor could help me articulate my skills and passion and help me match that p to a role and also to be a person who inspires me. I am still trying to understand the industry out here in London and how things get done. I had wanted to get some career advice and of course help my mentor in any way that I can and to one day mentor other young women.

I was very excited when Nicola phoned me back a few weeks later to let me know that she had found someone for me. Nicolyn Marino an America woman who has been working in London for the past 7 years as a producer. I was really excited to meet her, especially since she's American and she's had a successful career in London.

We met up this past Sunday for brunch in Richmond. I was very impressed with Nicolyn, she had great energy and was very friendly. We chatted and got to know one another and we traded stories about how we came to London. Nicolyn shared with me what her career path had been like and gave me some advice. I was really happy with it, meeting Nicolyn was inspiring. It's like once you meet someone like you who is working and successful you can believe that it will happen to you. She's a smart, ambitious and down to earth. We are going to meet up in a month, giving me a chance to have a bit more time at my new job and then take it from there. She's going to try and arrange for me to meet different people in the industry so I can start figure out what role I would be best suited to.

I am feeling very good about the mentorship and I look forward to blogging about the developments. I have always been passionate about mentorship, thank you to every one out there who takes the time to mentor another. It is a very precious gift!

Friday, 5 June 2009

My Journey to Work

my journey to work photos

Which implies that I have a job, finally, which is true and I will write more about that later. There's a great story there. I started on Monday and it's been a great week. I work up in North London, kind of out in the middle of nowhere. It's not the greatest part of London, but I have a good office. Let's just say that it's not the kind of neighborhood that I can go out to lunch in....unless I like fried chicken.

However, I have a really nice journey into work. My work day starts at 10 a.m. (also very nice) so I am out the door around 8:50 a.m. to catch a bus that takes me down to the overground station. The ride on the 207 only takes about 5 minutes, so I could easily walk it. I usually walk back home instead of taking the bus. Once I get off the bus I take the overground, which is the same as the underground just above the ground.

The first train takes me to Willesden Junction where I change to the Bakerloo line that takes me all the way up to my final stop at Harrow and Wealdstone. My office is in Wealdstone. The nice thing about the journey is that it only takes about 25 minutes and there is no one usually on the trains. On the first bit from Shepherds Bush to Willesden Junction there are usually a few people on board, but the Bakerloo is usually deserted. It's really strange to be the only person in the carriage.

I don't mind it all. I have room to stretch out and it's just enough time to catch up on my reading.
So as far as my journey goes it's good. My internship at Candyspace was close enough that I could walk to, about a 20 minute walk, which was nice. Although I do like the feeling of going somewhere different. Candyspace is over in Chiswick, an area of London where Matthew and I used to live, so I know it very well. A change is nice!
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