Tuesday, 30 November 2010

London post office woes

I used to love going to the post office when I lived in Minneapolis. I even didn't mind waiting in line if you can believe that! I also didn't have to go to the post office all that often because you can buy stamps right from and ATM/Cash point. Talk about convenience! Going to the post office usually meant I was posting a special package to someone and that was a fun thing to do.

I dread going to the post office in London. It's second on my list of things I dislike doing. Number one is hanging socks up to dry, but I am sure I've already done a post about that.

I have such good intentions for sending thoughtful little gifts and cards to my friends and family back home, it's just that 9 times out of 10 they end up sitting in my flat because I don't enjoy going to the post office. I also never seem to have the proper mailing supplies that I need. Back home I could just pop to Target to get any supplies I need or I used to wrap boxes in paper grocery bags, but we don't have them here.

What usually happens then is that I end up buying my packing supplies at the post office and packing them up there. This is also stressful, because there's usually no room to do this.This last time I went there I stocked up on these plastic envelope bags to have around the house. That way I just have to post and not pack at the office. I am slowly learning :)
Going to the post office to me means a long queue and stress. For some reason being at the post office seems to bring out the worst in people. Just today the woman in front of me at the service window was so rude to the person working there.  Once at the Shepherds Bush post office two men got into a fight in the queue and had to be taken out! 

The atmosphere is pretty morose. You don't see many smiles in the post office that's for sure. I've taken to wearing my ipod and listening to Enya when I go in there. I usually feel like I am fumbling around at the service counter, trying to be speedy when filling out my custom slips. I just feel so disorganized when I am there despite taking extra measure to be prepared. I feel like I am in the way and taking up too much room. The person behind the glass usually has a hard time hearing me and I end up repeating myself several times in my loud American voice. 

Just wanted to get this off my chest as I had to go there today and mail a bunch of Christmas cards to the States and I'll most likely have to make a few more trips this month.  

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Cowshed Massage

I had a massage today at Cowshed (Soho location) and it was fantastic. It was a treat to reward myself for dropping a stone and I haven't had a massage in ages. The last one in London was at the training school and that wasn't great. It was certainly cheap, but the table was so uncomfortable and it's not very private. 

Cowshed was lovely and the people working there were so nice and friendly. My massage therapist was excellent and it was one of the best massages that I've had in a long time. I had some little knots in my shoulders and they were rubbed out. The treatment room was relaxing and peaceful. I couldn't have asked for a better experience. 

I had high hopes for Cowshed. I had my first date with my husband at the High Road Brasserie in Chiswick and they had Cowshed soap and lotion in the ladies room. I loved the smell and the package design so I bought the soap and lotion to have in my bathroom to remind me of that special date.

I am going to book a facial at the Shoreditch House spa and give that a go. I would definitely recommend it. I will be back :)

Friday, 26 November 2010


Thanksgiving is one my favourite holidays... I love it so much. It's a day of not only for feasting, but spending time with friends and family. I really wished that I had gone home this year for Thanksgiving with Matthew. Thankfully I can live vicariously through my friends status updates and photos. 

I don't really do anything for Thanksgiving here in London. The first year I was here I went to a party that was hosted by the American friend of my flatmate. It was a lot of fun, a bunch of Americans studying abroad trying to share our tradition with our new friends. 

As much as I miss the holiday I don't really feel the need to recreate it over here. I thought about cooking the Thanksgiving dinner for Matthew, but I am willing to wait for him to experience it in America. This may or may not have to do with the fact that I've never cooked a turkey before, but Matthew doesn't need to know that.

I've also been getting into all the black friday hype online and telling Matthew all about it. He can't imagine why on earth people would get up to be a store for 4 a.m. I've tried to explain the theory behind the door busters, but I think he'll also have to experience that first hand.
In all honesty I've never been the kind of person to engage in the crazy day after Thanksgiving shopping, but for some reason I feel the urge to! 

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I feel very thankful for all the amazing people I have in my life. I just feel so grateful for everything that I have.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

MCAD makes into the list of 13 colleges that leave students in massive debt

According to the Huffington Post the average debt is 42,00.00 I wish that was the amount of debt that I was left with! MCAD was massively expensive and I paid for my own education, or am paying for it. Thankfully it was worth it. I just wish that they wouldn't ask for a contribution from me months after graduation....

Friday, 19 November 2010

You can take the girl out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl

love these ads!

Yes.....it's true. I read the Target ads online and love it!!!! I've been also watching out for all the holiday commercials/adverts to pop up. Target has a few up on YouTube, just waiting to see what Old Navy have up their performance fleeced sleeves :)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Eye candy

Cards by RifleMade


I am definitely in the holiday crafting spirit and have found a new favourite website and digital magazine that is just gorgeous! I can't wait to decorate this year. I am feeling rather festive this year in London, which is a good thing. Since I've been here in London I've had two Christmases here and one in Japan. 

The first two were lovely, but I was still pretty homesick. Now that Matthew and I are in our own flat I am feeling a lot more merry :) I can't wait to get our little tree, the trees are so short here. We won't be putting our tree up until after Thanksgiving. I might even put some Christmas lights out in the flower boxes! I will keep you posted. 

My lovely work colleague Olly Moss

As I type this Olly is rocking out to Lady Gaga right across from me, we're super into the Gaga.

This is Wax's creative director, or creative genius as he likes to call himself. Since he's such a great guy to work with I let him get away it. I am really lucky to have met Olly he's a great chap to work with and a really nice and fun person. I took these photos earlier today for a blog post on our agency website. 

Olly demanded that I do an interview with him today to talk about all the amazing work that he's been doing lately and of course he wanted a photo shoot. When I asked him if I could post a photo up on my personal blog he said I could if put both up. What a character! When we're not working on creative goodness for our clients he loves playing poker, getting his look on and chatting noise with me and ladies he's single!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


I wrote about my new neighbors a while back. We have the lady across the hall who used to like to come over whilst wearing a bathrobe with no sash and nothing underneath. She hasn't been coming over as often as she used to. The new thing is to just knock on the door and ask for a few pounds, which isn't too bad. She's happy with 3 pounds and then goes back to her flat. She's pretty harmless and friendly.

However we've got very loud neighbors downstairs. I wish it was a matter of them just playing their music loud, but it's not. They spend most of the time screaming at their two kids. They've got a boy who might just be in reception and a little girl who is maybe 3. There's also a dog that gets yelled at. 

I am not talking about once in a while a little bit of family shouting. These people yell at their kids in a really angry awful way that usually involves a lot of terrible profanities. During the week it's not so bad, but it goes on all weekend. They don't every really leave the flat either. 

Last Saturday it got really bad where there was the yelling and fighting between the man and woman, it escalated into them fighting outside in front of the flat and then yelling at a man on the street. I don't know how he fits into it, but it was pretty intense.

It's hard to try to ignore and I feel so bad for the kids who live there and feel helpless as to what to do. I usually don't hear the kids screaming or crying, just the adults. We were close to going down there and knocking on the door and asking them to keep it down, but when we saw how he kicked off with the random guy in the street we decided against it. They don't seem like the most reasonable of people.

I love our flat, but it makes living here unpleasant. I feel bad for the kids and like I should be doing something. At the moment it doesn't sound to be anything more than horrible verbal and emotional abuse and not physical. If I thought it was I would try to do something, call someone...

It's just such a sad thing. I've never experienced this before. In our last flat we got a bit of noise from the lady upstairs. Her bedroom was above my and she liked to watch EastEnders at 10 p.m. and of course I didn't mind that. I enjoyed listening to it as I fell asleep.

Has anyone else had to deal with something like this before? What did you do?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


The photo is from my trip to MN this summer, where we did go to a Twins game at the new outdoor stadium. 

It's 5:53 a.m. I am up. I've started a new early bed early to rise project yesterday. Before I woke up I was dreaming about being with Matthew at a baseball game in Minnesota. We were sitting there watching the game when it stopped and it was announced that we were going to sing the national anthem. I thought this was a little strange since it was in the middle of the game, but stood up to stand and placed my hand over my heart. The song started and it wasn't the Star Spangled Banner but some other song that I had never heard of. Everyone knew the words, but me. I thought how strange! They've got a new song now and I didn't even now about it. I've only been away for 4 years and they go and change the national anthem?

A few minutes later the alarm goes off and here I am writing about it. 

Thinking about it now I am not surprised about the dream. I've been thinking a lot about America lately. Since the massive snow storm MN had this past weekend it has been on my mind. Not in a homesick way, but in a different way. 

I was coming home from work last night and the tube stopped at a station for a while. I was reading a book so the delay didn't bother me. A woman who was standing spoke up and said "I am sorry to have to say anything, but I am due to have my baby in two weeks. Would someone please give me their seat?"

Of course someone did right away. I was so engrossed in my book that I didn't even notice her. I thought that they way she started out that request was very English with the I am sorry...at the beginning of a perfectly reasonable request.

Anyway, she sat down and then after a few seconds the man next to her asked her if she knew it was a boy or a girl and made a little bit of conversation with her, they were both English. It was a nice little conversation between two strangers. It didn't last very long, but it was still nice to over hear. You usually don't hear anyone speaking to each other on the tube unless they know each other. 

I looked up over my book at the woman and she smiled at me, which was really nice. I don't know, it was just a rare and lovely moment between people on the underground. It reminded me a little bit of something that would happen in Minnesota. I sometimes miss those nice friendly interactions with strangers.

I got off the tube and walked home thinking about Minnesota. Thinking about all the people and places that were there still going on without me. Even though I was all the way over here, life was still going on. My friends were in their houses, my favourite coffee shop was still there and I am sure they still would be when I get back.

In some ways that's comforting, but it's still strange. It sometimes feels like I've been plucked out of one reality and dropped into another one.

It's a strange experience in some ways to live in another country and be able to view your own country through the lens of an observer. While the storm was happening I watched the KARE 11 news with Matthew and it was so weird. The people in the newscast and they way they were delivering the news was so weird now after watching the BBC. It just seemed so fake.

That's my post for now. We'll see what other dreams I have about it tonight.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

A wet day in London

Today to me was a very typical cold wet rainy English day. For Matthew it was the perfect day to go for a walk. Now, I am all for a nice walk around a part of London I've never been before I just usually like to do it in better conditions. We live close to Dulwich village and I had just recently heard that it was a lovely place to visit.

When we left the flat it was just kind of spitting. Spitting rain is a term that I've become familiar with since living here and I like the way it sounds. It's not really raining, it's just spitting. We took off to the bus stop and the rain was spitting and we had hoped that it was just going to clear up. We didn't have umbrella's with us. I've managed to lose every single brolly that I've ever laid my hands on. Matthew was confident that it was going to clear up, so no bother.

West Dulwich is only a short bus ride away from Brixton. We were going on walk that was only about 2 miles, but the rain decided to start coming down properly. 

Now I hate being wet. I am not a big fan of voluntarily walking around in the rain at all. Matthew didn't seem to mind it, but my mood was turning rather sour. We walked through a lovely park and into the main village area hoping to find a good pub to duck into.

It would have been a lovely walk had it not been so wet. Luckily we came across a pub, the Crown and Greyhound and decided to take shelter there. 

I love love love pubs. This one was buzzing. It was like all of West Dulwich had come to this one pub for their Sunday lunch. It's a big pub, which is good, and it was full of people and dogs enjoying a hot roast dinner. 

I went for the roast chicken and it was fantastic, complete with Yorkshire pudding, carrots, parsnips, roast potatoes and cabbage. It was excellent and I highly recommend it. The sticky toffee pudding was ace! 

Sitting in that pub you didn't even feel like you were in London. You felt like you were in a country village and that's not a bad feeling on a Sunday. 

We decided to just head home after lunch, since it was still raining. That was fine with me, we'll be back to explore another day. I was happy to sit on the couch with a cup of tea...how English of me :)

Saturday, 13 November 2010

It's snowing in Minnesota

These photos are from the Star Tribune website and were taken today! More snow photos from the Strib

There's nothing like a flood of FB updates from friends in Minneapolis telling you that it's snowing. One person who I went to MCAD with was even kind enough to tag me in a video that he made. Bryan had tagged everyone he knew that wasn't living in Minnesota to show them what they're missing.

Apparently there's a winter storm watch and a snow storm on! I've been showing Matthew all the weather updates and photos and he can't believe how much snow there is on the 13th of November. 

I can't wait for Matthew to experience his first snow storm. I have to tell you that it makes me extremely homesick. I hope everyone is enjoying the snow. I went and had a look on the KARE 11 website and there's going to be up to 10 inches of snow today and maybe more tomorrow. I tell you what if I was home I would be getting out my sled!

Ideas from far away lands

I had a great Skype call with my very good friend Taylor Baldry this morning. He has been living in Japan now for a year and half teaching English. The time difference thing really works in our favor in terms of catching each other on the old Skype. 

Taylor has an idea for a project and I am not sure how top secret it is so I'll mention it in a vague sort of way. For years now Taylor has been carrying around a notebook where he's been keeping a record of his brilliant ideas. Yes, I say brilliant and that's the honest truth! I've known Taylor since our time at MCAD and he's been pretty reliable in the old ideas department and he's one of my favourite people to work with.
Anyways, so Taylor has been filling this notebook of his with lots of ideas. The only problem is that Taylor is just one man. He couldn't possibly actualize all of them in his lifetime, unless someone gave him a lot of money to just create his ideas. Which by the way is one of the ideas in the book.

So Taylor thought what if he made the ideas public and let other people take them and bring them to life. I think it's a cool idea and am interested to see it develop.

While Taylor and I were talking about it he was wondering how it was actually going to work. Would people work in teams globally? Would they upload project plans to the website and people could comment on them? Would they send in their completed projects to him? What would be the benefit for people to take part in this project? Just basically how the thing is going to work.

Now, this is what I love about the digital age we live in. I suggested to Taylor that he could do a couple of test ideas on the site to see how the process worked before he launched it for real.

I guess if you're not sure how something should work the best way forward is to just try something and see how it goes. Through the process of actually doing it he'd be able to see what worked and what didn't and then refine his idea. It would the testing phase. 

I think sometimes, myself included in this, that people have ideas and they want to create something, but they think they have to know exactly how it's going to work before doing it. When actually things change all the time.There are of course a million ways to go about things, but the point is that you have to start somewhere.

One of my favourite quotes is from John Cage who tells us to Begin anywhere. John Cage tells us that not knowing where to begin is a common form of paralysis. His advice: begin anywhere.

In this digital age we can revise things, adjust things, delete things, improve things, move things around, improve the user journey, make things look better, improve the copy and so on and so on. You get the picture.
I am excited to be involved in Taylor's project and to see what happens. I will keep you posted and share the link once it's gone live.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Berlin Wall

When I was in Berlin this past weekend we visited the East Wall Gallery on a bike tour. We stopped in front of this little patch on the West facing side while our tour guide gave us some information.

Right behind where he was standing I discovered a name that had been written on the wall. It is the name of my mother, Luba. My mom passed away 8 years ago and was born in Germany after World War II. 

It really struck me to see her name right there in front of me. Luba isn't a very common name after all. I felt like it was a sign from my mom that she was with me and  even though I felt very sad I felt comforted at the same time.

I've been thinking about writing a book about being an adult orphan for a long time. My dad passed away from cancer when I was 18 and my mom lost her battle with bipolar disorder when I was 24. I've also lost my half brother, grandmother and three men that I was in relationships with (one of whom I was married to at one time).  

I am at the point in my life where I feel ready to share the experiences that I went through in order to help other people. The one thing that made such a huge difference to me while going through grief was to be able to read the stories of others who had been through it. I remember wishing that there were more books out there while at the same time not wishing what I had gone through on anyone. 

I feel like seeing my mom's name was definitely a sign to start writing. I've been thinking about writing about it for at least five years now. I think one of the biggest barrier is just starting to write. I mean I don't know how to write a book, but I guess you've got to start somewhere. 

I am not going to be writing through this blog, because it's just not the right place to do it. I am going to be sharing my writing and any reference materials that I use on my Scribd profile if you're interested.

Experiencing the world

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

I went to Berlin this last weekend with Matthew and our friend Woody and it was an excellent weekend away.

On Sunday we went out to visit the Sachsenhausen concentration camp with Mosaic tours. Mosaic Tours is a 100% non-profit registered charity and our tour guide Colin was amazing. 

The emotions that I felt while visiting that concentration camp were like none I had ever experienced before in my life. It's hard for me to write about it and the experience has changed me as a person.

On my way back to London I thought about how important it is to travel and see the world and experience places and cultures outside of your own. It's one thing to read about history, it's another to go and experience it. 
I sometimes think about what my life would be like if I hadn't come to study in England. Would I be traveling to half of the places that I've been to since I've moved abroad?

I had a passport before I came to study abroad and had been to Europe a few times, but it's a strange feeling to know that I might not have ever been to the places that I have if I was still living back in the States.

I have friends who have never left the state of Minnesota let alone the country. Which just seems really strange to me now. To just spend your entire life in one small geographical location. 

While I have friends here in London who think nothing of taking 3 to 4 weeks or even longer to go traveling. I don't know many American people who just decide to go traveling for a while. It usually happens before you go to college for a couple months and then you get to say that you've done Europe.

Every time I visit a new place my understanding of life and how the world works expands. I think there's no better way to learn about the life and I look forward to many trips all over the world.

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