Monday, February 18

Twenty WHAT?!

Well hello!

Playing in super soft Canary Island sand

I turned twenty five yesterday.

My grandfather gave me a birthday phone call and casually asked how my life to do list was going.

THANK GOODNESS I have another three years to complete the list.  I take it very seriously despite all appearances.  Thanks, Grandaddy, for inquiring after the list and holding me accountable :)

Here is the list.  (I'm only 90% sure this is 100% accurate as I lost the original documentation.)

1. skydive
2. hanglide
3. ride a camel
4. ride an elephant
5. swim with dolphins
6. volunteer at an orphanage 
7. write a song
8. write a book
9. learn to sail
10. pay for a family vacation*

One, two, and three.  Done.

Four, five, and six.  Okay so, I'm not trying to be lazy, or a tree-hugging hipster, but I'm not sure these are very nice or ethical. I've decided I'm not going out of my way to do these things; I certainly won't pay to do them. But do I secretly hope that one day I'll dive off my sailboat into crystal blue sea and be suddenly surrounded by Flipper and his extended family?  Yes.

*Ten.  I don't know what I was thinking when I was eighteen.  Maybe that I'd win the lottery by twenty one?  I don't know. So I'm going to cheat.  Melissa and I paid for our parents to stay in a nice Florentine B&B.  So... check.  Until I win the lottery.  And I'm taking Melissa on a postgrad Caribbean cruise.  So... double check.

Seven, eight, nine.  Working on it.


Friday, October 5


I've been in Alabama for the past month!  It's been pretty great, though I am ready to start real life again.

Yesterday Melissa, Will, and I went on a wander near Lake Tuscaloosa.  We saw a snake!  Eeeek.

Happy October!  It's by far my favorite month.

Thursday, August 23

Feeling lucky

Right now I'm in Italy with my parents and Hannah, enjoying the first leg of my long vacation (before starting a job - but we won't think about that yet).

We've visited Cinque Terre and Pisa and cooked (and eaten) some really good food and told (and retold) some good stories. Tonight we video chatted with Melissa in Alabama, watched some Friends episodes, and put Lyra to bed, and I stayed up extra late booking a flight to see friends next month when I'm in the States.

I'm feeling lucky.  Being with these three people is like a breath of fresh air.  And I'm looking forward to going back to London for a couple of days, when I can see Dave and wear pants without sweating. (Read: I've totally forgotten what hot weather is like.) And I'm looking forward to going back to Alabama (for like two weeks!) and spending quality time with more friends and family.

It's going to be hectic. And I'll probably spend too much money.  But life is all about the people and I know so many good ones.

Okay, gushing and slideshow over.  I've gotta be up in five hours.

Sleep tight, y'all.

Thursday, August 9

London Breakfast Club: Caravan

I finally visited Caravan in Exmouth Market last weekend. This is the place to go if you want to feel like a trendy Londoner while eating yummy food. 

We sat outside. Glancing around, I noticed that every single person was remarkably fashionable, even the babies. Not in the glitzy name brand way but in the artsy hipster way. Earthy colors, well-worn leather lace ups and sneakers, six or seven layer ensembles with messy hair and unique patterned tights. Plenty of big square glasses and baggy skinny jeans. How do people dress like this every day?  Is it effortless?  Do they spend a fortune on thrifted vintage and an hour getting ready every morning?  I don't know, but London is indeed the fashion capital of the world and I need to get my act together. 

Anyway. The vibe is trendy. The menu is trendy, too. All the brunch items were recognizable but most dishes had a twist. Creamy soy mushrooms. Baked eggs, tomato, and pepper ragout. (I don't know what ragout is. I bet it's French.) Ham and cheese muffins. For me, the obvious choice was cornbread french toast with bacon, rocket, avocado, and paprika-spiced maple syrup. You'd never put those ingredients together, right?  But you know it's going to be delicious. And it was. The downside was the portion size. It was plenty, yes, but I could've eaten twice as much. Maybe that's my own problem.


Linking with love: inside Caravansignageoutside Caravan

Monday, August 6

Camping in Dorset

This weekend Dave and I drove down to Dorset and camped on Northdown Farm, in between Osmington and Weymouth.

Gratuitous couple picture. Upon arriving at the campsite, before we got all gross and dirty from nature.

The forecast was iffy. But it only rained twice, while we were sleeping. Woo!

The farm campsite was fresh, spacious, an easy half hour walk to the beach, and close to lots of country pubs.

One day we drove to Weymouth, where the Olympic sailing events were happening. We couldn't see much - just a distant fleet of white sails, which was pretty - but we enjoyed iced coffees and scones at a cafe called The Tea Bush. We returned a couple days later for breakfast.  Yum. Recommended.

We intended on cooking for ourselves. I bought a new cookstove and everything!  But it was so windy, and the gas cartridges were moderately complicated, so we ended up going to pubs instead. Fish and chips. Pan fried sea bass. Crab sandwiches. Cottage pie. One morning, we acquired some boiling water from the campsite shop and made lukewarm oatmeal and coffee.  Cooking?  Check.

Dave and I have a long history of failed campfires. It's turned into a thing. Every time we (he) fail(s) to build a successful fire, I get sad and irritable. But on our third night, lo and behold, despite my skepticism, after an hour of poking and prodding, Dave built an awesome fire.  It was hot and cracklin' and it burned all our firewood down to ash. We were both very pleased. I started calling Dave 'Fire Maker.'

As always, getting out of London was refreshing. I've missed camping!

Happy Monday,

PS, if any of you are following the Olympics, be sure to watch the USA v. Canada women's soccer match today.  The winner goes to gold on Thursday, and I'll be there!

Saturday, July 14

Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies

If you like folk music, you should check out Harry Bird and the Rubber Wellies because:

1.  their album art is pretty
2.  their music is pretty great
3.  and my friend Molly knows them so it's like you know them too

My favorite song is The Butterfly Song. You can listen here. It's happy and folky and not serious.  And the lyrics make me smile.

oh, the more you have to struggle through
the sweeter victory tastes to you
from the ashes beauty flashes
that's the cry of the butterfly
trust me son, your life's about
to take an astounding route
you're a brave fella, young caterp-ella
i see you flying high in a fancy suit

I think so.mb
Linking with love: lyrics

Friday, July 13

Rain, job, life update

My blog lacks life updates.

I've been going through an awkward phase for the past two years. I've tried not to be all philosophical and Generation Why-ee on the blog. But every time I start writing life updates, things get 'philosophical' and Generation Why-ee real fast. So I delete everything and post some Instagrams! This is me inside a tree.

Here's what's happening. 

London is wet and chilly. Summer hasn't arrived and I'm not sure it will. June was the rainiest June since 1910, and we received 3x the monthly rainfall average in the first ten days of July. For as long as I can remember, the ten day weather forecast has consisted of rows of gray clouds with the occasional red lightening bolt.  Last week I couldn't find my raincoat and refused to buy another one, in protest. (I've since found my raincoat, thank goodness.) It's yuck. I know it's hot in the States, but I would give a little toe for sun and shorts and the sweet relief of a cold beverage. I like London when the sun's out. But the sun's rarely out. And in the never ending rain, it's soggy, dirty, and gray.

One quiet Friday afternoon at the bank, my dear colleagues were googling each other and stumbled across this blog. As they clicked through, I was mortified. I was also very thankful I choose not to discuss my job (in detail) online. If you ever have questions about investment banking or my role in the industry (is that vague enough?), please email me. My internship ends mid-August, and then I'm meeting Hannah in Italy for a few days of traveling. And then… no idea. 

I mean, I have ideas. Lots of them.

I've been busy applying for jobs, interviewing for jobs, worrying about jobs, discussing jobs for a few months now. My strategy targets the continental United States, London, and Australia. I'm covering all my bases. The search has its ups and downs. I love the rush after a good interview and the hope after applying for that perfect job that I'm overqualified for (which happened once, and 24 hours later, I was rejected, but you know… the hope in the beginning was great). I enjoyed writing my first four cover letters, but now I begin every cover letter by opening Word and grumpily typing 'JUST GIVE ME THIS JOB.' 

When I'm in a good mood, it's exciting 'having options' and being young and talking about the future. When I'm in a bad mood, I'm convinced I'm going to be broke, alone, and cynical forever. And if you send me articles about the bad economy, god help you.

I've come up with a system to help me deal with uncertainty. I list all my options and highlight the pros and cons for each.

Some examples.

No job, sleeping on my sister's dirt floor pantry in Alabama 
Pros: sunny weather, being near family, biscuits and gravy
Cons: no money, no friends, no Dave


Interning for free at a nonprofit or comms agency in Colorado 
Pros: sunny weather, work experience I want, Shelley lives in Denver
Cons: no money, no family, no Dave


Working in finance in London 
Pros: money, Dave, being in the same place for 1+ years
Cons:  the *&^**%&*! rain, professional angst, I miss my friends

Basically, I will enjoy and benefit from being anywhere, somehow.

Fun things I've done lately: a girls weekend with church folk, staying out til the sun came up, eating lots of pasta and pizza, reading good books. Tonight I might go to a surprise birthday party, if I convince myself to change out of my sweat pants and venture back outside (lame, I know). Next weekend we're going to a friend's wedding in Oxford. Then the Olympics, then Italy, and between now and then, I've got four days off to squeeze in.  

Life ain't too terrible.