101 in 1001 2.0

“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”
― Coco Chanel

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend, what better way to celebrate than with the opposite of relaxing! My second 101 in 1001 Days goal list is up and running, kittens! And ironically, some of those goals will be kicking off a lot sooner than even I anticipated…more on that later (she said, cryptically). I’d be curious as your thoughts on this 2.0 version, ducklings.


As mentioned in my update post, I learned a lot about how I either achieve or give up on goals out of this project and I’m actually more excited to try to set up my next attempt than I was at my first. This time around I’ve got large overriding goals (like working on a manuscript) and I’ve got smaller ones that will help contribute to them (such as writing a set number of words a day for a month). Instead of committing to massive health goals, I’ve committed to several months worth of smaller goals like trying new dance classes, doing a yoga program, working towards a weight to lift, and trying an elimination diet as I’ve felt that my body is increasingly responding badly to some kinds of foods (looking at you sugar…).  I’ve migrated several of the goals I didn’t accomplish last time to this list as I still want to achieve them

One of the unintentional themes I’ve spotted in my new list is that I clearly want to gain some more creative skills and try new things–leading me to self-psychoanalyze that I’m feeling a bit in a rut and ready to shake things up. I also realized that a lot of my goals have to do with visiting or connecting with people, as well as budgeting. I rather like the idea that somewhat inadvertently I’ve found ways to tackle things I want to prioritize from multiple angles.

Have you ever tried this challenge, or indeed any goal setting adventure? What helped you succeed? What did you learn out of it? Do you think stuff like this is just a load of bollocks to make already ridiculous type A’s feel even more self-flagellating? Lend me your thoughts, kittens, and let’s have a productive chat and/or debate in the comments.


Weekend Links

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
― John Steinbeck

It might be a Bank Holiday weekend, kittens, but there has been a hell of a lot of behind the scenes adventures in the last 48 hours. I’m tired. How delightful that we have tomorrow off to recover! We’re debating whether we should join the throngs at the Notting Hill Carnival, or eschew people all together and just wander along the Thames somewhere or spend a day in a park trying to soak up the last rays of summer. London has been broiling this past week and it looks to be keeping up for the forseeable future, but the promise of fall is in the air and one must stock up on ones Vitamin D.

Here are your links, darlings, extra long this week to see you through the weekend, and tell me what you’re getting up to in the comments!

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Let’s start the weekend with a roar as there never was a more SDS targeted article than this. Here’s to henchmen, demands, and cheekbones sharp enough to kill a man; down with wishes posing as rebellion!

Have you watched Stranger Things yet? If not, why not? Our friendship hangs in the balance.

God, how much worse is it going to get

How’s the US election shaping up? Are you sure?

And speaking of SDS clickbait! Do you subscribe to this Anne Boleyn theory?

No. HELL, no.

Beyonce just dropped tons of behind the scenes photos from the making of Lemonade. Go and be blessed, children.

I am oddly in love with this guy.

Found the perfect fall tote.

The hijab ban in France is ridiculous, period. If you are so up in arms about women’s attire being “mandated,” how about you stop mandating women’s attire? Here, have a look through this kick-a hijab wearing cosplayers instead.

Equal parts adorable and terrifying.

Me, to be honest.

Really enjoyed this piece. I’m not thin, I’m technically overweight according to my doctor–who very kindly hastened to assure me that I’m on the boundary for my height and well within the bounds of “normal,” gee thanks–but I’ve benefited from a lot of other privileges. Plus I’m fortunate to have both the ability and resources able to try and re-enter the “privileged” group, as getting in is a lot harder than falling out. Thoughts?

101 in 1001 Recap

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”
― Louisa May Alcott

101 things in 1001 days

Today my first 101 in 1001 list comes to an end. I didn’t manage as many things as I wanted and my decisions around work somewhat took energy away from some of my bigger goals over the past year and a half…but I completed 50% of my list and I feel okay about that.

I also learned that for me breaking goals down into chunks really helped me accomplish them better, that short term goals often turned into long term habits, and keeping a record of the ones I was working on really kept me on target.

Et alors, my second list kicks off on Monday, watch this space!

A Career Year

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
― Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

It’s not an easy thing to leave a job, especially one you’re finding success in. In recent months I received one raise, negotiated another, and was promoted–all the result of a lot of hard work and a lot of determination. And then, somewhat suddenly, I decided to leave my position.

I’ve mentioned this briefly in previous posts but in a lot of ways, I feel like I need to make up for lost time career-wise. I graduated as the recession was kicking off and was the primary breadwinner while Jeff was still in school. Hindsight being 20/20, I should never have stayed at my first job as long as I did but when you’re in a mindset of just paying the bills, it’s easy to let small setbacks (like not being able to go abroad with your husband to grad school, or having to wait a year for a new visa) add up to big ones. The long term benefit has been an internal commitment to not allow myself to ever get “stuck” in a job again–whether in progress, advancement, money, or learning opportunities. And in spite of a lot of the growth over the past year in particular, I found myself feeling a bit stuck.

Behind the scenes I called 2015-2016 my “Year of Career” due to the amount of work I was putting in. Willingly, might add. Due to my sense of falling inadvertently behind, both I and Jeff (who somewhat shares my feelings, though slightly less so as he spent a year getting a masters degree that paid off in exactly the way we hoped it would; namely, getting us to London) agreed that we’d be willing to burn the candle at both ends for a few years to gain as much experience and as many opportunities as we could. Our end goal is to position ourselves to have a more balanced life, but we were willing to put in the long hours and weekends needed now to get us there.


It has been an intense year. Coworkers have come and gone, a new mentor entered the picture, projects grew or got smaller unexpected, and I was thrown into [the right kind of] sink or swim projects that allowed me to learn. My instincts were tested, as were values, resilience, and skills. I hired and eventually had to let go of my first assistant, then hire a second one, I put together not just individual marketing campaigns, but got to develop whole top line strategies, I vastly expanded my network of contacts in both the business and creative world, and I had some pretty high highs. I also fell on my face a few times, lost my cool, struggled as my department grew and shrank and grew again, occasionally thrived on the uncertainty, but other times struggled with it.

But in spite of all the bustle, increasingly I recognized that nagging feeling of “stuck-ness.” Some of it was internal, some of it was external, but it was unmistakably the feeling that I once ignored for too long: I had a very strong impression that it was getting time to go. Just as I had really come to the conclusion that I would listen to that feeling and start hustling to make something happen, the universe placed a not insignificant opportunity right in front of me and I decided to grab it with both hands.

My new position contains many elements of my old plus some fresh new challenges and I’m still finding my feet a week and a half in, but tremendously grateful for and enjoying the new work.

However I’m recognizing the need to shake up more than where I work, but how I work. My old position was a crucible in many ways, a major support role in a team relatively small to be in charge of the amount of assets we managed. Everyone wore a lot of hats, I was on at least half dozen projects simultaneously, and our department was involved in every single phase from research before an acquisition all the way through to the final sales. The amount of learning opportunities I had were amazing. But there was a dark side. Because we were a small team, it was nearly impossible to “switch off.” This was not just me, I learned eventually, it was part of the culture that the company developed. For a while, my first whole year there, I didn’t see this as too much of a problem because I was committed to burning the candle at both ends if needed, but nobody can work like that forever before both you and the metaphoric candle burn out.

I came close to burn out more than once in my old position. Emails on the weekends, occasional whole weekends in the office, taking work home with me…it added up. At one point I was having actual nightmares about spreadsheets and waking up in the middle of the night composing tomorrow’s emails in my head. My new company makes a priority of balance and working hard…during work hours. People are expected to go home at reasonable times, not to be available during atypical hours, and to take holidays. I’m only a week and a half in (plus I had a week of break between positions) but it is a bit shocking how much adjustment this mentality is taking. I knew I didn’t like the imbalance I felt previously, I didn’t know how all pervasive it was, and I definitely didn’t appreciate I am going to have to relearn balance–it is NOTHING like riding a bicycle.

But I need to. In many ways, this job represents a step towards that longer term goals: I worked hard for nearly two years so I could work smarter for much longer. There’s still a lot of work to do setting up in my new gig, plus I’m working on some side projects again after they fell (out of necessity) by the wayside, but for the moment at least, I’m seeing how my year of career paid off.


Fashion Find: Ragyard

“There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

So you’ve been noticing the (fantastic) trends towards embroidery and embellishment? So you’ve been eyeing those Gucci knits and patched everything floating around your pinterest boards and street style sites alike? So, awash in these musing, you think of your bank account and collapse into hysterical tears?

I’ve got you, kittens.

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Behold Ragyard, a shop I stumbled into by accident in Shoreditch but which also has a Portobello Road outpost. They stock their own pieces featuring embroidery and patchwork in fairly small numbers. Some of their stuff could be outright festival wear but styled right and you’ve got a dead ringer for looks off the runway (or worn by tastemaking editors). Basic research also indicates they occasionally do one-of-a-kind pieces that I want to dive into a bit more.

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The last thing I need is more lazy athleisure wear but the sweatshirts are oddly seductive. I’m currently sitting on my hands and being good, however I’m  curious to see how the tease of these new snake patches is going to play out eventually and so might give in to temptation in the near future.

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Weekend Links

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”
― Bill Watterson

Another weekend drawing to a close, darlings, another batch of links to take to you to the bitter end. It’s a short bunch this week but as always worth a read! Share your favorite internet finds in the comments and let me know what you’re getting up to this week.

2016-08-12 10.46.44 HDR

Full disclosure, this is a commercial for feminine hygiene products. It is also wicked smart advertising and the comment thread is giving me life. #fulleowyn

This clapback is everything.

History + libraries = SDS clickbait.

My entire Facebook feed of late has been dedicated to the ass-kicking lady athletes in Rio this Olympics, so here’s a timely piece of worthy reading.

This piece on Elle.com on the evolution of street style and how their photographers capture it now is smart and delightful.


I’m incredibly irked that Larry Wilmore’s show has been cancelled, but Jon Stewart’s tribute to his voice says better than any other commentary why it’s important.

Weekend Links

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

I had this week off on holiday, which is good news because I start the new gig tomorrow. Having some time to rest and recalibrate has been enormously welcome. I spent a couple of days just catching up on sleep, housework, the September issues, news, and friends, then I hit the road and spent a couple of days taking meetings and catching up with fellow freelance types and friends because it’s back to the hustle, kids.

Here are your links, time to gear up for the week!

Source: Buzzfeed News
#girlboss              Source: Buzzfeed News

Oh, good grief

In better news, we all “got this.” I also have the gif saved for future reference.

I’ve been in a bit of a workaholic phase lately and I’m working now to recover from that mindset as I dive into a new job that I’m committed to, but trying to have a better, smarter life balance over all. Caitlin sent me some light reading on the topic.

Hilary Clinton’s merch is on point. I require this notebook, for one.

So, horses are X-Men?

Friend and fellow expat Caitlin (in China) wrote a great post about her shifting relationship with stuff.

These are amazing and I think I need to stock up immediately. Wouldn’t they make fabulous gifts?!

Spot of murder anyone?

I swear, there’s a decent argument that social media is killing the internet

So much want. (h/t Caitlin again)

More expat thoughts from another former expat chum.