Tag: Summer

Summer Bucket List Check In

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I’ve mentioned that the weather has taken a turn for the autumnal of late, this past Sunday it reached a new high (or low, depending on your point of view). Ergo, we’re off to Greece, which as you may recall was the first item on my Summer Bucket List. Which means, given the weather, that it’s probably time for a check in on my frivolous summer goals!

Do you see this nonsense?

Buy new glasses. (See comment below!)

Get another piece of furniture for the house. And plants that I won’t easily kill. (I’ve got my eye on some shelves but that will have to be an end of month or October purchase, as we’ve spent that money on Greece. And I regret nothing)

Read a new heap of novels, both trashy and classy.

Finally get that call with my bank scheduled to kick off the proper investment and savings plan we’ve been talking about for months. (Call made but expat status means that we have to go through a few more hoops before I can start this properly. Annoying, but progress made!)

Do another month long blog project. (Nope, fail.)

Lose some weight. I’m typically wary of goals like this, but I’ve decided to just acknowledge that I’m going to work hard on some health and fitness goals explicitly. (I’ve started a new health challenge and X is my accountability partner. I’m only a bit of weight down, but I’m back to much better eating habits and regular exercise!)

Catch up with some long lost pals. (Another “fail,” but what I actually managed to do was make a few new friends instead. Gonna call this one a win.)

Knock out my audiobook goal.

Leave the office at a sensible hour most days.

Go to more movies. (I only made it to Wonder Woman, but I’m actually with falling down on this goal as we spent that fun money elsewhere, such as eating out at Hawker House.)

Throw some kind of party or get together.

Did you have a summer bucket list of any kind? What goals or triumphs have you ticked off over the warm months?

Weekend Links

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

Hi ducklings! It was the 4th of July for American minions this past week (NPR tweeted out the Declaration of Independence and got some…confused responses), and this weekend in PRIDE in London. We have a houseguest in situ, more coming next week, and Katarina and I are scheming for a visit in August. The sun is blazing, the river is high, and politics were only typically bad this week. Let’s celebrate some summer, shall we?

This profile of one of the One Direction boys (the one you probably don’t remember the name of) is poignant and kind of lovely.

Say it with me: “women’s fiction” is just…fiction.

Great. Just ******* great.

Bitch magazine rounded up a bunch of podcasts you should be listening to. I can personally recommend about half of ’em.

SUPER NOT GREAT, TEAM.

I will be donating to this cause.

Well this was…devastating.

It’s rare that an agony aunt letter affects me, but this is one of those occasions.

#distractinglysexy is trending and it’s great.

Album of the week: Something to Tell You, by Haim 

Weekend Links

“If it could only be like this always – always summer, always alone, the fruit always ripe and Aloysius in a good temper…”
― Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited

Hi, kittens. It was another rattling week of news and the general sense of overwhelm continues. Between acts of violence, tragedies, media shenanigans, Twitter-happy trigger fingers, ongoing debate or outrage over American legislation, grumpiness over British politics, and goodness knows what else, there was a lot to absorb.

On the personal front, work continues to plug along and the benefits of my Paris break seem to be sticking around. I put to bed a yearly budget, sat down with some creative pals, am back to working on some of my 101/1001 goals, and Jeff is acting a personal training and nutrition coach as we try to get back to being healthy. You may imagine how the last bit thrills me.

Here is a nice batch of links for you, some funny and some serious, to help kick off your weekends. I’ll be at the gym. Crying.

I mentioned this last week, but this summarizes why the Comey Hearing had so many specific overtones to women.

HIDEOUS.

Summer street caller response prep.

There’s little I love more than a good disruptor story, particularly in the world of beauty!

When I first saw this story, I legitimately thought it was satire. It’s not.

Shut up and take my money!

Seriously, just take my money. I mean it.

Alas, poor J. Crew.

Having said that, I appreciate the kitsch quotient in this sweater.

After multiple mass shootings this past week, which were all horrible, let’s talk about it and some facts around it. Also, here’s an overview of the mass shootings of the last 18 months. In fact, here was an overview of all the shootings that happened that same day.

I indulged in some major vintage scouting while in Paris but at the moment, a lot of easily accessible vintage pieces are not from the eras or decades that I like and so I sat on my hands on all cases but one. But it got me in the mood to read more about vintage, so this article was right on target!

This piece from the Columbia Journalism Review is nicely thought provoking.

Album of the Week: How Did We Get So Dark, by Royal Blood

Five Things I Loved In May

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

Kittens, I am neglecting you lately, but the world of work has rather consumed life over the last couple of weeks and free time has been taken up by getting outdoors into the increasingly nice weather whenever possible. I enjoy the parade of seasons most years, with their respective fashions, celebrations, and foods, but I have been craving summer in an unusual way this year and am ready for the accompanying heat and holidays. This is pretty clear in this month’s batch of favorites!

 

Nars x Charlotte Gainsbourg eyeshadow in Old Church Street. I had every intention of being good and not buying any more makeup for the rest of the year, truly I did. But when this collection dropped I fell for it, hook, line and sinker. The combination of slate and champagne shadows was too gorgeous to be believed, and I could actually justify it to myself as I didn’t have any existing shades in these colors. Clearly my upcoming Paris trip inspired me! I’m now sitting penitently on my hands and eschewing temptation for a good long while to make up for it.

 

Neom candle in Complete Bliss. Most floral scents, whether for perfumes or home fragrances, simply do not do it for me but this is the rare exception and I currently have three of these suckers scattered throughout the apartment. It’s rose scent would be overpowering, but it’s got some citrus and black pepper thrown in to balance things out. So not only do we have fancy antique chairs now, and a regular cleaning schedule, but our house always smells nice too. We begin to feel quite grown up!

 

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season Three. This absurd delight of a show continues to bring me joy, mixing light and dark equitably and shot through with ridiculousness. I inhaled the whole season in one weekend and firmly believe that Titus’ “Lemonading” episode needs to win some kind of award.

 

Sunglasses. I seriously didn’t start wearing these regularly until my late 20s, for no good reason whatsoever. I have since reformed.

 

Hermes, Un Jardin sur la Nil. I’ve owned this bottle of perfume for years now and I’ve finally come to the end of it. It’s done good service and though I don’t think I’ll ever repurchase it, it is a wonderful summer fragrance with green notes. Inspired by the garden islands at Assouan on the Nile, it’s one of a series of “travelogue” style scents that Hermes has done, and are well worth a look in. As the weather has warmed up, I’ve enjoyed spritzing this on liberally as a prelude to summer.

Daughter Concert

“For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry!”
― John Lennon

Confession time, we have not been taking appropriate advantage of London in the summer and we need to rectify this immediately. Working from home obviously contributes to the problem, as does the fact that my clients are several timezones behind me and I often have to be at least partially available during hours that most people spend frolicking. Jeff also has a lot of studying to do for the ever present reality of tests, and weekends are largely devoted to the necessary errand running that we haven’t been able to do during the week.

But it’s summer. In London. We need to be outside absorbing as much Vitamin D as humanely and safely possible because the cold, dark days will arrive much sooner than we all probably realize. To that end, we’ve started making an effort to track down as many outdoor adventures as possible, while varying up the routine a bit.

If I’m a theatre girl, Jeff is the resident music guy. When we were deciding what to do for our anniversary this year (travel being out of the budget for a while to go, alas), I picked the midnight matinee at The Globe and he wanted a concert and found a great one.

Somerset House, on the banks of the Thames, has a long history. The site has been home to a Tudor palace, a residence for members of the Royal family and their entourage, and apparently later a barracks. It was demolished and rebuilt in the neoclassical style and has moved over time to house various arts and learning societies and is a popular venue for performances. Particularly in, hey! Summertime! We first heard about the band Daughter on NPR and Jeff snapped up tickets as soon as he found out they were going to be performing.
 photo daughter1_zps591a5cda.jpg

Not bad, venue.
 photo daughter2_zpsd80ec0de.jpg

Drinks boys circulated the crowd with these signs and easy-to-spot flags that I probably found entirely too funny, but that I clearly had to document.
 photo daughter3_zpsbcd0ddc8.jpg

No makeup and summer allergies, but pretty happy to be here!

The opening act was D.D Dumbo, an Australian artist who builds his songs while you listen (see more here, thanks again to NPR’s music reporting).

 photo daughter4_zps4bac89fa.jpg

A disproportionate amount of my music is tragic or vengeful, the blues feature heavily, so make of that what you will. Daughter makes music that is gorgeously sad and depressing, and the lead singer Elena Tonra has a perfectly haunting voice so she’s right up my street. The band is still learning how to tour and their stage presence could use some work, but the music is the slow, quiet kind that gets its claws into you.

 photo daughter5_zps9af3f39e.jpg

 photo daughter6_zpse60f0459.jpg

Just as pretty in the dark. Hopefully there can be more concerts in our future, as this has only been my third ever. My second, incidentally, was my first date with Jeff, so things are working out pretty well so far.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

“Anyway, I liked autumn.  Autumn – the season of new boots.”
– Marian Keyes, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married

Nope. Still not happy.

I am of the of the few, the grumpy, the Perpetually Meteorological Unsatisfied.

In the depths of a Western winter, when I have to dig my car out every day for weeks at a time, I long for spring.  When spring shows up, I tsk at its lack of purpose in waffling back and forth between blizzards and broiling.  As for summer, well, Small Dogs were not meant to be heated (I’m stupidly susceptible to heat stroke and exhaustion).  By all accounts I should be equally aggravated with fall for its schizophrenic weather, but I’m oddly indulgent.  I love fall.  I love the holidays, the new clothes, the cool weather after the sunburned, blistering baking I get June through August.

But I don’t love when Fall teases me with glimpses of cooler weather (relatively, seeing as how we were pushing triple digits here recently) before vanishing until at least October.

It sends me mixed messages.  The temperature dips (for a week) and my brain starts firing.  Sweaters!  Pumpkin in every baked good ever!  Boots!  Halloween!  Hot chocolate every day!  End of summer clothing sales, buy all the things!  College football!  Actually working out regularly because I’m not overheating and getting sick!  Nutmeg!

Then a couple days later I’m literally knocked backwards by the thump of heat that surges inward when I open the door in the morning to go to work.  My brain, which was already planning pies and outfits and pre-winter projects swivels around on itself yelling, “Abort, abort!”