Deep Thoughts - yes, I go there sometimes . . .

When I was in college I read a book by John Berger called "Ways of Seeing". The book is about visual culture and art history, but it really challenged the reader to think about the idea of "how what you know affects the way you see things". In other words, if seeing came before knowing, how would that change what you thought about what you were seeing? Are you still with me? Think about it this way - in 1540 a Spanish conquistador called Garcia Lopez de Cardenas was riding his horse around the western United States and happened upon a giant hole in the ground. A hole that we now know as The Grand Canyon. Can you imagine stumbling upon the Grand Canyon, never having any knowledge of it's existence? Doesn't that make you wish you could see it without ever having "known" it?! Think about how different (and amazing) the experience would be. I just imagine Garcia out there totally FREAKING OUT, thinking "the guys back in Spain are never going to believe this sh*t !". How did he even describe it to them? Seriously. But it's not just the experience of the Grand Canyon or any other amazing sight that we have been robbed of truly experiencing. It's EVERYTHING. We see everything in the context of all we already know (or think we know) about it. So I have challenged myself to "see" things - especially people. In approaching life, I want to leave behind all my ideas of what something should be, and just experience it for what it is. I'll let you know what I see.

photo by Elizabeth Skillman
 Big Ben & the London Eye from Waterloo Bridge, October 2010.

Beautiful Space of the Week

Some lovely bathrooms by Madeline Stuart. Enjoy!

all photos via Madeline Stuart

Dapper

I don't know what magazine this is from, or who this guy is, but I absolutely love every inch of what he is wearing. Slightly disheveled, really good fit on the jeans, wearing a tie but unbuttoned (and untucked) shirt. And the shoes - lived in, but classic style. Perfect.


Well done mystery dude. Well done.

This . . .

 
Is a CAKE!


made by the amazing Rosie of Sweetapolita!



and the story of why she made it is awesome. Read it here.

All photos are from Rosie at Sweetapolita (she is also a really good photographer).

Anything is possible . . .

Coral Roundup

I really want something in this color for Spring. I tried on an orange-coral sweater at H&M yesterday expecting to be completely washed out, but it was just the opposite - I was glowing! Still, it was a little too orange for me. The shade of coral I love definitely leans towards pink. These are some of my favorites:

 clockwise from top left: 1) JCrew flats $58. 2) DVF cardigan £218. 3) JCrew belt $32. 4) Yves Saint Laurent sandals £495. 5) Antik Batik silk shorts £155. 6) Giambattista Valli dress $1840. 7) Milly leather bag £270.


clockwise from top left: 1) Sonia Rykiel pants $390.. 2) Gold & coral cuff $28. 3) Bottega Venetta Croc clutch £2130. 4) Paloma Barcelo espadrilles $270.. 5) Topshop dress £35. 6) Matthew Williamson jacket £1559. 

this looks more orange, but still - love it:
J.Crew silk blythe blouse $98.

Amazing Jewellry from Africa

This is my new favorite thing ever. Horn, precious stone and bronze jewellry made by artisans in Kenya. They are from Ashley Pittman, who traveled to the region with the Clinton Foundation and later returned to find resources and artisans to make the items she had designed. Beyond that she has started a foundation that donates a percentage of her sales to a community in Kenya. What I love most about this, is the idea that truly stylish, quality things are being EXPORTED from Africa. This is what Africa needs. Sort of living my dream . . .
The studded horn bangles are gorgeous! I have several horn pieces that I picked up when we were in Africa. It's such a beautiful, warm and textured material.


You can really see the care and craft that went into creating these pieces. Ashely sells her jewellry through various retailers. You can find them HERE.

Tom Kha Gai - The Best Soup in the World

I know, I know. I mean, soup is so freakin good. So if something is the "best" soup, then it might actually be the best FOOD ever. Ok, I'll take it down a notch and call it, my most favorite soup in the world. So much so, that I was afraid to actually try to make it (I tend to screw these things up). But, I finally found a recipe that I thought was close to the best version I have ever had (at a restaurant in South Africa), so I decided to just go for it. It turned out really, really good.  I am so happy I can make this at home now! Next time I will play with chili paste a bit and kick it up a notch (lots of notching going on here). I also added cherry tomatoes. Otherwise, perfection. Find the recipe HERE.

London

We live about an hour north of London. We try to go down about once a month. There is so much to see and do it can be a bit overwhelming. Quite often, we just end up at the pub! Here are some of my favorite London graphics:


Clockwise from top left: 1) Famille Summerbelle 2)  vintage TWA poster 3) Cosas Minimas 4) frinchagirl 5) Jamey Christoph 6) cover of book by Miroslav Sasek 7) Metagram

Ferry Staverman

the Smoke that Thunders

Victoria Falls is one of those indescribable places. Smoke that Thunders (Mosi-o-Tunya) is very accurate. It took my breath away. Pictures cannot do it justice, but I will try.


You can't see the bottom without really risking toppling over. The noise is deafening.


The falls are near the town of Livingstone, Zambia.


Here we are standing at the top of the falls. What's up with the water stains on my shirt? I need to learn photoshop.


These monkeys hang around and intimidate people for food. Seriously, monkeys were my least favorite part of living in Africa.


She was so happy to be soaking wet. Ok, see that "guardrail" behind her? It was about 4 inches in diameter, soaking wet, and covered in slippery moss. At one point she was STANDING on it. I think I had a mini heart attack.


This is the bridge to Zimbabwe. On the advice of our State Department, we decided not to go there. But, we did spend some time at the border - another story, for another day.


This is at the top of the falls. There is actually a pool there at the edge you can SWIM in. It's called the Devil's Swimming Pool. I am so thankful my husband did not do this, because that is something right up his "I'm really happy when I am doing something really dangerous" alley. I have seen pictures of people in there, but no one was in it that day.


The end.

Baby Sheep!!

So, I have been completely obsessed with the baby sheep that are suddenly all over the English countryside. We went out a few weekends ago, to Charlecote Park, which ended up being a big disappointment because it was covered in scaffolding (it's scaffolding season here in England). BUT, we did find lots of adorable baby sheep and I was basically a maniac - making Will pull over every two minutes so I could take pictures. And the horrible pictures are the reason I decided I really need to figure out how to use my camera. I mean look at this picture:


There's a lamb in there somewhere . . .

This one is a little better. He was very curious about me. Look at those EARS! I so wanted to touch them.


The mom was bleating and bahhhing like crazy and I am sure she wished for things like attack instincts or sharp teeth, because I was way too close to her babies. Then, we saw this guy:


Isn't he a beauty? He was hanging around with some very wooly sheep with strange blue spots on their backs. But that was not the strangest thing about these fluffy sheep. The strangest thing was that they were making a pilgrimage to lick the wall of the bridge I was sitting on. It must have tasted delicious to them, they could not get enough of the licking. Weirdos.



And all I could think about was what a fabulous coat those sheepskins would make - especially with the blue spots. It always comes down to fashion.

Getting the most out of your SLR

Before we moved to Africa, we bought a Nikon D60 SLR camera. I am embarrassed to admit, that I am just now finding the time to learn how to use it properly. I found this site, through Ben, of Pinterest. It's called Camera Simulator. If you are interested in getting more than just point and shoot from your SLR, it's a great way to practice and learn the different functions of the camera.


The site says they are working on a new version. I am guessing it will include more photo options to practice on. What a great idea! Check it out HERE.

Beautiful Spaces - Foyer

photo via Vart Nya Hem
I just love all the silvery happiness going on here. And that light . . oh!

Love from Home

The American Easter bunny paid Carolina a visit a few weeks ago . . .
It's hard to express how much it means to receive gifts from home. Partially because I don't entirely understand why. Certainly England has plenty of lovely sweets, but there's just something about opening up a box and seeing things that you can't find here. Mostly, it's realizing that someone thought enough of you to take the time and effort to send something. If you know anyone who lives abroad, think about sending them something - it does not have to be anything big or expensive - just something that says "home". I guarantee they will appreciate it more than you know. It is truly the thought that counts (and the Peeps . . . those count too).

Welcome!

photo via designlovefest
Welcome to my blog! This is my attempt to journal all of the things that inspire me as well as share the stories, pictures and memories of my journey. I'm mostly writing to amuse myself and because I like to share the things I am excited about.

I put this blog together (design-wise) with the help of some amazing people and resources. Ashley, Becky and the rest of the team at The Cutest Blog on the Block are a fantastic resource for aspiring bloggers. They helped me change my font with one of their fabulous tutorials. Kevin & Amanda and their Fonts for Peas provided excellent tutorials and some of the fonts that I use. The talented and generous Manic Mother taught me how to make a blog button. Wow - what a bunch of good people.

I love all things design-related, so there will be lots of that kind of stuff in here, but there are also stories from the adventures I share with my family and general musings on life. I'm not taking myself too seriously, just observing, sharing and hopefully having fun along the way.

Thanks for stopping by!!