Friday, May 30, 2008


All My Favorites ~ the short list of all my favorite blogs, sites, and fascinating finds.

(Also found on the panel to the right)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fantastic Find

Nutella + Fresh Strawberries = Bliss. I highly recommend this treat.

No Kidding

I was just walking home and passed a man in his car with the windows rolled down at a stop light. Not unusual, he had music blaring. Unusual, that he was playing his harmonica to Nelly's Hot in Herre. He totally caught me giggling at him, and I could tell he took pride in providing such quality, free entertainment. Haha! Have you ever heard or seen someone playing a harmonica to a ghetto rap song??? In there car? In Scotland. Me. Either.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Highlights from London

Trying to sleep the night before we left for London was a difficult task. We had an early morning flight ... but it was still just too difficult to sleep! However, early morning flights are a bit easier when the sunrise is at 4:37 am. Our flight was breezy, and we caught the train into town on the Gatwick Express, then the tube to our hotel. The Beauchamp Hotel was in the perfect location and was amazingly comfortable and still a bit posh. I was pleased :)

However, upon arrival, I could not stop looking out my window .... I was like a doggy awaiting the arrival of his master. Being reunited with family was sheer bliss. Sheer bliss. I just couldn't stop hugging them, talking and talking and talking .... and then laughing my head off with my mom about who the heck knows what. That Friday we lunched outdoors, visited the British Museum, and had a delicious Italian dinner at the Spaghetti House. Poor dad found a staple in his food (frightening!) but still wanted to return there on our trip because it was so yummy.

Saturday we took in all the sites .... we walked through Covent Gardens, SoHo, through the theater district, through Trafalgar Square, onto Big Ben, Westminster, and Buckinhgam Palace. It was a full day! That evening we dined at Belgo Centraal and saw Les Mis -- which is my mom's personal all-time favorite musical. We had fantastic seats, and the Queen's Theater is a lovely, intimate theater. The theater district was super fun to partake in on a Saturday evening.

Sunday morning we made a visit to the famous Camden Market. After making a few purchases, we ate all kinds of yummy international food .... Asian, Indian, and French. Yum! Next we headed to Notting Hill and made a visit to the Portobello Market. Unfortunately, we arrived a bit too late in the day ... but we did enjoy strawberry crepes and coffee. For dinner we ate at a delish Moroccan restaurant in SoHo. It was a fun experience.

Monday we took in the sites of the famous London Bridge (which is actually called the Tower Bridge), St. Paul's Church, and the London Tower (which is not a tower). I cannot fail to mention that we also made a stop at Harrod's Monday morning. This well-known department store was honestly a bit disappointing ... especially after visits to similarly celebrated stores in Paris and New York. However, their bridal gown department is a Pronovias boutique, which holds a special place in my heart. That was fun to see!

Next thing I knew, we were off on a train headed to the airport for a short jaunt north to Edinburgh ....

Change in Chinese Policy


Monday, May 26, 2008

A Small Find

Latest blog discovery: The Frugal Traveler. Love it! I think I want his job.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Last night we dined at Petit Paris, one of our favs, and I had the yummy duck confit and poached egg with a red wine sauce. Yum! My lovely parents asked thoughtful questions and inspired me to continue on my quest of seeing the world. While living here, we really are trying to take advantage of the blessing. In light of that, look what I discovered today: The Royal Scotsman. It's completely out of our price range as a 2 day train ride is roughly $4,000 a person. But a girl can dream. Right?!?!?!

My mom decided that she wants to focus on French cuisine when she visits us, as British food is just not that good. And it's not. Pub food and Scottish cuisine just does not make the cut. So, Matt and I are now going to investigate all the French cuisine Edinburgh has to offer. Yay! I entered us into a contest for the Taste of Edinburgh, and we won tickets. So, our more thorough investigation of fine French cuisine begins this week. Fun times in the still chilly Scotland!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We're back from Londontown. I've recovered from a strange inner ear infection (why I was missing from the blogosphere last week). And I'm thoroughly enjoying my latest round of house guests. We may go driving North later this week. Scottish countryside here we come!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mean What You Say, Say What You Mean

There's so many colloquialism and phrases people often employ, yet the expression has very little meaning. For example, the phrase "Needless to say....". If what follows "Needless to say" was actually needless, why say it? I personally would like to espouse the phrase, "mean what you say, say what you mean." I haven't arrived, nor might I ever, but I do like the concept of truly meaning each word I speak or write. I appreciate when speech and the written word is not filled with fluff or bounces around what is really meant or intended. Which is why I like this website: M-W. I use it at least six times daily. Which just might be a bit bizarre (bi·zarre or \be-'zär\ or if you're etymologically inclined, you could use bizzarro from the Italian tongue).
P.S. - Does anyone else think it's strange that the Word of the Day today is "scavenger"? Shouldn't it be something more obscure like "daffynitions" or "quixotic"?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Place to Rest Your Head

Lobby at Hotel Condado

Matt and I have a special appreciation for small, boutique hotels. In our quest for the right hotel in Barcelona, I perused this site and found this hotel. Unfortunately, we were booking a bit late .... more like a few days before we left .... so I had to book Hotel Condado through Expedia. However, it was a very cool, posh hotel.

When we arrived a bit after 8 pm on Saturday evening, all was calm and quiet around Hotel Condado. We checked-in to the hotel and quickly left for a night out on the town with our friend James. Nothing really gets going in Barcelona until about 10 pm, so we hadn't missed much. That evening we had tapas out in a plaza in Barri Gottica, then dinner at another small restaurant, and afterwards, we roamed the city and even made it the beach. Since we were exhausted, we decided to take a taxi back to the hotel. (When living without cars, taxis have the tendency to create happy moments).

Mind you- when we arrived and left from Hotel Condado, all was calm and quiet. However, when we returned, we discovered our hotel was on the party street. And did I mention it was 2 am? People were just starting to show up at the clubs. And the clubs were all around. One directly across the street from our hotel. One directly to the right of the hotel. Others lining the rest of the street. As the British say, people were "queueing" outside these very live clubs. I had heard if you left a club in Barcelona before 5 am, you were going home early ... and that is so true. I heard the hum of bass from all these clubs from our hotel room until about 6 am. The next morning Hotel Condado so graciously moved us to the back of the hotel and several floors up. I slept better the next two nights.

Overall, HC was a fantastic hotel. Very comfy. Great showers (which I so, so, so appreciate these days). Complimentary soft drinks and water. Free internet. Cool interiors. A pleasant staff. I was pleased.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Such is Life ....

Such is life when you live in Europe ... we just received a phone call from a friend in Lynchburg. He wants to come for a visit. He asks if he can come tomorrow. And wants to stay for a week.


Even though I'll be stuck inside the majority of the day ... I must share my exhilaration that the high today is 66 degrees! I feel like we've struck gold over in Edinburgh!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Highs and the Lows

Now for a cap off of the weekend highs ....

Life here never ceases to be amusing. Friday evening, after a long day of work, Matt and I enjoyed tapas at Las Tascas on Charlotte Square. If you come to visit us, we will most certainly take you to Las Tapas for a taste of Spain. It has an absolutely delightful and festive atmosphere. We enjoyed jamon, pollo croquettas, paella, and more. Can you tell we love Spain??? Not even two weeks back from Barcelona, and we're beginning to frequent the tapas restaurants!

Saturday I had coffee with my dear friend Trudy who is a real gem. She's a Trinity grad in counseling. We're currently brainstorming how she can open her own practice here while her husband completes his PhD at Edinburgh. She's super-talented and is a definite go-getter! I do hope she can have her dream while she's here!

After a bit of work, we hosted a most interesting dinner party!!! Our friends Josh and Claire came over for dinner, along with Josh's sister from London and his sister's friend. Josh is a fellow PhD student who is running for Parliament next year -- and he should -- it seems so fitting. Claire is a super kind, thoughtful, talented girl. She's a medical doctor and is planning on spending three months in Pakistan this fall doing charity work in obstertrics and gynecology. Wow. Josh's sister is a privacy lawyer in London who recently returned from spending a month doing charity work in India; she shared such amazing stories of her time spent there. Finally, Katherine, Josh's sister's friend, is an America interior designer who is a graduate of Auburn. And get this -- she has a brother living in Nashville. Small world or what?

Sunday was fun, too. We had a blast at a Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. My friend Sophia, host and cook, is a Mexican-American who has the most amazing story. She openly shares this story, one that begins in the ghettos of LA. At age 12, after hearing the testimony of a former gang-member who attended Harvard and went on to receive his PhD, she decided that she was going to get a PhD, too. Wow. Keep an eye out for this girl ... she is well on her way to that PhD!

What amazing people we've been surrounded with .... I simply love doing life with these incredible, inspirational folks.

Friday, May 2, 2008

I'm Enjoying ....

1. London's Capital Radio

2. The Concept of Justice

3. Friends from Eikon

4. Blue Cheese Brie (absolutely amazing)

5. Peggy Noonan Articles

6. Today's GBP/USD Exchange Rate

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Goodbye Lenin!

Tonight we had fun hearing Goodbye Lenin play at The Ark. Goodbye Lenin's lead singer escaped the underground indie scene in London and headed back to his hometown Edinburgh last fall. In the meantime, he recruited our good friend and PhD candidate, Jon Lo, to play guitar for the band. Good times!
Creative Commons License
This work by Ashli Sutton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at