Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pull Out the Tivo

We just moved. Once again. It has to be the last time we move while living in Edinburgh. I insist! Anyway, we're without internet once again -- so this post will be short and sweet. But I do have two things to share. 

First of all, this show premieres on the Sundance channel this evening, and I wish I could watch. It looks so fun! Dream job maybe???

Keith Johnson is a buyer for Anthropologie, and he travels the globe finding interesting textiles, artifacts, and furniture for the stores. *Jealous*

This past Sunday evening we once again saw the Royal Scottish National Orchestra perform at Usher Hall. This time they featured Evelyn Glennie, an incredibly talented Scottish percussionist. An American composer who teaches at Juliard compared Glennie's genius to the likes of Chopin. A high compliment indeed!

As the world's first solo percussionist, I feel this video does not capture her talent very well ... but of all the videos out there, I didn't seem to come across one that demonstrated her ability. On Sunday night, she went form one xylophone to the next to a set of drums to a something else. So impressive!

I noticed that she didn't have shoes on, but I thought she was just a bit eccentric. Later on, I found out she didn't have shoes on because she's deaf and she feels the music. I don't even know how to wrap my brain around how incredible that is. If you want to learn more about Evelyn, you can visit her website here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Since it is Film Festival time, why not continue on with the theme of movies???

Conviction, which is not at the film festival and won't be released until 2011, looks fascinating -- like an Erin Brokavich meets Cinderella Man type of film. It's based on a true story, and those that were actually affected by this event seem to be on both sides of the fence as to what really occurred. Not that I have much to give away in terms of "spoilers," but I won't say anything further about the articles I've read. Instead, check out this trailer for a glimpse of the Waters' story:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Edinburgh's Very Own Flash Dance

Hey Edinburghers -

If you've ever wanted to be a part of a flash dance, now's your chance. This Saturday on June 26 at 11 you can meet up at the Festival square for a flash dance promoting part of the Edinburgh Film Festival. But first you need to memorize the following:

For more information about participating, go here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Weekends

Edinburgh is simply splendid during balmy and sunny summer days. (Notice the prerequisite: they must be "balmy" and "sunny" -- not simply "summer"!)  I have a new perspective on my Scottish life -- the summer is the absolute best time to be living it up in this Scottish capital. When the weather is nice here, there couldn't be a better place in the world! Cafes are spilling over into the streets. The best of the street entertainers have set up shop. And the sun on these gorgeous buildings just does me in! On top of all that, there's entertainment galore everywhere you look.

This past Friday evening, MBA and I headed out to Leith with a couple of our friends. We were intending to make it to the Leith Festival, but instead had a walk along on the water and ate at a gastropub, The Granary. At times I forget Edinburgh is on the water since we rarely get out to the shore. With the late summer nights, a walk along the water in the sunny, cool temps was absolutely perfect.

The weather on Saturday was absolutely brilliant, also. A rarity but I'll take it! While MBA worked, I ran a few errands, took in a few da Vinci's and Botticelli's at the National Gallery, and had lunch with some friends. That evening we picnicked in The Meadows -- a park in which we've taken full advantage. I could happily eat every dinner outside in the park all summer long!

Yesterday afternoon we even had tea outside at Eteaket, and it was hot! Almost too hot but somehow we managed to sip hot tea on quite a warm afternoon.

However, the absolute highlight of our weekend was seeing Sean Connery at a Special Gala for the Edinburgh International Film Festival. In honor of Sir Thomas Sean Connery's 80th birthday, the film festival held a special gala and showed the 1975 movie The Man Who Would Be King. Before the film, Connery took the stage and made more than a few comments. It was so fun to see him shoot off the cuff and just be himself. It was as if he was just having a chit-chat with the audience about his life in Edinburgh, doing this film, and the festival in general. I can definitely see why he is so well-loved. Saeed Jaffrey, who played Billy Fish in the film, was also there. He seemed to be a very good-spirited man, and he made some amusing and very kind comments.

While not the most brilliant shot, here's a picture of Sir Sean. He's the one on stage all the way to the left. His shirt looked like something from Tommy Bahama. There was no black tie for this red carpet event!

And here's the two of us on the red carpet before the big event: 
Good times! 

We're headed to another film festival event this evening. This time we're in store for a world premiere viewing. Last year I saw Hurt Locker at a premiere as part of the film festival. It would be fabulous to see another premiere of an award-winning film. Here's hoping!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the best dad! I love you and miss you and wish I could spend the day with you! Thank you for all the years you played softball with me in the backyard, coached my basketball team, came to my cheerleading competitions, proofread my papers, and all-around encouraged me. No one in this world is more patient or has more loving-kindness than you. I love that you're my dad, and that I got to grow up with you being my father. I am one lucky girl! You are simply the best!

Friday, June 18, 2010

What I'm Reading

Recommended to me by a friend who studied art history in college, I was hoping A Girl with a Pearl Earring would change my world like Sophie's World -- a brilliantly fascinating introduction to philosophy told in the form of a novel. While missing that mark, the book was indeed fascinating. It explored the tension of  Protestants' and Catholics' view of art in a burgeoning artist community in post-Reformation Holland.  The book is a historical fiction work speculating about the background of Vermeer's painting 'A Girl with a Pearl Earring.' Lively and creative, I recommend it for your reading list.

Only a few chapters in, it's already the kind of book I don't want to put down. The author is a graduate of Orson Scott Card's writers boot camp. Now that has to be intense! Set in Seattle during World War II, so far the book seems to be telling the story of two outcast children: one a Chinese immigrant; the other, a Japanese immigrant. Unlikely friends but with a united enemy, it should be interesting to see how the friendship blossoms and how they deal with discrimination during that difficult period of American history.

Newcastle, England

On our last leg home from Germany, we had a brief stop through Newcastle. Here are just a few shots I got of that northeastern England town:

And the train station! We were happy to be there and heading home shortly!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Endlessly Fascinating?

I entered a contest today where you had to tell what one man you would like to meet and dine with in history. Who would you pick? I thought of the following:

- Otto Frank

- G.K. Chesterton

- C.S. Lewis

- Winston Churchill

(Geez ... is that a theme or what? In my defense, they were just the first to pop into my head!)

But my final answer was: Samuel Johnson.  

Noted as a man of "distinguished letters" -- perhaps the most distinguished in all of English history -- he would have to be endlessly fascinating. Can you imagine the stories he could tell? And he was oh so wise! Here is an interesting quotation from Johnson:

"Every man is to take care of his own wisdom and his own virtue, without minding too much what others think." - Johnson

Quite the traveler, Johnson even made his way north all the way to the Isle of Skye. Here's an interesting thought on traveling:

"As the Spanish proverb says, 'He who would bring home the wealth of the Indies must carry the wealth of the Indies with him,' so it is with travelling, –-a man must carry knowledge with him if he would bring home knowledge."  - Johnson

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I love these.
But don't wear them to Paris.

If you're headed to the capital of all things chic, opt for these instead:
Images courtesy of

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Fun Listen


My dear Grandaddy told me on Friday (also his 81st birthday) that he wanted more pictures on the blog -- so here you go Grandaddy! My weekend in pictures from my mobile camera:

First up: Afternoon Tea with Trudy and Henry
My dear friend Trudy is moving back to the states in just a few weeks. She's such a kind, thoughtful, intelligent woman (and a really good mama to Henry!). I'm really going to miss our time together!

Look at Baby Henry checking out those treats! He was such a good, happy baby!

Next up - a Bollywood film was being shot in the courtyard of New College. I really wanted to see some dancing, but alas .....

It was probably a good thing I didn't see any dancing, because they might not have gotten me to leave. I think you would have seen me in the next Bollywood hit. (Jai Ho anyone???)

Then that night, forgot to take a picture of our evening out with Scotty & Rebecca. Oops!

Saturday morning I had brunch with my favorite six year old:
Miss Emerson is one of three precious children of my friend Rachael -- the last of which is only one week old today! Over pancakes, Emerson and I talked about pirates, Disney, our favorite princess, and jewelry. She was quite disappointed to find out all of my jewelry was not given to me by my husband. She said, "Well at least he could buy you some shoes and sweaters." Well said Emerson! Haha!

I have another missing photo. Saturday evening we had a great time at Derek & Katie's watching the America v. England game of the World Cup. I'm pleased America tied with England. I can totally deal with that! It's so fun watching the World Cup from a country obsessed with football.

After church on Sunday, we had lunch at Chez Jules with our friend Tom who practices neurology. We talked about light-hearted things like the brain and consciousness. And renting cars in Munich and driving very long distances -- some go to Amsterdam, others go to Slovenia and around the Balkans.
Here's Looking at You Kid!

Then Sunday evening MBA and I heard the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at Usher Hall.

While difficult to tell from the picture, this is a pretty impressive hallway at Usher Hall:
It's also been recently refurbed. Back in the day, King George was there to help lay the first stone at Usher Hall. 

The interior of Usher Hall:

We saw the Royal Scottish National Orchestra perform New York, New York with American conductor Jeff Tyzik. He was a blast! And of course, the orchestra is so talented. I'm an official convert to Gershwin now! (And I think the soundtrack to my life -- if I was choosing one -- might be Piazzolla inspired tango music). The orchestra also played Duke Ellington, Leonard Bernstein, Astor Piazzolla, Jelly Roll Morton, and five pieces composed by Tyzik himself.   My favorite piece of the night was Gershwin's Cuban Overture, while MBA's favorite was Gershwin's American in Paris.

Music makes my heart glad, and I'm simply amazed at the joy musicians must experience while being part of the enterprise of making symphonic music. It must be so moving to them!

This upcoming week is set to be a busy and exciting one. The film festival starts Wednesday, and we already have tickets to go to one show. The Leith Festival is already going on, and I'm ready to go explore that little but spirited festival. 

I hope you and yours had a wonderful weekend! Happy Monday!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What to Wear in Europe

Hello dear American friend,

I hear you're coming to visit Europe this summer. Very exciting news!  Now: what to wear while visiting the continent? That's the question!  Beyond feeling comfortable while you travel abroad, how you dress does play a part in your safety. When you look like a tourist, you also look like a target to potential pickpockets and scam artists. (Trust me on this one -- I've been there. I've dealt with the pickpocket while wearing a bright orange blazer and toting along a North Face backpack).

Keep in mind a few things about visiting Europe in the summer:
  • It could be as hot as it is back in the US but it's also just as likely to be only 65 degrees outside.
  • Europeans do not have closets the size of yours -- they mix and match and maximize what they've got.
  • You're going to be walking. A lot.
  • Not all countries have the same style! Italians have a different flair from the Germans and vice-versa! So keep in mind what country you're going to be in and dress accordingly.

I can always spot Americans by the following:
  • White tennis shoes 
  • Boot cut jeans
  • Coach purses
  • Lots of color

I can always spot tourists in general by:
  • slow walking
  • fanny-packs
  • maps the size of Texas

Now back to what you need to know about what to wear come this summer:

First off, if you want to blend with the locals only straight-leg jeans, skinny jeans, and boyfriend jeans need apply. Don't get me wrong, I love my pair of Joe's boot leg jeans as much as you love yours, but over here -- it screams "I'm not from around here!".

Hence, you'll want to look for jeans like these:
or these:

But those shoes lead me to point number two. Stilettos are not going to work on cobblestone streets. You might be able to pop into the local bistro for dinner in a pair of high heels, but the hard work of touring all those historic sights must be done in something more practical.  While you can literally wear a pair of boots here well into June (our high is in the low 50's here today, and I'm wearing 'em now!), you'll need a comfortable pair of sandals or something better suited for a nicer climate. Here are a few options:

I wore this pair of Birkenstocks everyday last summer in Paris (and in Berlin and Prague), and I was not the only one donning these shoes around town -- plenty of Parisians were wearing Birks everywhere I looked. (And the Birkenstock shop in Marais was slammed all the time!). Make sure to give yourself a good three weeks to break in a pair of Birkenstocks before touring around on holiday in them.

I realize this is not news, but Cole Haan and Nike Air have joined forces to make all of our lives so much nicer! We can now have the look of a Cole Haan shoe but with the technology of a Nike sole. Talk about comfortable!  Here are just a few C.H. shoes I came across that would be perfect to wear while holidaying in Europe:

I snagged both these pictures off of Zappos; however, I saw the pair on the right at a Marshalls in America about a month ago. So you might be able to find a good deal out there!

Finally, bring a scarf! Instead of using one of the airplane blankets on your flight over, use your own scarf that can double as a wrap.  Then when you are over on the continent, you can use the scarf as the temperature ebbs and flows. (And if you visit Britain, it will definitely ebb and flow --- all within a matter of minutes!)

The color of this scarf brings me to my final advice: not too much color. Americans are not afraid of wearing hot pink leopard print cardigans. However, you're probably not going to find anyone over here wearing that. (If you want to be the first, that's fine!)

Overall, you're visiting Europe to have fun so don't worry too much about what you look like. There will be people that are way more fashionable than you (and probably employed by Prada) and plenty of people way less fashionable. Don't pack too much. Bring some great basics that are comfortable that you can mix and match -- and most of all: have fun!

[And if you need any more practical advice, feel free to email!]

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Today's Top 5

1. Coralie Clement's Music

2. Cole Haan Nike Air Shoes = supreme goodness for people who walk everywhere.

3. The New York Book of Reviews

4. Macarons can be found in Edinburgh at the following: L'escagot Blanc's Epicerie  but also at Henri's and The Manna House. [Why doesn't Manna House have a website???]

5. A pop up chocolate shop on George Street: Chocolate & Love.  Anyone want to join me for a tasting???

Friday, June 4, 2010

It's Friday!

Hello dear friends ~

It's Friday! As my sister would say: "Whoot. Whoot!"

A few more items of importance:

1. Dare I say it ..... it's almost hot here! And it's not raining. Marvy!

2. I'm ready for a relaxing and fun weekend.

3. I discovered where to get French macarons in Edinburgh: L'ascargot Epicerie on Broughton Street.

That would be me in Paris last summer. The macarons in Edinburgh are not quite so large. But they do exist!!!

4. MBA and I recently tried Korean food. I wanted to try the kimchi but didn't. Wimp?

5. Other happenings this week:  MBA was also informed by an Armenian man running a pizza shop that he has lost his American accent. What?!?! But -- don't you worry -- he told me that I still sound very American. So rest easy!

6. Last but not least: 

This was the view off the back of the ferry from the Netherlands to England

This is the boat we were on:
I actually slept on that thing! A miracle indeed!

Coming into the harbor at Newcastle

Check out our luxurious room! We were high rolling.

The beautiful surroundings where we boarded the boat. Kidding! It was so industrial!

Hanging out on the top deck. They were trying to ooze a Caribbean cool vibe -- I'm not so sure it was working. Check out those sweaters and jackets.

More beautiful views!

The route between Amsterdam and Newcastle is highly trafficked. We passed plenty of other boats along the way.

Entering Newcastle

Now who wants to nominate MBA and me as candidates for the Amazing Race???
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