Friday, August 27, 2010

Sneak Peak: Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Hil and I are having a grand time! MBA has been busy working, but we -- the sisters -- have been living large. We've been to three Fringe shows, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a plethora of coffee shops, and all my favorite restaurants. I've been walking Hil into the ground as well! We have seen almost every inch of this town!!! We've hired a car for tomorrow and are headed for the Trossachs and the Highlands. It's going to be a good time.  Three cheers for having my sister in town!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I'm on cloud nine. My sister is here! There will be little time devoted to blogging on this visit!

Photo taken at Wellington Coffee

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rifle Paper

I'm taking a break from grading papers to share this adorable stationary from Rifle Paper Co.. Isn't it cute stuff?  My sister knows the designer who's based in Winter Park, Florida. Hat tip to Hilary!

These are a few of my favorite things spotted on Rifle Paper's website:
Isn't it lovely?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quite Possibly the Happiest Person on Earth??? And Other Random Tidbits.

Hello friends ~

The above video is great, fabulous, hilarious, and totally happy. I want to be friends with this guy and go to his parties :) Do watch!

So much has been going on this week, but I have had little time for blogging. As I have a special visitor arriving this weekend, I've been trying to get tons of work done! So here's what I've been doing/thinking/tweeting since we last spoke:

- Just saw the 4 hour world premiere of The Sun Also Rises. I guess I got my money's worth?

- @Hilarysutton Dream here:

- Congrats to faculty @UnionUniversity! Recognized for teaching excellence by USNWR:among top 80 in the nation #3 in South (RT @DavidSDockery)

- Wondering what twifficiency is? Read link below. It was developed by 17 year old in Dundee.


- Love that my Canadian office mate was given a free Lipton ice tea and directly came and sat it on my desk. #iamsouthern

- Strangely, the convicted Blagojevich & I both had the same criminal law professor. Yet, I got a grasp on what constitutes breaking the law.

- Just booked tickets for this evenings Amnesty Internationals Writers Series on Israel and Palestine. Should prove interesting if not heated!

- Just overheard a conversation arguing against having a lot of kids because of the environment.

- Article on female slavery:

More randomness:  

(I did warn you in the title to this post!)

I feel like I'm always on the hunt for yummy, nutritious recipes. I've had several successes this week, which include:

- Quinoa stuffed peppers with chickpeas, feta, fresh herbs, and loads of other yummy stuff

- North African salmon with stir fried green beans and a side of quinoa with pine nuts, shallots, garlic, and a touch of soy

- Fried Rice with carrots, onions, garlic, green peas, and green onions (the key is in the sauce! it's made of oyster sauce, soy sauce, grapeseed oil, and extra virgin olive oil)

If you want one of the recipes, feel free to comment/message me. I'm happy to share! And do share in the comments if you have any recipes that are great. I'm sure we'll all appreciate having something new to try!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On Thought & Labour

"Now it is only by labour that thought can be made healthy, and only by thought that labour can be made happy, and the two cannot be separated with impunity." - John Ruskin (art critic and social thinker of 19th century in England)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Morning

This morning I've spent some time reading criticism of The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway's first novel. Yesterday evening I saw the world premiere of the stage play of this novel. The premiere was just shy of four hours and was an uneasy theater experience for me. I've always wondered if Hemingway is nihilistic. Although I read Old Man and the Sea as a teenager, the author's view on life seemed to be so purposeless at that time. Perhaps he was drawing attention to the pervasive philosophical paradigm holding that no intrinsic meaning or value exists? I don't know. There's a lot more reading to do to discover that. Overall, the play was morally absurd but well acted. MBA liked it. I didn't.

Image Courtesy of Elevator Repair Service

Friday evening I had a much better theatrical experience. (Can you tell I like supporting the arts?). MBA and I attended The Apprentice at Rosslyn Chapel. The actors were brilliant! And being in the very place where the legendary story unfolded 600 or so years ago is pretty incredible. The play was done in the round, and being set in one of the most exquisite architectural gems in all of Scotland, the event seemed almost magical.

Taking pictures inside Rosslyn Chapel is not permitted, but I found the above one on Undiscovered Scotland's website. Pretty amazing!

Yesterday afternoon I took a walk around town with a friend. There's so much going on in Edinburgh, so we thought we'd stroll through some of the festival areas to see what all is going on. Well, remember when I mentioned the "festival in the sky"? I captured the aforementioned festival on film:
Perhaps it's more like a table lifted in the air by a crane? While it's probably still fun, calling this activity a "festival" is a bit much!

Friday, August 13, 2010

More Distraction ......

I l-o-v-e all of Edinburgh's fabulous entertainment. Just last night I went to hear Simone Caffari of Naples, Italy (I believe!) and the Badwills play at the Henderson's cellar at St. Johns.
It probably wouldn't have been a bad idea to have brought along an Italian friend, as all the songs were in Italian. But it worked out fine! The music had a folksy hint to it -- aided by a fiddler and a melodian (I thought it was an accordion! But the lead singer definitely called it a "melodian"). The theme of the evening seemed to be storytelling set to music, and strange stories they were! Thankfully the lead singer would roughly translate what he was about to sing. All in all, a very good time!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sometimes ......

Sometimes you just gotta go to a cabaret ........

 Jazz hands!

And other times, you just got to go to a cabaret where the starlet crowd surfs ....

And sometimes - that starlet goes by the name of Meow Meow. 

Now that, my friends, is the Edinburgh Fringe in a nutshell.

What I'm Reading

"My God! What is this country doing to me? Since it is rejecting me, let us consider it coldly, let us watch as it loses its honour and its life. And the other countries? What are they to me? Empires are dying. Nothing matters. Whether you look at it from a mystical or a personal point of view, it's just the same. Let us keep a cool head. Let us harden our heart. Let us wait."  - Handwritten notes of Irene Nemirovsky in the appendix of Suite Francaise 

Suite Francais is a fascinating read. Two of the five intended parts make up the book that was to be Nemirovsky's War and Peace (or so they say). However, her life was cut short as she was a victim of Auschwitz due to her Jewish heritage. This book was just published in 2004, as Nemirovsky's daughter only discovered the manuscript in an old suitcase in the late 1990's. It's evident at times that the book was a work in progress, yet it is still so intriguing to read, perhaps, one of the first recorded pieces of life during World War II. The two novellas, intended to capture life in France during the occupation by Germany, are fascinating in their tales but also in what they don't discuss: Nemirovsky's Jewish heritage. Fascinating. I highly recommend reading this one!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Free Listen

Who doesn't love a little Ray LaMontagne? Listen to his new album here for free!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What to Wear in Europe: Boots this Fall

Since I last posted about what to wear in Europe, I've received a few inquiries -- one of the most asked about items is shoes. You can easily pair a set of low-heeled or flat-heeled boots with skinny jeans or a dress and cardigan and still be able to walk all over the cobblestone in these beautiful parts.

Here are a few suggestions:

This pair of J.Crew boots retails for $298, and it's pretty much perfect. The sole of the boot is a bit thick so you won't scuff up the toe the first minute you step out. (Seriously people - I know what walking on cobblestone can do everyday!). You might also consider taking this pair of boots by the shoe cobbler (what do they call this in the US? I can't remember! Shoe repair?) and have them place an additional rubber sole on the bottom of the boot. This will help you tackle slick sidewalks and rainy steps. After slipping and sliding around a few times, that comes as a highly recommended tip. They can also put things on the sole down there that help guard against destroying the front tip of the boot.

Now for a pair that fits the bill and is at a bargain price: 
Target's Mossimo Leather Boots retailing at $49.99. The wonderful thing about buying online from Target is that you can read reviews of the item beforehand. Lovely! About this shoe - I would definitely recommend putting in an insole of some kind. Whether it's a Dr. Scholls or something similar, when you're walking miles in a pair of boots daily, some extra cushion is a great thing. One of my favorite pairs of insoles came from an Aldo shoe store, and I can't tell you enough how highly I recommend insoles. I also recommend big, thick hiking socks be worn under your pair of boots. Insoles + hiking socks = happy feet.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Distraction .......

Festival season is in FULL swing around here folks! I can't imagine a more fun place to be in all the earth! Especially if you don't have to work and have loads of money to spend on shows all day long for the entire month of August.
 Picture from our Seat

MBA and I kicked off the Fringe Festival with Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy.  Last night, we enjoyed the antics from the the front row! He was "literally" hilarious. And we were not picked on, which is always a risk sitting in the front row at a comedy show. And for that - I'm glad! 

We've also enjoyed a bit of jazz and blues this week with the Jazz and Blues Festival. On Saturday we enjoyed several stages of live music in the Grassmarket ranging from a swinging brass band to a bluesy, folksy group to a three ladies swooning to some old time music. On Sunday evening I went with a friend to hear Melba Joyce in concert:

Melba is a jazz and Gospel singer hailing from Harlem. During her concert, she even solicited group participation in songs like "Give Me that Old Time Religion." It was a hoot! 

This evening I'm headed to a cabaret show with a friend.  The show is supposed to have some kind of postmodern twist to it ...... could be strange. But it's sold out shows in Berlin and London -- perhaps that says something? (However, the Fringe can always be risky!)

Meanwhile, this weekend includes the following: The Fringe Festival, The Mela Festival, The Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and an Antiques & Collectors Fair at the Royal Highlands Centre. Lots going on in this town. LOTS! And the International Festival begins next week. Whooh. I'm tired just thinking about it. (Not really). Just trying to figure out how to fit it all in is the name of the game.

Good times!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Love This

The only thing better than getting a post card is ....
..... hearing all about the trip when your friends return!

So - the above picture is blurry.  But can't you tell that Sibenik, Croatia is drop-dead gorgeous? I'm ready to pack my bags! And all the stories about Croatia and Bosnia -- especially about life in Sarajevo -- has me completely intrigued.

(Thanks for the mail Graham and Nat!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stirling's Castle

Several weeks ago, MBA and I ventured over to Stirling for the day to attend their Highland Games. After enjoying the games for a few hours, we walked over to Stirling Castle.

On our first visit to Stirling's castle, we did not see these:

Instead, our first visit to Stirling was in February of 2008 .... not nearly as pretty as visiting in July of 2010!

The castle's garden was alive with these vibrant red roses. I was smitten!

When you walk over to the edge of the castle wall, this is your view:
You could definitely see your enemy coming!

Most castles in Scotland don't host a lovely garden filled with blooming flowers.

Instead, you usually see ruins and rubble .... which is interesting.
But on this occasion, I was loving the flowers! The place seemed so much more alive and vibrant!
From another viewpoint from the castle, you can look out and see the William Wallace monument:
Isn't the Scottish countryside stunning? Every time I get out of our city and see the beauty of the surrounding area, I'm in awe. It's so lovely.
Back to the castle .....
What's a castle without a remnant of its violent past?

And one last picture:

A lovely cottage just outside the castle. Charming eh?

What I'm Reading

The Island is a generational tale spanning the present in London to early 20th century in Greece. It's a story that delves into family, love, sickness, commitment, and all they entail. While some parts are a bit contrived, this book is best described by the quote on its cover: "... a beach book with a heart." The author, Victoria Hislop, read English at Oxford and won a newcomer award for this book. If you're looking for an absorbing beach read that's a bit fluffy but not too fluffy, this would be a nice one to take along for holiday.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Stradford-upon-Avon is a lovely town well-known for its famous former resident: William Shakespeare.

It has a river running through it .....

And one of its most notable attractions is the church where Shakespeare is buried:

Holy Trinity Church -- place of William Shakespeare's Burial

Another must-stop is the Guildhall:
Take a close look, and you'll see original albeit faded paintings of the town's history.

This chapel has allegedly been kept the same as it was during Shakespeare's time. It was built by the Guild of the Holy Cross in the fourteenth century.

It's also a place filled with tourists!
While there are plenty of locally-owned shops, there are also plenty of high streets' best known retailers and restaurateurs. A bit strange for a town filled with very, very old buildings and so much history!

And what would a charming English town be without a bit of punting?

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