Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Well, Hello There!

Hello friends, family, and bloggers ~

Life has been fabulously full with lots of interesting and fun work projects, hikes in the Scottish Borders, concerts (from the Royal Chamber Orchestra to Rupert Jeffcoat), social events, Latin dance classes, dates with a handsome husband, lectures on archeology housed in the British Museum, travel planning ...... and the list goes on! Please excuse my absence from the blog, but I'll be back soon with updates!

x Ashli

Sunday, January 30, 2011

N.T. Wright at University of Edinburgh

This past Friday I had the opportunity to hear N.T. Wright, perhaps the brightest and most well known New Testament scholar, speak at the University of Edinburgh. His paper focused on Romans 2-4, and his main argument was about the instrumentality of the people of Israel in God's covenant. Wright claims that Paul, the apostle and author of Romans, affirms that the creator God is committed to rescuing the created order through Israel, and that the role of the Messiah coming to earth was to extend that covenant to the Gentiles. Wright is an absolutely brilliant mind and incredibly articulate speaker. He graciously accepted criticism after the paper from Professor James Dunn and fielded questions from the audience in a very pastoral and compassionate manner. Overall, it was the bee's knees to hear Professor Wright!

If you want to learn more of Wright's thoughts, here's an excellent website with links to some of his articles and lectures.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Visit to a Gestapo Prison

We've been to some pretty museums -- l'Orangerie in Paris, the Academy in Florence, the British Museum in London. This was not one of them. Instead, it was ugly and sad, but necessary. 
 At the El-De Haus in Cologne, the above prison cell would hold up to 30 prisoners at a time. Only intended for two or three at a time, their holdings swelled as the Nazi's power and reign grew. On the walls of the cell, you can still see the etchings of prisoners -- messages cataloging who was there and the atrocities committed against them.

The El-De Haus in Cologne is a former gestapo prison that's been converted into a museum to document both what had gone on in that actual building and the actual progression of Nazism in the city of Cologne.
While the two floors in the basement are preserved as the prison, the floors above ground have been converted into space that tells the story of how Nazi Socialism took hold in this area of the Rhineland.

After World War II, this house was used for other civic purposes -- but mainly as an office for pensioners to come and collect their checks. 
This is the El-De Haus. Strangely inconspicuous.

Can you imagine if you had been imprisoned and tortured here, and then years later had to come collect your pension check in the exact same spot? This allegedly happened.

It was not until the 80's that the truth of what went on in this building was revealed and and opened to the public.
Now it houses important pieces of history, such as the above propaganda put forth during World War II.

 Below is one photograph that caught my attention:
 The sign atop of the destroyed bakery quotes Hitler as stating, "Give me five years and you will not recognize Germany again."

Sadly, I'm sure so many saw this as very true.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Case You Haven't Heard ....

Matchbook launched last night! I've already been flipping through this online magazine, and it is so fun!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Saturday Morning!

Happy Saturday friends! I hope you are all up to fun stuff today.

My sister loves She & Him, so I have to share this fun video of them. Enjoy!

Isn't Zooey Deschanel brilliant?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

And We're Back!

MBA and I are back from the Rhineland. We had a great visit to Cologne and Bonn. The Germans in that area are strikingly friendly.  It was so refreshing for people to look me in the eye on the street and return a smile. I loved it! And so many people would just start speaking to us in German. I then had to spit out something that sounds like this: "schpeeken English?" Not only did most people do a great job of responding in English, but they were also a jovial lot and joked around with us. So fun! 

Once my camera cord is returned (it went missing somewhere in Washington Heights, Manhattan), pictures will be posted. In the meantime, here's a brief run down of our visit:

Night 1
Arrive in Cologne
See Dom Cathedral at Night -- brilliant!
Dinner at XII Apostles -- total European ambiance & delish food

Day 1
Tour Dom Cathedral - largest gothic cathedral in central Europe and most visited tourist attraction in Germany
Visit the former Gestapo Prison and Nazi Socialism Museum -- stark, sobering, but very interesting
Stop by bakerie for yummy treats
Wonder Old Town
Dinner of pork, sauerkraut, and mashed potatoes at Peter's Brauhaus

Day 2
Catch train to Bonn
Walking tour of beautiful Bonn (see birthplace of Beethoven, University of Bonn, and many other 18th century buildings)
Return to Cologne & wander through the Dom a bit more
Stop for Currywurst -- "God's gift to man" according to the shop owner
Wander Old Town a bit more
Catch flight back to Edinburgh!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Passport Please!

Our bags are packed, and we're headed off to Germany for a weekend away for my birthday. Yesterday was so fun and included: breakfast in bed (french toast), a car hire for running around town, dumplings for lunch at a Polish restaurant, shopping and a coffee date with my husband, dinner out at The Saint, and a stop by Peckhams to pick up dessert for my birthday. Will return Monday with adventures to share!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's My Birthday Today!

It's my birthday today! I'd love to hear from all of my friends out there. Leave me a message in the comments about a good memory we've made together or about something funny we've experienced together or anything you'd like. It'll be fun reading all your comments :) Cheers!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Perfect NYC Itinerary

Want to know the perfect NYC itinerary? Here goes:

Day 1

Late lunch in Washington Heights at El Malecon with mom -- my ultimate partner in crime! I loved the fresh and wholesome flavors of Dominican food, and this place was great!

Explore sister's neighborhood Washington Heights. Catch the 1 down to the Upper West Side for a bit of shopping. Meet up with sister. 

Dinner at Isabella's in the Upper West Side. I highly recommend the poached pear salad. Delicious!

Walk down to Lincoln Center and soak it all in. 

Day 2

Catch the train to Brooklyn for a morning of browsing and eating at the Brooklyn Flea Market. This is no normal flea market. There are no tchotchkes here. There's only art, artisan goods, antiques, and brilliant vintage finds. Plus - there's some amazing food. We even bought a bit of pate from Brooklyn Cured and lunched on fish tacos from Chonco's Tacos. Yum!

Next up? Head to Soho! For more eating and shopping! (Hey - that's what people do in NYC!!!)

While in Soho, get a personal tour from sister as to where all the hot spots are. Next, stop for cupcakes and coffee at the Little Cupcake Bake Shop
 Hil with her Cupcake

Shop at Anthro for jeans -- not because jean shopping is fun because it is not  -- but because they have a knowledgeable personal shopper who can actually get the job done. I start off trying on a stack of jeans and feel utterly depressed because none of them fit right. Enter personal shopper = enter jeans that work for me. Enter happiness.

Dinner of tapas at Cafe Noir in Soho. So fun. So yummy. So fun to have a night on the town with my favs. 

Day 3

Cousins brunch at Sarabeths. Run to Sarabeths. It really is the best! I had a potato waffle with chicken sausage. To die for.  And it's worth the wait. (Because -- you will wait :)!
Cousins outside at Sarabeths in the Upper East Side

More shopping, errands, and a slight rest at the hotel .... and then we're off to 5 Napkin Burger in Hell's Kitchen for some pre-show burgers. Have you heard of 5 Napkin? Apparently, it's one of Sherri Shepherd's favorites. I know you won't be shocked to hear this -- but it was good. 

Next up: In the Heights. Which, sadly just closed this past weekend. It's the best Broadway show I've seen. If it ever comes to a theater near you, you must see it!!! Here's just a taste of what we saw:

I looooooooved it! Such a great story. So well-executed. Soooo creative!

Day 4

Breakfast of bagels and lox at local diner.

Morning spent at Macy's on 34th. Practically ran into Regis Philbin while getting on the escalator. Strange fact: he and I are about the same size.

Visited friend Jennifer who works at Empire State Building. Can you imagine working at the Empire State Building? Wow. That's normal for her. It was also very cool having a guest pass into the Empire State Building. Very different from the tourist pass. Thanks for the tour Jenn!

On to Soho to meet up with an old friend from junior high/high school for coffee. It was such a treat to meet up with her! 

Caught taxi to Union Square where we met sister at Max Brenner for a chocolate feast. Yum. Yum. Yum. I say, skip a main course and go straight for dessert. We did chocolate fondue. No regrets.

Sister heads home because she actually has a job in NYC and must maintain a normal schedule. Mom and I head to Rockefeller Center where we arrive just in time to see someone proposing in the center of the ice skating rink. Sweet! That area of town really is magical during the Christmas season. We see a lights show there timed to a Christmas symphony. We also tour the front windows of Saks. That really is a "must." We proceed to walk back to the hotel in the snow. It was so bitterly cold, but the snow really was a perfect ending to a perfect night.

Day 5
Catch train at Penn Station for Lynchburg, VA!

Thank you mom & Hilary for the most amazing NYC trip ever. I had such a fabulous time making memories with you both!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What I'm Reading

Hi friends! 

We're back in Edinburgh, and I'm curled up under a blanket with a lovely Seda France candle burning and am reading some great books. Here are my latest reads:

I've been a follower and committed reader of Gretchen Rubin's blog since 2008, so I'm pretty thrilled to have my hands on her book. It's great. She's great. Her life is fascinating, and she'll make you think. I definitely recommend this one!

I'm just getting started with Little Bee but it already seems like it's going to be a great read. Starting off in Black Hill Immigration Removal about 40 miles east of London and telling the story of a refugee, this book is bound to be headed somewhere interesting! I'm already hooked!

I also am an avid follower of both of Dr. Bauer's blogs -- one on classical education and the other about her experience writing books on the history of the world. Thus far, this book is a fantastic read. It's not only a guide on classical education, but it is also a guide about more meaningful reading. Five stars!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Frequent Flyer 2010

First off, I must note -- isn't 1/1/11 a cool date or what?

Aside from my current hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland, here is my 2010 in cities in chronological order:

London, England
Brussels, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium
Fort William, Scotland
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Oxford, England
Washington, DC
Lynchburg, VA
Raleigh, NC
Memmingen, Germany
Ottobeuren, Germany
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Munich, Germany
Amsterdam, Netherlands
The North Sea! (sailed from the Netherlands to Newcastle, England)
Cotswolds, England
London, England
Paris, France
Windsor, England
Geneva, Switzerland
Washington, DC
New York City, NY
Lynchburg, VA

What a year it has been! We also moved three times, survived a flood, were graciously hosted by lifesaver friends due to the flood, hosted my sister Hilary in Europe on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, worked hard, and played hard --- yet there's something in my bones that feels that 2011 holds even more hope and promise for a wonderful and exciting year.

We wish you a very happy new year and hope you face the new year excited about all the promise and goodness it will hold! Here's to more adventure and globetrotting in 2011!
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