photo diary: oxford day 1


Oxford with Ted was a treat.  We were both quite ill, so we took our Day & Night Nurse and took it easy for Valentine's weekend.  The result was a nerdy, romantic, and relaxing time that we both needed and appreciated greatly.

After a short train ride there, we poked around shops, hung out at The Eagle & Child pub (where CS Lewis and Tolkien were regulars), walked around Christ Church College (where some Harry Potter scenes were filmed!!!), got some delicious Thai food at Chiang Mai Kitchen, saw Alex Pot and the Chamber Choir of Secrets perform some renaissance music in a beautiful old library in Christ Church, and ended the night with tea and cake at Queen's Lane Coffee House, recommended to us by a local student. 

Photos by Ted and me

cupcakes, burgers, and britten


On Valentine's Day, me and my roommate Eva planned some festive cupcake making in our flat's kitchen, which about a week prior, I had taped up a few hearts and some bunting.  Since our group is divided into two flats, it was lovely to have the others over to spread some holiday cheer.  Cute crafting aside, bringing people together is definitely my favorite thing about the holidays.  Second favorite?  Themed outfits. This one was made special with my new heart cardigan and heart pin from my grandparents who know me so well.

The red velvet cupcakes were deliciously cute with homemade cream cheese frosting, chopped chocolate, and strawberry hearts, and made particularly festive with cupcake holders I found at Topshop (Topshop is slowly but surely taking all of my money).  

That night the group had tickets to the opera.  Naturally, Ted and I decided to get burgers beforehand as a little hearts day date at Five Guys in Leicester Square.  It was my idea.  Burgers and opera--we are so classy.  I was so happy to be somewhere familiar, eating one of my favorite foods with one of my favorite people.

Despite being sick all Valentine's weekend, Ted and I managed to make the best of it with a lowkey visit to Oxford (more about that later).  

homesick inception

Right now I am on the train home

to London--where I am experiencing more art and freedom than I ever have. 

Before we went to Scotland, I was getting homesick

for Portland--where I learn, work, and have my favorite brunch place. 

When I am in Portland, I get homesick 

for Mesa, where my family knows all of my quirks, my dog curls into a ball at the foot of my bed as I fall asleep, and my best friends are, or return to.

Home is so many places at this time in my life.  Very rarely do these worlds overlap, so I am excited for family to visit. I am also aware how lucky I am to have Ted here, in Portland, and even in Mesa when he's feeling like he can handle the desert heat.

For now I will just sit back and enjoy the train ride home to London, thinking about how happy I am to have found a third home.

  

stonehenge, bath, and a bus ride revelation

  A few days ago, something in the wind (and boy, has there been a lot of wind lately) was ruffling my feathers, and making it hard to walk without having to push against little annoyances.  Many other people have been expressing their frustrations as well.  It seems like the honeymoon stage is over, and we all need some alone time, which is virtually impossible when you live in a flat with a dozen other people and share rooms.  The only way to escape the crowd is to take a walk around the city, but the city is full of people every which way.  At times it can be comforting (as in, I'm alone, but I'm not alone), but sometimes it's overwhelming.  There is no real personal space, and I have been valuing my shower time even more than usual.
The group had an extremely busy past week of fun shows, concerts, and museums like usual, but this week it just wore us all out.  Even too much of a good thing can take its toll.  You can imagine we were all exhausted.  And then we were put on a bus to Stonehenge and Bath at 8am on Friday.  We were tired, but we did it happily and had a nice, touristy time roaming around the ancient ruins.  I was especially excited about the Roman Baths in Bath.  It was so incredible to be where the Romans once hung out a couple thousand years ago.  I mean, can you even comprehend how long ago that was?  That was so long ago.  I was fascinated.  And tired.  A few of us ended the day, only a little grumpily, at Sally Lunn's with some tea and buttery buns.

On the bus trip home from Bath, something strange happened.  I was listening to my music and leaning my head against the giant window when I remembered the last time I was passing pretty green countryside on a big bus with other students.  It was when I was touring Europe in a group led by my junior high French teacher.  I remember my excitement on the bus one particular day, thinking about the prospect of studying abroad.  I thought of that moment and very suddenly got incredibly sad.  Because as much as we're all annoying each other at the moment, once this trip is over, we will miss these times so much more than we ever were annoyed with eachother.  I almost burst into tears at the thought, which I will blame entirely on my lack of sleep and not on my life as the most sentimental and overly reflective person alive.

It's one month in, and time needs to slow down a bit.

cambridge for the day



Last weekend, I spent Sunday in Cambridge.  It was so nice to escape the city for a day and wander around the old campuses.  We punted on the flooded river, which was such a wonderful experience, because the weather was so kind to us.  Sunny and lovely--just what we needed.  We walked around the shops and market, and I emerged with some pretty craft paper from Ark and a delicious Cornish pasty.  The Eagle was our pub of choice, because Watson & Crick announced their discovery of DNA there.  I did something much less important there--I drank some mulled cider and shared a dessert sampler with the table.  We can't all be geniuses...

Around 3:30, we went to the beautiful King's College Chapel for their Evensong service.  It was a treat hearing the boys choir.  (It was also great seeing them before and afterwards in their little tailcoats and top hats.)  We actually went to Evensong at St. Paul's recently, but the echo there made it hard for me to hear the choir.  Afterwards we wandered around some more, but everything was basically closed, so we finally ended the day exhausted but happy at a Thai restaurant, where I think I ate my food faster than should be acceptable.

hearts day

hearts day

I redisovered Polyvore tonight (So this is what not having homework is like!) and made a set for the first time in two years.  Then it automatically posted here.  But that's okay, because my blog is in need of Valentine's Day festivities anyway.

Happy February!  Remember to be sparkly and alarmingly enamored with chocolates, romantic movies, and cute cards

fit for tea


This dress has always been a favorite of mine because the pretty embroidery makes it such a unique piece.  To me it really says "whimsical tea party," although I probably just think that because I wore it at my seventeenth birthday Alice in Wonderland tea party.  Regardless, it makes the perfect dress for wandering around the park dog watching and sipping on some tea in the nearby cafe.

Dress/Anthropologie, Leggings/Amazon, Cardigan/H&M, Belt/Thrifted, Boots/Nordstrom, Necklace/Kate Spade (It's upside down, making it 'oops la la' instead of 'ooh la la.'  Oops.), Circle ring/Edina Kiss, Glasses ring/Kate Spade, Jacket/Merrell, Heart/Ban.do, Purse/Kate Spade

the view across the table


Every weekend here in London, Ted and I go out on a date.  I'm all about dates--I think they are very important to a healthy relationship. Sure, I like just hanging out doing whatever,  but something new is always appreciated.  After all, we're in a big city, so we should explore it!

Sometimes spontaneous dates are the best--like when Ted and I snuck off to grab some breakfast at The Jugged Hare the Thursday morning we waited in line with some people at the Barbican for Richard II.
Sometimes date days happen, like when we spent the day exploring beautiful and bizarre museums for our art history class (The Hunterian and John Soan's Museum, specifically) with a tea break in-between at Fields Bar & Kitchen.  
Sometimes even then, we still explore the West End and Soho, ending the day splitting a bowl of ramen at Bone Daddies Ramen Bar, a delicious little place across from an awesome comic book store.
Sometimes the small Italian meat shop with the red couch outside is booked, so we find cheap Italian food across the street at Rocca, and I get to order lasagna and white wine and feel quite grown up indeed.
Sometimes I score front row center lottery tickets (lucky number 3!) for The Book of Mormon on a Monday night and wander around the streets until I finally get ahold of Ted, and I think--this is probably the only time in my life I will be able to wander the streets of a big city without any serious cares, ever. And that is exciting but also scary and a little sad. But then I finally meet up with Ted and try Katsu Curry for the first time at Tokyo Diner and the thought becomes less intimidating.
Sometimes I annoy Ted (this happens a lot, but that's okay, because the feeling is usually mutual) and then we make up just in time for Ted to introduce me to Iranian food at Mohsen and for us to go to a pub afterwards to witness the hilarious innkeeper locking out a drunk middle-aged woman as we sit on uncomfortable stools nearby giggling and sipping our pints.

Sometimes we just sit around planning my birthday in Paris because THAT IS REALLY EXCITING TO ME, GUYS.

Sometimes life is extremely exciting and a little bit like a fairytale. That time is definitely now.