This gallery contains 12 photos.
You know how some days are just not meant to be? Some days exist merely to remind you that many things, big and small, can go wrong. It’s a fact. I don’t particularly appreciate that those days feel the need to assert themselves from time to time in my life, but I understand there isn’t much to be done about it.
Yesterday was one of those days. First on the hypothetical “pile” was waking up for the second day with a sore throat. Not a good sign and not something you want a mere two days before properly starting your postgraduate studies. Yeesh. But before endeavoring to do anything about this sore throat, I had to follow-up on my student loans. I’ve been trying to contact my administrator for over a week and have heard nothing from them. We’ve also had spotty internet here, making things a bit harder, especially their complicated and detailed log in system and auto-log out, good for safety but seriously annoying when you can’t get your internet connection to behave, which it should do since we’re actually paying for it. So yesterday I decided I had to try to follow-up again about the loans. I tried calling and got so far as the reason for my call, just through all the machine-prompted “say” parts when I heard the robot’s voice fade away as is she was being sucked into space, her robot voice fading quickly, distorted, into a silent nothing. Skype had dropped my call. They’d done so because the other internet I’ve been using when ours goes down is a pay by the day, and will not compromise with you when that credit runs out (so I’m paying twice for internet?). Annoyed but determined, I bought another day’s worth and logged in to write them an email. I crafted a well-written but slightly aggressive email being very frustrated to have heard nothing about my last one. It was after I hit submit that I made an unpleasant realization. Not only had my connection gone off again, meaning I’d have to rewrite it, but the email had not sent. The site makes you select another option before finally submitting your email, presumably to avoid having to read them. This was doubly unpleasant to realize because that meant my first email had probably never made it. This begs the question: what is a submit button for if not to submit? So I logged back in through the maze and retyped a less-aggressive email, hit submit, hit “no really, submit” and then moved onto my next objective.
One thing I did manage yesterday was to go to Boots to get some meds, but that store’s reported hours online and those in reality did not match. I made it there just 5 minutes before closing, which, you can probably see where this is going, means I forgot a few things. Isn’t it always the way? I picked up the remaining items at another store dropping more quid (still forgetting to get honey for my tea, damn). Interestingly, there was a protest of some sort happening thereabouts. Cops were standing by watching and keeping a tight eye on the lady with the megaphone.
When I got back home I was tired and feeling weak. It was then that I started to feel horrible in a different kind of way. There’s nothing like being ill to test you in a new place. That’s how you can really tell how you’ll cope with living there and whether you’ll feel at home. I came home, took some meds, essentially crawled into bed after starting the Ipcress File on BBC iPlayer, and dazed off. I was in pain for a few hours. I was supposed to go out with my roommates as a sort of last hoorah before we officially start next week, but instead I spent several hours curled up in a ball under the duvet watching the film and trying not to think about the pain and sore throat. The film was good. I said “Oh no” several times, if that’s any sort of measure of a good thriller. The roomies came in to say they were leaving. I went down and attempted to make some sort of dinner. I started to make pasta, which I regretted almost as soon as I poured out the sauce. I was not feeling very hungry, despite not eating for about 8 hours. And I could tell already I wasn’t going to like this. I brought it upstairs anyway, after dutifully cleaning my mess up in the kitchen. I made a vain attempt to eat it while watching QI, and eventually went downstairs to chuck it in the bin. I hate wasted food, but I could not eat it. By this time it’s 10 on a Saturday, and I’m starting dinner phase 2, all while keenly aware that I could be out exploring the city with friends instead of in a hoodie at the hob. I decided to heat the leftovers from Chinese takeaway. ”I have some eggs I need to use!” I efficiently thought. I grabbed one from the packet and turned to put the two remaining ones in the fridge. At that second, the weight of the two eggs shifted in the pack, which flipped over in my hand, opened itself up, released the two eggs one splattering mess after the other onto the floor and landed upright and closed as seen in the photo above. Those eggs were clearly spurned at not being chosen to be part of my fried rice leftover scramble. Basically, they were miffed.
I watched this play out in awe then turned right back round and finished cooking, even forgetting to shut the fridge for a moment, stunned as I was. The final struggles of the day entailed the boiler that refuses to behave deciding that it would not stay on for more than 10 seconds after each reset and waking up at 3:40am once again in a dull pain that lasted for a good hour. This was worse than the previous morning when I’d been woken up earlier than I wanted by the sound of my neighbor having a row (a very one-sided one, by my evaluation).
So there you have it. A day spent stuck inside despite nice weather, where even the eggs would rather die than not get to go out.
So I have made a rather large move. I never thought it would happen, and, when I was in the process of making it happen, never thought I’d pull it off all right. But I’m here now, sitting in my Victorian house in London. Much of my early days here, as is always the case, have been spent attempting to rebuild everything that I so quickly had to dismantle in Austin. Everything means everything. Even social groups. Even Ikea furniture. But it’s shaping up. I’m going to be trying to post more often here. I have already decided that I will be posting a “Things you see in London” section for all the crazy, weird, wonderful things that one happens to spy even a fleeting glimpse of in this pulsing city.
I went to McKinney Falls, a state park, for the first time last weekend. We’d intended to go to the Austin Kite Festival, but the crazy line of cars waiting to get into the parking garage to then let us join the giant line to wait for a shuttle to then wait in traffic to get to the park… you get the idea. Basically that line scared us off, so we decided to just go to a state park. The limestone all worn away over the years by erosion has formed some unusual shapes, including seemingly perfect circles. As a trained geographer, I feel compelled to inform you that this is called “karst topography.” It really resembled a moonscape, if the moon had cacti and dogs.
I spent a few hours today looking at photos of national parks, longing to walk among tall evergreens in awe-inspiring valleys and on grand sweeping high ranges. I’m not usually a very outdoorsy person, at least not in a Texas sort of way. Here, it’s so hot outside most of the year that me and outdoors just don’t match. But looking at the beauty of our national parks had me thinking about hiking, which I do enjoy, especially in cooler places that aren’t Texas… As shoes are never far off in my mind, hiking boots came to mind. I wondered recently whether there are stylish hiking boots. They seem to all be rather similar. There is certainly a “typical hiking boot,” but since I like every piece of clothing (especially footwear) to reflect my individual style, I wondered what kind of hiking boot out there could represent me.
With hiking in the back of my mind, I felt drawn to the functional, almost blue collar-influences visible in all of these shoes by Diesel. I see stylistic elements of hiking, biker boots, broken in jeans perhaps worn by a craftsman. Now, while I wouldn’t recommend climbing the Grand Tetons in any of these high elevation beauties, they did reflect something unpolished and wild to me. The pair Charles show the clearest hiking boot influences with the two-tone laces, fur accent and D-ring eyelets.
I have to say, I absolutely adore the mini jeans look of the Liason styles. I associate jeans with my father, who is a carpenter and has probably worn jeans nearly every day of his life. Thus the handyman association of these makes them all the more charming to me, not to mention they are wedges, which I am currently obsessed with. Check out the third photo for details of the details in the denim. Tiny pockets, small version of the waistband, a creative approach to branding. What’s not to love? Now can they be a functional member of any wardrobe? Probably not, but they’ve perfectly married the two essences of this post: versatile, comfortable outdoor footwear and towering dressed down heels.
The cowboy boot meets motorcycle boot Nels exceeds the simple stylistic staples of both by transforming them into something new with a loose, green wash denim upper and thick stacked heel. These are about details. Check out the triple stitching on the platform.
I. Love. Coats.
A simple fact. I’ve been stalking the immense collection of Top Shop outerwear for a good 6 years now. I can’t get enough of funnel neck collars, deep lappels, ruched sleeves, side pockets, tweed wool blends, sculpted hoods, empire silhouettes and wooden toggles. I simply adore it all. The better the tailoring, the more I love it.
Outerwear speaks to me of a particular mood. I probably feel the same way about winter clothing that someone who longs for sandy beaches and sun dappled waters feels about bikinis and breezy sleeveless shirts. (none of which do I care much for) I, instead, long for the high, thick collars and soft scarves of fall and the tall boots and heavy cocoon-like coats of winter. I enjoy arriving at my destination to then shed my often monochromatic layers to emerge a more colorful and sometimes surprisingly dressed up person. It’s part of the fun. It could be all business or dance party tucked inside someone’s coat. And you’d never know it.
It’s also somewhat of a challenge to maintain individual style in the winter, when we mostly don the same coat and maybe switch bewtween just a few different pairs of boots every day. I enjoy the challenge. There are small details in accessory choices or highlights in stitching that I think can pop more and make a grander statement because of the lack of options and flexibility to express yourself. Suddenly a bright color in a scarf, a new oxblood colored satchel, uniquely patterned knit tights, or a sparkly pair of earings become the focal point of expression that style hinges on. I tend not to like busy patterns, so the stripped down means of expression allotted by winter wear suits me nicely.
Ans so finding a pretty small brand recently that has been selling to a few big name stores like Mod Cloth and Urban Outfitters and who specializes in coats and jackets made me really happy. Meet BB Dakota part of the Dakota Collective. BB Dakota has some great, cohesive style on offer. I wasn’t all that surprised to realize that the two coats I adored on different websites (Urban and Mod Cloth) were actually from the same designer. Peruse their line. It’s a mother daughter duo, which is pretty cool.
Let me tell you why I love this coat. Well, firstly, just look at it. I enjoy the flexibility of the silhouette. Form fitting versus draped. I like the variation in length, the geometric pattern, and the unusual absent collar/hood. It’s a very different sort of coat than you typically see on the street, but it’s not so unusual that it wouldn’t fit well in most wardrobes. As a big fan of grey, black and blue in my wardrobe and geometric patterns, I’m completely biased. But that aside, I think there is something classic yet new about this one. They seem to be good at that, over at Dakota Collective. I look forward to keeping up with their collections in the future, and of course, expanding my winter clothing collection in the process.