Final Week of Freedom

I’ve actually just finished my first week of work (which I’ll share more about later), but first I wanted to post some photos from my last week before I headed back to the 9-5 world…

I make poor Alex (BF) take all the photos you see of me alone. I do ask him to be in the photo with me, but he deplores having his photo taken, thus I’m often the lone tourist.

This is outside Liberty of London. If you are not familiar with their prints, do your eyes a favor and explore now! Aside from their fabrics, the Tudor style exteriors and interiors are gorgeous. London does department stores better than anywhere else, I’ll take you ’round other department stores another time.

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Update on Life: I’m no longer unemployed, but I am still ‘homeless’.

Outside BBC headquarters

Well, that happened more quickly than I anticipated.

In rapid succesion I went from having an interview, to having a follow-up, to being offered a job. I thought I would be waiting on tables for months before finally having to take some mediocre position doing something I wasn’t remotely interested in. But rather, I now find myself going to work for an amazingly cool company, starting a career on the exact trajectory I’d always hoped for myself. When does that ever happen?

Starting Monday I’ll be working for a branding and marketing firm which also owns the magazine Monocle. I’ll be an editorial assistant on a project that will produce a quarterly lifestyle magazine for a client. For the most part I will be doing a lot of running around, organizing elements of the magazine and trying to keep up, but I will also have the opportunity to write a few articles on art, design or fashion. Which is exactly what I want to be doing in the long term (along with a few other things connected to the arts, but I’ll discuss that another time).

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Update on Life aka Worst Blogger in the World


Well it’s been about 5 months since I last updated this thing. Does anyone other than my mom and a handful of family and friends care? Probably not. But I’m going to update whomever explaining why I have been so terrible and vow, yet again, to be better at keeping this thing up.

This past summer I’ve been traveling, researching and writing my dissertation and working part-time as a waitress in an attempt to save money and move to London. Which is where I am now; unemployed and technically homeless with nothing but dreams (slightly delusional) of working in the art world, or fashion, or media, or anywhere that wants to pay me decently and sponsor my visa.

Am I asking too much? It’s possible. But I’m aiming high until deportation, which potentially takes place at the end of March. So until then I will try to update ‘you’ on my follies and foibles while I attempt to ‘make it’ in London.

On a positive note, I handed in my dissertation. Which, for anyone who has known me since high school, is quite a feat. It was, quite possibly, one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I quite enjoyed the research part, but writing 15,000 words, equating to nearly 50 pages, felt like a death march at times (slight exaggeration, slight). I wrote on a little known English illustrator and designer named Edward Bawden (click on his name to see his images). I think he’s wonderful. I discussed his work in relation to issues of English national identity and the projection of that identity through Bawden’s advertisements in the interwar years. The saddest thing is, I actually found all that fascinating! But I suppose that is why I was writing on it in the first place.

Now it’s on to the next chapter and what that is, I have no idea. I am excited and frightened; full of optimism one moment and bewilderment the next. So, I’m trying to go with the flow, stay positive, but realistic. I rarely seem to choose a path that is easy so I’m anticipating the roller coaster  for the months to come. I suppose that is the price we pay when we want things that are outside our comfort zone. Despite all the current uncertainty, I always land on my feet, I just don’t know what ground will be beneath me.

Edward Bawden The Stage of London Life, 1925


Cupcakes in Edinburgh

About a month ago my sister and her husband came to visit and I met them in Edinburgh for a few days. They were staying in an area  just south of George Street, which was absolutely lovely. While we were there we stumbled upon a few places I’ve been meaning to share. The first of which was the most charming coffee shops called Cuckoo Bakery, they also serve some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had (and I’ve tried a lot). 

On top of being delicious to eat, their presentation was spot on, white dishes with graphics of Edinburgh, men in kilts and birds (“put a bird on it!”), a large wooden display case for the cupcakes and best of all cuckoo clocks! If you ever find yourself in Edinburgh you must check it out.


Life of Graduate Student

Oy, I haven’t been very good about updates. The past few weeks I had my first two essays due and I found myself spending most of my time in the lovely post graduate Art History study rooms (I say that with sincerity, they are quite nice and have views of the sea). Before I arrived in St Andrews I was so eager to be a student again. Three years of work in the ‘real world’ and all I longed for was the smell of old books in the library, piecing together bits of history like an historical detective, and enjoying the general intellectual atmosphere that abounds in academia. I had completely romanticized the entire academic experience and forgotten the downside…the late nights, the stress of writing a paper – staring endlessly at a blank screen, and never being able to feel like you have finished anything until the term is complete.

All of those feelings abruptly came back to me a few weeks ago. I suppose one of the nice things about being a ‘mature’ student is, I am much more on top of things then I was as an undergrad. I’m not procrastinating until the last minute – writing papers until the wee hours of the morning. I am finding there is no way I could. The amount of research and study I have to do is beginning to exceed undergrad studies, as would be expected in a masters program. So on top of things I must be!

Luckily, I am finding my courses interesting. One of my classes is on the British Arts and Crafts Movement. I’ve been able to take a different spin on the course and have focused on the influence of the British Arts and Crafts Movement in America, specifically California. There are so many stunning examples of Arts and Crafts architecture in California and being the anglophile I am it’s been great fun bridging the gap between the two places. It always amazes me that even when you begin to become very specific in a study of work, there is still immense amounts of information. I’ve spent hours reading about chairs!

Gamble House in Pasedena, California – One of my favorite Arts and Crafts Homes

My other course is on the photographic collection of St Andrews. Photography has never been of particular interest to me (as a course of study) but this course allowed more hands on work in an archive and I thought it would be beneficial for my CV. I’m finding it interesting, but for some reason or another finding it more difficult to fully immerse myself the way I have with my other course. This realization has made the photography course slightly more difficult to be fully engaged in, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

Well, I suppose that’s one of the more boring posts I’ve written. My apologies, but it’s just about all I’ve been up to as of late. I’m in the midst of Reading Week (a break we get mid semester to catch up on work) and since I was lucky enough to turn in my essays before the week, I’ve had a little break and thus have been able to have a few fun outings, of which I will post about later. For now, its back to the academic grind; which is far more enjoyable than the regular grind!

Fall in Fife

I think it’s become a bit of a cliché to say, but fall is my favorite time of year. Growing up in San Diego fall didn’t really exist. Upon moving to San Francisco fall became slightly more of a season, rather than just a change of weather, but nothing like fall in other parts of the world.

But now I’m in Scotland and fall is alive and well! Warm autumnal colors are falling from the trees; deep ambers, crimson reds, and fiery oranges . The air has become crisp and the breeze consistent. Winter is being beckoned.

It’s not too cold as to avoid the outdoors, so in the morning I’ve been bundling up and going for runs on the outskirts of the village. In doing so I’ve discovered a meandering stream with a path alongside it, here the rich colors of fall are in full effect.

My fun summer music has given way to the melancholy music I associate with fall. Radiohead, Bon Iver, Cat Power, Laura Marling, Beach House, and my particular favorite Coldplay. I don’t know what it is about Coldplay’s 2nd album Rush of Blood to the Head, but upon hearing the pounding drums on ‘Politik’, I’m instantly taken back to the fall I spent studying in London.

London was the first time I felt like I truly experienced fall. There, smells of roasting chestnuts and mulling wine permeate the autumn air, and low sun casts shadows upon the cobblestone streets. The great parks, Regents, St James, and Hyde drop their leaves in vast amounts, and I imagine the grounds keepers have a different take on fall than I.

American influence is beginning to take affect all over the UK as most shops now have Halloween decorations, decorative gourds, and cornucopias in their windows. Though finding pumpkin flavored treats like lattes and baked goods are non existent, sadly.

So as clichéd as it might be, I’ll be spending the rest of October and November reading fall fashion magazines, playing in autumn leaves, sipping on hot cider, and enjoying every last bit of warm sunlight until the long, cold winter lays its claim on county Fife.