30 September 2011


So Halloween is without a doubt my favorite holiday and I'm so stoked on it being in a month. I haven't decided exactly what I'm going to go as, but here are a few of the ideas I've been rolling around in my head. Tell me what you think! 

I have most of everything if I decide to go as Sally Bowles. 

I don't play video games, but I know a lot of people who do so I give this idea up to anyone who wants it. Get a orange hula hoop and a blue hula hoop and walk around like that for Halloween for anyone who really loves to play Portal. 

I thought about going as Frida Kahlo for Halloween last year and I'm debating it again this year. Do you all know what you're going as this year? I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend and remember to be kind to yourselves. ♥monica 

27 September 2011

Inspiration: Calvin and Hobbes

A few more, Don't you just love Calvin and Hobbes?

Last Calvin and Hobbes
Have a great rest of the week! I may not have another post in a week. My first written assignment is due a week from tomorrow and so I'm really planning on devoting a lot of effort to making it a good as it can be. Be kind to yourselves.
Cheers! ♥monica 

25 September 2011

Georgia on My Mind

I've had this song in my head for the past several days and I have to admit that Georgia certainly has the best state song, ever. I mean, Ray Charles wrote it and, it just doesn't get much better than that!
Also, peep the new look! Do you like it better? I sure do. I thought that the last look I had going was a tad bit on the stock/ off the rack looking. I'm not quite happy with my header/ title yet, but I think it's looking a lot better. Have an incredible week and remember to be kind to yourselves! ♥monica

24 September 2011

Playing catch up: Sussex and Oxford

I've really been slack on my blogging lately, so my apologies and I'm about to dash out the door, so here are just a few pictures from last week's trip to the Cass Sculpture Park and a quick story about the trip.
Don't those raspberries and blackberries look delicious!

Last week we drove southwest of London, towards Sussex. It was my first time since arriving in London that I had truly gotten out of the city. It was incredible! Once we got out of the city the whole ride there was just idyllic English country side, parts of it reminded me of North Georgia and the Appalachian foothills, but it was mostly deep, rolling hills and farm land. It was quite funny when we where all loading up into the mini-bus the last seat (read: the one I was going to sit int) didn't have a seat-belt and so I ended up sitting in the front between Dr Wallis (my department head & professor) and Dr Seago (the department chair for the Humanities, Social Sciences and Communications as well as a Professor of Cultural Studies) Robert and Alex, respectively. Needless to say I was quite nervous; I talked sparingly and primary served as a cup holder for Alex's tea. I did get around to chatting with the both a bit, which is probably a good thing. Considering how nervous I get when it comes to starting conversations, it probably would have taken me a very long time to get around to talking to either of them casually.
Ace of Diamonds III, 2004, Lynn Chadwick, Stainless Steel (that's Alex, btw)
Tongue in Cheek, 2003, Tony Cragg, Bronze
This one was really impressive in person. It's made out of one solid piece of bronze that have been folded in on out of itself.
Diver, 2007, Eva Drewitt, Bronze
Loop, 2008, Eilis O'Connell, Carbon fibre and epoxy resin 
Alfa, 2010, Gerry Judah, Painted steel
You can see about half of my research colleagues in this picture along with Alex Seago (the one in the kentucky tuxedo) Robert Wallis (seen with his walking stick).  I feel a bit strange calling everyone my colleagues. I guess it makes me feel like I should be more engaged with everything right now, but I'm still getting my footing in everything over here. I do feel like I'm starting to settle in nicely though, even though I don't know if I'll ever really feel at home without my closest friends. I'm making new ones very well, but it it's quite the same, yet. I do feel certain that as the year progresses and we all get closer that I will start to feel more at home. I already love London. The things and the people and the accents and all the culture is beautiful and exactly what I have always wanted to experience. I do find myself lonely sometimes and strangely the one thing that always seems to cure me of that isn't going out with friends, but rather going out somewhere new by myself.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone! And remember to be kind to yourselves. ♥monica

13 September 2011

Weekend Recap

Alright, so I promised a weekend post and it's tuesday, but I was doing stuff and I was a tad bit homesick this past several days and I really didn't want to write a post up for you guys if I was in a blah moody. It would be like a really long whiney facebook status, so I went out with some new friends from my masters program and let me mood go away on it's own time. So here I am, super chipper and ready to share some pictures and stories about my weekend with ya! 
The Natural History Museum: You ride and escalator through this behemoth!

When I say this I couldn't help but think of the y u no? meme Click if you don't know it.

A group of us went out to the Blackbird a pub right around the corner.

Sarah, Emily and Joseph at the pub.

Kari, Gry and Nick from the International Relations Program.
Dude! There's the TARDIS! Right on Earl's Court!
When my loan money came in I treated myself to a pedicure. 
Now that I've played a quick game of catch up I thought I'd share a stupid little video I made, but first, a little back story. Since I was in middle school my mum has always slipped a card or a letter into my notebook on my first day of classes every year. This has happened every year, without fail. So of course this year was no different! When I made it back to my flat from my first day of class there was a card from my mum waiting in my mailbox. : ) It said "Wear some cool boots. Cool boots make you feel like you can handle anything. (and on the inside) Or at least kick real hard."
I love Reepicheep! He's fearless, spirited and tiny. 
She also included this quote by Reepicheep from The Chronicles of Narnia,  "Extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people. Maybe it's a sign that you've got an extraordinary destiny. Something greater than you could have imagined."(of course I got all verklempt!) 

Now that you have the back story, here is a video response that I made for my mum. Be warned....it's me dancing and note the intense derp face that I have. I'm sacrificing my dignity for humor, so enjoy and feel free to laugh at me. : ) Please also note that this is my first attempt at video editing, so sorry if it isn't well refined. Have a great week and be kind to yourselves. ♥monica


10 September 2011

Week 2 in London & 1st Week of Classes Down

I've been in London for almost 2 full weeks and I've officially finish my first week of grad school. Honestly we didn't do much the first week, since I only have each class once a week essentially spent all of last week introducing ourselves and going over syllabi. However I'm very aware of the load of reading and writing that this program has in store. I'm intimidated by the course load and many of the other girls in the program have very strong backgrounds in Art History, me? Not so much. I feel a little like Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile, except I'm a student or as Richmond calls us a "Junior Research Colleague"...fancy huh? 

I've spent this past week pinching pennies (a state of mind gained during my undergrad studies) and really learning to appreciate just how difficult it is to start all over somewhere. I have to admit that considering how difficult it could have been, I have had a pleasure cruise.

 Also, its incredible how many things we accumulate that we take for granted and also how many things we have, that we're certain that we can't live without. But when you are extricated from these possessions it's surprisingly liberating. I guess Tyler Durden or Chuck P said it best:  "The things you own end up owning you."  It has also made me particularly aware of my own taught consumer drive and has me harshly questioning my motivation behind my purchases. Try it some day. You'll be surprise and how much of you personal character you attach to stupid things and how much better you feel when you come to grips with the fact that you aren't the objects you own. Kill your ego a little today and let me know how it feels. 

Haha, I get it from my mum if you ever wanted to know
where I get my weird from.
I'm sure my mum will be thrilled to see this picture! I just couldn't help myself. I had to share it and I miss my mum and dad. They where the last people I hugged before going through security on my way to London and I haven't had a hug since. 2 weeks! I'm a big hugger so that's kinda lame, so I'm looking for a friend in England that gives good hugs.
Have an incredible weekend. If I get up to anything great I'll be sure and share it before next week starts. Be kind to yourselves. monica

04 September 2011

A Brief Tour of my Flat

I made a quick video tour of my flat and my building so you all know a little bit of what my life is like so far. I'm really enjoying it so far. I can't wait to decorate it up a little better so it's less spartan in feel, but that is probably just my inner interior decorator speaking. (When I was in middle school I wanted to be an interior decorator! I even did my 4-H DPA project on it...and won first place.) I'm sure that once school has start I will be posting less often, but for this first week I'll keep you all solid and in the loop. : )


Before finishing this post I spent most of my day at the Natural History Museum, which is just a short walk down from my flat. There was plenty of traditional, but there was also a visiting exhibit called Sexual Nature and it was a frank exploration of sexuality in the animal kingdom. It was amusing and a tad awkward, but seeing as how I like awkward humor. It just made it even funnier to me. The most, um, interesting was probably the Green Porno videos that they had running around the exhibit. I included a link, but it's border line nsfw. It isn't obscene by any means, but it isn't really the thing that you want you boss or parents to catch you watching, unless they would find it funny too. Which they may! I'm off to do some reading before the first day of class tomorrow. Have a great week and hopefully by the next time I blog my loan money will have come through! woohoo! 
Be kind to yourselves ♥monica 

03 September 2011

Sunny Saturday

Well hello there! I'm taking a reprieve from walking around all day to drop off a bunch of photos that I took today. I spent yesterday in orientation for classes that start monday! eek! I'm kind of nervous, but  that motivates me to do really well in school. Masters Degrees are no joke and I want to do well, so here's hoping for the best! Seeing as how I don't have much to say today. I'll get on with the photographs, if you  haven't already seen them on facebook.  

Albert Memorial in Hyde Park
I didn't even know that there was this gigantic memorial in Hyde Park. See what you find when you keep your eyes open and a willing sense of adventure to wander around! 

Detail of the gates surrounding the Albert Memorial
A beautiful day in Hyde Park

I have to admit it. I got couple envy seeing everyone with boyfriends and girlfriends in paddle-boats. It's really hard not to wish you had someone close to lay down with in grass that was so soft. And even more so when you see all the couples laying together and holding hands or with there heads on each other's chests. I imagine I will be coming out here all the time and hopefully having a picnic too. There where plenty of families having picnics in Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens today. The English really seem to know how to take advantage of beautiful days like today. I could learn a bit from them.

I hope that you all have been having a great weekend and that maybe you're somewhere with a loved one in a paddle-boat or a park, or somewhere inside if that's more your thing! Take care, stay excellent and be kind to yourselves. ♥monica 

01 September 2011

First Week So Far

Good morning and hello from London! This is my first post true Life Across the Pond post and I wish I could say that I had something better planned for you all, but I don't. I've spent the last two days getting over jet lag and getting my flat set up, so I'm winging this! 
The Enchanted Palace
I was actually able to move about like a function human yesterday, rather than a caffeinated zombie like I was on tuesday. I managed to stay awake all day tuesday and had a dinner of tomato soup at a pub right by the school with some other girls in the program before heading to the most beautiful Whole Foods I have ever seen and picking up some fruit and yogurt for breakfasts. I got to skype a little before getting a shower and heading to bed at 8. I woke up a few times through the night, but managed to get some really solid sleep in, in fact I woke up because one of the girls that I'm making friends with was at my door. I almost ignored the knocking on my door, but I rolled over, bleary eyed, and asked if it was Katie. It was and so I answered the door and asked what time it was. It was noon. So I rushed to get ready and met her downstairs for 'breakfast'. We headed out and stopped into Paul a boulangerie that she really loved from when she did a study abroad in Paris and for good reason! The apple pastry I had was so delicious. It was so delicious, light and flaky, the filling was just a little tart and the top was barely sweet. We grabbed our breakfast and walked down to Kensington Gardens where we found a bench and ate our pastries in near silence. (They really where that good!) We started talking when the pigeons started gathering. They would flutter off a bit if you kicked out your leg or clapped your hands, but far from phased by this they would just come back and wait and move from side to side as we each dropped little crumbs from our breakfasts. 

After we finished up we noticed a group of people outside of the Kensington Palace gates and we made our way over to find the gates covered in flowers, signs, cards, pictures, poems and flags. Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of Princesses Diana's untimely death in Paris. She lived in Kensington Palace. I'm sad to say that I did not bring my camera with me that day, so lesson learned! We made our way around the side of the palace and started seeing installation art on the nearby trees and signs for The Enchanted Palace. It's an interactive tour through part of the palace where you learn about 7 of the princesses that lived in Kensington. When we found that it was £11 for students, it really seemed appropriate to see it yesterday, so we went. 
Bottles from the Room of Royal Sorrows
It received really high reviews from writers for The Guardian and Harper's Bazaar and with good reason. It was a fantastic journey through a curious juxtaposition of modern and antique. The old setting of the palace was filled with clever use of color, light, sound, texture, technology, antiques, installation and interactive guides called the Detectors. At the beginning you received a guide book with facts, a map and a card to write down the names of all the princesses if you're able to locate them all through out the tour. Katie described it best as "Alice in Wonderland" like.  I wish I had taken pictures of more detailed notes while I was in it, because I would write a full fledged gallery review for it, those always where my favorite things to do, probably because it gave me an excuse to be opinionated. [The Detectors where very fun. A woman sat on the knitted throne in The Seat of Power room for a photo and the detector immediately begins composing himself as if she is the queen and asked her to make a royal decree. She wished for everyone to have a wonderful day and he announced it to everyone and encouraged our applause and a round of "God Save the Queen!". That was my first time saying God Save the Queen. I really felt like I was in England then.]  

The other really exciting part of yesterday was dinner. I went to dinner with 2 other people and after dinner I went down a crazy steep set of stairs to the toilets (It sounds so crass when I'm accustomed to calling it the restroom, but that's what the English say and I'm hear to adapt to a new culture and what better way than through the language, eh?) and I when I got to the stall I flipped out. The toilet seat and lid was glittery, like a clear plastic with a lots and lots of silver glitter suspended in it! I used a glittery toilet and my life is better for it. Glitter is just a epitome of all things girly and I had developed a real love for it lately, even though I don't where too much of it. It is always welcome in unexpected places, so it confetti. They're both really little specks of tangible happiness! 

I'm going to get ready now and find what else London and Life has to offer. I hope you all have an incredible day! Stay excellent and be kind to yourselves. ♥monica