30 Dec 2013

Week Thirteen was a whirlwind. 

We arrived in Charlotte on Sunday, December 22nd and I split my time between a Welcome Home party at our good friends' Erika and Jesse's home and then a Secret Santa Sleepover at my friend Hanna's home. It was certainly a warm welcome and I will keep those initial and long-awaited hugs close to my heart for the next nine months. 

Our time in Charlotte was spent working, running errands and lounging with friends. We headed to Kernersville, NC to spend the Christmas holiday with our parents and our dog, Sir Winston. After four full days of eating, drinking and cuddling, we headed to Raleigh to visit my sister and brother-in-law and get ready for our NYC vacation. 

The flight up was a bit turbulent, but we got here in one piece! Now, we are in Brooklyn relaxing and getting ready for sightseeing in the morning and the Billy Joel concert on New Year's Eve.  We have been so busy enjoying spending time with friends and family that I am way behind on uploading pictures, but here are a few of my favorites so far!
oh yeah, and I got bangs...


21 Dec 2013

Point-blank, it was an off week for me.

I was REALLY, REALLY excited to pack and get everything perfectly ready for travel day on Sunday and I was also really, REALLY, REALLY excited to go to James' Company Christmas Party on Thursday.  The only REAL thing that happen this week, was me, getting REALLY sick. boo.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I did practically nothing this week. 

monday:  run a few errands. feel something coming on. SHITT...

tuesday:  meet james for birthday lunch at wahaca. tell him i feel something coming on. go on about my day. find a jcrew. run from jcrew. wayyy too expensive in the uk. find myself back home.

tuesday night:  cook roasted chicken dinner for the birthday boy. royally mess up birthday cake. turn cake into saw dust. enjoy the company of team starnes and ice cold brews. put boy to sleep. have a late night facetime sess with ek about life. end conversation. start cold.

wednesday:  wake up. full-blown cold/chest congestion. walk a few miles to doctors office in cold, windy conditions. NOT HAPPY. walk back from doctors appointment, again, in cold and windy conditions. need food. need prescriptions. lunch time. crowded grocery store and pharmacy. need to sleep. sleep. sleep. leave me alone.

thursday:  wake up with cold again. antibiotic's not working fast enough. christmas party is out of the question due to hacking, sneezing, coughing, sniffling. #@%$!?!! not happy girl. james has wonderful night out with work friends. ac gets beat by laundry and dishes.

friday:  feeling better. still not 100%. put away some dishes. managed to go out for dinner with j. pizza express. bed early.

saturday:  here we are. the day before take-off. still haven't started to pack for 12 day holiday. still need to run more errands. cue: heavy breathing

sunday: TAKEOFF! 10:00 AM London time. 5:00 AM Charlotte time. We arrive in Charlotte around 2:00 PM. 

Not exactly how I saw this week playing out, but I am feeling much better and very excited to see everyone, so...



20 Dec 2013

I've been on the hunt for a weekender bag for a few years now, but I haven't found the right one to make an investment in. Since our move to the UK, and the likelihood for weekend getaways, the search is back on.

Many of these bags, especially the leather ones, can be particularly pricey so it's important that I make a level-headed decision. I frequently justify purchases to my husband as something being a "lifetime investment." Though he has come to view my justification as very skewed, I think we both can agree that the CPW (cost-per-wear-ratio) on this one will be well worth it! right babe?

This is what I am asking for Christmas, and even though it might take longer than Dec. 25th to find the right one, I am hoping to narrow it down to a couple good options around the beginning of the year. If anyone has any other suggestions of weekender/carry-all/holdall bags, please send me link!


Here are some pictures of bags that I have come across recently.
photo cred: http://de-smitten.com/2013/12/09/december-list/
I came across the above picture of a Rag and Bone Bag on DeSmitten. I think it's pretty perfect except for the fact that the owner got that bag at a sample sale in NYC, it's nowhere to be found on the Internet and it's probably $$$$. sigh.
I actually purchased this duffle from Madewell.com while it was on sale for 30% off. I think it could definitely be a winner, but we will have to see when it arrives.

Here are some other options that I've seen around London and online.
left: Brics      right: Longchamp
left: Mulberry      right: Billykirk
left: Frye      right: Paul and Joe
left: Herschel      right: Marc Jacobs


17 Dec 2013

 This is what the dirty-thirty (one) looks like at Chateau de Starnes. 

Happy 31st Birthday J! xoxo

worst homemade birthday cake EVER! sorry babe :)
describes our life perfectly


16 Dec 2013

The countdown begins!

T-Minus seven days until we are back, partying in Charlotte with all of our friends. Woohoo! Let the good times roll my friends!  As you can see, I am very excited. I am officially starting to pack TODAY and the meticulous selection of proper travel clothes will commence. Seriously, we both can't wait to be home and even though our trip is going to fly by, it is so worth it to be able to see everyone around the holidays!

Talking about weeks flying by-- this past one did just that! Tuesday I attended my first girls' night.  I was lucky enough to be introduced to a couple of these ladies while we were out the other night.  It was refreshing to see some familiar faces, but it was also nice to spend time getting to know other ladies in their group that I hadn't met before.  Everyone was super friendly. We lounged around, drank champagne, ate some seriously delicious nibbles and to top it of, love actually was playing in the background.  SIDE NOTE: I've watched Love Actually a million times, but this was my first time watching it since we now live in London.  It was surreal to see all the places around town on the screen. I LIVE THERE! I LIVE THERE!   The girls' night was a success and we plan on getting together regularly after the beginning of the year. I'm really looking forward to it!

Thursday,  I went to the Isabella Blow exhibit which was absolutely to die for. I will definitely be going back again.

We decided to go out for James' 31st birthday on Friday because most of our friends were heading back to the States this past weekend.  Kristen and Adam stopped by the flat briefly for a drink and some snacks before we headed out to the restaurant.
I got us a reservation at Le Mercury, a quaint French restaurant with a very reasonable menu-- all the starters were 4.95£ and all mains were 9.95£-- I mean, hello??! 
We ordered lots of food and drinks, and overall, I was very satisfied with our dining experience--we will definitely go back to try more options. After dinner we headed out to do some drankin'! We stopped in to the Kings Head, which is an awesome pub that stayed open until 2AM (which is rare) and they had live music. I was in heaven! We even got a little craaaazzzzzyyyy :)
The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key. Saturday, we mosied around Islington and Sunday consisted of football and lounging. A pretty solid week, if I don't say so myself!

team starnes



The Isabella Blow Fashion Galore! exhibit was raw, dark and edgy. The curator and designers definitely captured her life and personality within the display. Isabella was the original Lady Gaga-- totally avant-garde. She lived a roller coaster of a life until she committed suicide at the age of 48. Her death devastated the fashion community. She launched the careers of many artists including Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy and so many more... such a sad end to such a talented woman.

The exhibit was amazing. I had goosebumps the entire time I was in there and I left feeling totally inspired. I will definitely go back before it leaves early March. insane. insane. insane.


15 Dec 2013

Under Construction. This is frustrating..


12 Dec 2013

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with my dog...
I mean, come on, look at that face! Yes. I am the mama of a 230 lbs beautiful English Mastiff and he is the apple of my eye! I am T-Minus 13 days from being reunited with my beloved fur child. And no, I am not using the expression child loosely. 
I can't wait to get my hands on him and give him lots of hugs and kisses.
I imagine our reunion will look a lot like this. aka pure joy :)

If viewing on an iPhone or iPad click here for video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDZaWgf_bk0
Here are a few of my favorite Winston pictures from over the years.


8 Dec 2013

We've officially been in London for 10 weeks. WHAT?! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? This week consisted of us getting back into the swing of things since our Scotland vacation. I'm actually surprised at how much I accomplished this week--found our Christmas tree (and decorated it), visited Harry Potter Platform 9 3/4, tackled the British Museum, enjoyed a date night with J on Friday, and another with friends on Saturday. We went to a "quote-along" showing of Elf, which was AMAZING and after the show we went to Canitina Laredo. The best thing about Cantina was the fact that it had queso-- my mind was basically blown! It was a pretty active week, if I say so myself! Now, we are catching up on work and cleaning the flat, just relaxing like we always do on Sundays!

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