16 November 2013

Throwback Post: Long Weekend In DC

*This is a post I started ages and ages ago. Completely forgot about it really. But there are so many fabulous photos in it that I just had to finish it up. Enjoy! I miss you DC!!!

Before I jetted off to live in London, I made sure to get a few things done. I managed a few books...despite my ever present anxiousness that I am not reading enough. In about a day I finished my very first David Mamet book (yes, my first). A DC actor I know recommended it. The book is called True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor. It was actually a very good read. I don't think I've read someone who has such a definitive view on acting. He is extremely pro-script 100%. Almost to a fault. I agreed with a lot of what he was saying, but obviously as I am clearly an education supporter (and off to get my master's in acting), I did not agree with everything. I would recommend it as an interesting view point to read, however. Here's just a screenshot of one of the many things I admired in the text. And remember kids, just like retweeting, underlining does not confirm my endorsement.

I just love 'the self-respecting person keeps her thoughts and emotions to herself'. Makes me think of those actors who are always over 'emoting'.

There was a long weekend in DC where I got to road trip with my little sister so she could hang out with her friends too. It was just the absolute perfect weekend to have before moving abroad. I ate my favorite things in DC, hung out with a lot of my favorite people, tried a few new things (race spectating, hello, best thing ever) and just had a fantastic send-off. Also me and my sister had a ridiculous amount of bonding time. We already lived together with my parents, we probably didn't need to get closer than we already are...oh but we did! There's now a selection of creepy catchphrases we can use to creep each other out. We can thank the audio book A Midsummer's Night Scream by R.L. Stine for that. Thought it'd be a good, scary take on Shakespeare. Oh no. It's complete crap. If anyone would like my copy, I'd be happy to mail it to you. And then I need to call you and creepily say 'Claaaaaire....I'm going to make you a star, Claire...'.

So Lauren and I got iced coffee from Cowgirl Creamery first. One of my favorite fancy shops in DC. They're technically a cheese shop...but soooo much more. I adore them and highly recommend their coffee. They use these drip cone things that slowly lets the hot water seep through the grounds. It's the best way to have coffee in my opinion!

Ridiculously hot. I mean that in temp and in my current 'road trip' attire here. 
Later on that evening after me and my sister parted ways, I met up with my old work colleagues from my theatre, Folger. I only worked there three years, but it had such a profound effect on my life and I adore the people there so much, I don't think I'll ever be truly separated from them.
I miss our tequila meetings.

Taquitos. Not at all authentic food, but still delicious.
I hung out with the loveliest of coworkers, whom I miss dearly. This photo really just sums our relationship up. Happy and completely, ridiculously silly. (I'm looking at you Caitlin!)

My former place of business. I will miss your darkly lit halls, your tea breaks, and your Shakespearean gossip.
My Folger friends and I had to make an afternoon break over at THE BEST PLACE EVER. Seriously. It's the Pretzel Bakery in southeast DC, not too far from Eastern Market. It's tucked away in a little house with just a door front, where you order from the window. I have to say, there is just nothing better than a Philly pretzel, and Philly COFFEE, when in DC. 

Pretzel with a sweet glaze. Gimme now.
Always to be consumed with coffee from La Colombe

Before I headed over to England, I had to hit up some American outlets and see what I could find to bring with me. I feel in love with these beauties....though sadly, the calf sizes run a little small and they just did not fit me. Probably a good thing not to spend $230 on a pair of boots before a trip to London.
I love you Michael Kors.
The rest of my trip to DC I'll summarize in these photos.
Favorite white wine at favorite pizza place, District of Pi.
Seeing some theatre at Shakespeare Theatre Company. Got some tickets via Shakespeare love of my life, Caitlin. She knows people there, hence the ridiculous title on our tickets "Rabbi and Mrs. Caitlin ******* Phd" Faaaancy. She let me be her date for the evening because they were showing Measure for Measure, which is where I get my dramatic monologue from. For the record I did not like how the actress performed it. But that's how it goes. The production was entertaining enough with a burlesque show prior.

We met up with some other good friends there as well, Raven and Kiernan. Good times and I miss these beautiful people. (No really, you are too pretty. Stop it.)

I have a drafted post about it somewhere, but I went and spectated a race that I knew Betsy Transatlantically was running in. I got Annie to come with me and it ended up being the most ridiculous fun, despite not really recognizing Betsy when she did run past. We were the only spectators at Mile 7 because the race started much later then we knew about, we were turned away from the course and ended up getting stuck on it. So with our usual silly gumption, we decided we could spectate the whole race. Everyone loves a cowbell on a cellphone let me tell you.
If any strangers need a spectator for a run, I am so your girl. I had a freaking blast!!

I ended the weekend with a drunken picnic with some of my favorite rowdy Columbia Heights crew (not all living in Columbia Heights, but we always had the craziest adventures there).
Happy birthday Monica! You are now on the internets. You're welcome.
Beautiful and lovely Crystal. Her blog, antes & despues, is too gorgeous for me to even handle. She does design and Awesomeness for a living.

When we picnic, we go straight to the dogs.

Then a lovely party at Raven's house, full of wonderful DC theatre folk. There was lots of wine, food, gossip, drunken rants about theatre shows and monologues. I love these parties.

Adding frozen grapes to your white wine can keep it chilled without watering it down. The more you know...
On our way back home from DC we stopped in to see my brother and his girlfriend on one of their last weekends living in Philly. I am sad they moved to DC only because Philly was so much fun to visit.

Also I do not remember the restaurant we ate at or the food I had. But it was damn good. Wow...I am such a good blogger....
It was a dish with meat and therefore delicious.

Hello brother. Are you excited to be included on my blog? YOU'RE WELCOME.

It's like me in a cup. Sweet and fluffy. 
Lindsay xx

09 November 2013

Hot Toddy, Jameson, and the Pathetic Need to Cuddle: A Report

I am writing to you from the trenches. The sick person trenches.

Is this what it's like for normal people without fun lifelong diseases like Crohn's? I mean, normally, I am a tough beast when it comes to my disease (for the most part). I can handle my shit (take from that what you will). But what I'm going through now is ridiculous.

It's not even a real cold. It's like a baby cold. Teeny-tiny sore throat, bit tired, sneezy, grumpy, dopey, and a faucet for a nose. And I fully blame my classmates for this one. Everyone else was passing it around and I was sitting on my high throne, laughing. Thinking 'oh no, not me, I don't get colds. My body is too busy confused about what's going on in the Crohn's Department to pick up on anything else.' Surprise, surprise, that is FALSE, PEOPLE. I just haven't been a student for years and years. And of course, on a devised theatre course, one shares the food one is using to devise theatre. True story.
 Food from a devised theatre class...that we shared. No, Mom, we did not eat off the floor.

That is a lie. I ate the gummies off the floor.


Now I have a cold. A sore throat to start, but I just about nixed that in the bud with some British Medicine, AKA 'The Hot Toddy'. Best thing ever. Especially good cause I'm fighting off this weird, extreme need to cuddle. I honestly have no idea where that has come from. When I have Crohn's flare, I'm all like 'step the fuck back, loved ones. I will cut you.' But no, with a cold, I've got snot running down my face in the most attractive manner and I just wanna spoon.

Currently questioning my sanity.

So spooning with a Hot Toddy is working just fine for me, thanks. For the relative recipe I'm using, check out this Guardian article here. I have no cinnamon sticks, sadly. But am making due without. Double whiskey for me in this one and it is just opening my nasal cavities right up! Additionally, I feel a little drunk, so barely noticing the cold. Win! (Totally joking. Please, let's be real...I'm Irish, Scottish, and Brooklynish...we don't do tipsy after a double Jameson, we do 'awake and when do we really start drinking?'
Heating up lemon peel, oddly chopped ginger, and cloves.

1 1/2 tbl lemon juice, nutmeg, 2 tsp honey (not pictured, but giving you great responsibility to use your imagination on that one), and the Irish Holy Water--Jameson.

The finished product. Heaven on my throat. Why, yes, I'll spoon with you.
I almost took a picture of my waste basket overflowing with my magical tissue mountain, but I figured that was just excessive information from the trenches that you just didn't really need. You're welcome.

I'm hoping by Monday I can start singing 'I Will Survive' in my usual dulcet tones.

Until then, I'll be finishing this mini bottle of Jameson to help this mini cold and moping up my gooey snot. Who wants to cuddle?

Lindsay xx

06 November 2013

The Grad School Life

....is not much different from my theatre working life in DC.

Over caffeinated, stress, crazy hours, panic over what to do, having no fucking clue what's going on, finding camaraderie in the trenches, rediscovering my love of wine (wait...did I lose it?) and snacking before passing out fully clothed, and trying to see as many shows as cheaply as possible that the city can offer.

I'm not sure at what point I thought getting my MA would be easy. Maybe it slipped in there a little bit every time I explained to someone what I am getting my degree in.

Pssst...haha, yeah...ummm, I'm going to school for...umm...theatre ensemble. Yeah it's okay, I don't really know exactly what that is either. Um...basically....I'm learning how to create within a group. What do I want to do with that when I'm done? Oh, well, ummm...it's not that I haven't thought about it, it's just that my choices in life are very fluid and change with the times. So I'm not sure yet, is what I mean. But hey, that's how it is in theatre isn't it?

People always seem to feel uncomfortable when you aren't definitive about what your ultimate goal in life is. Why can't it be okay that my goal in life changes? I'm always curious about new things and I like where that has taken me. It may sound insane, and it was, when I worked five jobs in DC, but I learned a whole hell of a lot. And made some seriously fantastic memories in the process. I wouldn't trade my DC experience for anything.

I feel a bit off balance finally being over here and studying something that is actually quite fluid and malleable. But I am enjoying it so far.

We just had two students (who are also a part of another training program in London that is not a degree earning course, so they joined our course to obtain that MA) make the decision to leave the course. It sent a bit of waves around yesterday because it does make one stop and think, especially with such a small class that is so dependent on each other....as it is ensemble work. What about this course is wrong for you? Does this mean it's wrong for me? Even if you feel absolutely solid in your decision, it just gives you pause. It took me a little while to shake off the sadness that comes with that decision from people in your group and finally come back to, yes, yes I am supposed to be here. This is what I want to be doing right now. I may be completely confused about where it's taking me, but you know, that pretty much sums up every decision in life. You hope it takes you one way but you just can't guarantee the outcome.

Unless you work in math. Then I think you quite frequently know the outcome. But I'm not 100% sure about that. I work in theatre you know.

Poetry in structure. Trafalgar Square.

Lindsay xx

03 November 2013

The Briefest of Hello's

Hello dear Blog World,

I miss you greatly. I am quite frightened these days of checking my Bloglovin' feed as I haven't read anything in over a month. Funny how quickly that can fill up when you follow bloggers who blog daily.

I am not one of those bloggers.

But maybe I have it in me. Even though I'm already a few days behind, I will attempt to deliver 30 posts this month in the spirit of NaNoWriMo and the fact that I will struggle through the month attempting to write a novel as well. Who knows....I could surprise myself and all my readers (hey Mom!.....Mom?.....Mom?.....you still reading?....) and fully commit to this goal.

Don't believe me? Well here's some challenges I did manage to accomplish this month that I think you'll be quite surprised by.

1. I ate an entire vegetarian Sunday roast. Try not to choke on your tea as you read this.....it was f-ing delicious. My new American friend, who I meet through some DC friends, is over here studying for her MA as well. She just happens to be a vegetarian and when I invited her to join me for a Sunday roast at a pub, she challenged me to find one that had a vegetarian Sunday roast.

Not as easy as you'd think.

Most pubs have a vegetarian option, but it's not in the same kind of category as a traditional roast, with gravy, roasted things and Yorkshire pudding. So I set out to find authentic British fare but all vegetarian friendly.

Turns out there are just two dedicated vegetarian British pubs in London that do Sunday roasts. Norman's Coach and Horses and The Smithfield Tavern. We chose Coach and Horses in Soho.

Quick shot of the menu. I originally wanted the stuffed aubergine (called eggplant in America) but they were fresh out. So I went with the stuffed tomato instead. 

Really, really, ridiculously good vegetarian Sunday roast. Covered in gravy as it should be. Vegetarian gravy. And it was AMAZING.

My crappy iPhone pic of me and Molly being super excited about food. Also, I kind of look like a gap-toothed drunk homeless person here. Thanks iPhone.

Nope, not trying to be artsy...just trying to get my teeth out of the photo. Classy.
2. Stay awake at the opera. I get a lot of discount offers or even free tickets from my programme director or from the school I go to and when I got sent a £20 ticket offer for the opera I jumped at it. I've only been to the opera once before as it's not quite my thing and I may have slept through most of it. But in honor of my friend Megan, who is an opera singer and getting her PhD for it now, I decided to give it another go. I had even texted Megan before hand and she knew exactly what I was going to see and what her favorite bits were. The show was Fidelio at the English National Opera. I absolutely adored the music and almost cried at the bit where a string orchestra is lowered down in separate cages from the ceiling to play. It was gorgeous to hear.....though a lot of the choices done on stage were a bit confusing. Another fellow classmate came and brought her mom, who said later that she thought the music was beautiful as well and we really should have just shut our eyes to fully enjoy it. I really loved going to the ENO and I think I may try and find a way to get a cheap ticket to Madame Butterfly as I've never seen it before.
Instagrammed photo just makes it look quite Christmas-y.

My seat was a fantastic view of the stage and the audience.

Gotta say, I really love watching the Orchestra play. So amazingly talented.
3. Went to a party where I only knew one person and let my flatmate give me a makeover....as a skeleton/zombie combo. It was really funny later on when I was kind of hitting on a guy (and by "hitting on" I mean...ya know...speaking to a guy...cause that's my game people. That is my game.), who would give me a weird look every now and then...I wonder why:
My flatmate, Eliisa, did a magnificent job. I kind of look better than normal!

Me and my lovely flatmate...the only ones to be costumed at a costume party.
At home and just a wee bit drunk. And was texting my parents and sister...who were also just a wee bit drunk at home. We are an odd family.

There. Look at me go. Just putting up challenges for myself and knocking 'em down like a pro. 

Now the only true challenge before me is to write a blog post without any mention of food.

Ha! Not gonna happen.
Gratuitous food porn shot. Chocolate salted caramel wrap with chocolate whip cream. Thank you Rabot Estate, this is what heaven must be like.
Lindsay xx

03 October 2013

Starting a New Life

I wanted to title this "Adjusting to Life in the UK" but I don't think I'm quite there yet. I don't have to adjust to anything just yet. I'm still staying at a friend's house in a nice part of London and have my days open and free to what I feel like doing. School officially starts on Monday and I do have a workshop I'm participating in on Saturday, but until then, I'm a bit footloose and fancy free.

My UK phone is officially set up, though I can't say I've mastered what's going on with my pay-as-you-go plan. My official Helper On All Things Britain is currently very, very sick and even though explaining things and helping organize are some of her favorite things to do, she has zero energy. This is my friend Laura, who I lived with when I studied abroad here the first time. She's absolutely lovely and can translate anything for me. (Yes, sometimes I need things described in an American way, she had an American step-dad so she's good in the translation arena.)

I'm getting quite excited about signing the paperwork for my flat. I'm heading to the estate agent (in US=Realtor) with my new flatmate tonight, yes we're meeting for the first time ever when we get there. Just jumping right in to a 12-month contract with a stranger (with two strangers, as there's a third room a guy is taking). There's no way this is risky at all. Feeling completely comfortable. Well, actually I am, cause I skyped with her and she is just lovely. I'll get to actually see the flat afterwards and I move in next week.

I've been researching gym's, local pools and yoga classes as well. Not sure if I can do yoga classes, depends on my class schedule, but I am really pumped to get back into exercising. I feel like once I start working out again, I'll really feel like I live here. Is that weird? On vacation I never work out...so it feels a bit like that.

Yesterday I didn't get up to much other than muck about on the internet in the morning, then visited sick Laura (if I get deathly ill in the next week, we'll know who to blame), and had an absolutely lovely home cooked meal with my hosts. Hilda made me butternut squash soup (with crème fraîche, never say no to crème fraîche), lamb chops with potatoes and ratatouille, and Merlot to sip on. I always get a spark of happiness through me whenever someone cooks for me. It's just the best thing. Absolutely love it.

That was quite a bit healthier than other choices I've made this week.

Shake Shack for the win.
 I just had to go to Shake Shack for lunch on Tuesday and honestly, I've been thinking about it ever since. So, so good. Can't help it. It's the American in me. My sister will be happy to see that ("you're AMERICAN damnit, act like it.")

When I was checking out a fancy coffee shop (still the American-me) called Notes, I found they served it in a glass carafe. I almost turned the barista away when she brought it over because....embarrassed to admit this, I couldn't quite understand her accent (if you've never been to the UK, you'd be surprised to learn that accents can make things hard to understand sometimes, despite speaking English....also, I swear I'm partially deaf) and I thought she was bringing me some kind of weird iced tea. But I did try it and the coffee itself was delicious. I swear, I will always love drip filter coffee (coffee grounds in a cone, water poured slowly over it and it takes a minute or two for it to filter down). Speaks to my soul, this stuff does. And don't you dare come near me with cream or sugar. Just about sacrilegious in my book.

Another fun thing I tried: muesli. I think we have it in America too, but it's just not very common. It was never anything I had heard of till living in London. It's really just like granola ingredients, though it doesn't seem to be oily at all or baked in something like that. My hosts explained that I just add milk and eat like cereal. It was lovely. I think it might be quite sugary which would make sense since I liked it. It just can't be that healthy. Yum!

Today I'll be off to get some coffee in town at my favorite take-away spot, New Row, and wander around a bit. I'm heading to Greenwich early to read some of my text for school at the local bookshop in the cafe before I meet up with my flatmate.

Lindsay xx

01 October 2013

First Day in London; Or What I Ate to Keep Awake

It should come to no one's surprise that I have a serious love of food in London. I can't link up all the posts I've done on food because it would be too many for me not to be embarrassed. 

The first thing I did in London wasn't actual eating. Cause I had to drop my luggage off and say hello to my hosts of course! My luggage was so heavy that I could just make it onto the Heathrow Express and get myself to Paddington. From there I had to cab it to my host's house because I just couldn't tackle the tube and piss off that many people in one go. I was terribly obnoxious with my load of cases and slow moving gait. The cab was quick and only 12 pounds.

My hosts for the next 9 days are the aunt and uncle of some family friends. They are truly lovely and so kind to let me stay. I don't know what I would have done without their generosity. I hope someday I can pay that forward and help out friends of friends in the same manner. Till I have a spare room, in 9 days or so I should have a very lovely floor in my new flat to offer my friends to stay on. Maybe I'll lend you towels and give you a mint, just to be fancy.

After I had a cup of tea and chatted a bit with my hosts, I walked to Westfield the largest and most American shopping center in the UK. Great big mall only a few blocks away from my where I'm staying. Lovely. I needed to speak to O2 people about my phone situation, but first, I needed to celebrate being in London with my first meal choice. Always gonna be Wagamama. I absolutely love them. I know I've had something else on their menu besides this meal, but I am really suck on Chicken Tama Rice. It's "grilled chicken breast, stir-fried with courgettes (British word for zucchini), mushroom, red and spring onions in a oyster, ginger, garlic and wine sauce. Served on sticky white rice." (from their menu online) Delicious. And I just had to have a glass of pino grigio. Cause ya know...celebrating. Also saying goodbye to having lunches like this considering that I will be a student soon and need to accept that I'm poor.

Instagrammed in all it's finest.
 After that I checked out the phone company and got a new SIM card for my Mom's old iPhone, paid for it, and then found out I need it "unlocked" from the US. So my parents are currently working on that so I use a UK SIM card on a phone bought in the US. So if you're moving over here, make sure you do that before you leave...if you have an iPhone. Otherwise, just get a new freaking phone here. They had pay-as-you-go long before we did in the US.

After that I could feel the jet lag starting to get to me. Needed coffee stat. I do tend to switch over to drinking tea when I'm in England because it's more common to find a good cup of tea than a good cup of coffee. But this being London and all, I just went over to the Covent Garden area and grabbed an expensive cup of drip filter from New Row Coffee for £2.70 ($4.38). Delicious and so worth it. Love it that there are a few places I can get, for a price, some good coffee that is not instant. (Just stop it Brits, and Starbucks, no more of this instant coffee. It's crap.)

Of course after texting on the app "What's App" with my American friend, Megan, who joined me in London adventures on last year's trip, I just had to go to a place I knew she was missing. Ben's Cookies. Seriously just the best cookies ever.
Drool worthy and so many choices!

I always love the chocolate and orange cookie. THE BEST.
 After that I really just wandered around for ages. Funnily enough, while leaving Covent Garden, I walked past a woman with this really cute, tailored looking, tweed jacket. I love checking out the different pieces women are wearing around London. The fashion is different from what you'd see in America, obviously. So it's fun to figure out how I should start piecing together outfits. I glanced at the woman's face, almost stopped and yelled "AMANDA" to her. But didn't cause that would be weird. Then everyone around me would have thought "weird American..." and I get enough of that already. She looked just like a blogger I read and who has been helping me with visa stuff via email. I thought it couldn't be her and I just am online too much. Turns out it was her, which I found out after DM'ing her on Twitter. Seeing people you know so randomly like that makes London feel a little smaller and more manageable, honestly.

I wandered over to this cafe chain called Eat to make use of their electrical outlets to charge my phone and use the wifi. And then headed towards the National Theatre's giftshop. I was hoping to buy my friend Caitlin's poster which they sell, but they don't have it in the store just yet. You can check out her awesome, kick ass artwork here.
Outside the National Theatre.

Just a cool ad outside the Airstream Cafe, which is you pass on Southbank.
To cap it all off, I needed steak & ale pie. Will not be eating this everyday, promise. Just, ya know, maybe every other day. I dedicated it to my friends Jenn and Eddie, who share my love for this dish and for all things British, especially Doctor Who. I had to have an Aspall's Cyder with it as well. I've grown to like this cider much better than Strongbow. I can thank a lovely English stage manager friend for that.
I love any place with free wifi.

Cider selfie. I wanted to make the group of business people having dinner  near me feel awkward with my many obvious selfie attempts.

Like this one. I call it the "I love PIE" selfie. This is probably why I don't get hit on in bars anymore.

Just the best food ever.
After that cider, I had to head home quickly in order to make it to bed before I passed out where ever I was. Going to bed at 8pm and getting up at 6 is definitely the way to go. I may continue that pattern for the next few days while I don't have school. Yay!

Lindsay xx