Archive for October, 2009

Ready for Halloween?

Sooo… somehow it got to be the end of October, which is a tid bit incredulous to me. For some reason, I thought I had plenty of time to get my Halloween costume together, but it’s already here! So, after much deliberation and the scouring of numerous Halloween costume websites, I have decided to go as a pirate captain.

CaptainBootyI have the costume and I have knee-high black boots and black pumps (depending on which end up feeling more appropriate), plus I’ve pulled out my makeup collection to pay homage to Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m going to double-coat my sunless tanner tomorrow so I look a bit darker than normal + using loads of fun bronzer and highlighter to give it a more rugged appearance. I’m actually quite excited because there are a load of eyeshadows and pigments that I’ve owned for years and have wanted to use and they finally get to come out tomorrow!

MAC Pirate MakeupI’m going to keep my lips pretty faint (almost unnaturally nude) and make my eyes super dark and pirate-y. I also brought out the fake lashes which may make an appearance tomorrow night, too!

As for accessories, I managed to get the sword that I needed (think 10 year-old play toy sword), but the hat wasn’t happening. The idea of the hat was great, but it was super cheap looking and didn’t fit the overall vibe/coolness factor of the costume. Instead, I’ve decide to try to do my hair to fit the costume. I was looking at this girl’s hair for some inspiration (ignore her alien-esque facial features):

Pirate Hair I think her hair is kind of cool and works for the look that I’m going for, unfortunately I also think it takes some level of skill to make hair look that cool. I’m not sure how much skill I have on the hair front, so I may end up just putting it half up and teasing it a bit to give it mad volume.

All in all, really excited to get dressed up and even more excited to go on the Heaven & Hell Boat Cruise on the Thames!

What are you guys going as for Halloween?

Signature Stamp - Shannon

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Delivery Numero Dos!

As an adult, there is something so ridiculously exciting about getting mail that’s not a bill. I remember being twelve years old and getting Teen magazine and being overly ecstatic at the prospect of receiving mail with my name on it (versus my parents’). As I got older, I realized that I got plenty of mail, but it happened to be in the form of a Nordstrom bill, a Best Buy credit card payment, or an entirely-too-frequent parking ticket… somehow mail as an adult is much less exciting than it was as a child. Today, however, was amazing! I received my second package since arriving and it absolutely made my day!

Delivery! Despite it’s rather petite size, it was surprisingly heavy and all the goodies tucked away inside put the hugest smile on my face:

Box of Goodies <3.Although you can’t tell, the box was full of American items that I’ve been absolutely missing! Two ridiculously huge jars of peanut butter (creamy, of course), three sticks of deodorant (so I can throw my spray deodorant away!), a coffee mug and the equivalent of eight boxes of Fiber One bars (mocha/chocolate, if you’re curious!)

Fiber OneMy shelf is now covered with Fiber One bars (plus that box is full of as many as I could fit inside); I think I’ll have my fill of Fiber for the next few months!

Skippy! You can probably now see how ridiculously huge these jars of peanut butter are. There’s enough to last through the year, if not longer! I am a peanut butter LOVER: PB&J is always a safe bet (plus a comfort food), PB&Carrots, PB&Apples, PB&Banana on an English muffin… there are so many brilliant ways to use it. Plus, American peanut butter (Jif, Skippy, etc.) is a million times better than Brit peanut butter; more processed, probably. Plus more sugar. Tastes a million times better.

In any case, I’m going to go to bed extremely happy and fulfilled tonight. Thank you, Chris!

If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make a PB&J.

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Also, unrelated note: Please notice the new ‘Poll of the Week’ on the sidebar to the right. There are so many things I want to know and thus have created a weekly poll with random questions for the week. It takes two seconds to answer the poll, plus it’s an interesting turn out. If you’ve taken the time to read this entire post, you likely have the extra two seconds to answer, I’m sure. Plus, it’s fun. For me, at least. <3.

Viva Roma!

RomeFor as long as I can remember, I have created my mental ‘European Dream Destination’ checklists and Italy and Greece have always graced the top of the list. I have been dying to see the Colosseum and the Pantheon, eat authentic bruschetta and sip wine (or maybe bellinis, since I’m not the hugest of wine fans) in front of the Trevi fountain.

As luck would have it, my flatmate was also interested in hitting up Florence or Rome at some point this year, so we decided to put our money where are mouths were and booked our Roman excursion for November! We’re making it a fun-filled three-day weekend (early Friday morning through Sunday evening), loaded with sight-seeing.

We’ve booked a room at a place called Hotel d’Este in the Historic Center near the Trevi Fountain. It’s near loads of historic sights and in a really cute area! We snagged the entire trip including roundtrip airfare and two nights of accommodation for £215 each, courtesy of Expedia! Another thing that makes this great? We leave from Heathrow instead of Gatwick and thus can catch the Tube from Holborn (5 minutes from our flat) all the way to Heathrow Terminal 5 — no bus booking or Dot2Dot service required! To make things even better, I still have around 50 euros from my German trip that will be perfect for a few meals in Roma.

I can’t wait! Only 17 days away!

Does anyone know of any places that we should be checking out when in Rome?

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Brick Lane Brouhaha.

I have recently noticed that despite living in London for a little over a month now, my scope of London is very narrow. I live within about a one mile radius of my flat. Since everything is within walking distance from me (think Marks & Spencer, Top Shop, H&M, Zara, Mango, Aldo, cool restaurants, etc. all within 0.5 miles), I have very little need to venture outside of the WC1/WC2/W1/SW1 area. I have literally never been outside of any of those postcodes (except Canterbury) since I’ve moved to London! So, today, my flatmate and I have decided to broaden our horizons and hit up Brick Lane in the East End. Brick Lane is near Spitalfields, and is home to a huge Bangaldeshi community and has some amazing food, jewelry, clothing, art and vintage pieces.

You can feel like you’ve been now; welcome to the pictorial guide of our journey from the West End down to Brick Lane:

West End

1) Me, very excited & getting ready to leave my magnificent, opulent flat in the West End.

Road

High Holborn

2) A snapshot of High Holborn, the road we travel to get down to the Tube Station. Clearly a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

Holborn Station

3) Good old High Holborn Tube Station, our nearby hub of love. Much better than Covent Garden’s tube station (which is the same distance from my flat), since CG’s gets overly crowded with tourist action on the weekends!

Liverpool Station

4) Liverpool Street Station — stepping foot on East End soil for the first time and getting ready to head to Brick Lane!

Food Stalls

Sunday Up Market

5) Old Spitalfields Market & the Sunday Up Market contain stall after stall of amazing ethnic foods, clothing, jewelry and arts & crafts.

Food Stalls

We ended up grabbing lunch at Rainforest Creations in Old Spitalfields Market — amazing, super healthy food. For £5 you can grab an overfilled wrap of goodness and snag some seating nearby that’s perfect for people watching. Today’s sunshine-y weather was perfect for enjoying some hummus and lentil action.

Rainforest Creations

We spent time just exploring and checking out vintage-y shops all down Brick Lane. The feel is 100% different from that of the West End/theatre area. It’s much more edgy and a bit seedy, but it adds to the overall appeal of the area. If a picture is worth a thousand words, some of these photos may help illustrate:

Caution Sign

Dirty Dicks

Art?

Street Music

Next on my list of my places to venture? Camden!

Hope everyone’s weekend was fantastic! I’m enjoying the extra hour thanks to Daylight Saving Time. Gonna take a power nap.

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Halloween Loving!

I’m sitting in my room, post-workout, enjoying a bowl of Fruit ‘n Fibre cereal and preparing for a day of costume shopping! A couple of the halls of residence are hosting a Heaven & Hell boat cruise on the Thames for Halloween and we’ve decided to go! Halloween is one of my favorite days of the year because I absolutely loooove dressing up. As luck would have it, there’s a shop in Covent Garden called Angels that’s home to five floors of costumes, make up and accessories! I hit it up yesterday to take a gander and see what my options were. The place was a tid on the crazy side since Halloween is right around the corner, but I did find a few outfits that sparked my interest. Initially, Alex and I had talked about going as a devil and an angel to coincide with the Heaven/Hell theme, but it seems to lack a bit on the creativity front. Instead, I found a couple of outfits that I personally love, and I also had a few ideas for group/ensemble outfits that would make for the most spectacular group pictures of LIFE!

So, here we go.

First off, I’ve been wanting to go as a pirate/captain for a while and there were a few cute outfits that fell into this category:

Captain Costume‘Captain Booty’ is the name of this costume. I didn’t make it up.

Pirate QueenThen there’s this ‘Pirate Queen’ costume which is also pretty cute. There were some other cool ones, but they were a little intense.

I also considered going as a warrior or viking and found this costume that was pretty sweet:

Warrior Princess

Now, for ensemble-type outfits, we talked about going as either

The Wizard of Oz cast, where we could have a Dorothy, Glenda, Wicked Witch, Tin Man, Scarecrow & Cowardly Lion. Leg Avenue (the producer of the cutest/hottest costumes EVER) makes super cute costumes for each of those.

Wizard of Oz

orrrrr going as Disney Princesses, where we could have a Snow White, Pocahontas, Jasmine, Ariel, Cinderella, etc.

Snow White

Snow White
Pocahontas

PocahontasJasmineJasmine {but in blue}

ArielAriel

Sooo, now I’m off to get ready so we can make a decision! Heading off to Angels.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Mmmm…Mildred’s <3.

As luck would have it, my blonde Californian flatmate happens to be a fellow vegetarian with a love for all things chickpea. The chances that we got placed into the same flat are probably relatively astronomical and very fortunate since I now have someone to share my soy and hummus-loving ways with. Yesterday night marked week number two of our newly-minted weekly ritual involving veggie love at Mildred’s in Soho. Mildred’s is all vegetarian (and mostly vegan) and has a pretty solid variety of vegetarian fare.

Mildred'sI had some of the best tostadas ever (aubergine + courgettes  + guac = heaven) and Lindsay’s chickpea, pumpkin & beetroot burger looked amazing! Plus, the side of sweet potato fries is intensely amazing if you love sweet potatoes. {Side note: For anyone that’s yet unaware, sweet potatoes are the most amazing food of life and, thus, my favorite food on the planet. Sweet potato pie, sweet potato latkes [for the Jew in me], sweet potato casserole… delish.}

Lindsay

Check out Mildred’s main courses here — even for the carnivores out there, you’d be surprised at how delicious vegetarian food can actually be when prepared properly! Can’t wait for next Wednesday!!

Does anyone know of any other London-based vegetarian spots worth hititng up?

Sending lots of veg love your way,

Signature Stamp - Shannon

Christmas 2009: Paris or London?

As bizarre as it will be spending the holidays away from my family, the thought of spending $1000+ to wallow on a 12 hour flight back to California for a week is more than a little daunting. Although I had assumed I would be home for the holidays, I have decided that I would rather use that money to travel around Europe and see some new places. Plus, let’s be honest: jet lag sucks. So, now I’ve come upon the real question.

Where should I go for Christmas?

London at ChristmasLondon at Christmas

Paris at ChristmasParis at Christmas

I’ll be in Malta visiting my family from the 13th through the 18th of December, but I have nothing else scheduled for the rest of my break (which goes until the 10th of January). With such a huge gap in time, it seems advantageous to use that time to travel and see as many places as possible. From what I’ve heard, Paris is amazing during Christmas (with the Eiffel Tower all lit up!), but a London Christmas would probably be equally fantastic. I would like to book something within the next few weeks so I’ve been doing some serious investigating! Best deal so far: London to Paris on the Eurostar + 4 nights near the Champs Elysees runs about £233 during Christmas!

What do you guys think? London or Paris?
Is there another place that would make for an amazing Christmas?

Signature Stamp - Shannon