30 November 2006

Katie in the NYC

Ah, New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice...
That's right kids, this week Katie in the UK is Katie in the NYC. I've got the first 24 hours under my belt and the jet lag almost kicked. Last night was spent in Brooklyn with the little brother, today was spent in Manhattan at the MOMA and most of the fine shops lining 5th Avenue in mid-town.

And I must tell you about the new love in my life...it is called the MOMA.
What a fantastic space. Truly truly mesmerizing. I spent almost as much time looking around and out of the building at the vistas the space created as I did looking at the works of art. Truly gorgeous. Top 3 museum list for sure. I also have reaffirmed my love for Seurat and Hopper while simultaneously increasing my appreciation for Picasso, (hit and miss with me), Cezanne, Matisse and cubism. My new favourite artist is Paul Klee and my new favourite painting is: Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tabarin. 1912 by Gino Severini.
See it below.

I've seen the tree in Rockefeller Center (big) and the tree in Bryant Park (fancy). I've marvelled at the tall, tall buildings and the similarities and differences to London. I actually got into the taxi last night and was momentarily thrown by the driver being on the left side (transformation complete apparently). And most importantly, I've SCOFFED at the Starbucks that priced the Gingerbread latte at $4.40.

(Yes, I realize with the exchange rate I regularly pay more than $5 for a Starbucks in London but it's still the principle of the thing. FIVE DOLLARS for a latte? A latte they often mess up in making? Come on people, it's just a cup of coffee.)

Disgusted, I went to the nearby deli and bought a $3 bottle of water instead.

By the way, did I mention that it was a balmy 68F (19C) degrees in NYC today? Yes, it IS the last day of November and it was practically t-shirt weather. I quickly lost the sweater, the winter coat and the scarf. I tried to do some shopping for winter clothes but it was hard to get into a sweater buying mindset. Global warming is seriously messing with my head. It's now 10 pm and still 64/18 out there. Ridiculous!

Ok, off to see more of the NYC. Enjoy the Severini!

24 November 2006

40 Things That I'm Thankful For This Year

Inspired by the holiday spirit, and by CherryRide, I offer my list of things that I am thankful for this year (in alphabetical order):
  1. Amalfi coast from the passenger seat
  2. Blogging friends
  3. Bond, James Bond (I can not WAIT to see it)
  4. Britney left K-Fed
  5. Cartwheels
  6. Chamonix
  7. Dangly earrings
  8. Diet Coke
  9. Dogs
  10. Flip Flops
  11. Friends, Friends, Friends
  12. Friends that can make a joke
  13. Friends that can take a joke
  14. Greek salads in Greece
  15. Hockney, David
  16. iTunes
  17. Idina Menzel (Wicked)
  18. Instant Messenger
  19. Joe, my Dad
  20. Jon Stewart and the Daily Show
  21. Kathy, my Mom
  22. KT Tunstall
  23. Mike, my brother
  24. My luck and hard work in getting a job that allows me to live a life I love.
  25. Nine West boots
  26. Olive oil from Italy
  27. Pashminas (this office is DAMN COLD)
  28. Paolo Nutini
  29. Pinot Grigio
  30. Pedicures
  31. Roller coasters
  32. Skinny Gingerbread Lattes with half syrup and light whip cream
  33. Thai food
  34. Snow Patrol
  35. Suzanne's love of theatre
  36. Sushi train restaurants
  37. Veronica Mars
  38. Warren Miller movies
  39. Whistler, even though I won't get to ski/ride it this year
  40. WWTDD.com

23 November 2006

How to Make A Pumpkin Pie in London

Every year we Americans take great pride in bringing a little bit of America's traditions back to our international colleagues in the London office. Last year we brought in pumpkin pie for everyone to try. This year, we went all out and had a Thanksgiving potluck.

Please note: Two American customs are being introduced here: Thanksgiving and the concept of "potluck''

With a little help from a caterer who brought in 2 turkeys with mash and gravy we put on the potluck to end all potlucks. Everyone did really well bringing in yummy food. There was stuffing, green veggies, salad, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie...
The pumpkin pie was made by yours truly.

Now, I say this, and all you 'Merican think - yeah, pumpkin pie - easypeasy. The thing that all you 'Mericans might not realize is that it's not just a simple matter of popping down to the shop to pick up the ingredients for a traditional American meal in London. Most of our grocery shops are pint-sized, catering to city living of eating out most nights and cooking-in only on occasion.

To make a pumpkin pie, or any American 'specialty' food in London, you have to really be COMMITTED to your cause.

My quest began 2 days ago when I had the momentary clarity of thought to ask to borrow 2 pie plates from my fellow Americans in the office. Next stop was the Internet. Everyone said, "THE RECIPE IS ON THE BACK OF THE CAN." Um, yes. But if you aren't 100% sure you will have the can you need to have a back up plan. In London, you are never 100% sure until the can is in your hand.

Even if you go to the same grocery store every night and see the same things on the shelves every night, you can guarantee that the ONE NIGHT you want to buy it, it will be out. That's the beauty of only stocking shelves for a 6-12 hour turnaround.

With two recipes printed out and two pie plates stored in my laptop bag, I headed out early after work last night to the "big" Tesco Metro near my office for the ingredients. I had already planned on trekking up to the deli in Hampstead that sells "American" foods for the canned pumpkin, but figured I should check in the Tesco Metro just in case.

I managed to secure the following at Tesco Metro: Ginger, Cinnamon and evaporated milk. No pie crusts, no canned pumpkin.
One long tube ride and a 10 minute walk later and I was at Rosslyn Deli in Hampstead. This shop is known by Americans all over London for its back room filled with little tastes of home. Here I did manage to secure the LAST TWO cans of Libby's Pumpkin Pie filling. I noted that there wasn't any evaporated milk in the deli. Condensed, yes. Evaporated, no. Good thing I made that purchase earlier. Still no pie crusts.
On my walk down the hill to my house (no buses of course, why would there be a bus when I am carrying 2 grocery bags full of cans and a laptop bag filled with pyrex pie dishes in 3 inch heels?) I passed a Budgens grocery, which is fairly good sized, and decide to check on the extra ingredients that I was still missing.

At Budgens I manage to secure: eggs, sugar (thought I had some but just in case), ground cloves. They had pie crusts but they were small and dodgy. I had a recipe for easy pie crust. Looks like that was the way I was going to have to go.

After another 7 minutes walking (now with an additional bag), I finally climb the stairs to my flat and am ready to make the pies. Immediately, I encounter 2 stumbling blocks:
1) I have only olive oil no vegetable oil for the crusts.
2) The baking directions are all in farenheit and my oven operates in Celsius.

"Can I use olive oil?" I ask Erin who had come over to provide moral support.
"Um, sure. If you want your pies to taste like olives."

Point taken.

Another trip to Tesco downstairs and I manage to find some sunflower oil located on a bottom shelf in the back. Because OF COURSE a Tesco wouldn't bother to have anything as exotic as vegetable oil. Back upstairs a quick perusal of the Joy of Cooking (the bible!) and I learn the exact degree conversion and the baking can begin.

The baking was actually the easiest part. Pies = Done!

I'd tell you about the Tube ride in to the office this morning while carrying 2 pumpkin pies but I don't really have the energy or sanity to repeat it. Suffice to say, there is absolutely NO WAY to ride the Tube without being jostled and run into by other people.

I'd also mention that the first thing I did this morning when I left the house was to trip on the stairs and slam the pies together, but like I said, I don't really have the energy or the sanity to repeat it.

However, in the end, the pies made it to the office in almost one piece and they were a big hit thanks to JBro's spiced whipping cream. The potluck is over, the turkey digesting and the whole of the office is now desperately trying to keep awake after the potluck extravaganza.

In true American style I am already wondering if there are any leftovers in the kitchen...

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

22 November 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

20 November 2006

How Much Do I Love Thee KT?

Let me count the ways...
Last night Suz and I caught the KT Tunstall show at Union Chapel in Islington. It was an intimate affair, no more than 350 people, packed into an old church for an acoustic set from Ms. Tunstall. We sat 5 rows back from the stage on old wooden pews. In front of us, a stage, a large stone pulpit, and a gigantic stained glass window above it all.

Prior to KT's arrival on the stage we had to sit through two mediocre opening acts. The first, a trio in identity crisis. In what sounded like a sad attempt at Tom Waites via Eastern Europe with some Argentinian influence, Suz and I attempted to not groan audibly. The second, a far too sincere boy on his piano with a violinist and trumpet to back him. When he began rolling on the ground at one point I had to cover my mouth from guffawing out loud.

It was one of those performances that, when it finally ended, all the women in the ladies room were loudly discussing how terrible it was.

Then entre, KT. She was so well worth the wait and we all soon forgot the buffoons who went before her. She played an hour and 15 minute set. Joked with the crowd. Sang like an angel. Played like the devil. At one point she and her fellow female vocalist climbed the pulpit to do an acapella number called, She's The One. "We're not lesbians!" KT clarified. The song was gorgeous and the atmosphere of an old darkened church with just their voices carrying us through was truly amazing. Not an experience soon to forget.

Tomorrow night is Paolo.

If he's anything like KT, it should be a treat...but I think I'll skip his opening acts.
Below is the crappy photo I took from my phone but gives you an idea with the pulpit in the background. Next to it is a live photo from another show but that's really what she looks like!

17 November 2006

Friday's Top Five: Top 5 Irritations of the Day

A quick one for you all today. My top irritations as of 2.27 pm GMT:
  1. Not enough photos of Suri on the Internet
  2. George Bush
  3. No good soup at Eat for lunch.
  4. I can't Orb.
  5. Cranes are crashing into my old office building.

I am off to the Cruise wedding this weekend immediately after work. Got the private jet all gassed up, the Christal is on ice, and I have a few pairs of dark sunglasses to save me from the Paparazzi's glare. I am debating between the Armani and the D&G outfit but I figure I'll know when I get there. It's funny, Katie asked me to be a bridesmaid a few months ago but I politely declined and reminded her, "It's not about this Katie, it's all about you."

Never outshine a bride. Remember that.

15 November 2006

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

With barely a nod to the holiday that is Halloween and no Thanksgiving buffer, Christmas comes pretty early to London town.
  • The lights have been lit on Regent Street and Oxford Street
  • The tree is up in Covent Garden (although, as of 9.00 am this morning the lights were not on)
  • The shops have the Christmas displays up
  • I bought my tickets to the Nutcracker.
  • My mom is calling and asking for my Christmas list.

I am not going home for Christmas this year. At 30 years old I am spending my first Christmas without any of my nuclear family members. It's a bit odd. At the time I made the plans, I was fresh off my summer world tour and could not face the idea of getting on another plane. Literally. The idea of one more second at Heathrow made me a bit crazy.

Now, 3 months later, I have sufficiently recovered from my Heathrow loathing but am still glad I chose not to travel at Christmas. I will still be getting some much needed USA infusion though. We are jetting to NYC on 29 November for a bit of holiday shopping and Christmas fervor. I have always wanted to see New York at the holidays - the lights, the ice skating, the bustle of Christmas shoppers...hmmm. Although, now that I say that, it does sound an awful lot like London. The last time I was in NY was when I got my visa approved for my trip to London. I wonder if it smells the same? I am guessing it does.

So what about the rest of you? Christmas with the fam?

14 November 2006

Random Tidbits

  • I don't like being sick.
  • Whistler is opening early this year. In 4 days to be exact. I never get more homesick than when I hear that Whistler is opening.
  • The Jack the Ripper tour kinda sucked. Our guide was extremely random. She took us to the sites all out of order and then kept messing up the story and the names. She also kept laughing, like the story of Jack the Ripper was so amusing, and then had to keep stopping mid-story and backing up to tell up points she forgot to mention earlier. I left more confused then before I arrived. Nothing is worse than a non-linear storyteller when the story is meant to be told in a linear way.
  • The Lord Mayor Show is a bit of random London life that I am so glad I can now say I have seen. It's good to know that London is not all big city all the time. It reminded me of a small town parade on a big city street. No floats. No fancy presentations. Just a lot of civically minded organizations and a parade route. We saw plumbers, we saw cab drivers, we saw electricians, and ambulance drivers, and workers from an autism school...along with the Lord Mayor and all the military bands you could find. It was random, and laughable, and kinda wonderful in a way that only completely random things can be.
  • While I do like "The Toilet of Venus," I am not a big fan of Velazquez. I am a fan of Hockney. Specifically his photo collages. They are amazing. If you have a chance to get down to the National Portrait Gallery before the exhibit closes, I suggest you go. It's totally worth the £9.
  • I have discovered the band Gomez. Katie likey.
  • I am completely addicted to Veronica Mars. Yes, it's on the CW in the States (I only recently learned what the CW is!) but I now own Seasons 1 & 2 on DVD. If I put one in, I have to watch the whole disc. I can't watch just one episode. It's cause I am in love with the character Logan. In luuuuurve with him (and yes, it's the character, not necessarily the actor)...like I might ffwd just to see his scenes. It's ridiculous. I blame Suzanne. She's the enabler who gave me my first taste.

10 November 2006

Friday's Top Five: Reasons I am Proud to Be an American

With the much sunnier turn to American politics this week, and my pending return to the USA (T-9 months and counting), I find myself reflecting this week on the identity assigned to me by my passport and feeling, for the first time in a long time, a reason to have some national pride.

I give you my Top 5:

1. American Holidays:
The great thing about uniquely American holidays like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving? They focus on FOOD.
Fourth of July is all about BBQs and fireworks. Thanksgiving is all about turkey, mash, and pumpkin pie. There is no gift giving, there is no holiday guilt, there is no pressure (except against my belt after the meal). I heart American Holidays.

2. American Geography:
I love that we are such a huge country. That stupid statistic that like less than 2 people in the USA have a passport is so ridiculous. Do you know how much USA there is to see?
In London, as soon as I get on a plane I need a passport because I am leaving the country. I can fly for 30 minutes and be in Paris or the Netherlands. In the USA I can fly for SIX HOURS and still be in the USA..and let's be honest, there are parts of the USA that are definitely like visiting another country but at least you don't have to worry about an exchange rate!

3.John Stewart and the Colbert Report.

'Nuff said.

4. American TV and Gossip Rags.
Having spent the last 2.25 years in another country
I have a new appreciation for the fame of the American celebrity. The US Magazines and People Magazines that are so readily purchased and shared with the teams here not only unite us in one culture of celebrity in this office, but they keep me tied in with American friends on a very water-cooler level. I may not know the what's what in American politics these days but I can readily discuss Britney's divorce (Kevin is so screwed)and what a cheat Ryan Philippe is and THAT keeps me grounded. in America.

5. Tex-Mex Food:
It's unique to the USA but I predict that someday, it will rule the world. Nachos. Burritos. Tacos. Salsa Verde. Guacamole. Mouth watering. Yum.

So there you have it. The Top 5 Things I love about Being American. What's on your top 5?

08 November 2006

Keeping it Real

Many thanks to MK for keeping me grounded.

Fist, he's the one who named the blog.
Second, he's the one that flagged the on-line ticket sales for my 2 new music crushes to me yesterday.

As any female with a credit card would do, I went a bit crazy last night and bought tickets to 3 concerts...all happening in about a 1 week timeframe. KT Tunstall, Paolo Nutini, and James Morrison. I have no buyer's remorse but if you want to find me the week of 19 November, chances are I am at the venue in Islington catching the show. Pretty much all of them.

So much for slowing down the spending since I bought that ticket for my Australia tour, eh? It's just a good thing I am independently wealthy and living off the residuals of my last album...oh wait.

Election Day

It was a truly beautiful thing this morning to wake up to my morning news and hear that America is back on track.

1) Britney is finally K-Fed up
2) Americans are finally K-Fed up with Bush (record numbers!)

Believe it or not both of these news items are running in newspapers, radio news and BBC 24 hour with equal air time.

I'll admit, I'm pleased as punch with both results and will sleep well tonight knowing that all is right with the world. I'll admit that I didn't bother to vote this time around - after the last election I was feeling a bit disillusioned - but YOU, the AMERICAN PEOPLE, have given me hope.

And you, Britney Spears, you have also given me hope. My favourite quote about the divorce so far? "When asked why the Earth suddenly feels like it's spinning faster, scientists said it was because Kevin Federline just fell off the face of it."


07 November 2006

Why I Love Jeffe Today

"Hey Jeff"
"I need your help on something - not work related."
"What's that song?? From the 90's?? I think?? I think 'playground' is in it but...
I can't remember if it's the song or the name of the ban..."

"Sex and Candy by Marcy Playground?"


06 November 2006

Ring a Ding Ding

Today I have a constant ringing in my ears.

This morning one ear wouldn't pop and now it is popped but the ringing started. And it's going and going. I feel like I just left a rock concert that I only half listened to.

Oh my god the ringing.
It's making me a bit crazy and giving me a headache.

Being the internet savvy girl that I am I did a little self-diagnosis. Turns out I had a problem with fluid in my Eustachian tube - the tube finally drained at lunch and now I have the ringing. This may or may not be the sign of an ear infection.

I haven't had an ear infection since I was, what?, 4 years old? What grown up gets an ear infection?

Oh, and did I mention the ringing is driving me CRAZY?!?

You Need These Albums

1. Paolo Nutini - These Streets
2. James Morrison - Inspiration

Seriously. I am not kidding. Go buy them now.

You can buy them for like a dollar on allofmp3.com. It's a pain to download the tunes but at $.14 a song, who cares?

03 November 2006

Red Wine: It's not just for breakfast anymore

Looks like the Pinot Grigio is moving down on my ordering list and the Pinot Noir is moving up.

Now THAT is Friday news you can use!

Friday's Top 5

Top 5 Reasons I am not posting a Top 5 this week (oh, the irony):

1. Blogger has decided to take away all my font options (hence this crappy crap plain text)
2. I TRIED to do a Top 5 list twice, but it has TWICE decided to screw it up after I did all the work.
3. I can't compete with CherryRide (seriously, the man is too damn funny.)
4. After this week I can only count to four.