28 February 2007

Am I a Yuppie?

Are you a yuppie? I didn't think it was possible! Surely yuppies died with the 80s? I don't drive a BMW nor do I wear Lacoste...but recent rumblings make me think the yuppie may have returned in a new, environmentally conscience but still premium product prefering form, and that you and I (gasp!) may be one of them.

Evidence Point #1: An article from Time magazine in 1984 titled "Here Come the Yuppies!" inquired, "Who are all those upwardly mobile folk with designer water, running shoes, picked parquet floors and $450,000 condos in semislum buildings?
  • Ok - I don't have the $450k condo but have you seen housing prices in Seattle lately? I am guilty of the other 3 points. Are you?
Evidence Point #2, #3, and #4: From the most recent issue of European Harpers Bazaar:
  • "The 21st Century Yuppie - Y07, if you like - is a more mellow beast, with a heart as well as a wallet. But the genetic link to the city slickers of 2 decades ago is this: a burning ultra-materialism, fuelled by a love of premium products and prestige brands (though we wouldn't want anyone to know it). This is yuppiedom by stealth, and - let's face it - anyone who has ever spent four quid on a bottle of Fiji Water is at it."
  • "It's all very subtle. Yuppies 07 (Y07) do their social grandstanding with a nudge and a wink...Call it inconspicuous consumption, but it is still hooked on the right badges; it lives at the right address and basks in the right annual income; it eats the right foods and drinks the right coffee. Looked at this way, isn't the yuppie, in fact, the most conspicuous urban demographic of age? Aren't we still wedded to status as ever?"
  • "Scratch the surface of your latest purchase and you'll find the purring heart of someone pretty pleased with themselves, who knows, deep down, that their taste rocks. If you want a definition of today's yuppie, then surely that's it."

So the argument goes that we still want our premium products (iPod, hybrid cars, sushi anyone?) but we want to feel good about our premium products. We are slaves to our ideals AND our bright shiny objects...dear god, I think I might be a yuppie.

What say you?

26 February 2007

Playing in a Traveling Band (whoo!)

Being the Rockstar that I am, I will LITERALLY be travelling the globe in the next month: I'm doing 4 continents in 30 days.

Wish me luck.

Found out last Friday that I need to be in Seattle next week for some client meetings and other work so I am off to PNW on Saturday for a week. I haven't been to Seattle in over 6 months so I am looking forward to it and am booking my dentist, eye doctor, physical (please Doctor, can I have some Ambien?) and lunch/dinners with as many people as I can.

Not sure when I am actually going to have time for work to be honest...

When I return the following Saturday, I will be in the UK for exactly 4 days before I head off on holiday to Singapore and then Perth, Australia, for Melody & Leigh's wedding for 2 weeks. I will visit the Shaun and the Rob for 5 days before getting some sun and surf and wine in that fabulous oversized island on the other side of the world. This is my first trip to both places but from what I have heard I am sure I will be going back for more!

When I get back from Australia, I will be in the UK for about 4 days before I head off to Portugal for the long Easter weekend with the Kate and the Danelle. We're renting a car and driving the coast - drinking Port (and hopefully actually going to Porto) along the way. Hopefully by early April it will be warm enough there to keep my Australia tan going!

I need to get some roadies.

23 February 2007

Friday's Top Five: iPod Repeat

Because I am not only a deceiving vixen but also a sometimes lazy one, the top 5 on iTunes repeat today....
  1. Close to Me - The Cure
  2. Do You Realize? - The Flaming Lips
  3. Love Will Come Through - Travis
  4. Fidelity - Regina Spektor
  5. Rehab - Amy Winehouse

It's an eclectic list (for me) today - all random lovelies that I found through clicking around iTunes...and truth be told, looking at Jim Carrey's Celebrity Playlist (yes, I feel a little bit dirty).

Happy Friday all!

22 February 2007

Which Super Villain Are You?

Inspired (again) by CherryRide (seriously, he finds all the good crap on the Internet first), I took the "Which Super Villain are you?" quiz today.

I'm "Mystique". I thought I'd never heard of her but apparently she's the one Rebecca Romijn in the X-Men movies:

"Sometimes motherly, sometimes a beautiful companion, but most of the time a deceiving vixen."

Yup. Sounds about right.


Click here to take the Super Villain Personality Test

21 February 2007

Overheard in the Office Today

"I am incredibly urban. I'm street"

"No, you're actually more cul de sac"

Identity Crisis

Sorry for the constantly changing Profile photo this last week.

Inspired by CherryRide's updated photo (which I took!), I thought I would do the same, but then, like a woman, I just couldn't decide.

I think the main reason for going with the non-photo avatar is too keep your privacy but since I don't think any of you would ever stalk me (considering the majority of you are in another country) and many of you work with me (hence not a lot of blogs about work) I don't have a strong need to remain anonymous.

What do you think dear readers? A blog profile photo actually of you or something like the "Famous" girl I have on the right?

Your will is my action.

20 February 2007

Sad and Lonely

We all knew the day was coming and last Saturday it finally did.

Lauren left me. I am once again flying solo at the casa de Recken.


Really, she was never mine to keep - she was always just a rental - hanging out at my flat for a month after her sister left and before her work visa ran out. We always knew it would just be a month...but it went SO FAST!!! I feel like she just arrived and now she is gone again...off to the greener pastures of Switzerland, Italy and eventually home to the USA.
I really enjoyed having someone else around - way more than I thought I would. Lauren was so fun. She made me miss having a flatmate and that I like to have someone else in my space. It's more fun with two. When I came home last night after my weekend away it definitely felt a little bit more empty - part of me kept listening for her to come up the stairs.

I think the other part of it is that Lauren leaving represented the closing of a chapter in my London life. Her sister, Jess, came over to London within a week of me. Jess and Aaron were my family here. When they left a month ago, I didn't really feel the impact because Lauren was still around. Now with Lauren gone, I really feel it, and I look around and realize it's not the same place as when I arrived.
Jess & Aaron, Jen & Eric, Kate, Sean, Rob, Shaun, and even Cat have flown the London coop.

That's the thing about London, it's a transitory place.
Suzanne and I have often talked a bit about how our life here feels a bit like college...and I am not referring to all the beer drinking (though that does help the comparison). I mean in terms that everyone is here for a temporary time. No one lives here and does this forever. We work in a mobile business, in a mobile location, where people come and go after a few months or years. We have been shoved together for an intense and wonderful experience -- but we all know the momentum can't last forever.

People change, people graduate, people move on.

So Lauren leaving isn't just about Lauren leaving (though I do miss her dearly). It's a bookmark on a chapter of my London life that is now closed. It signifies the beginning of my own last chapter in London...an idea that saddens and thrills me all at the same time. I am the last of the ex-pats standing. - the others have all gone "home".

19 February 2007

What I Learned This Weekend (Versailles Edition)

  • Versailles* is HUGE. HUGE. It is a Grand Chateau (the Court), a smaller palace (for the family away from the court), a house for Marie Antoinette (away from her family - a girl needs her space) and a hamlet (small village of about 6 buildings) + a grand canal, a petite canal, 2 large fountains, 2 smaller fountains. and several hundred acres of grounds and gardens.
  • You can rent bikes to peddle around the grounds at Versaille. I did. It took me 35 minutes at a leisurely pace to peddle all the way around the canal.
  • You do not need to purchase a ticket to spend 5 hours at Versaille. I saved the Grand Apartments for my next trip (I will go back!)
  • Marie Antoinette was completely out of touch with reality (yes, I know this is what we all think of her anyway but it takes seeing the complete village she had built so she could 'pretend' to be a milkmaid/commoner to make this a reality)
  • No matter how hard I try to mimic the French words exactly as I hear them, I still have an English accent.
  • Nutella crepes are always a good idea.
  • I can live on croissants, wine and cafe au lait alone.

*photos in Flickr

16 February 2007

Friday's Top Five

In honour of my quick trip to Paris this weekend for work on Monday (haven't been to Paris in AGES), top 5 things I love about Paris when I am flying solo or with friends:
  1. Musée d'orsay
  2. The Cafes: Un cappuccino, et un croissant si'l vous plait
  3. Vin Rouge, Vin Blanc, Vin!
  4. Walking anywhere along the Seine (so much better than the Thames, nicer bridges, less foot traffic)
  5. The Bookseller's Stalls on the Quai de Montebello, just opposite Notre Dame.

I think I might take a little trip out to Versailles on Sunday as I have not yet done that. Photos on Tuesday!

15 February 2007

Valentine's Day is NOT a Holiday

As a single gal you pretty much have three options when it comes to Valentine's Day.
  1. Be bitter. Be very very very bitter to everyone and anyone. Show outward bitterness and hole up at home, feeling sorry for self, with vodka and the song "All by Myself" (ala Bridget Jones).
  2. Reassure everyone all day that it's just another day and you are "FINE" with it. Go out with similarly "FINE" girlfriends. Drink vodka as a team and loudly swear how FINE you all are (while keeping eye on every single looking guy in the joint just in case he finds bitter drunk women attractive).
  3. None of the above. Try to retain what little dignity single people have on a day such as this and treat yourself to a rub down from a stranger in a bar.

I chose 3.

I actually had forgotten it was Valentine's until I was reminded by freakin flowers everywhere yesterday. In stores, in the street, in the office. I couldn't believe it. You couldn't walk 2 steps without running into someone carrying a rose in Covent Garden yesterday. After work outside the CG Tube Station there were men literally lined up with bunches of flowers waiting for their girlfriends to meet them.

It was sweet and creepy all at the same time.

There is nothing like a holiday dedicated to "couples" to make you feel just a little bit more single. Even if you are not thinking about it (and I got over thinking about it a while ago - I have pretty much resigned myself to being single until I return to the USA) I did catch myself having a moment of, "I wish someone would send me flowers."

Cause flowers are nice.

I like gerber daisies in case any of you are taking notes.

But I digress.

Instead, we headed out to Bunker Bar with all us singles in the office for a pub outing. We actually had a fairly sizeable group (10 of us) which either says sad things about the London dating scene (um, yes) or the people I work with (um, no) or both...but again, I digress.

Bunker Bar was a great choice as we ran into our favourite Urban Chill masseuse, Andrew. Andrew is lovely. He is about 25, Aussie, dark hair, nice eyes, great hands and he goes forever.

How could I say no on V Day?

Being a single gal with some disposable income I treated myselft to a Valentines Day backrub. I normally don't go for the Urban Chill thing but after watching JBro get one a few weeks ago at Pitcher & Piano from Andrew and seeing the value for the money (and the distant happily relaxed look on her face afterward) I decided it wasn't weird, it was great, and it was Valentine's Day after all.

So yes, I celebrated my Valentines Day with a back rub from a professional stranger in a bar. I have no regrets.

Hope all your Hearts Days were just as rewarding.

13 February 2007

I Don't Feel Like Dancing...

...oh but I DO!!! And apparently, so does Lauren...

09 February 2007

Friday's Top Five

Thanks to a generous gift from MK and a bit of prodding, I am now a Flickr Pro user. Today, I have spent uploading photos from some of my many trips around Europe.

Today's Top Five? Top Five Photo Sets of course!
  1. Barcelona, Spain - Aug '05
  2. Amsterdam, The Netherlands - March ''06
  3. Dollomites (Alps), Italy - Jan '07
  4. Greece - July '06
  5. Prague - Jan '-05

Enjoy Kids!

08 February 2007

Snow in London!

For those of us who grew up in snow, it's not a groundbreaking amount, but it's enough to cause a pain to the transport systems in London which means I am working from home today.

There is something really fulfilling about working in your sweats from your couch. Mmmm.

07 February 2007

So What DO You Do With a Butternut Squash

When Lauren moved in, I didn't just get a new flatmate. I also inherited the majority of the contents of the fridge and cupboards from the last place...including what will now always be remembered as "the Butternut Squash."

Why it was purchased? I know not. The fact that we almost gave it away to a homeless man until he realized he had to cook it is par for the course. The Butternut Squash became a bit of a fixture...and a fixation...in our home over the last few weeks.

As Lauren has made her way through cooking me many a delicious meal the Butternut Squash remained untouched. First on the counter and then in the fridge. Both of us are pretty good cooks -we know our way around a kitchen - but rarely had we encountered a squash. We had a general idea, "We could bake it?" or "We could make soup or something?" but in the library of recipes in our minds nothing popped to the forefront so the squash waited...and waited...until Lauren made it her mission to cook the squash. Last night, it came to a fairly triumphant end.

The process began over a week ago. I came home one night to find Lauren studiously at her computer searching "Butternut Squash recipes" on the Internet. The exchange went something like this:

Lauren: "Does ginger and butternut sound good? We have ginger."
Me: "Um, sure?"
Lauren: "Maybe just garlic and onion instead. Does that sound good? We have garlic and onion"
Me: "Um, sure?"
Lauren: "Do you have a blender or food processor?"
Lauren: "Rats."

I thought that might be the end of it but The Butternut Squash remained on her brain. On Saturday morning:

Me: "Want to go out to dinner tonight?
Lauren: "I was thinking of cooking The Butternut Squash."
Me: "Oh"

On Sunday:
Me:"We're meeting Erin for dinner, is that cool?
Lauren: "Do you think she might want The Butternut Squash?"
Me: "I was thinking Vietnamese"
Lauren: "Oh"

However, the dinner with Erin proved to the be most fortuitous for The Butternut Squash as apparently, Erin is an old pro with TBS. Off the top of her head she shared several ideas and we quickly recruited her to come over on Tuesday and cook us a Butternut feast.

Last night, I returned home from the gym a bit late but the girls were already there and in full cooking force. Erin was slicing, dicing and peeling, The Butternut Squash was a shadow of it's former self. After a quick discussion of The Butternut Squash's health we decided it was good for soup and into the pot it went. 30 minutes later we paused to question our decision as The Butternut Squash soup proved a bit bland and broth-like but we soldiered on.

In the end a salad, a healthy dose of appetizers (bread, cheese, mushroom pate), and a nice bottle of wine turned TBS into an all and all triumphant meal. I think Lauren said it best:

"It's not bad....It's not great but it's not bad. I'm gonna say I like it. "

Rest in peace TBS.

06 February 2007

Insult of the Day

Whilst purchasing my sushi lunch to eat at my desk from the take-away place down the street, the following exchange took place:

Sushi Cashier Girl: "Take Away?"
Me: "Yes"
Sushi Cashier Girl (eyeing up the purchase): "How many chopsticks you need?"
Me: "Um, one."
Sushi Cashier Girl: ...

Apparently I eat enough sushi for two.

05 February 2007

What I Learned this Weekend

  • Even with the best intentions, we will not make butternut squash soup.
  • Even with the best intentions, I will not go running on the weekend.
  • However, I will walk from my house to Oxford Street. It take about 50 minutes if you hurry.
  • Dreamgirls is a FULL ON musical...and sometimes it's an awkward musical. It's not just a movie with great music performances.
  • People applaud Jennifer Hudson even in London.
  • No matter how old you are, the Science & History Museum is always going to be a fun time. Simulated earthquakes are cool.
  • Lauren has never been in an eathquake.

02 February 2007

Friday's Top Five: Signs of a Good Event

I almost forgot it was Friday! In honour of my getting through the conference this week, Top 5 Signs you know you put on a good show...
  1. The 10.5 hours of sleep you get on the night you come home is more hours of sleep than you have had in the last 4 days...total.
  2. You put on your favourite jeans and boots and they feel weird because you haven't worn anything but your business clothes for 18 hours a day for the past 4 days.
  3. You have an invitation in your possession, addressed to you, from HRH, the Queen herself.
  4. You know what they mean when they say, "I love Clever Dicks"
  5. Only slightly unrelated to point 4, there's a whiskey flavoured condom in your purse

Back in the Saddle Again

The event is done, the press have left the building, I have slept 10 hours last night, and I am back in London blogging again.

The world is a happy place.

To recap quickly on Austria, let me just say it was a great trip. We had some crazy weather that week (gale force winds in London and then on the continent) that forced our plane to land in Munich instead of Salzburg.

That's how you know you are living in Europe...the plane is not diverted to just another city but instead to an entire other country...and it only takes 15 minutes to get there by air. They put us on buses once we landed and it took 2 hours to drive us back to Salzburg. Our 'quick flight' to Austria ended up taking us a total of 10 hours travel time in the end.

The Sound of Music room played the Sound of Music in a continuous loop on a channel and had photos of Maria and the kids all over the place. While I was hoping for curtains made of the same material as in the movie there was no such luck. Sadcakes.

The next morning we did the Sounds of Music tour. They piled us all on a big bus and drove us around Salzburg and the surrounding areas. Unfortunately, you can't get close to most of the sites and have to see them from a bit of a distance but it was still a good afternoon. Such gorgeous country. It reminded me a little bit of Alaska - what with the smaller population (150k) and the alpine lifestyle. Although the Viennese architecture did stand out as a stark difference.

Jess and Aaron then picked us up in the rental car and we drove to a small ski village about 2 hours driving away, called Maria Alm...where there was no snow. It's been a rough snow year in the Alps and apparently, what little snow they had was blown away by the storms.

We eventually found a good spot to ski about 40 minutes away (and up 2 gondolas) and when it did start to snow later in the week the skiing was actually really good. Probably the only time I will get to go this year so I made the most of it.

And that was Austria. Next up, Edinburgh.