Friday, January 28, 2011

Double Dream Hands.

Musically I like a little bit of everything. I don't confine myself to one don't judge me for this all of you musical sophisticates. I'm feeling a little vulnerable about this one.

This band has been on my list for awhile now. I have a massive crush on Will, the lead singer. I've done Wikipedia on him and the works....and I follow their youtube channel, where I anxiously await their new post every Wednesday. I'm probably a step below a stalker, if I'm being honest.

Anyways, this week's episode definitely did not disappoint. I'm one hundred and fifty-four times more sure I need to be best friends with them.

(They are the boys....minus the old goof. Duh.)

Shoulder, chin, shoulder shoulder, shoulder...Pat. Pat. Pat. The true dance of champions.

Inns of Court

Spring and I were rather drawn to the regal-ness of this walk's name. (Okay, and the fact that it is also estimated to be the fastest may have something to do with it too....just maybe. Though if this was the case, Mother Nature sure had her way of bestowing justice upon us--it was freezing this day.) Doesn't the name just seem grandeur and historically significant? Well that's because it is, in London's purest form. This walk celebrates the four Inns in London, one to which every lawyer (or "barrister" as the Brits call it) must be a member to. In days long past, let's say like 14th century, they use to house, school, dine, and ecclesiastically uplift all their members--now they act mainly as professional law offices. I wish I had known this while walking, but the textbook seems to think I am some sort of historical protege....which I clearly am not. Instead we were left to make up our own tid-bits of information to suffice our curious minds and avert thoughts regarding the cold.

It was quite a ball for the two of us.

This street was named after Milford, or "Aunt Millie" as the barristers of the late 19th century used to call her. She and her husband owned a bakery in this exact spot and provided special pastries and pies for the young, budding scholars close by. There is good evidence that she frequently rewarded the boys at Lincoln's Inn with a few free extras (they are my own personal preference too).

This is the elaborately decorated light post that Aunt Millie magically enchanted to provide cups of hot cocoa to Lincoln advocates (like us!) on the day she was executed by the uprising barristers of other Inns who caught onto her favoritism. Did I mention yet that she was a rather gifted witch? Well, she was.

I wish I had more pictorial documentation of the other fabulous tales we told; there was a rather clever one regarding a unicorn trapped inside a trinket unknown in the Old Curiosity Shop, where Aunt Millie derived her power. (It's also the place where Charles Dickens was inspired for his novel. I don't think he has ever skipped a beat.)

And this is a more serious picture of me by the Royal Court of Justice. There is no room to embelish details here; I was afraid of being accused of libel and being sentenced to death....I think British historical literature may or may not be influencing these darker thoughts.

Anyhow, I'm sorry this walk AND this post are so weird. We just thought we'd mix it up a little. I was really impressed with the Inns of Court, even causing this once law school-minded student to rethink her decision (for a moment, at least).

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Spring did manage to get her magic cup of hot cocoa in the end. She was quite a happy girl.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

show me the color.

Why is it that the foods that go through the least amount of artificial processes, (which you would think would require less labor and funds for supplemental ingredients), and aren't nearly as tasty, cost the most money?!

It's the anomaly of my ages.

I need to be more healthy all you cranky market price-deciding people.

....I kind of have the American reputation at stake.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here's the gossip.

I was instructed to look at the November issue of my church's magazine the Ensign. President Monson's talk from the October General Conference to be exact.

Lo and behold who do I see smiling at me as the representation of all missionaries across the world right now?

THIS boy. And THAT boy. Who's also HERE boy. (forgive my adolescent freshmen giddiness) ....basically the companion of my entire first semester at school.

So funny. You would be the handsome, dapper young man they chose to appear alongside the president of the church, Elder Jorgensen.

And I'm honored to say I dated you.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Those Norman architects really knew what they were doing.

I think I could sit, stand even, all day in wonder at this beauty.

How did they construct it all?

And why don't we (ya, I'm referring to our generation) do more of it?
I'm sure with the technologies of our day it could be done like five hundred and seven times faster.

I'm just saying.

I always wanted a band.

And if I had one, our album cover would look something like this.

(Brenden and Spring)

The unity of the leather-like material we are all wearing pretty much says it all.

The City (East).

Yes, another one. My apologies.

This walk started out at the Tower of London and proceeded into the financial hub of London, including the immaculate Lloyds and Royal Exchange buildings. I felt very at home because it was reminiscent of my summer spent in New York stalking young professionals on Wall Street at lunch time. (Funny I never mentioned that before.) I think this helped my case as the walk's co-leader, alongside Jamie. I taught them the ways of business flirtation, though we weren't very successful in Leadenhall market. If the men weren't enough to make me return, the first Mexican restaurant I've seen since my arrival AND a Ben's Cookies will.

Don't panic, Mom.

With somewhat defeated egos, we decided to throw our "serious" young adult personas aside.  This is what resulted in the glory of St. Lawrence Jewry Church. We had to ask a young professional for assistance.

The walk continued past the St. Mary-le-Bow Church, the old garlic district, merchant houses, and the Great Fire of 1666 monument.

The closed passage at Wren City Church caused some confusion, but a young professional redeemingly helped us on our way, where we were able to return to the tube station as happy walkers.

Haley the Walker. Ha.

Westbourne Park Station to Notting Hill.


I ventured out one morning to complete this walk with the lovely Lyse and Heather. Always equipped with some bag of tricks, they decided to do it backwards and therefore end the pleasurable afternoon with the familiarity of Portobello Road. Considering they'd already done this feat once or twice, I allowed my consent of such rule bending.

Always trust your inner conscience.


You see where this is going, don't you.

We came across some beautifully constructed swanky Victorian neighborhoods. (I like to romanticize they are also the influence of my dearest Queen Vicky.) The varying pastel colors of adjoined houses made me giddy, similar to how I react in the presence of the marshmellow, gummy, and chocolate-y hues of The Sweet Factory. It also further confirmed my belief that the English should be responsible for architecture all around the world. These people really are on to something.

Then we reached the mecca that is Portobello Market on a Saturday morning. Glorious. Stands and tents of all shapes and smells extended until the horizon my short 5"3' frame provided. I expected to see Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant come walking out hand-in-hand at any moment.

It didn't happen. But I have not given up on finding that bookshop and red door.

Eventually as the sugar munchies wore on Lyse and Heather, as they seem to always do, we stopped at a cafe for lunch. It was the bad omen of things to come. After waiting for what seemed hours for their hot chocolate, we decided to just leave.
And then we got lost.

No longer peeved, I'll refrain from much more venting and allow positiveness to prevail.

The confusion caused by the outlying District and Circle tube lines and the literal three back-and-forth rides we had before discovering the yellow brick home, gave us the opportunity to see the stark contrast of the more "project" aspect of town.

Words to the wise, backwards is backwards for a reason.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


For part of the SA program, we are required to do these certain twelve Lo (that's what I'm calling it from here on out) walks and then report on them. So Professor Crowe, this one goes out to you.

This was the first walk around London that I tried to tackle--Bloomsbury, not to be confused with blueberry, which I personally have found hard to differentiate. After too many horror stories from my fellow mates about getting lost for two hours and getting stalked by creepy blokes in Diagon-like alley ways (I'm praying you appreciate my new British slang), I was prepared for the longest morning (and possibly afternoon, if all H-E-double hockey sticks broke loose) of my life.

But it was British bliss. It set a high precedent, one that beat out even eating chocolate pastries and taking naps on the train in being labeled my new favorite pastime.... You’d think I was kidding.

The truth is, it’s so easy to get absorbed in Timeout’s 100 Things You Must See in London, that I’ve overlooked the real reverie of this extraordinary place--the history and breathtaking architecture found in every last nook and cranny.

This walk led us into a good one hour homework power session in the British Museum, through the glorious exterior Georgian architecture surrounding Bedford Square (plus some others I can't quite remember the names of...), lunch and window shopping in the shops of Brunswick Square, and a Kodak moment in front of the home of Charles Dickens-- just as a few highlights. Though the walk led through some handsome residential districts, after awhile it started to become repetitious so I really found the last fourth of the walk through obscure alley ways and neighboring traditional pubs like Queen's Larder to be especially appealing. 

I guess they really knew what they say, save the best for last.

(The group in front of Dicken's humble London abode.) 

the power of love.

Queen Victoria has always been my favorite royal. Her story about coming to the throne at the age of eighteen has always been a go-to girl power thought of mine when feeling less than mediocre.

But I just discovered that Queen Vicky is even cooler than I thought.
In fact, she's practically rocking my London world.

She's responsible for emphasizing the role of family in the UK. Her displays of public affection with King Albert and her outings with her children changed the face of the royal family and familial social ques in Britain forever. I also think it's pretty great that she was humble enough to share her work with her husband--something not everyone in power would be willing to do. You know, from my experience of holding power.....joke.

But the best part? Not only did she have his clothes and shaving kit laid out every day after his death, she had every fence in London painted black for his funeral.

To which they are still painted black in memory of her mourning to this day. isn't that romantic?


Sunday, January 16, 2011

This is completely mental.

I'm in London. Or rather, living in London.
Like.....I'm pretty sure this year couldn't get any better for me?

And what's even better?
I got to make a pre-London voyage to the Netherlands for the new year.
Someone pinch me.....please.
I never thought I'd get the opportunity to see the Dowlings again.