2015 Q1 Favorites

Dearest Lar,

I’ve totally gotten hooked on watching favorites make up videos on YouTube. I just love hearing about real products from real women. So I figured I’d do my own favorites (not just makeup), but instead of doing a monthly favorites (I don’t buy enough things to have favorites every month), I’ll just post my favorites every quarter :) So without further ado, here we go!

1. Tarte Cosmetics LipSurgence and Butter Lipstick
Tarte lip gloss 1
The lipstick is the Tartelette limited edition Amazonian butter lipstick in Ethereal Pink. I picked it up last time I was at Sephora because I’ve been looking for the perfect light-ish pink that goes with my skin tone. I like it on its own, but I like it even better with the gloss layered over it. I got the LipSurgence gloss (in Flush) as a gift with purchase and didn’t really think I’d like it. I’m not really a bright pink person, but it goes on really nicely and it is the ONLY thing that keeps my lips from drying up.

Even though Tarte cosmetics aren’t all natural, they’re a step in the right direction. Tarte products are formulated without parabens, mineral oil, phtalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, triclosan, synthetic fragrances and gluten.

Here’s what it looks like on my lips:

tarte pink lipstick

 

2. Muji Multi Cape

Muji Multi cape

You were so so so sweet to buy me this amazing piece from Muji last summer. I love how versatile it is and the fabric is so delicate. It’s the perfect spring time cover up/scarf.

Also, do you have any idea how I can prevent so many wrinkles from gathering on my skirt?! It looks terrible!

3. J.Crew Factory D’orsay Flats

JCrew flats

I’ve been wearing more flats since I’m trying to get 10,000 steps in each day. Wearing heels = me finding every excuse not to walk and roll around on my office chair instead. The only problem is that office appropriate flats usually don’t work with my feet. I have wide feet and pretty ballet flats usually hurt like crazy. So I picked up these D’orsay flats a few weekends ago and have been wearing them ever since. My left heel got a small blister the first day I wore them, but other than that they’ve been really comfortable.

JCrew factory flats

4. Topshop Ring

Topshop ring

I picked this ring up at the Atlanta Topshop opening last month and wear it almost every day. It was only $18 and the best money I’ve spent all month. I can’t find it online, but it might still be available in stores. I’ve received so many compliments on it because it’s such a statement piece, but not your typical giant cocktail ring. Wouldn’t it be cool if the glass was really a rough-cut diamond?! Actually, scratch that. If it was a real diamond, I wouldn’t be able to afford it so never mind!

5. Kickstarter: #TruthBeauty

Beauty lies Truth

Alexis Krauss and Jessic Assaf are on a mission to make the safest skincare and makeup affordable to everyone. I love the concept because, as I mentioned in this post, I’m slowly trying to get rid of all harmful beauty products. But sometimes it gets so overwhelming trying to keep up with what’s natural and what’s really bad for you. Also the natural stuff that beauty magazines suggest are usually crazy expensive. I now read the Beauty Lies Truth blog religiously.

6. TV Shows: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Peaky Blinders

favorite tv shows

Both are streaming on Netflix and they couldn’t be more different. I’m so glad I got you hooked on Unbreakable. Since I’ve already seen the whole season, I’ll replay episodes as I blog and check emails. It’s happy-making but also not completely superficial and Titus Andromeda is the best! Also, hashbrown no filter.

Peaky Blinders is dark in every way possible – storyline, sets, costumes, makeup – but I love it. The acting is great, the set design is more stylized that a typical period piece, and somehow the contemporary music totally works. I know you said you’ve seen a few episodes, so keep watching and let me know what you think!

Ta da! My next favorites post will be in June. You should do one too!

Skype this Saturday? I can’t wait to hear about your Berlin trip!

xoxo, Cath


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KonMari Your Purse

purse

Dear Cath

You know how last fall I KonMari Method-ed our flat? Well, that Marie Kondo did not lie about her tidying magic. Our flat still stays tidy most of the time. It doesn’t mean I don’t have to put things away — there always seems to be mail sitting on the coffee table or a lone sock sqiuggling its way free of the laundry basket. But the difference is that now there is a place for it all to be put away. And it feels so satisfying! That leads me to this KonMari suggestion:

rule1

I was so resistant to this idea when I first read her book. I thought, “Marie, I’m with you on the getting rid of stuff and the tidying and the empathizing with your socks, but I draw the line at emptying out my purse every night!” My logic was that I need the same stuff in my purse almost every single day: wallet, lippie, tissues, phone, etc. That never changes so why should I just move that stuff around from one spot to another. That just sounded like one more thing I had to do every night after a long day at work.

But even with all my reasoning, I caved and listened to Marie because she was so right about everything else (my socks feel so happy now — I know it!). But I still felt a little grumpy about the whole thing. Come home, hang up coat, and unpack purse.

But the thing is, she was right. I didn’t realise how much extra stuff I accumulated in my purse day-to-day. Even though I’ve always carried a big purse, I always told myself I knew what was in there. Lies, lies! There are those extra bobby pins hiding in the inner pocket and those crunched up receipts that provide a nice crinkly cushion to my wallet. And the worst culprit? That junior mint that snuck out of its box at the movies and got cozy with the bottom of my purse (and everything else within reach of its deliciously minty gooey centre — curses!).

Now that I empty my purse every night, I never forget things that I need that day (and have never had another junior mint episode). I thought the opposite would happen because I used to like to pack my bag at night so in the morning I wouldn’t have to think about what goes in it. Turns out, thinking about it in the morning is better — I’ve never forgotten anything yet. How does this never-forgetting-magic work? Enter: the purse box:

Kon Mari purse organizing

Because this is the KonMari method, you need a dedicated place to put all your purse items. Marie suggests having a shoe box in your chest-of-drawers or on a shelf. I keep mine next to my sock box in a drawer (yes, a sock box). This felt so weird when I first started doing it, but now I can’t imagine not having a purse box. Here’s what it looks like in said drawer (note tidy method sock-folding still intact after 5 months of beginning KonMari):

Kon Mari purse

You’ll notice that my purse items consist of smaller bags. Cath, I learned that from you! I put extra bits like eyedrops, lipstick, bobby pins and perfume. That makes it so much easier to take things out every night: keeping things together in smaller bags.

rule2

I’ve used the silver Claire Vivier pouch that you gave me for years — it’s the perfect size.

Kon Mari AsianCajuns

Oh and this is my new Baggu tote I got a few weeks ago. I love it! Made in the USA with leather sourced in Argentina, it’s like buttah! It’s the perfect size and I don’t actually lose things at the bottom. The straps are the perfect length to swing on your arm without worrying about it catching on your elbow (that should have a name — the elbow swing test).

I know to some people all this tidying sounds extreme, but it has really helped me stay on top of my clutter in my house and in my purse. I feel less frantic living with less clutter. Overall, whenever I follow any of Marie Kondo’s tips, even if they sound silly or extreme at first, I feel much calmer once they are in place and I’ve gotten used to the weirdness of them.

Love you more than Marie Kondo loves reused shoe boxes!

Lar


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Georgia Cider (and Fried Apple Pie) Tasting

Dearest Lar,

A week after your Amsterdam adventure (which sounded so magical, btw), Troy and I made our way back up to Blue Ridge, Georgia. It had been over a year since we visited last and we thought it was the perfect spot to celebrate our 6 year anniversary.

We stayed at Aska Lodge B&B again – the sweet owners made us chocolate cake and gave us a bottle of champs for the occasion :)

Unfortunately it rained for most of the weekend, but Troy and I aren’t the hiking types anyways. Instead of enjoying the great outdoors, we went back to Mercier Orchards and visited the new cider tasting room.

Merciers_ciders

In my previous Blue Ridge post, I didn’t fully explain how GIANT Mercier Orchards is. I mean, it’s set up for the thousands of tourist that come every year in the fall to pick apples and enjoy the beautiful foliage of Blue Ridge. And they’re constantly updating and adding to their facilities. So in the past year they created an awesome cider tasting room. The experience is very much like a wine tasting with a selection of ciders, some salty bar snacks, and helpful staff explaining the flavors.

Since I don’t like sweet ciders, I choose to taste the four most dry ciders on the list. It was only $8 for a flight of 4 ciders and a souvenir wine glass. Troy and I ended up getting a bottle of Grumpy Granny, Adele’s Choice and Lone Tree. They are all apple-ly, but not sweet. Just what I like!

Merciers_cider_tasting

When you’re at Mercier’s, you cannot NOT stopped by the bakery for a fried pie. Look at all the amazing options:

Merciers_Fried_Pies

Troy and I ended up getting the classic apple fried pie, because, you know, it’s an apple orchard. It did not disappoint!

Merciers_Fried_Apple_pie

Did I mention we did the cider tasting and the fried pie eating before noon? And this was after having huge breakfast at the B&B. So before we headed into downtown Blue Ridge to eat and drink some more, I burned a few calories by visiting the Mercier Orchards gift shop.

hair

The gift shop is endless with every apple-themed item you can think of and so much more. There is a whole room just for kid stuff. Like these creepy/cute big-eyed stuffed animals. This is my impersonation of them:

Merciers_giftshop

And even though I didn’t buy this pretty box of tea, I’m including a photo of it because I love the design – like a pinky, neutral, clean-lined watercolor.

Teaforte_blood_orange

Troy and I walked away from Mercier Orchards with 3 ciders, half a bushel of apples and full bellies. Afterwards we spent the day in downtown Blue Ridge eating and drinking at Chester Brunnemeyer’s Bar and Grill, Masseria and Harvest on Main with a nap in between lunch and dinner. So despite the rainy weather, it was pretty much a perfect mountain getaway weekend.

The setting wasn’t as beautiful as Amsterdam and the winter isn’t the best time to visit Blue Ridge, but it wasn’t bad for a quick 2 hour drive north of Atlanta!

Hope you’re having a wonderful start to the week. Let’s Facetime/Skpye this Saturday!

xoxo, Cath


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What to See, Do and Eat in Amsterdam

stilllife2
Amsterdam totally surpassed all my expectations. I’m completely in love with the glimmering, shimmering canals and curlicued brick and stone, the deliciously gooey caramel waffles and an entire museum district! It’s a shame that I always associated it the red light district and pot (not that there’s anything wrong with the latter), but it just never seemed like it would be my thing.

I was utterly and completely wrong. I didn’t stumble on to a single naked lady or dubbie (I’m not even exactly sure where the red light district is). So if you’re as rock and roll as me, you should totally do the following:

stay2

Airbnb-amsterdam

I’ve used Airbnb for years, all over Europe and the States. I’ve loved each of my stays, but Johan has possibly the most beautiful flat I’ve ever been in. He has an eye for colour that would make Van Gogh jealous, the most comfortable, fluffy king-sized bed and a colour-coded book case that would make any reader feel right at home. The house is an historic canal house built in the 17th century, so the few days we were there I pretended I was Rembrandt (minus the talent) and Vermeer’s girl with the pearl earring (minus the pearls).

stroll canal5

Untitled-1

The soft winter light bouncing off of the canals was so soothing and breathtakingly beautiful when the sun set.

gaze canal1 canal2 lar amsterdam

(Posing by canals and tiny cars totally optional).

eat food amsterdam green juice frites chocolate indonesian food

The deliciously unhealthy:

Best stroopwafels: Verse stroopwafel at the Albert Cuyp Market

Best fries (curry or satay sauce optional): Vleminckx

Uber healthy and so amazingly tasty:

The Cold Pressed Juicery

Mumu chocolates (not just the best raw chocolate I’ve ever had — just the best chocolate hands down).

My dream dinner:

Indonesian at Tempo Doeloe

museum van gogh rembrandt house rembrandt house amsterdam

I went to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Rembrandt House Museum, but those are just the tip of the iceberg. I would have happily gone to 20 museums if I had the time.

I am head-over-heels in love with Amsterdam and hope I get to go back one day to ogle more canals and soak in more painted canvases. In the meantime, let me know what you’ve done if you’ve been. For those of you making plans or day dreaming about a trip to Amsterdam, I hope these wee tips gave you a bit of inspiration.

——-

Dear Cath

I know you think of Amsterdam as Schipol and that place of limbo where you are stuck between two flights, but I so wish I could have teleported you to a canal last weekend!

One day was even warm enough where Ali and I sat on the stoop outside of our canal house and ate fresh fruit while wiggling our toes in the sun. It was heavenly!

It’s the perfect city for us and reminds me of Edinburgh: compact, historic, beautiful and grand. One day we will go together.

Until then, close your eyes and dream of freshly made stroopwafels with gooey caramel centres and layers of Van Gogh ochre swimming in a sea of forest green and aquamarine.

Love you like the shimmerest of canals and gooeyest of stroopwafels,

Lar


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Fig and Flower – Natural Beauty

Dearest Lar,

While you’re exploring Amsterdam (finding canals, drinking green juice, buying Van Gogh postcards, etc.), I did a little exploring in my own backyard today. Fig and Flower opened up a little less than a year ago in the Poncey Highland neighborhood and I’ve been meaning to check it out ever since.

fig_and_flower

Fig and Flower sells all natural makeup, skincare, and household cleaning products. So it’s basically a store made for you!

For the past few years, you’ve been inspiring me to switch to more natural products. Sometimes I slip up – like when I’m suppose to make a quick trip to pick up a prescription at CVS and end up with three new chemical-filled lipsticks (I blame the weekly coupons!) – but overall I’ve been trying to clean up my makeup and skincare routine.

fig_and_flower_Atlanta

I seriously wanted to buy everything at Fig and Flower times two (one for me and one for you).

Fig_and_flower_eyeshadow

They even carry Vapour, an all natural makeup brand I’ve been wanting to try forever. Look at all of the pretty lip colors! That’s Troy in the background checking out the selection of beard oil.

fig_and_flower_vapour

I felt like a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to take you there next time you’re in Atlanta!

fig_and_flower_shopping

Just a few more of the brands they carry: Holly Beth Organics, Indie Lee, Acure, and 100% Pure.

fig_and_flower_products

Also, look at these amazing services they offer:

Fig_and_flower_services

I really want to come back for a makeup application and beauty bag clean out – that’s where they show you how you can replace your favorite items with all natural versions.

Becca, a makeup artist that works at Fig and Flower, was super helpful. I told her that I’m attempting to grow out my eyebrows and she explained the best technique for doing it. I’m listening to her in the photos below, which is why I look so serious – because eyebrows are serious business.

fig_and_flower_seriousface

This is me laughing at the thinness of my brows:

fig_and_flower_eyebrows

If my eyebrow grow-out is successful, I might do a future blog post on it. If not, I will never speak of them again!

I ended up purchasing the 100% Pure Eye Brow Powder Gel in Brunette. I initially thought it was too light, but Becca showed me how it just subtly enhances my brows without making them look drawn on.  I also got the 100% Pure Naked Palette since the only other all natural eye shadow I have is the Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes quad, which is all shimmery shades. I’ve been wanting to jump on the Urban Decay Naked palette bandwagon, but have been hesitant since it’s not an all natural brand. So the 100% Pure palette is exactly what I’ve been looking for – all natural, neutral, matte shades. I’m going to spend a few weeks playing around with it and then I might do a mini 100% Pure Naked Palette makeup tutorial.

I can’t wait to see all of your photos from your long weekend getaway to Amsterdam. I’m so jealous that you got to go to an Other Stories store – and experience a different culture and what not. :) Is it bad that I get more excited about stores you’re visiting than museums. I think I’ve become shallower with age.

Let’s go crazy and Skype during the workweek once you get back to Edinburgh, ok?

xoxo, Cath


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New Things

I’ve been trying to be really good about budgeting lately since I still have a stack of hospital bills to pay off. Some days I’m more disciplined than others. I know it’s never good to buy things to make yourself feel better and feed into consumer culture, blah, blah, blah. But sometimes when you’re down, a new item of clothing or a cheap sparkly ring, is exactly what you need want.

redplaid_closeup

Two weeks ago I was desperate for something new and shiny to get my mind off stressful health stuff and I remembered that I had a few giftcards from Shopbop – woohoo! So I ended up getting a BB Dakota Lillian Drapey Front Jacket and a MICHAEL Michael Kors Jet Set Cross Body Bag.

shopbop_accessories

Yes, I’m bringing the late 90s back with my loose fitting bootleg jeans. Don’t judge. They’re comfortable and perfect for the weekend.

redplaid_outfit

H&M scarf | Hat from Amazon.com | American Eagle jeans and boots | V rings from Squash Blossom Boutique | Old Navy spiral ring | French tip and polka dot Jamberries

plaidoutfit_accessories

For those of you who don’t have a Shopbop giftcard, not to worry! From now until Sunday, Shopbop is having a big sales event:

If you spend $250 or more, you’ll save 15%.
If you spend $500 or more, you’ll save 20%.
If you spend over $1000, you’ll save 25%.

Click here to get the coupon code. If you can’t hit the $250 mark, get some friends in on your order.

Disclaimer: AsianCajuns participates in Shopbop’s affiliate program, but this isn’t sponsored post, so all my thoughts and opinions are my own.

And last but not least, thank you to everyone for such wonderful and sweet comments on my last post! It’s not easy for me to open up about my health on the blog and all of your support and kind words mean so much. Now that I’m almost back to 100%, I’ll be blogging a lot more regularly!

xoxo, Cath


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Hello Again!

Dearest Readers,

It’s been too long! So sorry for the radio silence. I’ve spent the past two weeks trying to get my life back to some type of normalcy. Thank you so, so, so, so much for all the wonderful words of support and kindness! I wish I could better express how much it meant (and continues to mean) to me.

Last month’s surgery and post-op infection threw me for an emotional and physical loop that I’m still coming to terms with. Long story short, I had invasive surgery for my endometriosis (Lar had the same procedure done last year), spent 10 days trying to recover and started to feel worse, ended up going to the ER and staying at the hospital for three more days due to a post-op abscess, which was followed by 14 days of incredibly strong antibiotics that made me feel worse than ever.I finished the antibiotics two weeks ago and am almost fully recovered – woohoo!

All last month I didn’t shower much, definitely didn’t wear make-up, didn’t wear a bra, and lived in sweats and large t-shirts. So even though the photo below isn’t glamorous, it makes me happy because I took it on the first day (about 1.5 weeks ago) that I was energetic enough up to apply make-up, put on a fitted shirt (and bra), and wear jeans.  If that’s not something to celebrate – I don’t know what is!

Dr Who tshirt

I don’t want to sound overly dramatic – because I know so many people have been through so much worse than what I experienced – but suffering for 30 days straight completely changed me. Some changes are expected:

  • I’m even more grateful than ever for my friends and family. It sounds so trite, but I would have not have made it through without all of the love and support I received.
  • I’m much more empathetic towards anyone who is suffering or in pain. I’ve always been a sympathetic person (or at least I like to think so), but now I feel like I have a much better understanding of what people are going through when they’re unwell.
  • I admire people who are able to live with chronic pain – whether or not they complain about it nonstop or have a stiff upper lip and never mention it.
  • I’m terrified of hospitals now and have even less trust in doctors.
  • I don’t trust my body anymore. I’m worried that if I ever need surgery again, I’ll get an infection again – or something worse.

Some changes are totally unexpected:

  • In some ways I’m not as scared about things. Stuff that would stress me out before – like having to drop out of grad school for a semester or working on a presentation for my job – don’t seem as overwhelming because I’ve lived through a scarier and much more painful experience and everything else doesn’t seem like a big deal.
  • In other ways I’m more terrified about things – especially health-related things. I freak out if I start feeling slightly unwell. I’m scared that if I get even a minor cold I’ll somehow end up back at the hospital. I feel much more vulnerable.
  • I’m kind of mad that eating healthy and exercise didn’t prevent my infection. I know that sounds like the dumbest statement ever, but I really subconsciously thought that because I was a healthy person going into the surgery and I followed the doctors post-surgery orders (breathing exercises, frequent short walks, sticking to a strict medication schedule etc.) that I would have a pretty quick recovery. So wrong!
  • Even given the above statement, I’m more motivated than ever to take better care of myself – eat more veggies, exercise even more and drink less. So although I’m mad that good eating and exercise didn’t magically prevent me from getting sick, I still have faith in them.
  • After feeling so crappy for so long, I now want to surround myself with pretty things more than ever. That’s not to say I want to go on a shopping spree for new clothes and house goods (although I kind of do), but it’s really more about taking care of the things I already have and keeping/making them nice.

I know some of these feelings will dissipate with time – and maybe some therapy – but those are my feelings now. I know Lar can completely relate and maybe that’s one of the silver linings from this horrific experience. I feel closer to Lar now than ever before – even though we’re still thousands of miles apart – because we’ve had similar experiences (although her’s was much worse than mine).

Another silver lining: getting joy out of things that I used to take for granted. Like:

Skyping, Facetiming and What’s App-ing with Lar. We send each other goofy photos of ourselves randomly throughout the day:

funny faces

I’m also so grateful to eat food again – and not just crackers and toast and apple sauce! Although I won’t be eating tons of meals at Waffle House in the future (not the healthiest place to eat), it was so lovely to tuck into some raisin toast, cheesy eggs, and hash browns this past weekend. Also, having the energy to workout is a wonderful feeling – that’s my post workout face below.

workout eats

You know how I mentioned wanting to surround myself with pretty things? Well, one of the ways that has manifested is through my nails. As soon as I started feeling better, I put on a set of Jamberries that my friend had sent me, and it totally brightened my day. Seriously, nail decals do it for me – especially because it’s so much cheaper than a salon mani.

jamberries

I’ll start posting more frequently again. I just need to get my act together and start taking photos with something other than my iPhone 4S. It’s a dinosaur and the camera doesn’t want to focus on anything. Also, at some point soon I’ll start wearing some bloggable outfits, but right now I’m just excited that I can wear jeans again.

Love you all!

xoxo, Cath


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Cath update

Audrey knitting

Dear Readers

We are so sorry things have gone a little quiet here the last few weeks.

As you know from previous posts, Cath got an infection after her endometriosis surgery at the beginning of the month. She is still at home recuperating and sloughing through the last week of her heavy-duty antibiotics.

I’ve been skyping her daily. Sometimes she feels good enough to sit up and chat and other days she’s too nauseated to even look at the screen when we talk. It’s been a long, hard month for her, to say the least.

But she is on the mend. And every day I know she’s getting closer to that moment when she can feel healthy and whole again.

Once we’ve all gotten a bit more rest, we’ll both be back here blogging as much as we can. In the meantime know that your kind comments mean the world to both Cath and myself.

Much Love,

Lar (and Cath)

p.s. The pic above of Audrey Hepburn knitting is from Cath’s Pinterest account — she just pinned it! I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that she feels good enough to do that! It might sound silly if you haven’t been ill for a long while, but feeling good enough to do that is a HUGE baby step forward. Huzzah!


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Today I …

Dear Cath

I know how miserable you feel at this moment. Those antibiotics feel like they are not only killing all the bacteria in your body but you as well. I know how exhausted your body is from fighting first the surgery and then the infection and now the drugs. I know it feels never-ending and that even watching “Poirot” for seven hours straight doesn’t take all of that away.

So I hope a little distraction might help.

This will be the most mundane post to anyone reading this (sorry!). I’m going to take you to Glasgow with me. On a work trip. Nothing fancy. It’s what I did today — this Tuesday in January.

I took a train and then sat in a seminar all day and then took another train home. But I’m going to take you with me because while I was taking photos of myself sitting in a Pret A Manger and on the train, it felt like I spending the day with you. Or at least I imagined I was.

I hate not being home with you right now. And because I can’t be there, I want you to see exactly what I’m doing while you are waiting to put all this pain and the hospital visits and the nausea behind you. I want you to feel like you were with me and not having to think about when you need to take the next round of antibiotics and worrying about your temperature.

So without further ado, today I …

Woke up at 6:30 am and dragged myself out of bed — cold mornings are the worst. By 7:30 am I was out the door and heading down Princes Street to the train station (first by bus and then by legs). The sun was still an hour from cresting some distant horizon, so the sky was a dark blue with a turquoise blush around the edges:

lothian bus

How many daily commutes have a castle in them? I shouldn’t take it for granted, but I do — daily:

edinburghdawn

So we’ve past the Castle mound and now we’re almost to the train station. It’s just before the Balmoral clock tower and just after the spires of the Walter Scott monument (blurry photo poof of intense pace of walking — or partial awakeness — or just bad photog skillz):

princes street

Mmmm train station! I love trains and train stations even on a weekday morning. They have the same buzz of excitement as an airport without the intensity of airport security and, you know, being in the air. Trains are anti-faff. You’re on the platform and then you’re in the train in minutes:

waverly

Oh I almost forgot! My favorite part of train travel — snackies! There’s usually a mini M&S at most larger stations in the UK and it’s fun to get nuts or chocolates or entire picnic lunch avec some mini wiiine! I just got these guys today as it was 8 am and I had already consumed a large bowl of muesli:

m&s

So back to the train. The trip from Edinburgh to Glasgow is nice because you go from city to city but in between are these stretches of rolling hills and picturesque pastures (today they were dusted in confectioner’s snow):

snowy hills

But the train was cold so I stayed bundled (and sleepy looking):

sleepy

About 55 minutes later and we’re in Glasgow, Edinburgh’s larger, less expensive, more relaxed cousin:

glasgow moma

I got to Glasgow ahead of schedule so I thought I would stop into Pret. I wasn’t really hungry as I had already had breakie number one at home, but the porridge looked so good and piping hot:

porridge

And this is where I spent my day, the Teacher building — home to many-a-seminar:

glasgow teacher building

Seven hours after learning about the intricacies of print, I was back out on Glasgow’s shopping street (remember you stood by David Tennant’s Dr Who’s TARDIS there just 14 months ago?):

buchanan street

By the time I hopped back on the train and walked home I was cold and tired. Back in the flat looking …

tired

And then Matt came home and we ate a pile of (gluten-free, quinoa and rye) toast. As you do after Tuesday Train Travels.

I hope you felt like you were there, Cath! Every heart-pounding intense porridge moment!

I so, so wish I could speed up this process for you and make it so much less painful and exhausting. Just know that you can get through this and it will be over soon, even though it doesn’t feel like it. You see in the photo above I still wear the “lucky charm” necklace all the time –nearly daily. That will work its magic soon if nothing else will.

Love you more than all the train snackies in the world (times infinity),

Lar

 


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We are totally identical

twopeas3

Dear Readers

Cath is back in the hospital for another few days because she developed an infection post-surgery. This is rare. Our surgeon told us this happens to 1% of his patients.

I also had an infection after my endometriosis surgery.

Rare, you say?

This is what I think:

1) We’re totally ruining our doctor’s percentages. (Now he has to tell patients, “it’s less than 1% likely you’ll have to come back — unless, of course, you count this set of twins I operated on — but they’re an anomaly already so don’t count them!”)

2) We are totalllllly identical. In all things apparently. Lucky duckies!

Getting an infection is no fun. Nobody wants to spend more time in a hospital than they need to. It’s scary to have to run tests and go under anesthesia again for them to drain an abscess and then to be put on the Hulk of antibiotics.

At the moment Cath is feeling pretty miserable because the antibiotics make her nauseated all the time, but the pain meds help her to doze on and off, which is good. She’ll be on these mega-antibiotics for a couple more weeks post-hospital stay. And though she’ll feel pretty miserable, her body will be healing. It will feel like eternity to her, but by Valentine’s Day she’ll be swilling champagne and chocolate to her hearts content. I’ll make sure of it!

Well, that’s the other thing. It’s sucky to be identical because I know what she is going through and I’m absolutely no help because I’m 5,000 miles across an ocean. We’ve Face-timed and texted but it is not the same as sitting with her all night and holding her hand. When she feels so terrible and tired and scared, I wish so very badly I could be there to cool her forehead and murmur that everything will be okay and this too shall end. And that everything she feels (all the things she doesn’t want to feel but has to) is normal. And it’s all okay even when it doesn’t feel okay and feels interminable.

In the near future I won’t live quite so far away from Cath and then we can be identical together together, not just together via the great interwebs. I’ll swig bubbly with her and we can reminisce about how we used to live in separate countries. Separate continents even.

(If you’re in between bouts of nausea and can read this, Cath, love you so so so much and can’t wait until we’re on the same land mass again)

 


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