Six Degrees of Lar’s Clothing

When Lar moved to Scotland, not only did her closet size shrink significantly, her mindset towards clothing changed. She realized that she didn’t need a giant closet full of items that she only wore once or twice. She also decided to take an ethical approach to shopping and she’s done a bang-up job walking the talk. Let’s just say I’m, uh, working on it.

The other day I was looking back at some old posts and realized how much Lar really does stick to her buy less, thrift more mentality. Here are a few examples, or what I like to call, the “six degrees of Lar’s clothing”:
Clothing math

Did you follow that? I gave her that black H&M jacket. I’ve had it for years and left it for Lar last time I was visited her in Scotland because 1) it was summer back in Atlanta and I couldn’t imagine wanting a jacket upon returning and 2) it clearly looks a million times better on her than it does on me!

While I’m not a fan of her hiking boots – and tried to convince her not to buy them – she gets a lot of use out of them when hill walking around the Scottish countryside. Hiking boots: 1, Cath: 0.

Lar and I each have a pair of those black Frye boots – totally worth the money. We purchased them via Shopbop a few years ago and have worn them so much that they’ve been re-heeled and re-soled multiple times.

I love how Lar paired her color block shirt with black and additional pops of color both times. I would have never thought to wear colorful tights with that top. I would have just worn black, black and more black!

Shoe math

Lar found those Mary Jane heels and pink dress at two local charity shops near her flat in Edinburgh. Those are both items that I wouldn’t have picked up in a million years and she looks fantastic in them. She bought the Mary Janes for a prohibition party last year and then wore them to the vintage car rally to complete her lady-like look. For a more updated approach, she paired her thrifted pink dress with some sexy strap-y sandals for her birthday dinner.

I feel so inspired to cull through my closet and get rid of everything I haven’t worn in the past month – and then only focus on buying a few nice pieces or trendy thrifted pieces. How about you? Do you follow Lar’s philosophy of less is more? Or are you like me: wanting for follow Lar’s philosophy, but not actually doing it? I have a feeling I’m not alone!


Dear Readers,

Instead of writing to Lar like I do at the end of all my posts, I’m writing this as a kind of post script to you – not sure if that makes any sense. Anyhow, I wanted to let you know that for the past two days Lar has been in the hospital in Edinburgh. She’s being treated for what the doctors think is a kind of pelvic infection. It’s pretty serious and it took over a day to diagnose her. It’s related to her endometriosis and she’s been in a lot of pain for the past few days. Needless to say, I’ve been going absolutely crazy not being by her side. I’m so grateful she has such a wonderfully supportive husband. Matt has been with her the whole time and has been sending me and my parents constant updates. If I had the money, I’d fly over to Edinburgh this very minute to go see her. Damn you, Atlantic Ocean!

All of this is to ask you to send positive thoughts her way. While I think and hope the worst is over, things are still unclear. Any bit of support would make the world of difference.

Thanks for being there.

xoxo, Cath

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Vintages Cars Rahhh!




What is a vintage car rally? From what I can gather (from first-hand experience two weeks ago) is that you get together with other vintage car owners, drive around the countryside like something out of a BBC mini-drama, and then picnic whilst sizing up everyone else’s retro wheels. And you can dress up if you want.

Now I’ve never owned a vintage car (unless you count a 1991 Buick Park Avenue), but I happen to know a dashing couple who do (see Juliette and Chris below). And then I had the chutzpah to invite myself along when they mentioned they were going to a vintage car rally one weekend. Ooo me! Me! Me! I’ll go! I’m sure I endeared myself to them bouncing around the back seat and asking lots of boring pertinent intriguing questions about vintage British cars and the people who buy them.



(Above) Just look at that wee rural lane we’re driving in! Convoying behind our fellow vintage car rally-ers!

(Below) What the back seat looked like: Juliette’s Harris Tweed purse and my hat mingling with Juliette’s car pillows. I love having car pillows in your car in lovely patterns. Maybe wouldn’t work as well in a Chevy Lumina or Ford Fiesta, but in a 1958 Morris Minor — just the right amount of practicality (lumbar support) and charm.


My favorite car of the day (apart from our Morris Minor), this gorgeous Ford Model T:



The Model-T’s owner had covered the exterior (yes exterior) in soft dove grey leather (yes leather!) and the interior in Harris Tweed! A Scottified American vintage car — spiffy!

And who doesn’t like a well kept 1960s/70s Mini Cooper (below) — I wish they were still so cute and dainty. Their previous proportions were probably far less safe, tis true:


Oh wait, I lied. The Model T-weed (get it? har har) was my second favorite. This guy was my favorite, favorite:


He was part of the AA (we know it as AAA in the States). He’d travel around in his motorbike to rescue stranded drivers with his side car chalk-a-block full of handy bits and bobs: first aid kit, gasoline, torch (flashlight), booklets and a wry Scottish smile (see that? What a lovely man):



Ohhh here was another favorite (turquoise below):


It was an all day affair. We convoyed to Glenkinchie Distillery, ate our picnic in the grass, wiggling our toes in the sun, ooohed and ahhhhed over the pretty cars, then back in our cars for our afternoon convoy to a lovely estate, tea and cake and awards given. I feel so utterly British. Like a 75 year old British man. Vintage cars, crazy rallies where they picnic on the croquet green and eat cake, and at home by 6 pm. Ahhh yes. Fits me to a (Model) T. Puns. I should add puns to the me-as-an-old-man list.

Have you guys ever been to any sort of car rally, vintage or no? I really thought the best part would be getting to dress up all vintage-y, but I totally forgot about that bit in the end and just enjoyed being along for the ride.


Dear Cath,

When we win the lottery, we’ll buy a wee cottage up here for summer days just like this. And a vintage something on four wheels. Pack a champagne picnic and pretend we fell out of an Evelyn Waugh novel.

Italy: THREE WEEKS!!!!




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The Gardner’s Cottage Edinburgh


Birthday dinner has to be good doesn’t it? Especially a 30th birthday dinner. You need to ease yourself into a new decade with a little bit of something nice. It’s okay that you a teetering on the brink of your 30s when there’s fresh-baked sourdough bread with a buttery crab spread and chocolate cake at the end. I can handle being four decades old if this is how it starts!





Matt took me to the Gardner’s Cottage in Edinburgh for a delicious introduction to my 30s. Gardner’s Cottage is part of the farm-to-table movement, but not because it’s hopping on the bandwagon in a fad-y way. The building used to literally be the gardner’s cottage and they use the bits and bobs they grow in their garden in most of their dishes. So apart from being lovely to look at, environmentally friendly, locally-sourced, and very healthy, it’s some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had. And for 7 set courses at £30, it’s a steal of a deal…really and truly.

And like any respectable blogger (and annoying dining companion) I took (discreet) photos of every single course:









Dear Cath,

It was terrible, terrible, terrible (times infinity!) to spend our 30th apart, but I can not tell you how much this meal eased my pain. When you and Troy are next in Edinburgh we will have to go. It’s a lot lighter than a lot of the massive dinners you guys go to, but so, so, so delicious. I wish I could send you some of that crab and fresh baked sourdough via Royal Mail. Sooooo amazing.

Also, can you tell I love that pink dress? I was beginning to worry I shouldn’t have bought it. Barbie Pink? Summer dress in Edinburgh? Peter Pan collar?! Not practical and not too “me” but it’s my favorite thing now and makes me so happy every time I see it. I actually hang it on the back of our door so I see it every day. The color makes me so happy.

Hope you are having a lovely start to the week!

Love you so much, fellow 30-year-old,


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The Scottish Highlands


Catherine and I consider ourselves city girls. We feel at home in a city, we love the energy and the diversity and all the stuff there is to do. I can marvel at quiet, beautiful, open-spaced country, but it intimidates me a little.

So it says a lot that the reason Cath and I fell in love with Scotland many years ago was not  because the gorgeous city of Edinburgh alone wooed us, but because we saw the Highlands.
A little background for those of you who haven’t been, the Highlands are the hilly and more mountainous bits of Scotland that start north of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Depending on how technical you want to get, the Highlands make up more than half of the land mass of Scotland, yet most of the population live in the cities. So when you are tramping around the Scottish countryside, you can go for miles and never see another soul.




Sure, the Scottish Highlands have been overly romanticized (overly Brigadooned), but I think you can forgive the marketing people who push the rolling hills, William Wallace version of Scotland. It really isn’t too off the mark. I mean you don’t see men running around in kilts, but the austere beauty is totally real.
What makes it so stunning, even to a city mouse, is partly the emptiness. There aren’t many people or trees — just stretches of dramatic hills and mountains covered in burnt colored peat and purple blushed heather.
It is “Skyfall” without a de-jawed Javier Bardem. It’s Brigadoon without the kitschy tartan costumes. And it’s most definitely this Johnny Walker ad with Robert Carlyle.


 But it’s also way better in person than on the big screen. It rains a lot and there are often moody looking clouds, but the air feels so clean and untouched. I almost prefer the Highlands because of their broodiness (clouds, misty, fog). The Highlands are beautiful in the sun, but they are perfect on rainy days with bruised skies.
Last weekend Matt and I took a train two hours north of Edinburgh to hike around the hills of Pitlochry. One down side to falling in love with the country? You end up forgetting about your urban sartorial trappings. I used to try to do a more glamorous hiking look (pretty boots, nice jeans, layers of jackets) — but that totally gets in the way when it’s rainy and windy and your legs ache from propelling yourself upwards for three miles. Also, you kind of don’t care how you look because you’re distracted by the beauty of the landscape all around you (until someone reminds you how weird you look on Instagram – gak!).


Strange for city girls to fall in love with a rugged, windy, lonely place. I guess it’s true that opposites attract.
So what are you? City or country mouse and has any place in the world made you want to dip your toe in the other?
Dear Cath,
One of my happiest memories will always being taking trains around Scotland with our Historic Scotland passes. Wasn’t that the best? Next time we are in Edinburgh together we have to castle hop.

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Ten Things We’re Loving Right Now

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Lar and I figured most of you wouldn’t be back at work until today – apologies to our British readers (including Lar) who had to work on Monday.

This week we decided to try to something new: a little Google Hangout just with the two us. Lar and I showed each other our top five things we’re currently loving. You can watch the full video below, but for those of you who are reading this at work – or don’t want to watch 16 minutes of our rambling – we’ve also linked all of our favorite things below.

For those of you who do watch the video, we would love feedback. Even though we’ve done a Google Hangout before, it’s still relatively new to us. Eventually we’d love to add readers too, but now we figured it’s complicated enough trying to find a time that works for our time zones!

Caths top fives

Cath’s pics:

1.) Kimberly Snyder’s The Beauty Detox Food

2.) Butter London Trout Pout

3.) A Beautiful Mess iPhone app

4.) Campers shoes (mine are in black, but they’re not available on line)

5.) Penfield Bascom Boyfriend shirt


Lars Top five


Lar’s pics:

1.) Frankie magazine

2.) Owl & Lion journal

3.) A cute dress from a local Edinburgh thrift shop

4.) Neal’s Yard Remedies to Roll

5.) Bioderma Sensibio H20 

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Temporary Nesting

Apart from missing family and friends, the hardest thing about living overseas is not being able to roost. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people that can live years out of a suitcase: nomadic and unattached to material possessions. But I’m a certified homebody. Ironically I haven’t had a place to put down roots in a long while. I’ve lived in a different flat or house every year for the past 10 years — two different flats in Edinburgh in 19 months — and it makes me antsy. The only way to combat that ruffled feather feeling is by nesting — no matter how temporary.



The flat we live in now is a teeny, inexpensive, brown-carpeted student flat right in the middle of town (our old flat was a bit more grown-up, but too cold). We rarely buy things for our temporary home because we save our extra cash for travel (as you read this, Matt and I are wondering around Bordeaux). But bare walls make my skin itch. So I made a few bits and bobs for the walls, covered my books (for the third time: here’s the first time and second time) and bought an azalea topiary that I hope I don’t kill.

Total budget for temporary nesting? Under $100. Here are the bits and bobs I use to cover up my naked walls:


The Lay of the Land

Now this next bit is mainly for Cath and might bore the socks of you guys. Ever since we were tots, Cath and I loved looking at floor plans. When we were old enough, we used to buy those magazines/books that had nothing but floor plans after floor plans in them. Isn’t that what all cool 13 year olds do?

And it wasn’t just voyeuristic floor plan ogling, whenever we stayed some place new (a B&B or friend’s house) Cath and I would record our new spaces by sketching up the floor plan. I think it was another way that we handled being away from our nests — a way of feeling in control of a new environment. Seriously, we are the poster girls for homebodies.

So this is a quick sketch for Cath to feel like she knows what I’m about day-in and day-out in Edinburgh — or at least get a sense of the space I inhabit thousands of miles away:


It’s not NYC or Hong Kong teeny, but it’s quite small for this city of Victorian proportioned tenements.

So tell me, are you guys nesters? Have you ever been nomadic and craved more roots, or vice versa?


Dear Cath,

I can’t believe that we are even further apart this weekend. Denver and Bordeaux are roughly 5,000 (FIVE THOUSAND?!) miles apart. I can totally tell too — there’s more of a tug. No me gusta. I will drown my sorrows in wine — oh wait, I’m not drinking. Gah! Croissants? Nope those are not gluten free. I’ll just have to make do feeding my eyeballs with French architecture and pretend you are looking at somewhere similar? Bordeaux and Denver are a lot alike — said nobody ever. Wah wah.

Probably by the time you read this, we’ll be wrapping up our last evening in Bordeaux and you’ll be wrapping up your wedding weekend. I hope you and Troy are having a wonderful time. Tell me all about it.

Love and Wine-fumed kisses,


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Would You Wear A Baseball Cap?


There are some girls who can rock the sporty look, but I’ve never been one of them. Most likely because I’m afraid of spherical objects hurtling toward me (George-Michael Bluth back-turn anyone? That’s how I respond to a game of catch). So I’ve always shunned hats that relate to athletics and kinda associated them with suburban dads-wear — not usually a look I go for either.

And then Acne put their models in unbranded black caps a few seasons ago and this season J.Crew topped off their embroidered work-wear with one. So back in the summer I bought a cheapie version and pulled it out for the first time while I was traipsing around propaganda architecture in Munich.





What do you guys think? Baseball cap fans or no? I haven’t worked up the gumption to wear mine indoors yet (I kind of feel silly and like I have blinders on) or at work, but it’s handy outdoors with our rainy/snowy Scottish spring.


Dear Cath,

Remember we bought those together? Have you worn yours yet? We should do a twin take and I promise to wear something more interesting than my puffer coat and Cos boots! We should do it soon because, blink, and you will be in the middle of too-hot-for-hats Atlanta spring/summer. I don’t even remember what that feels like any more: thick, humid, pea-soup air. Maybe you need a nice cool break in Edinburgh, huh? I promise cool weather in the middle of July!



p.s. Remember how we used to make fun of the guys in high school who wore perfectly molded baseball caps? I eat my words, 17-year old self!

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What To Do In Munich





I highly, highly recommend putting Munich on your to-see list. It wasn’t on mine, but two of our besties live in Munich so we thought “what the hey.” Now I’m a big fan. Here’s why:

• Everyone is uber friendly (and speaks English far more fluently than me — darn these multi-lingual Europeans!)

• It’s the cleanest city I’ve ever been in

• The public transportation is dreamy! It goes everywhere, isn’t massively expensive and is also uber clean

• The bakeries. The. Bakeries. So delicious. I think I much prefer them to any french bakeries I tried in Paris last year. My new favorite? The pretzel croissant: a bit of the heft and salt of a pretzel mixed with the lighter fluff (but not too much butter) of a croissant

• Roughly a million art museums

• If you are a beer fan, it’s just as cheap as drinking bottled water

• Beautiful architecture that looks strangely much more Italian (baroque) than stereotypical Bavarian — and all these buildings are awash in subtle pastels: minty green, blushing pink, buttercup yellow.

Let us know if you have been, lovely readers! And what do you like (or dislike) about Munich. How does it compare to Berlin? I’ve always fancied a trip there too.


Dear Cath,

Seriously, your kind of city: clean, orderly, amazing public transport, beautiful and noooo cockroaches! What more could you ask for? We should brush up on our German — not because we would need it there, but to feel better about ourselves whenever you run into a German who speaks English, French and Mandarin fluently (fist shake).

If I could, I would air mail you a pretzel croissant in an instant! So many reasons why we really need a teleportation device. Argh.

Miss you oooooodles!

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Twin Take: The Blue Sweater



Cath and I very rarely dressed alike when we both lived in Atlanta together. But wearing the same thing now that we are 4391 miles apart (who’s counting?) makes me feel at least a smidge closer to Cath. Twin power … dressing!

We didn’t plan a whole outfit together — just one item. In this case it was a blue Uniqulo sweater from a few years ago. Cath accessorized with red lippie, a dashing hat and stripes. I swaddled my torso in the sweater and tucked it in a skirt to create a faux wrap-dress. The outfits look completely different even though the essentials are similar: black skirt, booties, and a long gold necklace. What a difference 4391 miles makes! (sniff, sniff).

twin-necklaces twin-outfits cath-hat


Dear Cath,

We’ll be on our way to Munich when you read this. It’s 4774 miles from Atlanta — so a few hundred miles further away — harumph. But I will totally What’s App you when we get there and take photos of beer gardens and fairy-tale castles and Alex and Dexin!






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News Alert: The Sun Came Out in Scotland!

AsianCajuns-Lar-Edinburgh Edinburgh-walk Edinburgh-sunny-day

This is a rare, rare sight: Edinburgh basking in the sun. In fact, we’ve had three consecutive sunny days — and that hasn’t happened since August! It’s still barely more than 45 degrees, but Matt and I spent three hours Sunday morning sitting outside and clawing wiggling our fingers at the vitamin D coming from the sky.

For those of you lucky enough to be in sunny climes, let me give you a few stats about Edinburgh to put our euphoria in perspective:

• Seattle is 50% sunnier than Edinburgh (and we’re much further north, so the sun we do get is quite a bit weaker)

• Oslo is sunnier than Edinburgh 10 months out of the year

• Throughout the year, on average, Edinburgh has less than four hours of sunlight per day

• Atlanta has twice as many hours of sun per day on average than Auld Reekie (see above)

• On the shortest day of the year in Edinburgh, the sun is only 10.7° above the horizon — that’s dusk for most of the world

Edinburgh is a beautiful city, but my-oh-my can she be gloomy and moody.



Dear Cath,

You might have seen President Obama in person, but I saw THE SUN in person! Can you tell my brain has been mangled by the lack of vitamin D? All I can do is dream about sunny climates and yearn to be there. Thank goodness spring is coming or I would have to start walking around with my SAD lamp permanently strapped to my body.

Is it the weekend yet? I want to skype with you!




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