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Staging An Opera

I have three more days of set design courses and then it’s off to Istanbul! So I totally apologize for just cramming this blog full of set design, set design and more set design. But as I say, only three more days. and then you’ll get to experience a massive number of mosque and falafel photos!

While doing all these things, I will not be dressed in interesting ways, so forgive me for not putting any outfit photos up. I’ve been totally panache-less these past few weeks. My brain power has been devoted toward using mechanized scenery flats in a Brecht opera, and deciding what to pack for a place that’s literally 20 degrees hotter than our hottest Edinburgh summer day.

So do you mind seeing a few more models of set design? Last week I worked by myself on a Tennessee William’s one act, this week I worked with my classmates to design Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera. This is what we used:

A model opera house!

Do you guys know Brecht? I feel so dramaturgy and theater-y (the-ate-TAH) when I say his name. I didn’t know diddlysquoo about him before Monday, but I’d love to see an actual performance of The Threepenny Opera now (opera usually intimidates me because I get tired during all the singing and then feel like a philistine by the end of it all, cross-eyed and blinking).

There are nine scenes total in the play, and we had to figure out how to make the scene changes work and where to place things, and most importantly WHY. We had to get inside Brecht’s head a bit. I felt like I should have been wearing all black, smoking a cigarette, and sounding like Marlene Dietrich.

When we weren’t busy Brecht-ing, we were drawing whores. Mine are the ones that are wearing too many layers. I blush when I have to draw people in under things. or less.

I also drew a massive version of Queen Victoria’s head for the final scene:

Before hearing the opera, I had no clue that the song Mack the Knife was from The Threepenny Opera. I’d only ever heard Ella Fitzgerald sing it — and mess up the words (so good! Listen here). Who knew it was originally written in German!

Voila! Opera designed! What do you guys think? Are you crazy about set design yet? Any new Brecht fans? If you are totally not in to all this stuff, I promise to take some photos of full-scaled, real life things in Istanbul for the next post.


Dear Cath,

Oh so good to talk to you on skype today! I can’t believe the next time I talk to you we’ll be in Istanbul and THEN I’ll be seeing you in a week!!!! SO awesome!

Sorry I’ve been so distracted with this course. I can’t wait to finally see my sistah in just a few days! 16 to be exact! Woohoo!!!



Inspired by The Newsroom

There have only been four episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, but I’m already a big fan. I love the wordy, quick-witted characters that I’ve been missing ever since The West Wing ended its seven season run. Then there’s the pretend world of an honorable cable news station that I really wish existed – like a Bartlet presidency. Another reason I’m a fan? The clothes!

There aren’t too many photos showing off the outfits online, so below is a mix of images from the official site and a few screen captures I took. Are you ready for a superficial look at a substantial show? Here goes!

Emily Mortimor’s character takes the (fashion) cake with her uniform of button-up silk shirts, pencil skirts, pumps and simple necklaces. If I had money to buy a brand new work wardrobe these are pieces I would get:

Mortimor wears this gold necklace a lot. I’ve Googled like crazy to find out who makes it, but no luck:
Update 8/25/12: The wonderful people over at Dominque Cohen emailed me to let me know that Mortimor wears their 5 Coin Drop necklace – amongst a few other lovely pieces. Now I’m lusting after her wardrobe even more!

Alison Pill’s character has a pretty similar wardrobe. During one episode both she and Emily Mortimor are wearing similar blouses with small puff sleeves. Pill’s character wears more dresses. My favorite so far is the brown shirt dress she wears during the first episode (below left).

The show also has some really nice – and practical – hairstyles that I want to try if I can manage to wake up early enough before work:

Olivia Munn’s character is a bit more conservative. Her wardrobe so far has mostly consisted of blazers and Roland Mouret-ish dresses.

To round off this post, below are some Newsroom-inspired pieces that you can purchase now:

1. Vince blouse
2. Gap pocket shirt
3. Stella Dot layering necklace
4. J.Crew pump
5. Gorjana layer necklace
6. Banana Republic pencil skirt

Anyone else out there a big Newsroom fan? Have you noticed the clothes too?


Dearest Lar,

I hope The Newsroom becomes popular enough to cross the pond so you can see it. Didn’t the West Wing air in the UK? Do you remember we used to watch West Wing episodes on DVD when we were studying in Scotland?

You only have two more classes and I’ll be done with class in week – and then I’ll be flying over to see you in no time!!

xoxo, Cath

Feiyue Winner

Hello dear readers! Thanks for entering our Feiyue contest.

The winner is Parker Cross! Here’s the proof:


Congratulations, ParkerCross! I’ll email you the details soon. I hope you enjoy your new pair of Feiyues!

To everyone else, don’t worry! We have another contest coming next week. Stay tuned.

Our Flat in Paris- ooo la la!

I know a lot of you well-traveled readers know about Airbnb already, but isn’t it fantastic? Cath used it last year when she went to L.A. for vacay. Matt and I used it when we first got to Scotland — we needed a temporary home for two weeks and a hotel was too pricey. And we turned to Airbnb for our recent trip to gorgeous lovely Paris.

Airbnb works two ways: you either rent an entire flat/apartment/house from someone or you rent a room and stay with your host. I know both of those options can sound sketchy. Staying in someone’s house, with their things? Or with them? Strangers?! Airbnb is based on trust, testimonials and reviews. And so far the system has worked really well. I know it might still sound sketchy, but that’s why I wanted to mention it here, and to show you some pics of the flat we stayed at in Paris.

(Those are linen sheets on the beds — ooo lala indeed!):

Don’t you love this chair I’m sitting on? I wanted to take it back with me, but it didn’t fit in my carry-on:

All our Airbnb hosts have always been super-informative about where to eat, how to get around, and provided us with clean and beautiful places to stay. Mark, our Paris host, left us with maps and detailed information on how to get to the grocery stores and use the washing machine. On top of that, his flat was just as beautiful as the photos we saw online (the photos in this post with the airbnb watermark are Mark’s) and Mark himself was such a sweet guy — we can’t wait to go back and stay at his flat again!

He even had fancy diptyque room spray in all the rooms:

There was a gorgeous back patio that looks like this in the summer (it was too chilly to use in December):

But still beautiful, with herbs in pots and lanterns with candles:

Cath blended right in:

Have you guys ever used Airbnb? We’re thinking about trying it for London, but they are a bit pricier there (i.e. the same cost as a hotel). Tell us your stories too!

p.s. Thanks you guys for all the encouragement about our new “diet” plans and all the helpful tips! I’ll let you know how we’re feeling in a few weeks time.


Dear Kitcath,

Doesn’t it feel like we were in Paris together months ago? It’s been just about a month now- booo, too long!

I hope you have a really awesomely relaxed weekend — you so deserve it after the crazy, busy, stressful week you’ve had.

Oh, I’m still on my CSD cleanse even with this cold, but I’m doing more raw rather than cooked veggies. Something about uncooked spinach going down a sore throat makes the soul go cold, doesn’t it?

Love you!


p.s. I added this photo to our About page:

Giving Up Bread, Butter and Bacon (and Cookies)!

I apologize for things being a bit quiet around here these last couple of days. Cath and I have been making some changes that are taking some getting used to. We are trying to exercise more and go vegetarian/vegan.

Vegan?! This from a girl who dreamed in high school of becoming a pastry chef and marrying Jacques Torres (just to eat his chocolate and sugar sculptures — sorry, Jacques!). You know Cath and I love food — all food! Even the kind with cute faces — we just kind of liked to forget where our delicious maple syruped bacon comes from because it tastes soooo gooood.

In fact I’m stepping it up a notch and going vegan (mainly raw- gak!) and gluten-free and sugar-free for the next little while. I know that sounds fairly crazy. I mean once you cut out gluten, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, meat, cheese, milk, butter. heat! what and how do you eat? And more pointedly, what the hell do you live for?

(Arugula and quinoa, you sooo don’t taste like mac and cheese):

I’m not a big fan of diets (especially this one!), but I’m not doing this to loose weight and I think that’s why I might stick to it. The much more convincing reason to eat veggies, veggies, and then more veggies is to ease some chronic health problems and pain. I’ve always had a rummy tummy and on top of that I have some tremendous endometriosis pain. Will lettuce and tofu “cure” me? Maybe not. But pills don’t work, so I’m willing to -gulp- cut out croissants and cookies for a while to see how I feel.

(breakfast of champions who dream of buttery crumpets: juiced cucumber, celery, kale, romaine, and apple):

It really helps I’m not doing this alone. My mustachioed man and twinsie are following similar plans. I got the omph and encouragement to try this wacky (but very healthy — full of nutrients even though it doesn’t sound like it) diet by reading Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy Diet. She is my new guru. Haven’t heard of her? Check out her fabuloso blog.

(there are 14 cucumbers hiding under this stash – I kid not. we only have four left in our fridge):

We don’t usual talk about health foods and diets here on AsianCajuns, but all this stuffs (veggies, being kinder to the planet, curing my ails) have been on the forefront of my mind for a long while. Are any of you guys vegan or have tried cutting out foods for allergies or inflammation? Do you think Cath and I are nutso for giving up such delicious things even for a short while? (Erm, I kinda do!).

Kisses and Kale (and broccoli and spinach and cucumbers and carrots and),


Oh! And I found this video of me, showing you how I feel about 98% of the time:


Dear Kitcath,

So glad you are doing this with me! You would be so proud, I haven’t had a cookie/biscuit in three days. Three days! I definitely have the non-cookie grumpies though!

Love you!


Let Them Eat Cake!

Ahhhh Versailles! The ultimate 1%-er house (and we see how well that turned out, huh?). And not really a house, more like a luxurious village all stuck together and daubed with gold leaf.

Hi Cath!

See what I mean about the gold leaf?

Look at this behemoth! It stretches for miles. In fact, it is so large that back in the days of Marie-Antoinette random people just took up residence in the numerous hallways:

Cath and I had to take a photo together in this hallway because we had both used this Marie-Antoinette screen-saver (below) for months when Sofia Copola’s “Marie Antoinette” came out:

Speaking of Marie Antoinette, here is her beautiful bedroom:

I’ve had a bit of a soft spot for Marie A since reading Antonia Fraser’s biography on her (highly recommended read, btw). History has condemned her a bit too harshly. I mean, sure, she was extraordinarily rich and turned a blind eye while people in Paris starved, but really, that’s no more or less than any royal in any country had done and was doing at the time.

For instance, her grandfather-in-law Louis XIV was much more bombastically monied than she. He called himself the Sun King, pranced around in extravagant costumes (see below), and built Versailles to be the largest palace ever seen. This rich megalomaniac got to keep his head.

Right place and right time eh, Louis? You certainly couldn’t wear this now (Louis’ sun king costume. really):

photo credit

Marie Antoinette was wrongly accused of saying “Let them eat cake” indirectly by Monsieur Rousseau in his autobiography. He says, “Finally I recalled the stopgap solution of a great princess who was told that the peasants had no bread, and who responded: “Let them eat brioche.” At the time of his bio, Marie was just a mere nine years of age, living in Austria, and not even princess yet:

Lady Fraser attributes the dismissive saying to Maria Theresa of Austria (daughter of Phillip IV of Spain and married to Louis XIV), but there seems to be some doubt about that as well. (I’m getting all my “scholarly” information from this wiki article):

photo credit

Marie A definitely deserved being stripped of some of her wealth, but not being brutally beheaded. A bit harsh, don’t you think?

photo credit

I think going to a beautiful, gorgeous place like Versailles just makes me a bit thoughtful about how something so awe-inspiring came to be: the good and the bad of it.

Anywhoddle, enough of my history lesson mumblings. if you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading, lovelies! And thanks for tagging along on some more of our Paris adventures. There’s a few more installments to come!


Dear Kitcath,

Hahaha! I loved your outdoor outfits for Edi and Paris and always wished I could feel as warm (that Primark coat is more like a jacket).

I can not wait for the summer! Even if it’s still only 55 degrees, at least we’ll be together again!



Un-Postcards from Paris

I feel bashful sometimes sharing travel photos. It feels a bit like going “oooo look at me, I was in [name of gorgeous locale here] for the holidays, nanny-nanny-booboo!” So I promise not to inundate you guys with post after post of what we did in Paris and try to exclude images that you might be sick of: Marie-Antoinette inspired macaroons anyone?

So here are some un-postcard shots of what we saw:

We stayed a bit north of all the touristy sites, so most of our days included a lot of metro rides. This is the metro on an empty-ish day:

Lots of cute pups all around, most begging for a bit of croissant (can’t blame them):

Site-seeing (at Sacré Coeur):

This is what Cath site-saw:

Many breaks for espressos and hot chocolates:

An empty hall in the Louvre:

The same hallway peopled:

Sisters standing in front of sisters:

A fluffy pink Christmas tree in the Repetto store window:

Catching a glimpse of Mr. Karl Lagerfield, or rather Mr. Lagerfield as a doll multiplied, set in the window he designed for Printemps:

Another Printemps/Lagerfield window (see them all here):

Puppies invited in for dinner at our local restaurant:

Fluffy clouds of pink meringue:

Sitting with friends inside works of art at the Pompidou:

Another hot chocolate and croissant break:

The best part of all, getting to see Kitcath again!


Dear Kitcath,

Doesn’t this all already feel like it happened ages ago? When I think back on Paris I mostly think of our flat there and riding on over-stuffed metro cars.

I really hope you can make it back across the pond this summer! I promise not to make the weather so cold and windy if you do!



Here’s to 2012!

Dear AsianCajuns Readers,

Thanks for sticking with us throughout all of our crazy changes this year!

What do you all have planned for tonight?

I’ll be ringing in the new year with black eyed peas (a southern tradition) and cava (er, my own tradition), and Lar will be celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh with a torchlight procession down the Royal Mile – I’m so jealous!

See you all in 2012!


Cath and Lar


Dearest Lar,

I cried like a bumbling idiot in the taxi on the way to the Edinburgh airport. I’m determined to start saving up starting now so I can come back and see you in the summer. It’s just not natural to have twins be apart from each other for so long.

I’ll try to skype you at 7 p.m. my time (midnight your time) to wish you a happy new year!

love, cath