Catching Up

Dearest Lar,

It’s been waaaay too long since I’ve posted. You’ve kept me up to date with everything going on in your life with your wonderful posts – cheese! a perfect Sunday, trams, and Calton Hill - but I haven’t done the same.

However, in between starting classes for the summer, closing on a house, packing and moving, I still managed to take some pics over the past few weeks. I owe you lots of posts, so I figured I start with one with lots of photos!

It’s been so hot here that all I want to wear is summer dresses. I’m tempted to buy a handful of cheap dresses for this season, but I can’t spend any money this summer on clothes (all my money and then some will be spent on house stuff). So a few weeks ago I wore this oldie but goodie:

HM summer dress
 H&M zebra dress • Marc by Marc Jacobs sunniesAsh wedges • Sole Society clutch

Neon clutch copy

A week before the move, Troy and I took a break from packing and spent the afternoon in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood (future home of the Atlanta streetcar coming soon!):

Old Fourth Ward

street art

We had lunch at Illegal Food located in Joystick Gamebar and look what was on the wall (nerd alert):

Illegal Food

I haven’t had much downtime, but I’ve been trying to squeeze some time in to read The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby. It’s a fictionalization of the seamstress that made Jackie Kennedy’s famous suit and it’s been the perfect summer read. Kelby goes into detail about the different fabrics and types of seams the main character uses – which I love to read about even though I hate sewing.

The Pink Suit

Right before we moved, Troy made a batch of the most delicious watermelon mojitos: fresh watermelon juice, simple syrup, mint, Four Roses bourbon, and gin. Yum!

watermelon kentucky mojito

Ali has her wedding photos up online by Once Like a Spark that you can check out since you couldn’t spend a couple thousand and fly back home for it ;) Here’s one of me and Troy (and Greg off to the left) dancing. I wish you had been there!

wedding

Now on to photos of my house! The move probably took us around 4 days with mom and dad, and all of our amazing friends helping. Seriously, if it was just up to me and Troy, the 2 mile move would have taken us weeks! In addition to moving all of our furniture (including a ridiculously heavy music studio console), in the past few days we (Troy and I, family and friends – and some hired help) have unpacked more than half of our stuff, cleared out the overgrown backyard, scrubbed the house from top to bottom, installed my new Ikea chandelier, caulked both showers, reinforced the crawl space door, sold the ridiculously heavy music studio console, and replaced a toilet seat.

I’m desperate to decorate, but there’s still so much unpacking that has to be done! Here’s what the house looks like so far:

The living room – it’s so much bigger than my last living room. I don’t know what to do with so much space! I think it might be the size of your whole flat.

moving_living room

The second bedroom doesn’t have a closet (it was converted into the master bathroom) so for the time being, this bedroom is going to be my closet! Ideally I’d like to streamline my clothes enough where I won’t need a whole room to house all of my clothes. Plus, eventually I want to use this room as our guest bedroom, but I don’t have an extra bed at the moment, so until that changes, it’ll be my walk -in closet.

moving_closet

I threw a bunch of things on this table – so it’s not properly styled – in my closet and then realized that it looks kind of cool. I’ll fix it up a bit, but I love the wire of the hat stand (which I think is yours) and the vintage fan.

moving_vintage fan

Our bedroom – this is probably the neatest it’ll ever look. Pretty soon my side table/lamp thingy will be piled high with mags and books – and dog fur. I’d love to put a great piece of artwork over the bed, but I don’t have one that will work. Maybe I can convince my amazingly talented twinie to paint me something (hint, hint).

moving_bedroom

Mom brought over her label maker the other day and I went a little crazy with it:

moving_labels

I can’t wait for you to see the house in person in a few months. I hope it’ll look much better by then and the third bedroom won’t be piled high with boxes. Who knows, maybe I’ll even have a guest bed :)

I promise my next post will be in a few days and not so hodge-podge as this one.

I miss you so much and wish you could be with me in person during this crazy house-buying/moving process, but getting to see you in August is almost as good!

xoxo, Cath


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Cheese, Grommit, cheese!

cheese

Dear Cath,

I received a lovely hamper from Harrod’s last week* — a cheese gift set hamper! Really, this should be your hamper because you are cheese and I am chocolate, but I will do my best to share it with you via the blogisphere.

The hamper is everything you need for fancy cheese eating (or cheddar-only cheese eating ;) ): olive oil crackers, two different types of olives, an onion relish, a cheese scoop (I didn’t even know such a thing existed!) and three serious-business (technical fromage terminology) cheese knives:

harrods-cheese-gift-set

The past couple of years I’ve mostly cut dairy out of my diet, but I thought getting this hamper was a perfect excuse to be momentarily adventurous with my cheese eating. A fromagey treat that would make me less scared of wooly looking cheese rounds that smell of feet.

Matteo and I headed to our local cheese monger (do you remember I.J. Mellis on Victoria St?) so that we could choose some cheeses that would show proper respect to the Harrods’ hamper.

i-j-mellis-cheese

It’s a lovely cool, bitty shop stacked full of cheese wheels. If I were a mouse, this is what heaven would look like:

edinburgh-cheese

From a previous stop to the cheese monger (I love that people still monger here!), we know we aren’t up to the task for enjoying kick-in-the-teeth pungent cheese. We looked for smoked cheeses or cheddars and kept it all Scottish. I wish I were brave enough to say we tried this Dorstone, but it’s the stuff of (cheese) nightmares in my book:

dorstone-cheese   

harrods-cheese

Instead we ended up with four wedges of fairly safe but incredibly tasty cheeses: a Scottish brie, Auld Reekie (yes, named for Edinburgh and indeed reekie), Orkney Grimbister that was a bit like Wensleydale (cheese, Grommit, cheese!) and my favourite, a smokey mature yellow cheese called Old Lochnagar.

Matt and I packed up our hamper and fancy cheese and headed to the Meadows for a wee picnic with friends:

picnic-meadoes

I felt rather unsophisticated as I didn’t know which knife to use for what and I ended up using the cheese scoop for our onion relish, but in the end it was all delicious.

cheese-knives

Might I recommend the Ornkey Grimbister and red onion relish on top of a dense olive oil cracker? Deeelicious!

cheese-pickle

We also had these olives to go with our cheese chomping. They are the closest thing that I’ve tasted since those beautiful olives we had in Italy last year (my, that does sound pretentious doesn’t it? I feel the cheese knives would approve).

harrods-olives

Because we won’t be eating much cheese here in the future (back to no dairy again once I finish that Old Lochnagar wedge sitting in the fridge), the cheese knives are coming home with me in August to be christened by you and Troy in your new house!

I’ve also googled cheese knives and can now instruct you that the cheese cleaver will be best for your mature cheddar predilections. So be ready in August with a mound of cheese. I can’t wait to eat some olives and cheddar with you on YOUR deck in YOUR house! Please, please, please take lots of pics — yes even ones full of moving boxes. I feel heart broken not being there with you — and not all the fancy cheese in the world can make up for that!

Love you like onion relish loves Wenslydale,

Lar

*p.s. Dear readers, this is not a sponsored post, but I was gifted the lovely hamper basket by a PR firm that works with Harrods. If you do like these hamper posts, I received a girly non-cheese hamper last year which you can read about here.


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Short and Sweet Sunday

marys-milk-bar

Dear Cath,

Some weekends in Edinburgh are perfect. The sun shines for some of the day and the clouds scuttle across the sky fast enough to catch glimpses of blue. And some days I don’t have to wear a jacket the entire day, and it even gets warm enough to eat raspberry and strawberry black pepper sorbet outside (with jacket back on, of course)!

Those are the days for strolling around leisurely and gazing up at trees like this one which looks like someone has festooned teeny yellow lanterns all over it’s elegant boughs:

yellow-tree

long-grey-dress

The only thing missing on these glorious weekend days, is you, of course (that’s my looking-for-Cath face in the photo above)!

Love you like strawberry and pepper,

Lar


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Edinburgh Trams

edinburgh-trams-ticket

Dear Cath,

At this moment it is cold and rainy and gray gray gray in Scotland. Not a shocker, I know, but somehow I’m always a bit scandalized at how audaciously un-springlike Edinburgh can be. People were walking around in wellies and thick jackets today. I bet you guys were in skirts (with bare legs! Kilts don’t count) and sleeveless blouses. I can’t imagine Scotland ever encouraging bare legs and bare arms At The Same Time!

And because Matteo is away, and my mug o tea isn’t being chatty, I’m writing you a blog post/letter. Twice in one week! And as promised: TRAMS.

edinburgh-tram-westend

When was it that we first got so excited about public transport? Was it growing up in Maryland and taking the Metro into D.C. — the place that meant free, cavernous museums and dim sum in China Town? Or was it moving to Atlanta and being able to hop on MARTA a few minutes after getting off a flight (or maybe the way it garbled voice announces “Agnes Scott College” when you pull into the Decatur station)?

I feel like I remember the subterranean transport of NYC, Barcelona and Paris more than any of the major land marks. And still one of my favorite memories from Atlanta is going on the Beltline tour so many years ago (remember this post?).

Getting to know a city’s public transport system(s) has got to be one of the best ways to get to know a city. It’s not a dainty, whimpy how d’ya do handshake, it’s a bear hug that sometimes smells of stale air and looks a little dingy in corners and rumpled around the edges. But the bear hug means you are more than passing acquaintances. You’re free to learn the ins and outs of a place, not just skim the touristy surface. You get to see the good, the bad and the interesting.

edinburgh-transport

Edinburgh is such a compact city and has a pretty darned good public bus system. The bus I take to work across town practically drops me door to door and comes by every 8-11 minutes. The buses are usually clean and drivers friendly. After figuring out the bus system when we first moved here, I was surprised that the city wanted to put in trams. But too much public transport is like too much chocolate cake, so I thought huzzah!

Lucky for Matt and I, we moved to Edinburgh just at the tale-end of all the hullabaloo about the tram works that were incredibly disruptive to local businesses/storefronts. And to add insult to injury, the project is massively over budget, two years over due and only goes to about a third of the locations promised. Trams are a touchy subject in these parts, to say the least.

(There’s a clever public transport prankster going around and changing all the official tram logos to be more “honest”).

But even with all that, there was a palpable (palpable, I tell ya) excitement in the air this past Saturday when the trams officially opened to the public. I woke Matt up early so we could go ride them (I dangled the promise of cups of strong coffee to get him out of the house — though I think he’s quite a public transport fanatic himself, just more of an afternoon fanatic than a first-thing-in-the-morning fanatic).

The trams were smooth. They were quiet. They were heavenly!

Edinburgh-trams-first-day

Edinburgh-trams-inside

I’m not sure if I ever held double-decker buses in any sort of romantic light (I must have done, being an anglophile and whatnot) — but I so wish I could swap my bus ride to work every day with a tram ride. As the trams don’t go all the way down to the Shore like they were supposed to, it’s not worth switching up my route. Oh but that it were!

edinburgh-trams

I can’t wait to hear about the Atlanta street car! I have a romantic view of street cars too (not so much Tennessee Williams, but Judy Garland).

I know you are so busy (you’re buying a house, you’re buying a house, YOU’RE BUYING A HOUSE!!!) so don’t worry about writing back. I just will pepper you with mildly tedious photos of my going-ons so you feel like you are in Edinburgh with me. And I will imagine myself packing boxes and nesting with you!

Love you like cities and public transport,

Lar


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Calton Hill

calton-hill-1

little-white-dress

white-lace

calton-hill-2

calton-hill-observatory edinburgh-calton-hill

Dear Cath,

It was sunny yesterday! And it was warm enough to not wear a jacket (some of the time). And it was a Saturday so we got to wiggle our toes in the sun instead of wiggling our fingers by the glow of the computer. AND it was the first day of the Edinburgh trams (public transport post to come soon — exciting!). It was almost too much for one day: like eating an entire cake and washing it down with a milk shake with a side of french fries.

Do you know what the icing was to my chocolate cake? A new dress. I’ve never been one for wearing white — at least I can’t usually do it confidently without flenching at all foods on the way from plate to mouth or sit on anything convenient like a bench or stone wall. But a little white dress is so tempting when the blossoms are nodding their head in encouragement and the sun is beaming down at you. A little black dress just doesn’t feel like it does justice to such supportive spring-time offerings. So I bucked up the courage, bought this mini from H&M (sadly, not the Conscious Collection) and even sat on some outdoor stone steps … with impunity.

——-

Have you ever been up Calton Hill? I don’t remember ever going as students. Matt and I rarely go as it’s across town for us, but what a lovely place. Gorgeous views of town after just five minutes of huffing and puffing up a hill (rather than the 30 up Arthur’s Seat). There was an artist up there doing watercolours and tourists taking selfies. And the most exciting thing of all, the Collective. It’s an art collective that is turning all the observatory space into exhibition space that’s free and open to the public.

Art for all, gorgeous views, a wee snack bar that sells home made goodies: Calton Hill is my new favourite daytime Edinburgh haunt.

Oh also, apologies for the rough scribbles on the photos. I’m trying out the drawing tablet Chris got me for Christmas. It’s way harder than Garance Doré makes it look.

This week will be a long one because Matt’s away for a conference. Want to skype during the week?! I’ll probably blog more too so I can distract myself from missing him (while he eats his way through all of the chocolate in Belgium-nomnomnom). More importantly, as a dedicated public administrator of urban spaces, I feel it’s my duty to give you a more detailed account of Edinburgh’s trams.

Love you like lace loves white,

Lar

 


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Adventures in Detroit

Exploring Detroit

Dear Lar,

While you were exploring Lindisfarne Castle, I was spending time in the equally exotic Detroit. Alright, not the most exotic place in the world, but I was still excited to visit since I love exploring cities  - especially ones that I’ve never been to.

(Note to our readers: I went to Detroit for a conference, but also had the added bonus of getting to visit Troy’s cousins who live just 25 minutes north of the city. This trip was probably my only summer “vacation” since I’m trying to buy a house and have zero extra money to spend)

I know Detroit gets a bad rap, and some of that is warranted, but there are some amazing things about the city. Get ready for some scrolling! I’ve including lots of pics and text so you can get a feel of the city – or at least my very biased view of the city.

First on the tour: The Fox Theater!

Fox Theater Detroit

This place is just like the Atlanta Fox Theater except MUCH bigger and even more fabulous. It’s so hard to believe that in the 1920a amazing, opulent theaters were built for the movies. Troy, his cousins, and I got our own private tour of the place and we had an amazing tour guide that turned out to be the theater’s organ player. After the tour he played the Star Wars theme music, which is crazy to hear on a giant organ in a nearly empty theater that seats 5,000.

I wish movie theaters still had crazy, over-the-top decor. Now  a-days you’re lucky to get a seat without squished up popcorn and a sticky floor.

Next stop: Lafayette Park.

Layfayette Park

The conference I was attending offered a downtown bus tour of Detroit. I’m so glad I signed up for it because one of the stops on the tour was Lafayette Park, a mixed income neighborhood just east of downtown Detroit. My absolute favorite part was the rows of condos designed by Mies van der Rohe. They look timeless in their peaceful, grassy surroundings and I felt like I was walking around in a Dwell magazine article (Funnily enough, I just found an online Dwell article about Lafayette Park. See the slideshow here). What made the tour even better was that one of the homeowners (wish I could remember his name to give him credit!) opened his home for the tour group so we could see what the interiors looked like.

Lafayette Park home

Lafayette Park details

I fell in love with the floor-to-ceiling windows at the front and back of the house and efficiency of van der Rohe’s designs. Also check out the extra tall doorways in the photo above. You’d think that would look silly and disproportionate in a small townhouse, but it just adds to the airiness of the space. If I ever had to move to Detroit, I would live in one of these townhomes – if I could. I hear there’s a long waiting list to move in. Can you imagine a waiting list for housing in Detroit?! That’s what good design does!

Next stop: Shinola

Shinola Detroit

I recently learned about Shinola at Worthmore Jewelers in Decatur. They started carrying Shinola watches and have a Shinola bike in their storefront window that I pass by everyday on my way to Starbucks. When I was planning my trip, I knew I wanted to visit the Shinola store.

Back in the day Shinola used to be a brand of shoe polish and the famous saying went, “You don’t know shit from Shinola.” Poetic. Anywho, now it sells/creates made-in-America products like watches, leather goods, and bikes. Apparently if you buy a Shinola watch, you’ll get a little tin of Shinola shoe polish.

Shinola

The Shinola store is located in midtown Detroit – an up and coming yupster area. I took tons of photos in the store and tried to cull it down to my favorites. I loved the succulent display in the front and there’s a juice bar, Drought, right inside the store. I bought the yellow juice (pictured above), which was a combination of apple, ginger and lemon. It was so delicious! Across the street from the Shinola store are two other super cute stores, City Bird and Nest. I highly recommend visiting all three stores if anyone finds themselves in Detroit.

Next stop: Food and bev around town

Eating in Detroit

Since I was stuck at my conference in downtown Detroit for most of my trip, I didn’t get to explore as much of the dining scene as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I did find some gems (with the help of some suggestions on Instagram – thanks @moybien1212!). The first and third photos are from Public House in Ferndale, a Detroit suburb 20 minutes north of the city. Ferndale is filled with mostly independently-owned shops and restaurants, which you know I love. I always look for neighborhoods like that when I travel and Ferndale doesn’t disappoint. The second photo is of Sugar House located in Corktown – a downtown neighborhood. It feels like a bar in Brooklyn. I stopped in for a Negroni before heading next door to Slows BBQ for dinner (not as good as southern BBQ, but still worth a visit). Another restaurant favorite was Roast. It’s in the touristy area of downtown and is more for the fancy business-types, but the quality of food was so good I figured it was worth a mention here.

Next stop: Eastern Market

I took some pictures of the Eastern Market on my iphone, but none of them did it justice so I’m skipping photos for this section. What is the Detroit Eastern Market, you ask? Well, think of your favorite Farmer’s Market and multiply that by 100 and you’ll roughly have an idea of the size of this place. It consists of multiple buildings and is only open on Tuesdays and Saturdays. I was incredibly lucky to be in town during the annual Flower Day, which pretty much means every plant/flower nursery in the state of Michigan comes to sell their plants. Between all of the amazing flowers (check out my Instagram here), food vendors, and street performers, I could have spent all day at the market. If you come on Flower Day, you would have no idea that Detroit was suffering economically. It is so crowded that you have to shuffle along at such a slow speed I swear I saw a snail pass me as I was trying to get to a succulent booth.

Next stop: housing

Detroit Houses

Detroit has an abundance of housing stock. The further you get away from the city core, the more empty homes you see. It almost reminds me of NOLA post-Katrina. The houses in the photos above are actually in the city center near midtown, which used to be filled with mansions (the wealthy auto CEOs had to live somewhere!). Some mansions are still standing, but most of the them are abandoned and in total disrepair. There are a handful that have been fixed up like the house on the left in the photo above, which gives me hope.

And no visit to Detroit would be complete without stopping by the old train station building:

Detroit train station

It’s been vacant since the 1960s and was too big for the city even when it was initially built 100 years ago. There are hundreds of thousands of photos of this building online so I almost didn’t post it, but it’s so eerily amazing and the architecture is breathtaking that I’m including it anyways. If only we had something like this in Atlanta!

Detroit doesn’t have the critical mass – or the money/economy – to see an immediate rejuvenation, so beautiful mansions and huge historic buildings are left to rot. But after spending five days in the city, it’s evident to me that the situation is not hopeless. There are pockets of life throughout the city. And one benefits to having a shrinking and slow economy, is that it’s affordable. So creative/entrepreneur/artist-types are drawn to the city and are moving in to set up places like Shinola and Public House. I hope I’ll get a chance to visit Detroit again and can’t wait to see how it’s changed for the better.

Goodness! I never thought I’d have so much to write about Detroit, but there you have it. Have I convinced you that it’s a city worth visiting – at the very least?!

Love,

Cath


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Exploring Lindisfarne Castle

Lar-lindasfarne

Dear Cath,

Are you ready? This is gonna be a long ‘ne — lots of piccies. Get your scrolly finger limber and settle in with a cuppa. Oh wait, you probably don’t want hot steamy tea in Atlanta at this point, do you? Iced soy latte then?

We are house museum people through and through, aren’t we? Remember one of our very first AsianCajun posts? House museums make me giddy. I think it’s all the historical voyeurism. What did they eat, draw, listen to, see? Lindisfarne Castle, run by the National Trust, totally scratched all the nosy itches. You would love it! But since you weren’t there, I’ll take you! Step-by-step through this post:

Lindasfarne-Castle-view

Firstly, it’s located on Lindisfarne (aka Holy Island) just off the north eastern coast of England — spitting distance to Scotland. It’s a lovely walk from the village of Lindisfarne to the castle rock (see below). It sits in the midst of a green, sheep-dotted field on the shore:

HolyIsland-castle

The castle was originally built by Henry VIII to keep out invading Scots (maybe to be used again come September?) but was never used for more than housing bored military men.

Lindasfarne-edwin-lutyens

Skip ahead a few centuries and Edward Hudson, editor of Country Life magazine, decides he wants to make the castle his summer home. Who doesn’t love a bit of cold stone and rain for a summer holiday? Regardless of his questionable climatic tastes, he was by all accounts a lovely, shy man who would entertain the likes of J.M. Barrie, Lytton Strachey, Anna Markova and cellist Madame Suggia here.

Country-life-magazine

To make his castle more hospitable, Hudson hired famed English architect Edwin Lutyens (pronounced “loo-chins”): an arts and crafts man through and through. So this castle is arts and crafts coziness meets Elizabethan stone. A good combo if you’re into dark rooms, roaring fires and comfy sofas.

Lutyens’ signature is his herringbone brick, which you see a lot about the castle passageways:

Edwin-Lutyens-herringbone

Want to see the kitchen? Here’s Matt inspecting some veg:

Matt-veggies

Lindasfarne-castle-kitchen

I love when house museums are set up to look like their owners just left. In this case, they made a mad dash for the sun as they were having their tea and reading the newspaper:

newspaper

And someone was just about to give the dishes a good scrub-a-dub:

oldsoap

They were expecting guests for dinner too:

Lindasfarne-castle-dining-room

I love this Yves Klein blue in the dining room:

Lindasfarne-blue

Someone spent their morning sketching:

Lindasfarne-watercolours

Writing letters:

letters

Powdering their collars (?):

stiff-collars

This is known as the ship room because of the wooden ship suspended from the ceiling. A good place to kick your feet up and read Country Life magazine:

Lindasfarne-ship-room

Another good reading spot: the windowseats looking out toward the ocean (don’t they look like the Mary’s windows at Applecross in Persuasion?):

windowseats

You could also go upstairs to the music room and listen to Madame Suggia play her cello or at least have nose around her sheet music:

Madame-suggia

Or maybe a room tidy? Seems you’ve left your Edwardian chemises hanging all over your Renaissance canopy, tsk, tsk:

edwardian-chemise

A few things didn’t exist when Mr. Hudson was around, like this anthropomorphized tapestry chair:

anthropormorpized-chair

Another delight? Famed gardener Gertrude Jekyll planted a small garden where the garrison used to keep their veg patch:

Lindasfarne-gertrude-jekyll

Lindasfarne-garden

She also landscaped the harder-to-reach bits around the castle mound by shooting pellets of seeds into the cliff-side: gives Garden and Gun magazine a whole new point of inspiration. Nicely done, Gertie:

Lindasfarne-flowers

Here’s one last look of the castle (and the sheepies!) from Gertrude’s garden:

Lindasfarne-castle-2

And one last view to the sea from the castle:

Lindasfarne

How’d you like the tour? Could you smell the salty air and the rain moving in across the grass?

I hope you are having a wonderful time in Detroit, Cath! I know that you are probably not going to house museums (Detroit must have some beautiful, crumbly old places) while you’re conferencing, but I do hope you are having some fun.

Love you like Lutyens loved brick!

Lar

 


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Beachy waves and a glimpse of spring in Edinburgh

Dear Cath,

I know we’ve both been so busy this last little while. Too much happening. At this moment you are getting a potential house inspected and then off to Detroit, and then Oregon! Egads, lady, how do you do it?

Whenever things are more busy I feel like I have to share more pics with you because I haven’t gotten a chance to tell you all the things. Inconsequential things like, my hair actually behaving some days. I’m trying to air dry it more often and sometimes it comes out like this (just added a teeny dollop of avocado oil to the tips):

beachy-waves

And spring has sprung in Edinburgh! We also still have plenty of grey, cold and wet days, but there are some glorious rays of sunshine thrown in for good measure. One day I even went bare-legged… and went all goose-pimply:

I’ve never seen bluebells before (I don’t remember them from years previous in Edinburgh — too cold?) but they pop up everywhere, pretty cemeteries included:

bluebells

Bleeding hearts always remind me of our garden in Maryland. Ooo I so miss them and the peonies, lavender, lilac and lily of the valley!

bleedinghearts

Do you remember the cherry blossoms in the Meadows? Last year the blossoms froze before they could bloom. I was holding my breath until they opened all the way. Just lovely, aren’t they?

edinburgh-cherrytrees

And a requisite Castle pic:

spring-edinburgh

I know Atlanta is already hella hot. I can’t remember what heat feels like, but I can imagine almost warmish!

I hope all your conferences go well. And house buying! Eeeee so exciting slash I know incredibly stressful — I so wish I was there to walk around the house with you and squeeze your hand.

I’ll show you pics of the castle we went to last weekend in the next letter/post. You will love it. It’s kind of Bloomsbury meets Renaissance holiday home.

Miss you ooodles and love you like bluebells love May!

Lar

 


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My Endometriosis UK story

Endometriosis-UK
All photos Holly Wren Photography

Hi Lovely Readers,

This is a break from my usual letter posts to Cath so that you can take a gander at some professional photos of my mug and learn some more about endometriosis!!! (Discussing chronic disease is proven to be more fun with exclamation points!!!)

Long-time readers know that I have endometriosis and this year has been a challenging one. I’ve been in the hospital twice in the span of eight months. The first stay was an emergency where I was in a lot of pain and still suffer from flash-backs from such a scary and bewildering time.

Having a chronic illness is an immense challenge for so many reasons: the pain, the isolation, the fear, the frustration, a sense of being trapped by your own body. Part of the frustration and fear of having endometriosis specifically is that so little is known about it. Nearly every doctors visit I have, I feel so frustrated and scared because I know more about my endo than they do.

So that’s why you will see me blab about it as often as possible here on AsianCajuns. The more people (doctors and lay people, alike) know about the disease, the better. More knowledge means fewer misdiagnoses and less stigma against talking about women’s health.

This winter I got to work with amazingly talented photographer Holly Wren who is volunteering her time for Endometriosis UK; taking photos of women around the UK who suffer from endometriosis. Endometriosis UK then share our stories and portraits on their site. You can read my surgery story here.

I’m also hopeful that my story will help women suffering with endo and looking for answers like I was. Because doctors visits were so frustrating, I turned to the internet to read about what other women were dealing with, and it was immense comfort to read their stories and know that I wasn’t alone.

For those of you who would like to know more about endo in general, you can read a quick blurb about what endometriosis is here. And if you’d like to read more about my personal journey with endo you can click  ”Endometriosis” in our blog categories in the right-hand column or click here.

Thank you, readers, for listening to all this. I know talking about chronic pain is not nearly as much fun as Scottish castles or sustainable style, but it means so much to me to get to share this with you.

Much Love,

Lar

Holly-Wren-Lauren-Lee


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Wedding Season

Dearest Lar,

Do you realize that out of all of our close college friends that you were the second to get married?! I didn’t realize that until I attend Ali’s wedding this past weekend and figured out she was the fourth (Brie, you, Michelle, Ali). At 27 you got married “young” ;p. I sometimes wonder if going to a women’s college slows down the marriage trend a bit amongst friends – we are an independent bunch after all.

It was so awesome to see everyone on Saturday. The only one missing from our group was you!!!

Michael_Kors_Dress_outfit

Michael Kors dress via TJ Max • thrifted clutch (similar here for $25) • Zara heels (similar here) • vintage clip on earrings • Essie Borrowed & Blue nail polish

Do you recognize the dress? I wore it to Troy’s cousin’s wedding two years ago in Colorado, but I accessorized a little differently. It’s the most comfortable dress in the world. I remember when I bought it at TJ Maxx there was a black one too – I should have snatched it up!

vintage clip on earrings

I finally got to wear the vintage earrings I got at Salvage last month. I love them so much and they were only $15! They did start hurting my ears after a while, but were still totally worth it.

golden clutch

See how I’m wearing the ring you got for me in London? It’s still one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. I get compliments on it all the time. It’s so elegantly understated that no one would believe it dyes my finger green ;)

blue and turquoise heels

Since Ali and Brian love to travel together (they’re going to Budapest for their honeymoon), the flower girls threw out petals and heart shaped maps. Brilliant idea.

me and Troy

I posted this photo on Instagram and Ellen said that it looks like I’m wearing a giant tie clip standing next to Troy. It totally does!

The wedding was really fun and for a few hours I didn’t think about school work or house stuff. These past few weeks have been so beyond stressful. The end of the semester is always crazy, but trying to find another house to rent and then deciding to buy a house instead is insane! If you had asked me two months ago if I’d think about buying a house, I’d be like, “Wha? Who are you talking to? WTF is homeownership?” I always figured I’d be a renter for life, but that was before I realized the rental market in the Atlanta was bonkers. Who knows, maybe a month from now I’ll be an honest-to-goodness homeowner. And maybe in a few months I’ll be filling this blog with home inspiration pics and DIY, but until then just keep your fingers crossed for me.

Thanks for being so supportive throughout this whole month.

Skype with mom on Sunday?!

Xoxo, Cath


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