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I’m sharing this post for the next time I head to London!

Originally posted on roam & home:

Where in the world do you begin with a list for London, so many places, so little time. It has been a few years since I last visited and I am eager to return. I am headed there for two reasons: 1] I will be attending the Chowzter 2014 ‘Tastiest Fast Feasts in the World Awards’ & they have a fantastic 3 day line-up of events [see post below]; 2] I have added on a few days to spend with a good friend eating & drinking our way past & sometimes visiting London icons. Here is my list so far, lots of good stuff by Passport Delicious who lived in & truly loves London. Check out all the places that I have mapped on Bon Voyaging.

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  • Gymkhana – spied this in a magazine, sounds amazing, indian food, room looks lovely
  • Benares - I am sensing a theme – Indian – Michelin…

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 From one of my favorite blogs…Mrs. Blandings…

 

I do not have a back yard swing, but rather one on my front porch.  As the days are getting warmer, I find myself there creating the most relaxing rhythm with only the slight push of my toe.  As a friend mentioned the other day, “The soothing contemplation done from a porch swing compares to nothing else in the world.”  I’m finding this is true.

A reoccurring springtime rumination is where to find good skirts.  I like skirts.  In fact, I like skirts best.  Perhaps the years of wearing uniform skirts, picked up from the floor of my bedroom and pulled on for the second or third day, left an impression of ease and reliability.  One day in high school, walking down a long breezeway, a particularly sour sort of girl said from behind me, “I wish I had a swing like that in my backyard.” It had embarrassed me at the time, but now I think she would have been a lot more fun if she had.

Skirts then appeared by magic (otherwise known as “Mother”) and hung, briefly, three in a row on the low bar in my closet.  Now I must find them myself. So many are either too expensive or two short.  But today, this gem landed in my e:mailbox and a quick click turned up several attractive cousins as well.  Ann Mashburn, no surprise.  Here.

Kale in Saint Lunaire & Dark Rye

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Photo credit: Kevin German

Back in November, I spent four days with a production team from Austin, LA and Paris to film a mini-documentary about The Kale Project for Dark Rye Online Magazine. Dark Rye, funded by Whole Foods Market, does seasonal stories about food, health, sustainability, design and social enterprise. I was extremely honored to have The Kale Project be chosen for their spring “Revival” issue.

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Photo Credit: Kevin German

Photo credit: Kevin German

Photo credit: Kevin German

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Photo Credit: Kevin German

As a former theatre person, I’ve never been camera shy but comfort in front of the lens only goes so far when you’re asked to dance with kale in the middle of Parisian streets or take action shots with kale at Trocadero. I kept reminding myself that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and to just enjoy it. The production team was incredible and we had a blast over the four days of filming. We hit up the Marché Batignolles, The Superfoods Café to make a few recipes, the streets of Paris and met up with Bruno Verjus at his restaurant Table to talk to him more about how he cooks with chou d’aigrette (another one of the beautiful names for kale in French!)

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For me the most exciting part of the filming was our day excursion to Saint Malo to meet up with Kale Project Ambassador, Virginie and her AMAP (for readers in America, AMAP is the equivalent of Community Support Agriculture (CSA)) farmer, Anthony who farms in Saint Lunaire. Virginie first contacted me over a year ago with interest to work with Anthony to grow kale for her region. After a lot of back and forth, Anthony planted the seeds this past summer and the kale was ready just in time for the film.

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I could not have been more excited to share this story with the team because it is how I always imagined the Project working out. I wanted to work with local, French farmers and then try to do more tastings and explanation at markets or AMAPs and that’s exactly what we did in Saint Lunaire. On a side note, this was also my first trip to Saint Malo and I can’t wait to return. Even with the cold, rainy, grey weather, the views and air were fantastic.

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For those that live in the Saint Malo area and are interested in this AMAP, it was created in February 2009 and is 100% bio. Anthony is the sole farmer and provides almost 90 baskets of vegetables and fruit each week to members who come from Saint-Lunaire, Dinard, Saint-Briac and more towns in the surrounding area. Anthony’s farm, called “Saveurs des Champs”, spans about four hectares. He has one employee but also relies on help from the members of the AMAP who come pick potatoes, peas, plant zucchini or more. In fact his chou fields were behind Virginie’s house (talk about easy access to kale!) Each member of the AMAP also helps at distribution evenings, which take place under the covered market place of Saint-Lunaire across from the old 11th century church. And, in addition, Anthony has orchards and produces organic delicious apple juice. He hoped to have bees, but this has proven very difficult but he wants to keep trying.

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Anthony does not stop with fruits and vegetables. He also has two traditional Brittany farming horses (Cheval de Trait Breton) which he is training to use in the fields, as well a vanishing breed of Brittany sheep (Moutons des Landes de Bretagne) which he is helping to bring back and sells for wool and meat. He sells his sheeps’ wool to a Brittany company that uses only wool from Brittany sheep. They make the clothes by hand and sell them in markets around the area. He also has a few Brittany goats (Chèvre des Fossés) to clear the brush from his fields.

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To help with the sheep, Anthony uses a large guard dog from the Pyrenees (who lives with the sheep) and then a small sheep-herding dog also from the Pyrenees named Ilka. Ilka turned out to the star of the day, jumping around and devouring kale for the camera.

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photo (21)

Everyone at the AMAP distribution was so friendly and excited to be a part of the film. And those coming to pick up their baskets were genuinely interested in learning about the lost cabbage and most of the responses to the kale chips were very positive. Honestly, my evening with everyone was by far one of my most memorable so far in France. I am so thankful to have worked with Virginie and Anthony and hope for more kale crops in the future.

To see the video click here.

From Wishwishwish blog…

Snap Happy

As I celebrate my 1000th Instagram picture, I thought it was about time I answered all those questions about snapping pictures on your phone! Not a day goes by without an eager commenter asking what I use to edit my Instagram pictures – wonder no more!

My Favourite Apps

None of this is groundbreaking stuff, but regardless, here are the apps I use on a regular basis to keep my Insta snaps looking bright! Even if you just find on new app out of this bunch, my job here will be done. I’d love it if you could share any amazing apps I’ve missed in the comments!

VSCOcam

Duh, I know, you all use VSCO, but it’s the best, right? It’s the only app I use to edit my pictures at the moment. It just does everything I need it to do and has the best filters.

Afterlight

Afterlight is also bloomin’ amazing. It has a tonne of filters, but also lots of fun extras, like putting your picture in a circle, or adding a patterned background. It also has some great light leaks and vintage camera grain. Everything you need in one app!

A Beautiful Mess

Another one I know you’re all going to have already! An amazing app for putting little doodles and writing onto your images. The inspiring ladies over at A Beautiful Mess created this app,  and continue to add really cool features!

Snapseed

Snapseed is a great all-rounder for sorting out the basics. The sliders for brightness, contrast etc give you far more control than VSCO. Perfect for people that want to do a little editing but maintain that #nofilter look.

Fuzel

Fuzel has to be the best collage app! It’s not often I want to collage together images, but if I needed to, this app would be my go-to.

Tips

Click, click, click

My process for Instagramming has to be pretty standard. I shoot around 10 snaps, testing different compositions, and then pick out the best. There is always one less blurry or more vibrant than the rest!

Selfies

I always always use the back camera, even when shooting selfies. It might mean that I have to guess and hope for the best regarding where I’m pointing the camera, but it’s worth it for the better quality.

Don’t forget to tag!

Tag the brands that you’re wearing  in your #ootd’s and there is a chance they’ll regram – this means more people finding your fabulous feed!

Cake!

Things that go down really well on Instagram? Cake, cats, flowers, beautiful cities and…well..any food, really…

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My Fave ‘Grammers

You’ve gotta share the love when it comes to Instagram! It’s such a wonderful community. These are the gals whose pictures I like again and again and again…

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Lots of pinks and lots of flowers! My friend Briony lives in Cambridge, and upload the prettiest, sugar-coated snaps from her surroundings.

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If you love coffee, muted tones and beautiful blonde hair, Chelsea is your gal. Her pictures always make me feel so cosy and at home, even if they are shot halfway across the world in Minneapolis.

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Carin is super well known and needs no introduction. This Swedish photographer left her country to move to Paris, and documents the beautiful city and everywhere else she travels in her amazing pictures. A total inspiration!

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Melina’s feed might be in Brazilian Portuguese, but that doesn’t mean I appreciate her fun snaps any less. This vlogger and I seem to have a lot in common, and I love the pictures she posts of her dog, Spock!

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Chantal is another friend of mine, and her Instagram feed deserves serious love. It’s full of pastels, and a hell of a lot of pink – a total dream world.

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Another top-notch Instagrammer! This Parisian shares photos of her city, alongside other beautifully curated images in the softest tones. One of my favourites!

Post image for 8 Things To Do Alone… For A ChangeThe idea of solitude has a somber ring to it; the thought of being alone can bring about memories touched with lonely sadness, while thoughts of being surrounded by others can bring memories of joy. But solitude, like all things, truly depends on the way you look at it. 

I, for one, absolutely love being alone. Some of the best times I’ve had are ones where I’ve been in no one else’s company but my own. I always enjoy hanging out with myself at home, and I equally love going shopping alone. I find that I’m productive and relaxed… and I always make sure to remain just as silly as when I’m with others.

There are certain activities, though, that I would never dream of doing alone. Sure, some things are just more fun with others by my side, but maybe sometimes I want those people to be there partly because the idea of them not being there… scares me. I fear I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself (wherever that “there” may be). I fear I’ll have a question and I’ll be forced to ask an unfamiliar face. I fear that others will see me and think, “What’s wrong with that girl? Why is she here by herself?”

But you know what? Please pardon my language, but those fears are complete and total bullshit. Truly. I won’t know what to do when I’m there by myself? I’m a pretty smart girl. I’m sure I can figure it out. I’ll have a question and I have to ask an unfamiliar face? Great! Where’s the problem there? Meeting new people is healthy thing to do. People are just people, just as you and I are. People will think there’s something wrong with me? They’ll question why I’m alone? Well, I mean, maybe one or two will wonder why I’m alone, but I have a feeling the conclusion they come to will have nothing to do with there being something wrong with me. And if it does… why should I care? I’ll never even know! Am I really worried about a thought that a person I don’t knowMIGHT have? Silliness. Pure silliness. Madness, even.

Yet I’m sure I’m not alone in these worries. If you’re with me, let’s do something about it. Together… yet separately. I challenge you to go somewhere alone. Somewhere you’ve never before dreamt of going alone. Go. Just go. Even if it’s for four and a half minutes. Do it. You might just find out you like it better that way.

Drive

Go for a drive. Grab your film camera and take yourself for a scenic drive, with no destination in sight. Roll down the windows, blast that song again and again, and truly experience the freedom you’ve been given. Stop often, or not at all. If something you see sparks your interest, pull over. Maybe it’s a retro-looking diner up ahead, or a field of flowers you spot in the distance. Go there, be there, and take it all in.

Cafe

Hang out at a cafe. You know that cafe, the one with an atmosphere so cozy you could just live in it. Go there, sans computer. Bring a book or some watercolors , bring your headphones… or not. Sip slowly, taking in not just the beautiful flavor and aroma, but also the warm, calming energy around you. Allow yourself to sink into that perfectly worn-in cushion, and stay all afternoon.

Book on ladder

Relax at the library. Choose the oldest looking fiction book you can find, and open it midway. Sit on the floor, crossed-legged, between two bookcases. Maybe even take your shoes off. Start reading and don’t stop. Make up the first half of the book in your mind. Pretend you’re one of the characters. Feel her emotions. Experience her experiences. Cry if you need to. Allow yourself to get lost in the world that exists on those pages before your eyes

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Wander through a museum. It could be an old favorite, or one you’ve never before experienced. In either case, go with a fresh perspective. Seek to learn something new and to be inspired to think, make, or do in a brand new way. Don’t feel the need to visit every room or stay for a certain amount of time. Go to experience it as it comes, and when you come to a point where you feel fulfilled, head on home.

Jeffery Campbell heels on towel

Treat yourself to a fancy meal. Get dressed up for a date with no one but yourself. Feel confident, and go. Order something you can’t pronounce. Save room for dessert. Take every bite as if it were your first. Learn your waiter’s name. When you say “thank you,” mean it. Feel gratitude for all of those who partook in making this meal possible, from the person who planted that tomato seed that became part of your salad, all the way to the one who delivered the chair on which you sit. Marvel at the incredible skills possessed by each of those people, and then marvel at all of your own.

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Go to a show. Music is a powerful thing. Choose a band that you know will make you feel something. Go alone and ready to dance. Close your eyes, let the beautiful vibrations move you, internally and externally. Make a new friend, just for the night. Leave feeling refreshed and full of positivity.

Painting, crochet

Take an art class. Be it painting, pottery, improv, or anything else, put yourself in a situation that teaches you to harness your creativity in new ways. Use your hands, your eyes, your brain, and your soul. Let creative energy flow through you, and express it in ways you never thought possible. Let it in, let it out, and never think twice about it.

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See a movie. Get a huge bucket of popcorn (or sneak in your own). Get there early. Find the best seat. Watch every preview. Look around from time to time, at this room filled with strangers who are all sharing a similar experience at once. Feel comfort in this sense of community, as you all laugh and cry together. Realize that, while you may be by yourself, you’re certainly not alone.

What will you venture off to do on your own?

Source: Inspiration: 8 Things To Do Alone… For A Change | Free People Blog http://blog.freepeople.com/2014/02/change-2/#ixzz2uiEMACcF

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Wow, what a great testimony for strong faith…

Originally posted on Beyond the Pale:

I don’t like dance—I know, I know, I’m a cultural Philistine, but I’m unrepentant about it. The day my eldest chose to quit ballet in favor of horse riding I rejoiced knowing that I had escaped years of agonizing recitals. But I have two girls and my amnesty is jeopardized every time the youngest does a pirouette through the house. I’m sweating again.

I may be culturally deficient, but I’m not altogether ignorant. I do know who Scott Hamilton is. And yes, I know that he’s not a dancer. He’s a skater. But my animus against flowing forms means that the disciplines get lumped together. And I used ‘lumped’ purposefully, unrepentant Philistine that I am.

But as I was saying,  I know who Scott Hamilton is, and on the occasions I have seen him on TV I have found him quite likeable. He seems like the kind of guy I…

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This sums up why I haven’t blogged in a while, and probably won’t for some time….

Originally posted on Ajaytao 2010:

There is a sacredness in tears

There is a sacredness in tears

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