We Found the Loch Ness Monster

After a singularly tiring and crazy week of cross-college projects, my friend and I decided to escape to Scotland for the weekend to see the Aurora Borealis. Sadly we missed the northern lights but we did eat a ridiculous amount of haggis, had the best American-style breakfast of my life (in Scotland), and hiked up a ridge overlooking Loch Ness where we later saw NESSIE. That's right. We saw her.

Just look at that picture up there. Straight out of a landscape gallery.

First World War Centenary: Ypres Battlefield Tour

Today is Remebrance Day in Britain (Veterans Day in the U.S.), and this year marks the centenary of the First World War. When Americans think of "The Great War," we vaguely remember something about mustard gas, tanks, and No Man's Land. But you don't really understand what a total war is until you see the 100-foot diameter crater a land mine left in a small town in Belgium.

Obviously this post will be a pretty serious so if you're already in a bad mood, maybe go watch something happy instead.

My First Month in London

LONDON. What is there really to say? It's big and beautiful and full of languages and cute little parks and well-dressed people and Target dogs. London is so fancy I feel like I should have a monocle on at all times. I honestly feel weird walking from Westminster to Trafalgar Square not on horseback (the Horse Guards are pressuring me). I feel really overwhelmed because there are so many things going on I feel like I'm missing out on LIFE even though I haven't sat down for three weeks! Including when I stood for 3.5 hours to see a play with a REALLY FAMOUS PERSON that is maybe not as famous as you would expect but definitely one of those people on my little creeping list.


HMS Victory

I...have finally seen...the HMS Victory. If you don't know what that is, it's pretty much the most important thing that's every happened to me in my life. Studying history can be really boring if you spend all your time reading and not enough time seeking out cool things in museums and Historic Dockyards. The nice thing about the Victory is that you can actually touch a ship because the ship is the museum. IS THIS REAL LIFE?

Minimalist London Moving List

I did it!!! I moved to London and it is 1000 times more amazing than you can imagine. It is entirely possible that I cried like a huge nerd when I took a bus over the Thames and saw the Eye and Big Ben. Right now I'm getting settled, shaking off the jet lag and doing some exploring so I'll have plenty of London photos to share! But for now I wanted to show you guys what I ended up packing for the trip; you know I've been laying awake all night for six months wondering what would make it into my suitcase.

Only One Week Left!

Guess what happens less than one week from today

New bags for London and blog news!

Hello! Check out my new blog! It's so CLEAN. The one I had before was very tiny and hard to read even for me, so I decided to upgrade. You can also email me now at evelovesthings@gmail.com, and follow me on Bloglovin! Bloglovin is a site that lets you follow and discover blogs and read them in a feed (and it's photo-based so your eyes will rejoice)!

In other news, guess what I just bought?!

Big big IMPORTANT exciting awesome LONDON NEWS!

I JUST BOUGHT FOURTH ROW CENTER SEATS FOR HAMLET STARRING BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH!!!!! The show is like a year from now but YAAAY! I have never seen any of my favorite actors live before and I am gonna see Benedict. BENEDICT. I sadly missed out on seeing Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus this year but you know he's going to do more theatre (especially Shakespeare) and I am SO down. But BENEDICT. When he's up on stage I'm going to throw a copy of Parade's End at him so he knows that I am DEEPLY DISPLEASED with how sad Christopher Tietjens is/was.

If you haven't seen Parade's End (or don't know who Benedict is...dear GOD go get a free Netflix trial like right now), you need to see it this very moment. It is without exaggeration the best British period piece I have ever seen (and I've seen a lot), and maybe the best movie/miniseries I ever saw. Everyone in it is fan-tas-tic and if you can watch it without wanting to throw a brick through the TV (stupid sad British people being AMAZING YET VERY SAD), you probably have a heart of stone. There are uniforms, Votes for Women, fabulous socialites, Hobble skirts, and accents so posh they're unintelligible. And Benedict cries like every ten minutes so you might want watch it with a pillow or stuffed animal that you can squeeze in anger.






Are you watching it yet?

In other London news, (Bum-ba-da-dum! That was a triumphant trumpet sound) I got my visa! That means I 
can jet off to London any time I want to! But I'M NOT READY! I mean of course I was born ready to start a spectacular life in London, but I still have so much to do before I go. There have already been some bag-packing tests, clothes shopping expeditions, and account-closing phone calls, but I still need to visit my extended family and buy some Hunter rainboots (yaaas!). Did I mention that I have lost enough weight that I will be able to wear boots again? TALL boots! Riding boots! Rain boots! Four-hundred dollar tall Burberry riding-style rain boots!

Sigh. Some day.

In the meantime, I can look forward to the Ypres Salient battlefield tour in September that my residence hall invited me to! Ypres Salient is in Belgium and they are having tours of three battle sites for the centenary of the First World War this year. If there is anything related to the early 20th century going on, I am all over it. Especially military history things. This has zero to do with Parade's End I swear.


Oops...I'm moving overseas

The other day I was just saying that I had plenty of time to get all my affairs in order before I move to London: all my paperwork says that I'll get information in late July about where to go and when to do what. Cut to me getting both my housing move-in information and CAS number (the thing that proves you're actually going to a school) emails on Monday and surprise! They want me to move in August 29th! Ahhh!

What what what?! So soon? I mean, I won't actually show up until about a week after that, but this is really happening. London is saying we're ready we're ready come now, come on! But I haven't even done my two-months-to-go packing experiments!! My loan information hasn't come in so I haven't even applied yet (argh), my visa has to come in before I book a flight (ARGH), and all my clothes are too big since I lost weight. My life is a meeesssssss!

Allllright. This situation calls for a list.

Things Eve Needs to Do to Get Her Butt to London:
  1. New wardrobe. My industry-confounding pear shape aside, all my clothes are too big now. Time for skinny jeans, white tees, and voluminous drape-y sweaters I recently decided I love (cause you can just sweep into rooms and say "why yes HELLOOO everyone" and kind of flap your sweater-wings)
  2. Bag Decisions. I have a really nice luggage set from L.L. Bean but the large suitcase is TOO large. It usually ends up weighing over 50 lbs when half full. But then that was when I took like 20 books with me to Seattle in it. Whoops.
  3. Save a Ton of Crap to Evernote. Because I cannot be trusted with loose documents; I'll leave them at Chipotle or on the hand dryer in the bathroom.
  4. Beat A Link Between Worlds. There is no way I will have time to play my DS once school starts (booooo) so I'd better take care of Hyrule/Lorule Castle before I get handed a reading list that will bury me. 
  5. Finish/Start Americanah. There's race issues and immigration issues and London issues and I'm all over it. Knowing how I am it will probably get thrown frantically in my carry on luggage for the plane ride over. 
  6. Fix my Fox Backpack. There's still a hole in the seam! Dangit.
  7. Quit My Job. Not too difficult since I'm classified as Some Person That Works Whenever, but I'll have to leave a list of how to do everything for the next poor sap.
  8. Hold Makeup Tryouts. Sorry Urban Decay palette, you didn't make the team this year. Nor did you, brush I never use.
  9. Call My One London Friend. And beg for advice on places to go and shop in London. If I can afford to shop. Erp.
  10. Visit Family. Luckily most of them live along I-10 so I can get them all in one swoop.
It's all good though. Soon I shall be gliding through every museum, archive, library, and fancy collection in London and eating all their biscuits. And creeping majorly on the health food store I found in Portobello Road. Some of the prices made me want to cry, but they had everything you could possibly need, perfectly squashed and organized in a tiny little store.

And I will buy it all and put it in jars on my shelves and plot deviously how I might eat it. DEVIOUSLY.

The Perfect School Bag At Last!

Every day I am inching closer and closer to an indescribably fabulous new life in London. STILL NOT SOON ENOUGH.

In the mean time I've been salivating over expensive, sleek-looking, super fancy London bags, and when I went to buy one during a big sale they were out of the color I wanted. I was intensely displeased. There followed several hours of bag tangrams, but nothing I had was big enough for all the stuff I'll need for school. In these situations I usually get upset and start over from scratch; I decided to do a 90's throwback and look at backpacks. I was rooting around in my closet and lo, I discover this beauty!

Fox backpack black

I. LOVE. This bag. My friend Nico gave it to me; she was also rooting around in her closet and didn't need it anymore. So it was free. And it has lots of pockets with multi-colored dots inside, so how could I possibly go wrong?

Fox backpack interior with Macbook

I can't believe I quit using it just because it had a rip in the seam (easily fixed). Not many bags can hold my computer, charger, and water bottle (without being unreasonably large). And this one has so many pockets! LOOK HOW ORGANIZED:

Fox backpack inside pockets

Sigh. Simple pleasures.

Anyway, because I am horribly vain, I've been worrying about how I'll look in London. Part of me is still not over my stupid fear of looking like a tourist, or really American, or a college student. But what's wrong with looking young and sporty and American? I already have an unmistakably American face/attitude (people tell me I smile too much, but am I gonna stop? NOPE!), so I might as well represent and look like a 20-something while I still can. There's plenty of time to look professional when I'm 30 and have a big girl job.

It's a really nice feeling to throw open your closet and find a once- and still-loved item that you thought you had to buy. I've been trying to only buy things that will last, because there's no reason to toss a perfectly good backpack for a really expensive travel bag. Not in my case, anyway. I'm only planning to move with three bags (a suitcase, a duffel bag and my Fox backpack) to avoid unnecessary fees and Heathrow stress, and the more money I save now the more I'll have to spend on drinks, theater tickets, Liberty of London handkerchiefs, and Curzon Soho memberships.

So now that I have abandoned my grand plans to spend a ton of money to look intimidating, I feel free to be myself. This means lots of skinny jeans, Onitsuka Tigers, and my new, also 90's Casio sports watch.

I am ready.

Why I love The Legend of Zelda (even when I hate it)

Legend of Zelda Nintendo 3DSXL

Hello there little friend.

I got this beautiful golden thing for my birthday and it is as amazing as it is shiny. It's INFINITELY bigger than my DS lite (which of course quit working the second I tried to sell it...sigh) and they changed a lot of games so you actually use the buttons instead of repeatedly stabbing the bottom screen with a golf-pencil-sized stylus. And lastly but not leastly, it's the Legend of Zelda edition (that comes with A Link Between Worlds) and has a big ol' Triforce on the front. Yay!

Every Zelda game is essentially the same set up with some kind of twist. Somebody snatches the princess, you have to go to the temples to get the things, at some point you hang glide using a chicken, and there's always a treasure chest up on a ledge that you will never reach. Playing these games has been the most infuriating experience of my life so far. Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks (both on my tiny tiny DS lite) were so aggravating I can't even speak about it.

I assume the game developers at Nintendo live in a Frankenstein-esque dark crumbling mansion on a cliff side and cackle loudly with lightning and thunder in the background while they put one less heart in the boss chamber than you need. That or they'll put some ridiculously impossible quest in the game and one tech looks at the other and says, "Aw man they'll never be able to do it" and then they laugh and high five each other. "You have to use a grappling hook to sling yourself around the boss but the boss is always standing in the way of the one place you can hang on to hahaha! Then we'll make this really sensitive Wii remote and make it impossible to hold it right for the one movement we named the game after! LAWL!!"

So why have I played eight of these things?! BECAUSE THEY'RE FANTASTIC.

You've got a horse/train/albatross/broomstick/boat, a sword, magic health snacks, and sometimes you can play a song and move a 1000 ton stone wall or raise an underwater palace. There are no rules.

An even though they can be so stressful you think you're going to come unglued, they wouldn't be fun if they weren't challenging! I do my best work when someone spits in my face and DARES me to do something. Tell me I can't do it and I'll hulk up and show you what's what.

So even though the puzzles can be a little unruly, and some of the weapons targeting is crazy, and everything is on a ledge you can't get to, Zelda games are my favorites (particularly Windwaker). You can fly, teleport, swordfight, blow things up, talk to animals, and time travel. I just wish you could spend more time with Zelda.

New Things I Love

Even if I weren't so absentminded about where I put things, I just love being organized. It's just a small, simple thing that makes me happy. I spend a lot of time lusting after weekender bags but they're usually just huge, gaping sacks that swallow up your lipsticks and car keys. That is unless you have--a bag organizer! *trumpets* *elephants* *trumpeters on elephants*

pink purse organizer

I have a tendency to leave really important things in other bags, behind my bed, under my computer table, etc. But no more! Ebay has a huge selection of organizers in every color for about $7 with shipping.  I really love this thing. It's super soft so you can put cheap sunglasses in the side pockets, the snaps on the side let you expand or collapse it for different bags, and the zippered compartments are great for my rat nest of charger cables and my iPad mini. I can even get a book, my wallet, and my 3DS in the middle pocket. My cavernous Coach bag is no longer a black pit of despair!

Coach bag purse organizer

London Trip: V&A Fashion Exhibits, English Gardens, and Tapas

London London London London is the greatest city in the world and I am so completely in love with it. I had the most amazing trip: the weather was perfect, everything I ate was incredible, and my Airbnb was swank. My host was awesome; she made me tea, bought me fruit for breakfast, and told me how to get to Selfridges. Unfortunately I didn't take a lot of pictures because I was running all over the place getting lost, but I managed to take a few in between stuffing my face, taking the wrong bus twice, and running up and down Regent Street looking for--wait for it--the perfect bag.

Casa Brindisa anchovies

Casa Brindisa is an amazing tapas restaurant right down the road from the Victoria and Albert Museum. I could quite literally sit in there and eat their anchovies on that soft, thick toast covered in aioli for the rest of my life. After I successfully scarfed down two small baskets of bread (oops) I strolled down to the V&A and saw their two new fashion exhibits: The Glamour of Italian Fashion since 1945 and Wedding Dresses 1775-2014. They were phenomenal, and made me unbearably excited (as if I wasn't already) to study there in September/waltz around like I own the place.

For my birthday I went for a run in Regent's Park and even though the tulips were a little sad and droopy, the flowers there were insane. The English have some kind of deal with the devil to make outrageous gardens and beautiful, sprawling parks. There were lots of ducks and HUGE ENORMOUS GEESE, although not as big as the swans at Hampton Court Palace. Have you ever seen a swan up close? They're TERRIFYING. Luckily I was a safe distance from and and all water fowl this trip.

Regent's Park tulips

Red and White Tulip closeup

How is it that I am moving to this wonderful magical place?! Does it really exist even though I've been there three times? Am I really going to get to poke around in archives and museum collections and go to Europe on school trips?!?!


London Round Two: Carry-on Only on an International Flight

I. LOVE. Packing. I get more excited for packing than the actual trip (until I get there, of course). I have spent the past two weeks trawling for "what's in my bag?" posts because A) seeing things neatly organized and arranged makes me super happy, B) I always plan my bag-packing at least a month in advance out of both excitement and boredom, C) I am on a life-long quest for the PERFECT weekender/carry on bag. It's my White Whale. Right now I'm looking very hard at those Lo & Sons OMG bags I see everywhere, especially because their product page has not only a picture of all the things that fit inside one bag (clearly they saw me coming), but also a video of a lady putting everything inside. Visual people, rejoice! Now go forth and watch their bag-filling video and weep for joy.

I leave for my London housing-scouting trip in four days. Naturally, I started planning what to bring about a month ago (not to mention the hours spent staring at the Google map I made, trying to will the trip into the present). Hopefully this will be my most streamlined trip yet; I need to save room for all the birthday treats I plan to buy myself.

I've decided to try and fit everything into two carry on bags since the trip is only five days. Checking bags is a hassle and do I really need all that stuff?  No. There's no way I can plan out my clothes bag so far in advance, but I did put together a list of what MUST go in my personal item and get gently shoved under the seat.

what's in my bag london

Things I'm Bringing in My Carry On Which Will Hopefully Not Be Disastrously Heavy:

1) iPad (cleverly disguised as a Moleskine notebook): I loaded it with the HBO/BBC Parade's End and Fitzgerald's Tender is the Night because apparently I enjoy having my heart stomped on.

2) Planner: For jotting notes, looking up addresses when there's no (free) wi-fi, and using the appropriate bear sticker to describe your mood that day.

3) Passport: Otherwise I will be rudely surprised when I try to get through customs.

4) Kiehl's Facial Mist: There's nothing worse than feeling so dried out, you want to pour water in your nose. A few sprays of this makes you feel a lot less gross.

5) Nintendo 3DS: This one came loaded with The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and I am saving it for the inevitable few-hour wide-awake period between plane naps.

6) Fujifilm Instax Camera: It's a little bulky but so much fun to take little polaroid-looking pictures and put sticker-frames on them.

7) Sunglasses: Even though I'm going to England there's a chance for sunlight.

8) Sleep Mask: Someone always has their window open right when the pilot turns and the windows are facing directly into the sun.

9) Neon Sharpies: Sometimes you need to write something VERY IMPORTANT that you can see from space.

10) Lancôme Palette: This thing has mascara, powder, AND lip liner which is impossible to find in other palettes. I bought it on the flight from London to Atlanta before and I'm excited to use it to obsessively check my eyeliner.

11) Kiwi: Air travel can be stressful and you might need something cute to look to keep from hulking up on someone (seriously how do I always end up with eleven?)

There are a few other things I'm bringing that aren't in the picture like chargers, my wallet, snacks, and my makeup bag. But those are things I bring around with me every day. I almost never get to use my Instax camera or my facial mist (it's crazy humid here 100% of the time).

Hopefully I have a great experience going carry-on only, since I plan to only check one (maybe two) bags when I move to London later this year. I'll let you know how it goes!

Springtime Juice Cleanse & Ten Whole Foods I'm Excited to Eat

urban remedy juice cleanse

I finished the cleanse! It was surprisingly easily. Mostly because I didn't have to think for one second about what to eat for three days: just open the fridge and knock back a bottle. The juices were delicious (although one was more of a shake made of raspberries and was kind of like drinking sludge) and I have made a juice every day since the cleanse ended. Juicing is way easier and pleasant now, for some reason before I cut everything up too much before and it took forever. But it's really not a big deal when you'll got a stock pile of veggie leftovers and surplus apples hanging around. I researched some of the local farms that offer CSA boxes (the best idea I've ever heard of really) and I missed the deadline for the one I wanted, so I'll have to do some more searching. But there are all kinds of farmer's markets and visitable farms around here that I didn't know about until now (as well as a half-built Whole Foods that torments me every day that it isn't finished yet) and I plan on descending on all of them and making off with their shiny, gorgeous, crispy, tasty, produce. Also, going down near the Gulf to get fresh seafood. There aren't words in any language to describe how I feel about good seafood. THERE IS NO GREATER GIFT FOR YOUR STOMACH.

juice cleanse prep

Except of course the silky golden nectar that floats down your gullet when you juice some fresh vegetables and fruit. I had never tried fennel before and it smells licorice-y and WONDERFUL and why did I give up on juicing before? Celery is one of the best smelling veggies you can put near your snoot, and parsley makes juices taste irresistibly fresh. It doesn't take as long as I remember (not even cleaning all the parts in between juice types) and my juicers does a crazy good job. Ah, well. I know now. Soon it will be summer and there will be incredibly fresh, in-season tomatoes and cucumbers all over the place and in my tummbly.

Now that I've gotten back to eating nice things, there are lots of things I'm excited to eat. Eating super healthy is really fun because it's new, and there are all kinds of different and better ways to feed yourself than before. Most of the time, too, health food tastes a million times better. Have you ever had raw honey? Go wrap your lips around that.

Ahem. Ten Whole Foods I'm Excited to Eat:

  1. Quinoa. It cooks faster than most gluten-free grains (the brown rice I have says cook for 50 minutes? What's going on?!) and actually tastes like something.

  2. Artichokes. Just don't braise them in a bunch of wine and an overripe lemon that will ruin the entire dish and send you into a severe food rage.

  3. Butternut Squash. You can just sauté it in coconut oil, add salt, garlic, and curry powder, and you will try to lick the pan but DON'T because it's hot and you'll burn.

  4. Chickpeas. Canned wild sardines go in most of my salads, and chickpeas taste amazing when covered in sardine olive oil from the can. And some ras el hanout spices. Seriously, so get yourself some of that. It has rose petals in it.

  5. Blackberries/raspberries. I love love love having berries around to snack on but they go bad quickly so you have to strategically plan your snacking and/or put them in your Hello Kitty lunch box for the next day.

  6. Cashews. I'm allergic to tree nuts but cashews are actually a seed. Of course every healthy recipe calls for walnuts or almonds or something, but cashews usually do the trick.

  7. Carrots. Carrot juice is really sweet and you can make your own V8 or apple-carrot-ginger juice (and put a crazy amount of ginger so it literally slaps your tongue in the face).

  8. Broccoli. It likes to be roasted and thrown in udon noodle soups, but also stinks up the kitchen at work when you reheat it.

  9. Cucumbers. After a slightly traumatic experience with "raw cucumber soup" from another detox, I had sworn to never eat them again, but juiced cukes are a different matter. I just need some other ingredients to mellow out the cucumber-i-ness.

  10. Cacao. I keep forgetting to add this magical chocolatey powder into my shakes, but you can make all kinds of not-deadly desserts and snacks with it too.

I've been eating really well for the past week and I feel great! I already feel so wonderful simply because it's spring and everything is alive and happy outside. I went to a little kitchen store across from the Jesuit College and ALL the azaleas were open and crazy! I ended up driving all over town and through the fancy neighborhoods and saw azaleas everywhere. Huge, lush bushes just looming around every corner. I mean these things really look like they could eat you and no one would know where you had gone. The picture below is my favorite hot pink color, but there were also purple, coral, like pink, and white blossoms. They will only be open for a few weeks at most, but they make me so happy.

Doing the juice cleanse in spring was a great idea. I felt so optimistic and renewed about the weather that it just made sense to change my routine as well. Winter can be wonderful because you just want to stay home in your cozy bed fort, but spring makes you energized and want to go out into the world. And that includes going out and doing things for yourself. It's much easier to make a positive change in your life when you feel positive, especially since in the next month or so it will be so miserably hot outside, no one will want to do anything. But for now I'm going to enjoy our brief spring (and look forward to my London trip in three weeks!) and get out and about as much as I can!

pink azaleas

Ich trinke Saft: Juice Cleansing and German


A few posts ago I said that one of my goals was to detox every season. Spring has officially sprung here in South Louisiana (and I will soon do a post of all the absolutely gorgeous azaleas that are blooming right now) and the weather is perfect and I am exploding with sunshine and happiness. I remember reading in an alkaline diet cookbook that the best time to do a detox is when the seasons (and your body) are in transition, so seeing as it was 45 degrees yesterday morning and 70 in the afternoon, I think it's about time to spring clean my body.

The other day I watched Hungry for Change (let's hear it for Amazon Prime), a documentary about the traps of the diet industry and processed foods. There were lots of familiar faces; I recognized the man from Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and Dr. Junger who developed the Clean program. I kind of jumped into that program without knowing what I was doing so I ended up quitting it early, but when I was doing it right I felt amazing. I lost about 15 pounds of water weight in two and a half weeks, and my skin looked great. Anyway, I was already familiar with a lot of the things that they talked about in the documentary but there were also some mind-blowing moments that reminded me I need to get on better track with eating healthy (double doozies are no longer my friends). I eat way healthier than I used to but lately I've been bingeing on Reese's for no good reason. What convinced me the most was that they were all promoting juice cleanses; I have a juicer but it's a lot of trouble to use more than casually. Then I remembered that I had seen some ready-made cleanse packages online that were super expensive, but when I looked again and figured in the work, expense, and time that juicing for three whole days would take, I figured I couldn't put a price on my health.

So I've decided to start the Urban Remedy Signature Cleanse, which looks delicious (and the site looks legit: anyone who is that thorough and that design-minded gets my vote). I'll start with a three-day one and I'm sure it will be crazy helpful, even if I might have to be a hermit for the weekend. This weekend is the perfect time for a cleanse; it's unreasonably beautiful outside and I will probably want to spend lots of time just wandering outside the convent in town leering at their azalea bushes (and maybe go poke around that herbalist's shop). I also found a juice bar nearby  that I'm dying to try out. My kit should come in the mail tomorrow and there will definitely be a post-cleanse post next week; I'll be sure to take pictures, write down how I'm feeling, and let you know how the juices taste. I'm excited!

And if you're wondering what the deal is with the title, it's that I found this awesome language app called Duolingo, and I started learning German. Learning a new language wasn't one of my goals for this year but I've always always wanted to learn German so I went for it. Duolingo is completely free, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to use. There's an adorable owl coach (above!) that reminds you to practice every day based on how fast you want to progress (and you can change his outfits too). You can use on your computer or other device and you only have to practice a little every day. It also has French, which I desperately need to improve, and I'm sure I'll have to read a few more languages for design history/traveling around Europe. If I learned anything on my Europe trip in college it's that central Europeans probably speak German. The "Holy Roman Empire" left quite a legacy; we visited Hungary, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Austria and Germany, and if German wasn't their first language it was one of their secondary ones. Not so in France, where the Frenchiness is VERY FRENCH and if you don't speak French then good day to you, sir.

All kinds of new things happening for spring! I love spring. ❤

I Love Notebooks

I have an undying love affair with paper notebooks. I even have Moleskine-looking covers for my iPad and iPhone. Don't get me wrong, tablets are AMAZING. I adore my iPad; I use it to read books, Pocket articles, recipes on Evernote, and anytime my computer is just too bulky to deal with. It's an unbelievable invention, really. And I love the idea of being paperless, sharing, and never being without important files.  But notebooks are just begging you to scribble all over them and draw elephants on the page corners. You can tape ticket stubs inside, use all your neon highlighters to make rainbow notes, and you don't have to take them out of your bags at airport security checkpoints. I find it's good to have a balance of fancy screen technology and good old paper things that you can throw at a wall without worrying about. Not that you should make that a habit. But sometimes you want to watch Kitchen Nightmares in bed with your nose nearly against the screen, and sometimes you need to test out your new neon Sharpies.

I have lusted after journals and diaries my whole life but would only ever write in a few pages. If I made one false move and scribbled in the wrong place, they were no longer the perfect manuscript I had envisioned and the book was dead to me (not wasteful at all). But recently I finally filled up an entire journal because I quit worrying about it! I just wrote in my lazy cursive and told myself to calm down. I have always been obsessed with aesthetics and wanted the things I made to be p-e-r-f-e-c-t and if they weren't I would give up. But once I  threw up my hands and quit being so ridiculous, I actually accomplished something! Perfectionism (and snobbishness) has always gotten in my way before, but now I feel grown up enough to just get things done. If you wait until all the conditions are perfect, you will wait forever.

Anyway, Friday at work I noticed there was a 50% off sale table full of Moleskine and Moleskine-looking notebooks that looked awfully lonely. My coworker that runs the museum store must have seen me coming. I kept putting off my inevitable purchase (or otherwise missed my chance by not getting to the store before it closed) but after I watched last week's episode of Parks and Recreation and saw Leslie' little red friend-ranker notebook I could no longer help myself. I figured at the very least, a new journal would help me on my journey to becoming more Knope-like (next I need to make some idea binders).

I think Leslie's notebook is actually a Moleskine, but there was a red Leuchtturm (a German notebook company) at the museum store that looked similar and I GREATLY DESIRED IT. Turns out that no one was buying them because 1) Leuchtturm isn't as familiar as Moleskine and 2) Europeans love square grid notepaper and Americans are confused by it outside of math class. Anyway, I got a blue Leuchtturm and a Moleskine sketchbook; as you can see they're still in shrink wrap but I checked out the display copies and I am in love. I even got a pen holder that sticks onto the back cover of the Leuchtturm (Germans think of everything). I have a paper day planner as well, but these will be for my exciting new sparkly life across the sea. I feel like running around a museum requires a neat little book (and a pencil so you don't mark up exhibits by mistake) and I can see myself writing in a notebook on trains and in front of the National Gallery.  It's just such a nice feeling to bring home a nice clean notebook and fill it with all kinds of things. And it really comes in handy when you are renting a flat in London for a week and the wifi goes out and the landlord's number is in an email saved on your iPad. Paper saves the day!

So if you are in the market for some nice writing things, and you LOVE NEON like I totally do, get thee to Leuchtturm!

P.S. I just like to spread the word about products cause I love them, I'm certainly not getting any money for this. But if any companies wanted to make me their spokesperson I have a list of favorite things :)

The Year of Eve

I got in. I got into the Royal College of Art. I'm going to live in London for two years and study history of design. Please excuse me while I scream loudly in another room because LITERALLY ALL MY DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE! There has never been any person in the history of the universe that is as happy as I am right now. I have my victory song picked out and I plan on blowing out my speakers with it later on. And yes, it is Daft Punk.

Now that my happy happy news is out and about, I feel great: partly because I have a great near future ahead of me, and partly because I promised myself that this would be The Year of Eve. The Year of Eve is meant to be the exact opposite of The Three Years After College When I Did Nothing and Complained About My Life To Anyone Who Would Listen. At some point this past October I realized that no one was going to jump-start my life except me, and I started volunteering at the art museum and began the RCA application. Now I have a part time job at the museum and a two year MA program to look forward to. It's amazing what you can do if you start small with baby steps, and have some kind of plan in place for yourself (and a Plan B). This January I did what everyone does (and then throws away); I made a resolution list. Well, it's more of a poster. And now looking at the word poster I think I will turn it into one...

Anyway, I made a list of really reasonable things to do this year/every month/every season. It worked out pretty well for me last year since I did go to London, watched Star Trek Into Darkness and started a (failed) blog. This year I decided I was tired of sitting around waiting for thing to happen to me, and instead I want to go out into the world and do all the things. But I didn't want to set myself up for failure, so I made two really big goals and a lot of smaller ones (so I felt like I accomplished something):

1) Four detoxes. I read somewhere that you should detox your body every season to flush out all the toxins. This time I won't try to be hardcore and jump into the Clean program cold turkey.

2) Twelve books. Reading one book per month doesn't sound like much, but I can never find ones that I like. I do have a Goodreads account, and it's good for keeping track of what you want to read (you can even scan barcodes of books to save to your little bookshelf on your phone--we are living in the future).

3) Lose 50lbs. I am almost halfway there. I've lost 22 pounds running so far and even though it's been rough lately with all the Reese's eggs peeping at you around corners at CVS, I think I can reach my goal well before the end of the year.

4) Natural beauty. In 2008 my friend brought me to a Sephora for the first time, and since then I have built up a rat hoard of luxury beauty products. But most of them are full of chemicals and they're CRAZY expensive, so I've decided that when I run out of something this year, it will be replaced with a natural version (or something I make myself from Henry Happened: that woman is a genius).

5) Mint. I. Need. To. Stay. On. BUDGET.

6) New City. It was either London or Houston and I think we know who won.

7) 5K. I haven't run a race yet (I was in England when my running group ran theirs) but I can run for five miles nonstop, which I think is pretty impressive for someone who prayed for death when I had to run a lap in P.E. Also, half-marathon training really shows you how having a plan makes reaching your goal not scary.

8) Thank You Notes. Nothing is better than receiving a hand-written letter in the mail, unless it's a cute little thank you card saying how awesome you are for that thing you did.

9) Buy from Etsy. There are lots of really unique handmade shops on there, and since I am unbearably picky I can usually find something there when I can't in regular stores.

10) Draw from books. A while back I got some super cute How to Draw books for animals, dresses, plants, and people. I just like to draw cute things and make my planner happy.

11) (how stupid is it that I have eleven things and not ten) Green/Aveda tea. I must have been tired at this point in the poster process. Basically I need to buy my yearly bottle of Aveda tea (the best tea you will ever drink in your life) and drink less English Breakfast.

So I've done pretty well so far; there are still some tiny things I can do that I haven't gotten around to. I might even make some new goals for myself this year. Although I don't think I can top moving to England and studying in the coolest program ever. In the best city. At the most amazing museum.

AAH! ❤❤❤

London Celebrities & Bad Oysters


I am finally, FINALLY back from almost two weeks in London, where I had my interview for the Royal College of Art, stood about three feet away from HRH the Duke of Cambridge, and got food poisoning from some bad oysters in Soho (tip: you should probably never ever order raw oysters unless you are willing to BET YOUR LIFE that they are super fresh). I'm still a little weak but mostly over being sick, and I did lose some extra weight although I would rather have kept it and not been ill. It was the kind of sick where you pray for death, but death never comes.

Anyway, my trip was incredibly busy but great. London is beautiful even in cold, nasty winter and it felt wonderful being around so many people running around doing London stuff. I saw more museums, palaces, and churches than I thought possible. I pretty much ignored every piece of advice or logic I talked about in my previous post about packing, and ended up bringing an obscene amount of extra junk I didn't need. We all have such lofty dreams about the makeup we'll wear and the clubs we'll grace with our presence, but it's just not meant to be. Not when you've been at the British Museum all day or waiting an hour in a common room and sweating buckets before the interview of your life (which went really well by the way, and I hope they appreciate all the money I spent on a last-minute dress, coat, and bag to look presentable). The tube is great to get around the city but once you've transferred to three different lines a day for five days you really want to shell out whatever a cabbie would ask you to ride in a car, in the open air, above ground. Walking up and down all those steps and riding 500 escalators makes you a little crabby at the end of 11 days. But it was worth it in the end to be able to wander around some of the best museums in the world (especially the free ones--yay!) and just drool over their collections. Except maybe standing a few feet back.

Now that I am back home in my own cozy bed with recognizable food brands and outlet-shapes, I signed up for a pro account with NoomWeight, which puts you in user groups to motivate you to log meals and lose weight. Although cutting back on calories is easy when you are sickly and have no appetite, I really like how minimalist the interface is. It's cheerful and easy to input food, and I actually like having little messages from my group encouraging me to log meals or exercise. I cannot wait to start running again; I feel like my muscles are just wasting away even though they couldn't be (no one's could after climbing that spiral staircase of death and barely-safe uneven ledge you had to scoot around at the base of the dome). It will be nice to get back into my gym routine and cook my own food with some vegetables in it no less. Sweet, delicious, gorgeous, not-bread food that will be very happy in my stomach. Coconut butter and greek yogurt and spaghetti squash and granola bars and roasted cauliflower *lip smacking noises* I AM EXCITED.

While I'm recuperating I will have to consider my potential home for the next two years. If I don't get an acceptance letter in mid-April, it will leave me a whole year to save money, get more museum experience, and do more research for my next application. If they accept me, I'll be really worried about money and being homesick, but I don't think this is an opportunity that I can pass up. This is the best program, in the best city, with the best resources and staff that I could possible ask for in my wildest dreams. Two years isn't that long if I decide not to continue living in the UK, and while I'm there I could make an unreasonable number of amazing contacts for jobs elsewhere. Being in another country so far away will be hard, but I moved across the country when I was 18. Why couldn't I move across an ocean at 24?

Assuming they accept me. Erp.

Existential Packing Crisis

Tomorrow  I will be jetting off to England, land of incredibly articulate and easily embarrassed actors, Alexander McQueen, and meat-heavy cuisine (although to be honest there will probably be more Asian than British food sliding down my gullet). I am SO excited for about a thousand reasons but most especially because the BAFTAs are happening Sunday the 16th! And if you think I won't be waiting outside in the cold and rain for hours to catch a glimpse of my favorite thespians, you are DEAD WRONG. Guys. I could see Christian Bale. Or Tom Hiddleston. I don't think the gravity of this situation has registered yet because I'm pretty sure when the actors start showing up I'm going to have a breakdown. SO BE IT.

Possible celebrity interactions aside, my favorite part of any trip is probably packing. For me it's an incredibly exact art; you can't bring all your nice things, because something might get left behind or lost, but you don't want to buy too many travel-only things that will just sit in your closet most of the time and be lonely. It's like a really intense, high-stakes competition to see if you can pack the perfect amount of stuff, and it's the hardest look at your life you'll ever take. And you sort of have this really existential conversation with yourself, like, "How many blushes should I bring? Do I really need three? Do I need any? Why do I wear makeup anyway? Why do I care about my appearance? WHY AM I EVEN HERE?!" The trick for me is to be realistic about what I actually use. And I'm becoming more and more minimalist these days (more minimalist...heh) and I find that I'm happier with less things in my bag. But sometimes you gotta whip out your never-worn dangly gold scroll earrings because when else will you wear them? (the answer is never)

The other challenge is playing Tetris with your clothes and shoes in your suitcase or duffel bag of choice. I can usually roll up all kinds of things and stuff them into a pair of boots, although once it backfired when I couldn't find my retainer for a month (it was in a high top sneaker). I have a really nice Coach computer bag that I got at an outlet about 6 years ago; it's still looks great and is made well, but a semi-rigid rectangular prism shape is tricky to stuff things in. You pretty much have to layer and stack things exactly right like a tangram and god forbid you need to take anything out during the flight. It is kind of fun to see what tiny things you can slide in the empty spaces, but it does turn into a bear trap when you try to dig anything out from the bottom. Maybe this will be the first plane trip in years that I will cheat on my Coach bag with a shapeless mini duffel instead, so I can stuff snacks and coats and maybe even a pillow inside.

Also, I'm SO excited because I'll be visiting the Royal College of Art, whose MA History of Design program is pretty much the dream of my entire life. The program has a partnership with the Victoria & Albert Museum (aaah!), and you have access to their collections as part of your study (AAAH!) and you basically get to study the one thing I have always wanted to study but I thought it didn't exist but it does in London and it's perfect (I'M DYING). I have never wanted something so badly in my entire life. But if I don't get in, I won't worry; it will give me a chance to work for another year, save my money, and get more experience, so when I apply again I can tear up that interview. It's happening.

I still can't believe that this is my life and I'm going back to my favorite, favorite city and there is a really good chance that I might stand across a barricade from Michael Fassbender. THIS IS REAL LIFE.

I think I run now

I christen this post, a running post.

I'm weirdly embarrassed when people give me encouragement for my current half marathon training, because they might be confused if I tell them I was inspired by Sandra Bullock's thighs in Gravity. If you've seen the movie, you'll remember the scene where she gets into the little cruiser thing and rips off her space suit and just kind of floats there, and you really can't focus on anything except how huge her legs are and the fact that she could probably beat down anyone who looked at her wrong. I could write a whole other blog post about her badass character (and I probably will) but really I was surprised because I always thought of Bullock as thin and wispy. But something about that role in particular just screamed, if you got off your booty you could be scary too. And that is ultimately my goal in life; to be so envied that I am literally terrifying. But in a good way.

So, after that I decided to finally join a gym and start working out. Years of run/walking in the miserable Louisiana heat in middle and high school P.E. had put me off running, so I avoided the treadmills like the plague. But then I thought it might be a good idea in case I moved somewhere that a gym would be either too expensive or too much trouble, and I could just run outside without having to pay for it. I downloaded Runkeeper (which is amazing) and did one of their Beginner to 5K training plans, and in several weeks I could run for 15 minutes instead of 30 seconds. I had been going to Anytime Fitness, and the manager mentioned that she and some other girls were starting a running group to train for a half marathon. I wasn't sure about the race itself, but I thought I might enjoy running with other people so I started the Hal Higdon Novice 1 plan. Right now I'm at the end of Week 5, and for the past two weeks I've actually been able to run five miles without stopping. It may be super slow running, but I did it! I still can't believe this is my life.

Until recently I've been the kind of person that puts any kind of decision off for later, and makes lots of excuses when I'm scared to do something. But now that I've been eating healthy and exercising I feel like I can do anything. I'm going to use this blog to track myself (and make sure I don't fall into too deep of a workout slump). In the past year or so I have completely changed the way I eat and cook, and I want to share what I've learned with others that might want to do the same. It can be really scary to try and eat "healthy" when there are 500 million food theories and opinions flying around; no two diets agree with each other about what you should or shouldn't eat and real food is so expensive it's unreal. But trust me, once you find what works for you, you'll feel better, think better, and most likely look better. 

Look forward to more training updates, food shopping hauls, travel doings, movie rambles, and things. Awesome things.

Eve <3

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