Art & Anglophilia

Nothing weighty here...just the musings of a girl trying to find the art in the ordinary

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tiffany faves

Ok, I haven't exactly figured out how to place these pictures exactly where I want them, but this is a start. These are some of my favorite pieces from Tiffany.......left is from the Cushion Collection, above right is from 1837 Collection, and below right is by Elsa Peretti for Tiffany. I love clean fluid shapes (Elsa Peretti does "fluid" like no other), and the 1837 stuff is so classic, simple, and cute.

images courtesy of

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

All Hail King Ralph

It never fails....Ralph Lauren always floors me with his designs. You think he can't possibly get any classier or more elegant, and then he comes out with more magnificent clothes. Both his Collection and Blue Label are breathtaking this fall. The motif for the Collection is Scottish Highlands, which is full of refined olive green plaids, fitted jackets, and wool skirts. This outfit shown at left is Blue Label, and is my absolute favorite! I LOVE herringbone jackets over any kind of sporty polo-type shirt, and this jockey dress is perfect. The belt and boots are perfect too! I don't know what else to say about this...I am speechless.

photo courtesy of

Post for 7/21/06

Last day! *sniff sniff* Mere and I walked along the South Bank today: through Borough Market, by Shakespeare's Globe, and over the Millenium Bridge. We had lunch at The Globe....the pub that Bridget Jones lived above. They majorly screwed up our order, but I didn't care because they had air conditioning. Meredith was extra excited because she's seeing London through "Bridget Jones vision". I had to listen to which characters said which lines at which spot in and around the pub. We loafed around for the rest of the afternoon, and had dinner at our favorite restaurant: Maxwell's. Yeah, I'm definitely moving to London.....NOTHING compares to this. Oh yeah, and the archaeology thing was a bust. But oh well.

Post for 7/20/06

We started today by going to Buckingham Palace. It was MUCH cooler, and we sat under a tree in Green Park for awhile. About 30 minutes into the changing of the guard, Meredith's bored whining peaked and we decided to leave. I was not happy about this, but we went to Westminster Abbey next, so that was ok. We had excellent fish'n'chips at this adorable pub called The Nag's Head, but unfortunately had to head home soon after this. I wasn't keeping a close enough eye on Meredith, and she had a Bacardi Breezer on an empty stomach. I made her sleep it off before we went out in public again. This is a pic of her and me (yes, "me", not "I") in front of the gardens at Buckingham. Notice how blindingly, unearthly white I am.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Post for 7/19/06

So, when did it start getting so obscenely hot in England? Or is this just in honor of my visit? Lucky me. Mere and I spent most of today brain-storming places that would be air-conditioned. We couldn't come up with anything. We're thinking of leaving notes in places we visit saying "tip from the tourists: get some air-conditioning". Finally around 7pm we dragged ourselves over to Parliament and sat in on the House of Lords. Not as entertaining this time, but I think Meredith was excited to be there. After that, we had dinner at this cute place called Cucino's, and walked along the bank. It is SO much nicer without that nasty sun out! Here's a pic of us at Parliament (note the "no photography" sign above my head).

Post for 7/18/06

Holy crap, this was a busy day. We started off at the British Museum, then went to Covent Garden to shop, then to St. Martin-in-the-Fields (where we saw lots of adorable old English people having tea and scones), THEN to Harrod's. I showed Meredith the horrible Di and Dodi shrine (shown at left), and she wrote in the guestbook "this is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen". Hee hee. I followed suit by writing "what a disgrace....this belongs in a circus". Seriously, Di was sooo much classier than that. So later in the evening we went to a pub for a drink and were about to go on a trek to find some Cadbury Roses (our favorite candy that you can't get in the U.S.), but we got sidetracked by this hot Irish guy named Blake who just started talking to us in the dorm hallway. Turns out his parents have a B&B near where I studied in Ireland, AND he'd been the law school at the U of M, so we all had a lot to talk about. He was absolutely hilarious, and the three of us talked for about two hours! We're hoping he'll show up in the hallway again :).

Post for 7/17/06

My silly sister, Meredith, arrived yesterday in all her hipster glory. Today, we went to the Tower of London and the London Dungeon. It was sunny, but HOT, and one of the beefeaters told me to "go put on some sunscreen". I love it when people assume that I am unaware that I am in danger of getting sunburned. Oh really, I have fair skin? Wow, I never knew.... I wonder when that happened. Anyhoo, we went to Covent Garden for dinner and ran into Collin, which was kind of crazy. We found this really good restaurant called Maxwell's, and Meredith had her first drink!! In a restaurant, that is. It was called an Absolut Woo-Woo. I think they must get plastered to come up with these stupid names. Here's a pic of Mere at the Tower.

Post for 7/15/06

Mary and I went to Portobello Rd for antiques today. It was hot, crowded, and those dealers mark their stuff up ridiculously high. I accidentally wandered away from the antiques to some other more interesting stores (oops). It was Collin's birthday, so he and Mary made some really good Mexican food and cake for dinner. We ate in the Mecklenburgh Square garden with a bunch of his grad school friends. Collin had brought this extremely strong, homemade vodka (essentially moonshine) back from Tblisi in a mineral water bottle, and he made us all take shots. I have to say that I've never drank alcohol that didn't come in a legitimate bottle. I was kind of worried that I'd die. But I didn't, and it actually didn't taste that bad. Yay for my ever-increasing tolerance!

Post for 7/14/06

My friend Collin's mom, Mary (a good family friend), arrived today and is staying with me for a few nights. Collin and I went to Borough Market, and walked along the South Bank and across the Millenium Bridge back. It was lovely and sunny, and we got the BEST brownies at the market. This evening, Collin, Mary, and I went to dinner with Collin's friend, Barry, and gf, Naomi, at this Afghan restaurant. I was really proud of myself for liking the food because I'm usually so picky. This is a pic of us at a pub afterward (from l to r: Barry, Collin, Mary, me, Naomi). It was a really good day because this is the first time I've socialized in two weeks (not counting the Indiana Jones archaeology people).

Post for 7/13/06

Craziest night ever!! Went to the "Superman Returns" premiere at the Odeon in Leicester Square, and it was AWESOME!! Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey got by me without giving me autographs due to the extreme screechiness of the little girls around me, but I did get really great pics (they were less than a foot from me). Kate was gorgeous and looked like a Barbie doll, and Kevin seemed very nice (he kept thanking everyone for coming). I decided that when Brandon Routh came around I would have to do something to get his attention and stand out from the screechy girls, so I shouted "I'm a fellow Iowan" when he was in front of me. It was only a half-lie; my whole family is from Iowa and I've spent a fair amount of my life there. I've just never lived there per se. Anyhoo, he STOPPED what he was doing, looked right at me, and asked me where I was from!! I told him Okoboji since that's mainly where I spend time, and he was like "oh yeah, I know Okoboji", and THEN he was like "so what are you doing in England?". I couldn't believe it!!! He signed the autograph "GO IOWA---Brandon Routh". It was craziness. I know it's all shallow and meaningless, but I'm not gonna lie; I LOVE SHOWBIZ!!!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Post for 7/12/06

I walked around Leicester Square this evening, and they were setting up for the "Superman Returns" premiere tomorrow night at the Odeon! Excellent!! My first red carpet event! I'm super pumped for this. Leicester Square was beautiful....people and lights everywhere. I LOVE big cities!!

Post for 7/11/06

This evening I climbed to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral. When I say "the top", I mean that first circular level above the outer dome. It was pretty awesome and I got some great pictures. Of course my memory card ran out the minute I got up there. It couldn't happen any other way. The crypt was kind of disappointing (I guess because the church is relatively modern...1666); the only famous people buried there were Lord Nelson (accompanied by a creepy wax figure), Florence Nightengale, and Christopher Wren (ok, that last one was pretty cool). One kind of funny thing about St. Paul's: after the workday is over, business people sprawl out everywhere in the churchyard and take naps. It looked like there had been a mass murder.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Post for 7/10/06

No post for 7/9 because I didn't do anything of interest that day. This evening I wandered around Notting Hill. Hugh Grant hadn't shown up at my door yet, so I thought that maybe he didn't know where I was staying. The polite thing to do was to track him down and let him know. Unfortunately, he was nowhere to be seen. I did, however, find this awesome little boutique called Coco Ribbon. It was so full of beautiful things that it was overwhelming (actually, Maggie, it was identical to the store we found in Waupaca). Most of the beautiful things were $5,000 Collette Dinnigan dresses, but it's still fun to look. There were a lot of non-clothing items in there that I could afford, though, so I wasn't too horribly out of my element (trust me; I know exactly which stores I should not be entering). I went in some other cute shops, but this was definitely the find of the day.

Post for 7/8/06

Went to the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace this afternoon where I saw this modest little thing shown at left. This is the diadem worn by the queen on all the British postage stamps and currency, and also at the opening of Parliament every year. It was made in 1820 for George IV, which I thought was a little odd because it looks kind of feminine to me. I could be wrong though. They might have had a very different idea of masculinity back then.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Post for 7/7/06

Went to the British Museum this afternoon, which is always an awesome experience. I was especially excited to see the stuff from the Sutton Hoo burial (arguably the most important archaeological discovery ever in Britain). Here we have the massive head of Rameses II.

Post for 7/6/06

This afternoon I went to......WIMBLEDON!!! It was a madhouse, needless to say. I had ground tickets, which meant I could get into any court but the main one. I went around to some of the other courts, and decided that I didn't care about mixed doubles and the like. So I went up to the main lawn to watch the big-screen tv with a million other people. I saw the entire match between Maria Sharapova and Amelie Mauresmo, and it was really a bummer because I wanted Maria to win. The little old lady next to me was rooting for Mauresmo, and we were kind of passive-aggressively sparring. She was saying things like "ha! good!" to no one in particular whenever Maria would mess up, so I started making my own comments in her direction. I was so mad that Mauresmo had won that I tried to get the last word in, but I don't think it worked. All in all, that was a fun time. Except that the strawberries and cream are highly overrated. I got a pretty good pic here of Maria serving (that's the main court behind the screen).

Post for 7/5/06

This evening I went to Parliament and got to sit in on the House of Lords, which I was very excited about. Their conduct was hilarious! The representatives were all sprawled out on the benches with papers and purses scattered all over the floor. There was a bishop sleeping. The kicker was when a lady stood up at the podium to present the next piece of legislation on the agenda, the entire room very noisily got up and left! The lady kept speaking as if nothing was happening, and by the end she was speaking to herself. I was like, what is going on?!? It was craziness, I tell you. I can't wait to sit in on the House of Commons where they throw things at each other.

Post for 7/4/06

Today I had the flu. Here is a picture of my room since this is mostly what I saw today.

Post for 7/3/06

Started the archaeology course. It was me and a bunch of people dressed like Indiana Jones (no joke). I felt way out of my element. I'm not sure this is for me......I spent the morning clearing out loose gravel, and the afternoon calculating distances above sea level, and mapping the site on context sheets. There were plenty of finds; we just didn't get to do anything with them but tag them and send them off to the British Museum. They had recently uncovered a skeleton, which would've been cool if we could've learned how to interpret findings, but instead the focus was on recording the location, and measuring the depth of the hole it left in the ground. Then the osteologist from the British Museum came and took it away. Well, now I know. Maybe I just need to admit that I want a Master's in history (no, I don't know what I'd do with it). Anyway, this is Syon House, where the dig took place. It was built by Henry VIII in 1539 after his dissolution of the abbeys, and is currently the home of the Duke of Northumberland. Our job is to uncover the abbey that he built it over. Another interesting fact is that it was here that Lady Jane Grey was formally offered the crown in 1553. I thought that was cool because I've always been fascinated by her story.

Post for 7/2/06

Today started out as a simple trip to find the correct plug adaptor for my computer, and it turned into a shopping trek through Covent Garden, down Oxford St, and down Regent and Bond Streets as well. It's summer sale time here, so I saw lots of cool things. But not the trench coat I wanted at Mango! I was so disappointed that they were sold out. Oh well. Here's a pic of Piccadilly Circus (it looks better at night when it's all lit up).

Post for 7/1/06

Yeah, ok, so I've been lazy. Sue me. Anyhoo, this is my post for 7/1 (and until someone shows me how to post multiple pictures at once, there will be only one picture per post). This is London House, where I am staying. It actually takes up an entire block and surrounds a very large courtyard. My room is on the top floor overlooking the courtyard. Everyone here is a graduate student, and most are international, so that makes things interesting. My high school friend, Collin, who just got back from a job in Russia, is staying in the building across from me.