30 December 2014

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Another year gone, another one begins - WOW!
This may have been the quickest year of my life.
What a great one it's been, though.

I started this little space as a 'travel/studyabroad/callitwhatyouwant' type of blog.  I wrote about my adventures through Europe, favorite locations, bucket lists, etc.
I wrote about the things that pertained to my life at the time - looking for jobs, finding a flat, getting a visa, moving to London, etc.
And now I'm IN London - I'm traveling less, settling more, but still writing about what is going on in my life.
It's different.

So how do I manage to make that transition from writing about travel to writing more about life, and having people want to still read?
I mean, you can't write about your past forever.
Why would I want to?

I love my life right now, and that's what I want to share.
I'm finding out who I am, what I want,
what opportunities are out there, and working towards that things that I want.
Whether that includes a trip to another country, a night out in the city, what I'm doing towards my degree, or even a visit to the theatre
 it's my life in London, and that's what I started writing here for.

Plain and simple, this blog began to document my life, and that's exactly what I'm doing.
I'm an expat - I'm making a life for myself on the other side of the word.
I found something (erm, somewhere?) that took hold of my heart, and couldn't shake it until I found my way back. And what do you do in those cases? Duh, you find your way back.
It's called chasing your dreams.

And I guess that's what this blog really comes down to in the end.
It's about being passionate about your life - finding what you truly want, and going for it.

The fact that people want to read about it, in my case though, is something I wasn't completely expecting, but turned out to be more rewarding than I could have ever imagined.

"Thank you for documenting everything you've gone through"

It's receiving things like this that make me so happy I decided to start this blog.  I remember before I traveled abroad for the first time, I went crazy on blog-searches for any type of real experience, not some Lonely Planet review or London travel guide. While they are great resources, I wanted to read about a someone's personal journey - someone like me.

And to be able to get messages like this - that I'm helping someone with their decisions on studying abroad, moving abroad, whatever it may be - is absolutely priceless.
Thank god for Heather, who was always there to bring me down from craziness and overwhelming thoughts about the future and what we were doing.  I'm all for independence, but having someone to give the reassurance that I was taking the right path is something that I needed. And to be able to be that person for other people is an amazing feeling. 
Talk about paying it forward, eh?

 Look, I have no idea what the next year is going to bring for me.
I could find a job in London, I could not.
I could preparing to fly back to America this time next year - I could be jumping ship to some other random place. Who knows really.

2014 has been a year of doing everything I'd been dreaming of.
And now that, after three years of work, that's out of the way,
I'm pretty excited to see where 2015 is going to take me.

Thank you for reading this little space and for taking this adventure with me.

Happy New Year!


28 December 2014

Sunday Lovin'

1. The last Sunday of 2014. What??
It's hard to reflect back on this year, because everything in my being was going towards moving to London.
To finally be here is pretty ridiculous, if you ask me.
A lot of hard work paid off, and still paying off.
From the time I went to study abroad, I never thought the next year could top it,
but that was 3 years ago, and every year since has been even better? Now that's what's actually ridiculous.
But I'm not complaining - bring on 2015 - I'm ready for ya!

2. This article on life - Why My Life Isn't Falling Into Place.
Very fitting for this time in my life,
and probably yours as well.
One of my biggest downfalls is I'm big on 'the comparies.'
I know what my life is and I am over the moon about it,
but there are times I see others adventures, successes, etc. and get a little down that I don't have that too.
But everyone has a story - most of us only choose to talk/show/post about the good things.
And that's totally fine. Why would I bask in my struggles?
It just makes you realize that we'll never have it all.
And we'll most likely never have it all figured out either.
But hey - that's life, right?

Check it out - it's kind of creepy. And cool.

5. I reached 30K views last week! For just 6 months with this little space, I feel pretty good about that.
To celebrate, I am being that typical blogger and created this little feedback survey for you all.
Just a few questions about you, and me, and this here blog thang.

Happy 2015!!

26 December 2014

Fab Four Friday

Merry post-Christmas!
Is that a thing? We're making it a thing.

BECAUSE there was no Fab Four Friday for Christmas last week,
we're celebrating an extra day for them.

Every year in the 60s, The Beatles sent out a Christmas recording to their fan club members
that featured a message from each one, along with their typical witty antics.

There is one for every year they were together, but 1963 is one of my favorites.
So young and lively - just the cutest.

So in the words of Mr. John Lennon,
"Garry crimble to you
Garry mimble to you
Getty bable, dear christmas
Happy birthday me too!"

Thank you Ringo! We'll phone you.

24 December 2014

Wine & Free Stuff

...AKA the greatest post to ever appear my blog.
 Who doesn't love wine?
And I won't even ask about freebies.

Last week, Heather and I were invited to experience Vinopolis!
This is a wine/champagne/spirits tasting event -- SAY NO MORE, we were in.

And you'll see below - it's not just a place - it's an entire CITY OF WINE.
I saw the words on the building but all I could read was 
'Welcome to Heaven, Caity. You've done good - here's a lot of wine'

It's an interesting and super fun concept.
 Walking in is where you'll receive your entry coupon and wine-tasting card.
You can purchase 7, 12, or 16 tokens to put on your card
which will be used for however much wine you want to taste.
Meaning 16 tokens on your card, of course.

The afternoon began with a quick course where we were given our first glass of wine.
We learned the proper ways to look, smell, and taste our wine, rather than just chug it down
...which none of us do. Nope.

After we finished up here, we were set loose in the wonderland of wine.
There were all types of wine,
crisp, ripe, fruity, aromatic, even dessert!
A simple insert of your card and you're on to tasting whatever you'd like.

There was also a champagne bar, as well as a spirits lounge to taste liquors.
We stuck to wine and champagne.

Vinopolis has over 100 different wines to sample,
which means Heather and I will be back again.
...and again .. and probably one more time after that.

Can you blame me? WINE.


"Yeah, yeah yeah. That's really cool and all, but you said FREE STUFF HERE"
On to the free things!
It's actually even better than just free stuff - it's CATH KIDSTON.
Social moguls such as baby Prince George have been recently photographed wearing this,
so you're only one of the cool kids if you're wearing it too.
That's right - another giveaway!
I told you this was the greatest post ever...

All your Christmas/Hanukkah shopping is done and you're ready to relax for the rest of the holidays. But how would you like to win one more present for yourself? 

I've teamed up with some fabulous bloggers to give away a fabulous Cath Kidston tote. You can choose either one, or any item on the Cath Kidston website of equal or lesser value (or any combination of items totally to £45).

 Get to know your hosts and how to enter after the jump!

23 December 2014

City of Angels - Donmar Warehouse

This is probably the most excited I've been to write a review,
so get ready for over-uses of 'great,' 'amazing,' 'so good'
HEY! You go see the show and try to describe it any other way...

City of Angels was one of, if not the most anticipated show of the year in London.
Filled with a cast of some of the biggest names in West End Theatre, it completely sold out
over five months before it's opening night.

Thanks to Barclays Front Row, a few tickets become available every Monday at 10AM,
and just like the rest of them, these tickets sell within minutes.
Luckily I was able to snag one, and I made my way down to the Donmar Warehouse this past Saturday.


Set in 1940s Hollywood, the story intertwines two plots within one story.
We see the struggling writer, Stine, working on perfecting his latest screenplay against the wishes of self-absorbed producer Buddy Fidler to 'fluff' up the script.
Mirroring this is Stine's screenplay coming to life - centered around Detective Stone, we watch his investigation on missing teen Mallory Kingsley and the twists and turns you'd expect from an old, sultry, suspense film.

With two differing dynamics, the staging of this show is just incredible.
The story of Stine's screenplay is strictly set in black and white, as if the film is in front of our eyes
and the real world of Stine and life are full in color.
While it provides a clear distinction for which storyline we are watching, it also creates a fun and visually fantastic sight when the two plots are incorporated together on the same stage.


 I have never seen such a cast create a story so well.
Really. I couldn't even find a standout actor they were all so great for this show.

I had seen both Hadley Fraser and Tam Mutu in Les Miserables.
Hadley more times than I probably should have.
He is quite possibly my favorite actor to watch, but I think Tam might have jumped onto that list too.

Taking on the roles of Stine and Stone, it was almost like they were made for the men.
And their chemistry together was so great to watch.
It was also prettttty cool to watch two Javert's in a 'Confrontation' style scene with 'You're Nothing Without Me.'
Definitely the highlight of the show.

Rosalie Craig and Rebecca Trehearn gave the guys a run for their money, though.
I had seen Rebecca in Ghost when she went on as an understudy,
and specifically remember liking her better than the original lead.
So I was already excited to see what she'd bring to this show.
And it was, of course, amazing.
Her connection with the audience during 'You Can Always Count On Me' was one of the best I've seen.

I had never seen Rosalie, but have heard so many things about her,
one being 'the greatest stage actor of her generation.'
Needless to say, she had a lot to live up to for me.
 And they were right, they were ALL right.
With a stunning voice and an amazing stage presence, she left me lost for words.

 The rest of the cast added nothing but strength to the show.
Peter Polycarpou was excellent as self-obsessed producer Buddy Fidler,
Katherine Kelly was an absolutely hilarious trophy wife, and as a big fan of Les Miserables, it was pretty great to see Samantha Barks on the stage.


I knew the show was going to be a good one, but I didn't realize how good it was.
It was a star cast, the staging was mesmerizing - an overall incredible production.

Which I'm using as justification for already grabbing a few more tickets to see it again....
But really, do we actually need an excuse to see more theatre?

City of Angels runs at Donmar Warehouse until February 7th 2015.
Performances are Monday - Saturday 19:30, with matinees Wednesday & Saturday 14:00.
The show is SOLD OUT, but Barclays Front Row tickets are available every Monday 10AM.
The running time is 2 hours 35 minutes with one intermission.

21 December 2014

Sunday Lovin'

1. Can you believe it'll be 2015 next week?
I swear it was 2012 yesterday...
The years have flown by faster than I can imagine,
and I can't decide if I like it or not.
I'm so excited to see what the future brings,
but I want to live this amazing life right now!
I guess it's more of a good problem to have than a bad one, right?

2. I'm starting to try and eat healthier, and Heather's got me real interested in this quinoa craze.
Have you seen all the quinoa recipes on Pinterest?
Who knew how good food can still be, even when you make a few better changes..

2. I saw Donmar Warehouse's production of City of Angels last night,
and I was absolutely blown away.
It's possibly the best show I've ever seen.
The cast was ridiculous, the set was stunning - I can't say enough good things about it.
Absolutely going back if I manage to get tickets.

3.Taylor at Due East Blog
because she is doing all the traveling.
She was just in Iceland, now in America,
and about to embark for the next two weeks throughout Europe, starting in Prague.
And she's not bringing her camera. WHAT?
No, it makes sense. Just check her out.

While Heather and I won't be back with our families in the states,
we've got the day set - 
Baking, pizza, wine, onesies, presents, more wine.
I mean.... can Christmas get better than that??

Speaking of Christmas...and alcohol...
Heather and I have been delving into some Christmas cocktail to spice up the holiday,
and lucky for us, 
we found some extra spicey holiday drinks at Bar Soho in Covent Garden or Core in Bank.
They feature the limited edition Jagermeister Spice which is obviously delicious,
and a bunch of other goodies.

If you're trying to spice up your Christmas week without going out to the bars, though,
why not make these treats at home?
A few of my favorites (which, of course, include wine and chocolate):

P.S. I Love J (Jagermeister, duh)
- 25 ML Jagermeister Spice
- 25ML Baileys
- 12.5ML Amaretto
- 12.5ML Kahlua
- 50ML half milk/half cream
Shake this baby over ice, and you're set.

Spicey Stag Punch
- 50ML Jagermeister Spice
- 12.5ML Amaretto
- 12.5ML Chambord
-  25ML Red Wine
- 12.5ML Lemon Juice
- A dash of Grenadine
Top it off with Lemonade, and start drinking.

And if these are a bit complex for you, why not just make some boozey hot chocolate?
Literally, just add Jagermeister Spice and Bailey's to hot chocolate.

These will definitely make us feel a littttttle more mature,
if that's possible while wearing a onesie...

18 December 2014

Urinetown - The Apollo Theatre

I saw this show on Monday, and I'm still thinking about how hilarious it was.
That should be enough convincing, if you ask me.

Urinetown is a satirical musical, that makes a bit of a mockery out of ... well, everything.
The government, legal systems, corporate business,
even musical theatre.
 And it's all absolutely hilarious.

The show takes place in the town of Urinetown,
You think the title is the strangest thing about this show?
The plot focuses around a city law that forces everyone to take care of their 'private business' in public bathrooms.
Told you.

An uprising from the people, though, creates a war between the corporate toilet controllers, Urine Good Company, and the public.
It's ultimately an anti-musical with an un-happy ending.
You're interested, I know.

The show is directed by Jamie Lloyd, who after this and the recently seen production of Assassins,
I am officially convinced this man does no wrong.
Matthew Seadon-Young who takes on the handsome young attendant to Public Amenity #9, Bobby Strong, proved his range with plenty of great (and hilarious) riffs and high notes throughout the show.  He even leads the cast in a gospel-style number with the longest applause you'll ever be apart of.
Rosanna Hyland (who I'm overly surprised has never played Glinda in Wicked. She would kick that role's ass) nailed the part of the bubbly pretty-girl Hope Cladwell as well.
And Jonathan Slinger was the highlight of the show, breaking the fourth wall as the narrator to talk to us throughout the show, reminding us that we should not expect anything that we thought we'd see on a night out at the theatre.

I'll be honest, I wasn't overly excited to see this show at first, but knew it was one of those 'have to see's' before it closes this January.
But what I can tell you after seeing it - is that I will definitely be going back.
Like next week.
I may just be a huge fan of sarcasm, but it really was THAT good.

Urinetown runs at the Apollo Theatre until JANUARY 10th 2015.
Performances run Monday-Sunday 19:45, with matinee performances on Thursday & Saturday at 15:00.
The running time for this show is approximately 2 hour and 15 minutes with one intermission.

16 December 2014

Halway Through - On Working Towards Something You Don't Know Will Work Out

December already?

I'm HALFWAY FINISHED with a Master's degree!
For how much of a school person I'm not, I should be proud enough to have gotten this far..

I've spent the last weekend wandering around London,
trying to make sense that I actually live here.
I was in Trafalgar Square yesterday texting Heather pictures with
"Just in case you forgot, we live here. Like I can look at this every day because we live here.
How cool is that?"

If you've read this blog before, you pretty much know the story.
Blah blah, study abroad, blah blah, life changed,
blah blah, work work work, blah blah moved back to London.

Moving back here though, I did it knowing that it was for and unforeseeable future.
And as much as I absolutely hate not knowing the outcome - with a passion.
A serious hate, I'll tell ya.
There is also something so thrilling about it too.
I'm making all of my dreams come true, but have no idea what's to come next.

Isn't that the beauty of it all though?
Four years ago, I didn't even know what London would mean to me,
Four years before that I didn't know how theatre would change me.
Who knows what the next four are going to show me...

I was actually asked this other week in an interview,
"Where do you see yourself in 5 years?"
To which I gave the absolute worst answer for - 
not only was I completely taken back with the realization that I had NO idea where I would be in 5 years,
I then had to mumble up some type of an answer that would sound like I had a plan.
 Which I do - but the plan I had 5 years ago is no where near where I am now.

So I couldn't be anything but honest.
Never could I have predicted where I have been in these past years,
how do you expect me to know where I'll be in the next?

Life has taken so many twists and turns,
and I've learned more about myself and what I'm capable of - 
which is more than I could ever imagine.

So while I am completely and utterly terrified of the future,
I couldn't be more excited.
Because so far, life has been everything I've ever wanted.


12 December 2014

Fab Four Friday

The boys are back in town.....

Just a fun little song that always gets me dancing.
Don't tell me you don't just love to shout the YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! during this.
And nope, it's not She Loves You, although the songs are similar...


- They wrote this song as a little play on words -
it won't be long til I belong to you.
Get it???? BE LONG til I BELONG?
Clever guys...

-  The song was recorded in only two sessions.
Ten takes of the song in the morning, and seven takes in the afternooon.
Ya think they might have been sick of the song after that day?

- If you listen, you can hear the awesome backing vocal/harmonies of Paul and George
during the middle 'Since you left me...' part.
They are singing the words that John is but in a slower length.
(I think..)
Whatever it is, it makes the song sound that much better.

I just love this video - they are the cutest!
But really - how happy does Ringo look boppin around on the drums?


09 December 2014

but first, CHAMPAGNE

Sometimes I feel spoiled in London.
This is one of those times.

Last week, Heather and I joined our new favorite girls from PRandEverythingInbetween
for a Champagne Masterclass at Notes London.

This was pretty amazing because
1. I love my champagne
and 2. I don't know anything about champagne besides the fact I can drink it like water

We arrived a bit early and were able to check out the upstairs coffee/wine bar,
where we started off with a bottle of champagne for ourselves
as well as a few bites off the menu.

 The Masterclass takes place below the restaurant area, where they store all of their drinks.
And while I wanted to stash every delicious bottle along the wall in my purse,
LUCKILY, the first bottle of champgane didn't already go to my head
and I was able to maintain my composure and wait for the stuff we'd be served.


The Masterclass featured four of Devaux's Champagnes,
Devaux Grand Reserve NV
Devaux 'D De Devaux' Le Rose NV
Devaux 'D De Devaux' La Cuvee NV
Devaux 'D De Devaux' Vintage 2005
(All delicious and very reasonably priced I will add)

We learned how champagne is made, why it tastes the way it does, and the differences between good champagne and
... well okay, it's all good champagne.
We'll just say 'between good champagne and better champagne.'

 We had a glass of each champagne and I was completely surprised that I was able to taste some differences between them.
I know - not all champagne just tastes like champagne?? Who woulda thought?

Turns out, the longer a champagne is left to age, the less bubbles there are,
and with these you will get much more of a smoother, rich taste.
Which is why if you're opting for the cheapest bottle on the shelf this New Years Eve,
your bubbly will be extra bubbly.

All in all, it was another fantastic night filled with fantastic drinks.
And what's even better -
 Notes London holds these Masterclasses for FREE! Yep, you heard it right!
Keep up to date with their facebook page to find announcements on when the next events will be.



07 December 2014

Sunday Lovin' - London in Photographs

01 December 2014

Assassins - Menier Chocolate Factory

Ever thought you could have something in common with an assassin?

This show has been getting buzz since it was announced months ago.
With it's star-studded cast of Broadway and West End vets, it was guaranteed to be a good one.
And let me tell you - IT IS.

Assassins is a musical that tells the story of nine folks who attempted (some succeeded) to take the lives of the Presidents of the United States.
It takes you past the guns and to the people - what they thought, what they felt;
their side to the story.

Narrated by the Balladeer and the Proprietor,
they play a sort of 'good angel,' and 'bad angel' throughout the show.
The Proprietor puts on a sickening of sorts carnival style game of the assassinations,
while the Balladeer sings their stories as he proclaims his disagreement with their reasoning for murder.

There are moments in this show, though.
Moments of sincere shock - where you almost feel for these characters;
understand them.

"You want what everybody wants. To be appreciated. To be valued.
To be in other people's thoughts.
For them to think of you and smile. "

To be able to create a show of the most horrifying of people,
and allow us to find a commonality with them to be able to sympathize is a tremendous thing.
Something I personally never thought was possible.
And that is one reason why it is such a wonderful show.


Performed inside the Menier Chocolate Factory, a space that seats only 180,
there is an incredible intimacy within the show.
You truly feel apart of the story - 
all the way through to the end, when those 'lucky' few get the chilling experience
of staring death in the face.

Aaron Tveit is an obvious standout in this show - taking a complete turnaround from the 'all-American charmer' we all know and love him as, he takes on the role of John Wilkes Booth exceptionally well,
executing the great angst, hate, and passion that's brewing inside him.

Catherine Tate is another stunner as Sara Jane Moore.
From her inability to handle a gun to not having a clue about what is going on in her life,
she brings a needed comedy to this eery production.

Simon Lipkin, however, is the one to watch.
He keeps the show moving while changing characters to an extreme degree.
From the haunting Proprietor, to a gentle President Ford,
even to an assassin's young child,
he is incredibly impressive to watch - and truly showcases his abilities as an actor.


Overall, this was one of the best shows I have seen this year.
I will defintely be going back again ... and again.

I mean, the show doesn't officially open until tomorrow and I've already seen it twice.
Do I need to give you any more proof?

Assassins runs at the Menier Chocolate Factory until March 7.
Performances run Tuesday-Sunday 20:00, with matinee performances on Saturday & Sunday at 15:30.
The running time for this show is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission.

25 November 2014

True Ginspiration


The Warwick is a classy bar located right in the heart of the West End.
They just underwent some renovations and have created the ultimate gin emporium
where they are working their liquor skills to create the perfect Gin & Tonic.

Heather and I were invited to check the bar out, and attend their Master Class to learn some 'gin-ology'.
We were introduced to all that The Warwick has to offer - and they have a LOT.
From African inspired botanicals to artisan small batch produce, we were in for a great night of gin.

At the end, we needed to choose which gin was our favorite
so that they could make us a final drink with it.
Which is hard for me to do - because how can you ever choose only one favorite of anything?

We were given an introduction to each gin, and then a sample to try straight.
Good thing they advised us to add splash of water to each glass,
or else I may not have remembered if I liked the last few...

Well then - let's get to it.


Portobello Road Gin
Containing 9 botanicals, including nutmeg and licorice,
the drink is garnished with tasty grapefruit.
Like you'd imagine, it has a very citrusy, fresh taste.

Berkeley Square Gin
This was my first favorite.
....between the only two I had drank so far .
It was much more herby, infused with sage.
It'll be garnished with basil in your gin & tonic.
This was so incredibly smooth going down - 
and when it comes to straight liquor - I do like it smooth.

Whitley Neill Gin
On to the third!
It contains 9 African botanicals, including the baobab tree and physalis.
Don't worry - I had to look these up too.
The baobab tree looks like the Lion King tree, and physalis is a fruit similar to the tomato.
The gin goes down very smoothly, so obviously it became my new favorite.
This drink is also garnished with an orange twist - YUM.

 Sipsmith Gin
My new favorite of the night... I promise this doesn't become a pattern.
Okay it sort of does.
Anyways - Sipsmith Gin contains 10 botanicals, including almond and lemon.
It's garnished with lemon and vanilla. I know - you're drooling already.
Well it tasted just as good as it sounds.
A little strong, a little spicy, and the aftertaste of almond was surprising and delicious.

Elephant Gin
So this one didn't make my list of favorites taste-wise,
it was my favorite brand.
Elephant Gin is made in Hamburg - you know that's where The Beatles played, right?
Surprisingly, though, that's not why it's my favorite.
15% of the profits are donated to two foundations that support the preservation of African Elephants.
Each bottle is named after a famous elephant - you can see we were drinking to Duke on this night.

Boodles Gin
Yup. New favorite.
And yup again - smooth.
Boodles is a sagey tasting gin.
It's garnished with a sprig of rosemary, and like I said before - VERY smooth.
Another way to describe it: delicious.
Hendrick's Gin
 This was the most recognizable of the bottles.
An incredibly cucumber-y tasting gin, which is like paradise for Heather
who is absolutely cuckoo for cucumbers.
The drink is garnished with Bulgarian rose and cucumbers.
And did I mention cucumbers?

 Williams Chase Gin
 The big winner of the night!
Distilled from organic apples, and garnished with an apple slice the taste is so fruity, and fresh.
I mean, it tasted like apples! How could I not choose this?!


Next up - the drinks.
Like I said, I chose Williams Chase.
And Heather
-although I thought her cucumber craze would take over-
decided to try something different and chose Sipsmith.

Our fantastic teachers concocted everyone's favorite gin & tonics,
and we were sent upstairs to the main floor to enjoy, mingle, and eat the snacks that were supplied to us.
Booze and mini-burgers?
It actually doesn't get any better than that.

The Warwick is located right off of Regent Street at 1-3 Warwick Street.
The closest Tube Station is Piccadilly Circus - close as in, it's right around the corner,
so don't worry about getting lost after you've decided to try each type of Gin & Tonic they have to offer.

Thank you to The Warwick Bar & PRandEverythingInbetween for this lovely event and a great night out!



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