The Sartorialist: Inspiration in Pictures

The Sartorialist

I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but I only heard about The Sartorialist in the past few months (gasp!), but ever since I subscribed to the blog, I’ve been completely hooked. What’s not to love about Scott Schuman’s blog? It has beautiful photography and loads of style inspiration. I love his philosophy of keeping his commentary to a minimum, and allowing readers to make up their minds about a particular outfit/style/etc; let the masses be inspired–and inspiring, but don’t dictate their style.

The Sartorialist--Look 1

I was pretty exited to learn that he has published two books, and couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy. So last Wednesday I ordered his first, The Sartorialist.

This book is chock-full of inspiration. Flipping through the pages, I’ve already gotten inspiration for new ways to wear clothes I already own, ways to start accessorizing my wardrobe (I’m positively dreadful with accessories), ideas for my basics (I don’t subscribe to the logic that white button-down shirts suit us all), etc.

But for me, it’s not just style inspiration, but also photographic inspiration. I adore Schuman’s photographic style–it’s clear, crisp and shows off his subjects perfectly. It’s a style where, if you were to see one of his photos on the web, but no additional information was given, you’d know straightaway it was one taken by Schuman. It’s something I believe all bloggers hope to acheive in their work.

The Sartorialist--Look 2

Schuman’s first book, The Sartorialist, has a well-earned place on my bookshelf. It will be my new go-to for fashion and photography inspiration, and to be honest, it sparks a bit of travel inspiration, too. If you flip through the pages, you’ll see photos with New York, Paris, Milan, London, etc. in the background, which makes me want to get on a plane to see new places and soak in all this inspiration first-hand.

Do you have a favorite website or book that’s your go-to for inspiration? Why not tell me about it in the comments?

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Sigor Rós at the Brixton Academy

Darren and I were completely jazzed when we heard Sigor Rós were bringing their tour to London. In 2008, we saw Sigor Rós at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA, and it was probably the most amazing concert I’d been to in my life (and I’d like to think I’ve been to some good ones). It was a Friday in early October. The weather was just starting to turn in the Bay Area, and it had been raining a bit earlier in the day. We drove up to Berkeley from the Peninsula just after commute hours, but the freeways were still busy, and a tad bit treterous in the rain (anyone who’s driven in the rain in California will appreciate how challenging and freightening this can be!). We both brought our winter jackets along because we’d been to a show at The Greek, an outdoor venue, in August of the same year, and by the end of the evening we were absolutely freezing–we’d completely underestimated how far the San Francisco fog travels.

The Sigor Rós show at The Greek was sold out, and we’d timed our arrival pretty close to the start of the opening act. We essentially had just enough time to locate our seats and get comfortable (as far as sitting on concrete goes). Sigor Rós’ set was absolutely magical. It really was one of the most emotionally moving concerts I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, and this is what I was looking forward to this past Thursday.

I was eagerly anticipating Sigor Rós taking the stage.

Electronica act Blanck Mass opened the evening. Admittedly, I’d never heard of him, but a quick search on Wikipedia indicates that in addition to opening for Sigor Rós on their UK tour, one of his tracks was used during the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony. His music was OK, but I’m not sure if it really set the mood quite right. It was some ambient electronica music, that while nice for relaxing at home, isn’t the best at getting a crowd jazzed for the act ahead, which might explain why so many people filtered in after his set, and those who were there continued to merrily chat away.

Sigor Rós took the stage just after 8 p.m. I have to admit, that while I like Sigor Rós, I’m not overly familiar with their music–especially anything that isn’t from Ágætis Byrjun. So I have no idea which song they opened with, but it was good, and set the tone for the evening.

The light show was the best part of the concert.

One issue I had with the show was that we were only able to procure standing tickets. I’m only 5 feet, 3 inches tall, and I wanted to stick near the back of the venue in case I needed to exit quickly, and to keep myself from being crushed by other concert goers. Unfortunately, it meant I could see nearly nothing (the photo above is the best depiction of what I could see–and that was with my hands above my head). The good news was that the quality of the light show meant I was still able to take in a lot of the visuals without having complete visibility, but there were details that I couldn’t take in very well. For example, I distinctly remember seeing Jónsi Birgisson take a bow to his electric guitar during the show at The Greek–seeing this live really helped me connect the dots to the music last time, but that just wasn’t possible this time around.

Overall, this show fell a bit flat for me. The build-up to the show was completely different than it was in 2008. This time, I traversed South West London via a packed train and Tube with little more than some cash and my phone (not even the company of Darren). In 2008, we had a 50-mile journey together which involved crossing the Dumbarton Bridge, listening to Sigor Rós in the car, and devouring British candy we picked up at the posh grocery store in Menlo Park. Nothing about the show in the Brixton Academy felt magical, while the show at The Greek moved me emotionally. Yeah, the light show was amazing, but the music didn’t resonate the same way it did at The Greek. As Darren said, it was like listening to a favorite album when the mood isn’t quite right, and it sounding boring instead.

Even though I wasn’t thrilled with their show at the Brixton Academy, I’d get tickets to a future Sigor Rós gig. But next time, I’ll make sure I have a seat, and that we psych ourselves up appropriately before the show.

Have you seen Sigor Rós live? What did you think? Tell me in the comments!

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Five Reasons I’m Excited about March

A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from Twin Peaks in San Francisco.

Spring is just around the corner, and I am stoked. Here’s a short list of what’s getting me excited this month:

  1. Darren and I are going to California!

    This is just a visit to make sure that we are absolutely certain that moving is what we want to do. After a few disasters in our flat’s building this month, we can hardly think of a reason not to start running for California now, but you know, we don’t want to rush into things, and make rash decisions!

  2. Sigor Ros at the Brixton Academy

    OK, so this Icelandic band may not be your thing, but Darren and I went to one of their concerts at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA in 2008, and it was amazing. Seriously, it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to in my life–and I’ve been to a number of great ones.

  3. Blogcademy meet-up in Cambridge

    I’ve taken pretty much every opportunity to surround myself with the sparkly Blogcademy graduates (chocolate meet-ups, dinners in Central London, etc.). Seeing my fellow Blogcadette’s blogs evolve, is inspiring, but hanging out with them is an entirely different matter. It’s a pity that Blogcademy came along so late in my stay in London–it’s been a fantastic opportunity to make new friends!

  4. Easter!

    Not only does this holiday come with a four-day weekend in Britain, but my trip to California is timed such that I will be able to pick up my most favorite Easter candy while I’m in America. Does anyone else think Easter has the best candy? Last year I stocked up on coconut Hersey’s Kisses, and had my parents bring me some Whopper Eggs when they came over last April (how I forgot these the when I was there in the US last March is beyond me). I am looking forward to that sugar high in a few weeks time!

  5. Daylight saving time begins

    Right, so losing an hour of sleep is most definitely not something to get excited about, but that extra hour of daylight gained is totally worth the excitement. If the weather hasn’t already improved by then, the fact that it will still be light at 7:30 p.m. will make things more bearable.

Are you excited about anything happening in March? Tell me in the comments!

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How I’ve Been Keeping My Sanity (or At Least Trying)

I’ve been in hospital for 20 of the last days 23 days, and just realised now that today is the beginning of July. I guess the fact that I only just realised it is July indicates I’ve been keeping myself adequately busy and making the time fly by. That, or being in hospital so long is just making me crazy (I’m more inclined to believe this theory).

So what have I been up to these last 20 days? Well, let me tell you.

The first few days when I was originally admitted were spent assessing the extent of my current situation. This meant getting an abdominal x-ray to ensure I wasn’t obstructed, getting a CT scan to see how extensive the inflammation in my small bowel is and also getting an MRI scan of my liver. The later test was previously scheduled to my hospital admission, and was related to my Crohn’s only in that my GI suspected one of my medicines, 6-Mercaptapurine, was causing some issues with my liver enzyme levels (which can eventually lead to more long-term damage). Oddly enough, blood tests taken in this same initial admission period indicated that my liver enzyme levels had actually returned to normal levels, so the MRI probably wasn’t all that necessary in the end. Too bad I didn’t know that before hand, because I had a mini-meltdown toward the end of that test.

Once I got all the tests out of the way and got settled in, I resumed work on a cross-stitching project that I started either right before I moved, or shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, cross-stitching isn’t one of my favourite crafting activities, but I did manage to finish the picture before I left the hospital the first time.

Additionally, I finished reading a book called The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This is a non-fiction book that talks about the story of a black woman whose cancer cells were harvested upon her death and created one of the most important cell lines in existence today. To add a human element to the story, the author goes to great lengths to get in touch with members of Henrietta’s family to understand how the use of her cells affected them. It’s definitely an interesting read, and really puts forth some interesting questions around ethics and science.

After finishing the cross-stitching project and completing the book, I started reading a few different samples of books on my Kindle. One book I did download and begin reading was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I was inclined to download this title for two reasons: 1) I absolutely loved The Great Gatsby; 2) I was interested to see how different the short story was from the film (turns out they are a bit different!). However, I was released shortly after I finished these activities, so I had a bit of a reprieve, and actually ended up finishing this book at home.

Once I arrived home, I tried to take it easy for a few days, but I did manage to make it to a local yarn shop in St. Margaret’s called Mrs. Moon’s. I had a look at the website, and they had some interesting patterns and yarns, so I figured I’d take a short walk to see if I could pick up something to work on while I was recovering at home. I ended up selecting a pattern for a short-sleeved cardigan and bought a nice jewel-toned blue-green yarn for knitting. Unfortunately, I only had a few days at home to start this project. Turns out it is not worth knitting when you’re feeling ill/tired and not completely with it. I ended up starting this particular cardigan four times before I got the counts of the stitches correct! Luckily, I managed to sort it out in the end, and I’ve nearly completed the cardigan since I began this second visit.

The other thing I’ve been doing this visit is more reading. This time I’ve completed a book called The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This is probably one of my favourite books since reading the Millenium Triology by Stieg Larsson when I first got my Kindle earlier this year. The Help is written from the perspectives of two black maids and a white woman in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. The black women work as maids for friends of the white woman. The white woman aspires to be a writer, and manages to talk the black women into working with her to write a memoir about their lives as maids in The South. Not only are the stories that the black women have to tell interesting, but the everyday things that all these ladies face putting this memoir together give the book an edge-of-your-seat feeling at times (you have to keep in mind this is the same period Kennedy was shot and Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech).

Now I need to start thinking about something else to do. I’ve downloaded and read a few more samples on my Kindle. One includes a book on project management, and another on some subject matter relating to an MBA. Neither have seemed interesting and worth downloading the full version. I have a few fiction book samples to look through that I downloaded based on recommendation from an article in the New York Times which includes titles Parisians by Graham Robb, Solar by Ian McEwan and Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross.

Ideally, if my concentration and focus were better, I wouldn’t mind actually doing a bit of work. Unfortunately, I do not think I am getting quite enough calories in the day, or I’m still adjusting to my calorie intake, and it makes it difficult for me to focus on certain topics for work. I did manage to publish a report earlier this week, so I haven’t been completely useless. 🙂

In addition to my “extracurricular” activities, each day I get visits from the ward doctor and the dietitian. This visit I even got a visit from some surgeons to discuss options for the future.

In the meantime, I’m left to wait. We have to see if the Modulen diet is going to do the trick to help me gain weight, and if it doesn’t we need to look more seriously into the total parenteral nutrition (TPN). The ward doctor indicated yesterday that the Modulen diet is more likely to be effective at helping me gain weight than the TPN, and it would also mean that I wouldn’t have to be trapped in hospital until I’ve gained enough weight to determine next steps. So please keep your fingers crossed for me the Modulen does the trick!