Tag Archives: Dallas

Just Let It Go

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If December is the season of good will, then January is the season of resolutions made and broken.

I don’t really make resolutions – but I do make choices – I chose last summer to Drop To Shop and I followed that plan to a tee.

With January – comes winter – the most depressing time of year for me. I don’t like the cold, I hate snow and ice and I really don’t like bundling up just to take a 2 minute walk to my car and I live in Texas – it shouldn’t even be cold here. Generally I’m happy, but also miserable – a grumpy mess of whining, complaining and negative thoughts until the thermostat shows a pleasing number above 70 degrees. I’m pretty sure my friends in Dallas are fed up of me complaining, I know my husband is, so in an effort to make everyone around me less annoyed by me, I made a choice, not a resolution – to be more positive.

I have only just started my trek in to positivity. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that, I, like most people, find it easier to criticize, complain and speak badly of people or things, than compliment, be positive and smile. As I read in one of the books I’m reading –“ it’s easier to complain than to laugh”* – and it’s so true. How often will you gossip about someone than compliment someone – or for that fact even take a compliment – us girls would rather put ourselves down about our weight, what a mess we think we are or be self-deprecating, than take the compliment about our hair, our dress, our amazing presentation at work or dinner we just made.

My first step in to positivity was recognising I needed a rule for myself – something that was quick to employ and easy to remember – one of my wise, wonderful friends, one day, said to me “you just have to let it go” and there it was – ‘Let It Go’. It’s so simple , a basic concept – take what is bothering you, what is just winding you up, stressing you out and making you miserable, and just let go of it. It’s my modern day version of the much quoted prayer**

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Work hard, make it happen – when I can, but know when to Let It Go – be smart enough to know the difference.

I started using Let It Go as my mantra – when something happened that I didn’t like, when I would normally rant and vent to anyone who would listen, I just said “Let It Go” it’s not important. At first it was hard – so I decided I needed to visualize something – I found an image of a balloon with the phrase on Pinterest and thought it was just perfect – so now, when I find myself on the verge of negativity, I just let go of my balloon and let it float away….far, far away.

How are you letting it go? Let me know.

#LetItGo

Let It Go

*Quote – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

**Quote – Reinhold Niebuhr

Join me/follow me:

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From Rule Britannia to God Bless America (pt2) – Ordinary Observations

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I have mentioned before that my time in the US has been interesting. Five plus years of American life and living the American dream. There are a few things which really stand out to me – three that won’t get me in trouble with political or religious agendas. Because the major, really major learnings I have had come from hot topics that I don’t feel are right for this blog.

So keeping it clean, I present to you – the London’s girls ordinary observations:


1)      Accents & Sayings – Y’all speak funny.

Every day people ask me about my accent. Frankly, I don’t think I have an accent. I sound pretty darn normal to me. It’s everyone around me who sounds funny. Although England has some incredible changes in accents as you move through the country, America isn’t too far different. When I first moved to Texas, I thought all Southerners sounded the same. Y’all’ing and drawling all over the place, but now I can detect a definite difference between Georgia and Texas and even East Texas and West. What could be more bizarre is that my very Texan fiancé who has only been to England twice can do a very convincing Brummy (Birmingham) or Scouse (Liverpool) accent, having never been anywhere near there.

As a Brit, I have learnt that I can get away with cursing. Which is good, because I am a frequent potty mouth.

My top 3 British curse words:

  • Bollocks
  • Bugger
  • Wanker

(Sorry Mum)

None of my English vocabulary comes anywhere close in comparison to the crazy arse sayings that I have heard since living in the South.

Top 3 Crazy Texan sayings:

  • Ticklin’ my tater
  • Like a goose on a June bug
  • All hat and no cattle.

I am still unsure as to the meaning of some of them. If you are interested in seeing more – here is a fun link

2)      Weather – It’s not normally like this

The stereotype of London is that it’s foggy in London and always raining. To be fair one of the main reasons I always state for leaving England is the weather.  (Although this weekend in England has been in the 80s and the highest recorded temperature in October ever). Where I ended up when I landed in the States wasn’t much better. New York. Cold winters, hot humid summers and a lot of rain, so, I loaded up my truck and I moved to Beverly, Hills, that is. Where it never rains. Or hardly ever. People say that Southern California has no seasons, it’s not true – California has  earthquakes, mud slides, flash floods and wildfires – some very distinct seasons of which I have experienced a few. Taking out the ‘force majeure’ – Southern California is a perfect climate most of the year.

When I first moved to California, I laughed at the people in their wooly hats and gloves and big warm winter coats when it hit below 60. Seriously – 58 degrees and you are walking around like we live in Buffalo during the winter. Then the joke was on me, just two years in to living in LA and I would have the heat on high, and be complaining of being “freezing” when it got to low 60s. I became a soft southerner, a California southerner.

The craziest weather has to be in Dallas though. Summers over 110 degrees, winters with ice storms and snow, hail stones as big as golf balls, electrical storms and of course, tornadoes. I never knew when I moved to Dallas, that I was moving to such a meteorological mess. This place is insane. People in Dallas are STILL trying to tell me “it’s not normally like this” – uh huh, apart from 100% of the time I have lived here.  So forgive me when someone tells me that the weather in England is awful, or how smoggy LA is. I’ve never had to huddle under a sink in an airport bathroom as a tornado touched down in London, or worry about my car being smashed in by weather in LA. Dallas takes the prize for crazy.

 

3)      Fashion – Style, trends and flaunting it

Clothing and fashion is really the main thing I miss about living in Europe (after family and friends of course). I miss being able to shop in TopShop or Kurt Geiger and spending Saturdays browsing Selfridges– a shoppers mecca (quick time out to mention how much I want some Miu Miu heels this season).

Miu Miu Curbed Heel pumps

Black suede and glitter - curved heel Miu Miu pumps

I miss the people watching on the streets of London, wishing I could pull off the latest styles. The more and more I live in America, the more I have become average in my dress sense. My weekender wear is simple and boring, my office attire – not a stitch on my old style. It’s not because America doesn’t have style or a sense of fashion. It’s because, unless you have the disposable income of a celebrity, or are young enough to shop in Forever 21, there aren’t really any cool stores to go to. In Dallas especially, I miss H&M and Bloomingdales. So, lately I have taken it upon myself to spice myself up a little. The crazy boot wedges, the bright green brocade mini skirt or the mustard yellow heels. Im bringing myself back. I have learnt that I don’t need to be a skinny Minnie to look good. I am embracing my curves and flaunting my God given assets…one European clothing item at a time.

The Queen’s English, a gruff New York accent or a Southern Drawl. Come rain or come shine, Gucci, Pucci, Escada or Prada,  my main observation is that I have learnt that you can recreate your life, reinvent yourself, and be whoever you want to be. Live the American Dream. There is opportunity everywhere.

A food tale of 3 cities

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I hear time and time again about how food in England is terrible…well yes it is terrible if you eat in the tourist traps, just like with any major city. As a New Yorker, would you eat at in Times Square given a choice? As an Angeleno, would you eat at pizza spot on the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd?

London in particular has some incredible places to eat. From mid range to out of my price range. Great food can be found all over the place. None of my friends or colleagues have ever been disappointed with my suggestions while they were in town. I have given them my top 3, so I will share my favourite places with you as well:

The Wolseley – A stone’s throw from The Ritz this restaurant is classy, sophisticated yet very understated. My number one recommendation while in London.  Great for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. Excellent service, great atmosphere and the food is exquisite.

The Wolseley

Pizza Express – A pizza joint, but not the average pizza joint. Don’t let the name fool you. This isn’t a fast food kind of place. I may be biased as I have grown up eating (and working) at this pizza chain. This is hands down the best pizza I have ever eaten and it is the pizza I compare all pizza to. Neapolitan style thin crust, individual size, no funky new world toppings – i.e. no pineapple. This pizza place is the type of place you could take a date and has been around for over 40 years. The pizza won’t let you down. (But, the service might)

Gaucho Grill – Argentinean steak house – with steak that is actually from Argentina (go figure). Ambience is sultry and sexy. Great for a date or romantic meal. Service and knowledge about the menu is strong to match the flavours of the food.

Everyone knows Los Angeles is my favourite place to be. Living in California it’s all about great sushi, trend setting cuisine and fresh healthy food.

Some of my favourite spots to dine in LA:

Sugar Fish Sushi– INCREDIBLE – melt in your mouth, you have never had better , amazing sushi. Order the Trust Me menu from Chef Nozawa. You won’t go wrong….trust me! 😉

CiCi’s café– If you can dare to trek in to the valley you are in for a big surprise. A delicious surprise. This is THE breakfast spot of all breakfast spots. Be warned – portions are huge and incredibly rich.Forget Me Not Waffles

RH (at Andaz)  Housed in the Andaz hotel on Sunset Blvd. I wouldn’t normally frequent a hotel restaurant unless I expected mediocre food for overpriced menu items but things have changed in the last few years and RH definitely hits the spot – that spot being heavenly. The restaurant has an open kitchen, so you can watch the chef create your meal, even see through to the fridge to see sous chefs’ selecting your vegetables. Food is modern French inspired and beautiful fresh flavours. With a seasonal menu that has never disappointed – I make this one of my must-do’s whenever I am in town.

My current State of residence – Texas

Now food in Texas is a whole other story. My experiences are that you can get good food here. Just don’t bank on it being healthy. Dallas people await the Texas Fair each year to see what fried food is the culinary delight of the year. Since living here, I have heard about fried oreos, fried oysters, chicken fried bacon, fried butter (don’t even ask) and  fried beer. Not exactly good for your cholesterol or  items that get my mouth watering. But this is the South. Since living in Dallas I have tried my hand, or more, tried my palate at:Chicken fried bacon

  • Fried green tomatoes
  • Fried pickles
  • Fried ice cream
  • Chicken fried chicken
  • And the most weird to say – chicken fried steak.

As you can see – frying things, is kind of a thing here.

Aside from the love affair with deep fat fryers Dallas does have some good dining spots. Some of my favourites:

Cane Rosso – Great flavours, fresh ingredients and the best pizza I have had since living in America. Get there early and grab a seat at the bar to watch the masters in action.

Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck – The revolving restaurant at the top of  Reunion tower – it sounds super 1970s but I was very pleasantly surprised. Service  is great and the sushi is easily the best in Dallas not to mention, I  can actually say their black cod with miso is in fact better than, dare I say it…Nobu. Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty

Marquee Grill – Highland Park’s new hotspot in Dallas. Yes it’s pricey, and has a celebrity chef (Tre Wilcox) and the name is being dropped in all Dallas’ luxe magazines and websites, which pretty much would usually turn me off, but, I have to give it to them..Marquee Grill is excellent. The menu has a definite Southern flare and a spicy kick to get your motor running. Wait staff are attentive and informative about the menu and the cocktails aren’t shy of flavor or alcohol.  Chocolate Box

From  London to LA and the land of Southern Hospitality great food can be found everywhere. Fortunately a de-tox, a diet and a workout can be found a few short steps away from the dining table.

Bon appetit

First Day On The Job

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As with any first day on the job, I am a little apprehensive about putting my thoughts out there. Granted, yes, I do it all the time. I’m a social media addict. I’m represented on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and of course, the newest trend – Google+ I do NOT have a problem over sharing my life. This is just a little different. I get more than 140 characters – and will be judged by more than just my Mum…so, lets just say, I’m suffering a little stage fright.

If you don’t know me here are some details to digest while I get my thoughts together for my second day:

I have  British, New York, California and Texas drivers licenses and an accent blended from all of the above!

My work and my life allow me to explore new places, experience great hotels, try out new restaurants and deal with the silliness that comes with all of that. So this is where my insight and tid bits will be coming from. The good, the bad, the wonderful and the down right ugly (which typically involves my frequent faux pas as a stranger in a strange land)

Feel free to help me out with tips and criticism for the new girl in the office.