29 December 2009

i'll be home for christmas.

there could not have been a better time to come home from london. landing straight in the middle of all the christmas festivities was the best thing i could have asked for. even though the snow and christmas spirit made me feel like i had time traveled it still stands to be true, christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. 

it was great to reunite with my friends and family that i have missed SO much. and i guess i missed provo a little too. the rest of december was spent having the most fun and living up every second of the break.

there were parties and celebrations

pampering and girl talk

ugly sweaters and egg nog

family and food

but most of all a lot of really great times. 

i love being home. and i love my friends and family.

happy holidays.

20 December 2009

love and memories.

well, it's official... my girl callista lauren priest is now officially Callista Lauren Welling. On December 19th Calli and Ben were wed forever and ever and I couldn't be more pleased about it.

We began the wedding festivities with a little bachelorette party. Karissa, Rebekah, Cami, Michelle, Calli and I gathered together for the last time as singles ladies and had the time of our life. Even if the bride to be fell asleep before the clock struck midnight. 

A few days later we toasted the almost new Mr. and Mrs. Welling at a beautiful wedding dinner. We all held back tears and it finally felt real that our little Cal was about to be a wife. That night we had one final girls chat before we let Calli rest for her big day. We'll always be the best of friends and marriage can't change that...too much. 

The next day was one we will all always remember. We all drove up to the Mt. Timpanogos temple to see the beautiful new couple come through those brass temple doors. The weather was perfect and the sky was a gorgeous shade of blue, it was have been freezing but it made for gorgeous pictures.

The reception was a night full of reminiscing and catching up. As us girls set up camp at a table and watched the new couple greet their friends and family we were grateful that Calli found the perfect man to share this perfect day with. 

I still can't believe she is married but I am glad to see her with the man of her dreams, and no matter what she will always be our girl.  

17 December 2009

set adrift on memory bliss.

since I've been home from London I have been on a ever-constant memory lane. here's a list of my motherland favorites...

1. 27 Palace Court: the mice and Ms. Shepherd could never scare me away. even with all its victorian flaws this place will always be home and i have to say, my bottom bunk and shoe box sized closet will always have a space in my heart.

2. Queensway: two tube stops, two tescos, boots, whitley's, tuk tuk, bella italia, cheap scarves, the post office, frog frozen yogurt, ryman stationer, mcdonalds free wifi, waffles, and everything in between. this is my most frequented street. 

3. Nandos: grilled chicken pitta with lemon and herb sauce, chips on the side with a bottomless diet coke. yes please. the best place in town to find unlimited supplies of soda, an amazing meal and a perfectly good time.

4. Lush: this place has the best beauty products and emanates an even more glorious smell. mmmm yummy.

5. Queen Elizabeth II: I hope she reigns forever. long live the queen. 

6. Megavideo: this site stole so much of my rare "the-internet-is-actually-working" moments. and okay, i know this is available in the states but nevertheless, thanks to it i never missed an episode of any of my favorite shows. even with its bogus 72 minute rule.

7. The Ladies: i never thought i would survive living with 40 girls but it wasn't so bad. i grew to know and love each and every one of them and we became such a family. sure, we all had our times, but i already miss all of them and can't wait till we are reunited in Provo in January!

8. The Wandsworth Common Ward: Never have I met such amazing people in my life. I will never forget my time spent serving as a youth sunday school teacher and working with the kids in the ward. From day one they all welcomed me in as one of their own and I will honestly miss them and their amazing spirits. The hour and a half trek to church each sunday was worth it every time.

9. The Tube: i owe my life to my student oyster card that got me everywhere I needed to go. london transportation is like a gift from the gods.

10. Londoners: with their immaculate sense of style and absolute poise these people are unlike any I have ever known. They come from everywhere but share the same love for the greatest city on earth. and being so, i love them. even if it takes a little refresher in a pub for them to lighten up a bit.

and even though i promised myself i would limit the list to ten things I love so much more about the city. since i've been home people have asked me what my favorite thing is about london, and the truth is that is an impossible question. sure, i don't love every single thing about london, it isn't perfect after all. but i love it will all my heart and it will always be home.

11 December 2009

nothing lasts forever.

well my time in London has quickly come to a close and I can't hardly believe it. When I first arrived in this city, I thought my time here would last forever. I couldn't quite comprehend three and a half months but now that it's over I realize how quickly time has flown and I am sad to see it go.

The past couple weeks in London have been a whirlwind. I arrived home from Provo just in time to begin studying for finals. Although jet lag and the flu got the best of me for a while I made it through and tried to enjoy the last of London as much as possible. 

In between completing assignments and preparing for tests I found time to do all the last minute shopping my wallet could afford. I stormed down Oxford Street, fought the crowds at Portobello Market, laughed at the neon outfitted limbo man in Covent Garden, smelled the incandescent aromas of Lush Cosmetics, braved the Primark line, walked the halls of Hitler's beloved Whitley's, drooled over the stationary in paperchase and all the clothes in my favorite clothing stores and spent almost every last pence i had. 

I also rocked out to Queen in the West End musical We Will Rock You, went Ice Skating in Sommerset House underneath the Tiffany's decorated christmas tree, ate at Nando's as much as possible, indulged in my favorite treats also as much as possible, and walked down all my favorite streets for some final memories.

My last day in London was full of final tourist activities around the city. We sat on top of a royal red double decker for the last time, watched the changing of the guards for my favorite lady queen elizabeth, said loving farewells to my architectural boyfriend big ben, climbed the lions in trafalgar square, enjoyed the Norwegian's evergreen gift to London, and many other london-exclusive events.

After a packing frenzy and a tornado like mess all over the centre, a sleepless night, and a long day full of travel I made it back to the states safe and sound. I'm absolutely exhausted and extremely crazy but it feels good to be home.

i love you london and i will miss you forever. but after all, there's no place like home.

28 November 2009

thank you for the music.

while I was in Barcelona I received a call from my mother informing me that my dear grandfather, Tom, had passed away peacefully in his sleep. This year on Thanksgiving I am grateful for him, the time I have been able to spend with him, all the great things he did in his life and the impact he has had on my life.

Another thing I am grateful for is the opportunity I had to come home from London for his funeral. Although it was a wild trip and a whirlwind couple days it was worth it. I was grateful to be able to spend time with my family in this hard time and it felt good to be home. I kept my homecoming a secret... so SURPRISE! if you didn't know. Don't worry, i didn't see any friends and barely left the house. Plus I was gone again before I knew it.

The funeral was very nice and it was great to be with all my cousins. and it is good to be back in london for the last couple weeks of my trip. don't worry, i'll be home soon.

happy thanksgiving. 

livin' la vida loca.

from paris megan and I jetted off to Barcelona for the weekend. It began with a long shuttle ride and a completely sketchy airport where megan and i almost died of sugar overdose, exhaustion, and absolutely craziness. But never the less we made it to Barcelona, with only minor ATM drama. 

From the airport we took another bus ride into the city and a mostly wild taxi ride through Barcelona. We arrived at our "hotel" just in time for the police to relocate some drunken homeless men. Although we couldn't quite figure out which unmarked door we should enter or what the scratchy spanish voice on the intercom was saying, we eventually made it upstairs and into our checker-floored hotel room for a much needed restful nights sleep. 

We woke up in the morning to walk to streets of Barcelona in truly perfect weather. After the cold in London and Paris, the warmth of the Mediterranean sun was welcomed in with gratitude. We did a little shopping and grabbed ourselves a map then ventured into a whole new world at Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas was unlike anything I had ever seen before. It is a street packed full of people, shops, restaurants, and really creepy street performers.

Soon we found ourselves at the docks surrounded by bright blue water and street vendors of all kinds. Meg and I picked up ourselves some stunna shades and maybe a bootleg copy of Michael Jackson's blockbuster. We then decided the best way to spend the rest of our day was on bikes so we rented some two wheelers and headed to beach. We rode around for five hours, stopping only to enjoy some Pina Coladas on the beach, dip our toes in the chilly Mediterranean, and watch the local surfers take advantage of the waves. Major bonus: we only saw a FEW naked men in the process. great.

The night ended with dinner, more shopping and an attempted viewing of "Luna Nueva" or as us American vampire obsessed kids call it "New Moon." However, it was only offered in Spanish and although Jacob is sexy in any language, we decided to save our euros. The streets of Barcelona were packed at all times of the day and it was insane to make our way through the crowds. We retired once more to our almost-sketchy hotel room to prepare for another big day.

We rose early the next day to enjoy the sights of Barcelona as much as possible. We ate some pastries and viewed the Arc de Triomf. Then we visited shrine of Barcelona's most beloved painter Pablo Picasso. We were able to see some original works from his childhood all the way through his blue period and even some photography. 

We then walked halfway across the city to the Sagrada Familia, which is a 100 year old cathedral that is still under construction. Apparently we won't see it's completion until 2030. Megan and I have already planned a reunion trip. Then we walked the rest of the way across the city to Parc Guell, another Gaudi project. Barcelona is a gorgeous city and Antoni Guadi's works only make it more amazing. His architecture is unlike anything I have ever seen before and I loved it!

We walked back to the center of town and back to the bus stop. After a slight panic and time change confusion we made it on our shuttle and back to the airport for yet another plane ride. We were more than pleased to spend every last euro cent on our dinner and some absolutely Gaudi-esque earrings. 

Megan and I fared quite well in Barcelona and our trip was absolutely successful. But we definitely were glad to be back  in London and with all the girls. 

viva la barcelona. 

27 November 2009

paris holds the key.

a few weeks ago I went to the most gorgeous city i've ever seen...paris france.

here are a few highlights...

court and i loved our eurostar ride through the chunnel so much. especially when accompanied with a little bit of jay-z and some shut eye. only after i accidentally washed my hands in the mens toilets. oops.

 our first real sight of the eiffel tower was from the sacre couer and what can i say? adoration at first sight.

we did a little shopping on my favorite street. and even got ourselves a few great parisian clothes.

day two began with a little bit of an industrial hike through the outskirts of the city and an arrival at the palace of versailles. Marie Antoinette was one luck woman.

and we got our hunchback on at the notre dame cathedral. 

i loved the true to life gargoyles, i don't blame quasi-modo for hanging out there all day long.

we also visited the moulin rouge to fulfill a drewm of mine ever since i first fell in love with ewan mcgregor and nicole kidman in my favorite movie.

other highlights include a ride to the top of the eiffel tower along with a light show that rivaled disneyland, the louvre and my favorite museum the orsay, delicious pastries and baguettes, plenty of art and amazing clothes and about 5000 too many stairs to climb.

j'adore paris. ♥ ♥ ♥

26 November 2009

its all coming back to me.

i know okay. its been almost one month since i last posted. a month? seriously? its gone by SO fast. i can't stand it really. london is almost over and i think i might cry. i love this whole situation way too much to be almost done. here's a little update of this life i've grown so fond of. bear with me, a lot can happen in a month.

25 November 2009

time after time.

we recently visited Greenwich for a little timely adventure. we began the day with dr. pepper zero. first dr. pepper i've had in a long time and it was sure yummy. 

We went to a Maritime Museum which was really cool. We saw all sorts of ships and eskimo suits. We reminisced about a little Transformers. 

It was a REALLY rainy day and we were immediately soaked the minute we walked outside. But we walked up a big hill to the Royal Observatory with umbrellas in hand (except for court who was drenched). 

We walked through the Observatory and over to the Prime Meridian of the world. Right there we were exactly at zero degrees longitude. special right?

we ended the day wit some delicious food at gourmet burger kitchen. i've never tasted better onion rings in my life. yummy. that night we went to a little baroque concert at a local church. 

and time was really flying.

maybe i'm amazed.

other recent events include shopping our hearts out all over the markets in camden.

falling in love with harrods

realizing our personal likeness with king henry IV. and dressing up for court at hampton court palace. 

and remembering all the veterans who died for Britain by supporting the poppy appeal and flashing a poppy on my coat all month. 

christmas with you is the best.

One of the best things about London is since there is no Thanksgiving, Christmas season begins a lot earlier here. The start of November brought a whole lot of Christmas cheer and I couldn't be more pleased about it. good thing about london part two: movie premieres. lucky for me, the beginning of november combined both these treats into one and placed them right on our doorstep. It was the Christmas Carol premiere and it was fantast.

On the night of the premiere the girls and I headed over to Regent Street and Oxford Street to experience all the festivities. As we stood in a Times-Square-on-New-Years-Eve type crowd we were serenaded by the likes of Pete Andre (our favorite british pop star) and a few other british acts. then much to our american liking, jim carrey graced us with his presence. along with british heartthrob collin firth. they then carried out a very ceremonious turning on of christmas lights and then we broke a world record for largest singing of christmas carols. it was lovely. 

we then fought the vicious crowd and made our way over to Leicester Square to see the red carpet. we watched our boy Jim walk across and into the theater and felt pretty pleased. we finished the night off with some chinese food and went to bed loving everything about the christmas spirit.

cemeteries of london.

i'll admit, i was a bit skeptical about halloween in london. halloween is most positively my third favorite holiday (right after christmas and the fourth of july of course) and i just didn't know if this city could live up to my expectations. i was wrong. halloween in londy was pretty great all around and i was not let down. 

we started off the holiday a little early with a house party on the thursday before. thanks to our favorite set of "moms" we had fun decorations and yummy treats. we carved pumpkins, made carmel apples and played around. we were lucky enough to have our favorite tour guide peter fagg drop off his adorable kids for our party so we got to play with kids too!

the actually day of halloween was even better than our party. we started out the morning attempting to visit a place called the London Dungeons, but it was a 3 hour wait so we walked over to Borough Market where we ate all sorts of yummy food. then we came back to the center and changed into costumes. 

finding things to wear was tricky with our limited supply of clothes but we managed. i wore a very sequined and outrageous dress that i found on a nearby street. one of the other girls and i decided we were kit deluca and vivian from little woman. yes we are aware of the negative connotations of that. but you know? whatever. 

we hurried over to the london eye. and by hurried, i mean sprinted. make that bridge two i've ran across. check the london eye was great and i don't care what anyone says, it was not overrated at all. i love london. right after the ride we indulged in some AMAZING donuts that tasted like heaven. literally. 

then we took our party back across the river to Hard Rock Cafe. the very first hard rock cafe ever in fact. it was pretty great. all the waiters were dressed up and scared us continuously. we played the rest of the night. it was full of laughter, dancing and lots of fun. 

this is halloween. and this is the best.