Why I Like My Birthday

My birthday cake from last year

In a few days it’ll be my 33rd birthday. While it’s common to complain about getting older (I’m no stranger to complain about aging, and had a major freak out when I turned 23 as I was getting…old?), I try my best to embrace getting older and my birthday every year. This is why:

1) I’m still here. Obviously, a birthday just means that you are older. Growing up with a mom who has always suffered with serious health issues, I saw her embrace and be proud of her birthday every year because, Hey! She’s still here! She’s made it! When I was a kid my dad also had health issues while suffering with cancer and he made it too! Then there’s my health issues that almost killed me as a teenager and I fought through that to be here today. I cannot deny that growing up surrounded by health issues and positive attitude towards getting older has had an effect on me.

2) I get to be around and thank my loved ones. The birthday is the epitome of selfishness – I get the gifts, I blow out the candles, etc….but I really like spending birthdays with my husband, close friends and if possible, family and also making the day about them. They enhance my life and a birthday is a celebration of life, so it all makes sense to me.

3) I’m more comfortable with myself. It’s true that as you get older, you are more confidient and you stop caring what others think.

4) I get to have a birthday! In some parts of the world, people don’t acknowledge their birthdays because it’s a luxury. They are more focused on surviving than anything else. It’s a privilege to have a birthday.

5) I’ll be the age that’s the title of one of my favourite Smashing Pumpkins songs! OK, that’s a little thing, but it’s still a perk.

The Shoreditch Sisters at the Anti-FGM Event in Trafalgar Square

“According to the most recent estimates, 66,000 women and girls have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in England and Wales, while 24,000 girls under the age of 11 are at risk of undergoing it. However, despite the fact that FGM has been illegal in the UK since 1985, there has never been a single prosecution.”

– Human Rights NGO, Equality Now.

Yesterday I was a part of the Shoreditch Sisters’ Anti-FGM event in Trafalgar Square, and overall, it was an incredible experience. I made some appropriate cupcakes for the event to promote anti-FGM. I got a few compliments on them! 🙂 During the event, Channel 4 and Sky News were filming us, and Channel 4 also did some close-ups of my cupcakes! The human rights orgs, VSO and Equality Now, also joined us. There were only a handful of us Shoreditch Sisters, but we were all really involved. Before this, I don’t think I would’ve ever had the courage to walk around offering pro-vagina cupcakes to members of the public, but I have now! I really think it was important to promote that the Anti-FGM Bill that went into effect in the UK in 2003 hasn’t changed the fact that nobody has been prosecuted for this crime. Something needs to be done about this issue, so I wanted to do my part.

Here are a few photos:

mine are at the front, with other anti-FGM treats made by other Shoreditch Sisters

Whether it’s for book club, craft nights or campaigns (probably all 3) I really want to be more involved with the Shoreditch Sisters as I think they are a great women’s organisation. Find out more information here.

EDIT: And please sign the petition to end FGM in the UK here.

July in London

While quite a few people in London have been complaining about the heat (and OK, one day I complained..but only because I was inside all day with no air conditioning!). However, I am embracing this summer as it actually FEELS like summer. So, unfortunately I haven’t been making much art recently, but I’ve been kept busy doing other things:

watching people make giant bubbles on Southbank

Seeing Kiki, my friend visiting from Stockholm, Sweden, and her lovely partner Steve

Going to my friend Diana’s birthday party – with a bouncy castle!
I quickly found out that bouncy castles were much easier to bounce around when you were a kid. I think gyms should have bouncy castle classes.

Finding excellent Mexican food in London! It only took 2 1/2 years.
And this excellent Mexican place is Cafe Pacifico in Covent Garden.

Seeing First Aid Kit at Somerset House

Going to Moomin Valley in Covent Garden.

Having dinners in the back garden with Daniel.

My friend Maria visiting from Shanghai, China. We grew up together in Minnesota so it was neat to be with someone from home in London.

and we checked out the brand new, very-hyped Five Guys burger joint with my friend Kim (Kim not pictured)
Before anyone thinks it’s weird I went out for a burger, I had the veggie sandwich.

Running into this dude. He waved at me after this photo. Aw.

Hope you’re enjoying your summer! Or winter, if you’re down under. xoxoxo

Books Read in 2013, so far…

(“La Lacuna” and “One Step Too Far” not pictured as I gave them to friends)

“A Street Cat Named Bob” by James Bowen
“Into the Darkest Corner” by Elizabeth Haynes
“Life of Pi” by Yann Martel
“In Ethiopia with a Mule” by Devrla Murphy
“Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn
“La Lacuna” by Barbara Kingslover
“One Step Too Far” by Tina Seskis
“The Day is Dark” by Yrsa Siguardardottir
“The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund De Waal
“Witch Hunt: A History of Persecution” by Nigel Cawthorne
“The Lost City of Z” by David Grann
“A Week in December” by Sebastian Faulks
“Women Race & Class” by Angela Davis (still reading)

Out of the above books…

Best: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The story kept me on the edge of my seat. If you enjoy books that go back and forth between two narratives with cliffhangers on the end of each chapter, then I highly recommend this book. It gets to the point where everything is so chaotic and intense you have to find out what happens next.

Worst: The Life of Pi. I know this is a famous book, but it didn’t do anything for me. I struggled to get through it, and I really hated all the animal violence. I know that made it more realistic, but it doesn’t mean I find it enjoyable.

Most fitting at the time: The Hare with Amber Eyes. I read this on the way to Vienna, finishing it as soon as we entered the outskirts of the city. There is something really amazing about reading this book in Austria, and then arriving in the main setting of the book as soon as you finish.

Favourite character: Frida Kahlo in La Lacuna. Frida Kahlo was obviously a real person, but I liked how Kingslover depicted her personality in fiction. I’d want to hang out with her.

I’m surprised that I’ve read and finished 13 books so far this year (well, 13 when I finish the Angela Davis book) because I seriously thought I was way behind from this time last year. Last year I read 28 books, so it’s still possible to surpass that this year!

Please recommend any good books that you’ve read and leave them in the comments. I’m always up for reading something new and/or different. Thanks. xoxox

Circus Life Drawing

Yesterday I joined a couple friends for some Circus Life Drawing at the Gravity Aerial Academy in the backstreets of Seven Sisters, north London. It wasn’t really a Circus, but rather life models suspended in the air or in a acrobatic pose. We only had 2-10 minutes to complete each drawing, so some were not completed. We had to draw fast, but it made it all that much more challenging.

Also at the life drawing I met two dogs, Ruby and Betty. When we started drawing Ruby took a liking to my legs and wouldn’t stop licking them! I like dogs so I didn’t mind, but it was the first time in my life where I had to complete a drawing in less than 10 minutes and try to get a dog off of my leg!

Here are a few of the drawings I did of the 2nd model/acrobat:


They are planning on having more life drawing classes. It’s an hour commute from where I live, but I may go back as I enjoyed and it’s free, so why not?. xoxox

Iceland around my neck.

Our story begins a month ago. It is no secret that I love Iceland, a lot. It was Daniel’s and my last day in Reykjavik and we decided to tour the National Museum of Iceland (highly recommended, by the way!). I walked past the gift shop thinking I’ve already spent too much money and I’m not going in there. Then in the display window I saw this necklace. I stopped instantly and went into the shop to look at it. I couldn’t justify spending more money on an impulse purchase, but I took a photo of the designer’s business card, just in case I still wanted the necklace a week later. Guess what? I did. A week later Daniel and I found ourselves in Keflavik airport, on our way back from the States. I was all prepared to run to the gift shop in the main terminal to a get a cheaper, not-as-nice similar necklace that I saw before flying to the States. However, our layover was so short we only were able to get some skyr at a cafe before we were London-bound.

So…I emailed the designer, Lena, in hopes she could send me this necklace. Luckily for me, she did! So I sent her the money through paypal and I got the necklace two days ago in the post. As you can imagine, I was excited. 🙂

Considering it is currently 25 degrees C in London at the moment, I should probably be wearing something more summer-y…but I don’t care. I love this necklace. Thank you Lena!

If you’d like a necklace, visit the gift shop at the National Museum of Iceland, or email Lena lena245 at gmail dot com. She makes this necklace in various colours and they’re all really nice.


the 4th of July

As an American living in London, I don’t get a holiday on the 4th of July. However, I celebrated in my own way. After work I headed to Hummingbird Bakery in Spitalfields, and got a 4th of July cupcake!

I got the plain red velvet for my British husband. It’s his favourite.

Happy 4th! xoxoxo

Sketching in South London.

I spent the other day sketching in Wandsworth Common. While I have experience sketching and drawing people (It is very rare that I draw or paint something that isn’t a person) I had no experience drawing nature. So, my results are preliminary, but I enjoyed the day and am definitely going to practice drawing whenever I have time!


Golders Hill Park

Did you know that London has a free zoo? I didn’t until I moved to Golders Green in 2011 and my then-flatmate Laura said one of her favourite reasons for living in that area was it was the only place in London where you could see lemurs anytime you wanted! Now I live far away from Golders Green (but still in London) I missed Golders Hill Park, the location of the free zoo. So, on Saturday Daniel and I ventured up there. We visited the animals, had iced coffees and overall had a lovely afternoon.


We saw this giant dog – it was amazing.

Patagonian mara!

We saw this lady painting. A lovely way to spend the day.

Hehe, Daniel.

Hope you are enjoying your week!