Detour please…

•11 July, 2012 • 1 Comment

Hello trusty followers! Despite my attempt to redesign Satin and Lace…it just wasn’t doing it for me anymore and I needed a change of scenery. I’m headed to a new home and school, and I’ve chosen to embrace the change and get a new home in the blogosphere as well!

I hope you’ll join me by heading over to my new blog, Point of Focus, here:  

I’d love it if you’d subscribe to Point of Focus and keep in touch with me as I take the next steps on my journey. Remember that you will need to re-subscribe if you want to keep receiving my posts.

Satin and Lace has been good to me as a travel blog, but now I’m hoping to “focus” on my stationary (for now) adventures in Lawrence, Kansas and the future. The tales of my time in England will always be here for you to read, and if you could maybe tear up a bit while doing so, that’d be great. Thanks for always reading and don’t forget to bring your teacup over to Point of Focus!



“Only can die once, right, Sir?”

•20 July, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Life. Now there’s an adventure we’re all putting off. Autumns in England, Springs contemplating the inner workings of the self, Summers spent working with the best and worst of them. I think of what it all boils down to: we go to school, so we can work, so we can make money, so we can retire.

Nowhere in this most basic of life patterns does it talk about when to do all these things. Where to live while you do them. Who you are. What you love. Purpose…

Are we constantly in transit to the next place or thing? I like to think humans are constantly evolving, never staid. But it’s easy to get stuck (or feel stuck) in a place, a job, a relationship. It’s part of my goal never to feel so.

In considering my options for the coming year, I realize that undergraduate school, while an important growing and maturing experience, is really just preparation for graduate school (or working, as the case may be). Yes, you should have a major that relates to your professional goals, but at the end of the day, if you can’t reason, analyze arguments properly, write well, take excellent notes, and interact with people you either love or love to hate, you probably can’t even get a job flipping burgers.

Senior year of high school? Applying for college? Mere rehearsal for four years later, just before you’re bestowed with the OH-SO-ELUSIVE “Bachelor’s Degree.” No, the real step into my future comes now…applying to graduate school, permanent moves, job offers. A final severing of the ties that have been slowly sawed at since…well, since I was four going on forty. At what point do we become an adult? Who decided we were qualified to make such vital decisions at the age of twenty-one?

It is what it is. If society trusted us with these responsibilities, it’s up to us and us alone to knuckle up and take them on. I never expect answers to all of my questions, but I am trusting my ability to figure out most of the answers for myself, and relying on the people I choose and trust to help me with the rest.

Débutantes are real?

•9 July, 2011 • Leave a Comment

After all the hullabaloo (am I spelling that right, Kaplan?) of fancying up my blog, I left everyone hanging with no more information about this current mess of an adventure in South Carolina. This is for one or more of the following reasons:

1. My life is a twisted combination of Little House on the Prairie, Dora the Explorer, and Fiddler on the Roof Junior.

2. Approximately 97% of my time is spent studying for the GRE, putting off studying for the GRE, or complaining about studying for the GRE. The other 3% is spent watching Disney Channel (no change there).

3. So much sweat pours out of my body at such a constant rate that I am left weak from dehydration and unable to form coherent sentences, let alone blog posts.

4. Unless I gave you a tally of how many broken tail lights I see in a day, absolutely nothing happens in South Carolina.

So there you have it. I’m hot all the time, my internship is essentially my normal summer job (child care) with more theatre, I work at a Mexican restaurant to fill the gas tank, and I would like to provide you with this comic:

Ain't it the truth. (One point lost--poor grammar.)

I’m sorry to disappoint with this lousy post instead of the glossy color photos of fabulous historic architecture and me doing regular things that are instantly made more interesting by happening in a foreign country. Life at the moment is simply uninteresting. Nevertheless, it’s a day-to-day adventure waking up in a place that is none of the places I have come to call home. My souvenirs? A couple of “y’all”s peppering my speech and the ability to say I’ve eaten grits (and survived).

Now go to bed! I’ve got Baptist church in the morning!

Yes, ma’am.

Toto, I don’t think we’re in England anymore…

•7 June, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Welcome back! (Maybe I should be welcoming myself back. It’s been awhile.)

If you haven’t noticed, or heard from my obnoxious mentionings, Satin and Lace has undergone some renovations! I’m very excited about them, so please click around, comment, compliment, praise me, and erect monuments in my name because I had to draw upon every reserve of tech-savvy I have (which isn’t much to begin with).

Though Satin and Lace started as a blog so people back home could keep up with my England semester, I felt like it was just left hanging out in cyberspace. My most tagged item (besides “England”) was the word “adventure.” So I decided to continue chronicling my adventures for those who care to read them, and redesigned Satin and Lace in keeping with this theme.

You’ll notice this in the quotation under the title (one of my favorites) and to learn more about my goal with Satin and Lace, I would especially love for you to visit the heading “My Daring Adventures.” Which is over there. ————————–>
While you’re perusing the sidebar, also notice the subscription signup, new organization, updated pages and (hopefully) clever headings, all related to my mission.

A quick note on the subject of commenting (which I really hope you do!): WordPress has added a feature so that you can now comment through your Twitter Username, Facebook account, or as a guest, so you don’t have to have a WordPress account to comment! Please take advantage of these options because I would love to hear your feedback!

I really hope you enjoy the changes and will keep up with me as I continue to adventure in my day-to-day life (or strive to). Also, tell your friends if you find it witty, wry, wonderful, or amusingly bad, and help me raise my readership. 🙂

Be on the lookout for updates on my current adventure–Greenville, South Carolina, USA. See you soon!

“I spend every day reconfiguring my senses.”

•5 February, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well. Proof that living in England made me more diligent. I’ve been back in America for almost a month and a half and it’s been longer than that since I’ve blogged.

I won’t ramble as much as you’re used to. The last few weeks in England were a whirlwind of nights out, takeaway in, and seeing last minute places. I visited the next Olympic Stadium, ate REAL fish and chips, won a bottle of champagne at a karaoke contest, modeled in a fashion show in London, took a riverboat tour of the Thames, visited the oldest schoolroom in England at an iconic college, saw the Rosetta Stone, stood in the Eastern and Western hemisphere at the same time, and had some of the most unforgettable nights I’ll ever have.

Life since I’ve been back has been more hectic than all that plus my travel home…which was one hell of a journey. It started on Friday morning, packing up the room. It was an odd feeling because in Windsor, all the freshers have to move out at Christmas and move back in a month later (so the university can host conferences and such). With everyone packing up their stuff it felt like the end of the year, so I didn’t really have time to process that I was leaving my friends for good. There were random bouts of crying that reminded me though!

From school it was off to Henley-on-Thames, the gorgeous home town of my very best English friend, Ed. I was immediately treated like a member of the family, and it was a wonderful few days. Leaving Ed was the hardest goodbye. He was the one person I knew I’d be friends with for a very long time. Leaving America, I knew I’d be back in a few months. Leaving England, having no idea if and when I’d ever be back…WHEN I’d ever be back…was one of the hardest experiences of my life.

I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Before I left, my goodbye was drawn out for an extra day because Heathrow (one of the largest airports in the world) decided to close for three days. Nearly every flight was cancelled, for three solid days, because of about four inches of snow. Coming from Minnesota, where we’d just gotten seventeen inches the weekend before and nothing had shut down, this was one final way of England surprising me. I was so blessed to have Ed’s family to stay with, and they left the invitation open for as long as I needed. I’m also blessed that Delta somehow rebooked me automatically on a flight a couple of days later. When I got to the airport, it was absolute CHAOS. I had never experienced genuine insanity until then. People were mad, getting into fights, sleeping on tinfoil by security. Madness.

There is that way people have, when travelling (especially when delayed) of becoming buddies very quickly. I ended up in line with a girl who studied in England full time, and we bonded. I didn’t find out until after I’d been through security that I’d gone to the first class line by accident. When the ticket agent checked me in he said, “You’re very lucky.” I hastily agreed because I assumed he meant my getting rebooked automatically was lucky (which it was). I now think he meant it because he let me check in the first class line, where there was no chaos, instead of sending me to the economy line where I’d stand for another two hours.

Long story short: 4 pm flight delayed two hours, seven hours later we land in Boston to change crews, and sit on the runway for two full hours. Land in Detroit about midnight, miss all of our connections, and get sent to a hotel for the night. I didn’t sleep, as I had to catch a shuttle back to the airport at 4:30 am to catch my flight. Which was delayed. And then we sat in the airplane for another two hours because the aircraft had “weight and balance issues.” Finally arrived in Minneapolis about 10 AM, a full two days after I’d started travelling.

Forty-eight hours. With no sleep. Never again.

You can see why I wasn’t excited to blog about this final adventure. Since being back in the states, it’s been a lot of running around, seeing people I haven’t seen, and “two weeks here, one week there” as I went from England, to home, to school, to Iowa for a theatre festival, and back to school. The culture shock has been rough, and “adjusting” to being back at school is not an option, as I voluntarily lead a busy life and shock my system on a daily basis. I still spell analyse with an s, say “fab” and “lush” (thanks Fay), get inexplicable cravings for curry, look to the right first when I cross the road, and my English flag hangs above my desk as a daily reminder that the world is bigger than me.

I am a new, enhanced version of myself, more in touch with where I’m headed in life and what I want. But at the same time, I’m even more of an idealist, embracing my visions of grandeur as actual possibilities now that I’ve had a taste of what’s out there beyond my little “bubble.” I’m still processing, and I’m still in process.

I’ll see you soon, England. You’re impossible to forget.

“Four? Good heavens!”

•21 November, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’d like to take a few moments to talk about England’s favorite thing…actually, ponder these images while I run and make my own.

That’s right, ladies and gents, tea. Long-touted as the most drunk beverage of England, but never proven by the rest of the world, I’m here to assure you that tea is, in fact, England’s favorite drink. Now, like any good product of middle America, I grew up appreciating the calming effects of tea as a bedtime soother, all the while watching my parents drink coffee and listening to my father tell me not to, “Because it’ll put hair on your chest!” Now at twenty (myth debunked), I’m as addicted to overpriced burnt coffee drinks as the next sleepless college student. But I came fully prepared to alter my habits for the tea-drinking Brits.

Or did I?

The first time I tried to make a cup of tea in England, I did it the standard way–put tea bag in cup, put water in cup, put cup in microwave. WAIT, WHAT?!

It was only the first week of term and already I was an outcast amongst my peers. I was immediately chastised, laughed at, and shown how to correctly make a cup of tea–put tea bag in cup, put water in KETTLE, turn kettle on, put water in cup. Despite my protests that I only wanted one cup of tea, so there was no point to boiling all that water, I had no choice but to use the kettle to fit in. PEER PRESSURE.

English humour.

Now, with just a month left in England, I’m already wondering how I’m going to function without an electric kettle. It’s the English version of a “watering hole,” gathering up to eight students in one small kitchen to drink tea before bed. It draws them like coffee–on a trip into London with some of my English friends, we’d barely been there a half hour before they were complaining about needing “a cuppa.” A few nights ago I wandered down the hall to make my own “cuppa” and stumbled across a lad’s night, which consisted of tea with milk and sugar, and football (soccer). It sounds non-threatening, but I learned you still don’t interrupt man time.

And so, my friends, go put the kettle on and make yourself a cuppa as you peruse my blog. If you’re feeling adventurous, turn on BBC America. I’ll sit here, drinking my Whittard of Chelsea out of my Shakespeare mug and contemplating the strange and wonderful lives of these lovely Brits.

Do not disturb.

“How now spirit! Whither wander you?”

•20 November, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It’s bad news when sitting down to write a blog post gives you a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Never fear, lovely people, it’s not you. It’s the 4000 words I handed in on Monday that have left me drained, weak from sleeplessness and wrought with carpal tunnel–in short, I’ve felt totally incapacitated this week and have done precisely nothing in order to recover.

Alright, I’ve done SOMETHING. Including the obligatory attending of the classes and having of the fun. Let’s start with Saturday, before the wretched papers were handed in.

If Canterbury was a literary pilgrimage, my theatrical pilgrimage happened 13 November, 2010. The home of brilliance, the son of an ordinary but proud milliner and the quintessential God of Theatre…Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon.


Okay, it could have been all that, but didn’t really get the chance. As with all ISA-related trips, we were rushed from one place to place. On top of an already packed schedule, we were stuck with a private coach driver who was an hour late, London ISA students who seem the think the world waits for them, and bloody European Union laws about how often the driver has to take a break. Though the 45 minutes at a side of the road pub did allow for some adventures, picture taking, and meeting a chocolate lab who lives the coziest life ever, in the end it only served to delay something I was really excited about.

Luckiest dog ever, at the Red Lion Pub

Next we headed to Stratford-upon-Avon, and our tour guide led us to some historical spots, such as where Shakespeare went to school. What I loved about Stratford was that nearly EVERYTHING had Shakespeare’s likeness on it, intermixed with the names and faces of other literary and theatrical giants, such as a bookshop called “The Chaucer’s Head” and a bed-and-breakfast called “The Marlowe Hotel.” I really wish we’d had more time to walk around, I would really like to go back if I can scrounge up the cash. Shakespeare’s birthplace was really cool. They had it set up with as much original furniture and items as they could, and even had Shakespeare’s schooldesk from when he was young.

Shakespeare's birthplace and childhood home, Stratford

I heard from some others who went through the house more quickly that there was a Harry Potter themed shop nearby that had Bertie Bott’s AND Butterbeer! I was taking my time seeing all the stuff at the house, but if I go back, I will definitely have to go there.

(There is a town called Exeter in west England, where J.K. Rowling lived and wrote the Harry Potter books. There are a number of places in the books that are based on places there, and they have Harry Potter tours and everything. Another place I would like to go see…but I’m running out of weekends.)

It was quickly back on the bus and about a half hour ride later, we were at Warwick (read: War-ick) Castle. This was really fantastic. It was more touristy than Dover castle, but also more interesting in a different sense. We climbed to the tallest tower for some fantastic views…the little boy who was behind me proudly announced “One hundred ninety-six steps!” after we reached the top. To which I responded, “Thank you, small child, for reminding me how out of shape I am.” But it was worth it.

View from Warwick Castle

Inside the castle were a number of exhibition-type things. My favorite was called “Secrets and Scandals,” which used the fictional scenario of being an attendant a dinner party to display the secret lives of the people who lived in and visited Warwick Castle. It was in conjunction with Madame Tussaud’s (the wax museum) and the Countess of Warwick had left you secret “letters” throughout the castle that revealed the scandals of the other partygoers (aka the wax figures in that room). It was very lifelike and an interesting approach. I couldn’t believe people had lived there as recently as 100 years ago.

We also saw the dungeon where prisoners were kept and tortured. It was incredibly creepy.

Oh, and one last thing…

There was a PEACOCK GARDEN. This photo is not zoomed in.

Overall, despite being fast-paced as usual, Saturday was fantastic.

Section of Warwick Castle at sunset

Like I said (now I sound like my mother and grandmother), I spent the rest of the weekend writing and editing papers, which you assume would be old hat. But it’s easy to underestimate how hard it is to write an essay in a foreign country. There is different sized paper, a different style of citation, a different focus in the essay, uncertain requirements, eight million different expectations from your professors, printing you have to pay for, and FOOTNOTES. The bane of my existence…

I thought I could relax for a bit after I handed in my midterm papers, but then I immediately received the final paper topics and nearly died. I am confident I WILL die before finals week and be unable to return to the States. Thank you, travel insurance, for returning my corpse to my family when Chaucer and modern British poetry end me.

On Thursday night (18 November) we went to see “We Will Rock You,” a musical co-written by Queen and featuring (you guessed it) all of Queen’s music. I was booking it from class, which I had until 6 PM in Reading and had a curtain in London at 7:30.

NB: This includes walking to the bus stop, a bus ride into town, a train ride into London, Bakerloo tube line to Oxford Circus, and Central line to Tottenham Court Road. That’s a lot of room for public transportation error.

On top of my already short time, I was on the Bakerloo tube line when they made an announcement that a passenger was sick at one stop and THE ENTIRE SOUTHBOUND LINE had to empty out. You have not experienced public transport congestion until that happens to you and you have only a half hour to make it to the theatre. Luckily, I made it with enough time to go to the bathroom and find my seat. It was certainly an unforgettable solo adventure.

Hearing others exclaim about the musical is all well and good, until they ask you what you thought about it. My fellow Americans were not expecting to hear a real review of it, so I stuck with “It was pretty good.”

I suppose it’s like looking at a piece of artwork when you’re an artist–I can’t watch a production without examining it from a billion different perspectives. “We Will Rock You” has never had and never will have a well-written plot IN BETWEEN the songs, but to experience the atmosphere in the theatre and hear these songs performed is worth the ticket. We’ll give it PROs on set, lighting, the live band, a dedicated ensemble, and the vocals on about three of the leads. Oh, and the exorbitant amount of overhead on the stage! I have no idea where all that stuff they lifted in and out of there went. AND the music of course. 🙂 CONs in the categories of the supporting lead vocals, the director’s awful concept, and a lame plotline.

At the end of the night, I hadn’t paid for my train or theatre ticket and I sat in a comfy seat for two and a half hours. I’m never going to complain about free theatre for too long.

Dominion Theatre, London. (Taken a different day.)

Now it’s Friday night and I’ve started to buckle back down today. Tomorrow I’m off to Oxford University with the English Society to see “A Streetcar Named Desire.” I’m very excited! (Now this is theatre I paid for. It better be good.) 🙂

Sometimes it’s hard to decide how to end a blog post. This time, it’s easy.

Gingerbread Shakespeare.