Joy LeDuc Photography Joy and I met through the interwebs back in 2011 when I started this blog of mine! We quickly became friends through Twitter and actually lived in opposites sides of the country. It must be Joy’s easy going personality, motivating ambition and incredible talent that kept us in touch. Luckily for me, London is a commuter city, so I get to see lots of my friends and family who visit this side of the world! Joy was actually visiting London after almost 10 years after living out here for a bit and I got to meet her in person for the first time! We took a nice long walk along the embankment and I was honored when she showed up with her camera. She specializes in family photography in Boston, but her talent is limitless!
It’s been passive aggressively summer in London and it’s been kind of a downer honestly. Last year the heat wave was real and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, but now I’m truly struggling as June Gloom is in full effect. Regardless of a heat wave or not, I felt as if I hadn’t had a one-on-one share with you in a while despite my big life updates post I did last week (and thank you for the encouraging messages)! In lighter news this week, I wanted to come to you with some of my summer favorites or things I’ve recently discovered and liked. I wouldn’t categorize these things as summer favorites because London isn’t really exhibiting the weather to be labeled as so. So, here it goes!
I was visiting a friend a few months back and their entire family drinks lots of tea. When I was feeling sluggish one afternoon at their house, I decided to indulge in an earl grey tea with them. It was surprisingly refreshing! I’m not new to tea and loved having it when I was in graduate school up in the middle of the night. It’s something that is lighter on my stomach than coffee, but I never truly enjoyed tea like the English do. I was gifted the Offblak Earl Grey & Rose tea for my birthday from that friend and have not stopped! I usually get a bit irritated when tea becomes too diluted and chalky, but Offblak’s tea bag packaging prevents that. The teas are flavorful, refreshing and come with brewing instructions! Since then I’ve also gotten the Camomile & Peach, which isn’t nauseating like peach could be. It’s also delicious as an iced tea! The last one I have now is the Red Berries & Cinnamon, which isn’t quite spicy and intense as it sounds. You can tell that the flavors flirt with the water can enjoy this black tea without milk.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my upbringing, culture and growing up as an ethnic minority. I thought about writing a summer series, but I’ve had other things on my mind as I explained in last week’s life updates post. One thing that is spoken about a lot in my culture is marriage. Unfortunately, it seems like most Western raised Indian women I know don’t really have the mindset to be goal- or career-oriented. Of these women that I mention, they will argue that they are, but I see them falling in this labyrinth of succumbing to what our society demands. Insert Little Things on Netflix. I only started this because I needed something in the background as I read a magazine, but I was completely into it and binged it all in one sitting. It’s a bunch of 25-ish minute episodes about the life of an Indian couple. They live together, but not married. This is taboo! Along with that, they deal with some real world situations that I could see myself in when I’m living with my significant other. Every episode is literally the same: cute moments, an argument and then it being settled. As mundane as it could be, I was impressed by the range of topics they opened up about.
My Airbnb Experience
My little Colorful Notting Hill Photo Walk experience has picked up this summer. Airbnb has been pushing experiences and you can tell by the amount of people who are enthusiastically signing up. I’ve actually been enjoying giving the tours for a few reason though. First, the people I’ve been meeting are incredible! From creatives and artists to tech geeks in town for work. Each person is more fascinating than the last and I now have an address book full of names of people around the world! Secondly, I love encouraging people to be mindful travelers. The Instagram generation has truly ruined traveling for me. I find that most people just go somewhere, take a photo and provide no context. Personally, I crave historical context and it’s why I still update my blog. Notting Hill is more than colorful houses and I love sharing the neighborhood with people who care. Finally, it forces me to see the beauty of something in someone else’s perspective. I only take around small groups and get to know each person and their circumstance. It’s interesting to see what they find fascinating and inspiring compared to what I do.
I’m not much of a vlog consumer, but I will watch something that seems relevant to my life. After a month of being gluttonous for my birthday and post-Whole30, I needed to get back on track. I came across Sarah’s vlog channel last year, but I used her workout videos in my flat. Eventually my gym started offering more classes and I stopped seeing her YouTube page all together. Recently I found out that she shifted her diet to be more paleo based and it seemed like most of what she was eating was stuff I would eat and enjoy too! I find her grocery shopping videos interesting because I usually only shop in the perimeter for fruit, vegetables and meat. She goes in and find crackers and nut mixes that would work for a paleo diet as well. Once she’s home, she preps her food similarly to how I do and I found a few new recipes to add to my weekly routine! I’m inspired now to do a grocery haul video or blog post too! What do you think?
This isn’t a tangible thing, but I wanted to share how much I’ve been loving the long days even though they’re predominantly gloomy. London’s summer days are really long with the sun setting at times like 9:30pm. Daylight motivates me and I find myself feeling quite accomplished with all that I achieve throughout the day. I’ve been also using the long days to go on walks and spend time outdoors, if it’s not raining. It’s like every year I fall in love with summer all over again!
Tell me what are your summer favorites? Or is it winter on your side of the hemisphere?