There is a scene in many movies where the girl is in a record/book store, flipping through vinyls/books, and some slick guy comes up next to her to start making conversation about whatever title/artist/author she is looking at. If movies actually depicted reality, that scene could happen in The Truck Store. But in reality, it’s a Hollywood fabrication to appeal to all the hopeless romantics out there, because these indie record stores are fighting to survive and increasingly harder to find! If you read my post about Oxford earlier this week, you may have noticed I mentioned The Truck Store. The shop is a rare gem belonging to the dying breed of independent record stores. It’s a place for vinyl collectors, music connoisseurs, people still stuck in the 80s, and those who believe their life is secretly a movie.

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As clearly illustrated by the New York Film Academy, only 8% of directors of general feature releases are women. And so, in response to this evident disparity, the Birds Eye View Film Festival was created, which began as just an hour-long event filled with shorts by emerging female filmmakers. Twelve years later, the festival continues to champion some of the brightest female filmmakers of our time.

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With a Friday off work, and an urge to explore, a friend and I decided to spend the day in Oxford. We got on a bus from Victoria station, and headed north-west, into the green English countryside. It felt good to leave the grey chaos of London behind, and slow down from our usual walking pace. We wandered through one of the most visited cities in England, though trying to appear as local as possible.

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Last night’s dinner was delicious: A fresh fattoush salad, crunchy mini falafels, chargrilled red peppers with toasted almonds, fresh baby spinach swirled into creamy yogurt and spiced with cumin, minty labneh sauce… The list could go on. I indulged in a full Persian Mezze banquet, beautifully served and prepared by the master chef of The Hampstead Kitchen, all while sitting in the middle of London’s newest design store, West Elm.

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GOOD READS Everywhere

A word of caution: none of these books are new. Nor are they on this year’s NYT best sellers list, or on the entry table as you walk into your local bookstore. They are, as the title simply suggests, good reads. And while they may not be the hot pick for book clubs this month, a good read is always a good read; worth revisiting if you’ve already shelved them.

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MONDAY TUNES: #7 Everywhere

I like songs with a story. Maybe it’s because I like writing them. Stories, I mean. I also like music videos with a story; these short films that reveal a song’s narrative. And then there’s our story; the one that we think about when we hear a song. There’s always a place where we first heard the song, and the people it reminds us of become the characters. It turns out there can be several stories in just one song…

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We’re looking forward to longer days and pushing the clocks ahead this weekend. We’re looking at a diary full of summer plans, future travels, and a best friend’s wedding. We’re looking forward to a Barcelona music festival in May, and the beginning of Texan heat in June. We’re anxious about graduations, finishing a chapter, and opening new books. We’re looking forward to family visits in London and August in Madrid. We’re looking at our emails for promising results; looking forward to hearing back from that writing contest entered last month. We’re looking forward a lot lately, because sometimes seeing what’s ahead is the only way to stay calm in the present. Looking ahead shows us the point of not giving up today. Where we are now is the only place that will get us to what we’re really looking forward to.

[Photo credit: c/o Carmen Gonzalez]


One of the great things about falling down the rabbit hole of the internet, is that you can find another world at the other end. In this case, an illustrated world. On one of my recent trips through the internet, I came across the colorful site of the Tokyo Illustrators Society. Their new page archives the work of some of Japan’s finest talent (and provides a somewhat addictive gallery of inspirational material). This was where I found the work of Kondo Yoshie, and her charming illustrated city guides.

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You know when Londoners are wearing t-shirts and no jacket, that Spring has arrived. It is also when cherry blossoms release pink petals everywhere, and there is enough sunshine to spend an entire afternoon at the park. And because this is a season for making plans, we may as well find out what London has to offer this time of year…

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We can’t seem to get enough of Italy around here recently. It was only a week ago that I spent Saturday getting lost (literally) in the streets alleys of Venice. And, if I could plan my ideal weekend right now, it would be sitting along the edge of the port, sun on my face, ice cream in hand, feet dangling over Canale di Fusina. Not a car or bus in sight. But I guess that’s what daydreaming is for.

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