Lovely Ladies No. 1

After painting my bride friends, I still felt in the mood to paint fancy ladies in fancy dresses. And what better way to start than with a gorgeous emerald green dress- it is the Pantone color of the year after all. However, it wouldn't be me if there wasn't at least SOME gold in it- if only you could see it in person, the gold is actually metallic and shimmery, just how I like it.

Duolingo (Or What I'm Doing When I Should Be Working)

Living in London, the more people I meet, the more embarrassed I am to be staunchly monolingual. The number of people I talk to that speak not just two, but three or four (or more!) languages both shocks me and makes me embarrassed by the hole in my own education.

So every two years or so, I decide to recommit to learning French for real this time, building off my four years of high school French that taught me verb conjugations, slightly dirty phrases, and not much else.

That urge has come around again, and Duolingo, my attack plan du jour, is my favorite so far.

What I believe started as just a website now has an app that is perfect for getting little bits of learning in when you need a study break from your real work or when you have some time to kill.

The interface feels a lot like a game, with a tree of skills where one leads to the next and you can only move forward when you've completed your current skill. Each skill is broken down into several lessons, where you get three "lives," and you are awarded points for successfully completing the lesson. If you're the social sort, you can connect it to your Facebook, add friends, and compete with them based on points earned and longest streaks of activity.

AND its FREE- like totally free. No app download cost, no membership fee, no paying to get full access to a member's only section, no annoying ads.

What I like best about it, though, is that the mobile app is perfect for keeping you at your language learning because one lesson only takes a few minutes. So you can go a "play" a level when you're waiting for an appointment, or on a long bus ride, or when you're waiting for your Candy Crush lives to regenerate (damn you, Candy Crush, why are you so addictive?!).

If you're looking to learn a language, or you've beat Kingdom Rush and are looking for a new app to keep you occupied, you should try it out- I've been having a lot of fun with it (and it's a guilt free way to procrastinate since "Hey, I'm learning!"). If you try it out, let me know what you think! Xo!

Living In London

Every once in a while, living in London feels so normal to me that I forget in a vague sense that I am not in America. Because London now feels like home, and mentally home still feels like America, and once you become familiar with it, all big cities start to feel somewhat similar (the people, the mass transit, the lack of personal space, the tiny grocery stores).

And then I turn a corner, see a sign like this one, and see seven or eight of the horses from the stable where I ride walking down the high street of Wimbledon. All the traffic and pedestrians carry on as if it is a totally normal occurrence (because in this area it is!) and I am jolted back to remembering that I live in a totally different part of the world than I grew up in.

And it's awesome.

It's looking like our stay in London is likely to be extended an extra six months, which means I get to have another spring and summer here before returning to the States, and I'm thrilled.

Now I just need to remember to take advantage of this time to the fullest because who knows if we'll ever get this chance again. And of course, by "take advantage," I clearly mean more international European travel- time to start picking some destinations!