Posts Tagged ‘blog’

Updates and Changes

I know I’ve neglected this blog a bit. For a long time I wrote weekly if not more, but lately it’s beginning to look like more of a monthly project. I’d like to change that, and I’d also like to get back to writing about a more diverse set of topics.

When I started this blog in November 2007, it was about travels, living in new countries and lots of exciting first-time experiences. Now that I’ve been back in the U.S. for more than a year and a half, plugging away at my freelance work and doing the usual things with my usual friends week in and week out, I haven’t been as inspired to share as much, but that’s not to say there isn’t much to share.

If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that I’ve been cooking a lot lately, and I must say that only a small fraction of what I make even makes it on here, mostly because I don’t always take photos. Just recently I’ve made spanakopita, multiple pizzas, multiple types of bagels, rye bread, multiple types of veggie burgers and much more.

I’ve also been doing some interesting things, like going to plays, watching new movies and spending an interesting day on jury duty. And I’ve still been going to Tuttle LA every other week.

Most recently, I’ve decided to make a very conscious effort to start exercising more and live a healthier life. It’s been difficult for me to stick to any regular exercise plan since I’ve been freelancing, and though I’ve gone through some different health kicks for short periods, I’m ready to truly start trying out more options to find what will really work for me in the long term. So far, I’ve been to yoga, step aerobics and other 24 Hour Fitness classes, Evan and I have been playing ultimate frisbee in a pick-up game in Will Rogers Park, and I’ve been running in the park near our place a bit.

And after taking a quarter off from taking classes (everything I wanted to take was full), I’m looking to sign up for another one or two starting in June so I can continue to improve my design skills and can encourage myself to do new things.

I have a lot of other plans, so watch this blog because I’ll be posting more in the very near future.

Feeling the Reach: Stories Around the Web

It’s always a pleasant surprise to get a link back from a blog — especially one that doesn’t belong to a friend, but I’ve had some pretty big surprises this past week, which resulted in some pretty big traffic for this little blog.

First, Cracked.com linked to my wavy facade post — in an article called 15 More Images You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photoshopped (see #12) — which had a link to pictures I took of a building in Paris that looks like it’s melting.

Overnight it brought thousands of people to the blog, overloading the servers for a time. I have noticed that post frequently gets found in searches, so I imagine it was the first thing the author found, and he linked to it. Thanks, Cracked!

Also, my recent Hitched interview with Alimi Ballard has been picked up by People magazine’s Celebrity Baby Blog and b5 Media’s FBI Dramas Blog, both with ample quotes from the interview. That doesn’t bring anyone back to this blog, but it’s still very cool to see my work being quoted.

It’s nice to see the reach of some of my pieces — especially ones I didn’t really expect to have much impact. It’s good inspiration to keep writing more.

Weekly Reading and a New Watercolor

hyde park serpentine watercolor

Today, after going to Tuttle and having a lovely Friday morning talking to friends and making new ones, I headed to Hyde park with my watercolors, intent on painting something in the afternoon sunshine. What you see above was my one and only creation — a view of the end of the serpentine, facing the Hilton Hotel (which you can see rising over the trees). I was never particularly talented with watercolors, but I still like to try. And sitting on a bench in the middle of the park, I just didn’t really have the patience for mixing colors or measured brushstrokes. I’m also pretty horribly out of practice, though it was fun to be outside, doing something.

In the park, I notice that things were completely different from two weeks ago when Evan and I went and took photos. The tulips in those striking gardens were almost completely gone and their flowerbeds looked frazzled. The supposedly dead tree that people were climbing — seriously, it had NO leaves or even buds — was lush and verdant, forming an intriguing bower. And the beautiful flowering tree, with full, pink blooms, had no flowers to speak of. My how things change…

Writingwise, this week has been busy. It was my last week at Sugarscape.com. In my 6 weeks there, working three or four days a week, I managed to write 69 stories, not counting competition copy (the numbers on my page are a bit off since it includes individual photos for galleries). It was sad to leave Alex and Becs, who were lots of fun to work with, and they bought me a lovely bouquet and a travel journal for my summer trip.

I also wrote a post for Londonist, “Shocking: Amy Winehouse Arrested, Let Out on Bail,” and a post for Workology, “Want to reduce your WTD? Get a VA!” I would love for all you freelancers and small business owners who read this blog to come join me at Workology, or at least comment on my blog posts — as of today, you don’t need invites anymore to join the new social network for independent workers.

And if you haven’t read the blog post about Best Supper Ever (I know, it’s just below on the page right now), go take a gander — Battlecat gave an awesome interview.

Tuesday Night London Blogger Meetup

I finally made it to another one of Andy Bargery‘s blogger meetup — this time at the Coach & Horses — and had a nice evening catching up with Londonist folks, seeing some people I hadn’t seen in a while and meeting a few new ones, too. I worry that since I know some people at the events now, I don’t spend as much time mingling as I should. It’s always nice to catch up with people, but I need to find a balance between meeting new people and spending time with the people who I only really see at events like this.

The best moment of the night was when I was chatting with TikiChris, the food and drink editor for Londonist, and meeting a new Chris, who said, “I just emailed with someone from Londonist… Francine…”! Of course, I told him that it was me and introduced myself. He works for is doing some work for Lactofree, and had found my blog and emailed me about my Lactofree posts, and we’d been exchanging emails just a few days earlier. We had a good chat about lactose and food allergies, and he said some new Lactofree products are in the works.

I was happy to see M@, Dave and TikiChris from Londonist, Siany, Annie Mole, Tim, Peter, Andy Roberts, and Melinda. And it was nice to meet some new people like Chris, Tom and Jaz. I also met Malcolm, who blogs about breakfast, so I had to do a bit of ranting about how I haven’t actually found a very good breakfast here yet. He says Americans just don’t like British breakfasts (I could agree to that). I did get some good recommendations, though, and I’ll be trying some out — top of my list is the Wolesley.

Sorry if I forgot to mention anyone… it was quite a busy night!

Is the Week Already Over?

It’s been another busy week in London. I’m still writing up stories on Sugarscape, only managed to do one blog for Londonist — “London – Bangladesh? Let the Train Take the Strain” — and started posting on the Workology blog.

Other than that, I also made it to another chocolate tasting, this time at Keith Hurdman’s Melt chocolate shop in Notting Hill (I’ll write more about that soon), went to Tuttle Club/Social Media Cafe and started to do some interviews for some upcoming posts on the Workology blog. (Thanks, LJ, for doing my first video interview!)

The Londonist Eye, Social Media Mafia and Your Weekly Reading

Londonist EyeWell, it’s been a busy week to say the least. I started an internship at Hachette Filipacci, wrote a new Entrepreneur.com article (you’ll see it soon) and still managed to write Londonist posts four out of five days.

I also managed to make it to the Museum of London for a pub quiz last night with the Londonist crew. I was pretty useless at answering questions since they were all about London (I think I knew 2), but I did excel in the arts and crafts bonus round, helping create an interactive, turning version of the London Eye, which we’d like to fondly call the Londonist Eye, out of paper straws and pipe cleaners. (In the photo, it’s nearly finished). Lindsey wrote a good post about it this morning, which really describes the evening well.

Today I went to Social Media Cafe at the Coach and Horses to catch up with my Friday morning friends, and went to lunch with the much more daunting sounding Social Media Mafia, which is actually a lovely group of people. We had curry on Brick Lane — my first time there — which ended up being a long and leisurely lunchtime feast. I’m still recovering.

The weekly reading list:

Fantastic Londonist April Fool

Just had to give a quick link to the Londonist April Fool’s joke yesterday: “Piggy-Back Plan To Beat Heathrow Congestion.” A little excerpt:

¬†With the situation showing little sign of improvement at the brand new T5, London’s aviation bosses are keen to turn the public’s attention to plans for dealing with the real elephant in the Heathrow departure lounge – the traffic congestion caused by still only having two runways. Yesterday saw the first test of a solution that could be in commercial use as early as next year. The bold plan seeks to double potential runway capacity by using long-haul aircraft to carry smaller planes “piggy-back” style out of West London.

Also, seeing the image of an Air France flight strapped atop an Air India jet like a space shuttle was fantastic. It couldn’t have been a better prank on such a timely subject since Heathrow is just a mess right now.