Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


5 Comments

#TexansAbroad | Dover, England

Dover Castle Grounds

This past weekend me and Taylor took a 40 minute train ride to the coast to visit the town of Dover. Hopping off the train, we made our way through town in search of a map of Dover and breakfast.

There was nothing remarkable about the particular breakfast place we chose. It called itself The Mean Bean. It served strong coffee and cold pastries. It was rather early so the place was empty when we sat down. As we sipped our lattes and made a loose plan for our day, the coffee shop slowly began to fill up. Each and every customer greeted the owner with conversation and camaraderie. They spread themselves out amongst a few tables, but the conversation never stopped. A few patrons table-swapped to have more personal catch-ups with their friends. The place filled with laughter, British slang, and the smell of coffee. We had stumbled into a local establishment.

This was actually a major find for us. We love Canterbury so much, but between all of the universities and its only industry–tourism, you can’t just walk into any given place and be met with locals. This place was the real deal. It was wonderful and amusing and refreshing.

Dover was refreshing.

Dover, Kent Ocean

Dover still has quite the tourist draw, with its famous white cliffs, a major castle, and its lovely seaside location. But there was such a difference between it and Canterbury. We were thrilled to step away from the hustle of tourists in Canterbury to the slower paced Dover.

We had an amazing time hiking the cliffs, visiting the castle and eating like locals.

Dover, Kent white cliffs of Dover

Dover_Kent_2015 (185)

Dover_Kent_2015 (181)

Advertisements


Leave a comment

25 Things | An Update

11001792_10206612130211781_2661737535745996963_n

These winter months are flying past us.

Moving to the UK, I did fret just a little about the weather, however it really hasn’t been a problem. On a daily basis, yes, it’s much colder than Texas, and it rains so much more. But so far Texas has had more snow than Canterbury, so the cold is not so bad. I think you just learn to acclimate to wherever you are. In Texas I never would have wanted to walk in the rain… with cars so readily available and absolutely necessary to get around most places, walking wasn’t an option. With no car and every store imaginable right in the vicinity…we have no choice but to bundle up, grab an umbrella and go. It’s not bad at all, it’s just the norm.

That being said, whether rainy and cold are normal or not, it’s certainly hard to stay motivated when all I really want to do is watch Netflix bundled in a blanket. Everyday is a decision to give in to that laziness or continue on with my list of 25 things. And sometimes I choose the TV marathon. I won’t lie. But, as long as the end goal can be the same, then this will be a productive, satisfying year. I’d say I’m off to a good start in accomplishing that!

Let’s talk details: Most of what’s on my list isn’t something just the check off and be done with, but as a way to learn from and add to my life. Here are some updates to a few things.

1. Learn basic French | Learning another language is no joke. I’ve really enjoyed learning simple phrases. I can recognize about 50 phrases or words and write most of those correctly (I struggle with the punctuation).  Speaking is more difficult, but I’m happy with the progress so far.

2. Take better photos | I don’t know about better, but I am learning more about my digital camera. I love taking photos around the city!

4. Visit all the countries in the UK | Check Scotland off that list

8. Learn to be | This one is usually easy for me, but lately I’ve been working until midnight some nights, just not wanting to stop being productive.

16. Become more involved in church | Taylor and I  have just been added to the Canterbury Baptist Church Student Volunteer Team. We will be working with university students, helping plan activities and meals and growing the students church community. We have been getting to know the leaders and students of this group for quite some time now, so I’m very happy to work with them. We’re cooking Tex-Mex for them this Sunday! We’ll see what they think of some of our favorite foods.

20. Send more snail mail | Yay! My request for pen pals was a large success! I just sent out a handful of postcards and plan on sending more once I get everyone’s address.

I’m excited about this year. The weather is warming up, I’m learning new things all the time. (Like, I had no idea mother’s day is celebrated on a different day in many countries. It’s March 15th here). I’m looking forward to March!


4 Comments

We Got the New Flat!

I’m so excited that we were able to get this lovely flat! There have been quite a few hurdles, but we got the keys and had a look around today!

If you missed why we’re so excited about this place, you can read about our experience with the first flat here.

apt1

The first flat was not what we saw online and about five times smaller than we thought it was going to be. It was just a small, narrow room with a bed in one corner, a couch in the other and a counter with all the necessary kitchen appliances, and a small bathroom with sliding door. I don’t want to complain about it–it’s a nice looking place and ideal for a student or single professional on a budget. However they advertise it for two people because the bed is a double bed, so technically large enough for two. We have been living decently here; only unpacking the essentials and limiting what we attempted to cook. But when it comes down to it, there would be no way we could each work full time out of it.

Admittedly we felt like true stereotypical Texans when we discussed the issues with the landlady. Of course the Texans would want everything bigger. But, for us to comfortably work, live and research, we needed space and made the decision to search for a larger place. We just got SUPER lucky to find a place as large as the new flat is in our price range.   

These first photos are horrible. Perhaps I was cold from walking in the mist, or maybe I was too excited to actually focus the camera!

This flat is a short and pleasant 9 minute walk to the city centre, compared to the 15 minute walk on a major road from the first flat. It is a nice 15 minute walk through a pedestrian-only walkway to the University of Kent, compared to the 30 minute walk uphill on a major road.

I feel like we’ve just moved up in the world because of this upgraded flat. Yes, we’ve had bigger apartments in America, but it’s really been like starting our lives over in the UK (relearning money, reading Universal time, learning which side of the road to be on—I mean, we haven’t had to think about these things since elementary school!) , so this flat is a giant step for us. This is why I’m so excited to share this little place! And we’ll be moved in tomorrow!


4 Comments

Our Life in Canterbury | The First Four Days

planeride

We finally made it! It feels like we’ve been waiting forever to begin this part of our life.
Over a year ago I wrote this post regarding the realization of the possibility of moving far away for Taylor’s PHD.
Little did I know then that we would end up in the UK!

plane1

Day 1 | Tuesday
Our trip to Canterbury, Kent, England was actually really easy and pleasant. We spent the day at the airport with my mom, sister and father in law.
We had lunch at the Hyatt dining room then said our final goodbyes.

Once we got on the plane our last meal in America was flying over one of the great lakes nearest Canada. We then watched a movie, slept and tried to make the most of our 9 hour trip.

plane3

Day 2 | Wednesday
Arriving in London Heathrow airport was a smooth process. Thankfully we found a cart to carry our 150ish pounds of luggage. Taylor bought a simple cell phone to contact our landlady, withdrew a little more money from an ATM, then we headed out to grab a taxi.
The trip in the taxi was really nice. We didn’t get to go through London, because the traffic was too bad, so we took the road around it. It took about an hour and half to travel to Canterbury in which time we enjoyed joking with the taxi driver about American and British stereotypes and learned a lot about England history. The driver was so nice and interesting. He actually lived in Kent as well (our address is Canterbury, Kent, UK) and talked about his children. His son has his own business putting together massive (15-20,000 people) techno dance events and his daughter was a model who was actually in Toni and Guy’s London Fashion Week’s runway show that same day.

So, this is where the first day in England loses its…charm. The taxi driver brings us to the flat we put a deposit on online. After waiting 30 minutes the landlady pulls up and was in complete shock there were two of us. We walk up to the place and it’s not what we were told at all! We knew it was going to be small, but it was way smaller than we thought it was. But it wasn’t just our error–the online realtor told us this place was for two people when it clearly is not, not to mention the fact the landlady didn’t even read the agreement and Taylor’s numerous emails stating there were two people.
I won’t go into the details, but we haven’t signed the lease yet and we are looking at other flats in the area already. Hopefully we will be out of here soon.

Because of the shock of the flat, jet lag and the time difference, we just collapsed on the bed and slept for several hours. Once we woke up we walked downtown and found a Pizza Hut that offered Wifi and contacted our family.
We then went to a nearby store owned by Wal-Mart for some basic necessities.

Look how exhausted we were!

Look how exhausted we were!

Day 3 | Thursday
The third day brought a couple more issues, but we felt a little better. We found a coffee shop for the wifi–it’s very nerve-wracking being totally reliant on Wifi to contact people! We then decided to take out more money from an ATM and…it stole our card! Fear ensued when we realized there were issues with our cards and only had a little cash with us. We bought some very cheap items to make sandwiches and splurged on a portable Wifi card so that we could sort out all these issues in the apartment instead of at a restaurant.

bus1

Day 4 | Friday
Friday Taylor and his dad worked on sorting out our bank issues in America. It took most of the day, but it was finally fixed, though we still don’t feel 100% comfortable using the debit card we still have. As that was happening we walked up to the University of Kent where Taylor will be attending. The walk was not what we expected as the traffic was horribly busy and the trip was uphill. Once we got to the school we walked around for about an hour, but couldn’t accomplish anything until the following day. We didn’t want to walk back so we decided to try out a doubledecker bus for the first time. It was so simple and took us to the city centre right near our flat.

Day 5 | Saturday
Taylor walked back to the school and registered Saturday morning. We then spent the rest of the day finally fully relaxing and enjoying the fact that we were in England! We ate tacos and window shopped all around the city centre.

We’ve had so many issues, but now that we are more comfortable it’s really exciting being here! We will be tourists in our own city for a long time. The city centre is so busy with so much history. Once we get UK cell phones (smart phones) we will be much more connected. Our wifi is very limited and we’re trying to save our money until we get a UK bank and hopefully a new flat! Then we’ll be able to do much more exploring! We still can’t believe this is our life now and are so blessed to be here. The issues we are facing are annoying and stressful, but we know it will be settled soon!

We’ve had fun comparing the shops and TV stations. Everything is similar just with different names:

Stores:
ASDA – owned by Wal-Mart and looks like Wal-Mart
Big Box – Big Lots
TK Maxx – TJ Maxx

TV Shows:
Funniest Ever – You’ve Been Framed! – America’s Funniest Home Videos

Food:
Walkers Crisps – Lays Chips

Slang:
Tea (or tea time) – Lunch time
Quid – Cash
One off – One-time (example: one-time fee)


Leave a comment

Lately – Fan Girl Shopping

1. Union Jack Pillows- ILovePillow | 2. I’ll Fix it In Photoshop Tee – JedaTees | 3. Dr. Who Police Box Bow – FanGirlyStorm | 4. Harry Potter Marauder’s Map Tank – ThinkingGallery

Life has gotten so so busy. I’m working SO hard and overtime to get work completed because next week I’m going on vacation! This leaves little time for blogging or being social but I’m really enjoying all the work that’s keeping me busy (love me some Photoshop projects).

This weekend my and Taylor’s families are hosting a going away party for us, which is just crazy. Crazy crazy…. We are leaving the country in a month.
I could really use some advice for living out of country. I’m SO overwhelmed–and I haven’t even had to do any of the hard stuff like get visa applications and financial aid…I’m just overwhelmed in general at the fact that we’ll be leaving Texas, USA for three or four years.

I plan on enjoying this big party for our family and friends and taking selfies with everyone.

Back to work for me!  Lots of blog posts planned…in my head…but for now I’m on that sweet, sweet path to VACATION–which involves doing a ton of work beforehand. Oh well. 🙂


3 Comments

Guest Post at The Wine Stain

wine

Today the all-too-kind Ashley from The Wine Stain asked me to talk about ‘being alone’ on her blog! Since I’m such a loner this was kind of the perfect topic!
But seriously, I talk about how I relax and why being alone is important to me. Check her blog out and read my guest post here. Thanks, Ashley, for the opportunity!

 


2 Comments

Shirt Designs

I wanted to post a few of the t-shirt designs I’ve created lately! I don’t take many custom orders because I do graphic design full time, but I love doing some just-for-fun designs occasionally!

shirtMy company put together a team for Relay for Life. We hosted a volleyball tournament to raise money for the American Cancer Society. In true Texas fashion, it was ‘cowboy’ themed.

shirt2I designed this volleyball shirt for the same American Cancer Society fundraiser tournament. The winners received this as a prize!

shirt1I created this shirt after my family asked for a Family Reunion shirt! The ‘roots’ are the names of my grandfather and great aunts and uncles and their parents.
shirt3A witty friend and her women’s softball team came up with this Miley Cyrus/Softball pun of a design. I was more than happy to bring their vision to life.


1 Comment

Finishing Up a Chapter

Sometimes you have a wonderful story to tell. You think long and hard about the story process—how the beginning shall begin, how the middle will raise expectations and excite the minds, and how the end will pull the whole thing together into a beautiful, inspiring conclusion.

And sometimes you have a week like this:

-Three final projects due by tomorrow
-Aton of cleaning
-A ton of packing
-A ton of moving
-A ton of responsibilities that have been put off

So. Oh, also, I’m tired. Sleep deprived. But, since I can’t work on my projects because I’m at work, I’ve decided to take a little break and do some online shopping for SUMMER CLOTHING:

I love this tunic. Forever21 $8.80

A simple, lovely tank. Not too tight or short. Forever21 $7.90

An awesome romper. I’m wary to buy rompers, because I have a longer torso, but this one is stretchy! Forever21 $9.80

AND FOR MY DO-IT-YOURSELF FIX:

You can buy this shirt, sure, but it appeals to my D.I.Y. nature(and I could make it for cheaper!) Forever21 $13.80

Ok. This slashed tee is a bit much. But I do like the idea. Definitely going to D.I.Y. it Forever21 $11.80

Oh and to explain the list—I’m moving out of the campus apartments. I’m moving in with my Mamaw and finishing out the last semester of college there. Once I move in there, I’m really not sure at all what my plans are. I hope to find a summer job, save up some money, start planning my wedding, and graduate college. After graduation…whew. More scariness. I hope to dive straight into my work field–searching for a job that can start my career in design. That…is very scary.


Leave a comment

So close…

…to finishing school!

That’s what I must keep in my thoughts these last two semesters as I endure 6pm-9pm classes every night! I was so busy on this first day of Spring classes I didn’t give a fleeting thought to wedding plans! Nooo!

However, by the end of the night I was back on my go-to blogs scouting out cool ideas and thinking reaaaal hard on what our wedding party/attendants invitations should look like.

This weekend Tay and I stopped by Michael’s craft store and went crazy on stamps and ink. Although I can do so much on Photoshop (and I plan on doing a lot of designing) we both want a more personal touch for our paper products. Because we’re doing a ton of DIY projects, I don’t want to overwhelm ourselves with super intricate DIY invitations, but stamps seemed just right to add a personal ‘hand made’ touch.

And finally, some photos:

This is the famous antique mini sewing kit in which Tay hid my engagement ring. So sweet 🙂


6 Comments

Engaged!

WOW!

What a week!

Tuesday was SUCH a busy day and it got even busier when Taylor proposed to me! It was so cheesy and romantic and sweet. 🙂 And, no I don’t have a picture of the ring yet 😦 I’ve been so busy!

The story:

Last week Taylor informed me that for an early Christmas present we were going to have our photos taken. He chose the photographer, time and place so all I had to do on Tuesday (Taylor’s birthday, by the way) was show up!

We spent a good hour on the square taking photos in the cold. The last photo was taken sitting by a fountain and Taylor said, “Hey, hold on I have an early Christmas present for Alyssa and I want you (the photographer) to take a picture of her opening it. He then produed a small, antique sewing kit. I opened it up and amongst thread and needles was a ring! Then he got on his knees and asked me to marry him. He put the ring on my finger and everything! The moment was so awkward and sweet! Just like us! Ha ha!

Anyways, Tay planned the whole photo shoot so that we would have a picture of him on his knees propsing to me. Crazy!

We have a lot to plan, but I’m very excited!