What’s your definition of Home?

What's your definition of Home?

Let’s face it…. coffee shops are like a third home for me. I use the word ‘ home’ pretty liberally in terms of locations and countries. But after three years, I really do feel like London is my home. And no place more than The Fleet Street Press – a coffee shop near the Strand Campus of King’s College London and the Maughan Library on Chancery Lane. That coffee shop has seen multiple essays develop; it has kept so many secrets; it has fed me brownies and chickpea spinach soup. I even knew this coffee shop when it was called Get Coffee (Let’s go to ‘get coffee’ … clever right?) and the same Italian barista that has worked there for the past 3 years. A bleak Tuesday, three years ago, I saw this small coffee shop offering a ‘Monkey Mocha’. I was intrigued by the name and discovered a chocolate/banana/orange creation in this perfect house of wifi and bathroom access. Since that day, I have never looked back. It will always be one of my FAVOURITE coffee shops in London.

Check out their website: http://www.thefleetstreetpress.com

They also have a twitter with their daily clever coffee-board sayings!

A little bit of fresh perspective to initiate a paradigm shift in thinking.

A little bit of fresh perspective to initiate a paradigm shift in thinking.

P.S. I’m re-reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s all about the difference between the character and personality paradigms. It really is an amazing book and worth a read!

P.S. #2 Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (in case the quote didn’t give it away). That book is ALSO worth a read. Make a nice cup of tea, grab your blanket and enjoy the words on the page (hardcopy or Kindle or audiobook…. JUST READ IT.)

A first attempt to export my animated film (on Piet Mondrian).

This is the first clip from my new animated short film about Abstract Paintings in Motion. It’s an artistic visualisation to original music by Pierre Tiberghien. This one is based on a painting by Mondrian, and there are two more videos to make in the series based on paintings by Kandinsky and Jackson Pollack. At 24 frames per second, this is taking longer than expected, but I always love a distant goal.

Also, I should warn you that the timing is off. I’m having difficulties with Adobe Flash on getting the animation to match the sound. Technology really is a love-hate relationship. More precisely… I love it when it works and hate it when it fails. In this case, it’s both.

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in Central Park … bringing back graceful dance.

This is an extract from the film The Band Wagon (1953). Notice how the music starts way before the couple begins dancing, and even then, they don’t make contact until over a minute and a half into the song. The anticipation and gracefulness is absolutely stunning and reminds me, yet again, why I love Classical Hollywood Musicals.

P.S. If you want to get into film studies and this topic in particular… you MUST check out Rick Altman’s book The American Film Musical.

“Filmed dance is doubly difficult to evoke in words, for Hollywood’s directors have become unusually adept at making the camera dance along with the actors.” (Altman, 40)

My love of food as demonstrated by a GIF #poundcake #theimagemoves #gif #foodaddict #sweets

My love of food as demonstrated by a GIF #poundcake #toppings #itmoves #gif #foodaddict #sweets

What is it about food that invites us to photograph it with cool angles and lighting? Surveying Instagram and Pinterest demonstrates this rise of food photography by average people. Would baristas even create little foam hearts in your soy latte if there was no chance it would end up on the newsfeed of a social media site? I’m not sure if it’s for the better or worse that our society is becoming obsessed with ‘pretty hipster food’. All these pictures of delicious looking food (ex. chickpea avocado burger with blue cheese dressing) does not mean that I’m actually eating these cool foods. There might be a recipe attached, but let’s be honest? How many of those Pinterest pins turned into a Friday afternoon of cooking? My pinning of vegan food has not directly led to more vegan cupcakes in my apartment. Nevertheless, I feel more artsy and creative with my food habits …

Also, how cool are gifs? I’m a huge fan! (pst….. it’s like a little animated film of sequential images)

What’s better than the original? Actually, a lot of things!

What's better than the original? Actually, a lot of things!

1. Seedless Watermelon is better than original watermelon.
2. Lychee Juice is better than Lychee Fruit on its own.
3. Frozen Grapes are better than room-temperature grapes.
4. Dried Mango Slices are better than Ripe Mango.
5. Strawberries sprinkled with a little bit of sugar to balance the acidity.

P.S. I’m a fruit lover… can you tell?

And full disclaimer, this is just my personal taste and preference. Feel free to tell me your eating habits and preferences! There’s no reason why you have to like the original more than variations of it… even if a crunchy red apple is the best taste in the world.

Independent Coffee Shops – visualised by the London Tube Map

Independent Coffee Shops - visualised by the London Tube Map

Well, besides the fact that the TFL is having disruptions due to the London Tube Strike… this is a lovely graphic that showcases all the best independent coffee shops. For those that feel a little bit more spicy than a Costa, Nero, or Starbucks. There’s something about the independents that is fabulous. The inconsistent tables, the local waiters, and the foam hearts on your coffee. I’ve been to at least 10 of these coffee shops, but my all around favourite is The Oval Lounge… Why you might ask? Because I lived around the corner from the cafe on Palfrey Place. That independent coffee shop has sentimental value: I would pass it on my way to school, my flatmates and I would have sunday brunch, and they had Eggs Florentine for a Tuesday afternoon work session on one of their wooden tables.

It’s create to explore the city and look for coffee shops, but ultimately, it’s the ones nearest to you that make the biggest impact. They have convenience, consistency, sentimental value, and a “this is mine” feeling. Those small coffee shops that only fit the locals may not be a part of multi-national corporations that are changing the global business landscape, but the small ones change my Sundays and Tuesdays. Make no mistake, the local business make a BIG difference in people’s day to day life. And I for one, thank them… especially for the foam hearts.

Actors answer: What movie made you cry?

Featured Actors:
Annette Bening
James Franco
Natalie Portman
Michael Douglas
Mila Kunis
Mark Ruffalo
Helena Bonham Carter
Justin Timberlake
Dakota Fanning
Andrew Garfield
Nicole Kidman
Javier Bardem
Melissa Leo
Vincent Cassel
Julianne Moore
Robert Duvall
Jesse Eisenberg
Elle Fanning
Colin Firth

I love the art direction and the editing of this clip for W – made in 2011. I must agree with Justin Timberlake in that the first film to make me cry was Lion King. It got me literally every single time… that is the power of Disney. The most recent film that made me cry was another animated film – the opening sequence of Up. The beautiful montage of Ellie and Carl overlaid with the music of Michael Ginacchino is in my opinion one of the most beautiful and touching moments in cinema. Voila, my love of animation shone through again!

Thank you, Ludovico Einaudi. @Sochi2014 @ProcterGamble @Thankyoumom #advertising

Yet another uplifting P&G ad within the Thank You, Mom campaign which has been running for a couple Olympic Games. This one is part of the lead up to the 2014 Sochi games to open Friday, February 7th. This ad was released a month in advance and builds anticipation to the Winter Games this year. I have already posted about the ‘Thank You, Mom’ campaign as one of my favourite campaign ideas of all times, but I just had to post this advert because it also uses my favourite contemporary composer – Ludovico Einaudi. This man is a genius. As are the Olympic athletes and the communities that support them to greatness. There is something so hopeful in this advert…. Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore, we’re in Sochi. Bring on the cold, our athletes and moms can take it!

Ginger ‘Snap’ Rogers – the feisty blonde of Classical Hollywood.

This is a short extract from Stage Door (Gregory La Cava, 1937) featuring Ginger Rogers and Katharine Hepburn. I’ve developed an obsession with Rogers: she dances with Fred Astaire, she banters with Hepburn, and she exudes a beauty beyond her platinum blonde hair. I’m a fan of fast, witty dialogue – especially when delivered by great actresses.

If you’ve never seen her films, here are some personal recommendations, from me to you:

42nd Street (1933)
Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
Top Hat (1935)
Shall We Dance (1936)
Kitty Foyle (1940)
The Major and the Minor (1942)
Monkey Business (1952)

“Sure [Fred Astaire] was great, but don’t forget Ginger Rogers did everything he did backwards…and in high heels!” — Bob Thaves 1982 © NEA Inc.

PLUS, She also has her own website: www.gingerrogers.com