(Unpretentious) Art & Fashion

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February 20th 2017
Published: March 12th 2017
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Hepburn on a HepburnHepburn on a HepburnHepburn on a Hepburn

The amazing work of my client and friend, Boyarde.
I am a friendly person. I like being friendly! I smile at strangers, make conservation with the checkout girl, and genuinely want to share everything. This attitude lends itself perfectly to my small village life, but when I bring it back to a big city, I'm always amused at it's uniqueness. Not that people in cities aren't friendly; I just think they are genuinely overwhelmed with action and activities and stress and appointments and advertising and pressure and well, just too wrapped up to unwind. And usually on their way to work while I'm casually strolling the streets.

Either way, I'm the same me no matter where my feet tread, so I brought my sunshine and smiles to the Peckham Rye neighborhood to visit B's artist's studio in the famous revamped Bussey Building. Her directions were fantastic - the fourteen detailed steps included walking under bridges, passing Nigerian hair weaving salons, smelling Jamaican patties, ducking under large signs, and shimmying past walls of graffiti. I found her hip studio - with it's view of downtown London - no problem, and was thrilled to finally meet her assistant with whom I worked with so much over Skype and see my friend after 7 years apart. We ate some M&Ms and then ran off to the London Fashion Week event for which she had painted her signature Audrey Hepburn on a new line of leather bags, called the Hepburn line.

The event was at one of the oldest and most historically classic hotels, Claridges.The event was instantly overwhelming as the rich decor almost looked poor compared to the shoulder to shoulder celebrities drinking champagne, eating red velvet cake, and toasting each other for being fabulous. The girls kept reminding me that this was not a normal Monday for them, and the day was as special and exciting to them as it was to me. The event was a display for Aspinal of London's leather bags and as we admired our friend's piece of art among a plethera of purses, it was really difficult to not shout out - SHE'S THE ARTIST! THIS ONE, RIGHT HERE! I was so proud. 😊

As our champagne glasses emptied, a nice fellow came over to refill us and I said, "Hello, how are you today?" It took him a second and then he realized, yes, I was talking to him. He introduced himself (with
London Fashion WeekLondon Fashion WeekLondon Fashion Week

Aspinal of London's event
a bit of a spanish accent) as Carlos, to which I replied, Ahhhh, mucho gusto. He smiled and we had a nice conversation about Spain and the weather. Now at an event like this, I'm sure the service is supposed to be 'unnoticeable' and maybe even 'invisible' but me and my friendlies ... we go everywhere. So of course for the next hour, anytime Carlos was within 15 feet of my friends, he came over and topped off our champagne glasses with a genuine smile....it got pretty ridiculous after the seventh top up!

Drunk on bubbles and fame, we went to a small Aloha Burger shop nearby and indulged in fantastic food. Mia and I shared a side of haloumi *fresh cheese grilled* and pickles that I am still thinking about. I'm looking at you Maya Beach Bistro (they used to have haloumi on the menu ... alas it is gone now.)

I rushed off to meet up with Tom and Noa for the evening and was to meet them at a local train station. After looking around for fifteen minutes, I decided to ask a stranger if I could borrow his phone to call. The stranger looked me up and down and said, "Why don't you ask Trump! Hmpf, Americans." As he turned and walked away, I seriously teared up! I was SO taken aback! It was the first time I have experienced discrimination for simply being born in a certain country. It was so, unfriendly! And of course it made me realize how often this happens to some of my friends, and how it's actually becoming a part of the conversations in America too. My emotions were overwhelming and the implications pervasive.

Luckily, the friendliest Brit, my friend Tom, showed up about a minute later and rescued me from my shock. He helped me put it in perspective and have a good laugh about it soon after. We spent the rest of the evening strolling around Chinatown, Regent Street, and the giant M&M store. Despite having to work the next day, he showed us all the cool spots and we ended the night in a time machine of a bar, dancing to early 90's techno hits and being hit on by friendly gays.

The moral of the story is that being friendly is a choice, people. Wake up and make it every day, no
The teamThe teamThe team

Carlos the champagne guy was very generous.
matter who surrounds you.

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17



One of the oldest and most classic hotels in London.
The biggest gift bag..The biggest gift bag..
The biggest gift bag..

for the smallest gift. A keychain.
Dozens of Roses!Dozens of Roses!
Dozens of Roses!

I was amazed they were real! Such a small town girl ....
Men in SuitsMen in Suits
Men in Suits

Just another Monday afternoon in London.
A chocolate shopA chocolate shop
A chocolate shop

Go ahead, eat any of it!
Celebrating BoyardeCelebrating Boyarde
Celebrating Boyarde

Her signature letter stickers in an LK Bennett shop! Me being proud <3

12th March 2017

you are adorable
so the awesome experiences continue in the life of stephanie wandke. so good to see boyarde's face after all the stories you told me about her. she's fabulous. carry on my wayward daughter (do you know that is a "kansas" song?? except it's son in the song....so i changed it a little!) miss you so much.

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