Category Archives: angelina jolie

Take Me to Afghanistan

Day two of Blogtember states ‘If you could take three months off from your current life and do anything in the world, what would you do?

I would love to leave the comforts of my home and travel to the part of the world I have never been, the Middle East.  Specifically I would like to spend three months in Afghanistan and do two things: work with a humanitarian aid organization and tell the story of the people I meet by working as a documentary photographer.

(Pictured: Alexandra Boulat)

I remember listening to a program on NPR during my commute years ago and hearing about a journalist who befriended two girls from an Afghan brothel and ended up buying their freedom. At the same time a book was recommended to me about a woman who started a beauty school in Kabul to give women a profession after the Taliban had been disbanded.  Both of real life stories impacted me so much I was inspired to go to Cambodia with my training in hairdressing and do something similar.  Perhaps open up a school or just own a salon with apprenticeships I can give to women we rescue from the brothels there.

My parents flew me out to Cambodia on the last leg of their backpacking trip around South East Asia. It was there that I  saw with my own eyes on one street, nothing but beauty salons and barber shops side by side.  Certainly not a need for a beauty school.  We managed to choose one out of the line up and went inside to meet the girls inside.  We were with one of the missionaries working in Cambodia and the salon let me cut her hair.  They graciously let me use their equipment and experience the life of a Cambodia hairdresser. The Cambodian girl washed my friend’s hair before I cut it and the process was really interesting as it was different from what I was used to back in the US.  She wet her hair down and lathered it up with lots of suds in the chair and then had her walk over to where they would rinse it all off.

During my trip to Cambodia and meeting with missionaries there I realised the problem is more of a catch-22.  Any girls who were able to leave that lifestyle would go back due to the fact they could never make more money outside the brothel.  While I fell in love with Cambodia (and left a piece of my heart there), I realised my ideas of helping out the less fortunate with the passions I held was not going to work in this country.  Although I physically left the country on a plane, my desire to do something more still fueled inside of me.

I would love to go somewhere most people who travel never see in their lifetime. To experience life in place that is far from anything I have ‘called home’ before. To meet the people.  It makes sense that my role models are humanitarians like Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie. I was very much inspired by Angelina’s onscreen work in Beyond Borders as well as her real life work documented in her book, Notes from my Travels.  With my profession in photography I love to capture the world, the people, and the details around me. To connect with life and share it with those who were not there.  As challenging as it would be, I think in the end it would be so rewarding to spend three months with aid work in Aghanistan working as documentary photographer. Yet I know that I do not have the skills now that I would need. Which led me to this video about the RISC: Reporters Instructed in Saving Collegues. This is a nonprofit organization which provides battlefield first aid training to freelance conflict journalists.

I wanted to also bring to light a photographer who has inspired me. A photojournalist from Liverpool, England who ‘photographed the experience of war from the perspective of the individual’. His name is Tim Hetherington and he was killed in 2011 while covering the conflict in Libya. His film Restrepo won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and nominated in 2011 for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards. The co-director, Sebastian Junger, is the one who started the npo, RISC.

Books I recommend: You can read more about Tim Hetherington in the book Here I Am  read about Angelina Jolie’s work as the UNHCR ambassador in Notes from My Travels  and about the women behind the veil in the book Kabul Beauty School

Q: If you had three months to do anything, what would it be and why?

On the note of photography I am pleased to introduce you to one of my new sponsors for September, Jess from Mocha Fox.  Does she not remind you of the Khalessi from Game of Thrones in the photo below?  Not just a beautiful person but a beautiful soul who loves to take her inspiration and put it into her photography.  You definitely should check out one of her favourite photo sessions entitled, ‘Water Nymph‘. I really love the way she uses the the natural light and my favourites are the ones of the model in the water. You can connect with Jess by clicking the social media links below in the image. 

Image Map

* photographs in today’s post are not owned by ACR and are sourced.

Weekly Wishes/2

Today is the second installment of Weekly Wishes with the Nectar Collective with Melyssa.  Last week I mentioned about accents and wanting to soften my American accent.  I have been working daily on it and that is my accomplishment right there.  It is actually a fun thing to practice because my family joins in.  My boys already have a very hybrid accent from going to school here in England.  They go in and out of the local accent of Bath, their american accent (still showing signs of living in Hawaii), and some sort of mix in between.  Then you have my husband who from going to school in Brighton to working now in England has really taken on the local language.  I know other americans who put their foot down when it comes to pronouncing Basil like ‘Bah-zil’ instead of the american ‘Bay-sul’.  Ryan says ‘tah-mah-toes’ without batting an eye and shops for aubergines and courgettes instead of eggplant and zucchini.  It has been fun practicing my accent.  I just cannot wait until it becomes so natural that I do not think about it. For right now I am always thinking about it.  
Weekly Wishes
w i s h e s  t h i s   w e e k 
To finally go through my entire wardrobe and get rid of the majority of my clothes.  I have said I will do this every week for the last few months.  Perhaps I have even said this for the last few years.  I want to finally accomplish this. 
Why I want to get rid of most of my wardrobe
I have had much of my wardrobe for so many years and have just slowly added to it.  Its a huge mix of everything, including some summer clothes from Hawaii.  I have clothes that do not fit. Clothes that need to be mended. Clothes that have bleach or dye on them from working in the salon.  I hang on to things I never wear because of the fear if I do not have it, I will need it. Honestly when I see the wardrobe sizes of other females I feel silly because its not like I have that many clothes. Its the fact that I have so much that I do not wear and so few that I do on a regular basis. 

My Dream Wardrobe
My style icons are coicindentally also the same women I have mentioned before as my role models: Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie.   Basically everything needs to look good on me, tailored, and in the following shades of white, grey, black, beige, nude, or ballet pink. That way I can easily mix or match instead of having a shirt with some pattern in so many colours that hardly goes with anything that I own.  I then want to punch my wardrobe with colour in dresses that I would wear to go out.  I love to wear dresses and I feel like between my dresses and scarves thats a great way to go about accent colours.  I love to shop and if I could get rid of the majority of my wardrobe than I would be able to feel good about slowly adding to it with clothes I will actually wear. 
What is holding me back 
I have a stack of sweaters because England is really cold in the fall/winter/spring. However not all them do I love. Actually one of the ones I really love has a stubborn stain (probably hair colour from the salon) that will never come out. Yet here I have a drawer taken up by the bulkiness of sweaters.  I want to love every item of my wardrobe.  I am also tired of hanging on to things where the seam ripped or a button is missing because I plan to fix it and never do. 

I did get rid of 30+ pairs of shoes
To be fair I attempted and I have gotten rid of a few pieces. However I have not done a mass exodus of my wardrobe since I went through all my shoes last year.  I got rid of over thirty pairs of shoes to prepare for our move to Bath. The problem is I still have several pairs of shoes that I hardly wear and when I do they hurt my feet.  I ‘hoard’ shoes for the sheer fact that one pair may be my only pair in a certain colour, so I certainly cannot get rid of them. Right?  I have a pair of silver/grey shoes that made the cut, though they have a low heel are not very comfortable.  Which is probably do to the fact that I cringe to have to pay more than $20 on a pair of shoes for myself.  However, cheap price means cheap shoes. My sister shells out a lot for a pair of shoes that not only look amazing but feel amazing on your feet. One of these days I will follow suite.  Everything I have stated makes its seem like I must have a room devoted to shoes. I however have probably six pairs including my wellies that I actually wear. I then have a box of ‘ouch they hurt my feet’ cheep heels and boots that perpetually sit in my closet. 
How to commit to Change
I honestly think if I started shopping for myself on a regular basis I would not ‘hoard’ my wardrobe so much.  My husband does not have this problem and he is always shopping for himself. He loves those ‘ending soonest’ auctions on ebay because he can purchase a new shirt  or slacks for next to nothing.  He actually helped me get a pair of shoes yesterday, something I would have put off until Christmas when someone else could gift me what I need.  
Not having a car means we walk everywhere. I wore a pair of wedges to walk into town last week and by the time I got there my feet were killing me.  They did not feel better after lunch with Ryan, so I asked him if he could give me money for the bus. When I finally got home I realised I had blood blisters on my toes from the shoes. This is why my husband insisted we skip our country walk and get me some shoes that would not ruin my feet.
I really dislike having to wear my tennis shoes because even though they are white I feel like it makes me look ‘less presentable’.  The pretty beige shoes pictured above are the solution we found from T.K.Maxx.  I was surprised to see that they fit so well and that the back did not cut into my ankle like some similar ballet flats. Perhaps this will be a start of treating myself regularly.  I am not sure if other mums feel this way, but I honestly forget to do this.  


This is my last week with my lovely sponsors, Tara and Rachel for July.  
Please check out their blogs and let them know I sent you. :) 

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Q: Any advice for really getting rid of all those clothes and shoes from the wardrobe for an effective spring cleaning?