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a weekend at citizenM London Bankside for Blogtacular

Earlier this month I spent a long weekend in London for Blogtacular, along with my friend Anne, who was speaking at the conference.  We stayed at citizenM London Bankside, which was the perfect home base for our time in the city, close to Borough Market and a short tube ride from the Royal Institution of Great Britain in Mayfair where Blogtacular was held.  We had the best time exploring the city together, did some shopping, and walked a ton (which is not the best when walking in new shoes, ouch). We treated ourselves to a “Smooth Wavy” blowdry at Hershesons Blow Dry Bar – which looked great until the wind and rain attacked my poor hair (darn you London weather!!!). It was lots of fun having two stylists work their magic on my hair at the same time, I only wish I could have someone come to my house and blow dry my hair every week, someday hopefully I can afford to make that happen.

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I loved the giant atrium in the middle of the hotel and the bright colors in the design.

CitizenM London Bankside London Travel Photo (19)

The rooms are all modular, so every room is the same.  Even though they are on the smaller side, they are super well designed so even with a ton of bags, the room didn’t feel small or cramped at all.  The beds are massive and super comfy and the lights, TV and Music were all controlled by a samsung tablet, which was awesome but it took me a bit to get used to as it is so different than my ipad. They have a huge selection of free movies to watch, which we tried to take advantage of, but both nights fell asleep in the middle of the movie :-|  After doing a fair amount of travelling these last few months, I have had a lot of hotels to compare to one another and my most common complaint has been hotel rooms without enough outlets to charge my computer and phone. citizenM not only had a lot of outlets, they had outlets for the US, Europe, UK and a USB port all lined up, which made me oh so very happy. :) It also made it so Anne and I didn’t have to fight over adaptors or outlets.  If only other hotels would get the memo.

CitizenM London Bankside London Travel Photo (18)

Yes we are the weirdos who take selfies in reflective surfaces, example 1 & example 2

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The hotel caters to both hotel guests as well as locals with free wifi and lots of desk space in the restaurant.  It looked like a great space to spend the day working and I love staying places that give me a feel of the neighborhood and city.  They also had really beautifully designed conference rooms for guests or Londoners to conduct meetings.

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Anne spoke about valuing and respecting yourself and your work.  She has been such a supportive friend these last few years and she always pushes me to know my worth as a professional.  She definitely brought some fresh conversation and motivation to the conference.   They just posted a fun highlight video from the weekend and you can buy the virtual conference to watch from the comfort of home in case you are interested.

London Bankside Travel Photo

Thanks so much, citizenM for a great stay in London.  Andreas and I are already planning our return later this year and I will definitely stay at the hotel again.

citizenM London Bankside Hotel

20 Lavington Street
London, UK, SE1 0NZ

Paris in March

Last month I made a spontaneous trip to Paris to celebrate my dear friend Anne’s birthday and meet my long time blog friend Susan in person while she was in town from Philly.  It was the most beautiful spring weekend which makes the city even more charming than usual. Susan asked me to take some portraits of her and we had the best time strolling around together taking photos. She and I first connected a few years ago leaving comments on each other’s blogs and meeting in person felt more like hanging with an old friend, rather than the sort-of-stranger that she was.  Which is typically how it always is when meeting online/blog friends in person for the first time. The weekend left me feeling so thankful for the amazing friends I have connected with over the last few years blogging.  Lindsey wrote a really lovely post about friendship and my thoughts on online turned real life friends are very similar.  I would have never imagined that most of my friends living abroad would be made online in some way or another, but I LOVE technology and the connections I have made online. Actually as I type this right now, I am sitting between Thea and Toni Neubauer, who are also two amazing online turned real life friends and we spent the day photographing Emily here in Dublin, another blog friend who we connected with at the Hive Conference two years ago. Which just goes to show yet again that the internet is amazing. We are all set to meet up at Blogtacular in London in a few weeks and I am super excited to hang out all together again for the first time in a couple years.  Are any of you guys going to Blogtacular?  I haven’t been such a great blogger as of late, but conferences are always lots fun and pretty inspiring.

A peek at one of my favorite images from my shoot with Susan, I will be sharing the rest soon :)

Susan hosted the loveliest brunch and had picked up a large selection of macarons from Ladurée and Pierre Hermé, we managed to put together a little taste test between the two Parisian macaron giants.

Paris-Travel-Photo

The coffee “revolution” of sorts in Paris means you are never very far from amazing coffee.  We stopped by The Boot Café on our way back from Susan’s brunch and I love that the teeny tiny cafe kept the original facade of the old cobbler shop.

When Susan, Lindsey and I all showed up to brunch with our ONA camera bags, we just HAD to take a dorky photo of us carrying them.  ONA just released a few new spring styles and I am currently lusting over the leather capri tote.

I only wish their women’s bags were large enough to carry my 15″ macbook pro AND my camera + a couple lenses.  Short weekend trips on budget European airlines are mighty tricky when you try and bring cameras, lenses and a computer.  Most of the time lately I just leave my computer at home.

It was Anne’s birthday while I was in town and we started the celebrations off at the Used Book Café at Merci.  Those perfect hard boiled eggs and the giant hunk of butter served with the perfect dipping-sized slices of bread are basically my favorite breakfast ever. Anne’s bread/butter ratio is perfect.  I heart french butter <3

 

A few other favorite places from the weekend without photos:

Dinner at Semilla, particularly the shitake mushrooms and scallops (drool!).

Lunch at Tuck Shop, where we ate an amazing lentil tart I have been trying to recreate at home (sadly not super successfully)

Filter coffee at Foundation Café

At the Table

I had the idea of starting a portrait/interview series here on the blog for the last few years, but never really found the time (ahem motivation) to get it off the ground.  Most of you probably know that I don’t love writing and like to keep my posts short and sweet, so I was thrilled to be able to join forces with a super talented writer friend to bring the project to life.  Last year Katherine Sacks and I ended up sitting next to one another at a dinner at La Soupe Populaire and have been chatting about collaborating on projects ever since.  Katherine is an American food journalist based in Berlin as well and felt there was a space in the online world to explore the interesting people behind the food scene in our adopted home city. After a few chats over coffee, At the Table was born.  So far we have interviewed so many interesting people and I feel really lucky to be part of the project.  The first few interviews are already live, and we will continue to publish a new portrait every week, featuring chefs, sommeliers, mixologists, beer makers, baristas and many other food producers and artisans who contribute to the vibrant and growing food scene in Berlin.

You can check out the site at: atthetable.co and of course, if you do I would love to know what you think!

And if you are interested, you can also follow At the Table on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram :)

Ich weiß ein Haus am See

Way back in September, Andreas, Hazel and I rented a little mini cooper convertible and skipped town for the weekend to celebrate our anniversary. I had read an article about a little bed and breakfast (with a michelin star) north of Berlin and had been itching to check it out ever since.  The bed and breakfast, called Ich weiß ein Haus am See (which translates as I know a house on the lake), is literally in the middle of nowhere.  You drive along a dirt road, through a campground for a few miles before ending up at the understated b&b. The rooms are simple, and what you would expect from a lakeside bed and breakfast, but the dinner service was definitely something special.  I also give them bonus points for allowing our sweet little pup to join us. We arrived in the afternoon and spent a few hours before dinner walking around the lake and surrounding farmland with Hazel and took a bunch of photos.

Ich weiss ein Haus am See Ashley and Andreas Ludaescher Ich weiss ein Haus am See French Bulldog Photo

Ich weiß ein Haus am See

Paradiesweg 3

Krakow Am See, Germany

 

sisterMAG 11 Historical Beauty Shoot

The newest issue of sisterMAG launched this week and I was lucky to have been asked another beauty feature for sisterMAG 11. We photographed the lovely Elisaveta, the photographer and blogger behind the travel blog Fernwehosphy. The images accompanied an article about beauty trends through the 20th century and we photographed three looks inspired by Marlene Dietrich in the 1930′s, Brigitte Bardot in the 1960′s and Madonna in 80′s. Check out the story on page 16 or on sister-mag.com.

the team:  

Model: Elisaveta

Hair and Makeup: Lena Schleweis

Creative Direction: Theresa Neubauer of sisterMAG

 

Exploring Berlin | Siegessäule

Why hello there.  After an unexpected blog hiatus, I am back. Well sort of.  We still don’t have internet in our new apartment (after a month and a half. Dear Telekom- it is 2014!!!) and have no idea when it will be connected. This post has been sitting in my drafts for a good 8 months or so, and after a long break from blogging, this surely doesn’t exactly feel worthy of the first post after 3 months…. but if I don’t push publish today, I probably never will.  On one of the first warm-ish days last spring, Andreas and I spent a Saturday at the Winterfeldtplatz market and decided it was too lovely of a day not to walk home back to Mitte.  Along the way we passed the Victory Tower or Siegessäule and decided to go to the top for a few sunset photos.

 

Victory Tower/ Siegessäule

open daily: 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (April – October), and 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (November – March)

sisterMAG issue 10 Beauty Feature

sister mag beauty feature

When Thea mentioned issue 10 of sisterMAG would have a theme of “König, Dame, Bube” (king, queen, jack) with a beauty section in the queen section, my mind lit up with ideas for a beauty shoot.  I recently moved into a new studio space and was itching for a chance to organize a shoot there.  I had been dreaming of shooting a window-lit portrait series inspired by a exposition of photos from Desiree Dolton that I discovered  way back in 2006 during Mois de la Photo in Paris.  Thea and Lena came up with the idea of styling some hats with some beauty looks inspired by them with the lovely blogger twin sisters, Nisi and Desi, from teeth are jade.  The girls are both absolutely STUNNING and photographing them for the beauty feature was so much fun.  Here are a few of my favorites from our shoot, check out the new issue of sisterMAG to see the entire feature.

sister mag beauty feature sister mag beauty feature

a weekend at the sea

Way back in July, we rented a car and drove back to Binz with my parents and Hazel in tow.  I am quite sure it was the best two days of Hazel’s life- that dog went absolutely bonkers for the dog beach.  As much as I love the lakes that surround Berlin, it felt really good to be at the seaside.  I didn’t even realize how homesick I get for the ocean.  Growing up a 10 minute drive from the Pacific might have spoiled me forever.

 

La Soupe Populaire

La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin

Coming from San Francisco to a tiny village on the border of France five years ago, the one thing I really missed (besides my family, that is) was international food. Sure there were a few chinese/thai (because they are such similar cuisines!?), italian and turkish restaurants, but mostly I ate a lot of German food my first few years in the country.  After moving to Berlin I was so excited to have food options other than traditional German food, I unintentionally boycotted my adopted country’s cuisine.  Not to say I don’t like German food, but it is often not that spectacular and subpar food of any kind just makes me sad.  That said, Tim Raue’s new(ish) restaurant, La Soupe Populaire, housed in the old brewery at Bötzow Berlin has definitely elevated Berlin’s traditional German food options.  I was thrilled to be invited to a dinner there, served at the chef’s table next to the kitchen and got the chance to sample the same menu that was served to Obama when he visited Berlin over the summer.  The space is part gallery, part restaurant, with the menu changing to reflect the art showcased.  The space is currently showing the incredible photographs from Andreas Gursky until January 12th, and if the food wasn’t already enough of a reason to visit (and it IS), the art is pretty enticing on its own.

La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin

The space itself feels rough and industrial, yet still warm and cozy- something that so many places try to achieve but fall short of.  I was completely shocked when I learned that Tim and his team had three weeks to build the restaurant from the ground up.  Seriously amazing.

La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin

Senfei (egg in mustard sauce),  I had somehow never tried a senfei until this meal and have been craving ever since.  Unfortunately for me, this will most likely be the most amazing Senfei I will ever eat and every other Senfeier will pale in comparison.

La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin

a perfectly cooked piece of cod with a tarragon puree

La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin

Königsberger Klopse with the most amazingly rich mashed potatoes.  Normally I am not a meatball fan, but this was pretty amazing.

La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin

Bienenstich

La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin La Soupe Populaire Tim Raue Restaurant Berlin

La Soupe Populaire

Prenzlauer Allee 242
10405 Berlin
open Thursday – Saturday for lunch and dinner

Maternity Fashion Story for sisterMAG 9

The latest issue of sisterMAG launched yesterday and it is packed with so much good stuff!  Thea and fellow photographer and friend, Cris, traveled to France, documenting 24 hours in Nice and producing a fashion story featuring my dear friend Lindsey of Lost in Cheeseland.  I got the chance to photograph a couple fun stories for the issue including a maternity fashion story we shot in Hamburg a few weeks ago.  Our model was 8 months pregnant and now I completely understand the concept of the “glow” pregnant women have, she is absolutely gorgeous and such a natural in front of the camera.  Walking behind her on the street, you wouldn’t even know she was pregnant until she turned around, seriously the girl is stunning.  Jasmin, the lovely cover model of issue 8, is interning at sisterMAG for the summer and styled the shoot with pieces from “your boyfriend/husband’s closet” along with stunning pieces from Isabella Oliver which we non-pregnant girls were all wishing were in our closets.  Here are a few of my favorite images from our shoot, and make sure to hop over to read the whole issue in German and English on the sisterMAG site.  Stay tuned next week for more images from issue 9 of sisterMAG and posts from our travels this summer.

Things have been crazy busy finishing up wedding season, deciding to look for a new apartment here in Berlin (which is seriously a job in itself) and other client work (I photographed Angela Merkel and her campaign team on Monday- what?!?), but I really miss blogging here and will be back posting more regularly soon, I promise!

Maternity Fashion Forward