Category archives: just because

blooms

I love waking up on Saturday morning and walking to the Kollwitzplatz Farmers Market to buy flowers.  There are several different stands selling flowers, all of which have lovely blooms, but my favorite is one owned by two sisters who always have organic, sort of wild, bunches of the most beautiful flowers from their garden.  Something about having fresh flowers in the apartment just seems to make everything a bit better.   :)

things I'm afraid to tell you....

I was incredibly inspired by these “things I’m afraid to tell you” posts around the blog world last week, which started in an effort to bring some transparency to bloggers by Ez from Creature Comforts.   I let this post hang out as a draft since Friday because I wasn’t sure I wanted to press publish.  I think last night’s lack of sleep is the reason I feel so brave this morning.  I usually don’t get too personal here, I think because I share so many personal photos, I keep the written insights of our lives to a minimum to maintain a bit of privacy.  Sometimes that feels stupid.  Other times it seems right.  Sometimes I think about how strange is it that I feel much more comfortable sharing my life here on my blog than I do on my own facebook page.  The blog world is sometimes strange, but in my experience it is also pretty amazing, and full of such lovely and supportive people.  So here are a few things I would never normally share with strangers (especially without a glass of wine):

// I am learning to accept the fact that depression will probably always be a part of my life.  Learning to deal with it and acknowledge its place in my daily life is a struggle, but a challenge I am trying to both understand and balance.  Yoga and a very supportive husband help keep my bad days to a minimum, but I don’t think they will ever really go away.

// The thought of moving back to the US terrifies me, and I don’t really know why.  Two days into my trip home in February I was looking at apartments in San Francisco, then I suddenly wanted to teleport back to Berlin.  It breaks my heart to be so far away from the people I love, but Europe feels more like home at this point in my life.  It is a point that Andreas and I don’t always see eye to eye on.

// The last few months have been simultaneously great and incredibly difficult.

// No one will tell you that during the first few weeks of owning a puppy, you might think you made a terrible decision.  Hazel made me cry at least one time.  Fortunately those weeks seem to be behind us :)

// After years of freelancing beside my full time job, I am finally going 100% freelance and throwing myself into my wedding photography business- and it is absolutely terrifying.

// Living abroad has destroyed my grammar.  I know I can only blame myself for that, but I am incredibly embarrassed by the amount of mistakes I now make when both speaking and writing in English.  (this would also hold true for German as well)

// I am at times (more often than not) incredibly socially awkward.

// Working from home means that during the week, more often than not, I am probably wearing some sort of spandex.  Somedays I shower at 5pm.

// Missing my friends and family has begun to feel normal, and I think I have learned to desensitize myself in order to live so far away.  that scares me immensely.

// We have lived in our apartment since the new year and are still have boxes hiding behind the couch which need to be unpacked.  And we still have a fair amount of furniture to buy, and curtains to hang…

// I have dyed my hair since I was 17 going from platinum blonde to black and pretty much everything in between.  Now I actually have a reason to dye my hair, as I have a colony of grey which hang out directly in my part line.  It almost makes me want to go back to my natural blonde so the grey will be easier disguised.  **& for the record, I think grey hair is gorgeous and wish I could let mine show, but I feel like my wrinkles age me enough already.  Maybe someday I will be brave enough.

Some of my friends wrote these posts as well and pushed me to be brave enough to write one for myself- thank you blog friends for being so wonderful. and for reading :)

le vent

This video from the Staatsballett Berlin has been making it’s way around the internet, but the music restrictions wouldn’t allow me (and probably all of us in Europe) to view it.  After a little internet hunting, I found a version I could watch and it is so incredibly beautiful.  Now I am itching to see them dance in person and get tickets to the ballet, although I might have to find a way to persuade Andreas to join me (although considering how many soccer/fußball games I have watched with him, it is only fair).
Enjoy & Happy Weekend!

via a cup a jo

blue ribbon banana bread

oh how I miss my kitchen aid mixer!  but they cost 600€ here :(

Once upon time, I joined one of my best friend’s mama and grandmother and entered my chocolate chip cookies and banana bread in the California Mid State Fair.  I did it just for fun, knowing that most of the people who enter the competition take it very seriously, and I am in no way a pro (although I did work in a bakery when I was 15). So when we went to the fair to see the winners of the baking contests I never thought I had a chance.  Surprisingly enough, my banana bread won the blue ribbon (and a check for $6!!!) and my chocolate chip cookies took 3rd place.  I may have jumped up and down and did a little dance in the exposition hall and yes, it is still kind of my claim to fame. ;)
Yesterday I baked some banana bread with my very brown bananas and thought I might share the recipe with all of you.  Happy Friday!

my Blue Ribbon Banana Bread

note: this makes 4 loaves of bread- share the love with neighbors and friends

1/2 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
6 bananas
8 oz. container light sour cream
8 oz. container low fat plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 packet vanilla sugar
3 teaspoons cinnnamon
1 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons baking soda
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (or 3 c. all purpose flour and 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour)
Optional:  1 cup nuts (walnuts, pecans)

2 Tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Heat oven to 325 degrees F (160 C)
In a small bowl combine 2 T sugar and 1 t cinnamon and sprinkle in buttered bread pans (four 7×3 pans) or muffin pan.  Make sure the bottom of pans are dusted with cinnamon and sugar mixture.
In large bowl, cream together room temperature butter and sugars.  Mix in bananas, sour cream, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla (vanilla sugar).
In separate small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt and nuts.
Mix flour mixture into wet ingredients 1 cup at a time and beat until throughly combined.
Pour into buttered bread pans and bake until toothpick inserted into center of pan, comes out clean.  Bread pans take around 45-50 mins, muffins 15-20 mins.

To give credit where credit is due, this recipe is adapted from this sour cream banana bread recipe.

I took a loaf of this to our Hausmeister (building manager) this morning and I realized how long it has been since I baked anything just for fun, without having a birthday or holiday to bake for.  Our Hausmeister was so happy and it reminded me how small things can make a big difference in making someone’s day a little brighter.

rain rain rain

We have been incredibly spoiled the last few days with freezing but sunny weather here in Berlin, and now that it is cold and rainy outside I am cursing the weather, and surely the rainy days are only beginning.  I think that if I had some cute rainy weather gear I would enjoy these grey, nasty days a bit more.  :)

clockwise from top:  clear & black umbrella, heart umbrellaclear polka dot umbrellahunter boots, loeffler randall boots

5 loves - beauty edition

This trip home I hit the jackpot in the beauty department, buying all my bridal makeup (I am doing it myself) and some new products that I am mildly obsessing over and I needed to share the love with all of you.
And yes, I realize that this is titled 5 loves, and there are 6 here, but they are all so incredible I had to share them all!

Aveda Men’s Shampoo and Conditioner smell like heaven and are also the perfect cleansing and moisturizing combo.  I stock up with liters every trip home, and now Andreas uses it too.  AND I just received the Aveda men’s cologne as a gift and am equally in love.

The Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener is a magic product I have been meaning to share for far too long.  A dime sized amount in wet hair leaves it shiny (without ending up greasy) and soft.  Normally I have to heat style to get my hair looking like that.  it is MAGIC.

All of Dr Hauschka’s body oils smell incredible and leave your skin soft and beautiful.  It is a bit heavy for the summer, so I mix it with their Rose body moisturizer.

I am madly in love with my new clarisonic.  My skin has never been so smooth or even toned, or at least not since I was a wee little girl.  The only scary part is that I don’t think I will ever be able to wash my face with just my fingers ever again :|

After years using Bare Esscentuals, I decided it was time to take the plunge and try something new, and I am LOVING the Studio Tech Powder/Foundation from MAC.  It goes on like a foundation and dries into a dewy light weight finish.

Last but definitely not least, the most perfect red of all, Russian Red from MAC.  I had been cheating with NARS velvet matte lip pencils for a while, but nothing beats my old fave.  Apparently it is mighty popular here in Europe, Andreas and I marched all over Paris to three MAC counters in search of a red liner and lipstick as I managed to leave home without it, and I bought the last one they had.  madness!

Do you have any loves to share, or have you tried any of these??

……………..

peekaboo forest

I am LOVING the new app Night & Day Studios has created featuring an interactive forest of Charley Harper‘s art for kids.  Yes, I am fully aware that I am well past the age of learning the animals (and the intended target age range for this app), but Charley Harper is one of my FAVORITES and his art always brings a smile to my face :)

and while we are on the topic…. over the weekend in LA I was glued to my friend’s ipad and think I might just need one…. I was told to wait until the new version comes out, but do any of you own one?  It might be overkill with 2 iphones and a laptop already, but it was so much easier to browse the internets… and I kind of fell in love ;)

once upon a time....

i lived in paris, and i had a blog.  another blog.  It was 2006.  and today, i randomly stumbled upon it.  here is a list of things that i made. I am laughing at how far we come, yet how so much can remain the same.

a short list of things I love:

  • kind smiles from strangers
  • the smell of the metro, as long as you are standing far away from any urine…
  • walks in the evening, smelling amazing dinners being cooked and the clanking of silverware as it is eaten. Makes me wish I had someone to cook for.
  • broccoli
  • clean clothes
  • the adorable old man who lives on my street that walks at a literal snails pace… I think his entire day consists of walking four blocks and back again. but he wears a suit and I love him.
  • speaking of suits, men in suits.
  • falling in love with a stranger who I will never see again
  • potatoes prepared anyway, shape or form.
  • wine. I can enjoy a good one almost as much as the 1 euro bottle… not a wine snob, although I grew up in a vineyard, so I can definitely tell the difference.
  • walking with no agenda and discovering new things.
  • inspiration. especially when it is sparked by peculiar and unexpected things.
  • philip glass. without a doubt one of the greatest pianists to ever grace the earth.