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pismo beach

Walk on Pismo Beach

Surely most people think of snow and frosty weather when Christmas comes to mind, but for me, Christmas means time with my family and walks on the beach.  I always cook up a big breakfast (with my cinnamon rolls), open presents, and then get some fresh air and exercise before preparing our Christmas dinner feast.  This year was no exception with an afternoon walk along Pismo Beach, somewhere that holds a special place in my heart because I spent so much time there growing up and still remains one of my favorite beaches.

hometown love

Christmas in CaliforniaReturning back to Germany after two weeks in California, I am feeling all kinds of blessed.  Being able to spend the holidays with family and friends in such an incredible place as the central coast of California, was the greatest gift of all.  I feel so very lucky to call this my home.

Here are a few shots from an afternoon hike up Madonna Mountain with Andreas and my mama.  After a week of almost non-stop grey days here in Berlin, I could really wish I could teleport myself back.  Oh sunshine, I miss you.

Madonna MountainMadonna Mountain Madonna MountainMadonna Mountain

we were missing miss hazel so much that we had to kidnap one of my best friend’s dog, Emmy Lou, for the afternoon

Madonna Mountain

a look back at 2012

I still can’t believe a year has passed since we moved to Berlin and at the same time, it feels so much longer than that.  I owe all of you, dear friends and readers, a huge thank you for all the love and support you have shown me this past year.  Taking the leap to full-time freelancing has taught me so much about myself, at times was terrifying (and still sometimes is), and it has once again shown me how amazing this blog world is.  I feel blessed to be a part of it.

Here are a few of my favorite 2012 memories:

we started 2012 off with an apartment full of boxes and no furniture but were thrilled to finally call Berlin home.

we were welcomed to the city with -20C temperatures, a cold I had never felt before. Fortunately I had a trip planned to California so I escaped before I turned into an icicle.

I was blessed to be able to photograph my brother Brooks and his fiancé (now wife!) Katie while I was home. We were both super sick with a nasty flu, but we managed to take some beautiful engagement photos at sunset in our hometown.

We celebrated Andreas’s 30th birthday in Hamburg and I fell for the charming harbor city.

After months of searching, we found and quickly fell in love with sweet little Billy Jean, who we quickly re-named Hazel Blue.

we are obviously slightly obsessed with her, and totally okay with that :)

The first Hive Conference took place here in Berlin in March and I finally got the chance to meet some fabulous blog friends in real life. I feel so very blessed to call these girls dear friends!

Andreas and I met up with our lovely friends, Travis Jay and Randall, in Amsterdam and combined a travel photography trip with lots of shopping and eating.

I was thrilled to take part in the first Blog’nhagen in Copenhagen with 8 other bloggers. To say it was fun would be a huge understatement.

The Blog’nhagen group: Thea, me, Brittany, Isabelle, Annaleena, Anne, Emma, Maria, Jenny.

we spent most of our summer exploring Berlin’s parks and lakes.

In July, we celebrated Brooks & Katie’s beautiful wedding in Santa Barbara, a town Andreas has decided is heaven on earth.

I photographed the cover of Issue 4 of sisterMAG as well as a fashion story inside the magazine.

I was thrilled to be asked to shoot a “Lover’s Guide to Berlin” story for Reverie Magazine, which was styled and produced by Thea and Toni from sisterMAG

Thea, Anne and I traveled to Eindhoven for Hello Etsy, which was super inspiring and so fun to meet lots of talented and creative new faces.

I photographed a story written by Lindsey, of Lost in Cheeseland, for The New York Times T MAG in Paris.

After a few months of teaching myself how to shoot and edit video, I shot my first video for a commercial client, celebrating the new and improved Everplaces iPhone app.

I hosted my very first giveaway on my weddings blog and winners Daryl and Steven came to Berlin for their couples shoot, we had a great time exploring the city and taking pictures together.

although my hometown is pretty amazing all year round.  We celebrated Christmas with family, friends, cinnamon rolls, 4 hour games of Monopoly (I finally won!!), walks on the beach, afternoon hikes, burritos, and lots of sunshine- the perfect California Christmas.

I hope 2013 is off to a great start for all of you! I have a feeling this will be a great year :)

Christmas on the Central Coast

a gift I am hoping is a joke & FaceTime with Hazel in Germany on Christmas morning.

my sister-in-law’s impressive wrapping skills

I have made cinnamon rolls every year on Christmas morning for as long as I can remember.

wine tasting in the evening at my favorite local winery, Kynsi.

checking out the butterflies at Monarch Butterfly Grove

Andreas was very excited about a walk on the beach

No Christmas is complete without a stop at the wonderfully gaudy and fabulous, Madonna Inn. It is one of our favorite places to grab a cocktail, people watch, and admire the explosion of Christmas decor.

All in all, it was a wonderful two weeks of relaxing, eating and celebrating with family and friends. I took a very lovely and much-needed break from my computer, which those of you who own your own business know, is very hard to come by. I am starting the new year off playing catch up, but it was well worth it! I hope all of you had a great holiday as well. I have a sneaky feeling 2013 is going to be a really great year!

winter in the black forest

Winter in the Black ForestWinter in the Black Forest

We spent the weekend with my in-laws in the South of Germany, where Hazel will be enjoying Christmas while we are in California.  Their first big snow fall of the year fell the day before we arrived and I was completely in awe of how beautiful the Black Forest looks covered in snow, which meant I had my camera in hand for most of the weekend.

Winter in the Black ForestWinter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black ForestWinter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black ForestWinter in the Black Forest

We visited one of my favorite Christmas Markets, the Gengenbacher Weihnachtsmarkt (I posted about it last year too), and don’t let this sweet looking photo of Hazel fool you… She is no fun at all at the market- we call her the vacuum cleaner because she literally cleans the street of everything that even mildly resembles food, and drags you along as she “cleans”. Little fatty, but we love her so. :)

Winter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black Forest Winter in the Black Forest

Christmas Markets in Berlin

Weihnachtsmarkt Berlin Christmas Market Berlin
It may be true that I am a wee bit obsessed with Christmas Markets, but in my defense, Berlin really does them well so there is good reason to be excited about the season.  Here are some snaps from a few of my favorites markets in the city, where I spent a few evenings last week enjoying Glühwein with friends.

Weihnachtsmarkt Berlin Christmas Market BerlinWeihnachtsmarkt Berlin Christmas Market Berlin

Weihnachtsmarkt Berlin Christmas Market Berlin

Thea took advantage of the “coat heaters” at the Lucia market- they looked super cozy.

Weihnachtsmarkt Berlin Christmas Market Berlin Weihnachtsmarkt Berlin Christmas Market Berlin Three of my favorite markets are:

Lucia Weihnachtsmarkt in der Kulturbrauereri
The Lucia Market is a Scandinavian themed market housed inside the Kulturbrauerei which serves up a range of mulled wine and food from Finland, Norway, Sweden and Iceland.  It is super charming and a bit off the beaten path so there are not a ton of tourists.
November 26- December 23
Monday- Friday 15-22h, Saturday and Sunday 13-22h

Weihnachtsmarkt am Opernpalais
Not as charming as the Lucia market, I like this one because it is a short walk from my house and there are several local wineries selling homemade mulled wine.
November 26- December 26
Monday- Thursday 12- 21:30h, Friday- Saturday 11- -22:30h, Sunday 11-21:30h

Weihnachtsmarkt am Gendarmenmarkt  (we visited last year too)
The market on Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most famous in Berlin, and also one of the nicest, set on the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt.  Lots of local crafts people selling homemade goods and lots of good food.
November 26- December 31
daily 11- 22h

Do you have a favorite Christmas market in Berlin or elsewhere?

sisterMAG issue 5

SisterMAG issue 5

The Christmas issue of sisterMAG came out on Friday and I think it is their best issue to date!  The issue’s theme is “Childhood Dreams” and reading all of the wintery stories really got me in the holiday spirit, helped by the fact that it definitely looks and feels like winter here in Germany now too.  I was lucky to have been asked to shoot the issue’s festive cover and a feature (page 241) with my friend Brittany of The House That Lars Built in Copenhagen.  Also check out our “Lover’s Guide Berlin” story (page 283). Here are a few of my favorites from our shoot with Brittany, and make sure to check out the entire issue in German and English.

SisterMAG issue 5 The House That Lars Built SisterMAG issue 5 The House That Lars Built SisterMAG issue 5 The House That Lars BuiltSisterMAG issue 5 The House That Lars Built SisterMAG The House That Lars Built SisterMAG The House That Lars Built

the first snow

first snow berlin first snow berlinfirst snow berlin first snow berlin first snow berlin

The first snow of the year always makes me giddy, and the timing this year could not have been better.  After 3 days trapped inside with the nastiest of flus, we awoke to a city covered in thick blanket of snow.  Hazel and I bundled up and walked around the neighborhood and soaked up all the excitement that comes with the first snow.  Watching her try and figure out what all the white fluffy business was might have been the cutest thing ever.

Everplaces 2.0 Video

 

A few months ago, I was contacted by the lovely people at Everplaces to create a video to celebrate the launch of the new and improved, non-beta version of their iphone app.  I have to admit I was incredibly flattered that they had even watched the videos I had made and posted here on the blog, and I was honored that they wanted to hire me to make a video for them, especially as I am a huge fan of their site and app.  Those of you who are regular readers will surely recognize some familiar faces, and as my friends are big fans of Everplaces (4 are Everplaces Ambassadors) they were perfect for the video.  I had a lot of fun making it, and I am so excited to finally share it with you.  If you haven’t already tried out Everplaces, download the latest version in the itunes store here, or visit their site, I promise you will love it.

A big thank you to friends who took part in the video:  Thea, Andreas, Lindsey, Bryan, Anne, Kristin and Patrick.  Filmed in Paris, Copenhagen, Berlin and Eindhoven.

Music licensed through With Etiquette:  Take me Away by The Dimes

Thanksgiving in Berlin

At the last minute I decided a year without hosting a Thanksgiving dinner was just plain sad, and I am so glad I changed my mind.  I am not a big meat eater, and the thought of cooking the whole bird is daunting, so once again we had braised turkey thighs.  My lack of planning ahead meant I had to spend several hours on Friday morning trying to hunt down turkey legs- which surprisingly are not easy to find in Berlin.  Everywhere I went and called said they would be happy to order it for me- to be ready next week.  :-|  Fortunately Rogacki saved the day and had exactly what I needed.   It is always so fun to celebrate with fellow Americans (and Canadian, my friend Alex joined us this year), but my favorite part is sharing the holiday and a bit of American culture with German friends, most of whom have never experienced Thanksgiving.  And hooray for lovely friends to celebrate with and to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving in BerlinThanksgiving in BerlinThanksgiving in Berlin Thanksgiving in BerlinThanksgiving in Berlin

Thanksgiving in Berlin

Someone was REAL pissed to have to stay on the couch while we had dinner, but she was loving the attention from all her new friends. She really is the most spoiled pup, ever. :)

I hope my American friends all had a lovely Thanksgiving, where ever you are!  Now the holiday season has officially begun :) the Christmas Markets in Berlin open today!