Saturday, March 31, 2012

Be Happy. Be Present.

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It is raining in Germany today. I am at my in-laws out in the country side, and I’ve decided to look at this rainy weather as an opportunity rather than something inhibiting. I finally got around to editing the photos I took last weekend, which we also spent out here in the countryside. Despite the stormy weather, today has been a good day. It’s my niece’s birthday – she turned one! In a typical Schmidt fashion, we celebrated with an impossibly enormous amount of food and excellent company. There’s something about this family, something so warm and welcoming and inviting – you can’t help but feel carefree when in this house. Problems are left at the door. You’re free to love, to be loved, to be happy.


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Speaking of being happy, I am only just realizing how relevant this quote is to my life right now. I am in constant pursuit of happiness, to a degree most would describe as obsessive at best. I am a compulsive planner – I have trips and vacations planned that Steven and I may never even actually go on. I’ve secretly (or not so secretly) planned weddings for all of my friends…including the ones who aren’t even engaged. I am always on the hunt for something amazing, some incredible place to visit or thing to do or piece of clothing to wear. I am always searching.

I know I can’t be the only one guilty of this. Raise your hand if you’re constantly on the lookout for things to make your life better, brighter, more exciting. Raise your hand if you’re constantly making lists about ways to improve yourself, because if you could just be that much stronger or that much thinner or that much more interesting, all of your problems would be solved? I’ll tell you – my hand is WAY up high!

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Here’s the thing, though. If we put away those lists for just a moment and look around, we might realize the place we’re standing is pretty fabulous, too. It may finally become apparent that, while imperfect, our lives are freaking amazing and we are so lucky to be living them. I’m not saying we should go about our days with a blatant disregard for the future - but when we’re so obsessed with paving the way for the days to come, we may never notice how lovely the landscape is as we work.

So be present, today and every day. Work towards the future, but don’t get so caught up in it you forget to enjoy right now’s tiny moments – because believe me, they sure do fly by.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

That Time I Modeled for Japanese Tourists

 

I’ve often shown you photos taken of me by my wonderful and extremely talented friend, Matt Grashaw. This is no exception. In 2009, Matt and I made our way over to The Santa Monica pier for a vintage inspired photo shoot of awesomeness.


We went around the pier and took photos for several hours. Just as the sun was setting, I began noticing that a small group of Asian tourists had started snapping pictures of me from far away as I posed for Matt. Every one of them had an expensive camera with an enormous zoom lens attached so I imaged they were getting pretty good close-ups. Several minutes later the group had grown to at least five or six of them. I smiled at them from where I stood (in front of the Ferris wheel in the first photo) which apparently was taken as an invitation to come closer, because suddenly Matt and I were completely surrounded by huge cameras.  The rest of the tourist group came to join them, and for the next hour we were followed around by a group of 10 or so tourists taking pictures! With flash! Asking me to make certain poses! This resulted in a sort of domino effect – because it seemed like I had a huge group of people trying to photograph me, an even larger group of passerby started accumulating in order to try to figure out who I was.  Small children approached me and asked me if I was famous. It was overwhelming and Matt and I really couldn’t do anything but just go with it!



The group of tourists were extremely friendly and we had a really good time talking with them in between and after shooting. They gave us their business cards and asked us to add them on Facebook, and you can bet that each and every one of them came up to take a picture with me. We certainly attracted quite a bit of attention, because one of the street artists came up and offered us free name-art – you know, the kind where they write your name out of palm trees and dolphins and what not – which was pretty fantastic.

Pretty much, the entire day was hilarious.

 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quirks

 

We all have quirks. Little things about us we can’t control. Today, I’ll tell you some of mine on the condition that you’ll share yours in the comments and we can laugh and have bonding moments.

Deal?

Good.

1. As a child I used to walk on my tippytoes, all the time. It looked weird. I don’t do that anymore but sometimes I catch myself standing on my tiptoes while waiting in lines.

2. I can not sit pretzel style. I can not do it. My hips do not work that way, much to the amusement of my yoga instructors.

3. I like to drop things. Phone, wallet, ceramic dishware, you name it and I’ve dropped it.

4. I listen to music when out on my runs. When waiting to cross streets, I sometimes dance enthusiastically to the music when I think no one is watching. I have been caught on numerous occasions doing so.

5. In addition to dropping things, I also like to trip over things, bump into things, and lose my balance in general.

6. When I was a young girl my favorite “toy” was a Pocahontas shaped shampoo bottle. No really. It was like a doll but I could wash my hair with it.

8. Sometimes I’ll be thinking about embarrassing moments I’ve had while in public places (i.e. train, super market,) and I’ll make an “ugh!” sound in response to my thoughts, and then people stare at me and I’ve added another embarrassing moment to my list.

9. One of my recurring dreams involves a quartet of singing Siberian huskies. They are in a secret dog mafia and try to kill me in every dream. The sad thing is, while I’m in the dream I’m actually genuinely terrified – it’s only when I wake up that I realize how ridiculous it is.

10. I sing. All the time. Especially when doing chores. When my husband went out to take the trash out, he came back into the apartment and reported that he could hear me all the way down three flights of stairs when you just walk into the apartment building…guess I’ve been performing for the neighbors all this time. Whoops.

So now it’s your turn. What are your quirks?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Slouchy West Coast Style

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What I Wore:
Trousers: Zara
Shoes: FourStar
Top: Zara
Sweater: H&M
Hat: Zara
Necklace: H&M
Bag: Promod

     Oh, Zara spring collection, why must you torment me so with your loveliness?  Let’s just say a spree in this particular store has left my closet feeling quite full. My wallet, on the other hand…oops!  I wore this number last week when meeting friends in Frankfurt – yes, last week, and I am only talking about it now. Between going to yoga, nannying for three kids and riding my bike everywhere, I must admit I am found much more often wearing some combination of yoga pants/tee shirt/sports bra/sneakers than anything remotely fashionable. Aside from Saturday (a wonderful day which I did not get any photos of! curse me!) this is the only “put together” look I wore all week…and you know, I think I’m okay with that. 

Yet still, I must admit the days I actually put effort into my appearance are more enjoyable than the days where I don’t. The days I get ready are the days I am more confident, more quick to offer a smile, and happier in general. Is that odd? Or am I totally not alone in this?

Spring has certainly sprung here in central Europe – there are flowers popping up and leaves sprouting on tree branches, life is working it’s way back into our lawn which is slowly returning to it’s normal shade of vibrant green. I must admit I’m scared that when I’m in America next week it will be cool and rainy and remain completely gorgeous and sun-shiny over here. How terrible would that be? I’m going to California to enjoy sunshine and warmth and the beach, not to play in the rain! I play in the rain enough here – it rains all the time, with the exception of the past week or two where the weather has been nothing short of perfect. I suppose I shouldn’t complain, the fact that I can reunite with friends and family should certainly overshadow my need for a SoCal climate – but I’ll still be sure to pray for sunshine, just to help stack the odds in my favor.

What is the weather like where you are right now?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Oh, America

 

The things you do to me.



Photos courtesy of Matt Grashaw in Malibu, California circa 2009

Despite the fact that I spent the bigger part of my young life growing up in New York, I always respond “California” when asked where I’m from. It is sunny, warm, beautiful southern California where I met my best friends, found my faith, and figured out who I was and who I wanted to be. As time went on I lost my accent (The word Hahr-ible become horrible, doowug became dog, etc;;, ) purchased more and more open toed shoes, and developed a burning desire to spend all of my free time feeling the sun on my face and sand between my toes.

Those pictures above represent a gorgeously simple time in my life, when friends were near to me and our most difficult life decisions included (but were not limited to) choosing whether to go to Venice or Zuma beach, to eat Mexican or Sushi, or deciding which dress at Forever 21 best complimented our tans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad my friends and I have progressed to a higher level of emotional maturity, but it’s normal to be nostalgic – right? I sure hope so, else there would be a whole lot of abnormality going on over here.

La Conchita, California

I suppose this is an appropriate time to announce that, next week, I’m headed to America for a visit! I will be spending two weeks in my home state. I had originally planned to throw together some sort of backpacking trip through a couple countries during the time I had off of work, but when I was telling my mom about my plans she asked me “Why don’t you just come visit us at home during your break?” as if it was that easy. Well, special thanks to frequent flier miles – apparently it is!

I’ve decided to put together a list of all the things I plan on doing during my two week stay in the United States. Are you ready? You better be!!

THE AMAZING LIST OF AMERICAN FESTIVITIES AND GOODNESS

1. Eat at In-n-out burger. As soon as I get off of the plane.
2. Eat Mexican food. Also as soon as I get off of the plane. In fact, I’ll have my burger in one hand and a taco in the other. Do not judge.
3. Ride bikes in Santa Barbara
4. Utilize the incredible and wonderful thing that is thrift store shopping.
5. Get lavender lemonade at Zoey’s CafĂ©.
6. Eat Fish and Chips at Andrea’s in Ventura
7. Overdose on Vitamin D by soaking in as much sun as humanly possible.
8. Spend several hours at the beach on several different days
9. Feel slightly unsafe and yet incredibly satisfied at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles
10. Go hiking
11. Eat sushi at an actual reasonable price!
12. Costco pizza. Enough said.
13. Watch movies. In a movie theater. In ENGLISH.
14. Eat more Mexican food. And more In-n-out. And more Mexican food.
15. Enjoy and soak up every beautiful moment in this fantastic place!


Santa Paula, California – 2010

Friday, March 23, 2012

Treat Yourself to Breakfast: Poached Eggs on Toast with Avocado and Pesto Cream Sauce.

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With the weekend approaching, why not treat yourself to something yummy for breakfast? I love trying out variations of this meal: Poached eggs on toast. You really can’t go wrong here, no matter how you spin it: add ham with hollandaise sauce to take an “eggs benedict” approach, or smoked salmon to add delicious protein to your light and healthy meal. For this particular variation, this is what you’ll need:

2 eggs
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 avocado
1 tablespoon classic pesto
1 tablespoon non or low-fat Greek yogurt
2 slices of toast
Dash of cayenne pepper

Step one: Add white vinegar to a pot of simmering water and poach eggs. If you need additional help, check out this video here.
Step two: Meanwhile, mix Greek yogurt and pesto together in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds
Step three: layer chopped avocado on toast and topped with poached eggs
Step four: lightly drizzle with pesto sauce
Step five: add a dash of cayenne pepper for a little extra spice and color.
Step six : Enjoy this simple, delicious, healthy breakfast with someone you love!

I LOVE simple, no-fuss meals – especially when they’re light, healthy, and get my day started off the right way!

What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Honeymoon Story (Adventures in Cabo San Lucas)


The day has finally arrived! I have seriously been planning to tell you all about our honeymoon for weeks (months?) and now it is finally happening. Are you excited? Steven and I had a fabulous time in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Seriously – quite the adventure! I’ll let the photos do most of the talking, but will jump in for commentary every now and again!

This is the “We’re on an airplane and excited about life!” shot.
the “We are excited about wearing wedding rings” shot.
the “we just arrived and we’re super impressed by our hotel room!” shot.
 

I was attempting to kiss him. Haha.
We like to hang upside down. They like to drop us head first into the ocean.
Steven and I both agree, however, that the highlight of the trip was when we took ATVs out in the desert and on the beach.
This is where we met mutant zombie cows with bells around their necks, emerging from the dust like ghosts and walking very slowly.
Steven and I are adrenaline junkies and got in trouble for going too fast.
Oh well.
This honeymoon was exactly what we wanted it to be – a good balance of relaxing and adventurous. We got to work on our tans and soak up the sun…

Which was good, because now we live in Europe and are both as pale as ghosts. I promise, in these photos I’m the most tan I’ve ever been.
Sad truth.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

You Win This Time, Germany….You Win.


Living in Europe is awesome. I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to be able to have this experience so early in my life – and just after getting married, too! Sometimes I feel like we’re just on some sort of extended honeymoon and I have to wonder when “real life” is gonna come and rear it’s ugly head. That doesn’t mean living here is completely without it’s cons – it’s not. I miss a lot of things about my American life – the food, in particular, but also the low gas prices (yes, I will never complain about the price of American gas until it is equal to its $10/gallon European counterpart) the cheaper clothes, TV and movies in English, the list goes on.

However, I know the minute I’m back in America I’m going to miss certain things about Germany, too. Here’s a “Pinteresting” list letting you all know my favorite things about this little country:
Jager schnitzel, mushrooms, bacon, and fresh herbed spatzle = German food heaven. Mmm.
SCHNITZEL. The above picture is Jaeger Schnitzel, served with mushrooms and a side of “spatzle” or cheesy pasta. My favorite German dish by far. I’m obsessed. I will also say that Frankfurt has a restaurant entitled “Das Schnitzelhaus” in which you can order over 30 different variations of schnitzel and it’s delivered right to your door. Oh, I will so miss that.
Luneburger Bakery, Sydney Australia. A German bakery in Australia....the best of both worlds :)
BREAD. Germans know how to bake. Bread, rolls and pastries are always fresh and always good. In Frankfurt it’s difficult to be in a spot without a bakery in your line of vision – and the culture about bakeries is different here; people will go to a tiny bakery several times a week to get bread, rolls, etc; for their family as opposed to just picking up everything at the grocery store. I LOVE walking into a Wiener Feinbacker (popular German bakery here) and enjoying a Laugen Croissant and Heisse Schockolade.
Heidelberg, Germany: Absolutely Gorgeous.
HISTORY! The above picture is Heidelberg, a beautiful city in Baden-Wuertenburg where I spent five weeks in 2010. If there is one thing I will miss about Germany above anything else, it is how old everything is. The drugstore down the street could, quite literally, be older than America. I love the architecture, the narrow streets, the cobblestones.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
CASTLES! Well. I think the photo above speaks for itself.
Runners up for my “I love Germany” list are:
Bratwurst
Christmas Markets
Kinderpunsch (At Christmas Markets)
Nature/Wildlife
and, of course,
dancing men in lederhosen.
I love the country I live in. I love it so much.
But don’t worry America, don’t feel neglected – something tells me I have a lot to write about you, too!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Did Ya Miss Me?

 

     Some of you may have noticed (or have been concerned by) the silence that took place over the blog last week. I’ll be honest, it was unexpected. I haven’t gone so long without posting perhaps since the very beginning – but on Wednesday I woke up with some bug and suddenly sleeping was the only thing I cared about. I even had some posts partially written already and didn’t (or should I say, couldn’t) even finish them to put them up.

The good news: I’m better now, and plan to return to normal posting intervals this week.

Do you want to hear about my weekend? It was actually quite eventful! Saturday morning began bright and early – why, you ask? Steven and I had plans to go shoot guns at all of his friends – airsoft guns, that is.

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You feeling lucky? Punk?

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This was my first time playing anything like this – I mean, unless you count Lazertag but I hardly would. Against all odds, I actually did not totally suck. Playing out in the middle of the German forest was intense. At some points I was crawling on my belly underneath trees and brush, getting stuck by thorns and sticks and pine needles – but you can be sure those enemy forces did not see my advance as I came to rain fire down upon them…I feel like this sentence should be accompanied by maniacal laughter, but I’ll save it for now. I must also admit that wearing camouflage cargo pants tucked into combat boots does something to a girl – all those feelings of female helplessness just melt away and suddenly all you’re left with is “Yes. I will kick your butt and it will be awesome. Wanna mess?”  

Despite the way we spent the first half of the day, our Saturday actually ended on a completely different note. Last week Steven made reservations for us at this little Sicilian place in Sachsenhausen that apparently is somewhat difficult to get in to. Feeling romantic, the husband treated me to a delicious four course meal. It started with a yummy arugula salad and ended with scrumptious orange tiramisu, and in the middle there was some eggplant-and-veal-stuffed-ravioli and another meat dish that was absolutely divine. I was so full after I could hardly walk! I did manage to snap one picture, with my tiny point-and-shoot camera:

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The night ended with a romantic walk along the river.

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It was such a fun, adventurous, wonderful day spent with my husband. I love him more and more every day.

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