Friday, April 27, 2012

Six Things I Love About Frankfurt, Germany


I realized yesterday that I talk quite often about the places I visit when I'm traveling, but I don't really talk much about the place I live! Today is all about Frankfurt, my friends...it's not your quintessential German town or city, in fact it's entirely modern thanks to a thing you may have heard of called World War II. It sits on the River Main, which is why some have given it the nickname Mainhattan, Germany's own mini metropolis. Here's a list of things I love about Frankfurt.



1. The Palmengarten. Right in the middle of Frankfurt, this is a complete oasis to help you escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There are ponds, fields, baroque gardens and hundereds of different types of flowers...and that's just outside. Inside you have climatized green houses that support types of wildlife from all over the world!



2. The Konstablerwache Farmer's Market. Weather permitting, you'll find a bustling farmers market in Konstablerwache square Thurday through Sunday, every weekend. I love browsing the fresh produce and flowers and listening to the live music that often accompanies it. I see some of the same people there every week, sitting at picnic tables and sipping Apple Wine to lounge the day away.



3. Speaking of Apple Wine, if you're in Frankfurt you should really have lunch or dinner at Aldog Wagner's in Sachsenhausen. It is about as traditional German as it can get and is famous for it's apple wine - I think the Alcohol free apple wine is pretty fantastic, too! If you're graving Schnitzel, this is the place to go. 


4. Frankfurt has some really great museums! My favorites are the Seckenberg Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Modern Art, and The German Film Museum!



5.  The Main River! I can think of no greater pleasure than riding my bike down to the large grassy area that lines the river, picking a spot under a big tree and reading a book or taking a nap. Just thinking about it now makes me yearn for summer! Right by the old town you'll find a stall where you can book cruises up and down it, making for a perfect and peaceful afternoon in the sun.

6. In October Steven and I went to a concert on top of this building. Can you believe the view?! I love seeing the Frankfurt skyline at night. 

This is certainly not all of the things that I love about Frankfurt, but this is all you get for now! Where do you live and what do you love about it? 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Starting Anew

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This week has been primarily about fresh starts. 

We're reaching the close of my first week home from California, it took some adjustments to get back in the swing of things again. It's so odd, I experienced culture shock visiting my old home last week and have since experienced it again after returning to my new home. It's like my heart isn't quite sure where it belongs...but maybe that's okay. Maybe that's as it should be. I've been leaving little pieces of my heart and soul all over the world, falling in love with each new place I visit, already concocting ways to get back to a place before I've even stopped roaming its unfamiliar streets. I love this beautiful planet with live on.

But I've begun to digress.

A fresh start. This week Steven and I have deep-cleaned our apartment. We buckled down and managed to wash, dry and put away the comically large pile of laundry that had accumulated while I was away. We made goals to work harder to actually keep things around the house in a somewhat presentable condition, and so far such measures are actually working.

We've started dieting. I think you'd be surprised to know it was actually Steven's idea. Not really a "diet" diet, for lack of a more eloquent explanation, but we've committed to eating more fresh produce and less meat and carbs. I'll let you know what the result of this is and would love any moral support!

One of the biggest things to announce is that Steven and I are on a spending freeze. We made the decision together after having to pay for a surprisingly large dentist bill for Steven, combined with all of the trips we had already booked and couldn't cancel. We started on the 16th and will coninue until we leave for Malta at the end of May. Steven and I are only spending 50 euro a week on food and basic necessities.  Both the hubs and I are not penny pinchers by any means, so I've felt the strain already. But I'll touch base on this more later, when we're farther into it and I have more to say and more insight to offer.

I think it's appropriate that all of this is happening during spring time. With flowers and green grass just starting to peek up through the ground, it's like the earth is finally waking up for a new day. The world gets a fresh start this time of year - so I see no reason why we shouldn't get one either.




Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I'm loving

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I have been up since 2:30 in the morning, which seems to be the standard time for me to wake up every. single. day since I've returned from America. Jetlag is seriously the worst. Please, please excuse me if my creative juices are not flowing the way they usually do, I'm just tired all the time! Here are some images I've found over the past week that I've really enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them too.

Linking up with Imprintalish

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Join Me For Tea

 

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In February I wrote a post entitled “If We Sat Down For Tea” in which I told you about current happenings as if we were sitting together at this very moment. The post was well received and I’m at a place right now where I really could use a hot cup of tea with some close friends, so I thought this would be a perfect time to bring it around again.

I would be so happy if we could sit down for tea. I have a huge variety of teas I could offer you, both loose leaf and bagged, although since my trip to Istanbul I’ve been drinking “Turkish Apple” tea to an obsessive degree, so that is the kind I would choose. We would talk and laugh and complain about this and that, that and this, and let the hot tea warm us from the inside out. Gosh, that sounds nice right about now – doesn’t it?

If we sat down for tea, I would talk to you about homesickness. It was hard to be away from my husband when I was in California, but now that I’m back it’s hard to be without my friends. You just can’t win, can you?

I would tell you that springtime might just be my favorite season in Germany. In California, April looks very similar to other months – but here it’s positively stunning. I’ve never seen fields and hills so green – the tulips, the cherry blossoms, the baby green leaves on the trees…sigh! I’m so in love. It could rain a little less, though. Just a little less.

I would gush to you about the wonder that is Yoga and complain about how sad I am I hadn’t discovered it before this year. My body is NOT built for it, not in the slightest, which is probably why I hadn’t previously attempted it before, but my flexibility has drastically improved and I’m happier, more energetic, more…everything!

I would tell you (since you’re in Germany having tea with me) to make your way down to a farm stand selling fresh Spargel (German White Asparagus) and buy a whole kilo. It is absolutely amazing, and these stands are seriously on every street corner. Ah, another thing to love about spring time!

I would complain about Jet-Lag and all of its evils.

I would dream with you about traveling the world. It is torture living so close to so many places and not being able to visit every.single.one of them! We would dream about far away places, too, like Thailand and Argentina. Someday, someday.

I would tell you about the second job I just got, working in a traditional German bakery in the mornings, and how excited I am to have a job where I will need to speak to and serve customers in German.

I would be so glad to listen to your stories of triumphs and failures, small happy moments and grand adventures – and just escape the world as two friends do when they sit and talk with a cup of tea.

Thank you for listening to my rantings. Want another cup?

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Bridal Photography Session…Take Two?!


When I was in California I was lucky enough to put that wedding dress (and other dresses) back on for a bridal photo shoot with the wonderful Photographer Matt Haines. Our wedding day had been so hectic I didn’t really have the chance to have “bridal portraits” taken and so when this opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the chance! Something I wasn’t quite expecting was that Matt shoots entirely with film – only film! With digital photography you can take as many pictures as you want – I’m used to having outtakes, and hundreds of images to sort through and pick out the best…not just a couple of rolls of film and the need to make every single shot count! Let’s just say it added on a ton of pressure.

Regardless, we got some good ones. Here are a few of the resulting images from the shoot:

 

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Credits:

Photography – Matt Haines
Hair and Makeup - JaNice Estrada
Flowers – Petals Floral Design by Ruth Gulden
Long Dress – Casablanca (Custom) via Kaye’s Bridal
Short Dress – Courtesy of Camarillo Bridal
Shoes – Irregular Choice

Friday, April 20, 2012

How to Look and Feel Great on a Very Long Flight

 

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With summer approaching, I know many of you are bursting with excitement about the various trips and vacations you have planned. Some of these trips, I assume, may include a very long flight or series of flights (layovers, anyone?) to get you to to and from your destination. I’ve been on a lot of planes, and it didn’t take long for me to wonder why I came to look like such a hot mess after just a few hours. I did the research and made a plan to help myself look and feel fresh, clean, and put together throughout my trans-atlantic flights…and, well, theory proven! I thought I’d take the time to share my newfound wisdom with you. Follow these steps and you’ll walk out of the airport feeling top notch.

Step One: Stay Hydrated

  • This is THE most important thing you can do. I can not stress this enough. Flights are long, the air is dry, and in most cases you are only served drinks two or three times, in tiny plastic cups smaller than any normal glass. Not only will staying hydrated make you feel better, it will help keep your skin more vibrant and prevent it from drying out too quickly. Being hydrated is also the number one way to combat jetlag. Your body works better when there is water in it! I drink a huge bottle of water on my way to the airport and then buy an even bigger one there (1.5 liters) once I’m past security. Then I have something to drink during the entire duration of the flight, even when the flight attendants aren’t around.

Step Two: Clothing

  • Dress Comfortably. For flights over five hours, I would recommend avoiding denim at all costs. My go-to outfit for traveling is a pair of cotton trousers and a cute-but-loose tee. Other great options would be thick leggings (or jeggings) paired with a long cotton top (I’m serious about the “long” part, no one wants to see your pantyline) or even a linen jumper.
  • Layers. From what I’ve learned, airplanes are too cold and airports are too hot. Dress in layers to prevent discomfort both on the ground and in the air. Wise layering also can increase the overall “cuteness” of any outfit.
  • Comfy shoes. I like wearing flats, because they’re easy to slip on and off. I always pack a pair of fuzzy socks to slip on during the plane ride because my feet get so dang cold.

Step Three: Hair

  • Before you leave for the airport, work a pump or two of leave-in-conditioner through your hair and pull it into a casual but flattering low bun. This will keep your hair out of the way and prevent frizzing, tangling, and other annoyances.

Step Four: Pack a Survival Kit

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The dry, recycled air on a plane is your skin’s worst nightmare. Put together a small pouch with the above items and you’ll be grateful for it later. The above picture is a peek at mine.

  • Face Wipes. A typical trans-Atlantic flight will involve about twenty four hours of traveling if you include layovers and driving time. If you were at home, I’m assuming you’d wash your face at least once in twenty four hours, so the same logic applies when you’re traveling. The great thing about face wipes is that, when that fasten seatbelt sign is on,  you don’t even have to get up to rid your skin of unwanted impurities.
  • Moisturizer, Hand Cream, Lip Balm. As stated before, airplane air is DRY. Apply the mentioned moisturizers to keep your skin from getting gross and dry and flaky. A tinted moisturizer for your face will also keep your skin tone looking even.
  • Powder, Lip Gloss, Mascara. I don’t recommend wearing makeup during your flight, but I like to excuse myself to the lavatory near the end of the flight to apply these very basic cosmetics. This is optional, of course, but doing so helps me feel like I didn’t spend all day sitting on a plane, even though that’s exactly what I did.

Step Five: Get Your Beauty Sleep

  • Sleeping on the plane will help you feel refreshed and combat jetlag later on. I know, sleeping on an airplane can be difficult – especially in economy class! I highly recommend investing in a pair of earplugs (or better yet, noise cancelling headphones), a neck pillow, and a sleeping mask. I can’t stress to you how much they help. I take sleeping pills on trans-Atlantic flights because, let’s be real, it’s never going to be easy sleeping sitting up with people all around you talking and moving and eating. This is of course completely optional, but I must say I walked off of yesterday’s flight feeling pretty darn good having slept eight of the ten hours in the air.

I hope someone finds these at least a bit helpful. If you have any other tips you’d like to share, please leave them in the comments!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reunited

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Facts:

- I spent my last day in California sitting on the beach, eating In-n-out burger and watching sea lions, dolphins, and a mama and baby whale. No, not kidding!

- It was really hard to say goodbye to my family and friends, but the excitement of seeing my husband helped keep the tears at bay.

- Sleeping pills are the world’s greatest invention when used in correspondence with long Trans-Atlantic flights.

- my husband picked me up for the airport in a suit, carrying a single red rose.

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- when I got home, I figured out what he did with the rest of the bouquet. I am the luckiest woman on the planet.

Happy Thursday!

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

(Real) Rock Climbing!

 

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I’ve been rock climbing many times before. However, those times included a nice air conditioned gym and climbing walls with easy-to-grip clay handholds. This was completely different: my friends and I went to go rock climbing on real, large, very scary and very vertical rocks! It took a bit of time to get used to, but it was actually tons of fun (and completely worth the few scrapes I subsequently acquired.) I don’t know if you can tell by the pictures, but we were up pretty dang high. At first, my brain was in oh-my-gosh-you’re-gonna-die mode which resulted in a bit of muscle trembling and shortness of breath – but of course I had nothing to worry about. My friend Matt (you know him on this here blog as a fantastic photographer friend of mine whose pictures are top notch) is also an experienced rock climber and made sure I was completely secure when he was on belay.

We were at Stoney Point (not to be confused with Rocky Peak which is one freeway exit over) for about five hours, enjoying the warm sunny weather and each other’s company! I’ve discovered a new love in outdoor rock climbing. Being out in nature + great workout + mental challenge + adrenaline rush + major feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top = my idea of a good time.

Have you been rock climbing before? Inside or out? What was your experience like?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Nature is Gorgeous

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My apologies for the photo overload – this is only a small fraction of the images I took when hiking with friends in Ventura County, California on Saturday afternoon. We’d reached the top of the hill (mountain? Hill.) about an hour before sunset and simply enjoyed the scenery there for quite a while – my camera was pretty much attached to my face the entire time, and it was so cool to see the light change the colors of everything around me. I watched as things went from green to gold and then eventually faded to gray as the sun ducked behind the gorgeous hills at the horizon. It completely took my breath away.

The funny thing to me is that I’d lived in Southern California for years and years and never appreciated it’s beauty to this degree. Sure, I acknowledged I lived in a cool place…but did I ever thank God for surrounding me with such amazing things? No! I’m sad to say it took my leaving and living somewhere else to bring me to fully appreciate the gorgeousness my old home had to offer. It’s sad for me to think that there are others like me, blessed beyond measure and yet not even aware of it.

Look around you and count your blessings. There is beauty everywhere and it is amazing.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Snapshots

 

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1. Roses from my best friend’s garden
2. Raspberry Sorbet from Melt Gelato Café
3. Old movie theater in Ventura, CA
4. Vintage California license plate – in antique store
5. Americana trinkets – in antique store
6. Owl statues – in antique store
7. My mother’s peonies

I hope you all have a beautiful weekend!
It’s half past five and I’m finally off to bed.

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