Friday, August 31, 2012

Fall/Winter Travel Plans

In May I shared with you my travel plans for the spring/summer 2012. This summer has been a whirlwind of new experiences and adventures and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to visit so many new places in a few short months. I've spent the last several weeks figuring our our travel itinerary for the remaining half of 2012, and this is what we've got so far:


In about a week I'll be heading up to Belgium to visit my friend Nikki. I'm excited for a refreshing girls weekend of food and shopping. And food.


Then Steven and I are off to Leipzig, Germany for a good friend's wedding. I hope to be able to spend a day or so exploring beautiful Dresden while we're out there. 


The trip I'm perhaps the most excited for is a week long getaway in Tuscany, Italy! Ahhh! I get goosebumps just thinking about it. We are staying in a gorgeous bed and breakfast in the Tuscan countryside just a short drive away from Florence.


I am so excited to be home in California for Thanksgiving! My friends and I have already begun planning girls weekends in Los Angeles and even a road trip to San Fransisco. I also am really looking forward to taking my German to Disneyland for the first time - he's never been!


We have family that lives in upstate New York, and my fondest Christmas memories come from spending the holidays with them. I am SO EXCITED for Steven to meet all of the family he hasn't yet been introduced to. We plan on spending a few days in Manhattan to see the sights and of course eat lots of pizza. 

A lot of these plans aren't set in stone yet and I'm working on finalizing the details. I'm also hoping to visit Luxembourg and take another trip to Berlin before the year is out, but we'll see what happens!

So now it's your turn! Do you have any upcoming travels you're looking forward to? Please share!

Photos Credits:

P.S. Today in the final call for Blog Sponsors! Check out this post here on sponsorship and email me if you're interested. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grumpy Hungry Men

Blazer: Zara, Top: Zara, Pants: Vero Moda, Necklace: H&M (Gifted) Shoes: Thrifted, Bag: Vera Wang, Bracelets: Thrifted.


After work on Monday, Steven and I went to do some shopping and catch dinner and a movie in downtown Frankfurt. As soon as we met up I could tell Steven was pretty irritated but I had no idea why. 

Me: "Honey, something bothering you?"

Him: "No, why?" 

Me: "I'm getting the vibe that you're really annoyed." 

Him: "Huh, I guess I am. But not for any particular reason." 

Me: "Are you hungry?"

Him: -sheepish smile- "yeah, that's probably why."

People always joke that women get so emotional and irritable when they're hungry, but I think men are ten times worse! We needed to buy Steven a new pair of shoes and over the course of searching for them his mood grew worse and worse. I felt positively guilty making Steven take my photos when the restaurant we were planning on eating at was only a city block away, so we rushed through them. He was definitely distracted because 90% of the photos he took were out of focus. Ha! I love him. 

We made it to the restaurant (this one here) and the minute the food arrived his mood did a complete 360 and he was back to his smiling, happy self. Ladies, the moral of the story is this: If your man is grumpy, feed him. The end. 





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P.S. The $100 Anthropologie Giveaway ends Monday, September 3rd so be sure to enter! There are several entries you can complete one per day to raise your chances.

Also, my last call for September sponsorship is this Friday and I would LOVE to have you as a sponsor...100% of the money is going to charity, so if you're interested in increasing your blog or shop's traffic as well as helping out a great cause please email me! There are still a few more spaces that need to be filled.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Good Eats: Louisiana Bar and Grill in Frankfurt, Germany



      The husband and I are frequent movie goers. There is a very large theater in Frankfurt that plays movies in their original version (read: not in German) and heading to the movies is our go-to date night. We somehow never took the time to notice the restaurant sitting directly next to our favorite movie viewing spot: Louisiana Bar and Grill. I heard a friend mention it a few weeks back and thought "Oh, that place near the movies? Never even thought about that place! (Which was my mistake) So when Steven and I headed on over to go see Total Recall the other night we decided to drop in and see what it was all about. 


      I wish I had absolutely no shame and could have walked around the restaurant snapping photos of every last detail for you guys, but I do have shame (sometimes) and decided to save both the hubs and I the embarrassment. If I had photographed the place, you would have seen some awesome New Orleans inspired wall art, awesome chandeliers and very cool wooden tables with leather upholstered chairs. Louisiana is a chain restaurant but it felt very unique to me. It is impossible not to mention these guys: 

We were seated right by their tank, which was highly entertaining. 

       The food is the main attraction of this here post, so I think it's time we get to the point. We decided to go for the "Double Burger and Wings" a meal for two that comes with two burgers, steak fries, wings, nachos and various dipping sauces. Steven went for the chili cheese burger and I chose for the classic bacon cheese burger.  I kid you not, after taking my first bite tears nearly came to my eyes. It was by far the closest to a good old American burger I've had since arriving in Germany.  



        I can't say it was the best burger I've ever had because America is just extraordinarily superior in that department, but this was dang close. The steak fries were thick and delicious and so unlike the dinky little fries you find so often here.  Bonus points: They had normal Heinz Ketchup that you DIDN'T HAVE TO PAY EXTRA FOR. My immediate thought was "Holy crap, I've been here a year and never knew about this place?!" 


       Their menu wasn't just burgers, though. They had wraps, chilis, as well as chicken and seafood dishes that sounded like they could have come right out of an American restaurant. I know that on a culinary level American food isn't exactly considered top notch, but bare with me here: When you're living abroad you really start to miss the classics. I would have liked to see more Cajun style food in a restaurant named Louisiana, but if I'm eating a delicious burger my mouth is too full to complain. This restaurant is now our go-to place when we're homesick (and let's be real here, I get homesick about food more than anything else.)  

Refills are still not free, but we're working on it. 



Monday, August 27, 2012

The Places I'd Settle Down

      It's getting to be that time when Steven and I are talking about future plans. After we finally graduate from college, where will we go? Where will we buy a house, put down roots, and really call home for more than a few months or a year? Essentially we will go where the jobs are, but talking about it has certainly got me dreaming. I've compiled a list of places all over the world that I could see us living in - some of which I've never even visited. It should be noted that this post is inspired by a list put together by my friend Izy on her blog, which if fabulous.

New York, New York


     First off, I am mortified that I can not find any original photos of New York. The last time I was there was in 2009 and I guess I was just not yet a serial documenter like I am now. For the sake of this blog post...yes, documenter is now totally a word. I was born and raised on Long Island, New York about an hour or so outside of the city and spent a lot of time there. As a preteen I moved to Southern California, but still found myself back in NYC for one reason or another at least once per year.
     Like clockwork, every time I'm there I get sucked back into the magic that is New York and begin planning out how I will be able to move there. The honking of taxi cabs, the food carts, the hole in the wall restaurants, the architecture...I'm a city girl at heart, and how can a city girl not love the big apple?
     I dream from time to time about a cute shoebox apartment above a bakery in Brooklyn with exposed brick walls (and if we're really dreaming here, a rooftop terrace!) And since it's me we're talking about and I can't go five minutes without talking about food: The New Yorker in me can not keep from salivating when I think of white pizza, bagels with lox, and pastrami sandwiches. Kill me now and send me to tastebud heaven. (P.S. We are visiting New York again this winter! Hoorary!)

San Francisco, CA


        Okay, so, I'm gonna talk about food again. San Francisco has amazing food. They're very big on the farm-to-table movement up there and I've never had better vegan and vegetarian food than in the Bay Area. Don't get me wrong; I'm a meat lover. Give me a juicy burger any day of the week and I'm a happy, happy girl. Still, there are so many options in San Francisco for fresh, healthy, delicious meals you really can't go wrong. I have far-out-there dreams of perhaps being a journalist someday and there's something incredibly romantic to me about being a writer in thriving SanFran. I love the trolleys, the hills, the golden gate bridge and the incredible nature you can find waiting for you just outside the city.

Montpellier, France


       My trip to Paris in 2010 temporarily darkened my opinion of France. All it took was five days in Montpellier, a lovely little university town in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France to completely change my mind. Suddenly I loved France again! Like Paris, Montpellier had gorgeous French style architecture. It didn't have hoards of tourists, overpriced food and jaded locals who turned up their nose at you. People were friendly, the food was delicious, and the weather was warm and sunny which reminded me of my Southern California home. I would love to live here in a charming little flat, learning French and going on enough runs to justify eating a crêpe a day. 

Ventura, CA


        I spent the second half of my life in Ventura County, California but about 40 minutes outside of the actual city of Ventura. While certainly less metropolitan than one would expect from a city lover like me, there is something so cool and laid back about Ventura I can't help but love it. I have very fond memories here, from riding the carousel and playing air hockey in the arcade on the harbor, to perusing the city's many incredible thrift stores with my friends (The Buffalo Exchange is certainly my favorite.) to eating the best fish and chips I've ever had in my entire life (and I've had them in England.) Ventura is a place I would love to settle down someday, especially since my family is nearby and the area is very safe and kid-friendly. 

Berlin, Germany



        I spent a weekend in Berlin in 2010 and it wasn't enough. I fell in love with this city fast and hard. Berlin is infectious, it's vibrant, rich in culture and history and it's just plain fun. It is a city that has been to hell and back yet is still thriving, dancing and shouting at the top of its lungs and I LOVE IT. There is an incredible art and music scene and the museums are just about unbeatable. And food? Doener Kebap was invented here. Oh Berlin, you certainly had me at Kebap.

Singapore


        I have never been to Singapore (or Asia for that matter) but the more I read about it the more I believe I must move here one day, if only for a year or two. It's metropolitan, it's beautiful, and I've heard from multiple sources that the food is the best in the world (That alone should be enough for me to pack my bags and go right there.) English is widely spoken, and as expats we would find the first world comforts we're used to having in Europe or America while being smack dab in the middle of Southeast Asia. I am in love with the idea of being able to take weekend trips to Bali, Malaysia or Thailand and then returning home to a cool flat in downtown Singapore. And have we talked about the food yet? We have? MY GOODNESS THE FOOD. 

Honorable mentions for places I'd like to live include: 
Chicago, Illinois 
Portland, Oregon 
Copenhagen, Denmark 
Johannesburg, South Africa 
and San Diego, California

Where do you live? Do you love it? Where would you move if you could? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sponsor RW&OT, Help Kids Pay for College


I'm sure most of you know about Ashley and the amazing work that she's doing over at The Shine Project. The Shine Scholarship Fund offers opportunities to underprivileged youth to go to college while providing them with work and leadership opportunities along the way. I can think of no better organization to contribute to - if you're going to invest in something, why not invest in the people who will be the world's future?

I am amazed at all that Ashley does and decided I would begin making small personal donations to her fund, but I felt the need to do more. After some thought I decided to open up a sponsorship program on my blog. 100% of all sponsorship purchases will be donated to The Shine Scholarship Fund in their effort to send more kids to university.  Not only will you be helping a great cause, you'll also gain traffic and exposure to your own blog or shop. It's a win/win/win for everybody involved.

Here is a video about what The Shine Project works to do:




Current Blog Stats: 
18,500+ page views per month 890+ Followers via Google Friend Connect/Bloglovin’
1795+ Followers via Combined Social Media Platforms
Blog updated at least five times per week, with significant increases in traffic after a post goes live. 

If you are interested in sponsorship please contact me to receive full information and rates.

I hope to be working with you soon! 


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Have you entered the giveaway to win $100 to Anthropologie yet? Even if you have, there are several entries you can complete once per day to raise your chances!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Picnic Dates


Last week I made a romantic meal for my husband. I was planning to set the table as I do every night when the idea struck me to pack up the meal and eat it outside in a park nearby our apartment. It was particularly stuffy in our non-air conditioned apartment (dang you, Germany!) and getting out to enjoy the very rare sunshine seemed like a grand plan. 

Fancy grape juice makes everything better. 

What we ate: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Salad with grilled peaches, toasted walnuts, feta cheese and fresh baby spinach.

How to make it: Marinate pork for at least one hour in a marinade of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt, pepper and thyme. Grill to perfection. Cut peaches in half and drizzle the open halves with balsamic vinegar, grill cut side down until tender. Cut up and assemble with the rest of the ingredients. Toss with a little lemon juice, olive oil and salt for a healthy dressing.*


Our blanket was pretty tiny. Next time we'll bring two. We brought our books so we could stretch out and read after finishing our meal...it was relaxing and perfect!

I would highly recommend taking your dinner out on a picnic. It turns a regular night in into a romantic date and you get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

*The recipe is my own. Please link to me if you'd like to repost it! Thank you. 

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Have you entered the giveaway to win $100 to Anthropologie yet? Even if you have, there are several entries you can complete once per day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

$100 Anthropologie Giveaway!


Shirt: Thrifted, Skirt: Zara, Belt: Target, Hat: Gifted, Pendant: Thrifted

Linking up with The Pleated Poppy!

I'm aware that this skirt has made its eight millionth appearance in my outfit posts, and I apologize. Actually, scratch that, I'm not sorry. It's summer and I'm trying to get as much use out of this baby as possible before autumn weather forces her to the back of my closet.

Still don't forgive me? Fine, I'll just have to present you with this amazing giveaway to win you over. With Fall approaching quickly I knew that stylish RW&OT readers would love a little supplement to their shopping adventures. ;) 

One lucky reader will have the chance to receive a $100 gift card to Anthropologie! And really, who DOESN'T love Anthropologie?! Here are some things (all under $100) that I would buy with a giftcard if it were possible for me to win my own giveaway. Which it's not. Sadface.


Goodness...can I please just have EVERYTHING from this store? Not possible? Dangit.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DIY Photo Jewelry Display


The other day I became so disgusted with how disorganized my vanity table (which is actually just a glass-top desk we borrowed from Steven's sister) had become. I didn't have a system to organize my jewelry or my makeup so everything was just sort of piled up on top of the table and it looked terrible. I'd seen so many cute ways to display jewelry online, but couldn't find something that was easy for me to do. You see, DIY-ing in general is really quite difficult here. There are no craft stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby or Jo Ann, and we live on the third floor of an apartment building with no terrace or balcony, so there's really no acceptable place to work on projects. I would have LOVED to build something unique and lovely to display my jewelry on, but it's just not worth it considering how much work it would require and that I'd have to leave it behind in Germany when we left anyway.

I had a bunch of photos stored away in a box from when I was using a lomography film camera, so I decided...why not create a photo display where I can hang up my jewelry? It was simple and low key and took me about five minutes. 


I used thumb tacks to hang up the photos and then used those same thumbtacks as hooks for my jewelry. It worked perfectly and I'm really happy with the result! I think this is a great option for renters and college students in dorm rooms who can't create something permanent. The photos can be swapped out whenever you'd like and the whole thing can be removed quickly when it's time to pack up and go! 

I wanted to be able to hang up my bracelets as well and came up with a quick and easy solution:



I didn't have any cute twine or rope (which would have been adorable) So I just cut three strips of random scrap fabric I found around the house. I braided the fabric together quickly and used thumbtacks to stretch out my makeshift rope out horizontally at the bottom of the photo display. My bracelets and hair clips hooked right onto it! 


After my jewelry was organized, it was easy to make my makeup look nice: 


I scored these little glass dishes off of my landlord who was about to throw them out. Pretty, classy and oh so simple!


How do you keep your makeup and jewelry organized? 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Golden Hour in the German Countryside

 I took a solo walk through the fields near my inlaws house this weekend. It was a beautiful summer evening and I couldn't have placed myself in a more peaceful scenario if I tried. I stayed out until the sun had disappeared below the hills. Just before the sun fully sets is by far my favorite time to take pictures. You just can't beat the light. In this light, anything beautiful becomes breathtaking...the sort of breathtaking where you have to pause and think about how blessed you are to live in a place so lovely.

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