Thursday, October 17, 2013

Flip Flops and Wanderschuhe

It's been forever and a half since I've written something on this blog, but I just wanted to stop by and say, if you haven't yet figured out where I've disappeared to, I'm not gone forever! I'm just writing about our RTW adventures on a different blog that Micha and I are sharing. I didn't really think it would be right for us to record those adventures here since this is my space.Some things you just gotta keep separate. :)

I'll be back here in February 2014, when we return to Berlin and our normal daily lives (weird!). Because I miss this blog and the stuff I usually get to write about that's not just travel. (Ummm, not that just getting to experience and write about travel isn't awesome. It totally is!) But in the meantime, for the past 3 months and the next 4 as well, you can find me here:

Hope you like it and I'll see you back here next year!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Second Wedding on a Perfect Summer Day

Remember how a while ago, Micha and I headed to Nico and Claudi's secret wedding in the countryside near the ridiculously named German city, Worms (hehehehe, gets me every time)? Well, this past weekend, we celebrated their wedding once again! That's right, one wasn't enough for those crazy kids, so they threw another, this time much bigger, wedding celebration for all their friends and family to attend this summer. (I no longer question such decisions, as I've slowly learned that people be crazy when it comes to weddings.)

So this weekend, we and a few other Berliner friends packed up our cars and headed down to a little tiny flower-filled town in the countryside of Bavaria for a lovely summer wedding fête.

The weather was perfect (and you know we don't get to say that often here in Germany) and the setting was absolutely idyllic. A sprawling farm covered in colorful flowers, ridiculously loud sheep (who seriously yelled like people! I'll upload proof in video form :), the tiniest of medieval churches for the "ceremony," and the perfectly snow-topped Alps in the background (which I sadly did not manage to photograph). Not shabby for a quick, festive weekend getaway.

The (surprisingly awesome) catch to this wedding: the dress code was hats required! And you'd think that some people would be party poopers and not play along, but man oh man did everybody come through! And it looked oh-so fantastically dapper...

Marie and Katrin

Betti and Dreschi

Hanna and Kerstin

The Brits are really onto something with their tradition of fascinators and hats. 

The groom and co-ceremony Meisterin, Sandra | No-longer-so-wee buddies Mia and Aron

The lovely bride (with neon pink shoes!) and her jolly dad

Naturally, I wasn't about to let a hats-required occasion go by just wearing a normal old hat. (I mean really...) So I told Kerstin I'd DIY something for the two of us, already knowing that I without a doubt wanted to try my hand at these fabulous party hats (this one) (and this one) from A Subtle Revelry.

And the result? 1) Easiest things to make ever! Though you do need significantly more tulle than you think, as the directions aren't specific on that; and 2) I solidified my status as crazy American and heard from the bride's father at least three times throughout the course of the night, "you should never take that hat off!" Mission accomplished.

More photos of the ceremony and dancing to come, there are too many cute ones for one post!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Our Suprise Bon Voyage Party

Last weekend, Emily and family were visiting us and we'd planned to hang out with Kerstin on Saturday so Emily could meet wee Hanna and we three ladies could drink and chat while the menfolk watched one of the five million soccer championship games that takes place in May (seriously, why are there so many different ones? Is one trophy not enough??).

So you can imagine our surprise when Micha and I walked into Kerstin's backyard to see a giant tent set up...

...and all of our friends there waiting for us!

Kerstin and Emily had been planning a bon voyage party for us for months!! As you may or may not know, Micha and I will be embarking on a 7-month around-the-world trip in July (yippee!!) - and if you didn't know, surprise! - and the funny thing is, I'd been whining to Kerstin for weeks about how I wanted to plan a goodbye party for us but just couldn't get my act together enough yet to do so.

Wee best friend and I have fun together, even if our expressions tells a different story

Teaching the rugrats (Mia and Aron) how to properly smile for a picture

Aron's a pro: that's his typical picture expression - I taught him well early on!

But that's what great friends are for, right? To know what you want before you want it and to take the party planning load off your shoulders (when you've got enough packing and visa-obtaining and route planning to deal with) and give you the biggest, happiest surprise when you're least expecting it!

There were map garlands all over, a kickass map tablecloth that Emily whipped up, sweet make-your-own banners personalized just for us (Kerstin is as big a fan of Papermash as I am), and the coolest homemade sign listing some of our destinations and their distance on it planted right into the backyard (in the first picture). You bet your ass I'll be stealing and keeping that sign for years to come.

My favorite part about the party - and they really went all out - was that everybody contributed a dish from one of the countries we'll be visiting on our route! How awesome is that idea?! And how much more awesome are our friends for all playing along?

Sara and Christoph made a vegetarian dish decorated with pictures of cooked cuy

The weather was complete crap - it did not stop raining for even a second the entire day - but it happily did not matter even one little bit. Everyone stayed until the bitter end, eating, drinking, laughing, listening to us blabber about our travel plans, and, of course, playing with the adorable little ones.

Micha and his Keule | Photobombed!

Little Mara | Sara and Hanna bonded in the warm indoors

How cute (and adorably jolly) is this little nugget? (Also, please note giggly Charlie in the background)

I really can't thank Kerstin and Emily enough for giving us the perfect send-off before we leave our friends and home behind for 7 months of adventure and who-knows-what-else! Ladies, I tip my hat to you. You rock my world.

And if you want to follow our travel adventures starting in July, you can find Micha and me over here: Flip Flops and Wanderschuhe, where we'll be sharing our adventures as much as we possibly can on the road. All the details about our trip can be found there, too (soon enough :)! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Coffe Table!

Ahhh, the new coffee table. It has significantly improved my mood at home because for the first time since living here, I have space to move in the living room! It's really amazing. Our old table was just too darn big for the space but hey, we had to furnish a whole apartment within a couple months so obviously, it was up to Ikea. And as a result, when it came to replacing things slowly but surely, I wanted to make sure I found pieces that 1) aren't Ikea, and 2) we both really really like (not even a remotely easy task). Hence the over one-year long coffee table hunt...

To jog your memory, here's the old ginormous too-large-for-the-space table that took up half the living room (I have very few pictures of it, apparently; probably because of my ever-growing disdain for the thing, so this is one from my surprise birthday party a few years ago):

And here's the new guy:

Look at all that space around him! You can actually stand up from the couch without hitting your knee on the table!

And not to mention, he lets the bar cart shine in all its brass glory even more. Hoo-rah.

The box frame is what drew me to it in the first place, and I'm pretty sure it's also what lured Micha in, after we'd fallen in love with this one at West Elm during our Miami visit. (Thanks to sister for making Micha fall in love with West Elm - he even picked out our future couch. Now she just has to get them to open in Europe...)

Can you spot the wee gnome?

And here's my new view from the couch (clearly, I'm too incoherent in the morning to even bother turning off the news while taking pictures...). My biggest issue before was feeling so closed in by the old table, but no longer! I could not be happier! And I know, I know, we need a rug, but baby steps, right? (We also can't wait to replace the couch but that is an investment for another day. Or year.)

p.s. as usual, our furniture isn't actually that crooked; it really is our crooked floors that make that lamp tilt so much!

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Weekend in Pictures

I was totally thrown off from all sense of normalcy last week by a last-minute work trip to Copenhagen (such a cool city!) (though getting stuck there an extra night wasn't my favorite) and another mid-week holiday (Herren-/Männertag) for which Micha was gone with the menfolk, resulting in us not seeing each other for a whole week. (Also resulting in one giant mess of an apartment while he was away, but that's another story...) My oh-so-loving quote when he got back? I missed you...but not that much... I had meant it in a good way (I was so busy!), but somehow, that's not how it came across. It really is amazing that he still puts up with me. :)

Tivoli at night

I spent the holiday Thursday with Kerstin and Hanna, first at a lovely late brunch at Zuckerfee - where Hanna and I rekindled our best-friendship - then at their home getting our craftiness on for Hanna's upcoming first birthday (one! eek!). We also enjoyed a fantabulous rhubarb cheesecake that Kerstin had made as a reward for both successfully spray painting against the wind and finally getting the baby to sleep. We make a good team.

Scooting around the house using just her upper body (babies move in the weirdest ways!)

Crafting requires sekt cocktails 

The wind tried to thwart our plans but we persevered

Saturday I spent relaxing at home (aka sleeping in and being lazy) and cleaning up the embarassingly messy state of the apartment before Micha got back. I got in a nice long run and was glad I did after being rewarded with such lovely pink scenery.

The pink streets of Weißensee

Quality time with the balcony flowers

Micha came home that evening so we cooked up a delicious meal of lemon braised chicken and beans with mint pesto. I picked this meal fully thinking, oh, it looks yummy and not terribly complicated, but managed to fail to see the time involved. So, yet again, as always happens when I cook, we ate at 10:30 pm. If I tried to cook every night we'd likely half-starve to death. Which is why our meal absolutely required mojitos on the side. Along with this side salad - the dressing was stupendous, so I had to share.

Dinner at 10:30pm! That's normal, right...?

A well-deserved mojito

Sunday wasn't terribly eventful - more time spent with the plants and giant mugs of coffee - but I did pick up some lovely peonies and made it to the track for a workout without getting rained on (despite the lingering storm clouds). Success!

I hope your weekend was full of relaxation as well! (And if you're in Germany, did you know next weekend is a 3-day weekend? I just found out and am so stoked!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

My Weekend in Pictures

midweek holiday grilling

arrival of the coffee table!

spring from the balcony

gold spray painting (again)

brewing a pilsener

high-tech hockey watching


We have midweek holidays last week and this week, which are always a bit funny but nice in the fact that, it basically feels like a long weekend even though you have to work in between. So I can't complain.

We kicked off the pretend long weekend - after I finally recovered from a random and obnoxious cold - with a grill evening on the balcony before joining the first of May festivities in Kreuzberg the next day. After a couple days back in the office, we spent the real weekend taking full advantage of spring and the warmer temperatures and sunshine it finally brought. We spent a morning on the balcony repotting plants and getting crafty (ok, that was just me), a day in the park with friends and beer, an evening at Schalander catching up with another friend, and the next day watching the hockey WM while brewing a new batch of pilsener with Kai, cuz we've got to get in as much brewing as we can before July.

Oh and in the biggest news of all, the new coffee table arrived! Aaaagh, I can't wait to share it with you because I'm guessing you, like me, had basically given up hope that this day would ever come. :)