Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Inspired By...

(Umm, a quick side note. I totally just realized I had the casing of my "Inspired by..." posts all wrong. The "by" should really be capitalized. But you know, it's not like nitpicky linguistic details are my job or anything...) (Yeah, they're totally my job. Hence my revulsion now at all those previous post titles. Sigh.)

...a bike with a baguette! I just started riding my bike to work again and can't wait for it to be warm enough to ride it around on the weekends to picnics too. The only thing that could make this picture more perfect is a little french dog in another basket on the front of the bike.

...great book references in unexpected places. I love fun luggage tags and I love books in my luggage. Sold.

...the cutest little beginner's sewing and knitting kit. I totally would have learned both crafts earlier in life if someone had presented me with this treasure.

...Kate Spade's fabulous use of spring colors on their all-too-entertaining new website. And their choice of product names. The shoe had me at Tipsy.

...being told that macaron-making might not only be for superhumans after all. Thank you BraveTart! new tights and dress! My new spring wardrobe and I are off to an awesome start. I wore both for the first time today on my bike with no mishaps: the tights didn't get stuck in my bike chain and the dress didn't give any passersby a peep show. Success.

Image credits: 1) Bike with basket by Annika Vannerus via Creature Comforts; 2) Penguin luggage tags via swissmiss; 3) Sewing kit from Playful Learning via You Are My Fave; 4) Purse and 5) Shoe both from Kate Spade; 6) Macarons by Stephen "Rosco" Weber for BraveTart via The Kitchn; 7) Tights  and 8) Dress from H&M.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Very Cheesy Sister Evening

When my sister was preparing to leave from her extended stay with us last month, we both knew we wanted to have some kind of fun, silly, and casual going away dinner for her with lots of bubbly. But we weren't sure what else. Lucky for us, inspiration came to me, as it often does, in blog form. When I read about the birthday cheese dinner over at Nothing But Bonfires, I knew a cheese evening was in order.

 So Nat and I set off during my lunch break to hit up the one fancy cheese shop I found in Prenzlauer Berg (seriously Berlin, where are all the fun overpriced cheese shops?!). We picked up a few different varieties there (I think the Chaumes, the goat cheese Brie, and the blue cheese, but I kind of forgot) and a few more at the over-abundant cheese counter at our local Kaiser's supermarket after work.

Then we made sure to load up goodies for the side: two kind of baguettes, olives, goat cheese-stuffed peppers, fruits, fig jam...

 ...and some prosciutto as well as a lovely salami for the boys.

 Oh yeah, we also wisely decided against eating everything ourselves and invited Micha (nice of us, seeing as he lives here too) and his brother to join in on the fun. And fun they had. So much so, that Micha at one point even tried to steal the entire piece of cheddar for himself. That'll teach us to invite the men-folk next time...


(Also, I got that new chalkboard cheese platter just for this occassion, that's how good a sister I am!). On top of being stuffed from the neverending yumminess, we also managed to enjoy a spritz. Or two. Or three...

And while I certainly miss having her around here, I'm super stoked that we'll be able to enjoy a spritz together again in a little less than a month now! This time on her turf. Oh the shenanigans that await us...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Inspired By...

I was miserably sick most of last week and for a bit of this one, so let me tell ya, I've been in need of some happy images! This past week I've been inspired by... umbrella that speaks my mind.

...a Barney Stinson-style mantra that I'm all too happy to adopt.

 ...bright colors on a dreary day.
...refreshingly fun dresses at H&M. I'm desperately in need of some now that spring has shown its face. I'm thinking a Saturday shopping trip will do just the trick!

 ...the good will of others. I get really happy when people show their inherent good nature. It reminds me to look on the bright side and not let my Debbie Downer alter-ego take over for too long.

...a cozy reading nook with my very favorite wall color. Ever since I started reading Room, I cannot put it down. I wish I could curl up here all day with it and a giant milchkaffee and just forget the world.

Images: 1) Umbrella from Raindrops via Pinterest 2) Awesome print by Super Swoon via Creature Comforts 3) Rainbow umbrella from deviantArt via Pinterest 4) Dress by H&M; 5) Cherry blossoms heart by This Paper Ship; 6) Crafters come together to help by Craftzine; 7) For Japan With Love; 8) Anne M. Cramer's sleeping porch on Design Sponge, photo by Adrienne Page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Larger Than Life Portraits

Ok friends, how stuninng is this room?

I am in awe. First off, I have been craving a giant black-and-white photo to put above our couch ever since we repainted (more on that later). I even found the perfect one, I just need to decide how big we want it. (Our ceilings are so high, we're talking massive proportions here.) And then I saw this room from Eden Lang, via You Are My Fave (which, incidentally, is my fave), and it took my breath away. The portraits of her children are so sweet unique and I love how oversized they are! Almost makes me wish I had cute children to take pictures of. Almost. More realistically, this now makes me wonder if three large photos might fit our space even better than just one...

I'm also smitten with the map on the wall and the lamp over the dining room. I've been oggling a lamp like that for quite a while, but couldn't decide if it reminded to much of The Matrix. Now I can safely say it doesn't, it just kinda rocks.

On a final note, we have a very similar plant, yet due to my black thumb, it does not look nearly as green and bushy and happy as this one. Perhaps I should start watering it.

Image: Eden Lang

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Every Little Gesture Helps

I usually find it difficult to figure out the best way to help others when these suddenly all-too-real-and-tragic situations come up. But despite my lack of knowledge or undestanding of charitable agencies and which relief fund is the best to give your money to, I just felt I needed to do something to make my contribution to the relief efforts in Japan at this point. It just feels necessary. So I really appreciate when awesome people band together to try to help, making my decision to do something easier.

I made my small gesture by purchasing this amazing print from This Paper Ship. 90% of the proceeds go towards the American Red Cross’s aid effort in Japan.

They are offering two prints, the other is just as gorgeous:

If you're interested in doing so as well, you can get yours over here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Inspired by...

...feminine touches. Like my new deep pink lip stain/gloss and sparkly pink nails . There's nothing like feeling feminine and pretty to help you get over the devastation of a visit to the hair salon.

...Reese Witherspoon's never faltering hair styles. I should have brought this picture with me to my hairdresser, then I could have possibly gotten the result I wanted. (Though in her defense, I pretty much always hate my hair the week following a salon visit. Don't ask me why, it's a reflex.)

...Hunter galloshes! Or Wellis or whatever the heck you wanna call them. A friend of mine had hers on the entire time she visited us in Berlin this winter and 1) they looked fabulous and 2) she said they kept her toes perfectly toasty while traipsing through Christmas markets in the freezing cold. So you can bet your first born child I snatched up a pair of these wonderfully bright blue ones when I saw that limango was having a sale! And let's face it, this is Berlin, I know I'll be able to get some good use out of them this spring.

...Grease! We just saw the musical last night at Admiralspalast (it was my Valentine's Day present) and I haven't been able to shake off the urge to sing and dance around the office since. I'll be honest, I was never the hugest fan of the movie growing up, (though I did enjoy performing to "Grease Lightning" with my drill team for our end-of-year show in 8th grade. Girls dressed up as greasers + spirit fingers will always = awesome.) All in all, it was a mood-lifting musical and a perfect date night.

...even more yummy ideas for my Das Perfekt Frühstück (brunch for my ladies), courtesy of This Paper Ship, who never stop rocking my socks with their creativity.

...pretty song lyrics made even more attractive at music philosophy, spotted on FFFFound.

And what's inspiring you today?

Photo credits: 1) Pink sparkly nail polish; 2) Astor Perfect Stay lip tint; 3) Reese Witherspoon via Google images; 4) Hunter galloshes from limango outlet; 5) Grease the musical, playing at Admiralspalast; 6) Onion tart from This Paper Ship; 7) Blind Melon lyrics from music philosophy, via FFFFound.

Monday, March 7, 2011

They Grow Up So Fast

Well, you can just start calling me Crazy Plant Lady after this, really...

So if you're not at all interested in plants, particularly of the tomato and herb variety, I promise to have more interesting things to say and show you soon! But since I get rather obsessive about my balcony plants during the warm half of the year, I warn you: this will be one of many more updates about my babies. Because they really do grow so quickly...

We planted them all from seeds this time and Sweet Valley High, do they sprout quickly! Most of the packages said between 10-14 days but we had some wee tomato sprouts within 4 days. 

Since Sunday was sunny and beautiful, albeit still cold, we decided it would be a great day to plant the babies in pots in new soil and give them lots of room to grow. And they promptly took over our kitchen:

Very left: Stabtomaten (they'll be egg-shaped); In the green planter box: parsley, lemon balm, chives, basil, and dill. Then come the Buschtomaten, and green-striped tomatoes (heirloom?), and some more dill and parsley.

I think the dill has a thing for the parsley.

Just planted the red basil this weekend and I have high hopes for it's deliciousness!

More tomatoes and a couple flowers that haven't sprouted yet.

On the right are cayenne peppers and the plastic container has my "monk garden," a gift from friends that contains tee trea, ginseng, and eucalyptus!

See? They've taken over the kitchen!

They get a lot of morning and afternoon sun here in the kitchen, so it's a nice starter home. But I can't wait to be able to put them outside on the balcony at long last. Not that we have nearly enough space out there. Especially considering the new addition we plan to make to the balcony this year:

The beyond amazing Astor barbecue grill from!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Inspired By...

I'm thinking of starting a new series of posts on Wednesdays in which I share things that are inspiring me that day. My main motivation being that, by the middle of the work week, I tend to need a little inspiration to get my creative juices flowing and to bring a smile to my face.

Today I'm inspired by... friend Emily's awesome new blog 1000 Awesome Things in Munich. Looking at everyday things and making them awesome is my kind of fun. (Wow, that was the most amount of awesomes I've ever used in one thought...)

  ...this mood-lifting rainbow party from Rue Magazine, styled by You + Me Lifestylists, spotted on oh happy day. I'm planning a ladies' Sunday brunch soon-ish and am now very much leaning toward a rainbow theme.

...this champagne bar from A Subtle Revelry. Great inspiration for a champagne/mimosa bar at my upcoming brunch!

...this rockin' Back to the Future project by photographer Irina Werning, spotted on A Cup of Jo. Makes me want to bust out all those old of photos of my sister and me and re-enact them when I visit her in April!

...Marimekko Converse sneakers, spotted on Craftzine. My time living in Finland instilled in me a deep love for all things Marimekko. They're available now here, so hurry up before I buy out the stock!

Photos: 1) 1000 Aweseome Things in Munich. 2) Rainbow party from Rue Magazine via oh happy day, styling: You + Me Lifestylists. 3) Champagne bar from A Subtle Revelry. 4)+ 5) Back to the Future photo project via A Cup of Jo. 6) Marimekko sneakers from via Craftzine.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Top 10 Travel Moments

Although I could never choose an absolute favorite travel moment, my competitive side insists I try!

Enjoying a traditional Chinese New Year's Eve meal with friends in Malaysia
  • Entertaining our friend's entire family in Kampar, Malaysia, during blackjack because every time I say "stay" in Cantonese, I accidentally pronounce it like "dog."
  • Dog sledding in Rovaniemi, Finland. My dogs take a corner too fast; I fall off the sled; and they just keep going... 
  • Roadtripping with my aunt through the Southwestern US. She refuses to stop at the Four Corners for fear of an alien abduction.
  • Driving to the beach before dawn with my sister in East Cape, New Zealand to be the first people in the world with to watch the sunrise.
  • Cooking our first away-from-home Thanksgiving dinner for 10 people with my sister and best friend in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • Bike riding through the Loire Valley, France and only stopping for wine cellar tours or bread-and-cheese picnics.
  • In the sauna in Joensuu, Finland, we run into our Finnish language teacher. Butt naked!
  • Standing under the armpit of a smelly man in the entryway of an over-packed train from Bologna to Milan, Italy and being grateful that I, at least, don't have to stand in the bathroom with my luggage, unlike other folks.
  • Sunbathing topless (for the first and only time!) in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. A "lifeguard" runs over to us, yells shyly, "Please put your underwears back on!"
  • Choosing to order from the German-only menu, without (yet) knowing the language, and ending up with a green beer! Berlin, Germany. 
This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition.