Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beach Time

We're headed up to the beach this evening, to Warnemünde to be exact, for an early morning wedding for two of our closest friends tomorrow. And you can't even imagine how much I wish that the weather this weekend would be as sunny and inviting as these lovely pictures...

...But alas it is not and we're in for three more days of rain. I'm donning summer dresses all weekend anyways to spite the malicious Berlin weather gods. I'm also predicting the wedding will be a smashing success despite the weather because, let's face it: weddings rock and you can never go wrong when you're near the ocean.

If you're looking for a visual escape from your dreary day (or your excruciatingly hot day, for all you USA-ers out there), hop on over to this wonderful Etsy shop for some jaw-dropping eye candy. And have a fantabulous weekend.

Photos: Carl Christensen, available at IntegrityStudio via Dandy Bread and Candy

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First Dates

I was painting my nails last night and watching the fourth episode of Friends in a row (season 7, in which I find Rachel at her absolute funniest) and it got me thinking about first dates. Weird train of thought, I know, but bear with me.

I can't remember if it was our first, second, or third date, but on one of those occassions, Micha noticed the very chipped nail polish on my fingernails. This is no rare occurence for me (my grandma will attest to that!), but I really should be better about it now that I'm a so-called grown-up and don't have daily swim practices as my excuse... Anywho, he commented on them, blunt German that he is, and asked me why I didn't just remove the polish. And my lame excuse was, "Well, I don't have any nail polish remover because I don't know what it's called in German and can't find it at the store." (Like it really would have been that hard, Nicole-from-four-years-ago?)

He grinned his crooked smile and said, "It's called Nagellackentferner, that's not that hard to remember."

I grinned back and said something along the lines of, "Riiiiiiight..."

On our next date, he told me he had a surprise for me. He handed me a travel-sized bottle of pink nail polish remover and smiled. I laughed. I could not have found him any cuter in that moment.

I still have that bottle (shows how often I use it) and every time I see it, I remember those wonderfully exciting feelings of butterflies you get at the beginning of a relationship and can't help but smile. Nothing beats those butterflies.

Do you have any silly relationship reminders or tokens? I'd love to hear about them.

Photo: source unknown via fuck you very much

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Office Makeover

I recently mentioned that we finally installed some much-needed storage space on the office side of our office/guest room, so I thought I'd post some before and after pictures. And lo and behold, while searching through old photos this weekend, I found lots and lots of before pictures of the room from back when we first moved in and started working on it!

Let's start back in 2008 when we first moved into this apartment, which was about two times as large as our previous place (*ahem* Micha's previous place in which I became his permanent roommate--along with sister for three weeks--after we unwisely secured no new apartment for ourselves once our rental contract was up. He has the patience of a saint.) The room was, as I've mentioned, painted an ugly shade of yellow that clashed with the other shade of yellow in the living room.

 We started out with a very sad minimal amount of furniture. And again, by we, I mean Micha, as I had merely a couple suitcases full of clothes and other crap at this point.

We finally got ourselves a sleeper sofa and some curtains for the room and could officially call it an office/guest room (with a balcony! - my tagline when convincing friends to visit).

You cannot even imagine the relief that swept over me when we finally painted over the awful '90s butter yellow walls.

Then, last time Natalie was here, she put her interior design skills to work and insisted we rearrange the room to make it seem bigger and more inviting. And sweet cracker sandwich was she right! The guest bed is cozier and the desk has a lovely view of the balcony (which is great, as Micha temporarily works from home this month). Needless to say, we embarked on this rearranging on a day when he was at work, as I find boys somewhat resistant to change. It took him a while, but Nat's clever setup totally won him over in the end.

And finally, now with shelves! We've been in dire need of storage space for my crafting stuff, photos, etc. (basically everything other than books, which overflow our bookshelves). I didn't quite buy enough boxes during our last Ikea trip so, oh darn, I'll just have to go back!

It  feels really great to get some pretty organization into this small space. Now we just need to rehang lots of pictures and our map on the other side and the room will be complete! For now, that is...

Monday, July 25, 2011

My Weekend in Pictures

The summer weather decided not to stick around this weekend, so while all my friends in the US were sweating through temperatures of 100°+, we were bundled up in scarves and jackets and muttering under our breath about how ridiculous it is that our July suddenly turned to fall.

The slightly extravagant meal presentation at the Märchenhafte Ribhouse in Karow (that would be the Fairytale Rib House. Oh yes.) Ridiculous? Perhaps. But the ribs did not disappoint! And that coming from a girl who has lived in Texas, so I know ribs.

The aftermath of our rib dinner. Along with cheesy German table decorations in their favorite popular-in-the'90s-and-yet-the-trend-still-won't-go-away colors: red and yellow.

I was super excited to wake up early enough on Saturday to make it in time to the best bakery in our neighborhood (it's the oldest one in Prenzlauer Berg, since 1906!), only to find that they were closed for vacation. Sigh...

I did manage to pick up some über-patriotic American-style bacon though. Like I would trust any other kind.

Luckily, I also managed to find tasty potato bread at a different bakery to make french toast with. We'd seen Larry Crowne the night before and all I could think of afterwards was french toast. (If you haven't seen it yet and you liked That Thing You Do!, then I would highly recommend Larry Crowne. It's such a sweet movie.) (Oh also, good luck now try getting that song out of your head. I've been singing That Thing You Do for three days straight.)

I finally decided to go swimming again (I do have another race in less than a month, so I really shouldn't be skimping on the workouts now) and was beyond pleased to find the normally teenie bopper-ridden pool almost completely deserted on a cold Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for me, I was not warned ahead of time that the pool is UNHEATED and the swim reminded me entirely too much of a polar-bearing incident I bravely endured once at summer camp.

My bike ride to see Harry Potter in 3-D (and in English, no dubbing accepted for that movie) took me past some of the city's loveliest sights, including the Brandenburger Tor...

...the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe...

...and to my colorful destination: Potsdamer Platz (whose tagline, by the way, is "the Platz to be." Enjoy that nugget.).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Inspired By...

...a treehouse that dreams are made of

 Painting by Berlin artist Silke Bartsch

...silverware that would steal the show at any get-together

Photo and DIY by Sania Pell 

...a pretty reminder to live in the moment

...a swoon-worthy headboard alternative

Photo by Jess Loraas

Photo and DIY by Victoria of A Subtle Revelry

Image credits: 1) Treehouse by Silke Bartsch; 2) Festive silverware by Sania Pell; 3) Love quote photo by Kateryna Iaokovlieva via Creature Comforts; 4) Bedroom by Jess Loraas via Design* Sponge; 5) Streamers by Victoria of A Subtle Revelry

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Berlin Love: Pop-up Gardens

The only thing that makes strolls around your neighborhood or city even more enjoyable than usual on a warm summer day is finding unexpected beauty in mundane places. In our bezirk - Prenzlauer Berg - my favorite things to look at on a run or walk are the mini-, as I call them, pop-up gardens that come to life each spring in the most unexpected of places.

I especially enjoy it when you can tell that somebody took the time and effort to pick out the flowers and carefully arrange them in what would have otherwise been a boring pile of dirt.

Crawling vines bring their own cool factor to a blah facade. This one makes me want to put on a pretty dress and sing and dance on top of that bench.

That flower is somehow magically growing from the side of the tree. Awesome, much?

Obviously, the more colorful, the better, in my opinion.

This is one of my favorites. It's on my walk to the subway and every time I pass it, I stop to check out the status of their tomato plants. Look how wild and free they are! 

The tomatoes are at about the same stage as ours, which I hope means we did something right this year. The best part about this wee garden is that it's planted right outside a super dark and dingy dive bar. I like to think that the owners talk and sing to their plants while drunkenly closing down the bar each night (they tend to be their own best customers, we've noticed). Or is that just how I would roll...?

And finally, while the dive bar tomatoes are fab, these ones just totally rock my socks right off. A cute, young girl recently moved into the ground floor apartment in our building that opens into the courtyard. And she promptly made it her own, planting some colorful flowers and two little tomato plants in the public space. She even set up her own grill in there (up against the wall on the left in the picture above) and often throws grill parties for her friends in her urban backyard. She is officially high up on my awesome-people-I-wish-knew-better list.

I love that these guys greet me each evening when I get home and park my bike in the courtyard.

Are there pop-up gardens in your city? And if not, ever thought of planting one yourself? I'm highly considering doing so outside our building next spring...

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Weekend in Pictures

We had another great, very summery couple of days this past weekend and opted for some outdoor activities with friends. Oh, how I wish every day could be a Saturday or Sunday...

The Volksbühne right near Kino Babylon, where we arrived too late (so un-German of us!) for a showing of Psycho (it was Hitchcock week!), but then managed to stay up late on a work day for a 10pm showing of one of my faves, Dial M for Murder. Oh, we're wild. 

Sunflower field outside Berlin, spotted on our drive to a nearby lake.

At Stechlinsee with some good, PDA-loving friends. They're so cute I can't even stand it.

Magnum Gold, we meet again!

Blue skies and unbelievably clear (albeit semi-freezing) water. What more could you ask for?

Mmmmmm, fresh pineapple on the balcony.

Brunch at Café Zuckerfee. Took us forever to get reservations (motivated by a Groupon, as usual), but it was so worth the wait. Look at all the scrumptiousness!

The adorable cafe. We were with the only two men in the joint. How were we to know that a place named Café Sugar Fairy would be purple and gold and a hotspot for girl talk...? I'll be going back. Perhaps just with some chicas next time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekend Adventures

It's finally just about time for the weekend and I am feeling a serious urge to just get out and

So while I'm dreaming of unlikely adventures (India and Nepal are currently top on my adventure-planning list), I'll settle for a trip to a nearby lake with some good friends and good beer. Enjoy your weekend everyone! And if you could, cross your fingers for me that the sun makes a reappearance tomorrow. I sure do miss it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Surprise Party Is the Best Kind of Party

As I may have already mentioned, this was the first year in a while that I didn't plan my own birthday party, seeing as I had (semi-stupidly) signed up for an aquathlon (swim-and-run race) on the morning of my big day.  (Seriously, who does that?!) As luck would have it, Micha knew that I couldn't bear to have a birthday go uncelebrated and he secretly and very successfully arranged a surprise party!

On the way back from the rainy aquathlon, which began at an ungodly 9a.m. on a Saturday, I was feeling more than a little down that my birthday was gray and rainy and I had no plans. And you know, the fact that it started with a race instead of a mimosa. And then I walked in the front door of our apartment only to find a bunch of our friends (including my race buddy who I'd just said goodbye to a half-hour earlier. Sneaky, that one!) standing inside waiting for me, with brunch food galore! I really couldn't have asked for more. Thanks everyone for a fantastic day!!

Surprised, excited, and hungry.

No amount of rain could hinder our balcony grillfest!

You really can't not laugh at these two and their love for all things edible. Particularly meat and jello. (But not together, that'd just be weird.)

One of the two cutest faces of the day!! (I sadly don't have a picture of the other, but she is also too precious for words.)

They're definitely laughing at me trying to choose which present to open first -- not an easy decision!

He was a solid unwrapping partner -- totally down with my method of just ripping it off and making as huge a mess as possible.

Call me old if you want, but sweet valley high was I excited to get this blender! I've been wanting one to make smoothies with FOREVER and...IT'S PINK! My lime green kitchen rejoices.

Awesome gift givers, every single one of them!


Apparently, I look like a complete goober when receiving gifts. But I don't care. That card was hilarious (a picture of wet dogs! Loves it!) and in the second picture, I'm receiving my brand spanking new real-person smartphone!! If that doesn't call for jazz hands, then I don't know what does.

Meanwhile, the little man confiscated my adorable new purse-sized hairbrush as his own. And then promptly stuck it in his mouth. (I should remember to rinse that before sticking it in my purse...)

Man, do I give good thank-you loving or what?

What a great day. I wonder if they'd all be down for repeating this every month...