Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Party 2012

I look forward to our Thanksgiving party pretty much all year long, so it's always a little bittersweet when it's over. This year was, of course, no exception. And, as usual, I'll gladly claim it as the best Thanksgiving party ever. It's good to continuously top yourself, I suppose, and hanging out with our awesome friends in one massive group with absurd amounts of food just never gets old.

Picking up the bird from a local farm in Rudow was a feat in an of itself on a Thursday morning. It took Micha and me no less than three hours roundtrip (and this place was technically in Berlin), but the stop included making friends with some cute, noisy goats as well as picking up some milk fresh from the cow, so I can't say I was bothered much.


Catching up

Friday was spent at home (how I managed the last few years without taking that day off work, I'll never know) prepping side dishes and finishing up the mini "Dankbar" marquee lights (inspired by Oh Happy Day) that drove me to the edge of my sanity. Emily, Artur, and Charlie arrived in the evening and we didn't prep as much as I'd expected together (Emily had come prepared with some pre-made decorations, though), but I was much happier to pass the time with them chatting and poking Charlie's sweet chubby cheeks and belly and doing my best to make him giggle (his favorite pastime).

Marie's appetizers in front of the mini marquee lights that I would never again make in my right mind (but I do love them)

Saturday morning was incongruously stress-free (at least for me, Micha may be another story): Emily and I finalized the broccoli casserole, stuffing, and pumpkin pie (which was the only dish that had to be remade a second time thanks to my massively screwing up the crust the first time); Micha, and Kai rearranged all the furniture (our bedroom becomes a massive storage closet during Thanksgiving); Artur went on his annual Thanksgiving morning electronics and last-minute supplies shopping trip; and we all took turns playing with Charlie whenever we could get the chance. It's hard to concentrate on much else when that little guy's smiling and giggling at you.

Tea light holders and "thankful" sign all DIY'd by Emily

As our friends trickled in around 2pm, they were either put to work in the kitchen - Sara and Anja are amazingly helpful like that - or given a drink and a seat in the guest room to mingle, snack on Marie's delicious cheese roll apps, and play with the babies. Though we didn't have quite the baby-filled Thanksgiving I was expecting (poor wee Hanna got sick and couldn't make it), the room certainly wasn't lacking in round fuzzy heads, toys, or cuteness.

Mara on the left, Charlie on the right

So many of our friends were so wonderfully helpful during this party that I barely had to worry about more than checking on the turkey and refilling people's cups (I can't tell you how thrilled I was every time Ivi asked me for another refill of the Tagescocktail - Sekt with ginger ale and cranberry syrup). And the sweetest part of the day was most certainly seeing Micha playing merrily with the wee ones. They sure did take a liking to him. (Mara remains rather skeptical of me, though. :)

By the way, I can't recommend highly enough using this high-heat turkey method - our bird was done in 3 hours and came out picture perfect; Except I actually don't even have a picture...

Oh, that's just us flipping the bird ;)

Happy hosts! Side note: Micha donned that sweater vest over his t-shirt after I told him to "put on something fancier than a t-shirt!" First he put on his new Giroux jersey, then came back with this. I've learned my lesson...

This year's table was by far my favorite Thanksgiving table to date and it couldn't have been easier to set up. Well, maybe it could have if I were a little smarter about hanging up those lights, but it all worked out in the end thanks to engineer Kai. (More details on the tablecloth and other projects to come later in the week.) If I get my way, the lights are never coming down.

Around 5pm, wine was placed on the table, all the side dishes were put wherever space allowed, and our eager guests took their seats and surprised us by yelling "Speech!" as we brought in the turkey. I completely wimped out on following through, though, and instead made Micha do it. He's much better with words anyway and said some lovely things, reflecting on the bittersweetness of this particularly Turkey Day party. It's our favorite annual tradition, but also may possibly be our last one for a while (great adventures await! I'll share more when I can :), so we tried to soak it all in as best we could.

We're so lucky and grateful to have all these great people in our lives - I don't know how I'll ever make it through a Thanksgiving without our kickass party!

I love Christoph's face in this picture and the fact that's he's proudly holding up a giant turkey leg

Because despite the 7 loads of dishes we had to do on Sunday, and the fact that we had to sleep with the coffee table on one side of our bed and the bar cart and piles of books and magazines on the other; and despite the fact I'm still finding random drink and turkey juice spills around the apartment and that our kitchen still kind of smells like cooked bird; this one day is truly my favorite day of the entire year. Any worth every minute of stress, worry, prepping, cleanup, and hungover whininess.

So cheers to everyone for coming and helping and making my favorite day fantastically memorable yet again. You all rock my socks off more than you know.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

You'll Do

I don't really do cheesy love quotes, so if a print is going to have a heart on it, it should at least elicit a good chuckle (although not that kind of chuckle).

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Weekend in Pictures

We nominated Saturday as a Berlin cultural day and, despite the uninviting, cooooold, gray weather, we headed over to the Märkisches Museum for a history lesson. I'd never been there before and Micha hadn't been back since he was a teenie bopper, so we figured it was high time to check it out.

Their homepage doesn't quite give away just how great this museum is. It covers the history of Berlin from about the Middle Ages (though we accidentally went through it backwards, which was kind of more fun) to the present. The coolest part is that there are rooms dedicated to each important - at some time or another - street or neighborhood in the city and ours was included. The history of Schönhauser Allee totally reeled me in. (Cool fact of the day: our street had been built up as early as 1870!)

However, my very very very favorite exhibit had to be this one with pictures of awesome old German dudes with fantabulous mustaches and their corresponding tea/coffee cups. Because get this: their cups had KEEP-YOUR-MUSTACHE-DRY HOLDERS.

Excuse the terrible, sneaky phone picture; museum guards were everywhere! The cup says:"Es nutzt die Tasse Jedermann, der einen Schnurrbart drehen kann," roughly "This cup can only be used by men who can twirl their mustaches."

As you can tell, it was a very typical November day outside.

We finished our cultural day with our first glühweins of the year at the Kollwitzplatz farmer's market. I don't care if it's not even Thanksgiving yet, glühwein is always a good choice.

 Later we went to dinner at Il Pane e le Rose with Christoph and Sara before making our way to the Eschenbräu microbrewery in Wedding (hilariously located in the basement of a student housing building) where the tasty seasonal beer (a Doppelbock) and their own Bierbrand (beer liquer) totally did me in.

Fun was quite clearly had, though the only activities I managed as a result on Sunday were brief furniture hunting, a teeny bit of Thanksgiving crafting, and lots and lots of unnecessary-but-oh-so-necessary snacking. Gotta say, the one part I do not miss about college (aside from the paper writing and morning swim practices) is Sunday hangover day. Ayayayay....

I hope your weekend was lovely, too, and happy Thanksgiving week (at last, hurrah)!

The Great Coffee Table Hunt of 2012

Some days, I'm convinced that our hunt for a new coffee table is a long lost cause that we'll never finish, and some days, my hope is restored when Micha and I finally both look at something and say, "hmmmm... That could work."

This Sunday we found ourselves at the showroom for Fashion for Home with a couple of friends, since they were looking for a new couch and we were just the right amount of hungover to attempt one small outing for the day and combine it with friends we don't get to see enough of.

Surprisingly, I didn't go into this thinking we'd make any progress on our coffee table search (blame my uncharacteristic lack of shopping energy), and so was secretly thrilled when Micha started pointing some out on his own. (All this time I kinda thought I was forcing him into replacing our entirely-too-large-for-the-space coffee table, so it's relieving to find him on board!)

Anywho, here are the three we came across there that we were both somewhat into:

While kind of too large and somewhat impractical, we both enjoyed the whimsy of this one

Part of me is still leaning towards glass like this one (or acrylic) to make the space seem bigger, but the other part of me agrees with Micha that glass can tend to look a little '80s

This one fits Micha's top requirement of wanting a wood coffee table and was also very well received by sister, my design advisor (it looks a LOT better in person)

The three of them, though, pretty much just illustrate the point that we still have no freaking idea what we actually want. Beyond the fact that it must be smaller than our current one. And not cost a small fortune. But at least we're making mental progress, right? Baby steps...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Inspired By... {Thanksgiving Edition}

So here's a little sneak peek at my idea gathering for our giant annual Thanksgiving bash next week. If our party turns out to be half as pretty as a single one of these pictures, I will consider myself a very happy hostess.

...a perfect not-perfectly-styled Thanksgiving tabletop. That just happened to give me the inspiration I needed for our color scheme (the napkins) and dark, moody feel this year.

photo and styling by Giulia Doyle for A Subtle Revelry

...a sweet little place setting whose colors, again, are just what I was looking for. easy-to-make-yourself tablecloth option that would make one heck of a cool statement under the turkey.

Photo by Lauren O'Neill of a Sunday Suppers table

...light strands hanging beautifully over an indoor table. Somehow, I will pull this off.

...the dip to beat out all other Thanksgiving appetizers. (And hey, look at that, it even almost sticks to the color scheme)

Photo and recipe by Jamie Cooks It Up

...hanging table decorations that I would totally replicate in my wildest dreams... (the colors and vibe I can shoot for, though.)

Photo by Tec Petaja, flowers by Amy Osaba for 100 Layer Cake

It's funny, I didn't really have a clear idea of what I wanted this year's party to look like until I started pinning. Then it all just sort of magically fell together. And jived. Pinterest, I tip my hat to you.

Image credits: Perfect tabletop photo and styling by Giulia Doyle for A Subtle Revelry | Radish place setting photo by Jeremy HarwellStyling by Ginny Branch Stelling for Atlanta Weddings Magazine via 100 Layer Cake | Black tablecloth photo by Lauren O'Neill of a Sunday Suppers table | Hanging lights photo by AMERIS Photography, styling by Rook & Rose for Kinfolk Magazine, pinned by Victoria Photo and recipe by Jamie Cooks It Up | Hanging flowers photo by Tec Petaja, flowers by Amy Osaba for 100 Layer Cake

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Weekend in Pictures

Ahhh, I'm getting later and later with these posts. I guess life is catching up with me as the holiday season descends on us. So it goes... Hope you'll bear with me!

This past weekend, we got up to a bunch of random stuff that added up to both fun and productivity. Just the way I like it.

We hit up a few new bars in the neighborhood with (Micha's) little brother Kai on Friday night to celebrate the end of yet another work week. And the end of Kai's very first work week at his new internship (where he'll be writing his Master's thesis - woohoo!). Not so surprisingly, he was exhausted. Ahhh, the first week of being a full-time employee...

I met up with Kerstin for a bit at Ikea on Sunday and we were pleasantly surprised to discover - as we wandered through the kitchen section saying, "Man it smells delicious in here" - that they were baking cookies with some little ones in one of the display kitchens! Who knew they were so functional?! And also, who knew that Ikea gingerbread dough tasted and smelled so good! (It does. You should get some.)

I spent the rest of the day merrily putting my new Ikea supplies to work organizing our terrifying hall closet (it had been even more of a hot mess before I at least shoved all of Micha's 5,000 tool boxes on to those top two shelves) and finally giving our vacuum cleaner some space to breathe.

Before | During

After - if you have to organize man supplies, I say do it in pink

Exciting stuff, I know. It gets better, though. Next, I organized the side cabinet in the living room. It was a wild Saturday indeed!

Progress. No really.

But I've always had the need for organized drawers, cabinets, and closets, ever since I was little. Throw anything on the floor you like, I'll take an organized drawer over a clean bedroom any day! (Funnily enough, Natalie is the exact opposite, so we easily evened each other out as kids. Well, to be fair, more often than not she cleaned up my mess and I didn't contribute much except for to pretend to mom that I wasn't such a slob...)

Organizational success

Micha cooked some fantastic meals for us, too over the course of the weekend. Fun potato dumpling-things stew one day (I honestly forgot when...) and then perfectly juicy and medium rare steaks with mashed potatoes. I do love a man who can cook.

Sunday remained very fall-like and I got some lovely views on my run of the neighborhood blanketed in leaves.

And after, I even made some progress on my November goals by framing another poster I bought from (three down and only one more to go!). It'd be a much easier task if the Ikea mats actually fit the posters I buy, but instead I have to trim them each time which really makes me realize why professional framers are worth the money.

And since we were (and still are until Friday) in hockey withdrawal, we headed again to Welli to watch a Berlin derby of Fass Berlin vs. Preussen, a derby comparable to an East vs. West Berlin showdown. Happily for us, our team (Fass, a farm team of the Eisbären and the East team) won. Yippee!

Do you see that fantabulous man hairdo behind Micha?!? Hockey fans here are attraaaactive... | Little Mara came to check out the pre-game scene. I'm loving her newly chubby cheeks!

Tor = Goal!!!

Their handy glove-warming solution (yup, that's a hairdryer)

We ended the weekend on a yummy note, as I finally got around to making those warm chocolate pudding cakes that I promised quite a while ago I'd make for Micha.

Even without the salted caramel sauce on top, they were worth the wait.