Merry Christmas

December 25, 2013

Frohe Weihnachten Merry Christmas banner While we are busy settling into our new apartment, it felt a little wrong to overlook Christmas entirely. We might be postponing our festivities until our flat, namely our kitchen, is up to the task, but there is something to be said for acknowledging the day. Sugar cookie gorging, turkey roasting and wrapping paper ripping will be on our agenda for next week, but for today, we will be staying low-key, enjoying some park time with Bailey, indulging in a nice meal out that actually contains the four basic food groups, and just taking a forced break from the frantic errand-running that filled our first week in Berlin.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and more to come next week!

Bailey relaxing on new lamb skin

Farewell Wiesbaden... and hello Berlin!

December 16, 2013

berlin victory column Siegessäule at dusk It's hard to believe the time has finally come. Four years, almost to the day, after packing up our lives for a new country, we once again set out on a new adventure, this time to Berlin. Our move to Germany happened so fast, we hardly had time to think about what we would be missing. Again, we have been so focused on getting to Berlin for such a long time, I was only looking ahead and not at what we would be leaving behind: an amazing apartment, a town full of incredible architecture and friends that have become like family in the absence of our own. For all the excitement for our new city, the sadness of what we will miss has also stepped to the forefront of my thoughts.

But Berlin has beckoned and we are answering her call. Today marks the start of our next adventure...

All I want for Christmas

December 12, 2013

Christmas Wishlist 2013
This Christmas, I'm all about the things I need. OK, there are definite wants, but with major technology and other staples that are worn out to the point of outright failure, my list for Santa is mostly about the basics. Not totally dismissing my frivolous nature, there are of course some goodies that have caught my eye too...

Red plaid anything | There's just something about red plaid - from buffalo check to traditional - that just feels so seasonally appropriate. I only wish this scarf from Zara hadn't already disappeared from their shelves.

New lifeline (aka, phone) | After a few years of near-constant use, my current iPhone is hitting the wall of functionality to the point that any day now I will wake up to a phone that will not even turn on. Since it is such an every day item, I say why not spurge for the pretty new gold 5s, and while I'm at it, an even prettier gold-accented case.

Pretty sweatshirt | Still on my sweatshirt kick from earlier this year, I'm loving this geometric metallic version right now. Of course, there's always the Garance one I'm still pining for as well...

Macbook | On my computer perhaps even more so now than in college, I think it's time for a better machine. Really, just one that doesn't crash at least twice a day would be nice.

Universal charger | With big plans to tour around our new city in the coming months, being able to get my devices charged all day long will be key. This pretty charger means I can keep Instagramming in style.

Flannel PJs | In the winter, there's nothing better than snuggling up in cozy flannel pajamas. With my long limbs, men's work best. These dark grey and classic blackwatch plaid versions are topping my list.

Naturally rosy cheeks | With my unforgiving new haircut, my prominent cheekbones are front and center. What softens androgynous hair more than some feminine, pink cheeks? This blush from Josie Maran has my name written all over it.

A little sparkle | In addition to my cheek bones, my earlobes are also on constant, full display now. This definitely calls for a little sparkle with a little touch of toughness. These studs are perfect.

Black skinnies | Urban life seems to call for more black in one's wardrobe and basic black skinnies are surprisingly missing from my closet. These seem like just the ticket for my Berlin attire.

How about you - what's on your Christmas list? And more importantly, have you been naughty or nice this year..?

Mood Board | Our Berlin Living Room: warm & eclectic

December 10, 2013

Mood Board: Our Berlin Living Room
Our living room in Wiesbaden is perhaps my favorite room in that apartment, and perhaps my favorite living room I've ever had. With deep, stony-blue walls and high ceilings with amazingly-detailed moulding, it sits in the middle of the apartment and serves as the heart of the home, where we entertain, eat dinner, hang out. In Berlin, our living room may boast a balcony, but otherwise is a much different space with some definite design challenges. The dramatic white stucco and moulding will be replaced by the clean, simple lines of new walls. The square-shaped, open space we have now with doors and windows on every wall becomes a long, rectangular room, accessible only from a single door at the far end. Without all the rich details built into the space, the room will need a bit more work to create just the right depth and warmth.

Additionally, I always like a good excuse for change. So instead of once again doing a dark, almost stately color for the walls, I am opting for light and warm. This room has to not only double as the dining space, but it is also to be my workspace, meaning a lot will be demanded of it. With lighter colors, brighter rugs and a lot more white brought in through the furniture and decor, I'm hoping to make it a happy, creative space that can offer a respite from the grey that often dominates Berlin's landscape. Just one more week...

Christmas has come early, Warby Parker-style

December 6, 2013

Which Warby Parkers for Christmas?

Imagine my surprise when I realized what I thought was just another promotional email from Warby Parker turned out to be an e-gift card from a very thoughtful and generous friend for a new pair of glasses. What a Christmas surprise! My intense focus on all things related to our move, not to mention the rather greedy-girl admission that I was already lamenting the probable lack of presents this year due to our poorly-timed relocation, means my mind-set was on apartment necessities and weeks of take-out (since sadly, Santa will not be bringing us a kitchen by Christmas), not frivolous wish list items. This incredible gift has just turned all my expectations about holiday indulgences this year on its head.

So this very lucky lady has the difficult task of trying to decide which frames to splurge on next (I know, life is rough, right?). I've rounded up my favorites above and now the hard part begins. Admittedly, I've had the Arthur frames bookmarked as 'my next WPs' since they came out. But while I tend to stick with more traditional shapes and tones, something about the subtly-colored Theos and Edgeworths have me pining for them as well. Further complicating the decision, there's my face shape to consider: kind of oval, yet kind of square with high, prominent cheekbones. Like Skeletor, with a larger forehead. As soon as I think I know what I've decided, I keep going back around to the other choices. Warby Parker, why must you have so many wonderful frames to choose from?

For those of you who know me beyond the internet, or have just followed my blogs long enough, I am sure you are tired of me banging on about my love affair with Warby Parker. At under $100 for frames with a prescription AND donating a pair to someone in need for each one sold, I think they deserve to win company of the year, like, forever. With my extremely poor eyesight and adverse reaction to contacts - in addition to a somewhat capricious fashion sense - they are pretty much a life-saver in my book. If you need help seeing on a day-to-day basis and pine for stylish frames that won't break the bank - not to mention give you the warm fuzzies for their altruistic practices - it's time to check out Warby Parker.

Warby Parker e-gift_email

Which ones do you think I should choose..?

Sole Satisfaction on Creation Curation List for Top Travel Blogs

December 5, 2013

creation curation_see the world_border Just in case you missed it (like I did, since I'm basically buried under all things moving-related), my post on Paris was featured yesterday on the lovely and talented JoAnna's blog For the Intolerants for it's Creation Curation series on Top Travel Blogs. The series is a collaboration with Nyssa of The Cultureur, which came about from their successful #SeeTheWorld chats on Twitter, where they discuss a new destination every week. Always an honor to be recognized by fellow bloggers, it's also telling to be in such company as Jess in Belgium (now in London), who I have admired for some time for her lovely writing voice, lovely photos and equally lovely Instagram feed. I highly recommend you check out JoAnna's, Nyssa's and Jess's work, as well as the rest of the contributors to the series for more great travel posts.

Thanks again for the mention, JoAnna. Here's to finally meeting in person someday soon so we can talk travel, food and fashion!

Boots and Berlin

December 4, 2013

Liebeskind skull boots Freshly back from our final apartment planning trip and still a little shell-shocked from the Ikea kitchen planning process, the countdown has officially begun until we make that last pilgrimage to Berlin with all our belongings in tow. Thirteen more days... Oh yeah, and I'm seriously in love with my new boots.

Recipe | Ginger Curried Chicken & Vegetables

December 2, 2013

chicken curry in the bowl This is one that took a little TLC. When I first came across the recipe, it sounded good enough, but the online comments were full of people proclaiming it 'bland' and even the ingredients sounded a little flat. With my then-very remedial cooking skills, I used the more seasoned cooks' commentary and a little of my personal preferences to figure out what additions and substitutions would make this a worthwhile meal. The coconut milk and Sriracha make this a bit more of a spicy curry sauce and the vegetables make it a more well-rounded dinner. What started out as a so-so recipe has become one of our spicy and satisfying cold-weather staples. Hopefully, you will come to enjoy it as much as we do.

Ginger Curried Chicken and Vegetables

1/3 cup + 2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup coconut milk
2-4 tbsp Sriracha (adjust to heat preferences)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1-1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 medium onion, chopped
3-4 cups various chopped vegetables (I like zucchini, carrots, red bell pepper and small, quartered potatoes*)
4 chicken breasts, cut into medium-sized chunks
salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups jasmine rice
1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Pre-heat oven to 325F/160C on convection setting. In a 4-6 quart dutch oven, whisk together the tomato paste, coconut milk, Sriracha, garlic, curry powder, ginger and cumin. Add onion and vegetables, stir to combine. Place chicken on top and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through and tender, about an hour, checking and stirring contents after about 45 minutes. Twenty minutes before serving, cook rice according to directions. Just before serving, add the yogurt and 1/2 tsp more salt to curry and stir to combine. Serve with the rice and sprinkle with chopped green onion.

* If using potatoes, boil first for about 5-7 minutes to soften before adding them to the pot

Adapted from this Real Simple recipe