Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Christmas Blur.

My neighborhood. Pinch me.

I've been so busy the past few months I haven't really had time to think about the holidays. This is a good thing for a few reasons, one very big one being the fact I'm not heading back home for Christmas... when you're in the throws of setting up home a million miles away, things can get expensive, quick. (I'm looking at you apartment deposits!) So my parents and I discussed it and though the offered many times to foot the bill for a flight home, I couldn't justify them spending that kind of money for such a thing. It is, after all, one of the pitfalls of moving abroad, and I knew this before. But knowing their offer alone means the world.

Speaking of, so many of my wonderful friends all over Europe have invited me to their homes, and every offer has brought legit tears to my eyes. But I have decided this year will be one where I really learn to be comfortable on my own. I like to think of it as my own Pacific Crest Trail. ;)

So I'll spend the next few days cooking, eating, sleeping, reading, and catching up with my one true love, Netflix.

Plus, of course, finally catching up on some posts for this space! Hooray!

And, someday, when I'm up to my eyeballs in wrapping presents and baking and keeping track of my babes, I'll look back on this time and smile. Because this is only a chapter of a much bigger story. 

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Monday, December 15, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

You should always remember that who you are, and your lovability and kindness has nothing to do with the person you like and or love. Even if you don’t win their heart, and the feelings aren’t reciprocated, you will be a better person for trying, and you will find someone who will recognize that and love you for it. - unknown
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Popping in real quick...

Hi dear readers!

I hope you've had a wonderful start to Advent so far... I have been incredibly busy lately with my new job and getting used my new groove in Hamburg. (Read: finding out how to make it to the grocery stores after work before they close at 8 p.m...)

But things are good. Really good. 

For the first time in who knows how long, I am really, really proud of myself. And feel challenged. And am excited to get up in the morning. Oh, how much can change for the wonderful in just a short amount of time.

As for this space, I have no plans of giving it up anytime soon. I just seem to be lost in a sea of chaos at the moment (but the good kind of chaos, the best kind of chaos).

So for those who keep checking in, thank you. I'm working on a few posts for you, and in the meantime, had to share this beautiful comic by Lucy Knisely my friend Mackenzie showed me.

It gives me hope. Truly.

Click here to read it in its entirety at Lucy's site.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

My beautiful Grandma Allen, 1950-something

I still remember the day the world took you back
and there was never time 
to thank you for the thousand scattered moments 
you left behind to watch us while we slept
Brian Andreas

I miss you, grandma. 

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Monday, November 3, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

Hamburg, October 2014, My daily route

“It doesn't matter what people tell you. It doesn't matter what they might say. Sometimes you have to leave home. Sometimes, running away means you're headed in the exact right direction.” - Alice Hoffman
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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Hamburg is for lovers (and other happenings lately).

Hamburg, October 2014

I've been pretty quiet around here lately on account of having moved across the world again. Turns out such things keep you pretty busy. Oh how I've missed "busy".

The end of 2013 and the first half of 2014 were rough, to say the least. Remember my coming home from Munich and how it ripped me in half? I'm still on the mend, but recovery is everything.

It was in August when I was offered a job in Hamburg. I was over-the-moon. Still am. It's exactly what my heart was urging me to do; return to Germany. 

And Hamburg is a hop, skip, and a jump from my old stomping grounds of my old au pair days. My host mom from that time, turned surrogate big sister, turned great confidant keeps reminding me that it was Schicksal (fate). I trust this. I truly do.

So for the past month I had been searching for an apartment and picking up from where we left off when I left my Eckernfoerde family. 

My heart and soul and hope needed this happenstance more than anyone could possibly understand. 

Of course I miss my family. Heaps. In fact, after a left my brother and sister-in-law welcomed their first baby, a Miss Eleanor Constance, and just last week my sister Katie and brother-in-law added baby number three to their "Party of Four" with sweet baby Gwyneth Elizabeth. But my nephews are pretty Skype savvy, so I get a lot of messages reminding me that I'm away but still thought of. ;) 

But since I signed on my new apartment and have gotten a little more settled, I'll keep you all better updated. Promise. 

After all, there's so much more I've been meaning to write. 

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Monday, October 27, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

"I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way. I can’t apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to. We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful. We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose." Alice Walker
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

"When you finally let go, it is like opening your front door and seeing yourself standing there again.  
Welcome home, it’s been so long."— Tina Tran, The Art of Letting Go
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Thursday, October 2, 2014

When Anger and Love Walk Together.

I’m angry, I’m angry at the boy who said he would love you till the day he died, but I guess he died when he left you. I’m angry at the boy who made you think your innocence could so easily be taken, when it was never his to take. I’m angry that he made you vulnerable, and now you regret ever being so open. I’m angry, because he was a lesson you never signed up for, and we were never meant to learn from the class of heartbreak. I’m angry, and I can’t do anything about it, but say that you’re worth more than what he gave or took, you’re worth more than late nights full of tears and early mornings filled with silence. You are the warmth in a hug, and the beauty in a sunrise; and I’m sorry that he made you feel like the cold in an empty room and the smoke of a blown out candle. I can only hope that you’ll love yourself again, because a star may feel alone and unwanted, but the world lays in wonder of the beauty that star gives. Your soul is endless, it would be a shame to think anyone could steal that truth.— T.B. LaBerge // I’m Angry

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

 "I firmly believe in small gestures: pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, pay compliments, chase the kid’s runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him, try to be larger than you are— particularly when it’s difficult. People do notice, people appreciate. I appreciate it when it’s done to me. Small gestures can be an effort, or actually go against our grain (I’m not a big one for paying compliments), but the irony is that almost every time you make them, you feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain." — Jonathan Carroll

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Monday, September 22, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It’s for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It’s for those knowing a good thing when they see it, even if they don’t see it nearly enough. — Loving From A Distance 

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Monday, September 15, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

Do you want the truth? Nobody knows what they’re doing in this life. Not teachers or scientists or anyone with a college degree or even the President of the United States. Nobody knows because life isn’t planned and it doesn’t come with an instruction booklet. It’s fleeting and uncertain and complicated and nobody, not even the people seen as role models and heroes, can predict what is going to happen in the next minute, let alone the following day. Because life is sudden and frightening and the smallest thing can create the biggest problems before we even realise it. But it’s also beautiful and inspiring and it’s the longest adventure we’ll all ever know. So I say we just live, one day at a time without knowing how that day will pan out, including its weather and its purpose. Let’s all live without fear and doubt and regret, with the people who make our hearts dance to the music we love and fill our souls with the little moments that make the greatest memories. Take photographs of everything. Smile at strangers. Say yes. Throw a bag in the backstreet and just drive. Be honest. Lie in the grass and count the stars. Fall in love. Send that risky text. Read. Say no. Take risks. Explore and grow and learn and discover and shape yourself into whoever you want to become. Do it because tomorrow, something could change and it could all be gone. Don’t take anything for granted. Just breathe in the air that’s free and smile at the endless possibilities and limitless potential. Live for now. And love every minute of it.- Unknown
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

#Aunthood and the era of Pinterest

My nieces have recently experienced their first tastes of social media (!) -- one Skypes me nearly everyday after she gets home from school (sometimes before school), and one, Carolyn, just got her very own Pinterest account. They went from eight years old to 17 overnight, I swear.

So, of course, I've been hyper-vigilant as to what I pin now that she follows me. Not that I pinned anything risque, but I want her to always get good vibes from my posts, even if they are regarding breaks ups and the tough bits of life.

I decided, in turn, to create a board especially for my nieces. I have three at the moment, and and mere weeks will become an aunt to yet another sweet baby girl! (Plus my brother and his wife are going to have a new bundle within the month, but have yet to find out the sex. ;)

So above are a few pins I picked especially for my nieces, now and the ones to come. I hope it's something they can look to for advice and inspiration, though I always remind them I'm a mere phone call away...
1. Important words for the heart
2. Amelia Earhart, Kansas native, woman pioneer of flying
3. Gentle reminder for life
4. You can never get too much art
5. or books!
6. The world is worth exploring
7. Words words words
P.S. If you fancy, you can follow Carolyn's Pinterest. It's full of cats! Art! and everything a nine-year-old girl's heart could possibly desire! She'd be over-the-moon if you did. She loves that follower count. ;)
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Monday, September 8, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

 “I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.” ― Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem
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Monday, September 1, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace. - Frederick Buechner

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Pop Sonnets: 'Old twists on new tunes'

I'm slightly obsessed with Tumblr. If it's not for the copious amounts of .gifs, it's for the brilliant mash-ups equally brilliant minds create. (Like this and this.) 

Here's my newest favorite: Pop Sonnets. Pop songs rewritten as sonnets? Sold. These are a few of my personal favs.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

You will never be merely 'pretty.'

This, this is about my own some-day daughter. When you approach me, already stung-stayed with insecurity, begging, “Mom, will I be pretty? Will I be pretty?” I will wipe that question from your mouth like cheap lipstick and answer, “No! The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be, and no child of mine will be contained in five letters.

You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing. But you, will never be merely ‘pretty’.

Kate Makkai, “Pretty”
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

Hear me, and hear me good, little girl. The guy who loves you really loves you. You will never have to wonder how he feels about you. You will feel it with every inch of the 59 you’ve got. Pushing Daisies

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Monday, August 18, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

“Be kind to yourself. Stop telling yourself that whatever you are struggling with “should” be easy. If something is hard for you, it is hard for you. There are probably Reasons, though those may just be how you are wired. Acknowledge these things. When you finish something hard, be proud! Celebrate a little.

And really, just stop saying “should” to yourself about your thoughts and feelings in any context. You feel how you feel. The things in your head are the things in your head. You can’t change either directly through sheer force of will. You can only change what you do. Stop beating yourself up for who and what you are right now-it isn’t productive. Focus on moving forward.” - Keely, A Little Dose of Keelium
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Monday, August 11, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

RIP, Robin.


And, please, if you feel hopeless, remember these things:

How To Take Care Of Yourself When You Feel Suicidal
Just because your life feels unbearable now doesn’t mean that it will feel this way forever. Try to remind yourself of all the times in the past when you felt miserable and hopeless and lost and how each time, the pain eventually passed and life worked itself out — maybe not in the way you imagined, but things got better nonetheless. Now is no exception. This pain you feel can and will pass. If you give up now though, you’ll never discover that better place — so keep holding on.

Hope Is Real, Hope Is Near.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

If Paintings Could Text: Art and Lols

Your new favorite tumblr. (It has some salty language sometimes, and the occasional--read: often--inappropriate captions, but it's still pretty flippin' hysterical.)

Below are a few of my favorites...
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Monday, August 4, 2014

Recommended Read: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I read this book, The Book Thief, when I was au pairing in Germany. We were driving from Northern Germany to Venice, Italy, and I read as we zoomed through the alps, while the children dozed in and out of sleep. I'd flip through the pages in between passing out various snacks to pacify the inevitable hunger that strikes when you are bored, and four, and on a road trip. It was the perfect book, for the perfect time in my life. It's a remarkable story that touches on themes of life both from the time period and setting in which the book is set, WWII Europe, as well as the world today. I highly recommend it, and without giving to much away, have compiled a few of my favorite quotes below. (Tonight I'm finally watching the movie version... I'll let you know if it lives up to the book! Fingers-crossed.)

“When she came to write her story, she would wonder when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.” 

“I like that every page in every book can have a gem on it. It's probably what I love most about writing--that words can be used in a way that's like a child playing in a sandpit, rearranging things, swapping them around. They're the best moments in a day of writing -- when an image appears that you didn't know would be there when you started work in the morning.” 

“The best word shakers were the ones who understood the true power of words. They were the ones who could climb the highest. One such word shaker was a small, skinny girl. She was renowned as the best word shaker of her region because she knew how powerless a person could be WITHOUT words.” 

“When she came to write her story, she would wonder when the books and the words started to mean not just something, but everything.” 

“I have to say that although it broke my heart, I was, and still am, glad I was there.” 

“She took a step and didn't want to take any more, but she did.” 

“I want words at my funeral. But I guess that means you need life in your life.”  

“I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race - that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant...I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.” 

“The point is, it didn’t really matter what the book was about. It was what it meant that was important.”  

“Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.” 

“I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” 

“She was a girl with a mountain to climb.” 

“At first, she could not talk. Perhaps it was the sudden bumpiness of love she felt for him. Or had she always loved him?” 

“If only she could be so oblivious again, to feel such love without knowing it, mistaking it for laughter and bread with only the scent of jam spread on top of it. It was the best time of her life.” 
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{Quote of the Week.}

 My idea of rich is that you can buy every book you ever want without looking at the price and you’re never around assholes. That’s the two things to really fight for in life. -John Waters 
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Should I someday be the mother of a daughter.

19 Things I Will Tell My Daughter || by Brenna of with flowers in my hair
1. Wash your sheets every two weeks, I promise you’ll sleep better.
2. If a boy breaks your heart, it’s okay to cry.
3. If a girl breaks your heart, it’s okay to cry.
4. School is important, but there are many things you can’t learn in a classroom. Pursue them.
5. Find your passion, and run with it.
6. No, you don’t need to lose weight.
7. You are beautiful without make up.
8. You are beautiful with make up.
9. Being a good person will never go out of style
10. Buy yourself flowers if you’re feeling sad.
11. Getting enough sleep is very important.
12. Drinking water has so many benefits
13. Believe in fairytales, believe in love, and allow no one to steal your magic.
14. Reading is good for the soul.
15. I am not here to judge you, but I will always support what I think is best for you.
16. I appreciate you.
17. I am proud of you.
18. Even on your worst days, you will never disappoint me.
19. I love you no matter what.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The royal updates you probably didn't know you need, but totally do(n't).

I've been job hunting like crazy, and, in my free time, keeping up with the Cambridge's, and the rest of European royals... 

Here's some of the latest news from my royal blog Duchess-at-Large:
What We Know About Prince Carl Philip’s Fiancée, Sofia Hellqvist: The lowdown on Prince Carl Philip of Sweden's (aka His Royal Hotness), new fiancée, the former centerfold.
Royal Doppelgängers: British Royal History Edition: The British Royal Family genes run deep. Most of these made me do a double-take.
Last week's posts were filled with our favorite cheeky Prince, Prince George, who turned one!
A Royal Gift Guide: Birthday gifts fit for a Prince (or Princess);  Glossy George: The Year In Covers.
 Which prompted this post: When They Were One: Regal tots...
And this one (which I'd love to have know your opinion): What do you think: Who does Prince George most resemble?
Annual Danish Royal Family Photo Shoot at Gråsten Palace: adorableness ensued, though Crown Princess Mary's dress was a miss.
Royals and #Selfies: They’re just like us!:  the complete collection of rogue royals (ahem, no photoshop, like Queen Letizia would ever need it).

And of course, so much more. I try to keep it updated daily, so be sure to check in often, you know, if you're into that sort of thing... ;)

top image.
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{Quote of the Week.}

Via this talented lady's instagram.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

{Quote of the Week.}

There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realise that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else’s terms.Jeanette Winterson
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