Thursday, June 28, 2012

new glasses rock!

today, let me introduce you to my handsome husband and his new glasses ;)

for guys (girls too I guess), glasses can be a little bit like watches, there are tons of styles to choose from and it's easy to start a collection. i personally don't need prescription glasses but once in a while I am highly tempted to buy myself a pair of nerdy looking frames just for fun.
jason on the other hand has had to rely on his glasses for years, switched to contacts and then back to glasses because it's better for his eyes when he travels (dry air on planes and such).

so when i was contacted by the wonderful folks at to try out their online shop and write a review I thought who better to try this out than my man?
we checked out their website to see what they had to offer, browsed the selection and started wondering how on earth we could find a suitable pair of glasses without trying them on in person. until now we had always taken the usual route of visiting a local eyeglas store to buy glasses and picking out a pair in person. well, here is what has come up with to make it easier to try on a selection of frames right from the comfort of your home:

the virtual mirror

here's the hubby trying on the frames he ended up choosing

this tool lets you select several frames, take a picture right on your computer or upload an image you like and try them on to see what the glasses will look like. it is super easy to use and you can even scale the proportions or rotate the image. this handy tool also lets you compare your favorites right in one spot. the only downside to this that we noticed was that not all the frames were available to be tried on in the virtual mirror.

if you'd like to try it out yourself you can go ahead right here:

once we decided on a pair of black bolle brand frames all we needed to do was get his prescription from the doctor, put it in the order form and select lens material and coatings. super easy as well. we put in the order and recieved a confirmation email right away. glassesUSA kept us informed on the whole production process and status of our order by email while we waited. we ordered on June 9th and received the glasses on the 15th. everything went super fast but the email with the tracking information actually came on the 17th, two days after we had already received them. this is not really a complaint because we were already happy the eyeglasses arrived so quickly.

here are a few more pictured of what came in the package

glasses, case, cleaning cloth and prescription certification card

a few more things we liked about purchasing eyeglasses from

  • shipping is free :)
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee (if you're not happy just send your frames back to exchange them)
  • turnaround time was super quick
  • we didn't have to leave the house
  • the frames are comfortable and great quality
  • if you purchase eyeglasses frequently you may be interested in their refer-a-friend program
  • they also offer prescription sunglasses

Jason chose the Bolle Neuilly frames.

overall, we would definitely order from again. the whole process was super easy and we were truly surprised at the great fit, selection and of course the look of them as well.

if you're in the market for a new pair of glasses and would like to give a try you can save an extra 10% on your order with the code BLOG10
you can also find all other current dicounts and offers here

disclaimer: this post is a sponsored post. i was provided with a gift code to the above mentioned business in exchange for my opinion in a review post. these opinions are my own and an honest reflection on the products and services provided to my family. your experience may vary.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

style files: oh zara my love...

pants: mom's, shirt: zara, shoes: old navy, bracelet: local shop, fedora: american eagle

one of my favorite outfits on the blog yet. i spent some time a zara last week and had to really control myself. everything here is so much more expensive due to the $ to € exchange rate so I was a good girl and left with two shirts for myself and a pair of sweat pants for logan. this shirt is super light and flowy - perfect for a warm day. and that fedora sure keeps the sun out of the eyes folks!

what's your one store you can't stay away from? do share!

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

diy: fabric flower hair pins

i recently got a request to make these lovely flowers for a wedding and throught i'd share a quicktutorial because they are so easy to make.

you'll need:

satin and organza fabrics
needle and thread
a little bit of felt for the backing
a glue gun
hair pins
a candle

cut out several circles in various sizes from your materials
hold the edges close to the candle flame but be careful not to get too close. conistently move the circles around to finish off your edges and let the fabric curl up in the places you like. arrange the circles to form a flower and stitch one or more pearls into the middle. finish by tying the thread on the back of each flower. use the glue gun to attach a small circle of felt to each back and then again to attach the hair pins to the felt.

done! super cute and easy. a little bit addictive as well ;)
can't wait to see pictures of the bride wearing these.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

what that iphone has to say about germany

just a few pictures of what we've been up to here in Germany before we all head into the weekend :)

lots of good food... oh that food!!
fun by the pool (never lasts very long unfortunately)
hanging out with the bestie - miss her
ice cream
shopping (oh zara I want to buy everything in your store)
flea market finds ( we got a little out of hand)
the farmers market
many many soccer games
coffee dates with my mom and the little mister - coffee for us, brezel for him
spending time with family and friends
reading a few books :)) makes me soooo happy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

style files: coral ankle pants love

pants: f21(similar), t-shirt: gap (similar), belt: ON, shoes: graceland, sunglasses: , watch: michael kors, necklace: parallel world designs on etsy, lipstick: maybelline forever fuchsia, nailpolish: essie tart deco

just an outfit post today. these pants are the most comfortable pants i own. the little man is sleeping and i am trying to catch up on some bloggy business. i am enjoying the peace and quiet i get at my parents house because i don't constantly have another project staring me in the face. unlike in these pictures, today is a rainy day making the humidity almost unbearable and clouding my mind... oh welcome back writers block!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

how-to: packing a suitcase - essential items to bring and tips for airline travel

Traveling abroad is a frequent occurrence for this bi-cultural family, traveling for work is a weekly thing for the hubs and when we feel extra adventurous we throw in a few trips within the US as well. You could say we've become pretty experienced when it comes to all sorts of travel, may it be by car, bus, plane and yes, even train.

So today you will get to learn about my secrets to packing the perfect suitcase for a early summer vacation to Germany. Why? Well because that's just where travel has taken me once again...

First things first: 

  • Space Bags!!! Get them, use them and be amazed at how much can fit into that one small suitcase you are currently permitted to take with you on international air travel (free of charge). They work with your vacuum to suck all the air out of the bag, leaving you with a neat "block" of clothes. Surprisingly, if you fold everything neatly, the clothes will come out hardly wrinkled at all. Of course this will not magically cut the weight of all your stuff in half but it will help you keep things organized. The bags even come in different sizes so you can really get down to the nitty gritty of dividing and organizing.

  • Make sure you know what you're allowed to take with you and how much it can weigh. The weight limit for a suitcase when we left was 50lbs, one per person, a carry-on as well as a personal bag. I will go into detail on traveling with an infant/toddler in another post soon.

Now what to pack into that suitcase:

It obviously depends very much on the weather at your destination, reason for travel and the season in which you'll be traveling. The weather here in southern Germany is very similar to the weather we have in western Pennsylvania. Leaving at the very beginning of June and returning in mid July, I was expecting some nicer spring weather which would hopefully turn into full on summer at some point during the trip.  This is what I packed:

  • pair of comfortable wide leg jeans
  • pair of skinny jeans
  • pair of colored denim
  • pair of comfortable cropped pants made from a light cotton

  • light cotton short sleeve sweater
  • sweatshirt
  • 2 cardigans
  • blazer

  • gingham shirt
  • plaid shirt
  • patterned tee
  • white tee
  • gray tee
  • two long sleeve shirts
  • cute tank top

  • flowy pleated skirt
  • colored denim skirt
  • maxi skirt
  • khaki shorts
  • denim cut-offs
  • knee length shorts

These are the basic items I would pack for a trip like this. 
In general I recommend you pack something for every sort of weather because you just never know what's going to happen.

Other items to pack:

  • rain coat/umbrella
  • a simple purse or bag that goes with everything 
  • shoes: flats, sandals/flip-flops, a pair of comfortable heels and shoes you can walk in for a while like tennis shoes or sneakers
  • toiletries (pack in your suitcase to avoid the hassle with TSA)
  • a hat (rain or shine)
  • a light scarf (great on a long flight and to keep warm)
  • of course don't forget the socks and underwear ;)
  • swimwear 
  • sunglasses and sunscreen
  • camera
  • hair dryer if your hotel doesn't have one
  • chargers and international power adapters


  • i always fill extra space with additional tops. especially for a summer trip they are super light and small and you can always use another shirt.
  • don't overpack and leave some room for souvenirs or clothes you may buy while abroad or even just in another city.
  • bring a luggage scale to avoid costly charges for excess baggage or overweight bags
  • when traveling abroad with connecting flights pack an overnight bag (carry-on) in case you get stuck. unfortunately, you may miss a connecting flight and get booked on a flight that doesn't leave until the next day. be prepared for the possibility of spending a night in an airport hotel or even the terminal.
  • always wear layers on a long flight and bring a blanket if you get cold easily or if you're grossed out by airplane blankets and pillows. 
  • pack a snack - airplane food is horrible!
  • bring disinfecting wipes and wipe down your general area. you don't want a cold during your vacation. 
  • leave expensive jewelry at home to avoid losing it or possibly having it stolen.
  • if you're in the market for a new suitcase buy one in a bright color or pattern. yes, it may not look that great or match your sense of style but you will never search for your suitcase between all those black lookalikes at the baggage claim anymore. you can thank me later ;) 
  • make sure to put your address inside your suitcase as well as on the outside. memorize or write down the brand, size and color in case your bag gets lost and you have to give a description. 

Most of all: ENJOY YOUR TRIP :)

I'd be happy to answer questions so comment away or send me an email.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

diy: spice jar labels

we've been done with baby food for a while now but i saved a ton of jars thinking i would come up with some sort of way to reuse them eventually. well, i reorganized my pantry and realized i needed to make room and keep my spices somewhere else. somewhere very visible and so they had to look sort of pretty. 

you'll need: 

rubber alphabet stamps
craft paper
glue dots
clean baby food jars

cut out labels and stamp away - make sure to spell bouillon right ;)
use glue dots to attach labels to the jars and screw the lids back on

a super quick and easy way to reuse those baby food jars and make your spices look uniform and pretty to look at. 

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

stripes and a how-to for braided bangs

jeans: ae, striped top: f21, tank: zara, wedge sandals: graceland, watch: michael kors

not ok: 

the weather since we got here... no real summer in sight!
writing all these blog posts in my head during the few minutes it takes me to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning and always being too tired to actually take down some notes, then of course forgetting everything.
being away from the hubs for another 3 weeks.
having to wake up at 6.45 am every morning due to my own personal (and very cute) alarm clock.
all this delicious food that constantly screams "eat me!"
having to drive a manual for the first time in years tonight - not looking forward to that.

totally ok:

several wonderful and lovely emails i've been receiving from you guys - wow, i really appreciate those :)
going to yoga and pilates class with my bestie tonight
all this delicious food that constantly screams "eat me!"
a bang braid on bad hair days
the little man's rad walking skills
seeing the huge smiles on my family's faces every day, mostly due to the little man of course
watching euro cup soccer games every night
taking walks through the fields

and for all of you who'd like to know how to braid your bangs:

  1. part your hair pretty far on one side (whichever side works best for you)
  2. select three strands of hair to braid with and do a reverse/inverted french braid where you simply braid the hair under instead of over and keep adding hair in mostly from the top of your head
  3. important: don't braid too tightly! keep that braid low on your forehead as you go
  4. pin somewhere by your ear or finish off braid and tie with a skinny hair tie
  5. i also use some hair spray to control fly aways
  6. practice, practice, practice! 

it's really super easy but it may take you a few tries to get it right. i seriously wear the bang braid all the time now, especially on a bad hair day when i don't get to wash it. 

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Monday, June 11, 2012

oh germany!

yes, we made it! everything went great flying over even though we had to deal with a tight flight schedule and made it on our plane in Newark with only 20 minutes to spare...
imagine us being the last people on the plane and then me demanding nicely asking the person in the middle seat to move to a seat in the row behind us so we could have an extra spot for the babe. in the process also confusing another poor passenger who suddenly thought he was in the wrong seat and moved across the isle, as well as collecting a few awkward stares and mean glances from a couple of girls behind us. but hey, i know what i gotta do to make this whole experience the most bearable for everyone involved. once we got settled in the flight was a piece of cake and logan slept for over 3 hours of the 7.5 hour flight.
so today i#m just sharing a few pictures of some of the things we've been doing around here. the weather could most definitely be nicer but the food makes up for it. i will return to the states needing to buy a clothing size up... 

if you'd like to see what we're doing here on a daily basis just follow along on instagram: @theforgeblog

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

diy: lace inset jeans

when my mom is in town we always do a lot of shopping. it's fun and definitely part of our girl time. we have a local discount store where you can find some really amazing deals on name brand clothing. some of the things they sell have minor (or major) imperfections so you have to be careful and selective. this time and thanks to my mom's hawk eyes, i scored a pair of Joe's jeans for $2!!! they had a 4 inch rip right below the right side pocket but were otherwise in perfect condition and fit like a glove. i fell in love with them and figured i could do something to that rip to make it less revealing. i contemplated adding some floral fabric over top or some vintage lace on the inside. i didn't want the embellishment to be too attention grabbing and a little more subtle so I opted for the lace.
i am a big fan of iron on transfer paper and usually do all my appliques with it before sewing to add some extra detailing. i noticed before that it doesn't work as well with denim but since i didn't want to pin the lace i used it still.

here are instructions on what i did:

you'll need

a pair of jeans to embellish
some sand paper
a piece of lace or fabric of your choice
iron on transfer paper
sewing machine
matching thread

i first cut the rip in the jeans a little bit bigger and sanded the edges to give it a more natural look

then cut out a piece of lace and a few small strips of iron on paper which will go on the edges of the lace. make sure not to cover all of the lace with the iron on paper or all kinds of debris will stick to it once you peel the paper off. it also wouldn't be sheer anymore.

turn your jeans inside out and place the lace and transfer paper in the right spot. iron on and let cool completely before removing the paper.

be very careful when you turn the jeans back out because the iron on bond won't be very strong. now your lace should stay in place well enough for you to easily sew around the edges with the machine.
i used a zig zag stitch and really like how it turned out. i also accidentally sewed over the pocket a little but it's still usable so it wasn't a big deal.

that's it! you just gave a ripped pair of jeans a whole new life.

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