Wednesday, November 28, 2012

out of those skinny jeans

jeans: f21, shirt: american eagle, sweater: aerie, necklace: c/o outfit additions, bracelet: fossil, booties: bought in germany
i've been wearing almost exclusively skinny jeans lately and when i realized it, I felt like such a bore. i mean, i love my skinnies and I think that they definitely work to my advantage considering my body type. plus, with the colder weather I tend to wear boots a lot which kind of requires some really tight pants. there is nothing worse than jeans that bunch up at your knees when tucked into boots. 
so, in order to get out of my skinny jean rut and also because, let's admit it, some days I really don't feel like squeezing into anything tighter than my husbands sweat pants, I pulled out the "almost as comfy as your husband's sweatpants" version of wide leg denim. 
i am also totally loving all of the comfy high-lo sweaters right now because they allow you to have a great shirt peeking through underneath but keep your back covered. i am so picky when it comes to how sweaters fit that i honestly don't have very many at all. 

oh, and i'm also trying to figure out the deep side part hair thing... it's definitely something I need to get used to but I think I kind of like it. it hides some of that extra forehead space i was blessed with ;) 

what do you think? 

ps: head on over to pink on the cheek today where I am giving away a nautical inspired necklace :)) 

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

pittsburgh i love you

as many of you who've been reading this blog for a while may already know, I am definitely a transplant to the city of pittsburgh. i moved to the area in 2006 from germany, to be with my husband who grew up here. in so many ways i have grown to feel like a true pittsburgher and that is mostly due to the people that live here. when visiting the burgh you will quickly find that its residents are some of the nicest folks you'll ever meet. and if that's not enough the beauty of the city will surely make you want to spend a lot of time here.

when my best friend melanie came in for a short visit last week we obviously had to show her what this beautiful city has to offer and while a day is definitely not long enough to see it all, it still allows you to get a little taste for what pittsburgh is all about. 

the typical touristy thing to do (as are most of these suggestions) is to take the duquesne incline up mt.washington and get the best view of the city, 3 rivers and of course the many bridges. we do this every time someone from out of town comes in for a visit and they all love it!
 the incline opened in 1877 and the restored cable cars take you up and down mt.washington 7 days a week, all year around. we had the most awesome weather for a november day so the view was truly incredible. from the incline parking lot it's a short drive down to station square where you'll find restaurants including (if it's your thing) the hard rock cafe and a ton of shops as well as a few clubs to visit at night. 

if you come on the weekend your morning/early afternoon stop should be the historic strip market district with all of its hustle and bustle and amazing food. if you're looking for fresh produce, seafood, meats or ethnic foods you've come to the right place. wholey's lobster rolls are to die for and there is one of the famous primanti brothers restaurants right around the corner. if you want to stay on-the-go, street meat won't disappoint either ;) 

if you're looking for that funky and hip neighborhood, make sure to take a stroll through the south side (east carson street) to shop small boutiques, vintage shops and take a break at one of the many cafes and restaurants. nakama is one of our favorites for sushi and the full hibachi experience. if you're looking for pittsburgh's nightife the south side is also where you want to be. 

keep following carson street to get to the southside works for more shopping and restaurants like the hofbräuhaus - a truly authentic german experience! ok i'm just kidding! 
i also like to frequent the huge goodwill down there for some thrifting. it's ok if that's not your thing.

visit market square in downtown where you can currently find a european inspired christmas market, (can't wait to check that one out for authenticity) and the christmas tree and ice rink at ppg place

we had dinner at 6 penn kitchen which was good but we really recommend eating at a place called meat and potatoes. make sure to get a reservation at both places. 

more things to do in pittsburgh: 

visit the andy warhol museum (love that place) 
the children's museum will keep your kiddos busy (see my post here
see the birds at the national aviary
kennywood amusement park  
the waterfront for shopping, entertainment and movies 
university of pittsburgh campus and the nationality rooms at the cathedral of learning (super interesting and decorated for christmas) 
pittsburgh steelers at heinz field
pittsburgh pirates at pnc park
pittsburgh penguins at consol energy center 
shop at ikea 

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Monday, November 26, 2012

cyber monday deals and 50% off ads!

i'm not a big fan of black friday for various reasons, which I won't go into detail about, but I do love me a good cyber monday deal. shopping right from the comfort of my own couch and delivery right to my door step is what i'm talking about :)

so i thought i'd share a few deals you can get in on this cyber monday from some of my favorite small businesses. don't forget to support small and handmade businesses this christmas season and buy from these wonderfully talented individuals who put so much effort into the creation of their products, real customer service and keeping jobs here at home.

happy shopping :)

first of all, a little shameless self promotion: I am offering 50% off for all ads on this blog.

Just click here to get to the sponsor page and use code CYBERMONDAY50 

this is a cyber monday only deal and won't work tomorrow so get them while they last :)
I would love to have some new faces to promote around here.
If you have any questions about sponsorship just send me an email.

outfit additions is offering a buy more save more deal.
spend $25 and get $5 off, spend $50 and get $15 off, spend $75 and get $30 off (ends 11/26 midnight)
Plus, as always there is free shipping and returns.

i absolutely love my hammered spiked bib necklace from them. it's such great quality, nice and heavy and you can actually make the spikes stick out or lay flat. it works with a casual outfit and I can't wait to wear it with a nice dress during the holidays.

they recently added a lot of new pieces that I just adore like that gold and black statement necklace above with the matching earrings.

brittany at love stitched has a discounted section in her etsy shop and is also offering mustache earrings for $4.25 on groopdealz.

nat at take the cannoli is offering a 15% discount to her shop with code FRUITCAKE.

Dresses from Shabby Apple

save 20% site wide at shabby apple by clicking through the ad above and entering code JOYFULSEASON at checkout.

Mandy at Love Squirrels is offering free shipping with code CMFREESHIP.

One of my favorites, Gage Huntley Designs is offering 40% off everything in the store.
All items are discounted already so there is no discount code needed.
They have some super cute and cheap bracelets that would make for wonderful stocking stuffers!

Amy at The Charming Blog is offering 20% off in her shop Charming Life Studio with code CHARMINGHOLIDAY.

She also recently launched the Charming Holiday online mag which can be found here. It features a great collection of gift ideas and shops including a ton of discounts. Make sure to check it out!

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

happy thanksgiving

oh hey! i cant believe how quickly this week went by. my best friend melanie flew back home on tuesday, I spent 3 days trying to finish our annual photo book and get it ordered which involved a few revisions once I realized ordering 3 books (one for each our families) would cost almost $500! whoops, I guess I get a little carried away sometimes... and then there was of course thanksgiving. 
holy food, family and gorgeous weather. 
I have so much to be thankful for this year, like an amazing husband who works tirelessly to take care of us, amazing family and friends near and far, and of course I am most thankful to be logan's mama. life is pretty amazing right now :) 

thank you so much for reading this blog and your kind comments. i have met so many great people through this blogging community and am amazed by the wonderful talents so many of you are sharing with the world. 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

2 nights in paris

photo credit: sherry page 
paris, paris, now you've finally managed to reel me in. jason and i recently booked a 2 night stay at the le meridien hotel in paris for right before christmas. we'll be in germany for a few weeks visiting my family and they have offered to look after logan while we hop on a 5 am train to take us to the city of love. i have to admit that even though I am terrified of having to make use of any of my (awful) french, i am kind of excited to get away and explore this city for a bit. 
jason has been begging me to go for years and I always turned him down... yeah I know you think I am crazy. 

well, here we are making plans for what to see and do. if you have any great suggestions that don't include the obvious choices, please do share :) 

À bientôt Paris! 

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

on friendship

photo credit: On the Caterpillar by Grace Robertson, source

i'm so happy right now, folks! my best friend in the entire world, who has taken it upon herself to make the long and expensive journey from germany to come stay with us for 5 days, will be arriving tonight. 
that girl has stuck with me through thick and thin since we met at our first tennis lesson, set up by our parents, the summer before 5th grade. 

luckily but also sadly, she is the only one of my close friends from back home that always has and continues to make an effort to keep in contact, see me when I'm visiting or by making a quick trip over here. even though there is an enormous ocean and a 6 hour time difference that separates us (not to mention the financial aspect of air travel these days), we remain best friends.

she's my soul sister. the kind of friend that you can go without talking to for weeks or months, but pick back up right where you left off when you see each other again. 
the one that remembers your birthday, anniversary and every little quirky or special thing about you. 
the one that doesn't try to change you and turn you into a different person. the one that accepts you for who you are. the one that sits right next to you on this roller coaster ride that is friendship after high school, college, getting married and having children. all the while cheering you up when life is trying to blown up your skirt once again. 

yup, that's the kind of friend that is coming to visit me tonight. 
so please excuse me for leaving you with a few scheduled posts while I try to make her stay as memorable as possible. 

"if there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever." 
-winnie the pooh

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

chunky sweater and flares

Sweater: Urban Outfitters, Jeans: Gold Sign, Shoes: Gap 

i spent a very, very large amount of time editing pictures today, trying to get this blurb photo book done that I've been trying to get done for way too long. i don't know what I was thinking when I decided that it wouldn't be a big deal to try and cram the entire last year in photos into this book...
looks like tomorrow will be much like today :/ but hey, it'll all be worth it when I hold that book in my hands!

so, since I can't sit in this desk chair for another second I will just shut up and leave you with an outfit post :) 

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Monday, November 12, 2012

recipe: oma's german sugar cookies

today's christmas cookie recipe is one of the easiest and yummiest ones you'll ever find. in the southern part of germany I come from we call them "austecherle". now go say that out loud once! awesome right?
with a name like that for a basic but fantastic, cut-out sugar cookie they naturally have to taste great :)
and trust me, they do! they remind me of my childhood and christmases past. great memories and yummy cookies, what more could you want? 

since your 'inner cookie lover self' won't allow you to just turn around and walk away now, I will let you in on all the secret ingredients. they're really extremely secret.

also, let your kiddos help. it's great fun for little helpers to cut out the cookies and decorate them.

bonus yay! (in case you needed more convincing): this is a recipe that requires the dirtying of only one measly mixing bowl and no electric mixer is needed at all. i love me an easy clean-up recipe. you know, just because we all have better things to do than cleaning up the kitchen all day long... (like blog reading, pinterest surfing, daydreaming, nail painting, baby cheeks squeezing... you  get the point.) 


1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
2/3 cup of sugar
1 egg
a dash of salt 
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

metric measurements:

150g butter
125g sugar
1 egg
a dash of salt
1 package of vanilla sugar or 1/4 tsp. liquid vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
250g flour
1/2 tsp backing powder 

in a medium bowl combine all ingredients until they form a smooth dough. i use a wooden spoon to combine and then my hands to get everything mixed well and smooth. if your dough is still extremely sticky, add a little bit more flour. 
place dough in the fridge for 30 minutes
remove dough from fridge and roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 - 3/8" thick
cut out cookie shapes and place them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 
brush some egg yolk over the tops, decorate with sprinkles, nuts or whatever your favorite may be (optional, they are great just plain).

place in a 350F oven (175C) and bake for about 10-12 minutes.

enjoy with some milk or hot cocoa. 
store in a metal tin or other airtight container. 

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

diy: eucalyptus christmas wreath

i know it may seem a little early for christmas decorating but since most years our family is likely to be traveling right around christmas time, I don't always get to decorate as much as i'd like. 
i'm not really much into decorating for holidays such as easter or halloween but christmas is a different story... lights, candles, music and some sparkly things - sign me up!

so in order to get my christmas decorating fix this year, i am starting early and lucky for you I am sharing a few of my favorite projects during the next few weeks. so get yourself some hot cocoa and settle into your favorite crafting spot.

not only does this eucalyptus christmas wreath look great and is easy to make, it will also make you want to spend more time by the window to get in a good ole' sniff, trust me!

for the wreath itself you will need the following:

eucalyptus (got mine at trader joes for $4.99)
embroidery hoops (or a wreath form from an old wreath like the green one in the picture)
a glue gun or craft/wood glue
some thin plastic gloves
thin thread in a matching green or whatever contrast color you'd like (metallics would be nice as well)

because eucalyptus contains oils you may want to wear gloves when working with it. otherwise be aware that your fingers will get sticky and it will take a good scrubbing to get back off. 
i ended up not using the gloves and just scrubbed my hands with soap and the scrubby side of a sponge when I was done. no big deal.

use the thread to carefully wrap the pieces of eucalyptus around your embroidery hoop. cover it well so that the hoop isn't obvious anymore but try not to overdo it. these are supposed to be thin wreaths. 
when you're happy with the way it looks, just tie the string and set the wreath aside.

for the stars you will need:

thin wooden star cut outs (bag of 130 at joann's for $3.99)
gold metallic spray paint

take your stars outside and spray paint both sides. do not attempt this if it is windy as the stars are not heavy enough and will blow away. also, try to spray carefully, from far away and preferably from the top as the spray can also flip them if you're not careful. the stars should be dry to the touch within seconds so flip them over and spray the other side. make sure they're nicely coated and let them dry for a few more minutes.

cut some string about 10-12" long, pick out two stars of the same size and place some glue on the inside of one. carefully glue the end of the string between the two stars and press together. do this to however many stars you'd like to use. 

now just tie the stars to your wreath at different heights. this will be super easy if you first tie some string to the top of the wreath and hang it up. 

that's it! super easy and looks so pretty. i think it would also be great to cover the stars in glitter for some extra sparkle.

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