November 2016 – Favorites and Recap

November itself was a pretty uneventful month for me. It went by very quickly, and at the same time some days seemed to drag along, which is probably due to the fact that I did not do that much fun stuff.

 

November 2016 - Favorites and Recap. Featuring cookies!
November 2016 – Favorites and Recap. Featuring cookies!

 

It was all about preparation so I could have a little Christmas break from blogging despite starting to work again in December, and on top of that it was quite rainy, leaving me to the challenge of keeping two kids entertained indoors. I really did my best, but we still ended up with a few drawings on the wall in my daughters room. Oh well.

But enough of the blabbing, the best way to keep yourself entertained indoors is to focus on makeup and skincare, and that is exactly what I am going to talk about in this video.

 

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August 2016 Favorites

August 2016 will forever be remembered as the month of boxes. And living out of boxes. And falling over boxes. You get the drill. But there still was some stuff, mostly the already unboxed stuff (ha, how many time can I say boxes in one paragraph?), that I enjoyed using.

 

August 2016 Favorites
August 2016 Favorites

 

So here they are: My August 2016 Favorites. Barely any makeup, some skincare and a lot of random stuff. But sometimes life is just that. Random.

 

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Date Night Vlog – A night in the woods

And then she started vlogging… But hey, you asked for it! At least some of you did.

 

Date Night Vlog - A night in the woods
Date Night Vlog – A night in the woods

 

For a start, I take you with me on a date night with Mr. Loca, accompanying him on a hunt (don’t worry, no blood was spilled) and enjoying lots of shooting stars.

 

 

Please tell me if you want to see more stuff like that. But be warned, my life usually is not that exciting!


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June 2016 Favorites

Another month, another favorites post. Ain´t that how it goes? I will tell you what was not my favorite this month in the post here:

The weather!

 

June 2016 Favorites

 

You see, it was raining pretty much all June, and with June 21th coming along, I knew the days were going to get shorter. Now I am all about those long, warm and light summer evenings spend outdoors with friends and a cold drink, and if that didn´t happen before the nights are getting longer again, I feel cheated.

But enough moaning about the weather, it is time for the things I enjoyed!

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The Baltic Sea in winter – just breathe and relax!

Most people think of summer when they think about booking a seaside holiday. The beach, cocktails, swimming in the sea while soaking up the sun sounds like a match made in heaven.

And it is, I don’t disagree. But there is another perfect time to book a little seaside getaway, and that time is… November.

The Baltic Sea in Winter
The Baltic Sea in Winter

Of course, swimming isn’t up there on the list of November activities, but there are a lot of advantages when you travel throughout the colder months. Read more


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Recent Reads – Mr. Penumbras 24 hours book store

If you are unfamiliar with the „Recent Reads“ series, click here for an explanation.
Short story even shorter: I tell you about books I have recently read (came as quite a surprise, regarding the title, hm?)

Reading essentials

Now that fall is here and the weather has been cold and grey again, I have been in the mood for tea, a blanket and a good book.
Not that I mind a good book all year round, the one I will be talking about today was read throughout the height of summer, but reading when the rain is pouring outside is my idea of a cozy evening.

Mr. Penumbra´s 24 hour book store is one I picked because of the cover from my Skoobe library (I have since cancelled my membership as I was disappointed with the selection they offer) and once again enjoyed a lot.
It was written by Robin Sloan, a 36 year old american writer and IT business engineer, currently living in San Francisco.

Mr. Penumbra´s 24 hours book store



The topic:
Former web designer and long-time roleplaying nerd Clay Jannon starts working the night shift at a very strange 24 hours book store. What is meant to be a filler job to pay the rent fastly becomes a fascinating puzzle:
What is hidden in the „forbidden books section“ he isn’t allowed to touch?
Who are the strange customers that seem to use the books in there to solve an ancient mystery?
And what does it need to get the attention of Kat, good-looking and fiercly intelligent Google girl?

Relying on his former RPG role as rogue he gathers his missing party members (fighter and mage) and ventures deep into a secret society, relying on the modern magic of Google and the WWW to investigate their secrets.

Did I like it?
Yes.
One thing you may not yet know about me is that I have been playing RPG since I turned 14, and even now, a grown-up woman aged 36, I still meet up with some friends once a month to throw some dice and imagine I am a magician.
This book combines mystery, books and roleplaying adventures, and it does in the best possible way. Before you think that only fellow nerds out there will appreciate it (I know some of you are), rest assured that it is a book that even someone who hasn’t read the „Dragonlance“ chronicles (they play an important role in solving the riddle) will enjoy.
Despite dealing with the topics of friendship, eternal life and the growing belief that the internet provides the answer to all our questions, leading us to rely too much on Google and too little on our personal experience, it is an easy read, but one that will leave you with food for thoughts and appreciation of the everyday magic around you.

Who do I recommend it to?
Fellow RPGlers, obviously.
Anyone looking for some adventure in their everyday life. You know it is there, hidden beneath something as boring as your day to day job!
Anyone interested to learn more about how Google actually works. The book provides interesting insight into work flow and the companies ideas.

Anyone else read this one before? How do you feel about it?
And who has tried RPGs (be it classic or computer based) before?

MerkenMerken


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Hidden Gems – Cup & Cake in Queenstown

Don’t you just love it when you discover a new spot simply by accident?
When all you do is aimlessly roam the streets, looking for a bite to eat, no fancy guide leading your steps?
When you decide to go down this small street, peek into the patio, climb these stairs and there it is?
A place full of warmth, laughter and delicious food?
This is what happened when we got caught in a sudden downpour while exploring Queenstown. We were wet and cold, hungry and tired and every place we came across was crowded.
But then we took a wrong turn, walking down a cobbled street and I spotted the promising sign:
Cup & Cake

Can it get much better than that?
Let´s step inside and see.


The „Cup & Cake“ is a small café and take-away with just a few spots to sit, located in the Cupcake Lane (no joke) between Church Street and Seare Lane, Queenstown, New Zealand.

There is a retro feeling to the decoration which can easily be described as a bloggers dream: florals, mirrors and fairy lights, the essentials for picture taking, already provided.
If I had had my makeup bag with me, I would have spend the afternoon snapping Pinterest-worthy product pictures for sure!

The interior. Decoration inspiration everywhere.

To distract you even more, you can watch the lovely stuff prepare the delicacies, add the finishing touches to the decoration and chat about all things bakery.

Tiny red marzipan flowers
But enough interior, lets take a look at what we were really there for: The food!
A giant buttercream wedding cake on display. Additional decoration possible 
One of the many flavors: Banana Chocolate Cupcakes
So after taking a dozen pictures and going back and forth in deciding for a flavor, I finally settled for this:
So yummy

A pot of „Lady Grey“ and a Passionfruit Vanilla Cupcake with Chocolate Chips.

Now for those of you wondering:
Of course I dropped that I was planning to do a blogpost and thus took so many pictures.
They smiled, but I still had to pay for my cupcake. Guess what?
Whenever I get back to Queenstown, I will gladly do it again!

So if you are looking for a cake, branded cupcakes or other sweet treats that are available gluten and dairy free as well as vegan, click here to see what they offer!


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Recent Reads – „The summer we all ran away“ by Cassandra Parkin

If you are unfamiliar with the „Recent Reads“ series, click here for an explanation.
Short story even shorter: I tell you about books I have recently read (came as quite a surprise, regarding the title, hm?)

Reading Essentials

This months book is one from the „Pick one random from the Skoobe library“- Category.
I chose it because it was only available in English (so exclusive!) and I liked the picture on the cover.
Talking about an eclectic taste in books…

Meet „The summer we all ran away“ by Cassandra Parkin, published in August 2013.

The summer we all ran away (Picture Source)

The topic:
Domestic violence, coming out, feeling rejected and loosing faith, these are the things you will read about.
Sounds like a depressing, sad, and uncomfortable read?
Well, it isn’t.
In fact it is a page turner, leaving you with a warm feeling and the renewed belief that there is a place for everyone in this world and that things do fall in place in the end, no matter how grim they looked before.

It is impossible to tell you much about the story without giving things away, so I will keep it very short:
Davey, aged 19, flees his violent stepfather and ends up in a strange manor, welcomed by a bunch of other people who live there, never talk about their past and have all been led to this place by a picture of said house.
Where do they all come from?
Why are there so many hidden chambers no one is allowed to enter?
And what is hiding in the woods?

Two stories are told, one focussing on Davey and one dealing with things that happened there several years before he arrived.
Of course they come together in the end, solving the mystery of the manor, but until they do, you are given pieces of a puzzle, one by one, and desperately trying to figure out what will happen next.

Did I like it?
Yes. I started reading it one night and finished it the next, because I just couldn’t stop.
The book left me in tears, made me smile and had me waking Mr. Loca in the middle of the night just to tell him how much I loved him.
Or rephrased in „Youth Talk“ (as this is supposed to be coming-of-age literature): Giving me all the feels!

You see, sometimes taking chances is worth it!
If I were left with the task to categorize this book, it would be hard. Yes, there is Mystery, but it isn’t Fantasy. It is appropriate for Teens (and one of the books I would encourage my daughter to read), but I am way beyond my coming-of-age-years and truly enjoyed it.

So who do I recommend it to?
Anyone.
If you are feeling sad, read it and see that there is still hope.
If you are happy, read it and loose yourself in other peoples way through the dark.
If you are bored, try and solve the case of the lost owner.
If you are into Fantasy, read it and try to figure out what is lurking in the woods.
Or, bottom line:
Just read it. You won’t regret it.

Anyone else out there sharing my love for this book?
And what was your latest read?


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On my plate – Red lentil soup with fennel

If you don’t know the „On my plate“-posts I do, please check here for some explanation.

In a nutshell, I share with you recipes that are
– healthy (most of the time)
– delicious (at least in my opinion)
– easy (I´m not much of a cook)
and are great for kids.

Please keep in mind: I don’t believe in following a strict diet. Neither do I do Low-Carb, cut out dairy completely, feel the need to eat gluten-free nor do I count calories. 
I am a part-time pescetarian due to the fact that most of the meat we get is full of antibiotics and that the animals suffer to keep up with the obscene amount of meat the western world consumes everyday. Part-time because my husband is a hunter, and I gladly eat the meat he brings home, for I know the game he gets me roamed the woods freely and wasn’t fed growth-inducing hormones.
Feel free to adapt the recipes to your own dietary needs and preferences.

Red lentil soup with fennel

As you can read above, I need a source of protein other than meat (we eat fish about twice a week).
Of course eating cheese and greek yoghurt is one option to make sure you get what your body needs, but for all the vegans, the lactose-intolerants and the cheese-haters (will never understand that…) out there, legumes are the way to go.

So today on the menu: A red lentils soup with fennel!
Don’t be mistaken by the word „soup“ though, this is a hearty and filling stew, made summer appropriate by adding the fennel for some freshness.

It is meant to be a colorful and thus mood-lifting arrangement, too, having red lentils and green fennel, but the lentils I chose this time went from red to brown, kind of ruining the looks, but not the taste.
And the taste is what counts, am I right?

What you will need


The ingredients (2 servings):
– One small onion
– 150g dried red lentils
– 700 ml vegetable broth
– 200 g fennel
– 2 cloves of garlic (less if you aren’t that much into garlic, but I love it)
– Olive Oil
– Salt, (cayenne) pepper and bell pepper powder for seasoning

How to:
– Cut the onion, mash the garlic and stew them with some olive oil
– Add vegetable broth and lentils and cook for around 10 minutes on low heat
– Add fennel (cut into small cubes) and cook for around five minutes more
– Season to taste

In the original recipe (see here) there is a side of yoghurt served to add some more freshness, but I prefer it without that. Just the fennel works very well for me.

As always, make sure to mush or process food for very small children.

Quick, easy and healthy. Another one for the busy mom-on-the-go.

Do you like legumes?
And if so, which is your favorite way of serving them?


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Recent Reads – „Skinny Bitch“ by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

If you are unfamiliar with the „Recent Reads“ series, click here for an explanation.
Short story even shorter: I tell you about books I have recently read (came as quite a surprise, regarding the title, hm?)

This time I will share with you a book I picked from my Skoobe library when I was bored.
I picked it because I am quite into healthy eating, it said it was „life-changing“ and a „New York Times Bestseller“ and because I wanted a break from reading fiction.

Reading Essentials

The title itself is quite explicit: „Skinny Bitch – The truth about crappy diets, fat women and good looks“.

The topic as described by Amazon:
Not your typical boring diet book, this is a tart-tongued, no-holds barred wakeup call to all women who want to be thin. With such blunt advice as „Soda is liquid Satan“ and „You are a total moron if you think the Atkins Diet will make you thin“, it is a rallying car for all savvy women to start eating healthy and looking radiant.
Unlike standard diet books, it actually makes the reader laugh out loud with its truthful, smart-mouthed revelations. Behind all the attitude, however, there is solid guidance.

Source: Amazon

The topic as I see it:
Definitely not your typical diet book.
The authors, a model/nutritionist and the owner of a model company, share their view on healthy food, eating meat and diet myths using a language meant to be „girlfriend talk“, but in my eyes borderline offensive.

Did I like it:
No.
For several reasons.

If any of my girlfriends would use this kind of language while speaking to me (or anyone else in my presence), we would have some serious talk afterwards.
The only place I have heard people talk to each other like this is during trash TV shows where people are payed to yell at each other about having sex with their neighbors dog (not an actual topic – I hope! – but you get the point)
If you want to draw attention to your topic, try using the topic, not abusive language.

Going the same way is the whole chapter about eating meat.
Yes, I am well aware of the way animals are treated before they end up being consumed by humans, and yes, it is an important topic that gets way to little publicity.
I am living pescetarian myself 95% of the time, and I salute everyone who has decided to go fully vegan.
But for one thing: Being vegetarian/vegan is NOT about weight loss.
And for another thing: Reading the descriptions they gave in this chapter made me actually gag.
And I am by no means a sensible soul when it comes to written content or violence.
This may be the way it is, but again: Let the topic speak for itself. No need to traumatize a teenager reading your book!

Putting all this aside, just focusing on the facts included, I still have complaints.
The authors do have some good points, like: Stay away from refined sugar, Complex carbs aren’t as bad as some people tell you and Eat more vegetables, but they go on mixing this with things that are simply and utterly wrong!
It is NOT TRUE that eating too much protein will injure your kidneys. Fact is, if your kidneys are injured, they can’t excrete the protein as well as they used to, so you should watch your protein intake then.
And this is just one example.

Now I am lucky to know a good share about nutrition and human bodies myself, so I can filter facts from myths and maybe get some useful information from reading it. But for the average reader, who is neither nutritionist nor physician, and probably from a younger audience, there are some dangerous misconceptions hidden in there.

So if I started living by these rules, I would probably get skinnier.
If I were as strict about cutting out refined sugar, I would probably get healthier.
But if I had to cope with this language any longer, I would for sure become a bitch!


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