Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two great, creative ideas for your home

I love these two ideas I found on Pinterest this week.

Magazine holder shelf
I am thinking about trying this one in our new place!
Via Pinterest, originally from Design*Sponge.

Dresser turned kitchen island
I love this idea.  Just give a dresser a nice coat of bright paint and a new top (ooh, I dream of marble).  I love this blue with the oranges!
Image via Pinterest, originally from Small Place Style

Gemütlichkeit is: a hot shower, while standing

Image via H&M.
"Gemütlichkeit" is quite hard to define using English words and after two years in Germany, even I am just starting to get to know its many uses.  Wikipedia says that, in addition to coziness, it also "connotes the notion of belonging, social acceptance, cheerfulness, the absence of anything hectic and the opportunity to spend quality time."  Wiktionary defines it as, "comfortable, cozy, pleasant, friendly, genial, cheerful, easy-going." Either way, it is certainly an abundance of all things comforting and happy.  

Today I am starting a new weekly post called "Gemütlichkeit is."  Every Tuesday I will choose something from the last week that embodies comfort, coziness, cheerfulness, love, friendship--or, basically, all the things that make life good--and post about it.  It will always be something that is free or almost free and will be my place to express my appreciation of the small things in my life which make it wonderful.  I also hope to get everyone else thinking about the small things in your lives that inspire you and make you happy.  I invite you to leave comments finishing the sentence for yourself, "Gemütlichkeit/Happiness/Love/Relaxation/Peace is..." I can't wait to see what everyone is thankful for or inspired by! 


This week, Gemütlichkeit is: my brand new, lovely standing up shower.  As you may remember (or for a lucky few, experienced) for the last two years, I took my daily shower while sitting in a bathtub.  Our bathtub was tucked neatly under a slanted roof, which left no room for standing.  We had a shower head, mind you, but we had to use it while sitting in the bathtub like big babies or golden retrievers getting hosed down. :-(  This may not seem so annoying, but it took something away from showering...it took away the pleasure.  It wasn't difficult and it was pretty easy to get used to, but showering went from being a relaxing, pampering end (or start) to my day, to something that was more of a nuisance than anything else.
The old shower.  :-(
Until, we moved into our new apartment.  Now, I can finally shower and stand at the same time.  Showering is fun again!  It's invigorating and relaxing all at the same time!  It is inspiring! And, quite honestly, it makes me want to sing.  (It really is the little things, people.)

I am so gosh darn thankful for that shower everyday, I am pretty sure it is my favorite part of our new home.  This week, showering has left me feeling happy, energized and bright-eyed in the mornings or relaxed, soothed and pampered at night.  And don't even get me started about how much easier it is to shave my legs!

The new shower :-) 

What is making you feel inspired this week? Leave me comment with your "gemütlichkeit/happiness/love/friendship/peace/etc + is..."

Monday, January 30, 2012

And many more, on channel 4...

Happy birthday to this guy ^.  I really feel lucky to have him in my life and am so glad that he was born 22 years ago.  He's the best.  :-)  
What our weekend looked like.

We finally got internet on Friday last week so I am happy to be back. I'm looking forward to posting lots of pics of the new place this week.  Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A sneak peak and a check in

The best part? Our super-cozy attic bedroom.  You know how much I love attic spaces!
 Hi there everyone! It's been ages, but I am back...at least for today.  We are having major (and majorly annoying) problems with the internet company, which was supposed to come last Thursday, but instead decided not to show up.  The earliest they can come now is Friday...a week and a day after their initial appointment.  Bah!
Living room and with a dining area.  We love the gray and Peter loves his new bar cart (for all his whiskies). 
So...as long as they come this time, I will be back next week with my daily posts.  Until then, I leave you with some pictures of the new apartment.  We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to get (window coverings, frames, furniture for our dining area) but we're pretty happy with it so far.  We feel really comfortable, cozy and at home here.  It suits us perfectly!
Love our workable kitchen, which is so much better for cooking than our last one.  Plus, we have a dishwasher!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bittersweet goodbyes

Brand new bedroom, painting completed, with our new, huge bed.
Hi Everyone!  How is the second week of January going?  It's oh-so-crazy for us! Actually, I am writing today to let everyone know that there will be a lack of posts for the next two weeks... :-(   Oh me, oh my...how sad that makes me.  I thought that I could keep up on my posts, but it is proving to be more difficult than I thought.  There is SO much to be done, we have been working until 10pm every night.  Then, we are exhausted.  And, we are both still working this week. 

Peter painting the bedroom.
Anyway, nothing to complain about...but it's going to have to be a quiet week on Gemütlichkeit.  Next week, we won't have internet, so it will be quiet, too.  Normal posting should resume on the 23rd of January. 

Getting the corners.
In the meantime, I have a few pictures from the new place for you!  We painted this weekend--our first adventure in painting, actually.  It was quite fun and not at all stressful.  We tend to get bickery when it comes to anything involving moving heavy objects, but painting was 100% relaxation.  We talked and talked.  It was really wonderful actually.  AND...we went with the gray and we ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! We did a dark, taupe-based gray and it turned out perfect.  We have been oohing and ahhing over this room since.  If you are thinking about going gray, DO IT!  You won't regret it (now if only the same thing were true for my hair). 

Painting completely, before we put up the bed. 
I had a moment last week where I cried my eyes out at the thought of leaving our current place.  I will miss our tiny town, my job, all my kiddies and my adult students.  I will miss the huge park we live next to and the castle perched on top of the hill.  I will miss our favorite restaurants, cafes and bars.  I will miss my dance class and my yoga class, my best friends and our family.  But, there is a sweet side to it all, too: we get to start a new adventure!  Things like this truly are the definition of bittersweet.  I am so thankful for what we have had here in our first little apartment in our first little home.  But, I am also thankful that I have a person to start this new adventure with and that we are both so excited to experience it together. 

I can't wait to welcome you into our new home!  See you in two weeks, when I will be waiting with an open door.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A little inspiration to take you into the weekend

Beautiful, multifunctional room.  Via Ikea Family Live, "Maximizing space in an open-plan loft" by Ivy Nassopoulos.

Happy Friday, all! It's a holiday here and Peter and I have spent the whole day packing and packing and packing.  Ugh.  Can't wait for this move to be OV-ER! Luckily, we got a little sun today so I did manage to get out for a walk and enjoy the yellow sun, blue skies, white clouds and singing birds.  If winter were like this everyday, I would never complain about it. 

Hopefully Foodie Friday will be back when the move is complete, sometime around February (although I am thinking about doing it every other week seeing as I am not the best of cooks).   Today, instead, I thought I would give you a few inspirational things to think about as you head into a nice, relaxing post-holiday weekend. 

Here is post on getting the most out of your home, even in a tough economy. 
Here is putting that advice into action.  (My favorite suggestion? Do small things that don't cost money, like setting your table for breakfast, to make everyday activities more enjoyable. I personally, always light candles...even when I am paying bills.) These tips are what Gemütlichkeit is all about!  You don't need money, a lot of space or anything fancy to create a beautiful space and a beautiful life for yourself. 

And here is an article about things that make you unhappy that you should stop doing.  It's perfect to read right after the New Year's when we are all trying our best to shape this year into a happy, wonderful one.  It's also great to remember the whole year through.  ;-)  My favorites?
"Don’t think too much or you’ll create a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place." (How right is this? I wish I could tell my teenager-self this!)
"Stop overlooking the beauty of small moments."  (This is totally my philosophy in life.)

Have a wonderful, beautiful, grateful weekend.  See you Monday!  

Decorating in my mind (my favorite pastime)

In case anyone is interested, I thought I would post a little move update...

We got our keys on Monday this week and moved in our first four boxes of things.  It's not a lot but we have some dishes there now and went grocery shopping (we found the BEST grocery store just 6 minutes from our place).  Plus, we went to Ikea and bought a few things we desperately needed (like a shower curtain liner).  

The rest of this week, I have been working on our current apartment, packing and cleaning stuff out.  Peter has been back and forth and did a little bit at the new place last night. 

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of that first day.  We were so busy (and, honestly, a little stressed out) that I didn't get to take any.  I plan on getting some next week.  Until then, I will leave you with a little list of things I am lusting after for the new place.  I am really loving yellow right now and can't wait to put a bunch of color and whimsy (and all things springy) into the new place!

(Just a warning: although none of these things are very expensive, they are not by any means thrifty or cheap...they are simply wishes and unrealistic ones at that.)

1.  Round Velvet Pintuck pillow in green and dark yellow $34.00, Urban Outfitters-  I love these pillows, especially the green one.  They would go great on a couch or on a bed and they're very happy colors!

2.  Waterfall Ruffle Shower Curtain in pink or gray $79.00, Urban Outfitters- If only my boyfriend weren't such a...well...boy.  This would never fly in our house. 

3. Flower vases 16 EURO-28 EURO, Anthropologie- They have these on the American site, as well.  You may remember them from my Christmas list.  I love these so much I haven't stopped thinking about them.  I am partial to the yellow, green and dark blue colors. 

4. Bunt geblümte Schachteln 5 Pack 32 EURO, Urban Outfitters Europe- These are such fun, colorful boxes to put next to a bed or a sofa.  

5. Edland Dresser 149 EURO, Ikea- They have these both in Europe and the U.S. I have had my eye on them since they came out over a year ago.  I LOVE this series from Ikea (they have a cute desk and nightstand, too).  Unfortunately, Peter hates this stuff so it's not a possibility for us.  But, a girl can dream.  

6. Flower Print Trays $3.27-9.80, West Elm-  Is it crazy that I just discovered how fun West Elm is?  I love these trays.  I am hoping to find a dresser soon--because a girl needs one, I tell ya--and I would love to have these on top with my perfumes on the long one and jewelry on the two smaller ones. 

7. Vitten Rug 99 EURO, Ikea- I have been wanting a shaggy white or cream-colored rug for a long time.  It would go in the living room.

8. Creature Kingdom Hook, Owl $20.00, Antrhopologie- Isn't this too cute.  I know, I know...My obsession with owls is way too huge.  But, I can't help it.  And there is something about this, in particular, that is just perfect.  He looks so sweet, doesn't he?

9. GiGi Nightstand $149.00, Urban Outfitters- In the world of my dreams (where one could also easily ship furniture halfway across the globe) this would be my future nightstand.  

10. Blue Owl Small Archival Print $10.00, Etsy.com- This may be one of the first on this list that I actually get for myself for the new place.  This one is so achievable 1) because it is really well priced and 2) because I have been thinking about it for so long and 3) because it is great to support small artists.  

11. Hammam Striped Hand Towel $6.53, West Elm- Love these interesting hand towels for the bathroom. They are so much more unique than normal bathroom towels.  I especially love the citron and gray stripe colors. 

Ahh...so many things to lust after.  Maybe slowly I can put some of these into our new home.  Is there anything you would add?   Any suggestions to me?  Feel free to leave links to your favorite things in the comments!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just when I got the winter blues

I had a post all ready for today.  It was about how sick of winter I was and how much I was dreaming about spring.  It was about flowers and grass and little bunnies.  But then, something magical happened and I woke up this morning to snow.  Beautiful, white snow that was sticking to the ground.  Because we're having an unusually warm winter, we haven't seen that since the 15th of December!  Suddenly, I felt a little better about winter again.  

Oddly, when this happened, it was 42 degrees outside (yeah, like I said...MAGICAL).  I knew it wouldn't last long.  So, I hurried and got dressed and went outside to enjoy the snow, the white and the winter just a little bit more.  I guess I will hang onto winter one day longer.  Thanks, Mother Nature! (Now if you could just give California a little more rain.)

(These may be the last pictures I get of my little town in the snow before moving away...its a great way to remember it.)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Fireworks (which, in Germany, are shot by hundreds of private citizens at midnight) over the palace welcoming us into 2012. 
I woke up this morning with an inexplicable need to write down a list of goals for myself for 2012.  I am not generally a resolution maker.  I feel that goals set on January 1st are generally forced and rarely realized.  However, as the sun came up this morning, the 4th, I felt genuinely inspired to make a few resolutions for myself in the year 2012.

Here are a few of them:

1) Focus on productivity and purposefulness-  I think it's safe to say that many of us waste a lot of time on things we don't really get satisfaction from: a TV show that's just on but not interesting, Facebook or surfing the web.  I am tired of wasting time on these things.  I would like to have more time in my day for things that I enjoy and more time to spend on hobbies.  To do this, I will make purposefulness and productivity priorities.  If it doesn't have a real purpose (which includes my own pleasure or relaxation) or isn't productive, I won't spend more than 20 minutes a day on it.  Hopefully, I will spend more time doing what I enjoy and less time zapping my energy and creativity.

2) Never let fear or laziness hold you back- Living in a foreign country where you don't speak the language can mean that minor, everyday tasks can present real challenges and can use up a lot of energy.  Therefore, I often put things that may prove to be frustrating or difficult off until the very last possible moment (if I do them at all).  I don't like this feeling and I believe it is the feeling that is getting in the way of me feeling completely "at home" in Germany.  Sometimes my procrastination is out of laziness; sometimes, it is out of fear (what if I say the wrong thing in German or meet an unfriendly face?).  In 2012, I will get stop letting the difficulties hold me back and will rise to the challenge. 

3) Get healthy- I am generally a healthy eater and considering that I walk to work and often stand while at work, I am not really sedentary.   That being said, winter is a tough time to exercise in Germany and Christmas left my sweet tooth satisfied.  Right now, I need more physical activity and more healthy foods for my body to feel its best. In 2012, I plan on getting outside more (even in the cold) and on being more mindful about what I put in my body.  In March, Peter will run another 50k so I have asked him to help me get fit while he is preparing.
Raclette dinner with friends on New Year's Eve.  Raclette is seriously something America is missing out on.

4) Stay in touch better- It's hard to stay in touch with all my friends back home from over here.  There are tons of people to message and call.  I often fail to stay on top of it even though contacting loved ones always puts a smile on my face.  That's why I will be better about staying in touch in 2012 and will be sure to use some of the time I gain by not getting lost in TV or online to contact friends and family back home.

5) Improve Gemütlichkeit- You all may have noticed the new look to the blog.  It is one of the first of many improvements I will hopefully roll out in 2012.  It is my goal to become more educated about the blogging process and to use my knowledge to make this space the most wonderful it can be.  This blog should be like a living room: beautiful and cozy, done up with love, well taken care of and a nice place to have discussions among friends.  Some of my goals are to improve the quality of images on the site, give more instructional posts and tutorials and feature a wider array of interiors.

I hope you like the first improvement to my blog.  I can't wait to give you updates on my progress with all of these goals.

How do you feel about resolutions?  Love them or hate them?  Did you make one?  Leave me a comment and let me know what it was!

Nothing better than relaxed dinner with friends on New Year's Eve.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Out with the old, in with the new

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful evening celebrating on Saturday, a lovely day recovering on Sunday and a successful first-workday of the new year yesterday.   2011 was a really great year for me, full of lots of adventures and happiness.  I turned 25 this year and it made me feel a whole lot older and wiser.   And despite a couple of scary moments, I felt a whole lot more content and at peace than I can remember feeling before.  It must be something that comes with old age and gray hairs (which I also had a lot of this year).

Here are some of my favorite memories and achievements of 2011.  From right to left, top to bottom they are:

1) Beautiful flowers all spring long and the most beautiful spring ever in Germany.  So much sun and warm weather.

2) An incredibly snowy winter.  And Peter's graduation in January.

3) My first flight in a small, private plane and seeing the landscape from up high.

4) One of my best friends coming to visit in May.

5) A most wonderful vacation in Sardinia in June.  

6) My first swim in the Mediterranean (in Sardinia).  Check that off my bucket list.

7) King of Leon concert in Berlin in June.

8)  Celebrating the 4th of July with students.

10) Teaching my first ever English Kid's Camp over the summer.

11)  Feeding a baby deer at a wild park near us.

12) Seeing my family in California in September.

13) My first trip in Oktoberfest in October.  Prost!

14) Turning 25! AHHHHHHHH!

15) The most beautiful fall ever!

16) Peter running 50k (whoa) in October.

17) Our first (and last) Christmas in our pretty little apartment.


2012, I have been waiting for you with open arms.  I can't wait to see what you have in store--all the fun, the adventures, all things new.  2012: Bring. It. On.