Donnerstag, 30. April 2015

Farmers’ markets in Santa Cruz.

One of the first things I wanted to find out about in Santa Cruz were the local farmers’ markets – there’s no other place to gain such good insight on local and seasonal fresh goods. 

And I can assure you: 
A visit is truly worth it! 

Apart from the stalls with regional specialties farmers’ markets have a lot more to offer: 
The atmosphere is a little bit like a carnival where you might also find international food stalls and can enjoy the delicacies there and then while listening to live music. 
There are longboarders, surfers and hippies everywhere; everything always seems very relaxed and laid-back. 

The stalls offer exclusively local food, which means that seasonal fruit and vegetables that are not available are not on offer – you’ll look for tomatoes in vain. 
Instead you will find a selection of kinds of produce that I did not even know in Germany; there is an incredible variety of especially lettuces, sprouts and herbs!

In addition everything is presented in small baskets, bowls or boxes in a loving and decorative way, and everything is “organic” without exception – it truly is a great pleasure to look around here. 

On Wednesdays there is a big downtown market, where I usually go with the kids as early as lunchtime. 
First we get our lunch at one of the many food stalls: there are sliders made of organic meat, Mexican food, Indian food or Eritrean food (which is very nice and super healthy). 
And to Ben’s delight always a huge chocolate crepe for dessert. 

Afterwards I buy an espresso at the coffee stall, we stroll through the market and buy pounds and pounds of strawberries, fresh peas, lettuce, herbs like cilantro, limes and very delicate carrots, which I roast in the oven in the evening, simply sprinkled with olive oil – they taste very delicate and sweet. 
We definitely also get some dark wholegrain bread. 

Sometimes also baguette and flowers, and Noelle insists on carrying only those "because it makes me feel totally like a Frenchman."

Ben doesn’t attach any importance to the imagined nationality and has to carry the rest – green beans are not quite so sexy, of course. 

Yet they are nearly the most important things! 
Fava beans are a kind of broad bean – and either I have so far turned a blind eye to them on German farmer’s markets or they carry them very rarely there. 
Here, on the other hand, they are currently all over the place and since I always want to try new things I bought a handful of them right in the beginning. 
Now we are all big Fava bean fans, but later more on that. 

The following two stalls we also never omit: 

- the popsicle stall of two young women who sell their homemade popsicles made of organic ingredients; there are new, delicious kinds every week, such as grapefruit-rosemary or kiwi-lime. 
Ben’s favorite kind, however, is strawberry lemonade, every time. 

- a candy stall that sells hand-made chocolates. 
Tiny, hand-made dark chocolates with a fresh-tasting raspberry ganache filling – at the horrendous price of approx. 3.00$. 
Per. Piece. Yes, it’s true. 
But unfortunately they are the WORLD’S BEST chocolates I have ever…

The stall owner also makes a kind of “Sour Patch Kids” candy, made of fruit jelly just like the Sour Patch candy you can buy in the grocery stores. 
The ones here are made of fresh local fruit such as strawberries, oranges or limes and instead of telling you what they taste like I will say it like this: 
I ALREADY fear the withdrawal symptoms on my return to Germany.

The sour candy is also exorbitantly expensive, but this is now absolutely beside the point, because once you are addicted you pay any price to get your drugs. 

On Sundays there is a farmers’ market right around the corner from our house; I go there first thing in the morning, when the children are still asleep, and return with fresh bread, asparagus and huge, warm strawberry-chocolate scones, such as HERE.

And now back to the Fava beans: 
First remove the beans from the shells and throw them into boiling water for about 5 minutes, after which you free them from their parchment-ish casing – it’s a bit of work, I admit it. 
Brilliantly green, beautiful pearls will emerge.
They taste so mild and nutty that we simply cannot get enough of them! 

So far I have used the beans in anything I could spontaneously think of and by now I could write a “Fava bean cook book”.
So they are sexy AFTER ALL, if you look at them that way! 

In the mean time I only cook the beans in salted water and place a bowl full on the table, as a snack with an added pinch of sea salt. 
Sometimes as an add-on to a meal, and sometimes just like that in between. 

(I think Ben isn’t even aware of what he is eating…I cannot explain his enthusiasm in any other way.) 

Please look out for Fava beans on the farmers’ markets and tell me, if you find any! 

If you don’t want to eat them as a snack you can prepare a quinoa meal with them. 

Please excuse the vague quantities – the recipe was created quite spontaneously (just like the pictures ;)), and on top of this there are no weighing scales in my kitchen. 

Fava bean quinoa casserole. 

Feeds approx. 4 

Approx. 2 – 3 pounds fava beans 
1 bunch small carrots 
Olive oil 
1 1/2 cups red quinoa 
1 onion, finely diced 
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
salt, pepper

Optional: fresh sprouts such as radish sprouts or other 

  1. Preheat oven to 435°, briefly scrub carrots under the running tap (if they are very delicate spring carrots there’s no need to peel them; if you chose bigger carrots cut them in half lengthwise first), pat them dry, distribute them on a cookie sheet, add salt and pepper and sprinkle with about 2 Tbsp olive oil, mix everything well and put into oven until they are slightly browned on the outside, but still crunchy on the inside – it will take about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on size. 

2. Cook quinoa (water quantity and cooking time: refer to package instructions), cook in salt water and drain.

3. In the mean time shell beans, boil for about 3-4 minutes in boiling water (depending on size check every now and again: they shouldn’t be hard anymore, but have to be removed from the heat immediately once they are soft), let cool and remove casings. 

4. Heat about 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, sweat the diced onion over mild heat for about 5 minutes, then add garlic, cumin and turmeric. 
Proceed with adding the cooked quinoa and mix, add a good pinch of salt and pepper and mix in the cooked beans. 

Plate, top with carrots and add a big splash of sour cream on top. 

And since the weekend is upon you: off you go to the farmers’ market! 
(After all you are on a fava bean mission now, don’t take it too lightly.) 

I write “upon you” on purpose, as we have lost all sense of time here and our plans for the day are exclusively subject to the waves.   
Admittedly a beautiful way of life ;). 



This post was translated by Eva Ginnell.

Mittwoch, 29. April 2015

Say hello to longer legs - Invisible Heels!

Women who are – like me – not particularly tall, appreciate the advantages of high heels even more: 
Not only do they look elegant, but they visually elongate the legs and instantly make us a few inches taller, and this consequently works real wonders when it comes to most outfits. 

However, here in Santa Cruz, most of the times neither elegant nor high heels are an appropriate choice – but then I am back to being short again….dilemma! 

Any woman in a similar situation will surely be as excited as I was, when I discovered the "Say hello to longer legs -Invisible Heels".
They have been available in the US for some months already. 

Invisible Heels elongate the legs by nearly 1.5” within seconds and they do so invisibly!  

How does it work?
The principle is the same as insoles, I admit, this doesn’t sound exactly sexy at first. 
But they have a sexy EFFECT! 

Just insert them into flat boots, high tops, Stan Smith or any other shoe with a little bit of a higher shaft: TADAAAA.
The pieces are super light and very comfortable; you will totally forget about them after a few minutes, because they adjust to the foot. 

Walking in them can be compared to walking in wedges, in my opinion - in low, very comfortable ones, mind you. 
Ideal for any woman who feels a little unstable walking in high heels. 

Invisible Heels are completely invisible and virtually ideal for any ankle-high shoe: 
booties, boots, high tops (e.g. by Converse), Stan Smith, biker boots, Ugg boots, and flat overknee boots. 

You just have to pay attention to the fact that the shaft is a little higher in the back, as in my loafers. 

You can see the difference quite well in this picture, don’t you think? 

Without saying a word, Noelle took them and put them into her high tops and I haven’t seen mine ever since ;).

I think these pieces are simply awesome! 

InStyle has written about Invisible Heels already; in Germany these insoles are available online since a little while ago, to order go to

If you live near Frankfurt you can even by them in a brick-and-mortar shop, namely in one of Päivi Budarham’s wonderful stores, a power woman with a heart of gold who I got to know personally recently: 

 - &sisters ( here you will find individual fashion, jewelry and accessories by many unusual labels, or 
- noa boa ( here you will find stylish maternity fashion for moms-to-be, children’s clothes for ages 0-14, toys and an in-house design studio for unique, personalized gifts. 

And both shops are exclusive sellers of Invisible Heels – or, as mentioned earlier, go to

Or California ;).

Say hello to longer legs!


p.s. My top is from Mangomy clutch is from San Francisco. 

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

Montag, 27. April 2015

Behind the scenes of a model’s life – Jil’s body plan.

Jil wrote this post for you: 
Enjoy reading!

A few days ago an Italian fashion label booked me for a job; they thought I was great and they definitely wanted to have me. 
Before the actual job there is often a fitting in order to optimally prepare everything. 
At first everything went very well, until finally the lady in charge said it was a “runway collection”. 
I was surprised for a second, since I knew: “OK, great. I might as well have three of my ribs removed for this.” 

I exercise a lot, I eat very healthy, and generally one could say I have all it takes to work in this field.

Yet not even my right calf fits into a runway collection.  
Not even one size up. 
After they brought me a pair of pants two (!) sizes up they were still too tight around my thighs.  

Two days later the job was cancelled. 
I am, strictly speaking, a plus size model.  
Yes, you heard me right. 
Whatever the rest of the world considers completely normal and slim this business considers chubby.  
I am a little hippo.
I am considered “curvy” – and in this case it is definitely NOT meant as a compliment. 

In professional situations similar to the one above they “stare” at me, utterly horrified. 
Everyone is entirely stunned about how on earth I don’t fit into this garment and how dare I possess so much flesh.  
(Yes, these are truly their thoughts, the completely unaltered truth.) 

What is wrong with this image? 

Everyone claims: 
Yes, it does exist, the perfect body. 
36:24:36, a small waist, slim legs, a round butt. 
And this is how you instantly realize what you don’t have. 

To make sure we don’t forget what the perfect body looks like we are always, everywhere and in all detail made aware of how exactly it is supposed to look like.  
Blogs, Facebook, Instagram accounts, bill boards, we are surrounded by the image of the beautiful ideal image how limbs are to be assembled. 

How do we get here then?

1. The ideal beauty.

An ideal is a goal recognized as the highest value, an idea one strives to realize.  
An ideal in itself has to remain unattainable; otherwise any attention and amazement would be superfluous.   
Because then the ideal would be powerless or, even worse, debunked as something unreal. 

Our idea of beauty is developed based on an industry that is completely removed from reality, puts women into children sizes and works magic with the help of Photoshop.  

A make-believe world completely absorbed with itself, like a bubble. 
Anything beyond itself seems impossible and disgusting.  
(this is also the explanation for the horrified looks of the customers, when I don’t fit into size zero pants; they are simply stunned.) 

What else happens when you see images produced by this make-believe world?   
Whether consciously or unconsciously one immediately drwas comparisons, finds fault with what’s wrong and ponders about how to achieve this goal. 
How do you feel doing so? 
Only bad, actually. 

You automatically have a bad feeling, instantly remembering the bullet points on your “Dream Body 2015” plan which have to be worked on and realized from tomorrow on. 

There is only one thing behind this whole fitness and healthy eating craze, the motivational pages and “inspiration images”: 

The definition of beauty in our world therefore is this: 
The subordination of a personality to an unattainable lie. 

In other words: 
As soon as you allow this thought to engage you and live through you, you will always chase after something unattainable while loosing yourself.  

This energy will always tell you that you are not enough. 
A voice telling you that your legs are woooorlds apart from the ones of a super model. 
Everything behind this concept is deceptive.  
An altered illusion, a deeply judging insecurity with only one goal: bombarding you with doubts about yourself. 
Or at least to make you occupy yourself with them. 

This energy is the trigger for anorexia, bulimia, bullying in school and cha-ching for personal trainers and psychologists. 

Which part of the paragraph above sounds attractive to you? 
Why do you believe it then?
Because this is all you know.

And I think today is the perfect day to unmask this untruth. 

2. Your new awareness of yourself. 

So how about I tell you about reality? 
It doesn’t require an editing program. 

You were born into this world with a perfectly functioning organism.  
Your whole body is a closed system, a precise clockwork, which knows exactly what it needs to run smoothly. 
Every little procedure is planned to a t.  
Nature has not equipped you with problem areas, why should it? 
Your DNA has no room for this. 

You are absolutely complete, perfect, and beautiful down to the smallest cell. Entirely unique and never before has anyone laid eyes on something like that! 

Only you have hands like this, nobody else walks to work with these legs and nobody ever will possess a belly like this. 
The combination of eye, skin and hair color is highly aesthetic and purely brilliant. 
You were chosen to enjoy this body every day, just you. 

Why do you still waste one more day not feeling well inside of it? 

"But it’s simply that I feel uncomfortable with my thighs!” 
- Of course, you hear it all day long.  
You don’t have a choice when living in this world.
So all you have to do is make yourself aware of the truth. 

"But I really don’t fit into the clothes of this mainstream store?” 
 - That’s true, every big label produces goods in bulk manufactured according to one size, which consists of numbers, nothing but numbers.  
They don’t show how much you are worth or which box you may be put into. 
Also, many labels shrink their normal sizes every year (it’s really true). 

"But people look at me funny all the time, or I hear stupid remarks here and there.” 
What others think about you is none of your business. 
Not your responsibility.

My task for you: 
During the next 5 weeks you will call “STOP!” out loud every time a negative thought about your body crosses your mind or you compare yourself with somebody else. 

And this ‘Stop’ will reject anything that does not enhance the perfection of your self
Anything that does not match your beauty has no business in your thoughts either. 
You consciously will not allow it from now on. 
(After 5 weeks of successful calling out loud it is pretty certain that a quick thought is enough to send any self doubts packing.) 

If I get funny looks because of one of those jobs, because the stylist has to search for a bigger size, I make myself aware of one thing: 

All the negative things associated with my body have nothing to do with myself.
It is the others that are wrong. 
They are the warped ones, they have to change their attitude – it is not my fault (or YOURS)! 
I am full of pure life energy, power, joy, beauty; this is all that counts. 
I remove myself from that situation; I move away from this twisted system and leave nothing but my joy behind. 
I do not let the situation influence or, even less so, impress me. 
Because I am really good at my job. 
And this will make the rounds, no matter which number is printed on a tag. 

So you will only see the perfect body you were given and inside of which you are allowed to live. 
Nothing else is your business anymore; any other thought is nothing but a waste of time. 

Instead of engaging with comparing yourself with other women all you know is the pure pleasure derived from anything to do with YOU. 

You don’t talk yourself into something, you simply become aware of yourself. 
That’s all. 
As if you reminded yourself of your name every morning so that you won’t forget it. 

3. What’s the remedy?

"But you can always optimize things, for example your diet!” 

Yes, sure, after all there are a great number of new plans, diet regimes, rules, which all are supposed to be followed.  
No bananas after 3 pm, no carbs at dinnertime, lots and lots of green juice and vegetables.  
Or hold on – wasn’t it no gluten until 12:30 pm, only cabbage soup on Tuesdays and smoothies every morning? 
It is easy to get confused with all these experts, you better only live from air from now on, although its fat contents has never been researched at large….

What have all these regulations have in common?
You will not stick to them in the long run.  

There will be the day when you falter, give up, when you walk past that fantastic Italian restaurant and order the biggest portion of truffle pasta that this establishment has ever seen. 
(Someone has actually done this…that crazy lady supposedly also gobbled up the tiramisu!) 

How about the following rule: from this day on you teach yourself how to really enjoy food again and you won’t have a guilty conscience. 
You will eat every bite, no matter what it might be, in the awareness that you allow yourself something truly delicious again – every day! 

What exactly is good for you?  
As a matter of fact, this is something your perfectly organized body knows quite well.
It knows when it is full, when it needs vitamins and when it needs to replenish energy. 
It will tell you intuitively, all you have to do is listen. 

Your body tells you chicken wings all day long?  
Trained by your environment your brain may have learned other things:  
... mom who always made you finish your food,  
... an everyday life that familiarized you with frozen pizza, 
....the convenience of food delivery from the comfort of your couch,  
 - your intuition certainly forgot a few things on the way. 

No problem, it will only get better: 
By taking a little more time listening and leaving the criticism behind you will find exactly to that spot. 

You can further support this physical well-being by being active.  
I’m not talking about the 10-day-bikini-size-zero-butt-lift program, but about moving, because it is fun.  
How often, for how long, how exactly and with whom – this is only up to you.  
Say good-bye to the thought that you have to take a certain path; all that counts is that you are good to yourself.

It doesn’t matter whether you are eating a meal or are pouring sweat under some fitness equipment; you are always just good to yourself.  
But as soon as something becomes a compulsion, feels funny, screams renunciation or displays firm rules and limitations this is not the case anymore. 

4. The plan.

Now you can finally cut yourself loose, you can lead your tied-down body away from this lie. 
You part with thinking you have to fit into a certain size. 
Say good-bye to the fear of being unattractive for other men. 
Just leave this burden behind you; it smothers you, suffocates you and always makes you feel insufficient. 

Now when you look in the mirror your beauty will be able to reveal itself for the first time.  
Only this liberation will make you understand who you are and what you look like. 

You understand that everything that was inadequate before had NOTHING to do with yourself.  
You have never seen yourself properly, only ever this lopsided, sick view of your body, as if your mirror was fogged up or dirty. 

Your view is clear for the first time, focused and unimpressed by outward expectations.  
Now you can finally enjoy yourself completely, make your beauty express itself, live your beauty. 
This marks the beginning of something totally new and precious. 
You recognize yourself now. 
Everything that is part of yourself and defines you. 

You stay away from the definitions of this world and find your way back to what was reflected in your mirror all along. 

And this is the most beautiful thing that exists in this world. 

Lots of love,


Thank you to Eva Ginnell for translating this post.

Donnerstag, 23. April 2015

My packing list: casual basics for traveling.

When I was packing my bags for California I had to restrict myself quite a bit and disregarded most of the extravagant pieces of clothes from the start. 
The small mountain of clothes that was left received another decent downsizing. 
I placed the remainder into my suitcase, only to realize that at least half of it wouldn’t fit. 
So I had to go through it one more time…. 
What I finally brought with me were absolute basics with but a few highlights. 

Best of all: 
I realized that everything matches wonderfully, I have innumerable possibilities to combine pieces and the style fits both into the relaxed surfer life and the big city San Francisco. 

I put together the majority of my current closet for you:  
This casually relaxed basic set of clothes is not only fitting for California, but for anyone who generally has to limit their luggage a lot when traveling. 

At the same time it is a great basis for all those who dress more casually during their everyday lives, and would like to look stylish without much effort. 
In a stylish way you can push your stroller and carry a latte at the same time. 
Or simply run your daily errands. 

The weather in Santa Cruz is very changeable and similar to spring in Southern Germany – forget "It never rains in California"! 
It can get pretty chilly here during the day, but most of the times we have the most beautiful beach weather. 

I am wearing:
Coat: Vero Moda (I had it slightly shortened at the alteration shop) 
Jeans: thrift store, similar cut by Asos
Shirt: vintage, similar one by Asos
Hat: Hallhuber

I left all my extravagant, colorful and elegant dresses, sparkly high heels and little jackets in Germany – and packed my bags instead with…

-  3 t-shirts each of the same color (black, white and grey)
- 2 boyfriend jeans 
- 2 pairs of slim-fitting black pants 
- 1 black blazer
- 1 denim jacket and 1 denim shirt, and 1 white shirt
- 1 trench coat and 1 casual coat (the one in the pictures) and one light-colored short jacket 
- 2 denim shorts, 2 white shorts and 2 dark blue ones
- 2 grey cashmere sweaters, one cashmere cardigan and 1 hoodie 
- 2 striped sweaters
- 4 casual dresses 
- 1 sequin skirt (link is HERE)
- and some shoes, purses and 2 nearly identical hats that I wear almost every day.

Add 2 pairs of soft joggers and some white and grey tops (for underneath, if it’s a bit cooler or with shorts, if the sun’s out). 
Et voila! 
Always dressed perfectly – I would nearly say anywhere in the world. 

Which means you can use my post just as well as a packing list for your vacation – as you surely have one or the other piece in your closet already. 

1. White basics.

My advice: buy 2 to 3 really nice, well-cut and a little more pricey white t-shirts; you will wear them all the time anyway and your money goes a longer way here than in any evening gown. 

I would also rather wear long sleeves, since they can easily be rolled up, if it is warmer and it looks relaxed at the same time. 
Keep in mind a variation of necklines and buy some in a size bigger than usual: it guarantees a relaxed, unforced look. 

Add some white shorts, preferably high-waisted, because they seem to be a tiny bit more elegant and therefore, matched with a grey shirt, nicely fit in in the hot city. 

And a white shirt in combination with denim shorts simply looks irresistible!  

5. Esprit
6. Opus
8. Kiomi

2. Grey basics.

Cashmere is unbeatable, since it is super lightweight (weight on the plane!) and wonderfully warm; I usually prefer Breuniger’s basics, as they offer good quality at a very competitive price. 
Add some V-neck t-shirts, 2 warm hoodies (the ones by Superdry are simply the softest) and a casual, unlined trench coat. 

4. Esprit
5. Mango (also available in light grey)

3. Black Basics.

Generally I am not a big fan of the color black, but it simply cannot be topped when it comes to options to combine it, also in summer!  
I love the following combination above all: destroyed jeans, white t-shirt, black slim-cut blazer and white sneakers. 
I also love wearing my black pants on cooler days, combined with the denim shirt or a grey top and the denim jacket. 
Black, loosely cut and drapey shirts and dresses are ideal; add some high heels and you are perfectly dressed for the evening time and the city. 

3. Michael Kors (in dark blue)
4. Mango
5. Apart

 4. Denim, stripes and khaki.

Indispensable and pretty year in and year out - before leaving I stocked up on my basics by placing a big online order. 
And it was a good thing, because despite all the advice along the lines of “Don’t bring so much, you will buy everything over there!” I have hardly been shopping at all here so far.
The outlet mall was quite disappointing and the prices are high due to the bad exchange rate.  
Apart from that, my children don’t really feel like traipsing through the stores, but rather spend their time on the surfboards ;)). 
My need for big-time shopping trips has been limited so far, as I am quite busy as it is. 

Anyway, here are the other basics I packed. 

1. Only
2. Mango
3. LTB
5. Mango
7. Lysanne

3. Gant
4. Mango
5. Diesel
6. GStar

5. Shoes and accessories. 

Those are the things that complete everything and they can turn a casual outfit into an elegant one in no time! 

While I did bring some high heels I have nearly not worn them at all so far, but I will still link some for you, in case you want to go out in the evening dressed a bit more elegantly.  
On the other hand I wear white and grey sneakers and pointed flats nearly all the time.

My advice:
Bring a tote, if you go traveling for a longer period of time. 
Mine is my daily companion at the beach and the farmers’ market, whereas I usually bring the roomy, soft clutch with me to town. 

5. Asos
6. Mango
7. Mango
8. Vans
10. Topshop
11. Topshop (also available in white)
12. Vans

And if you think these were too many basics:  
I sure have a handful of favorites for spring and summer; but I will tell you about them another time. 

Thank you, Nicole Adler, for the beautiful drawing! 



This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.