Donnerstag, 28. Mai 2015

The Candy Color Side of Life.

I haven’t even told you the best thing about Santa Cruz yet. 
Or let’s say, ALMOST the best thing. 

Not far from our house is the "Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk", a kind of amusement park located directly on the beach. 
So you ride the roller coaster and at the same time look out on the ocean. 
Assuming, of course, you can still look anywhere at all and don’t have your eyes closed shut while at once screaming and secretly hoping for the best that you will be able to leave this machine from hell alive again.  

The kids are much more unabashed and while they also scream, they scream with joy. 
I kind of feel quite old. 

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is beautifully colorful and full of bright candy colors and to match it I slipped into one of my absolute favorite dresses: bright yellow like some of the gondolas floating in the sky. 

I found the dress in one of San Francisco’s thrift stores and discovered shortly afterwards that it is impossible to wear it and remain inconspicuous at the same time. 
But after all this is not what I am on this world for ;). 

My daughters call it the "Cameron Diaz" dress. 

For your favorite pieces that you are particularly fond of it is worth using a special laundry detergent so that the colors stay brilliant for as long as possible and the piece of clothing doesn’t look limp and sad after just 3 cycles in the washer – such as the Optimal Color laundry detergent by CORAL*.

It is ideal for my yellow dress! 

3 further tips for possible future visitors to the beautiful Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk:

1. Just because something is made of wood doesn’t mean at all it is harmless. 

2. If the roller coasters haven’t managed to make you sick, why don’t you try corndogs (a kind of hotdog, whereby the sausage is wrapped in a sweetish deep-fried cornmeal dough instead of a soft bread roll, truly utterly disgusting), ice-cream or deep-fried (!) Oreos. Works without fail. 

3. Are you looking for 2 nice compliments by women, one by a man and a bit of general staring? Just wear a bright yellow dress and there you have it ☺. 

It was great!
Let’s do it again soon!


*in collaboration with Coral 
Translated by Eva Ginnell.

Montag, 25. Mai 2015

Summer granola + 9 more ideas for a “Summer! Now!” feeling.

No matter whether there are grey clouds in the sky right now where you are or the most beautiful sunshine kisses your skin: 
We can decide right here, right now that it’s summer from now on, right? 

Where I am it is understandably not that hard: 
We are on the beach every day, ride in the car with the windows open and music turned up, try new types of ice cream, buy strawberries by the pound at the farmers’ market and watch "Dog whisperer" in the evenings in bed; Pauline generally falls asleep doing so and will surely make every mistake possible in terms of future dog training. 

How did Pauline end up here with us? 
I can explain this in an instant: 
When I saw her picture on Instagram recently, I spontaneously invited her to come and she booked a flight without hesitation. 
(afterwards it occurred to me that I knew Pauline only by sight and we had never before exchanged a whole sentence – but by then it was already too late.) 

Pauline brought even more laughter and summer with her than we had had already and we won’t ever let her go. 
Yet since I can hardly invite all my readers, I will tell you 10 other ideas to create a “Summer! Now!” feeling.

1. Summer granola.

Every time we prepare our own granola we are once more surprised how quickly and easily it is accomplished and how yummy it tastes. 
This granola definitely tastes of summer and beach – light, crunchy and fruity! 
The kids love it!

All you have to do is mix the ingredients and put them in the oven on a cookie sheet.

2. Flea market.

The season is already in full swing, so better get up early on Saturdays and Sundays, grab a coffee-to-go and go on a stress-free outdoor treasure hunt:
Accessories like brooches, vintage prints or maps for framing, or simply books to take on vacation (which you can then leave behind and don’t have to lug back again). 

By the way, you can read HERE how to snatch up the best flea market bargains. 

3. Picnic in the park. 

In this case the simplest version: 
blanket + strawberries + baguette + cheese + hard cider.

All this is packed up in a few minutes (if the refrigerator is empty, simply buy everything in the grocery store on the way), and even if you would rather lie down on the couch in the evening – a quick picnic outside simultaneously recharges and relaxes you, you will see!  

If you want to make this into a bigger affair: you will find ideas and recipes HEREHERE and HERE.  

4. Flowers.

Even if it is grey and dull outside: just one single fragrant peony on the table will brighten everything. 
It will, of course, be in the small vase you found at the flea market on the weekend ;). 

5. Buy strawberries, rhubarb and asparagus galore.

The season is short and there is a huge selection of delicious sweet fruit and mild asparagus at the farmers’ markets right now! 
The strawberries will be eaten on the spot or blended to make strawberry ice cream (even without an ice-cream maker) or strawberry coconut ice cream.  

And in the evenings you will drink to the successful day with homemade rhubarb syrup (topped with champagne or sparkling water). 

6. Body spray.

A must-see for the girls was, of course, Victoria’s Secret; luckily you can also order the deliciously scented body spray via Amazon (HERE).  

7. Summer dress with happiness factor. 

Isn’t the perfect summer dress one that is airy, delicate, drapey and a little dreamy? 
I bought this one by Anthropologie, and it is honestly 10 times nicer than on the picture! 
I will show it to you another time. 

8. Movie theater.

A beautiful, funny and deep movie based on a true story: 
Woman in Gold is absolutely worth seeing (about 12 years and up) – not only on rainy days.  
Jil and I enjoyed it very much; it will be in theaters in Germany from June 4, so make sure to put it in your calendar now! 

9. Summer play list.

Folding laundry, driving or taking pictures – everything is so much easier when listening to good music! 
In case you haven’t yet compiled a summer play list, you can either get inspired by my California play list – or else I’d be happy to give you a few ideas, just let me know in the comments.

10. Summer decoration.

If I had a house, these pillows by Tommy Hilfiger would probably adorn the couch: they are simple, pretty and yet summery. 
Unfortunately do I neither have a house nor a couch – and by the look of it, it will take another while, because - as is the case with all construction sites – everything always takes longer than assumed. 
So we have to hold out a little longer in California – tough blow of fate, but we will hang on tight ;). 
It seems that we have the longest summer of our lives ahead of us…

Sommermüsli mit Kirschen und Kokos.

3 Becher Haferflocken
1 1/2 Becher gehackte Mandeln (und ein paar ganze, wenn ihr diese mögt)
1/2 Becher Sonnenblumenkerne
1 Becher Kokosflocken
1 Becher umgesüßte Kokosflakes (gibt es im Supermarkt oder bei Amazon)
2 TL Zimt
1/2 TL Meersalz
3/4 Becher Ahornsirup (oder Honig)
1/2 Becher Olivenöl oder Kokosöl - dieses muss man zuerst leicht erhitzen, damit es flüssig ist)

3/4 Becher getrocknete Kirschen

Den Backofen auf 150° vorheizen.
Alle Zutaten trockenen Zutaten bis auf die Kirschen und die Kokosflakes gut vermischen, alle flüssigen Zutaten in einer extra Schüssel ebenso mischen.
Beides vermengen, auf dem Backblech flach ausbreiten, ca. 40 Min. goldbraun backen, wobei man alle 10 Min. alles gut umrührt.
Auskühlen lassen, mit den Kirschen und den Kokosflocken vermischen.

Cherry and coconut summer granola.  

3 cups rolled oats  
1 1/2 cups chopped almonds (plus some whole ones, if you like) 
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips (available in grocery stores or at Amazon)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 cup olive oil or coconut oil – you have to gently heat it so that it is liquid) 

3/4 cup dried cherries 

Preheat oven to 300°.
Mix all ingredients well except for the cherries and the coconut chips; also mix all liquid ingredients in another bowl. 
Mix the two together, spread onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown, while stirring everything well every 10 minutes. 
Let cool, then mix with cherries and coconut chips. 

What defines your ultimate summer feeling? 


p.s. The images show Noelle and her board, of course – I will show you Pauline another time ;). 

Translated by Ginnell Studio.

Donnerstag, 21. Mai 2015

About Californians, free dinners and the most beautiful thongs.

Say what you want:  
Californians are hard to beat when it comes to being outgoing and friendly. 

Where else would the Hispanic woman at the gas station’s checkout tell me her family’s story in minute detail, listen to my opinion about it, thank me with tears in her eyes and give me a quick hug – completely ignoring the line of people getting longer and longer, all waiting patiently without once uttering a sigh of annoyance or complaining? 

Where else would I – armed with a big Starbucks cup and the American edition of Vogue magazine – be prepared to wait for hours due to the late arrival of my husband’s flight, but not be able to read even one single page, because I am having an animated 2-hour-long conversation with an elderly Asian gentleman about the cultural differences between East and West – a conversation initiated by a simple “Hi!”? 

Where else would I spontaneously be invited on a fishing boat, kindly encouraged to overcome my shyness towards the crawling, freshly caught crabs, but to pick out the nicest ones and then be sent back home with friendly farewells and a free dinner (including a recipe and detailed how-to advice, because I have never prepared them before)? 

Anyway, we had great fun on the boat and the crabs were one of the most delicious dishes ever – and all of it entirely unexpected and undeserved! 

I took my new shoes for a walk today; they arrived in a package from Germany:  
The thongs are buttery soft, do not cut (like some other models that chafe the big toe a lot) and match any outfit with their subtle metallic look.  

The gilded and silver-plated bracelets by Sence Kopenhagen are equally universally wearable – due to their matte finish they look very luxurious and simple. 
Btw: their size is perfectly adjustable and will fit big as well as very slim wrists! 
I prefer wearing them both at the same time or something with them – but you can also combine one each with a watch in the same color. 

It is really easy to make contact with people here, by the way: 
Wherever I go, first I am asked where my accent is from. My answer prompts nearly EVERYONE to say something about Germany: either an aunt on the father’s side comes from Germany, or they have driven a BMW for years or they own an Alsatian. 

One time the checkout person’s monologue amused me so much (for five minutes he listed all and any BMW models he had ever owned and none of them meant anything to me) that I spontaneously replied: 
"Yes, I know that it's an awesome car, right?
 Actually - it's my family who owns the company." ;)

Sources of supply:
Thongs by Ilse Jacobsen: HERE (mine are pink metallic, they are also available in gold and copper) 
Bracelet by Sence Kopenhagen: HERE

Everything by Inside Living


p.s. I have often heard Americans being reproached as being friendly, but superficial. 
While this may be true in some cases, I still think: 

Rather superficially friendly than deep down unfriendly! 

Thank you to Ginnell Studio for translating this post.

Mittwoch, 20. Mai 2015

No make-up, please! - my beauty favorites in California.

I haven’t used decorative cosmetics for weeks, because applying a grand make-up is not the done thing here! 
Dark lipstick and smoky eyes don’t go with the relaxed bikini look in Santa Cruz, on the coast of California. 

On the other hand, due to constant exposure to the sun and strong winds the skin needs an extra amount of care and nurturing – best of course in shape of high-quality natural beauty products. 

It is quite easy to buy these in California: 
There is a great selection available in many grocery stores, beautifully packaged and for the most diverse areas of application – I am usually a little overwhelmed by the excess supply ;). 

Jil and I have put together a little selection, which we bought locally at Whole Foods’ and the cosmetics department in the mall – some products I brought with me from home. 
Best of all: you can order everything online quite easily from your home. 

In addition some images of a cloudy morning, when the light is very gentle and paints everything in a delicate grey hue, I like it a lot! 
And to top it off some pictures of myself – this time completely without any make-up ;). 

3. Aftersun + Bodylotion.

Diese beiden Produkte habe ich aus Deutschland mitgebracht:
Die "nach der Sonne" - after sun-Pflege von Dr. Hauschka sorgt für langanhaltende Bräune und kommt ebenfalls ausschließlich mit natürlichen Inhaltsstoffen aus.
(Lasst euch nicht durch den anfänglichen Duft verwirren, der verfliegt eine Minute nach dem Auftragen, wie bei allen Dr. Hauschka-Produkten).

Um die Bräune tatsächlich lange anhalten zu lassen hilft allerdings nur eins:
cremen, cremen, cremen.
Am liebsten aus dem Pumpspender von LaBruket und mit zartem Rosenduft!


1. Burt's Bees.

This label is as ubiquitous here in the US as Nivea is in Germany and it is a real success story: 
Passionate beekeeper Burt Shavitz and the artist Roxanne started a business more than 25 years ago, very consciously using natural ingredients from the get-go. 
Today a wide range of the products is available everywhere – due to the bees wax the products usually have a firmer consistency and are very nourishing; they are also fantastic value for money.

We bought two kinds of hand creams so that everyone can simply use the jars at will – it is ideal for those in need of a rich hand care. 

We also bought the sweet lip balms in different flavors and 2 of them with a gentle tint – the latter two are perfect for a relaxed summer look. 

My personal favorite product is the nail care – lightly applied it will prevent delicate cuticles from drying out, which often doesn’t look very pretty. 

2. John Masters.

These care products are also much easier to find in the US than in Germany: 
Since I have used this label’s hair care for a while already, I tested a face wash with rose oil and a sunscreen for the face this time. 

All John Masters products are produced from very high-quality plant-derived active ingredients, such as cold-pressed  plant extracts as well as essential oils, which are all from certified organic or controlled farming – entirely without any chemical additives etc. 

I dab the area around my eyes with the cooling gel by John Masters – it feels so good on warm sunny days! 

By the way: 
When I go swimming in the ocean and then twist my wet hair into a bun I’ll end up with very natural beach waves once my hair is dry! 
If you don’t happen to have an ocean nearby you can use the Beach Waves Spray for the same look – J. Masters carries this as well. 

3. After sun care + body lotion.

I brought these two products from Germany: 
The after sun care by Dr. Hauschka supports a long-lasting tan and also contains only natural ingredients. 
(Don’t let the initial scent confuse you, it will vanish a minute after its application, as is the case with all Dr. Hauschka products).

But to make a tan really last there’s only one solution: 
Apply lotion and lotion and more lotion. 
Preferably from the LaBruket dispenser, delicately rose-scented!  

There were more details we particularly noticed about beauty products here in California: 

- Americans love heavily-scented beauty products, especially coconut and other similarly sweet food aromas, such as bubblegum, are very popular and available in a wide variety, 

- Californians are absolutely crazy about body lotions: 
Noelle told me that in her school the girls always carried bottles of lotion with them and applied it happily at any given opportunity, 

- all in all one notices a much bigger awareness for natural cosmetics here than in Germany. 
This is also why small towns often have their own local organic beauty product line, only available locally. 
And the quality is often really very good! 

And slowly but surely I am developing a coconut scent addiction, too. 
At least I have already used up a full bottle of coconut sunscreen spray and I drink coconut water every day. 
Not sure, if that counts ;).

Sources of supply in Germany:  

Wide range of Burt's Bees products: Green Glam

Hand lotions/salves: HERE and HERE
Lip care: HERE
Cuticle cream: HERE
John Masters products: Green Glam

Sunscreen for face: HERE
Eye gel: HERE
Face wash: HERE
Beach waves spray: HERE

Body lotion by LaBruket: HERE
After sun lotion by Dr. Hauschka: HERE


P.s. I discovered something new here, however, in terms of make-up – I definitely have to tell you about it another time! 

This post was translated by Ginnell Studio.

Sonntag, 17. Mai 2015

Bikini love in black&white.

Summer is about to start in Germany, too, and this is exactly the reason why you have to look for a bikini at this point in time already, as the nicest ones are sold out faster than you can spell “California”. 

I personally always pick bikinis in classic colors, for the following reasons: 

- black, white and navy blue are never out, they match every skin type (rule of thumb: if you like wearing black, you will also feel good in a black bikini) – because of this you can look at pictures of yourself even years later with a clear conscience ;),

- if the color is subdued an especially extravagant cut or cute little details, such as edgings or bows have more of an effect, 

- and finally: a bikini like this will also look pretty underneath a white blouse and can be combined with any outfit without a problem. 

Unfortunately I haven’t found anything yet this year – when I left for California there wasn’t much to be had in the shops in Germany yet, and upon arrival I noticed that most sizes were sold out in any of the stores ☹. 

I bought my black bikini in France a while ago, it has been and still is great, and the white one is from Agent Provocateur. 
Unfortunately I have to admit that – despite its high price – the quality is not very good – but at least it matches the board’s colors ;).

I picked out the most beautiful models in classic colors and patterns – depending on your body and especially your cup size you may have to choose a different shape. 
Surely you know yourselves whether you’ll be happy with a simple triangle cut or whether you need more support with an underwire top.  

At the moment I particularly like shapes that are reminiscent of the 50s: a little Hollywood glamour, a little diva style. 
High-waisted bottoms, beautifully and elaborately shaped tops, colors such as white, dark blue and black. 

1. Agent Provocateur (Top + Bottom)
2. Moncler
4. Agent Provocateur (Top+Bottom)
6. Moncler

1. Particia Pepe (Top + Bottom)
2. Reiss (Top + Bottom)
3. Seafolly (Top + Bottom) - es gibt zusätzlich ein anderes, süßes Höschen HIER.
4. Reiss (Top + Bottom)
5. Kiwi Saint Tropez (Top + Bottom)
6. Watercult (Top + Bottom)
7. Beth Richards Amber (Top + Bottom)
8. Seafolly (Top + Bottom)

1. Tommy Hilfiger
2. Tommy Hilfiger
3. Tommy Hilfiger (oder in weiß)
4. Bogner
5. Tommy Hilfiger
6. Tommy Hilfiger

Do you already have a favorite bikini for this season? 



Translated by Ginnell studio.