Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

I wanted to do a blog post to wrap up 2011, but it was overwhelming to me, both good and bad, and I just could not put it into words.

The Good:
I married my best friend

The Bad:
I had heart surgery
 Don't I look so great post-op? At least I had good friends to keep me company!

The Tasty:
We found a new favorite sushi place
Here's wishing you and your loved ones a fun and happy New Year's Eve and all of the best in 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

On Airline Travel

I will probably fly Space A (on a military aircraft) home this summer, but will need to get a commercial one-way ticket home for the way back. This morning, while I was waiting for my friend to pick me up, I decided to play around on the Delta website. I'm a Silver Medallion and get an extra checked bag, so I do prefer to fly SkyTeam when I can.

Someone please explain to me how a one way, economy class ticket for September from NYC to Frankfurt costs $2,210.80 while a round trip costs 620.02€ (roughly $802).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

To all of my dear readers who celebrate it, wishing you, your families, your loved ones, and your pets a Very Merry Christmas. (An extra Christmas shoutout goes out to any and all Alpha Sigma Alphas reading this.)

Somehow, Christmas just isn't as exciting when you are a Jew, but while you all have your holiday traditions, I have mine. Every year, like clockwork, no matter what else, I simply must watch Love Actually on Christmas. Otherwise, it's just not Christmas without it. This year, TLS treated me to the Blu Ray version of it, and thankfully, it arrived just in the nick of time.

Like any good Jew, my other Christmas tradition is Chinese food. Last year, I was worried that no Chinese place would be open in Germany on Christmas so I bought a PF Changs frozen meal to make at home. Not the same. This year, I happily discovered that the sushi and Chinese buffet near our house is open all day on Christmas and made reservations for three for a very Jewish Christmas.

I look forward to reading all of your posts post-Christmas and seeing what Santa/magic elves/the tooth fairy/your parents/etc. brought you.

Listen to your Uncle Billy kids: Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star and they give you them for free!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My Memories Suite Giveaway

Recently, I got contacted by My Memories to do a review of their scrapbooking suite. I have to be honest here and say that scrapbooking scares me a little. I once attempted to make a scrapbook for my BFF's 21st birthday. It got so expensive so quickly that I eventually just gave up. That whole experience has left me a little vary of scrapbooking in general, but I have been wanting to make TLS an album for before he deploys, so I figured it was worth a shot.

My initial impression of this was that it was SLOW. After 30 minutes, less than 25% of the software had downloaded to my computer. I posted this on facebook and someone responded with "welcome to Germany" so I guess it's more of a Kabel Deutschland thing than a software thing. Being the least patient person on the face of the planet, I wasn't thrilled.

When I downloaded it, I got to work. To create a new album, you are given the choice of making your own from scratch, or going with one of several premade layouts. Since I don't like things that are too cluttered and scrapbooky looking (you know the things that look like the entire contents of a Michael's threw up on them?) and since I am obviously the world's most creative person ever (insert eyeroll here), I decided to make my own.

Big mistake. I cannot for the life of me make a decision so it took me a solid hour to decide fonts, pictures, background pages, etc. The finished result?
That's it- two pictures,with navy borders, a monogram, and our wedding date. Simple but I kind of like it that way. (I did mention that I'm super creative right?)

For round 2, I decided to go with a premade layout instead. So much easier. The wonderful thing about the premade layouts is that the album size is already selected for you, so that's one less thing to try to figure out. This whole process was a lot easier and better for me. Here is a sample page from take 2.
I think it looks pretty awesome if I do say so myself and I am considering using My Memories to make a wedding album for ourselves since we don't yet have one. Apparently wedding albums get to you faster if your mother actually remembers to order them. Who knew?

If you are actually creative, unlike yours truly, you will be happy to know that My Memories offers additional digital scrapbooking kits in addition to what comes with the software.

Want one for yourself?

My Memories is generously offering a Preppy Girl Meets World reader one copy of the software.

To enter:
1) Please visit the My Memories website and post which digital scrapbooking kit is your favorite for one entry. This is mandatory.
2) Follow my blog through GFC for a second entry.
3) Follow myself (@whaleflipflops) and My Memories (@mymemoriessuite) on Twitter and post the giveaway link back at both of us for a third entry.
4) Post about this giveaway for a fourth entry.

This giveaway will run through midnight EST on January 2nd, and I will pick a winner when I wake up finally after my NYE merriment.

If you would like to purchase one for yourself or as a last-minute gift for someone, you can use code STMMMS93273 to receive $10 off your purchase.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. I received the product for free to try out. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Trains, Trains, and Automobiles (picture heave post)

Over the weekend, TLS and I finally got to make it to two Christmas markets. With his schedule this year, we were not able to go to as many as last year and wanted to get some in before the markets close on the 23rd.

TLS found a deal on the Deutsche Bahn website where you can buy a regional ticket for 20€ and up to 5 people can ride all trains/buses/trams in the region for 24 hours. On weekends, the deal is good all weekend long through 3am on Monday. (Interesting thing to note- the fare rules for the ticket say that you can have a dog with you on your ticket, but then the dog counts as one of your passengers.)

When we saw this, we decided to take full advantage and head to Heidelberg, about 1.5 hours from our house, for their Christmas markets. I purposely left my camera on our hallway table to make sure that I did not forget it. We were running late, and I forgot it. We first had lunch with a friend who was on base from England before heading to Heidelberg, so we did not get there until about 5:00pm. Because it was the last Saturday of the Advent, hours for the markets and most stores in town were extended through midnight. Heidelberg has 6 Christmas markets in town, and we walked in between all of them. It was roughly a 2 mile walk. I like to think I earned my gluhwein that day!

I will now present you with a few iPhone pictures from the day:
The first thing we did was get gluhwein to warm up. We kept the red mug.
a bratwurst vendor- the food wasn't good for the Jews but I loved the lights and the windmill
I loved seeing the the streets all decorated for Christmas and loved all of the shooting star lights that they had in the city.
This is a gluhwein vendor in the town square. The top of it is shaped to look like a wooden candle decoration that is traditional in Germany for the holidays. (Smoke from the candles makes the blades turn and spin. Very cool.)
I have got to remember to take my camera with me everywhere.
We ate dinner at a noodle place called Mosch Mosch. The interior was cute and had communal seating and kind of reminded me of Wagamama in England. I wish I could say that the food was good, I really do, but it just wasn't. It wasn't bad, but it definitely was not what we expected. Maybe after eating so many times at Wagamama in London and Republic in New York I had higher standards, but we both left sorely disappointed.

On our way back, we passed by a gummy bear shop that had a display made out of soccer-playing gummy bears which I thought was cute.

Proof that I really will take a picture of just about anything.

The next day, we took advantage of our tickets and took TLS's sweet coworker Marie to Mannheim for her first Christmas market with us. We love Mannheim and had so much fun at last year's market so we were excited to go back!

We snacked a lot from all of the different food stalls. I always have to get roasted chestnuts from the vendors and we got the most delicious creme fraiche, herb, and smoked salmon crepe. It did not live long enough to be photographed. 

One of our absolute favorite vendors at the market was a spekuloos vendor. Spekuloos are Dutch cookies that are pretty similar to Biscoff cookies. They are delicious no matter what. This vendor was amazing because he had an oven and made the cookies fresh at his stall. 

It was really fun watching him roll the dough into the shape frames and the cookies were delicious! We all bought a bag, and neither one lasted very long. At all.

Here are our purchases from the market:
a pearl ring from TLS- this was so gorgeous and a steal at only 6€!
2 ornaments
2 gluhwein mugs- we cheated because we liked the blue boot one so much that we asked to buy just the mug even though we were all gluhwein'd out
a small bottle of sour cherry liquer- they had samples of this at the stall. TLS thought it was the grossest thing in the world. Marie and I tried it and then reached for more samples. Then we wanted more. Then we just reached for our euros. Delicious. At least I don't have to worry about him drinking my alcohol!
giant lebkuchen heart- after swearing up and down that we were done eating and making any food-related purchases* we walked past a lebkuchen bakery stall that was offering samples of fresh lebkuchen. Not the packaged stuff that we normally buy at the supermarket. It was A.May.Zing. You could even taste the orange peel in it. I was just going to buy a small cookie, but TLS and Marie convinced me that it was a much better value to buy the big one. Oh darn.

To thank us for taking her to her first market, Marie bought us a chocolate train from one of the chocolate stalls. So sweet of her. :)

We ate dinner at Sushi Circle, one of our favorite chains in Germany. It is a conveyor belt sushi place. Delicious. We've eaten once at the Stuttgart location and several times at the Frankfurt one, and the Mannheim one is by far our favorite. The sushi chef gave us a free sample of a spicy shark roll to try. We were intrigued by it, but being that shark is not kosher, we made Marie take one for the team. She said it was chewy but not bad.

*at this point we may have had a bag of roasted chestnuts, 2 grande Starbucks drinks, 2 mugs of gluhwein, the aforementioned crepe, liquer samples, a bag of spekuloos cookies, half a brick oven flatbread with cheese and potato slices on top of it (delicious! by far our favorite food stall at the market). And, you know, a partidge in a pear tree.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Commissary Surprise

Every year, as a way of saying thank you to our enlisted servicemembers and helping make the holidays a little brighter for them, our spouses' association here does an event called Commissary Surprise.

We have a line item in our budget set aside for this, and during the holiday season, at random, our executive board members will go to the commissary for an hour at a time and will let the cashiers know we're there. When an enlisted member or dependent, rank E5 or below comes to pay for his or her groceries, the cashiers wave us over. We come, introduce ourselves, and let them know that as a way of thanking them for their service, we want to pay for their groceries today.

Seeing the happy, shocked, and sometimes tearful looks in peoples' faces is SO rewarding and it just brightens up your whole day. Today, TLS and I went and did this at our commissary. In less than an hour, we were able to give back over $640! It was such a wonderful feeling. I loved hearing the stories from people of how we had made their day. One airman was sick and was out getting meds and soup, etc. before going back to his dorm to sleep it off and was having a bad day. Another was out shopping with his wife and child who just turned 1 and they had a cart full of baby food and diapers. Another couple was dual military. The husband had just gotten home from deployment and their cart totaled nearly $200 because the wife was cooking a big dinner to thank their neighbors of taking care of her while her husband was gone.

This was just such a mood brightener and exactly what I needed to start off the holiday season on a positive note after having had a rough couple days. I left the commissary feeling lighter than air and with a huge smile on my face!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Open Letter

Dear Glee,

Having finally watched the Christmas special today, I know I am a bit late on the bandwagon, but I have to say that I was a little annoyed at the special this year.

As a Member of the Tribe, I understand that we are one of the smallest religions out there. However, the show has several Jewish characters, two of which have thrown being Jewish into every single other episode. (Does anyone else remember Puck complaining that he couldn't get a kosher meal in juvie?) I was surprised last year when there was not a single mention of Hannukah. I thought for sure that Puck or Rachel would have raised a stink about having to sing only Christmas music. I was also a little surprised (and not in a good way) when Rachel Berry gave Finn a Christmas list. Shouldn't it at the very least have been a Hannukah list? I know at the very end of the episode, she did say "Happy Hannukah," but at that point it didn't belong. It's like- you've spent the whole episode talking about Christmas, why bring up Hannukah now with 5 seconds left in it?

Someone please tell me I'm not alone in feeling this way.

giveaway winner

Congratulations to myfwbs. Please email me at whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com with your mailing address ASAP and Caryn will send out the prize to you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Not Soap, Radio Review

A little while ago, I got contacted by Not Soap, Radio to do a product review for their lip balm. I am a huge huge fan of Not Soap, Radio products, I even gave two of their products as gifts to my bridesmaids, so I was very excited about this! I am a huge lip product junkie, at any given moment in time, my purse is guaranteed to have at least 7 lip balms/glosses in it, so the fact that I was getting a new lip balm to try was a huge plus in my book.

Well, Not Soap, Radio surprised me by sending me TWO new lip balms to try out. Considering I had been having a not great time, getting their package in the mail seriously was the highlight of my day.

I was sent the Cocoa Nostra Confectionary Black and White Cookie Lip Balm

and the Happy Hannukah Greeting Card Lip Balm.

As a displaced New Yorker, I was in heaven over the Black & White Cookie Lip Balm. And as a Member of the Tribe, the Hannukah lip balm brought a huge smile to my face.

Here are the two lip balms side by side:

I don't know if you can see that, but the Hannukah one is in a plastic pot and is a bit taller. The Black & White Cookie one is in a metal tin.
Here is how they look in the pots. The Happy Hannukah one is on the left again, and the Black & White Cookie is on the right.

Happy Hannukah:
This one is chocolate gelt flavored (OMG, so good!) and tastes just like milk chocolate. It comes on very light and silky smooth. The scent is not overpowering, and over all this is a winner in my book.

Black and White Cookie:
This one has a much stronger scent than the Happy Hannukah lip balm. It is not overpowering but will definitely be too sweet for people who don't like sugary-flavored products. It also goes on smooth and shiny. If you like black and white cookies, you will love this lip balm.

To be honest, I have to say that I found the scent of the Black and White Cookie to be a bit too strong for me, and if this were a lip balm-off, the Happy Hannukah would win. I will gladly use this one every so often, but it is a bit too strong for me to become an everyday staple for me. The Happy Hannukah one is a whole other story. I love it to death, have used up more than I am proud to admit, and wish that I had one in every purse.

If you are new to Not Soap Radio, check out their website. They have a ton of awesome gift ideas for yourself or someone like you.

Yours truly is partial to the 8 Days of Luscious Lips Hannukah Set, $18
I would love to find this under my menorah- especially since that pouch would be perfect to take on flights

the Alpha Sigma Alpha Beauty palette, $5
If you are not Jewish or an Alpha Sigma Alpha, don't worry, they have plenty of products for you to fall in love with. If you check out the Not Soap, Radio facebook page, they have a 20% off coupon code posted on there now.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review. I received the product for free to try out. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Today I am Grateful For

Our insanely amazing home phone plan.

It's wonderful knowing that I can spend 45+ minutes on the phone with my BFF in NYC, 30 with a sorority sister in NC, 15 minutes with Andrew Marc customer service (without much success), and entirely too long on the phone with my mother convincing her that no I did not drink too much at last night's holiday party (also very grateful that my mother doesn't have twitter and can't see my face) and know that our phone bill won't be more than like 10€ for the month. 

Some days, this calling plan is a godsend. Today is definitely one of those days.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Scentsy give*away

It's no secret that I love Scentsy. I love all of their scents, the fun warmers, and TLS likes the fact that I can't burn down the house with it. (Leave your hair straightener on and a candle burning all day long in the same day, and suddenly, you're marked for life.)

Just in time for the holidays, my friend Caryn, who is a Scentsy consultant, has generously offered up a giveaway to Preppy Girl Meets World readers. The lucky winner will receive this adorable red and white snowflake warmer
perfect to match your holiday decor

along with two bars. The scents of those will be a fun surprise.
Each warmer is hand-made and beautifully done. I recently got the menorah warmer and cannot wait to finally use it!
1) To enter this giveaway, please visit Caryn's page and leave a comment on this post with your favorite item on here. This will get you one entry. This step is mandatory.
2) Like The City Scents on facebook and leave a comment saying that you are on her page from Preppy Girl Meets World. This will earn you a second entry.
3) Follow my blog publicly through GFC for a third entry.
4) Put my button on your blog for a fourth entry.
5) Blog about this giveaway for a fifth entry.

This giveaway will end on December 17th, and the winner will have 48 hours to contact me before a new winner will be chosen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vineyard Vines Tervis- Beuller

I fell in love with these adorable Tervis Tumblers on the Vineyard Vines site.
As soon as I saw the set, I knew I had to have the pink whale one. I don't want any of the other ones in the set. They don't do anything for me quite like the whale one does. He makes me happy.

I don't want to order the whole set of four. If anyone out there is ordering the set and doesn't mind parting with the whale one, please let me know. I will gladly pay you for it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chai Y'all

About a year and a half ago, I discovered My Flip Flopz through the blogosphere. My apartment at the time needed some sprucing up, so I contacted her about making a sign for it.

This was the finished result:
a reference to one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs

When I moved to Germany, it got hung up on the wall of our office. The wall had two nails on it (from a hideous painting that came with the house), and I never for the life of me could figure out what to hang on the other nail.

Then one day, TLS told me how growing up, his Nana had a sign hanging in her house that said

He didn't know what happened to the sign but wished that he had it now.

A bit of a lesson here: that symbol is the Hebrew word for "life." It is considered to be a very lucky symbol in Judaism. It is pronounced Chai, but with an h sound, so the sign would sound like "hi y'all."

Anyhoo, I thought this was one of the awesomest things ever, and I knew we had to have one. I emailed Susie to see if she could make me another sign to hang next to my Fins Up one. I also linked her to the Wikipedia page for Chai. I was sure she was going to think that I had lost a few a marbles. Then this showed up in our mailbox:

We currently have the two signs hanging next to each other, but hope to move the Chai Y'all one next to our entryway.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Exfoliating Minerals Review

A couple of weeks ago, I got contacted by Exfoliating Minerals to review their facial cleanser. I am a total beauty product junkie (I can just blink and suddenly I've spent at least $200 in Sephora like that!) so of course I jumped at the chance.

First things first- I have to be honest here- this stuff is not cheap. At all. At $48 for a 4 oz. tube, it is the most expensive face wash I have used. TLS, whose facial product of choice is "whatever's on special at the commissary this week," balked at the price. I had to assure him that I did no in fact pay for this. Twice.

Those of you who like to buy American will be happy to know that this product is made in the USA. Yay Exfoliating Minerals. Also, it is all-natural, eco-friendly, and Exfoliating Minerals does not test on Animals. This helps make the cost seem like a much better value.

With that said, I used the cleanser every day for two weeks, morning and night. I did not use any of my other face washes (that's right- plural- I told y'all I'm a junkie didn't I?) at this time, to truly test it out. I love scrubs for both my face and my body and was expecting something coarse and gritty. What I got was a clear, free-flowing gel in a tube. I was skeptical. No way in heck was this stuff going to work. But nevertheless, I made a commitment to give it a shot, so here went nothing.

What I noticed right away was that it smelled great. Kind of citrus-y with a mix of something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Later, while looking at their ingredient list, I noticed that it's made with lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. Well that would do it. If nothing else, this would definitely be my best-smelling facial cleanser.

I half expected it to get gritty once I put it on my face. It didn't. Seriously, if you're looking for a grainy, coarse, scrub, look elsewhere. It felt completely smooth on my skin, and after just two days, I noticed a difference in how glowy my skin looked. I did notice a difference in some dry patches, so I guess it worked.

Final note- like I said before, the gel is very free-flowing, so when you first use it, be careful to only squirt out a tiny amount. A little bit here does go a long way.

In general, I fell in love with this cleanser and will definitely continue to use it in the future.

Disclaimer: I was not financially compensated for this review. I received a tube of this product to try and keep. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The one with the puffy vest

Since Hannukah is just 17 days away, it's been time for me to make my wish list and send it of to my mother.

This season, my mother has been on a kick of buying me warm winter gear (flannel pajamas, new duvets, wool socks, etc.). It's just as well considering I pretty much live in an igloo.

What I really wanted for Hannukah was adorable Kate Spade hat.
it has a bow on it- how could I not?
Knowing that my mother is always on me to make sure I wear a hat, and that she cannot resist anything with the words Kate Spade on it (the apple doesn't fall all that far from the tree), I figured it was a pretty safe bet that I'd get it.

Just in case though, I decided to hedge my bets and put on it the other cold-weather item I really wanted, this Patagonia vest.
My mother hates vests. Hates them. Also, she hates anything white. (Technically, this color is called "Pearl," but close enough.) Plus it costs $150.00. I knew that there was no way in heck my mother would spend that on something that didn't have sleeves. The Kate Spade hat costs only $85- a lot for a hat, but about half the cost of the vest, so I figured including the vest on my list would make it look cheaper by comparison.

Last night, as Porky Pig was wildly flapping his arms outside my third story bedroom window, my husband came home with our mail for the day. In it was my Hannukah gift from my mother.

She got me the vest.

Go figure.

It is a lot thinner than I expect, and definitely very slim fitting, but it is a rather super-awesome vest. My usual rule with Hannukah gifts is that regardless of when you give them to me, I won't use or open them until Hannukah actually starts, but I had to break it with this vest. I want to get as much use out of it while I still can, before it gets too cold.

One of the vest's more awesome qualities is the fact that one of its pockets converts into a pouch, and you can take the entire thing, smush it up, and zip it into the pouch and then throw it into your Longchamp or wherever. Thereby avoiding snooty coat-check attendants, long lines, and leaving the house with all of your winter garb on only to discover that 35 minutes later, it's actually 65 degrees and sunny out. (What? Like this hasn't happened to you before?)  Brilliant.

Husband and I decided to test this out last night so I rolled it up into the pouch. We then proceeded to spend a solid 20 minutes playing catch with the vest.*

I'm sure my mother would love knowing that she just paid $150+shipping for a volleyball.

*we don't have cable
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cyber Monday Overload

Is it just me or has Cyber Monday become an even bigger deal and even more hyped this years than previous years? It's no secret that I love to shop and love to get a great bargain (sale is my favorite four letter word) but it seems like this year, the promotion for it has gotten excessive. I have already gotten three emails from the same exact company about Cyber Monday. Enough already.

I have almost finished up my holiday shopping and wasn't planning on doing much shopping for myself. I saw a cute top I wanted at LOFT and I decided to wait and see if I still wanted it. I decided I did. When I went back to check out, the site was down for maintenance. Go figure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you and all of your families and loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving.

TLS and I are headed to Manchester where will eat the very traditional Thanksgiving meal of Pot Pie and Tandoori Sea Bass. We have both been very homesick for England so we are very excited to go back!

I will be back on Sunday, but for now I leave you with this video which may or may not have been playing nonstop over at Casa S.

My favorite line is: "and then picked up the charge for using Visa which was drastic. 'Cuz how the feck are you supposed to pay if not with fecking plastic?"

Ryanair charged us 24€ in credit card fees when our tickets only cost 24€ for the two of us.

Monday, November 21, 2011

6 months ago

On Starbucks

On Saturday, husband and I took the train down to Mannheim to do some holiday shopping. There is a Starbucks in Mannheim so obviously I had to go there. Twice. The first time for a Lebkuchen Latte and the second time for a Cranberry White Mocha. It very much warmed my heart to see that Starbucks had red cups. :)

On my second trip in there, the crazy man in front of me paid for his 2,90€ drink in 0,01€ coins, which caused me much aggravation. Seriously. Who does that? I told my husband how annoyed I was, and he said that he was just impressed that the man managed to find a drink in Starbucks that only cost 2,90€.

I don't know what's worse- the fact that German Starbucks charge 4,60€ for a grande mocha, or the fact that I bought two of them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, November 17, 2011

where I've been

I have been one hot, emotional mess lately.

Those of you who follow me on twitter know by now that we found out last week that TLS will be deploying in March. We knew it could happen, but I was still hoping for the best. He will be missing both our birthdays and our anniversary.

I don't do well with change and have been really stressed out lately. If you remember from right before I moved here a year and a half ago (has it really been that long? geez!) that every single little thing, good or bad, made me cry. This time around, it hasn't been much different. I started crying, a lot, when TLS first told me. I stopped, but didn't feel any happier. The tiniest little thing would set me over the edge. I found a moth hole in the sleeve of my favorite Lilly Pulitzer sweater (pink with a navy elephant outline on the side) and I started crying over that. I started crying over not getting my new duvets in time. Over banging my toe and ruining my pedicure. Over running out of hot cocoa. And the list goes on and on and on.

I finally decided to ignore the world today, refuse to get out of bed, and have a pity party with Snoopy and Teddy. My face is all red puffy and I look like a hot mess. I'm sure I will feel better about this later on, but right now I feel emotionally drained. Several of you have sent me emails that I have not responded to. If you are one of them, please don't take it personally. Once I am feeling more like myself, I will respond to my messages. I promise.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

All I Want for Hannukah Is

Kate Spade Bow Ski Hat
The Preppy Ladybug Round Monogrammed Sterling Post Earrings
Blue Nile Pearl Ring
Elegant and very Yurman-esque for a much better price!
BaubleBar Monogrammed pendant in silver
Scout Crown Jewels in Angelina Ballerina

Monogrammed Marley Lilly Scarf
notice a theme here?
Happiness is Peanuts Snow Days
Pandora Bracelet and Charms

Monogrammed Tervis Tumbler

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh baby!

No, don't get excited. This post isn't a big announcement or anything.

I have a few friends who are about to become first time mommies. With that, I have spent plenty of time online oohing and aahing over onesies and debating which stroller is best.
every single one of my pregnant friends should expect to get this for Hannukah/Christmas/Winter Solstice

Here's the thing- the last person you should ever be turning to for parenting/baby advice is the girl who doesn't ever want to have a baby. As much as I love my friends- after a while it all starts to look the same. Also, I totally don't know which stroller/carseat is safest. I just know if things are pretty or not.

At the request of my friend Christina, I am turning to all of my mommy friends out there in cyberspace. What "stuff" do you recommend for babies? What  helped you out the most as a new mommy? What can you absolutely not live without? While I am sure my friends appreciate seeing my recommendations for $300 baby dresses because they are just too cute for words, I'm sure they appreciate things that are slightly more budget friendly and realistic. Also- what strollers, car seats, etc. do you recommend?

Rabbit Rabbit

Rabbit Rabbit!

Happy first of the month. Hoping these little bunnies bring you lots of luck. (It just would not be the 1st of the month without an obligatory rabbit pictures post.)

Things I am looking forward to this month:
1) Thanksgiving Day weekend in Manchester- 23 days until my feet are back on British soil. But who's counting? I may have already started packing in my excitement.

2) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Halloween is over. It's time for me to start playing this on repeat.

3) Getting a new watch. I got my current Coach watch as a gift from my parents for my 18th birthday and have worn it almost every day since then. Unfortunately, 28 year old Masha does not have the same wrists as 18 year old Masha and it's time for a change. After lusting over a gorgeous Skagen watch with a Mother of Pearl dial on base, I found out that I'm getting a $100 AAFES gift card as a volunteer appreciation gift this week. It's enough to cover the cost of the watch. Yes please.

4) Holiday cards and shopping. I get dorky around the holidays. I have been searching far and wide for the perfect holiday cards. I love buying presents for my friends. There is a certain thrill that you get when you realize you've found the perfect gift for someone.

5) The start of Christmas markets in Germany. And Gluhwein. The only bearable thing about living in Germany in the dead of winter.

A few other random notes:
1) I am insanely jealous of all of you who get your red Starbucks cups starting today. +2 points to whomever sends me a few of those red cups so I can make coffee in my Keurig and pretend like I'm in Starbucks.
2) After a bunch of bloggers went searching far and wide without any luck whatsoever for my Pumpkin Spice Creamer, husband excitedly emailed me last night staying that they just got it in stock on base yesterday. Thank you to everyone who looked for me. And if you're on Ramstein, it's at the Northside Shoppette. You're welcome.
3) Last year, I got a lot of requests from friends for ornaments from Germany. This year, the shipping deadline for Christmas packages is December 9th. If you'd like an ornament this year, let me know ASAP so I have time to buy them and mail them out.
4) I posted this on Twitter and just in case I have better luck here, I'm posting this here too:

I'm helping to plan TLS's squadron's holiday party and am in charge of getting prizes/gifts. The budget isn't huge so I'm trying to get as many presents as I possibly can donated so that I can get a few of the bigger items. If any retailers read this blog and are willing to donate something, please email me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

randomness from my tiny kitchen

It's no secret that I have insomnia. If you follow me on twitter, you've probably caught on to the fact that half the time, my tweets are in the 2:00-4:00am range my time. Our crazy new sleep schedule hasn't helped lately. So being the good wife that I am, I'm in the kitchen making my new favorite crock pot recipe for TLS to bring to work tomorrow. You ever have those things that you just want to say so someone else will know but they don't fit in anywhere?

Yea, well here are mine.

1) I have a lot of gripes with my kitchen. A lot. It's smaller than my bathroom. I'm the kind of girl that can easily spend 4+ hours in the kitchen without blinking, so the fact that I can't keep my pots, pans, stand mixer, crock pot, or heck, refrigerator in the kitchen is a huge problem. Well it gets better. There are exactly 5 outlets in my kitchen. A set of two on either side of the sink and stove, and a single one up on the wall by where I keep Fritz, my rooster. (More on him later.) The other day, when I was trying to use my stand mixer, I managed to blow a fuse. No problem. Plugged the transformer into another outlet. Blew that too. Emailed my husband in a panic because we did not have a spec of electricity in our house. He came from work to fix it. (We live 15-20 minutes from base.) As soon as he did, we tried to plug in the mixer again and ka-boom. No seriously, don't worry, Kitty is fine, but let's just say my husband had to take many a trip to the basement to get her to be that way. Since that fateful day, all of the outlets in my kitchen seem to be working again knockonwood but now we have a new problem.

The lights in my kitchen don't work.


Two days before, my husband had just put in all new lightbulbs, but just to be safe, I may have suggested insisted that he switch them out again. No dice.

Now my husband isn't exactly Handy Manny and can't do much more than flicking a switch in the fusebox (remember, I did have a man drive 35 minutes for this so I'm not exactly one to throw stones) and after looking up directions for how to fix our wiring or whatever (yea, not exactly a handy girl myself)- all of which were written for American wiring which we don't have, we realized that we will not get our lights back until we can get an electrician to come take a look at it. That's going to be a while. Germany just fell behind this weekend so it gets dark at like 4:00pm here. This is a huge problem. We went to the BX to buy a standing lamp to use as a temporary solution and of course, they were all sold out of every single one. And won't be in stock for a while. It's a Sunday so the German stores are closed. I've resorted to keeping my iphone set on its maximum brightness and using  several strategically placed candles to help me cook. Just call me Laura Ingalls Wilder.

2) We went to the commissary to buy food so I could you know, cook it. (Novel concept, I know.) I needed about 6-8 cloves of garlic and 3 onions. I got to the garlic and onion section and as soon as I set one foot near it, all of these fruit flies just swarmed out of it. So gross. No way in heck was I going to buy that. It's a Sunday so the German stores are closed. Yay.

3) On the days that the German stores are open, they are generally open later than the commissary. Fun fact, just because it says "American Ginger Ale" on the label, does not mean it tastes anything like the Ginger Ale that Americans are used to.

4) Last year, our very own Muffy Martini posted a link to a delicious-sounding pumpkin fudge recipe on her blog. I knew I had to make it. I was at a friend's house having a very grown-up playdate consisting of baking cookies and fudge (her kitchen is so much bigger!) and I made about 3 batches of it. It came out fantastic. So so good. People couldn't get enough of the stuff. So I said I'd make more. I went home, got all the same ingredients and set out to make another batch.

Floppity flop flop, flop flop.

It was a disaster, the fudge just would not harden. I'm not sure if my friend's stove has a better heating element than mine does or if it's because she has stainless steel pans and I have nonstick at home or what, but it was a disaster. This had never happened to me so I was perplexed. Convinced I had omitted a single crucial fudge-making step, I decided to try again. Determined that this would be a good batch. I followed the directions to a t. And you know what?

Floppity flop flop, flop flop.

Seriously. I decided to chalk it up to bad luck and spend all year sulking about it in secret. This year, I decided to revisit the recipe. This morning I raced downstairs, eager to beat the clock so I could still cook while I had daylight outside my window (seriously, wasn't there an episode of Little House on the Prairie that went just like this?) and attempted to make fudge. I'm sure you can guess what happened next, but just in case.

Floppity flop flop, flop flop.

At this point, I will not be making this recipe again. At least not until I get a new stove and a stainless steel pot. In the epic battle of woman vs. dessert food- rounds 2 and 3 went to the fudge.

I'm just wondering if any of you tried making this recipe and had success (or failure) with it? I've made plenty of much more complicated recipes in my life so I just don't get it. I really don't.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Search for the Great Pumpkin and give*a*way

I love pumpkins. A lot. I love everything about them. Mostly including eating them. This year, I have pretty much been on a "no pumpkin left behind" kick and have been making pumpkin stuff up the wazzoo. I'm pretty sure that if I do make any more pumpkin stuff, my husband will turn orange. I still have quite a lot of pumpkin stuff to make, so we're getting there.

Last year we found out about a pumpkin festival in Germany. Unfortunately, we found out about it after the festival had closed which meant I spent roughly 355 days sulking about it. This year I found out that there was a pumpkin festival right in our town (!!!) and kept on reminding my husband of that fact every half an hour. Of course in between plans we previously had and the fact that I wasn't walking for a while, it took us some time to actually get there. So we finally set aside yesterday to go to the park for the festival. The whole day.

Germans love their festivals and they are usually amazing so we were so excited! We got plenty of cash to try out pumpkin soup and pumpkin wine and went on our merry way.

What a disappointment.

The admission to the park for the two of us was 13€ and once we got in, we realized that all of the pumpkin-specific vendors had already closed up and there were only their usual food kiosks there (which are really good, but not what we wanted). 

Every year, the pumpkin festival has a theme and they make dioramas made out of pumpkins. This year's theme was fairy tales. While as a festival itself, it was pretty darn disappointing, we did have fun looking around the different dioramas. 
the prize-winning big pumpkins- don't ask me about #1- we didn't see that on display
the Frog Prince
the Pied Piper- love the little ears on the pumpkin mice
Beware of Dragon- Siegfried and the Dragon (this is a German thing)
Mother Goose
Like I said, the pumpkin displays were definitely cool, but it took us roughly 30 minutes to go through the whole thing. Perhaps this would have taken longer or been more exciting had we had a kid with us. I just don't know. In no way was this worth our nearly $20 admission fee. We bought some crepes from the crepe stand (delicious!) and ate those pretending like it was 18€ for just the two of those. The park that the festival was in is called the Dino Park because it has huge sculptures of dinosaurs all around it. There was a hollow dinosaur head in there so that little children could go in and take pictures of themselves in it.

Obviously. We had to.

Now on to the giveaway portion of this post. As most of you know, TLS and I have a huge soft spot in our hearts for a certain cartoon beagle. This month's giveaway will reflect that. I will be giving away one movie of the winner's choice:
I know it's a bit late for this one- but it is adorable and a true classic
The rules:
This giveaway is open to current followers via GFC only. Leave a comment here. That's it. I will draw a winner after it closes at midnight EST on Sunday, October 31st.