Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, dear friends and readers! I hope you get to spend the holidays with your family and loved ones.

We will have a family dinner (BF's family) and then unwrap our presents tonight, on Christmas Eve, just like in Germany. Here in the USA most families seem to unwrap presents on Christmas day morning (December 25), but my boyfriend suggested we unwrap tonight, just like I'm used to from home <3

Hugs to All! Enjoy the holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A little peek (Puppie Love)

Here's a little peek at what I will be doing over the holidays:

Don't get too excited. We will only have them for 3 days. They are our friends' new puppies and they have to travel for three days, so my boyfriend and I will be watching them (and snuggling them until they are sick of us!)

When we visited them yesterday, our friends said: "Oh, thank you so much for watching them. We really appreciate it!" Are you kidding? "WE really appreciate it," I answered! Who wouldn't want to have these guys around for a few days? (OK, maybe non-dog-lovers, but we DO love us some doggies, especially puppies!)

Are they the cutest little things on earth, or what?!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


You guys all know that I lived very close to my office previously. It took me about 5 minutes to drive to work (without any traffic lights it would be more like 2 mins). Now that I've moved, that has changed a little. It takes me about 35-40 minutes each way, every day, ugh! Not so awesome for this spoiled European. (I am used to either walking or cycling to work/school.)

I didn't have high hopes that I would find somebody to carpool with... while people do carpool here in the US, I thought that a 35 minute commute is NOTHING for Americans and that nobody would be wanting to carpool for such a "short" distance... wrong! I actually found a colleague who was willing to. He was tired of driving so much and lives only 5 mins from our new house :)

We're aiming to carpool for 2 out of the 5 work days, yay! (Gotta go to yoga straight after work for the rest of the days!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

The job (December edition)

I'm a (mostly software) engineer, working at a relatively small subsidiary of a German company. Even though normally, my day consists of sitting at a desk in front of a computer, we also produce and sell hardware... as in big time. It's just that normally, I don't have anything to do with it... exceeeeept...

... when December rolls around and it's time for "all hands on deck in the lab". Stuff has to be delivered this year to make our customers and our 2011 numbers happy. That means that even the engineers get to play around with wires to get these systems out the door by christmas. We get to see what out technicians usually deal with all day. A change in the routine... fun! For a while... ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Full circle

It's my blog's first birthday today... Happy Birthday!

Photo from ABC Cakeshop & Bakery

These last few days have really felt like I've come full circle in the last year. It's winter again, just like when my journey started. I've been packing boxes again, just like I did a year ago. This year has been quite the ride, and it's been hard at times of course, but it's also been AWESOME! I am SO SO SO glad I took this job and opportunity to move across the ocean.

It's going to be my birthday soon, and then Christmas, so normally this would mean seeing my family and friends. But alas, not this year. This has definitely caused me some heartache. I have been away from home often, even as a child (boarding school), so I felt basically as prepared as one can feel before moving across the ocean to live on another continent. I had never been away for more than a year at a time though and now I can honestly say: I know what "homesick" feels like.

My new friends and friends who feel like family have been wonderful. I have really enjoyed having them around for holidays and special occasions, but... on occasion it makes me miss my family even more. Never fret though, as a trip to Germany is in the works. It will not happen before 2012, but oh well! I will enjoy the anticipation until then :)

Anyway, I am proud of myself and happy and grateful for all the new friends and old friends, and family, and supporters, and helpers I have had this past year.

Thank you so much, All!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Green smoothies

Hi Everybody!

My boyfriend and I have a new thing... green smoothies! We all know that in our modern lives, many of us eat too much processed food. There are many people who try to turn this around by eating vegetarian, vegan, raw, or who knows what else. The idea behind the green smoothies is that not only are they raw, they also contain a lot of leafy greens of which we usually eat too little of.

Anyway, after a couple of months playing with the smoothies, here is an update!

Literature: My BF and I loooove this book Green Smoothie Revolution by Victoria Boutenko. It contains a lot of information, some scientific insight, years and years of personal experiences from her and her family, and a ton of recipes. Great mix for when you're starting out with smoothies! My BF and I now refer to the author as "our friend Victoria", as in "No, don't put broccoli in it. Remember, our dear friend Victoria says is not good in smoothies because of the starch!" Love this book. It's an easy read and it really made us enjoy more and drink more smoothies!

Recipes: We pretty much stick to Victorias principles - keep it easy, limit the number of ingredients to 3-4. Use 2 different fruits (ex: bananas, frozen berries, avocado, pineapple, mango, etc), 1 green (ex: spinach, kale, chard, wheatgrass, etc), and water. Try to use more green and less fruit as you get more experienced.
 ☆ My favorite: raspberries/strawberries, avocado, spinach, water.
 ☆ His favorite (he likes it sweeter): mango/pineapple, banana, wheatgrass, water.

Frequency: Our goal has been to drink at least 1-2 smoothies per day. Some weeks we do well, some we fail miserably haha. It all depends on how busy we are and how much time we spend at home vs. out and about (eating out, traveling). My BF has tried an "all-smoothie diet" for 3 days or so and really loved it (see Benefits below.)
We drink the smoothies as snacks, not as meal replacements. Although sometimes we will replace a meal with a smoothie. We don't have strict rules. A smoothie will keep you full for a while, so it is definitely possible to replace a meal with a smoothie.

Equipment: At first, we didn't want to spend money on a blender in case we end up not liking smoothies. We tried using a food processor. It was kind of messy and the smoothies didn't get very "smooth". It was OK, but not ideal. We liked the smoothies though, so we started researching blenders. The best of the best cost 400 US$ and up (Vitamix, Blendtec). We decided on a much cheaper one (40 US$) that got very good ratings by consumer reports. We are very happy with it. The smoothies get super smooth and the motor shows no signs of burning out. (We try not to run it for longer than 30-60 seconds at a time. Also, always use enough liquid to prevent motor burnout.)

Benefits: Now, for the most interesting aspect. What benefits did we experience? I definitely feel a difference, even when I just drink one large glass of smoothie per day. I feel lighter, happier, just plain better! It also meshes really well with my yoga practice and his workout routine, fueling us with all the nutrients we need.
When my BF did the "all-smoothie diet" for a few days, he felt so amazing! He said it just made him so energetic and he realized that "regular" food makes him fatigued. It made such a difference for him that his colleagues (who didn't know he was doing any special diet) asked him what was going on with him, because he came across as so energetic and happy! Amazing, isn't it?
We definitely feel it, when we skip our smoothies. For example, last week we moved, and between our three households, there hasn't been any time to make smoothies. My BF and I have both noticed that we feel grumpy, our bodies are not happy with the food we put in them, and we just feel tired and blah. We both can't wait to get back to a more regular smoothie routine! :)

Thank you, Victoria! Cheers!