Saturday, June 30, 2012

Two Years

Two years ago, my life changed in a big way. Two years ago, I followed my heart and got on the second one-way flight of my life. Two years ago, I left my beloved NYC for a new adventure in suburban Germany.

When I first got here, it was a huge culture shock for me with both the German and military ways of life, and I went through bouts of unhappiness. Most days, I never left my house and I just felt so scared and alone.

I've changed and grown a lot since then. I have no problems riding public transportation, I walk to our town's downtown shopping area for iced tea at least 4 times a week. While I may not speak German, I do know enough words to order a drink or know my way around a menu in a restaurant. I now have several German clothing stores that are in my regular rotation, and am familiar with my sizes in them. I am more comfortable going grocery shopping off base.

We still have just under two years left in Germany, and there are a few things I'd like to accomplish before we leave. Here is my Bucket List:
*order something from a German store and have it delivered to my house- I have yet to online shop here, and I do really "need" to. I have a small collection of these canisters and want to have a complete set before we leave.

Some of these pieces are only available online, so problem solved.
*get a Dirndl- Cheesy. I know. I don't care. I think they're fun. I know if I leave here and don't get one, I will regret it. And it would make for one awesome Halloween costume for years to come.
*get a cuckoo clock- We have a saying here that everyone leaves Germany with either a cuckoo clock or a baby. Enough said.
*Visit Berlin- I can check this one off my list at the end of September. :)
*climb to the top of the Köln Dom (Cologne Cathedral)- it is one of the tallest churches in the world and climbing to the top of that is quite a feat!

Those of you who remember my challenge with the Strasbourg Cathedral are probably laughing at this goal now. Hard.
*go to an 1.FCK game- our town's local football (soccer) team

*go to the Hofbräuhaus in Munich-

*go to the Nurmberg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber Christmas markets-

Actually, I also want to visit those places not during Christmas. I work for a German Christmas store company (believe me, the irony of this is not lost on me) that's based out of Rothenburg, and they actually have several shops there, including a year-round Christmas Village.
*go to Liechtenstein- ok so it isn't actually in Germany, but it is pretty close to it, and I would love to go visit, and it's the kind of place that once we leave Europe, I don't think we'd take a vacation to.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

Anyone who has ever spent more than 20 seconds at a time with me will tell you that I have a total sweet tooth. To me, dessert is an essential part of any meal. When it came to my wedding, this was no different. Choosing the cakes (yes plural) was very important to me and by far my favorite part of wedding planning! We wound up with a gorgeous wedding cake, a groom's cake, mini cupcakes that got buttered during dancing, and a candy buffet for our favors. This was in addition to the desserts that the restaurant already included in our package. I wanted to make sure that our guests left our wedding fat, drunk, and happy. They all did.

Not only was our cake gorgeous on the outside, it was incredibly tasty to boot.

We had alternating tiers of pistachio cake with chocolate hazelnut buttercream and tangerine cake with passionfruit filling. Everyone got a slice of both flavors. After the wedding, we eagerly took the top tier of that bad boy home and yours truly got the super fun job of schlepping it back to Germany. It was not small or light and after two disastrous flights on Alitalia (also known as Satan's layover), all of the pretty flowers at the top are not quite as pretty any more.

We put it on the bottom shelf of our freezer and waited until we could carboload in the name of love on our anniversary. (I should mention that Cakey here takes up the entire bottom shelf of our freezer, so space has been a bit tight for the past year or so.)

When our anniversary rolled around, we went to the Czech Republic, and did not schlep Cakey with us. We planned to devour him when we got home, but somehow that never happened. Then I had this beautiful vision of setting out my Lilly Pulitzer tablecloth on June 22nd (our 13 monthversary) and setting it with my Nana's silver, the Tiffany & Co. flutes we received from my MOH, a bottle of Veuve, and showing Cakey who's boss. It was a lovely well-thought out plan. Until June 25th rolled around and we scratched our heads thinking "weren't we supposed to do something s few days ago?"

So now, we have been married for 13.5 months, and have a giant frozen cake taking up residence in our freezer. Every time I open it up to get a Popsicle, Cakey taunts me. It's like he thinks he won or something . Umm no. All I know is that I don't want to be the girl who PCS's with 3 year old cake in her freezer. And have I mentioned that freezer space is tight? I need room in there for more important things like sweet tea vodka and Popsicles. (Mom, if you're reading this, pretend that last sentence said Organic Ground Turkey and seasonal veggies from the Farmers' Market.)

So my question is- at what point do we eat the cake? Do we wait until a date like our 18 month versary/ 2 year anniversary/ anniversary of when T proposed, or do we just stockpile vodka and Frozfruit (organic kale) and just go to town because it's a day that ends in Y?

Those of you who didn't eat your cake on your anniversary, when did you eat it?


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 25, 2012


*This weekend T and I went to a Marc Chagall exhibit that was held in our town. The Episcopalian (I think) Church had an exhibit of 42 of his prints that were based on scenes from the Bible. I am a huge fan of Chagall's work and enjoyed it immensely. The works there were for sale. It's a shame I didn't have an extra 1,000+€ burning a hole in my wallet, because there were a few pieces there that I could not stop looking at and would have loved nothing more than to have them hanging in my house.
*My cousin gave birth to a little boy. This is the first baby in that side of our family and we are all so excited for her! And I am speaking completely objectively here when I say that he is the cutest thing I have ever seen in my life.
*We finally bought a new couch! (Thank you mom and dad for the super awesome anniversary gift.) That was only half the battle apparently because the delivery company apparently has no record of this and can't deliver us the couch until we do. Lovely.
*I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this on here or not, but dogs pretty much have more rights than children do in Germany. Germans really love their dogs and it's pretty common to see them in restaurants and cafes and shops. Some places even give out little doggie treats. (I wish stores would give me a chocolate chip cookie for being a hungry Masha.) Every time I go downtown, I see more dogs than humans half the time. As someone who desperately wants a puppy or a bunny but can't, it's a little amusing and a little heartbreaking at the same time. I really feel like I need a puppy to make my shopping experience in Germany complete.
*Speaking of bunnies, days like this, I love Germany.
Yes, that is a bunny just hanging out right outside of H&M. Brilliant marketing H&M. Brilliant.
*Every.Single.Time. I go downtown it seems like there is a new tea shop or a new place to buy bubble tea in the area. Bubble tea is Germany's biggest food trend since the schnitzel. McDonald's even started selling bubble tea. (For the record- the teas there are overpriced and way too sweet. Not worth it.) I saw an ice cream shop that sells bubble ice cream. Dead serious. I told TLS that if I ever see the bubble jagerschnitzel, I'm moving to Canada.
*This is the summer of Tervis tumblers. I asked for roughly 39393093738 of them for my birthday. (Slight exaggeration, but not by as much as you'd think.) Just in time for my birthday, Tervis came out with this gem.
How considerate of them. Thank you Tervis.
*We made reservations to Edelweiss for a weekend trip for my birthday. Now I just have to figure out if I want a Swedish or Hot Stone massage. Which should I go for?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Birthday Wishlist

Today marks the one month mark to my 29th (eeek!) birthday. I have been busy planning a birthday outfit and dinner (sushi, naturally). I already got my birthday gift from my parents a few weeks early- a Canon EOS Rebel T3 camera.

I am trying to be good about it and not use it until my actual birthday. (I am weird about presents- if you give me a birthday or Hannukah gift early, I will set it aside and not open it/use it until the actual occasion. It makes holidays seem more special to me that way.)
Since I know your day is bot complete without a glimpse at my birthday wish list- here it is:
Kate Spade Cooper Watch

Unless TLS gets this for me for my birthday, this will most likely be my birthday gift to myself. (I like to spoil myself when I can.)
Socialite Sunglasses from Pineapple Grove Gifts

I have always loved sunglasses. When I moved to Germany, I had three pairs of designer sunglasses with me. In between too many wine tests and just general carelessness, that number is now down to just one pair. That I am now getting bored of. These combine some of my favorite things- monograms and sunglasses for a great price!
Butter London nail polish in Scoundrel

I love this color. Seriously a lot. But um, it costs 16,95€ over here. (Have I mentioned that nail polish is bananas expensive in Germany?) No way can I justify spending that kind of money on nail polish for myself. Just can't do it. This falls under the category of something I would love to have but only as a gift.

Tervis Tumblers

I have a small one that was a gift from a dear twitter friend and ASA sister, and I would love some larger ones as well to bring iced tea to work and such. Also, I really want a monogrammed one.
C. Wonder Monogram Decorative Plate

Was going to order this for myself to use as a trinket tray for jewelry and such, but C. Wonder does not ship to APO addresses. Meant to have it sent to my mom or a friend so that they could forward it along to me, but never got around to it. Still want it though.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Shiny, Sparkly

Last month, I attended a weeklong leadership development conference at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany. (Side note: Edelwiess is absolutely stunning and if you have the opportunity to get over there, I highly recommend it.) There were attendees from spouses' clubs in most of the European bases and Army posts. Needless to say, this was a very estrogen-fueled week. There were roughly 500 women there and only 4 men at the conference, and we all started to feel bad for them after a while.

USAA was one of the corporate sponsors and did a raffle for 4 pieces of jewelry from their collection ranging from $329 in value to $1,500. Needless to say, their booth was always mobbed! At dinner, the last night of the conference, they drew the winners of the raffle. My friend Hannah Won a gorgeous topaz necklace. Then they drew for a black pearl and diamond pendant that I really wanted. No luck. Shocking. Next came the gold and precious stone cross. Every girl in the room eagerly waited for her name to be called. Every girl but one. I sat back confidently knowing I wouldn't get it and took this opportunity to check Facebook. Then they called "Masha S." Go figure. The only Jew in the entire conference wins a freaking cross. The one who could care less about it.

I just sat there with a stunned look on my face like "what do I do now?" and the entire group that I was with started hysterically laughing. Tis is how I know that there really is someone up there- He has a great sense of humor.

After all of the token Jew jokes were done with and dinner ended, the USAA rep took back my cross (darn!) and said that someone would contact me about getting a slightly more Jew-friendly prize.

It came on Monday.

It is so gorgeous that I seriously cannot stop looking at it.

Thank you so much USAA for hosting the giveaways and for being such good sports about it.

A friend who is involved with the conference planning told me that this was the first year that they gave away a cross, and it will probably be the last year that they do it. They just didn't get the reaction they wanted. Murphy's Law.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 4, 2012

Camera Bag Help

I have been wanting a DSLR camera for a long time, and my parents agreed to buy me one for my birthday this year. At this point, I am about 95% positive that I will be going with Canon EOS Rebel T3.
While I wait for my birthday (and my new toy), I have been doing the fun task of online window-shopping for a camera bag. I know I want something pretty and "me" and not just a plain black Lowepro case. I have found a few options that I love, the downside being that I haven't seen any of them in person. If anyone has any experience with any of these bags, I would love to hear your opinions. Or, if there is a different camera bag that you use that you think I should take a look at, please let me know.

Kelly Moore Bags:
Love the color options and styles available here. I appreciate the fact that these look like regular handbags and don't scream "look at me, I have an expensive camera" from like a mile away. These are the styles that I'm leaning towards now.
B-Hobo Bag in Teal ($169)

2 Sues Bag in Raspberry ($199)

I love that both of these bags have sections for iPads. Huge plus. Both of these are out of stock online but should be in stock before I get my camera, so that's not a huge issue. Plus, it looks like Amazon has the hobo bag in stock.

Epiphanie Bags
Clover Bag in Camel ($184.99)

Much like the Kelly Moore bags, these look like real purses and have spots for things like keys, wallet, iPad, etc. Really like the braided straps on this one.

Jo Totes
Betsy bag in Chocolate ($109)

Gracie Bag in Greige ($119)

Am I missing something? Since when is "Greige" a color? Sounds uber-pretentious. The bag is nice though. I would probably call it something else. All credibility is lost when one uses the word Greige. (I have now used Greige three times in this one post. Make that four.)

Vera Bradley
Camera Bag in Priscilla Pink ($65)

This bag has a few pros and cons.
*The price. I love the fact that it is less than $100. The BX here carries Vera Bradley, so it's even cheaper than MSRP.
*I love the pattern. I have the large duffle in it and would love to get more things in it.
*I've seen it in person so I know exactly what I'm getting here.
*If I can find it at the BX, then I can avoid having to worry about shipping times and costs.

*The bag is small. Unlike all of the other bags I posted here, this is the only one that fits only the camera and an extra lens and nothing else. This means I would have to carry another bag on me for things like my sunglasses, wallet, phone, keys, etc. and I'm not sure I want to do that.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad