Our life in Germany - take 1.

I don't even know where to begin, so much has happened since my last post - which was back in December of 2014. I've been neglecting my little space because of all the crazy loops and twirls life has put us through.

A quick summary of basically last year and some of this year:
  • I shaved all my hair off and restarted my natural journey. (too much heat damage from straightening and coloring) I've been natural since May of 2012 - almost 3 years soon! I love my afro and I'll never mistreat it with the straightener again. Sorry, if you're confused.
  • We threw some get togethers and spent most of our free time with our friends here.
  • My parents flew out and my mom helped teach Sicily to walk, but her clubfoot still wasn't fixed. This in turn lead to us finding a new doctor and getting a second opinion! Hallelujah that we did - I can't even begin to type about her old doctor here. *rage*
  • We've been redoing the house room by room. First it was our room, then the kitchen, the living room and now we're working on Sicily's.
  • I started a Geek Girl Brunch chapter for Kaiserslautern, Germany area. I also found another officer to help out with the chapter. We launched our first brunch in Feb (as most of you know if you read my Geek Talk post) What is that? Check out Geekgirlbrunch.com or click on the badge at the side of my page. It's been fun so far! See if there is a chapter in your area!! If anyone is interested in becoming a officer of our chapter, shoot me an email.
  • My life got turned upside down with my recent diagnosis of Celiacs, though, I wasn't wholly surprised considering I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and anytime I ate gluten my joints would flare to high heaven. 
  • We have been saving to see.....*drum roll* JAPAN! Yeah, yeah, I know..we're in Germany, there is a lot of Europe to see. Honestly, Japan has been my dream since childhood. My dream was to become a translator and live in Japan...just ask my mom. There are only a few places I have on my bucket list to see in Europe and that's based on history that interests me. Other than that, if we go somewhere here and I love it, then that's that but I'm daydreaming about Japan these days. 
Enough summary. Want to see a sneak peak of our new home and the decor? It's not finished but once it is in about a month, I'll do a photo tour and get all the detail properly. Everyone who knows me knows I love vintage, always have...so why can't my house be my spin on modern vintage? Now, I just need a stand for my record player, and a display shelf for all my comics, action figures and manga anddddd my house would be perfect! 

Before I offer a sneak peak of my pad...I'll let you know what direction this blog is going in this year! The same direction as normal but with a few new things. I'll have giveaways as normal every couple of months, so don't worry about that. But, as most of you know, Geek Talk has been on my blog since my new design back early last year..I'll be expanding on this and letting you know what my current manga reads are, geeky products I've found that I love and want to share etc. Other new things? Well...not new, but I'm getting back to adding recipes on the blog. There has always been a section, but I've been super neglecting that after all of Sicily's clubfoot treatments so I'm back in business for those who loved my recipes and adaptions. Another thing, I'll be trying to do more of these Our Life in Germany series. 

I'm happy for all my readers who have stuck around and have been checking on the blog even when it was empty and sad. Here is to a new year and finally having life under control enough to take the reins back onto my blogging! Lets get back on this crazy ride!!!!

What has been new for all of you?! 

Geek Talk .1

I know I've been MIA for quite a while, I went restarted my natural journey again back in July of 2014, lost 20 lbs of prednisone weight and dyed my hair but that's another story for another time. I'll update soon, but my absence has been for good reason. Whats the reason? Oh, I became a Geek Girl Brunch Officer and it took quite a bit of my time to find another officer, to plan our first brunch so on, and so forth.

Geek Girl Brunch is a little bit of something for everyone. It's a place for women to get meet up, eat delicious brunch, drink fancy drinks and come together over their geeky loves! I am honored to be able to be apart of something so great! I've met some of the most creative, empowering women through GGB and I'm looking forward to meeting more in the future. 

Geek Girl Brunch Kaiserslautern is the first international chapter! Hoping there will be more in the future and the European chapters can plan a get together. For our launch, we choose the Magical Girl theme. Why? Because there is nothing like having a big opener with the message that we are not damsels, we can save ourselves! We're all magical girls right? Plus, most of us started our geeky awakening with Sailor Moon. It only seemed fitting. 

Brunch location took place at Sam Kullman's Diner in Kaiserslautern and it did not disappoint. It was the cutest 50's style diner and the breakfast was really, really good. It made me homesick in a good way. Good ol' American style breakfast - oh and did I mention they had awesome milkshakes and alcoholic coffee? Yeah...score!

At brunches we try to give swag bags that go along with our theme, check out these awesome items and the amazing vendors who supplies us with products! Be sure to click the links to their shop:

supplied us with awesome I Fight Like A Magical Girl tote bags, compact pins AND awesome patches for our jackets! 

This chick is awesome. She takes the time to make out of this world lollipops and they are the bomb. She may or may not be making another appearance at future brunches with custom lollipop flavors.

I also thought it'd be nice to find Japanese Kitkats for brunch!
Talk about magical girl?! She made a bunch of these for our brunch and I can't thank her enough. They are perfect. My photos don't do them justice at all. She can make designs from other randoms as well, check out her shop!

Wow, these rings were gorgeous and all the ladies were super excited about them! Thank you so much. They were definitely made with love.

Mikomi Accessories: supplied us with awesome Sailor Moon stickers (pins were from Tin Ink above) and I'm currently rocking it on my camera bag!

 I got the breakfast platter for two, because awesome and do it big or go home..right? Haha.

While our first brunch turn out was small, it was still a start! We're hoping our March Brunch is more fruitful and full of more awesome ladies to meet! While March's Space Adventurer Genderbend brunch is full, you can always join the wait list - don't miss out! We have lots of Spoilers in store. 

Happy Brunching from us to you, and we hope you'll sign up and become apart of this awesome growing community!

Heidelberg Weihnachtsmarkt

*I apologize for not editing my photos together to create a nicer, more balanced look but I'm pressed on time with other projects at the moment. 

Oh hello, it's been quite a while. I'll update you on the twists and turns in life later, so lets just jump in and get this show on the road shall we?!

I've been to Heidelberg at least 4 times since we've been in Germany and I simply can't get enough. This was the first time that we had the pleasure of experiencing Heidelberg's beautiful Christmas Market and I promise, it won't be the last time.

Heidelberg is already charming but it will lift you instantly into the Holiday spirit! They have 3 separate Christmas Markets. Ice Skating at one market with out of this world potato fritters, which if you're wondering going hand in hand with apple sauce, though if that is not your thing then the garlic sauce would be perfect too. Another at the Castle and another in the middle of the city. I missed the market that sold Dampfnudlen (I think someone lied because I looked all over and my dreams were crushed)...if you've never had one, well...you need to reevaluate your life choices and get one! It's that serious.

There is also a beautiful carousel and boy did my daughter have a blast riding on it! Lots of kid activities at this Market. So come, enjoy your Glühwein and let your kids have fun too. I make it a tradition to get at least one item from every market, this year I found a tent filled with the most gorgeous lights on strings and I nabbed quite a few for my home. No regrets!

While Heidelberg isn't in my top Christmas Markets, it's still a nice trip to make with family - which I did as my mother and my stepfather came out for 2 weeks and spent most of their time hogging my little one! First grandchild + living overseas = lots of time to make up. We had a blast. If you're looking for a fun market, this is one to visit!

Any other Christmas Market mug collectors out there? I MUST get Glühwein at every market and then I keep the mugs for my collection. What Weihnachtsmarkt have you visited and what items do you find that you've loved?

Goodie Reviews: Skosh + Cravory Box

Where do I even start? I'm a foodie, a huge one. Before I plan a trip, I scope out local blogs of the area, google and everything else under the sun to find the best eats I can before we go. While living in Europe, there are many things that can make a foodie's mouth water...especially when a quick trip across the border and you're in France to shop at Cora, or you could take a 3 hour drive to get to Belgium. What I miss is a little taste of home. Home being the United States. I can make many things and I can even cook southern meals, but it will never be like being at home. This is where some of my favorite boxes come in, Georgia Crafted is one that sends southern goodies / products for $29 a month, but I'll make a post about that another time.

Right now, it's all about The Cravory. They a small business that pushes out the most delicious and creative cookies. They are available by simply choosing an option to order, for example: you could choose savory, chocolate, or adventurous cookies with a 6-24 option or you could become apart of their subscription for just $29 a month for a dozen and get their cookies of the month box. It will include the new flavors they've come up with and arrive with godspeed to your door. For anyone who is wondering, yes, they ship to APO. It took only a bit under a week and they were packaged extremely well, and still fresh and absolutely out of this world when they arrived.

My favorites so far are Pretzel Caramel Brownie, Blueberry Upside Down Cake, Brown Sugar Vanilla and Orange Bar. I'm going to let my husband have to Hazelnut Banana Daze, and Puppy Chow as they contain nuts and/or peanut butter/nutella. Don't stone me, but I don't particularly care for anything nutty or with nutella (forgive me, for I know I have sinned to quite a few people haha). I got June's cookies of the month. This box has left me excited for what the July flavors will be. So if I've made you hungry and interested, make your way to their website and choose from the many different options and try these cookies!

Confession time: I've always dreamed of going to Japan since I was a kid. Ha, my mom still talks about it to this day saying.."You've always wanted to travel the world and see what is out there." It's incredibly true and Japan is still on my bucket list in life, not to only visit but I would probably give a kidney to live there for a few years. (Totally kidding about the kidney...kinda.)

While I can't live there now or visit just yet, I can get exclusive goodies! Skosh Box  is a monthly subscription of Japanese goodies. Sometimes they have limited edition treats or even strange treats you'd never even think of trying! Last month's box they had the limited edition Creme Brûlée Kitkats that you bake in the oven...I will confirm that they did in fact taste like creme brûlée and they were heavenly. They try to give a great element to the box to include sweets, savory and sometimes a little something on the really far out there and strange side. I highly enjoy getting boxes. This box featured right now was their Premium Box. This box is limited supply and they announce it on their Facebook when available! You do not want to miss this as it's larger than their subscription box and packed with loads more goodies! This is the Summer 2014 Premium Box. To be honest: I loved everything in this box and their past boxes I've received, only thing I didn't like was the pickled squid, but it was definitely fun and interesting to try! You can view all past Premium Boxes on their website. The normal box is $12 a month! If you love Japanese treats or want to try something from the other side of the world, look no further!

I hope you all have enjoyed. What subscription boxes have you tried that you like?

Next will be Try The World Box and Makr Box review. If you have a geeky husband or if you'd like something for yourself, check out my review on Lootcrate!

All boxes paid for by me and all thoughts/opinions are of my own making, thank you!

I got that summertime, summertime giveaway!

Seriously, I'm ready to give my awesome readers another giveaway for supporting my little blog and continuing to read my adventures, along with leaving comments!

The giveaways this month? A gift certificate to get whatever you desire from Lush, and/or a yummy box delivered to your door from Cravory! I've personally had their cookies delivered and I must say, they are extremely good!

Lush is a open to everyone worldwide.
Cravory is only open to those with APOs or who're in the US!

Well, what are you waiting for?! Enter and share.
There will be two winners.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When life gives you lemons....

When life gives you lemons, you....make lemon blueberry soft pretzels. Yes, I know, it sounds a bit weird but they were divine. I've been getting my fitness on, and it hit me...you know what I REALLY miss here in Germany? A good soft pretzel like you'd get from Auntie Annie's in the mall. In the end, I've been good so why not right? Exactly. I did forget to add poppy seeds to the dough like I had intended but it turned out great either way. If you do decide to add poppy seeds, I'd say about 2 tbsp.

Maybe I'll be making Pepperoni or Pretzel Dogs in the near future! For now, lets get started.

For Pretzels:
adapted from smells like home.
used for basic pretzel base.

Makes about 12 large pretzels.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cups unsalted butter, melted
1/4 - 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 lemon for lemon zest
(if more lemon flavor is desired add half more lemon zest from another lemon)

For later:

10 cups water
2/3 cups baking soda
2 tbsp melted butter

For vanilla icing/glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

combine well and brush onto pretzel or dip.


Preheat the oven to 425 F

In a large bowl - it can be a normal bowl or you can use your stand mixer if it has a dough hook. I just used a normal bowl and a large plastic cake spoon. Mix together yeast, salt, water, and sugar until dissolved then add the flour and butter. If you're using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook at this point and put on medium speed until dough is smooth and pulls from side of bowl; if you're not, simply mix the dough until it forms large chucks and all ingredients are mixed together. Take clean hands and knead the dough until it has fully come together, after add your lemon zest and blueberries. Carefully fold into the dough and knead a few more times but not too much, you don't want to dry out the dough or over knead as it will not be as soft final product.

Once everything is done, place dough into lightly buttered bowl and place in a warm place covered in plastic wrap for about an hour or until doubled in size.

A pastry cutter would be ideal but if you don't have this, a butter knife will do as well. Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and cut into 8 equal pieces (a little bigger is also fine). Roll each piece of dough into 24-inch rope or your desired length, depending on how big or small you desire them and form pretzel. Be gentle to not crush the blueberries, but if you do, do not fret. Place a damp paper towel over formed pretzel to prevent it from drying out as you form the others.

Now that everyone has been formed and covered start boiling the 10 cups of water and add the baking soda. One pretzel at a time, dip it in using a spatula for about 30 seconds then place one by one, on a cooking sheet covered with wax paper. (please be sure to spray wax paper because sticking IS an issue if you do not. Lets just say, some of mine didn't come out too pretty and had wax paper stuck to them...forever! Ha ha)

Brush on the butter, place them in the oven and bake them until they are a nice medium/darker brown or about 12-14 mins. Mine only took 10 minutes, just be sure to watch them closer to when they should be done. So cooking times vary!

Take them out of the oven, brush with remaining butter and, let them cool for about 5-10 minutes, brush some of the icing on them and serve with the rest of the vanilla icing!

If you'd like even more of a citrus burst: with left over lemon zest mix it together with some sugar and add it on top of the pretzel after brushing on vanilla icing!


48 Hours in Paris!

Wondering the ins and outs if you only have 48 hours in Paris? Well, fear not. I have you covered, and it's filled with lots of delicious food, romance and many things to keep you entertained!

 Gerelynn Trisl Photography
 Gerelynn Trisl Photography
Gerelynn Trisl Photography

First things first, I do not recommend the Paris Pass, if you will not be there longer than 2 days. It was cheaper to buy all day Metro & Bus combined tickets for my husband and I. Including the tickets we bought at the Louvre. Don't waste your money unless you're going to be there for a much, longer time span.

Gerelynn Trisl Photography

Gerelynn Trisl Photography

 Frenchie to Go: 9, Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris
Metro 3, 4: Sentier, Reaumur Sebastopol

Now, lets get started!

Day 1: If you'd like to dive right in as soon as you get off the train, plane, or car, I'd highly suggest getting lunch at Frenchie to Go. This was a 5 min walk from the Montorgueil district, where we stayed in a lovely place we booked on Airbnb. You could also go to their other location called Frenchie, which is much larger, and more fine in taste, if you get what I mean. If you'd like a hip, cool spot that the locals love to frequent, with ingredients that are fresh, made right in the kitchen with a menu they try to keep farm to table....then look no further. It truly reminded me of little hole in the wall spots that I use to eat at all the time in Charleston.

We ate there, not once, not twice but 3 times on our trip. It was that good. My husband had the pulled pork and said it was the best he had ever had. Tossed in their homemade sauces, with fresh ingredients and bread, what was not to love? I got the lobster roll which was toasted, and the bread was stuffed with lobster, a creamy cheese sauce and a splash of citrus and other flavors. I will say it again, the food was so good. We also tried different things each time and I'll suggest trying : the homemade granola for breakfast, the bacon breakfast muffin, fish and chips, ruben and their delicious donuts, brownie and wild strawberry muffin.

Lively music, food made with a passion for cooking + fresh ingredients...you can't go wrong. I highly recommend picking up his cookbook as well! Lets just say, I have a lot of recipes bookmarked!

 Gerelynn Trisl Photography

After lunch, I'd suggest heading to the Notre Dame or heading to the lock bridge and either looking at the love there over many years or adding your own lock! There is a sign that says to not throw your key into the river - simple solution, make a travel frame and add the key as a piece to remember your trip by. (I'll be posting how to make them, and what you should think of including soon.)

Once you're done, you should roam your way down to Ciel Patisserie, for an out of this world angel food cake! I've had many in my day, but none as fully, airy, and delicious as theirs. It is tiny, so try to get there early if you'd also like to sit down and have them serve you tea! The flavors that stood out to be were: Sakura (Yes, the actual flower), Yuzu - which is a Japanese lemon, it does not have the tartness of lemons I am use to, and it was actually rather sweet with a soft citrus taste, Fruit Rogue - it was a angel food cake soaked in a berry mixture, with currants, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, Vanilla was a bursting with vanilla beans and flavor, and last, but not least, Matcha. All are filled with a delicious cream and filling, whether that is yuzu lemon filling for the yuzu cake, or mixed berry filling for the fruit rogue. You get the point. They have more flavors, but these are the ones I truly, went back a second time for and it was worth it. They can be found at: 3 Rue Monge, 75005 Paris. Easy trip by metro as well!

If you aren't tired by this time I suggest a boat tour, or making your way to the Eiffel! We did a beautiful picnic and had pictures taken. This is the picnic basket we bought for the trip and it was perfect. I'll include the link for anyone interested. - Picnic basket

We did family photos with the amazing Gerelynn Trisl Photography and I have included some of them here. She is the reason I don't have many pictures from this trip, as she followed us around ALL day, and documented everything. She is an amazing person, and takes the most beautiful photos. She is heading state side for anyone interested in booking her!

I'd end the day here with a nice walk, or stroll from the Eiffel and all it's beauty as the sunsets and it lights up, giving off a really romantic vibe.

 Gerelynn Trisl Photography
Gerelynn Trisl Photography

Day: 2: I'd wake up and head straight for EXKI, which is a delicious organic place to eat, with everything made fresh, there that day or stroll down and find a cafe, eat a croissant and enjoy a nice latte with fruit! You cannot go wrong with Cafe Madame, which came as a recommendation from our Host and we truly enjoyed it!

After eating brunch, I'd make my way toward the Louvre. We saved this for the second day, as the first day was filled with lots of sight seeing, stopping by comic book stores, and food places so we wanted a bit of a slower day to relax and take the city in. No need to buy the tickets in advance on a Sunday. We went around 12pm and got in straight away and quickly acquired tickets. For those with children, you can stop by the information desk and receive a free stroller with your ticket. You only have to provide a form of identification. It made this mama happy, as I had been baby wearing my little one since day 1. We spent a good 3 1/2 hours there and still didn't even make it 25% of the way through, but it was worth what we saw and we will be back to attempt to finish it! The highlight for me, personally was seeing the mummy, the Egyptian artifacts, and mummified cats and animals!

Leaving, we decided to try Pierre Hermé. The macarons are to die for, and you'll soon figure out why. It was very different from Laduree. Pierre had very unique and out of this world flavors, that you'd have to see for yourself, and the chocolate....don't even get me started on how creamy it was, my taste buds died and went to heaven.

The macaron flavors we got were: Chocolate Passionfruit, Passionfruit Yogurt/Cream Cheese, Lime Yogurt/Cream Cheese, Rose Yogurt/Cream Cheese, Lemon, 70% Chocolate, Creme Brûlée, and Salted Caramel!

They were some of the best macarons I had ever tested. The rose and Salted Caramel, my husband and I weren't to fond of to say the least but everything else, did not disappoint! We also got to sample some of their chocolate and Chocolate with a passionfruit filling as a blast, even my daughter loved it! We also tried milk chocolate with a salted caramel filling and a few dark chocolates. Conclusion? I'll definitely be back.

And with that, we ended our day with some new comics we had acquired, a few polaroid pictures and getting food to go from Monthai Street Food, which was so good! Exhausted and defeated, we munched on our macarons, ate dinner, played with my little one, showered and hit the bed to catch our train back to Germany in the morning! It was an amazing trip. You don't have to do anything like my list, but for our family of 3, it was perfect for us! What do you have planned to see in Paris? Where are you going next?!

I'd love to hear some highlights of your trips and favorite things you've seen!