Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My top 10

I'm pretty busy with the apartment hunt at the moment, during the last days I went to about 10 different flats but without any success. Most of the flats were too small, not very nice, too expensive or in neighborhoods where I don't want to live. I found something like the apartment of my dreams last weekend. It looked great, a bit special, just as I like it, it was big enough for me had a reasonable price, was exactly where I want to live and even had a tiny balcony and a garden! Unfortunately I didn't get it and I am really disappointed and lost my motivation to go on searching. I will, though, I just need a break for a few days...
In the meantime here are some nice things I wanted to share with you:

  • Passenger - Let her go.

  • Stef's ecourse on magnoliaelectric.
    I'm doing it and it's a lot of fun to rethink my blog, my writing, everything. She's telling about all of her experiences with blogging so you won't learn how to do everything step by step but she gives ideas, inspiration and motivation. Have a look at it! Oh, it's in German by the way.
  • Hats.
    Winter still goes on. It actually only started a few days ago around here, but now it has been freezing cold and we even have snow (there's not too much snow in Cologne usually). So what could be better than a warm hat to keep your head and ears warm?

  • Knitting.
    I know... I do THAT all the time. But I always love doing it. At home, in front of the television or while listening to good music or an audiobook. But now I actually found a few girls who like to knit as well. Some of them want to learn it (and doing a really good job!), others have been doing it for quite a while. We met up and the funny thing is: They are great! I mean, it's a really good time we're having, meeting on Sunday afternoons, knitting, drinking lots of coffee and tea, eating cake and talking. I'd say I have been really lucky meeting them.
    If you ever think about meeting new people, try to meet them through a thing you love doing so there's always something you can talk about and the other things will just come with it! 

  • Orchids blooming in winter.
    I love that they don't care if it's snowing and give me some spring feelings.

  • Pink Jeans.
    I actually thought I'd be too shy to wear them but I'm not! I'm in love! When it's dark and grey outside bright colours make the days a bit nicer...

  • Carnival preparations.
    Carnival is a big thing here in Cologne and I have always adored it. At the moment I'm working on costume ideas and outfits. Some friends had the great idea for me, I'll show you as soon as I'm finished. Anyone else celebrating Carnival???
  • TV-shows.
    I know, I'm watching too many tv-shows, but some of them are really good. Like "Girls", season number 2 is on, yay! And I just started watching "Danni Lowinski", a German show about a young, naive, funny lawyer. She's great and I can't believed I missed that show so long. Have a look at it if you know German!
  • A good read.
    At the moment I'm reading Das Glücksprojekt. It's funny, the writer says she read all of the self-help books to become the happiest person in the world and now she writes about her experiences. It's a real fun read.
  • Lovely Coffee Place.
    I like all kinds of coffee places because I like all kinds of coffee and other hot beverages, but unpersonal and expensive coffee-to-go places are just not nice if you want to hang out for a while, read a book or have a chat with friends. I'm always looking for alternatives. Here is one:
    Cafe Duddel
    Great food and drinks, nice waiters and lovely homemade cookies with every coffee. When I told them that they are brilliant they brought me the recipe. The waiter sat down at our table for a while and talked to us, really nice guy. They also have smaller events like readings and concerts. If you're ever in Cologne you should stop by.
Well, that's it for today I guess, I hope you have some nice things to cheer you up when you're down, too!

Jenny, xoxo

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Food from scratch

Do you like to cook? I do, but as I live on my own sometimes it's just too much effort to cook every day. I often cook bigger meals and take the leftovers to work or just eat the same two times in a row. But there are some times when I don't want to eat the same stuff twice. There are also times when I don't want to go grocery shopping so I started cooking stuff with very simple ingredients that I always have at home or with leftovers.
Just last week I wanted to have a burger and chips. I make the chips myself, it's so easy, just cut a few potatoes into sticks (leave the skin on it or cut it off, whatever you like), put them in a bowl with some oil and spices and bake them in the oven for about 30minutes. Easy as that and they are so much better than bought chips. The problem about this meal were the burger buns. As they were only offered in bigger packs I still had some of them after and wasn't sure what to do with them. I went through my fridge and also found a handful of pasta, two cooked potatoes, a few pieces of vegetables, a piece of feta cheese and some butter with herbs and garlic. And that's what I made:

grilled feta cheese with spices, onion and pepper 

potato salad with mayo, herbs, sea salt and mixed, freshly grounded pepper

pasta salad with vegetables and sunflower seeds

toasted burger buns with herb/garlic butter

It was all really delicious. But there were still burger buns left! I thought I might run out of ideas but then I thought that they are not too different from usual toast and made french toast for breakfast the next morning.

I like french toast dry so I didn't soak them for too long and then fried it in a little bit of butter. You could put them in the oven instead if you don't want to use butter or oil. Eat your french toast warm for a nice breakfast or leave them until they are cold and eat them with a bit of custard, vanilla sauce or fruit as a dessert.

I might show you a little more easy recipes that I try around here, are you interested? What are your favourite recipes that can be made easily with stuff you have at home?

Jenny, xoxo

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Music 2012 - part II

So here is part II of my music recap... Enjoy!

  • Frank Turner - England Keep My Bones
    Simply good! I might go to see him on stage this month! 
    I already loved his album Love, Ire &Song...
  • The Fratellis
    Unfortunately no new album yet but I have listened to the older ones "Costello Music" and "Here We Stand" a lot last year...
  • Kate Micucci
    If you know the tv-show "Scrubs" you probably know her. It's Ted's girlfriend. The one with the ukulele, you know? A friend of mine showed me some of her stuff and it's hilarious! She's also one half of "Garfunkel and Oats"

  • Maroon 5 - One more night
    I have been crazy about Maroon 5 since their first album "Songs about Jane" and I still am. One more night was my favourite last year
  • The Rifles
    I was browsing the internet in search of new bands or bands I haven't known yet and I found The Rifles. They are great so I'm glad I did:
  • Jamaram - La Famille
    They played at Summerjam Festival here in Cologne last summer and I saw them there. They are really good, their music is a bit of a mix of Reggae and Latin and.... I don't know, they're special. Give them a listen!
  • Amy Macdonald - Life In A Beautiful Light
    I really like Amy Macdonald's previous albums (This Is The Life and A Curious Thing) so I had to get her latest one as well
  • Blumentopf - Nieder mit der GbR
    I still love German Hip Hop. Yep, I do and Blumentopf have been one of my favourites for years. Last year I tried to get tickets for a show where they wanted to play only the songs of their first two albums (my favourites!) but I didn't get them. Anyway, in September they released their new album "Nieder mit der GbR" and I bought it a few weeks ago. It is pretty good although I haven't listened to it too often yet.
  • Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
    That one is pretty old and I had it on my wishlist for quite a while. A friend finally gave it to me a couple of weeks ago and it's exactly what I expected. You might know this one:
  • Mumford&Sons
    They will forever remind me of my time in Ireland, their first album came out when I was there. I still love the mix of the folk music and the voice of Marcus Mumford
  • Rise Against
    I've known them for a couple of years and they still got me. I like that their music is often political, contains subjects to think about and stuff. You should really check the band out not only because of their music but because they are vegetarian/vegan and work for PETA. They had me with that already but their music is really great so it's like an all-in-one...

That's it, I think. I probably forgot lots of other songs and bands but I might let you know whenever I remember one ;-)
I started using Spotify by the way (a while ago, actually, but now I upgraded), it's all I could ever wish for. I can find the music I'm looking for, listen to it immediately and don't have to pay for every single song or album but pay a monthly price. Do you use something like that? Do you know anything that is even better than Spotify? Let me know, I'm still trying...

Jenny, xoxo

Monday, January 7, 2013

Another Recap: Music 2012 - part I

Here's a part of what I listened to during the past 12 months. Some of the albums I bought are a bit older already because I just discovered the band or because I wanted to listen to some of their earlier stuff. So, let's see:
  • Fun - Some nights
    I really loved their song "We are young" from the first time I heard it and was even more impressed by the acoustic version. But my favourite on the album is this one:
(my current favourite might change from day to day)
  • The Band Perry
    I don't know why, but I found myself looking for country music and found The Band Perry. I haven't listened to too many of their songs but the ones I know are pretty good, so I might have a look at their other stuff.
  • Cro - Raop
    This song was all over Germany's radio stations and music television since the beginning of 2012. I didn't know the guy before but I liked it a lot so I went to see him on stage in June. VERY good! Just as good is his first Album "Raop" which was a big success over here. People know his songs "Du" and "Einmal um die Welt" but I like this one, which isn't on the album:
oh yes, he always wears this mask because he wants to keep his privacy
  • Asaf Avidan - One day
    You couldn't get around Asaf Avidan if you ever turned your radio on. I just love his voice! I haven't had the chance to listen to his other stuff yet though. But see yourself:
  • I follow rivers (original by Lykke Li, alternative version by Triggerfinger, dance version by Audiogroove)
    Which one is your favourite? I liked them all!

  • Casper - XOXO
    That album was released in 2011 but I only bought it last year. The German rapper has a very special voice and style. I really like that some of his songs are autobiographic, most of them are pretty powerful, you should give him a listen wheter you understand German or not.
  • Absynthe Minded - Envoi
    Sometimes funny things happen to me. Like when I found this song on my computer, that I have never listened to before. Where did it come from? Well, it was probably a free iTunes download or something one day... Anyway, I liked it! Do you?
  • Deichkind - Befehl von ganz unten
    Deichkind have been a big deal in Germany since I think the year 2000. Back then their songs were mostly Hip Hop while now it is mixed with a bit of elctro. It is pretty cool because they have their individual style. They are pretty famous for their live shows and in March 2012 I finally got the chance to see them on stage.
  • Gotye - Somebody that I used to know
    One of these songs that got me from the first time I heard it. It was like: "What is that? It's really good! Can anyone tell me? Will the host on the radio tell me what it is? HELP!" It took me a couple of days until I found out (since then I am using Shazam or Soundhound) and from then I listened to the song about a million times.
  • Portugal. The Man - People Say
    Another song that somehow landed in my iTunes. But worth a listen, I'd say. I might try some more of their stuff soon.
What do you think? Do you know all of them? Did you find something you didn't know but liked? Tell me about it! Also tell me what your favourites have been!

Jenny, xoxo

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Innsbruck 2012

At the beginning of December I had a few days off and I finally made it to Innsbruck, Austria. Catherine, who lived next door back in my hometown moved there about two years ago and I wanted to visit her since. Unfortunately, like always, I had no time or was totally broke so it took me quite a while. This time it actually happened and I loved it. I had a great time there, we went snowboarding, I did a bit of sightseeing, we went out for dinner and drinks, we just enjoyed ourselves. Innsbruck is a lovely little town and its beauty is incredible. I stood there taking pictures of the snow-covered mountains all of the time, I just didn't get enough of them. But now, let me show you:

This was simply the most beautiful train ride

The "Golden Roof" is a well-known sight of Innsbruck but actually it is tiny and pretty unspectacular...

That's what you see from Catherine's balcony. Stunning, right? I'm so jealous!

Me right before I went snowboarding for the first time. Oh, I forgot my sunglasses...

If you're into winter sports, you might know this ski jumping jump, it's pretty famous

 This is pretty much what the jumpers see, when they're going down there. Scary!

Catherine had to work one day so I went sightseeing. This is Swarowski Crystal World. It's like a museum in a cave, this is the entry

They are showing sculpures of big artists who have worked with crystal, like Niki de Saint Phalle

 and Salvador Dalí

I also learned about artists I didn't know, like Brian Eno and Jim Whiting.

even the bathrooms are fancy at Swarovski...

 Well, and that's us ;-)

I definately had a brilliant time there and I hope to go there again soon, it's really worth it!

Which places have you wanted to go for a weekend trip for a long time?

Jenny, xoxo

PS: Have a look at the "Blog Hop" over at The Blue Eyed Owl. It's a great way to get to know more blogs and make some friends around here!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello 2013/About these 26 things

The New Year is only a few hours old and before everyone forgets about it I wanted to share my thoughts about 2012: Of course, at the end of the year everyone tends to think about the things that they didn't do, the goals they didn't reach and all that stuff. I try to focus on the good things and 2012 has been pretty good to me. I started a new job which I like a lot most of the time, met some very nice people through that, reached some of the goals I set for myself, I gained my health back (no more stomach aches and all) and with that my strength. I met a handfull of nice people who haven't anything to do with work but who are just great and those family issues got a bit smoother, too. So, I could even be a bit sad that the year ist over but I am pretty sure, 2013 is going to be even better. I have some ideas and plans, some of them will include pretty big changes and I'm going to let you know as soon as I have figured them out but most of all I'm going to go on like in 2012. If something isn't good for me I have to let go, I have to stop being afraid and try new things. I thought about going to places I have never been before, doing things on my own that I have been afraid of and also simple things like choosing a different dish in restaurants where I have always been eating the same one (or try a new restaurant instead).
I'm not the biggest fan of New Year's Eve and New Year's resolutions, because my biggest (and wisest) decisions have never been made around that time but these ones sound fun and I'm going to write about them, hopefully in a new section of this blog...

one last picture from 2012

I told you about all my other goals on my birthday. This is a list of 26 things I wanted to do until my 27th birhtday. That was half a year ago and I have done a few of them already...
  1. Taking sewing classes online - I actually forgot about this one but now again I think I should do it...
  2. Doing 12 sewing projects in 12 months - only one in 6 months unfortunately but I have a lot of ideas still, so I might reach this goal...
  3. Write one letter or postcard each month - failed :-( I have sent a few Christmas cards but other than that not a lot really. But I might do this soon.
  4. Starting to sell my stuff - not yet but I have a few ideas about that, I'm not sure if it will happen soon.
  5. Going to the cinema more often - I went a couple of times but still not enough ;-)
  6. Doing at least two weekend trips (Hamburg or Berlin or London or Amsterdam or Cork or...) - I did one already! (Innsbruck)
  7. Buying a new music album each month - check!
  8. Going to a music festival (Summer Jam!) - check!
  9. Blogging at least once a week - failed :-( but I'm starting a blogging course soon to help me get my posts and ideas sorted and I even might move the blog to a different platform, I'll let you know about that.
  10. Getting a new haircut - I cut my hair twice but there wasn't a big change, I also dyed it once.
  11. Working out more (at least twice a week) - uhm....
  12. Dressing up - done
  13. Wearing the heels I bought a year ago more often! - done
  14. Joining a choir - I have been looking for one that suits me but haven't found one yet...
  15. Learning to play at least three new songs on the piano - number one is done!
  16. Going shopping! (not online, not in the shopping center, IN TOWN!!!) And buying a complete outfit! (already did this once last week!) - done
  17. (This is additional to No.12 and No.16) Wearing a dress at the wedding in July - done
  18. Making my own jewellery - I have tried a few things but haven't done anything properly yet.
  19. Bringing the ideas out that run around in my head - some of them (see in other posts)
  20. Saving a bit of money each month - done
  21. Visiting my friend in Innsbruck, snowboarding - done and done
  22. Reuniting with my au pair friends (I miss you guys!) - not yet, unfortunately
  23. Finding a new appartment (maybe) - I am on the apartment hunt but I haven't found anything yet. I'm also not sure about moving on my own or into a shared apartment...
  24. Visiting my Irish hostfamily - like number 22.
  25. Reorganizing my blog - see number 9
  26. Worrying less about stuff that isn't worth it... - done, most of the time ;-)
I think I'm doing pretty well so far, I have half a year left to reach the rest of my goals so I'm positive it will work.
Have you any goals at the moment? New years resolutions? Anything? Share!

Jenny, xoxo

PS: I'm having some problems with the iTunes PhotoStream, can anyone help? I might just throw this phone out the window if not...