We Found Love In A Dunkin Donut

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Oh people…where to begin! So last week I went to the city of Stuttgart to meet up with a gal pal (another American girl who fell in love with a German!) for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at an Irish pub.

We met up in the Hauptbahnhopf (The main train station) because of one VERY important reason. A new Dunkin Donuts had just opened up. As we approached the newly opened cafe the smell of coffee and bad perfume was overwhelming. Thats what happens when you’re at a subway. Just all sorts of funky going on!

Surprisingly, Dunkin Donuts was hard to miss. There was a massive line of people just waiting to get their hands on the American staple. There were a few passer-bys that murmurred how gross it was. Those people CLEARLY have never had such awesomeness.

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They handled things a bit different at this particular DD. I think it was mostly because of the volume of people but the focus was primarily on the donuts. They were in a large case presented to the crowd. People would walk in front of the case and point to the donuts they wanted and the hard-working girls would fill up the boxes and bags. These donuts were crazy bright colors and I had to laugh. Germans often tell me that the bright colorful frosting is just SOOOO American. And it was actually a turn off for me but that may have something to do with me living here for three years now. You get used to seeing dull colors.

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Of course when it was our turn, Toblerone just HAD to have a boston cream donut. And of course…those were being delivered in the next 20 mins so I had to wait. And wait….and wait. To give you an idea of all the different flavors they had here’s a snapshot of their menu. Click here to see their website of what other things they offer. Not to mention the crazy bagels they offer. Like cream cheese and jelly or PB and jelly…hmm…interesting! Very American! I can’t imagine those being so popular!

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We did get iced coffees which was devine but I had to laugh. Everytime anyone ordered that they would go to the back room to get the ice. Germans do not put ice in their drinks, let alone their coffee! So this was funny for me to see them putting in such effort!

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We got a box of donuts: Nutella filled, strawberry sprinkles, two boston cream, one raspberry filled with vanilla frosting, and a maple frosting caramel filled one. Happy as clams we sat down to feasts on our breakfast of Champions and all the sudden old hip hop music was BLASTING through the speakers. I literally had to talk louder and listen harder. Dunkin Donuts was turned into a club at 11am! What the heck! But it was hilarious and made the experience that much more enjoyable.

Even though we travelled an hour by car, and a train ride later, it was the greatest Saturday I’ve had in a while. It felt like home…and the best part…it tasted just like home. Normally in the US I wouldn’t care much for this type of thing but when you’re away for so long, its these little things that give you the sense that you aren’t so far away from home. Thank you Dunkin Donuts.

Not to mention we finished the night off with some good old fashioned St. Patrick’s Day fun!
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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

Wouldn’t You Like To Know – My Life Lately

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Oh my dear lovelies! I have been SO SO SO behind on blogging and every day I put it off the more I avoided it! I’m forcing myself to give you all an update on my life! Lots going on and its only fair I let you all in on the deets!

Back when I came to Germany in 2011. A brunette!!

Back when I came to Germany in 2011. A brunette!!

First and foremost…I celebrated a BIG anniversary. March 1st hit the 3 years in Germany mark. Can you believe that nonsense?! THREE WHOLE YEARS! IN GERMANY! Like wait….what? I’m not exactly sure how that happened. If you think about what you yourself have accomplished or done in the past three years you’ll realize…its a good chunk of time. It’s also enough time for life to go on without you back home and you start to notice it. People have asked me if being an expat gets easier but I think that depends on the person. Some people really have that travel bug and “want” or “need” to explore. I, however, just want to be around my family and things that are familiar. For me, in three years, I still want nothing more than to be in the US. This also has a lot to do with where we are located (far from cities, bars, bowling, clubs, great lounges, good restaurants, festivals etc.) We rely a lot on the company of each other and the family get-togethers. But even that, as special as it is, gets dull over time. I just keep trucking along though and try to soak in the experience and be thankful that I get this opportunity. Most people I know will NEVER get this chance in their life. Love makes us do crazy things and I would move around the world 100 times just to be with Toblerone. Harley Jones Noodle Butt Butt wouldn’t like that so much though…he’s not a fan of flying. :-)

Harley Jones is NOT a fan of airplanes and he's here to tell you all about it!

Harley Jones is NOT a fan of airplanes and he’s here to tell you all about it!

Secondly…we have 5 months until our wedding! 161 days from this post! WHOA! I feel like I have nothing together and I probably don’t actually but thats ok. We have SO many Germans flying to the US for this, in fact I think the airlines should give us free tickets for 5 years considering how much money people are spending for this. But how cool is that? People are coming all the way to America just to see our wedding (and of course travel) but this fills my heart to the brim. And as if things couldn’t get better, so many unexpected people from the US are coming too! I thought for sure people wouldn’t come because it’s a destination wedding on Cape Cod. I’m just incredibly stunned and so overjoyed there are no words for how complete this makes me feel. On top of it all, most of these people are taking time out of their lives and staying several days or even the whole week on the Cape with us. I…I just….I’m speechless. Speechless from the outpouring of love. I get to spend a whole week surrounded by incredible people. How did I get so lucky? How do you thank people? How do you return the love you’re being given? Just such a beautiful time ahead of us and I can not WAIT. Mattespalooza here we come! Plus we are having a real deal Cape Cod Clam Bake and I can’t wait to watch people get down and dirty crackin lobsters! My dress will be a giant mess! A ceremony followed immediately by a rock the dress session! LOVE!

Mmm....clambakes!!

Mmm….clambakes!!

I’ve been bad with blogging due to work and just being utterly exhausted. However, Toblerone and I gave up drinking alcohol for lent and it seems to be a lot better. Plus we are working out together and such which makes the nights nicer. Strange how it does make a slight difference in our lives! Have any of you done that as well? I mean, some days I would just LOVE to have a glass of wine but its worth it in the end! Plus I better be 10 pounds lighter!

There is big news on the horizon but I have to wait to tell you in the middle of April or so. I hate to hold out on you BUT its important that I do for many reasons. And no, I’m not pregnant, sadly. This may/may not be equally as good though! Stay posted and in the meantime try to guess what it is! Thank you all for hanging by me while I pull my head out of the ground and get back to what I love – writing!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

The Night Of The Chicken: Fasnet In Southern Germany

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Its that time of year again folks!! That time when everyone searches in their attics or basements for those super creepy (yet expensive) costumes that show the story of their town. As we dust off these costumes the sense of town pride starts to shine through the gray winter skies. I try to compare it to how I feel when I talk about Syracuse. I get the same kind of city pride and it can NOT be broken. Ever.

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This year happened to be pretty special for us. Each year a different town hosts the entire weekend festivities for the surrounding towns. Toblerone’s hometown is associated with a completely different circle of towns so we were really excited to find out that not only was our current town hosting it (saving us from having to drive somewhere) but his hometown also got a special invitation to join in this particular festival in our town. Karneval (Fasnet) was going to be AWESOME this year. And that, my friends, it most certainly was. It was great to have everyone come to our house to “pre-game” before the parade.

And just a side note…The costumes for Toblerone’s town are technically Roosters but I call them big Chickens. All the same right?

This year there are a few different costumes than the years before since we were in a different area than previous years. Oh and the witches got me and my friend. They took us…brought us into their “Witches House” which was their float basically and they gave us shots of something strange. But it was definitely fun this year! Better than the years before since the weather is unusually warm and we haven’t had snow since early December so this year was perfect!!

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Our kidnappers...

Our kidnappers…

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This girl got stolen 3 or 4 times. I think at this point she just gave up the good fight.

This girl got stolen 3 or 4 times. I think at this point she just gave up the good fight.

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Me and my other darling American friend :-)

Me and my other darling American friend :-)

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I got your wig!!

I got your wig!!

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The whole family gets in the spirit

The whole family gets in the spirit

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These were the absolutely the worst costumes for me. I took this picture and then hid.

These were the absolutely the worst costumes for me. I took this picture and then hid.

Where we were held captive!

Where we were held captive!

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Ghostbusters Band!!

Ghostbusters Band!!

Toblerone and my Father-in-law

Toblerone and my Father-in-law

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Which costume is your favorite? Would any of these win costume contests on Halloween? How much do you think one of these costumes cost?

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Happy Birthday, Pauli!

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There is just something about Germans and their “fests” that they take very seriously. And when they party…they party well! Of course most of you know that from my Oktoberfest survival. I mean…I’m almost 30 (eek!) and I can barely hang with the rest of them because now I think about the pain I will feel the next day. However, this particular party I let loose and had a great time…and paid for it the next day.

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It was the 60th Birthday Party of my father-in-law, Paul. Before I go any further, let me remind you quickly how birthdays work here in Germany. When it’s your birthday you are the one responsible to provide cake or breakfast to your colleagues. As well as host your own “kaffee und kuchen” at your home for your family and friends. Personally, I think thats CRAP. With a capital C-R-A-P.

Us American folks know how to get down on our birthdays! We order people around and expect that the world showers us with gifts and pays for all our drinks when we drink away our past years. Afterall, the best gift is that we were born into this world..so people should clearly thank the heavens for this amazing gift. I still can’t believe that my first birthday here in Germany I actually baked myself a cake and invited people over, German style. NEVER. AGAIN. Just….NO.

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In Germany when someone turns 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100…these are big years to celebrate. It was no different for my FIL (father-in-law). He planned a great birthday party in the party hall in his town. There was a lot of planning involved. From the invites, catering menu, decorations, table organization, and the events, he had planned it all perfectly. With a little help of course!

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His party was basically a concert. He’s big into music and belongs to three different bands. All three of them played a few songs each. All three bands were different from each other so it was a nice change up between each of them.

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Inbetween songs was of course dinner but also gifts were presented. Typically, at these parties a group of people say a funny poem, sing a song, or talk about the Birthday boy. At the end he is given a present that usually ties the whole skit together. Makes it a bit more fun!

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Approximately 130 people helped celebrate the 60th birthday of my beloved FIL. It was a great turnout and I think a really special time for him. Something he really deserved.

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I stayed and closed up shop with the last of the folks around 5am. I then woke up around 8:30am and cleaned up the mess that was leftover from the night before. And this of course…is the aftermath of no sleep. This 29 year old can NOT hang anymore. :-)
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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

Resolutions Schmesolutions…

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Every new year gives us the open invitation to begin again. Usually, we start something new and then by mid-February we’ve lost that motivated push and we go back to how we’ve lived every year before. But, I like trendy things usually so I’m jumping on the new year resolution wagon once again but doing things a bit different. Tangible goals. So I suppose sharing them with you here will make them more solid and will hold me accountable!

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1. Read more books!
Time to put down the electronics now and then. Flying home for Xmas I bought a book and I’m really into it. Almost forgot how much I loved reading. I want to attempt to read a book in German too. That may be a bit difficult but worth a shot!

2. Eat better and count calories!
Wedding time is just around the corner and I want to feel and look my best for the big day. But besides that, I think its just time to start paying attention more to what I’m eating. I want to change my eating habits so they stick! So counting calories has been helping with that. I write everything down and have been trying to drink 9 cups of water a day. Tough, but so far so good!

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3. Live in the “Now”!
Big things are happening this year and I just need to have a healthy balance of looking forward to things and living in the moment. I have a bad habit of looking forward and not coming back! I focus on what is to come instead of making each minute count until I get to that point in the future. So, My goal this year is to live it up, in the here and now!

4. SAVE!SAVE!SAVE!
As I mentioned above, big things are happening this year (you’ll hear about it later :-)) and I really need to get a better savings plan in place for us. Doesn’t hurt to save the pennies. Last year I started a wedding fund and it was basically all loose change goes into the jar. That will be used to buy decorations or whatever for the wedding. Besides all that, I just want a good chunk of money saved in the bank in case anything ever happened or for that rainy day when we need a vacation!

Wish me luck! Starting with these 4 and really hope to turn them into good habits that never go away!

What are you resolutions this year? We are 13 days in, are you still going strong? Have any motivational tips to share? Write them in the comments below!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

Our Christmas Break In The US

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We’ve made it back to Germany after spending 2 weeks in the US with family. It was INCREDIBLE! I don’t know what was so different this time but for some reason I was way more relaxed and not so stressed out. I was feeling like I had seen everyone enough and wasn’t rushing around trying to get things done like I usually am. I sort of just let it all happen the way it should. Maybe that is my queue to stop being such a organized snob and live a little bit more spontaneous like I used to do many moons ago!

Our trip was packed full of fun things! Even a surprise bridal shower for me!!! Naturally, I didn’t know about it so I didn’t bring the camera. Sadly, I don’t have many pictures to document it but I promise, it really happened!! It was great to have a few of my favorite people in one place. I felt like a princess!
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Christmas is for me the best when I am at home with my mom. I never want to have Christmas anywhere else. She just makes everything feel so homey and she’s the best gift giver!!

Christmas morning...or...afternoon actually!

Christmas morning…or…afternoon actually!

My stocking contents! Santa knows me well!

My stocking contents! Santa knows me well!

Tobes got Cape Cod Beer Tap Markers!

Tobes got Cape Cod Beer Tap Markers!

Hanging out in my penguin onesie!

Hanging out in my penguin onesie!

Entering nostalgia land, we went to see the Lights on the Lake (bunch of Christmas lights set up on a drive through portion of a park. Beautiful!) And it’s still as exciting as it was when I was a little girl.
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And mom got us all tickets to see DISNEY ON ICE!!!!! Freak out moment! I was so excited I wanted to curl up and cry! I used to LOVE going to see the Ice Capades when I was a little girl and I got to go again!

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We spent New Years at home drinking adult Rootbeer floats and playing monopoly which ended up being a great idea!
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And Toblerone got to hang out in the jacuzzi (just like home) and played soccer where the dude literally was smiling non-stop for 2 hours. Something I have never seen him do when he plays soccer in Germany. It was so sweet!
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All in all, we had a blast! We made a pact that we would fill each day with things to do no matter how minor and we did just that! I hope you all had a great Holiday season and your New Year is off to a great start :-)

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

The Doll and Toy Museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber

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I’ve been waiting to share this gem with you all but with a slightly heavy heart. When I was a little girl my sweet, sweet Grammy used to bring me to a Doll Museum in Rochester and this was such a highlight for both of us. She collected dolls which are now antiques and I had collected a few when I was younger in hopes that those too will one day be antiques for my grandchild to admire.

While we were in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, we hit up as many museums as we could in the short time that they were open. The Christmas museum was great of course but this museum hit home and was absolutely the highlight of the day for me. Sadly, this museum will be closing due to the fact that people haven’t been visiting as much. It’s too much money to keep it open without much income. So, needless to say, I’m glad I got a chance to see this before they auction off all the amazing pieces.

But I write this post with a lump in my throat and a pain in my heart that more people in the world aren’t interested in this history. There were SO many people going to the Criminal (Torture) museum which was also great but really depressing and sickening. This museum is history of happy times and happy children. How is this not interesting? Are we all really so morbid? There was an older woman at this toy museum who told us about how no one comes anymore and she tries to visit several times a week to admire it all before it goes. I’m sure some of this reminded her of happy childhood days. You could see it in her face how sad she was to see it go. So I ask all of you who are in Germany and surrounding countries to please go and check out this wonderful museum!

This museum was a collection from one woman, Katharina Engels. She collected all these dolls, houses, and toys from the past 200 years mostly from doll and toy makers in France and Germany. Pay close attention to the details. The meats hanging in the butcher doll house, the details at the train station, the pans and ovens used in the kitchen, the faces on the dolls. Takes us all back to a different and much simpler times.

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To visit the Puppen und Spielzeug Museum please visit their website for opening times: http://www.spielzeugmuseum.rothenburg.de/ISY/index.php

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

The Christmas Museum

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Going back to our little trip to Rothenburg ob der Tauber since the snow is falling today and it’s just so incredibly Christmas-y feeling here, I wanted to share with you the Christmas museum we went to.

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First of all, you will have to excuse some of the pictures which were taken with the iPhone. They don’t really like pictures to be taken so I was careful about it!

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The museum starts from the origin of Christmas and gives a beautiful walk through the history of ornaments and decorating. Literally everything to do with Christmas is shown from the tree stands to the tree topper. I loved that they showed how over time the material used for ornaments changed with time. Some really beautiful things to see.
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For those of you who don’t know…Christmas trees were first recorded here in Germany. That makes it extra special! In fact, the trees weren’t popular in the US until around the year 1850 or so. Germans sent the trees to relatives and to German soldiers around the world and this is how it came to be that many homes all over the world celebrate with a Christmas tree in their homes. And as the trees in homes began to pick up speed, the rich people had a tree for each person in the family. So having 5 trees up in your living room wasn’t unusual. Spoiled rotten….But maybe they were on to something! They decorated them with oranges, apples, breads, and cookies and the Children would help themselves to it whenever they wanted.

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The Angel tree toppers have been made in the Nuremberg area for the past 300 years and legend has it that the angels were made by the doll maker in memory of his daughter who passed away.
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Once the museum was over, it leads you right into a massive Christmas shop with thousands of over priced ornaments and decorations. (No pictures were allowed in here either…boring.) Really beautiful things but I wouldn’t dare pay 13 Euro for a small ornament. Not in this lifetime. But it was beautiful to see nonetheless and to see all the unusual decorations. I was searching for a typical German ornament but sadly no luck!

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It was just so beautiful everywhere in there and it really helped to throw us right into the Christmas spirit!

Until next time, Readers!! xoxoxo

The Most Gorgeous Town In Germany

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Now and again I browse through my travel board on Pinterest and I come across pictures of places that I know must be in the area. The greatest part about where I live, I’m surrounded by Switzerland, France, and Austria. Literally, just a short drive away. Ahhh the greatness of being an expat! One of the pictures that recently caught my eye was of a town called Rothenburg ob der Tauber:
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I did a little more research and found out it was a touristy area but for many reasons. I usually try to avoid those type of places but there was so much about this place that was drawing me in. Documents date back to the year 950 for this town which is just mind blowing! There is a town wall that goes around the entire village which makes you feel like you’re going back in time.

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This town has incredible museums which Toblerone and I loved! We started off at the Christmas Museum made our way to the Medieval Museum, and ended with the Doll & Toy museum. Because I loved these places so much and I took so many pictures, I decided to split this blog up a bit. So today, I’m sharing with you just the quaint little town.

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Thanks to our good friend wikipedia.org I learned this town has been the stage for many movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and Part 2. I mean, walking through this place felt like I was walking through a movie. Or another time. It just didn’t feel real.

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I’m not sure where these little balls of joy came about but the Schneeballchen (snow balls) are special for this area. I wanted to say they were like fried dough but it’s more like a fortune cookie in a giant ball of yarn form. Toblerone got a nuss-nougat and I a chocolate filled one. Nothing to be excited about. I would never get them again and I think that’s the consensus from most that have tried them.

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There were souvenir shops all over the place selling over priced Christmas decorations,ornaments, and of course beer steins. Cute to see but nothing I would be willing to open my wallet for! But pass the tourists, through the streets of quaint little shops came suddenly the place I was searching for. The reason I drove over 200 kilometers. The house from the picture. Sadly it was a cold, gray day but nonetheless. Still really cool to see. One of those moments you say to yourself, “check!”

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This place was very quickly made my top favorite town in Germany. There is more history than I can even wrap my head around and full of Christmas shops which are open year round. I found my heaven at last!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxo

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