The Insel Mainau: The Flowering Island

Along the beautiful Lake Constance you will find a beautiful little island. Complete with a castle (still owned) and incredibly beautiful gardens that take you to another place. It actually didn’t even feel like Germany. The water around the island is a really crystal blue and with the palm trees and vibrant colored flowers it almost makes you feel like you’re in another world!

Luckily it was a little adventure we got to take with Toblerone’s parents also. The castle is occupied at the moment so it’s not something that is opened to the public for tours with the exception of a small area they set up for a gift shop and a restaurant attached to the orchid greenhouse.

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It was a bit too early in spring for all the flowers but regardless, it was just a beautiful day. It started off with a bit of rain but as we arrived on the island we put our umbrellas down and walked the grounds guided by sunshine.

My absolute FAVORITE part of the entire island is the butterfly house. There are thousands of butterflies in this man-made jungle house. It was just incredible to see so many different types of butterflies happily flying around and a few different vegetarian birds to add to the atmosphere.

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Walking around the grounds we saw these massively large trees called Mammouth trees (also found in the states) which were planted in the late 1800’s and have grown to the giant masses they are today! Channeling my inner hippie I gave those big guys a squeeze.

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We walked around the castle, went inside the church which was decorated in beautiful floral arrangements,  and made our way around to a little farm..where of course I had to pet all the animals. These furry guys are used to all the people I think so they just made their way right over to me and waited for bite to eat!

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We ended the day with a little train watching which I thought was just adorable with all the German homes stacked around. Very cute! There are also great playgrounds  which would make for a fantastic place to bring the kids to run out a bit of energy.

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It was a really beautiful place and thankfully the weather held out for us! It was a perfect start to our vacation. More to come!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

 

 

Harley and Me – Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dog

I had a dog growing up but I never thought I would be a dog owner.  When I broke up with one of my ex-boyfriends I think I started to miss the dog more than him so I wanted to get a dog out of spite and the possibility I would run into him at the dog park to show off. You all know you’ve been there and wanted to do crazy stalker-like things to your ex. No? Ok…maybe that’s only me! But let’s stay on topic, shall we?

Harley was a sweet little 3 month old pumpkin when we got him and since then it’s been a wild ride with our million-dollar dog. We call him that because he’s always sick and our vet bills are always through the roof with surgeries and the like. How many of you have had a dog eat a sock at 3 months old only to have surgery done that cost $1400!!! INSANE! Anywho, he will be 2 years old in February and since he’s been sick these past few days I thought it would be good to write about him. (He’s snuggling with me right now as I write this to make sure I don’t give out any false information or leave anything out!)

Patience is a Virtue

I can be patient only in circumstances where I have to be on my best behavior. For example: in a meeting, teaching, meeting new people for the first time, dinner parties, etc. However, most of the time, I’m a loud mouth and when I want something done I speak my mind until it’s done. I suppose that would make me annoying. Once Harley came along and during his “puppy training” he had to learn how to sit for X amount of time before he could be rewarded with treats or love.

Harley waiting to get his ball

Every day there is some reason I tell him to “wait” or “stay” and he does just that. He doesn’t complain, he just does it. So now when someone is asking me to “hold on a sec” or “I’ll do it later,” I  try very hard to hold my tongue and allow things to happen as they are supposed to. I know eventually I will be rewarded too!

Beggars Can’t Be Choosers

Harley is a labrador…that means two things to me. 1. The absolute best looking dog there is (I’m biased) and 2. He’s the goat of dog breeds. He wants to eat everything he can find. This proved to us in his first 3 months (as mentioned above) when he ate a delicious smelly black sock of Toblerone’s. We always vowed we would never give him people food since the day one lady told us she keeps all her Lab’s alive until the age of 17 by not feeding them people food. Makes sense but we give in to those puppy dog eyes and he LOVES potatoes. So, he gets to have a snack here and there and we soothe are worried minds by telling ourselves that he gets a lot of exercise and gets to have a really good doggy life by eating really yummy food! I’m welcoming your criticism with this, I know.

Back on topic, as he begs for food, he doesn’t care what it is normally unless it’s kidney beans, cucumbers, or bananas. He doesn’t whine about it when we give it to him (which is not all the time by the way), he just accepts it (obviously…like I said…a goat.)  For me, I’ve learned to be the same. When I don’t see that giant pink diamond ring I’ve been waiting for…I won’t be upset. I’ll just take it ( and at this point, I’ll rip it out of his hands!)

Stop and Smell The Roses….Every Rose

Every single day that we go outside he has to lick every rock, eat every piece of grass, and smell the ground every 4 feet. Walking with him is atrocious so now we just let him run and he does his own thing. Whiplash is so not worth it for me! I take him out a lot every day even though I don’t need too but I like to. He loves to go out and run around and play and he’s in a great shape…so wish I could be!

After a day at school or when Toblerone comes home from work, we take Harley outside to play and it relaxes all of us. We take a moment to chill out and to get ready to relax for the evening together. It’s a nice way to cool down and Harley taught us that sometimes all you need is a little bit of time and some fresh air to get your mind stable. Who needs meditation???

This also taught us to definitely not sweat the small stuff. He doesn’t worry about bills or if the water is too cold in his morning showers. He simply just lives. The simple life…we start to appreciate that more and more each day.

You’re Never Too Big To Be A Lap Dog

Every time I sit on the ground for whatever reason Harley always comes and plops himself into my lap. Literally his fuzzy butt is on my leg. It’s probably the sweetest thing he does. Perfect for snuggling with him. Reminds me that no matter how old I am, I’m never going to be too old to snuggle up to my mom and rest my head on her shoulder or lay my head on my dad’s stomach.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Harley follows me every where. He snuggles up to my legs as I’m cooking or as I’m putting on my makeup. He’s my little…I mean BIG sidekick. When I moved from the US to Germany I felt really alone at first and as if I had no part of me here. No family, no friends, etc. I had my materialistic things but what I didn’t have was the companionship of familiarity.

Somewhere along the line I had forgotten that Harley came from the US with me. He was just as much apart of the change as I was and he was and is the family I brought with me. I talk to him all day in English….sometimes German since he’s a bilingual smart ass and he loves me. That’s all I need in the world.

What have you learned from the fur balls in your life?

This lesson is brought to you by the letter H and the number 1 1/2 🙂

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 21

Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy

Easy enough….my baby!! Harley Jones!!!

We got him when he was 6 weeks old from a breeder and he was the sweetest little thing. Then we got him home and the terror began. He was a crazy little man and didn’t let us sleep and continuously convinced us he was a Vampire. I used to go to work looking like a murder victim. Blood coming from every space of my skin. He had such sharp little teeth and used to bite us.

Then as he got older, he decided he wanted to run the house and wouldn’t listen to us at all. He held us hostage in our own house. The barking started and the numerous dead things he swallowed whole because he wouldn’t “drop it.” Seriously, what did we get ourselves into?

But then….Now, he’s 17 months old and he’s starting to listen really well…he handles guests much better and doesn’t jump on them nearly as much. He’s become the sweetest little guy and is increasingly sweeter with each day. When I see his face and look at these pictures of him I just get all overwhelmed inside with love. He’s my own little baby!

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UPDATE: So Tobes and I are off to a cute little hotel in the mountains a few hours away. We will be there until Saturday. Looking forward to the massages, champagne and breakfast in bed, and getting away from having to clean. I’m beyond exhausted at the moment. I cleaned until my face turned purple today so I could come home to a clean house. I’m such a house wife. Anywho, I’ll have lots to tell you about after our adventure. And no worries…I’ll post the blog posts! Can’t wait for this crap to be over with.

In other news, my 27th birthday is exactly in 7 days…one week. I feel so old. And so unaccomplished. I need to work on that!

Until next time, readers! xoxoxoxo

A Trip To Stuttgart Zoo

This was the first weekend since I’ve been here that Toblerone had a free Sunday (Usually this is utterly devoted to soccer games…sigh)! So, we wanted to take full advantage of this and regardless of a few scattered showers, lightening, and thunder to boot we decided that the Stuttgart Zoo would be a perfect day trip!  Harley went to visit and play at Omi and Opi’s house so we had no time limit, thankfully!

So to give you a little background of this place. Yes, it’s full of animals – duh! But, it’s also the largest zoo and botanical garden combination, and If I’m not mistaken the only one, in Europe. It’s open 365 days a year (yes I want to go on Christmas Day) and is in the middle of a city. Totally wild! (haha…get it…wild…wild animals…ok..tough crowsd.) Equipped with an umbrella and a camera…take a look at what there is to offer at Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart.

It was absolutely incredible. They had everything from gorillas to a full aquarium and butterfly house. Really gorgeous and would LOVE to have one of our wedding receptions (Yes there will be more than one..) in the botanical gardens at night. I bet it’s so beautiful!  We walked around for 4 hours and still didn’t get to see everything. We were so exhausted from it all!

Please check out the slide show below for more of the interesting things we came across. Zoos aren’t just for kids. In fact, I wish there weren’t any kids there. I wanted to kick them…all of them. That was the ONLY annoying thing. All these screaming kids running into us with their ice cream cones. PEOPLE!!! CONTROL YOUR ANNOYING MISBEHAVED CHILDREN! This is what the leash is for!!  Ok, I’m over it. Just had to vent.

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All in all it was a wonderful weekend and we finished the evening with a beer at the Biergarten over looking the city of Stuttgart and then dinner at a friend’s restaurant where I ate to my heart (and stomach’s!) content with schnitzel and spaetzle! 🙂

Until next time, readers!

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Read All About It

The sun has been out here in Germany for quite some time, which I’ve been told by the locals that this is not normal for late March, early April. However, as I’m writing this it’s gloomy with a forecast to rain until Friday. Thats ok, because I need to nurse this slight sunburn I have ;-). I somehow loved the fact that it was gorgeous here and my friends and family on the east coast were still battling with snow! (Sorry guys!)

So, Toblerone and I went to a great ice cream place in Spaichingen (said like: Spy-king-in). It’s an Italian place, run by Italian men known for it’s great “Ice” as they call it here. I love places that really stand out with their menu (Ahem..and men.) I mean they had whacky tobaccy options which I love! I just got a regular yogurt icecream (disgusting…tastes like sour cream, so much for the healthier option) with chocolate. See below. Of course Toblerone gets the cool one that I want! Spaghetti Carbonara! Umm…YES! HELLO! GIMME!!! Not sure how they make icecream look like spaghetti and not melt as we sat outside in the sun but it was great! So all the good stuff (whipped cream, etc) was in the middle under the spaghetti icecream. How cool is that?!

 
The rest of the week was so beautiful so we had many dinners outside on the grill (we still need to put together our huge Weber grill) but it was quite nice.
 
Friday afternoon I was picked up by my sis-in-law and we went to Tuttlingen (Toot-ling-in) for some shopping. They have an H&M so immediately when I walked in and saw all the chaos that is H&M, I felt at home! In the other stores though, the clothes are very similar to what we have in the states. They have a slightly different taste in clothes here but no big difference. I mean you get the occasional really stylish person but for the most part they are pretty casual. But they make casual look so nice! Dammit!
 
Anywho, so I get home and Toblerone is home waiting for a “garden expert” to come and check out the house. The man told us that there are MANY problems and the rock crate things I hate do need to be there but not as many. So, they will break it down, put some random hill in the front, which I’m ok with for 5,000 Euro and then the rest of the place will need some serious work done as well. Ugh, I just want it all to be done now and the jacuzzi to be up! We have other options coming to the house and we will pick the best design and all of that. What a process!
 
So, after the dude left I quickly got ready and off I went to the sis, Ele’s,  house for pre-gaming with all her friends. My first girls night out since I was with my other ladies back home in NY. (Oh how I miss all of you girls.) We had some time to kill so we went over to one girl’s farm which if you could have seen my outfit. I basically put on all the clothes I could find and some random house shoes of Ele’s mom. Fantastic! I suppose it’s a farm where they produce meat of course but it’s also a place that people go to look at the animals so they have some random things thrown in there. You can see for yourself! I think this guy below here looks like “Donkey” from Shrek but he’s just a short and fat horse!
 
 
I’m excited to go back and take a ride on some horses! I haven’t done that in a long time and think it would be fun!
 
We left there and went back to Ele’s house and sat around listening to music and drinking champagne and this drink or as they call schnaps called, “Ficken.” In German…that is basically the F-word in English with “ing” on the end. You with me? I’m not totally sure how to describe this exactly but I think it’s something like cranberry or pomegranate? I have no idea but it’s SOOO addicting and a quick way to get you fired up and ready for debauchery! For those of you who know you are coming to visit – yes, a bottle of this will be ready and waiting for you!  
 
So, six girls are trying to decide which club to go to and we decided to go to a club which, I can’t spell the town name (ha…great) but we did know that there would be younger people there but let me tell you, what a reality check for me! Age has crept up on me faster than I ever thought! God do I miss the good days of being 22!
We drank our bottle of champagne in the car on the way there and finished it as we approached the door, rather I was told to chug it because everyone else was done drinking already! What is this place?! Are we in Germany?!?! PEOPLE!! Work with me here! 
 
Once inside, omg…seriously. Talk about robbing the cradle! There were kids there that were literally 16, possibly even 14! lol. (yes they could drink). BUT, if you all know me, I don’t let that get me down. Of course there were older people as well but I just felt like these little buggers were everywhere. So, I did what anyone would do in my situation. I drank and drank and drank a little more and a little more. Vodka and Redbull, You are a nightmare but SO good! I was a dancing machine, like, seriously couldn’t stop. I haven’t been out really dancing in a LONG time so it was good to get it out! Something that was weird to me is that there was NO drama, none at all! What?! These German girls seriously surprise me sometimes!
 
I will not post pictures from this because they are not only embarrassing but seriously not ok to show anyone else but those that were there. So for the first time in my life I actually said I wanted to go home ( I think this was around 3:30am) Usually, I stay out until I can’t stay out anymore but thats when I’m in America where the bars close at 2am. Lame. America – GET WITH THE PROGRAM!! Don’t you want people to be useless on Saturdays or Sundays??
 
Speaking of useless, we ended up staying at Toblerone’s parents house only because it was easier. We all were going to the same house (the boys were out too) so Ele and I stayed there. Of course, I always wake up the ass crack of dawn and joined the parents in law for breakfast. I walked into the kitchen and they died laughing at the sight of how glorious I looked. Makeup down my face, my hair sticking straight up in knots. Awesome. The Father in law decided that I would go for a bike ride with him to see the woods he owns. Thank you. Thank you Drinking God for blessing me with this AMAZING opportunity to go riding bikes on Saturday morning after having 4 hours of sleep and mixing every type of alcohol there is. Thank you for this bread. Amen.
 
Here in Germany most people own a part of the forest for fire wood so this is pretty normal and he was so proud to show me. I coudn’t say no. But couldn’t we WALK!? I can NOT ride a bike, people. Last time I did was probably when I was 14. I can’t even remember, I’m terrified!! It’s hard to say no to people here when you don’t speak the language. lol. So we start to ride and I’m seriously shaking, and not just from the hangover. The bike is wiggling all over the place because I can’t keep it still. He tells me we are going left up ahead where the only option is to go left or right. Yeah, I got straight. My feet slip off the pedals (in flip flops mind you) and I’m going straight towards a field of god knows what! Luckily I was able to stop but my GOD! I am NOT a fan of this bike thingy!
 
Sunday was as usual Toblerone’s soccer game. He told me that if he scores a goal he will dive towards me and I thought, hmmm….a dive? He hadn’t yet this season but I could see it in his eyes that today was the day of great things!! So, he attempted a few times and came close and then BAM! There it was!!! He scored the 4th goal for the team and I could see him looking for me in the crowd and there he came…running and DIVE!  It’s a very romantic gesture for those of you that don’t know anything about soccer. When you dive to someone you’re like dedicating that goal and that win to them. Whatever, I was happy!! 🙂
 
So the week was great and looking forward to this week. Tonight we have our first American visitor coming over for dinner and I’m excited to talk to someone without an accent. However, my German is getting better by the day. I’ve been having many conversations now. Crazy!!
 
Did you know that the Germans seriously think American’s are stupid? Some where along the way, they heard that American’s believe or were taught that Hitler is still alive. WHAT?! I tired to explain to them that there are some Americans who are stupid and they tend to live in certain places. Lets hope you don’t live in those states.
 
Ciao for now!!
 
xoxoxoxoxooxo