An American Baby Shower For A German Baby

First Fall project completed and what a beautiful day it was!! This past weekend I threw an American style baby shower for a friend of mine. But first, a little background into how life happens when you have a German baby!
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So we all know that in the US when a a girlfriend is preggers, we throw her a fantastic party a couple months before the birth. All the women in her family come, along with all the friends she’s had to avoid because she can’t go out drinking with them anymore. The party is held at someone’s house or restaurant with food galore and presents stacked high. Games are played and everyone ooohs and ahhhs over all the sweet little baby decorations. The mom-to-be is treated like a princess and she gets EVERYTHING she could possibly need for her bundle of love on the way. Cribs, carriages, diapers, toys, clothes, breast feeding equipment, blankets, etc. The list goes on.

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And then there is Germany…..

Mom-to-be buys everything herself. Mom gives birth. All friends and family swarm over to the house with little gifts for the baby and visit as the new mom and baby are trying to get a hold of this new life they have together. The mom, exhausted and in desperate need of a nap makes coffee and cake for all the masses who visit.

So….let’s discuss. WHICH country does it better?…..it’s obvious. And there is no arguing about this. Even the German ladies here agreed that this is a tradition they have interest in starting! It’s really all about the one last fun hoorah for the new mom before her life changes with a new baby!

This was exactly what I wanted for my dear friend. I threw her a bash to remember! We invited family and friends for an intimate gathering. Each person brought a gift and brought along either a cake or snack food! It was perfect! I made the very popular “bowle” which is what we know as punch! The ladies love to mix champagne with it so I left it alcohol free and people could add what they wanted!
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And although the food was somewhat simple…of course, the Germans do know how to make a mean cake! So yums…just sooo soooo sooooo yums!
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And the snacks were great as well! I made little ricotta cheese filled tarts which were super easy thanks to this recipe I found on Pinterest.
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And another woman made these fun finger foods. I had printed out little signs that said “It’s a Girl” and pictures of a baby rattle on them, which I found a free printable for here.

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We played the ever popular, “Name That Baby Food.” Which were REALLY horrible by the way…ha! I just sectioned off 6 parts on a paper plate, everyone put a spoonful of baby food in the corresponding number place and went to town! The faces they made were hysterical..I mean REALLY funny.
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And of course we played the game, “How Big is Mommy’s Belly.” This was fun to see too! And of course the Grandma-to-be was SPOT on.
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Then after all the games, we did the PRESENTS!!!! My favorite! So, I should mention that in Germany there is a superstition about bringing a present to the mom-to-be BEFORE the baby is born. They believe that if you bring a gift before the baby is born, that the baby will be born with problems or something bad will happen. They were good sports about it and looked past this just for this “American” baby shower which was really very nice of them.

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And a little guest, Leonie, helped as best as she could. She LOVED opening all the presents! At the end of this wonderful afternoon we said goodbye and said that the baby can come now. All is done and now we are just waiting!

It really was a wonderful day and I’m so glad that I could share a piece of my home and culture with them. And mostly, that they were so open minded about it and accepting. What a gift!

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Any ideas what she is having?!?! ūüôā

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

Dress Like A German – Female Edition

Let me start by saying this is just an observation of the small southern area Im living in. This is not true for all of Germany but I’ve been here almost 3 years and have seen a pattern with the style of women here. Hate to break it to you all but they don’t walk around in drindls and lederhosen all day, unfortuantely. Here’s a few things that I found was culturally different from the women in the States!

1. Short hair don’t care
Truthfully, NOT a fan of this short hair look here. There are SOOOOO many girls, young and old, with this short hair. Most of the time, I can’t tell who is a boy or a girl from behind, sometimes from the front. But even my Italian hairstylist hates it! She says in Italy all the girls have long beautiful hair and here she prefers the clients with long hair…meaning, she won’t ever cut my hair even if I asked! lol. What a gem for being honest!
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2. Blingy Teeth
Man, how I wish I was kidding about this. I think girls in the states wear these things too but I never saw this until I moved here. A diamond on your tooth?! Who sat around and said..oh, let me just bedazzle my tooth. Every time I see a girl with one I keep wanting to tell her that she’s got something in her teeth.
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3. Scarf I say!
Scarves are great, I even have a collection of them. The difference is, I wear mine in fall, winter, and mayyyybe spring if its still cold. The girls here…they have a different idea about them. They LOVE to wear them all year round. They will wear a tank top with a scarf in 90 degree heat! I’ve even seen some girls in the clubs wearing them!!! HA! The Germans also have a very serious medical regimen. If you start feeling a sore throat coming on…you immediately start wearing a scarf. You commit to that baby and you wear that thing day and night…even while sleeping! However, I cant figure out how to wrap my scarf and these girls got it down to a science!
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4. Mrs. Poopy Pants
I hate to say that these are so popular here. Looks more like an adult diaper with legs. Need I say anything more?
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5. Point That Somewhere else
When I was younger…say, 18 years old or so, I went through a phase where I would go get my nails done. And I’m not talking about your typical manicure. This was with the whole process that filed my nails down to tiny slivers and at the end I had beautiful long very fake looking nails and then I realized how trashy it made me look but that was also back in 2002 or so. Here it seems almost EVERYONE gets this done.
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6. Looking through Glass
When you think of Europeans what do you think of? Thin, fashionable (in some countries), scarves, v-neck t-shirts on men, cool shoes, and chic glasses in strange shaped frames. Am I close? Well, the glasses thing in Germany is for real. So many people wear glasses and I think most of them prefer to wear these over contacts. For example, many women wear glasses in the clubs (where I would choose to wear contacts usually), and many even wear them on their wedding day (which is an absolute
NEVER in my book). We think of glasses as “four eyes” and almost something negative but here it seems they think its fashionable and a part of their face. I don’t wear glasses at all so what do I know!
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8. Now I’m Blinged Out
From blinging out your teeth to your nails…fret not my pet, there are more things to be blinged!!! Hair for instance!! I see this a lot when it’s a special event ie. wedding, anniversary, birthday celebration. Lots of ladies go to get their hair did and come out with an extra sparkle. These are the Bling strands. It’s available in the US, I’ve just never seen anyone do such things. Sparkle and Shine, M√§dels, sparkle and shine!
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Have you seen people in your country wearing any of these? Would you consider trying some of these Southern German fashions out?!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

What’s In A Name

After almost 2 years here I think one of my top 5 issues is remembering peoples names. Sometimes they are just so different and for whatever reason, my brain just refuses to allow me to contain this info! So, I’m sitting here reading the back of the newspaper which lists all of the people who just got married, passed away, or had babies. No love stories and all that hullabaloo included…just names.

Here are a few that I can not pronounce to save my life. Thank you to the hubs for helping me on this!

Name (Pronunciation)

Women
1.Dunja (Dune-ya)
2.Elfriede (Ell-free-day)
3.Ingeborg (Ing-geh-borg)
4.Hildegard (Hill-dee-gard)
5.Edeltrud (Ay-dell-trood)
6.Inge (Ing-gay)
7.Simone (See-moan)

Men
1.Tilo (Tea-low)
2.Theophil (Tea-O-Phil)
3.Helmut (Hell-moot)
4.Egon (Eee-Gone)
5.Thorsten (Tore-sten)
6.Eugen (Oy-gen)

Thoughts?! Are these names you have a hard time pronouncing too? Maybe even to remember?!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Things I’m Having A Hard Time Living Without

I can certainly live without things but I would prefer NOT to…and here are my reasons why. I encourage you to pay close attention, take notes, tie a ribbon around your finger to remind yourself that you all have it really good back in your own home countries. My life without the following feels incomplete BUT I do have backup, luckily which counter my complaints of course!

I’ve got exactly 30 days ¬†as of today until I land on the mushy ground of America. Put me there RIGHT now! Now that I’m getting down to the finish line, I’m getting excited and overly worked up about the fact that the East Coast is indulging in delish Fall treats and I’m stuck in a place that doesn’t know what Starbucks Pumpkin Latte is or what a Pumpkin Pie is. HELP!

1. Gossip Girls 

You all know just what I’m talking about. A night were you get all dolled up, put on the greatest pair of stilettos you own, a new dress, and the works and you meet your favorite girlfriends out for sushi dinner and gossip for ages over Martinis of every kind. The more you knock back the more stories and emotions flow. Finding out about which idiot brought their mistress to their own wedding only to divorce their wife a few months later, or the trashy girl from high school that has way too many kids with way too many different men, or maybe it’s the latest crap your ex is up to. Although none of that is important but it’s just stuff to talk about and we all can relate. We talk about our relationship problems in a “safe” area (bars are always so loud they swallow and hide your words forever) and every guy that tries to hit on us only pushes us to band together and give him a nice glass of icy glare with a splash of the cold shoulder. Why?? Because it’s god damn GIRLS NIGHT OUT, Bitches!!

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Remedy: So how to we fix this little problem? Easy…FACEBOOK. Everyone, including myself, writes all sorts of personal stuff on The Book nowadays and not only can I stalk my girlfriends (yes, I admit) I also lurk behind my laptop to see who’s having a baby, getting married, breaking up, divorcing, being annoying, biting their nails, wearing bad outfits which include visors (STOP IT!), and who is overly obsessed with their special someone (this might be me). Thank you Facebook for feeding me with the gossip I need to sustain myself until I get back to the states for a visit! ¬†Speaking of Facebook….please go to my Blog Page and like it. And if that is too complicated, on the right hand side here there is ¬†button to “like” it as well. THANKS! ūüôā

2. Martinis

Pomegranate, Very Dirty, Chocolate, Apple, Apple Pie, Banana Split, Cosmopolitan, Flirtini, Gingerbread, Gummy Worm, Key Lime Pie, Kiwi, Hello Kitty, Melon Ball, Watermelon, and Pumpkin (DAMMIT!)

These are all things we are aware of. Those girly drinks (and some of them MAN-tini’s) that are FABU and absolutely mouth-watering. I used to partake in these tasty bits quite often back in the states…trying every one on the menu if necessary. If I asked for a Martini here….Do you know what I would get? Actual Martini & Rossi. This is like a strong wine or so I’m told. I’ve never had it because I’m boycotting. Here’s the situation, I’m DYING to make all the Martini’s I love for people here so they can see how awesome it is. They see them in the movies and Sex and the City shows…it’s just unfair. Anyway, I would LOVE to make these but there are no such things as flavored vodkas, think Three Olives Brand or other special liqueurs like the Pumpkin Spice that I need to make the Pumpkin Martini. Lord have mercy….this is going to be a long few years without those babies.

I’m positive as soon as I get back to the states I’ll be throwing those back like Homer does to his donuts or cookie monster to his cookies…or is it vegetables now?

Remedy: WodkaBull – aka Vodka RedBull…..AMEN. Of course they also have wineries up the ying AND the yang and a realllllly good bottle of wine costs about 8.00 Euro…that’s like $11 bucks and some change. Can’t beat that!

3. Care packages

My mom was always¬†giving me stuff and sending me home with food from her fridge (leftovers are the BEST). We would go shopping together all the time and hang out, have a Panera Bread lunch date, all sorts of mommy daughter bliss. When I see my mom on Skype, it’s just not the same. I can’t hug her. I miss my best friend. End of story.

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Remedy: As there is no replacement for that kind of hole in the heart, Care packages are fantastic!! Or cards. Or letters via snail mail. All of this is great. When I get the box the first thing I do is look at my mom’s handwriting…I would recognize that anywhere. Then I open the box and smell the inside. I know what you’re thinking but I’m always hoping I can smell a bit of home in there. As I look through all the things I imagine her buying them and thinking of me. It’s such a nice surprise. Each little thing, even if it’s just a sticker or a lollipop, it means the absolute WORLD to me. And….to be able to read instructions or the packaging in English is a treat too.

4. Streaming Music

You know those moments where you’re angry because your download is slow or for whatever reason your favorite homepage isn’t working? Yeah, that’s how I feel every day. As the majority of you are participating in the newest fads such as Spotify or the older one Pandora….I don’t have access to these. Nope. Not at all. Germany has some weird problem with streaming music and this has caused me some very serious heart palpitations! Even YouTube is complicated and most of the time as you all post the coolest new videos on Facebook I can’t watch them. “This video is not allowed in your country.” ¬†Listen here Maestro…this isn’t my country however as an American citizen I think I should have the right to watch whatever I want whenever I want. Who do I have to bring down?

Remedy:¬† Stereomood. This is fantastic for me. For those of you who are new to this fad – it’s uploaded music from other users and categorized under a certain mood. So when I’m feeling like sunshine, I head on over to the sunshine channel. When I feel like punching babies in the face, I head over to child abuse channel. No that’s not a channel option but you get the idea. ¬†It’s my savior. Although most of the time the music annoys me like mosquitos buzzing in my ear, at least it’s something. The possibility of hearing new music excites my loins.

5. Televise My Life

No really….give me a reality show.

Here we have massive amounts of channels on the TV and all sorts of shows I know back home. One problem…they are all in German. I do try to pay attention sometimes but most of the time it’s annoying and I give up. We have the British version of CNN and BBC which is great but can bore me very easily once they get on their kicks about the financial outcome of the world and all that nonsense. I couldn’t care less. I’m focused on my own financial situation…can’t possibly care about everyone else.

Remedy: There is a God and she seriously knows just how to please me. She has granted me with free streaming video of the latest shows the day after they air. Indeed, I can find this on services such as Sidereel or XBMC (Thanks Bro!). This plays a giant part in my life. I couldn’t go a day without knowing I had access to Gossip Girl, The Vampire Diaries, and many other terrible Reality shows.

6. Vanilla Extract

For those of us that bake we know the importance of ¬†Vanilla Extract. It’s like the piece to the puzzle that can never go missing otherwise it makes the entire puzzle look like crap. Get what I’m saying? In Germany there is no such thing. I keep trying to figure out how they make their cakes but I’m dumbfounded. When I realized there was no such thing as Vanilla here I about died. They have some sort of really oily based, almost buttery type of Vanilla flavoring in tubes but this is not the alcohol smelling Vanilla we know. It does NOT work. I was once on the verge of disaster without this stuff…and then…..

Remedy: I make everyone who comes over here (old colleagues and the like) bring Vanilla Extract with them. Our last buddy that stopped in brought me two large bottles of it (Thanks to his wife) and I’m happy as a clam. I can bake till my heart’s content without crying about it.

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

The Best of Friends

I’m not sure I’ve ever touched on the topic of my best friends and how much they mean to me but I’m gonna now.

I’ve just finished watching the 2 seasons that were made of ‘Lipstick Jungle’ and for those who don’t know what the hell that is…a t.v. series that followed the lives of three very important and highly paid best friends through NYC. Granted, my friend and I are not living in NYC and nor do we have bank accounts with over 100k in them, however I stress the fact that we can have just as good a time if not better on a lower budget!

The other night we went to dinner at this great place called Pastabilities and sat for hours drinking wine…talking..and of course…writing poetry. lol.

Then from there we decided to continue our fun laid-back evening at this Chocolate/Wine Bar called Bittersweet. We each got some wine as well as big giant chocolatey dessert…each of us trying¬†each others of course.¬†It was amazing and cured my sugar fix only for a moment.¬†Old French music played in the background and set the tone perfectly for the evening. Friendship. Keep in mind these two had to work early hours and they were out with me…for me..until midnight or longer. It was just one of the moments I wish I could capture and frame and play back every day. I want to be able to re-live it for the rest of my life.

The point of this¬†post is not to tell you about our evening because that doesn’t interest anyone but us. During the first ten minutes of hanging out with my girlfriends, I became almost speechless. I couldn’t find anything to talk about because I realized what was happening. I would be leaving them..going to another country and there lives would remain unchanged, as if I was never there. As they talked about other restuarants they wanted to try out, and when they needed to go shopping next, what they were doing over the next few weekends…my life seemed to fade out fast.

It all hit me…I’m really really sad. Here I was looking at these two beautiful girls that I’m so happy to call my closest friends and fighting to the death, tears. It was moments like this that I knew I would be missing the most.¬†Those simple moments I took for¬†granted¬†before.¬†So right then¬†and there, as they talked about what they should send me in¬†care packages, I made a vow to always remain in touch with them. I’ve moved around enough to know that eventually…life happens…and you lose touch¬†but not this time.¬†Whether a quick email, Skype, or traveling…these girls are for life. Had it not been for them…my time in this¬†city would have been one to regret.

A few days following this dinner…I found out that a dear friend had lost his battle with complications from Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. I haven’t seen him in quite some time and guilt rushed over me. With this, it just made me realize more how important every second is and to share with the people you love that they mean the world to you and they’ve changed your life. RIP MM.

So for all of you that have¬†girlfriends you can cry with, eat all the frosting off their piece of cake on their¬†plate,¬†borrow underwear in¬†emergencies, share intimate details about your sex life, and laugh together until your sides hurt…make sure to tell them every day or show them how much¬†they mean to you. ¬†I will be telling these girls more often since I won’t be here in person to show them.