Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Style: Bangtox and flowers

Please ignore my ridiculously short bangs. I went into a hair salon the other day to get a bit of a trim, and walked out with Betty Page-short bangs. No idea how that happened. Also no idea if I can pull it off (I suspect not). Good thing that time will solve this problem in no time (I hope). 

Anyway, I finished Jenny Lawson's book Furiously Happy (I love it so very, VERY much!), and she mentions in it how one of her friends doesn't get Botox, but bangtox, aka bangs to cover up forehead wrinkles. 
That has been my plan all along, and the short bangs are not doing their job properly. I remembered some fashion advice where the stylists recommend to wear big patterns or loud colours or something to direct the eye of the person looking at you away from the trouble area. Hence the flower dress. (I threw the socks on for maximum distraction.) The "business" of the flowers and socks make you not notice my bad bangtox job, right? Awesome. 

Even without the bangs I would have worn the dress though, because it's lovely. The adorable Vancouver blogger Veronika from By The Shore has a closet sale, and I snapped it up for $18! With free shipping! I was thrilled. I really love flower dresses, and this one is no exception. I have a feeling we will be very happy together!





Dress: I bought it from Veronika from By The Shore, it's originally from ModCloth (similar); cardigan: Joe (old; similar); socks: H&M last year (check out these pandafox, and cat socks!); shoes: Old Navy; belt: American Eagle (similar)








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Monday, 28 September 2015

Four unexpected yoga side effects nobody talks about

locust pose with puppy
Exhibit A
Welcome to my monthly yoga check-in! On October 1 I will be entering my 8th month of consistent practice. {Insert wide-eyed emoji here.}
I rounded up some pictures of this month's practice. Exhibit A is a typical example for what's happening when I'm outside: The dogs having no appreciation of what I'm doing and no sense of personal space.  

See also Exhibit B: Dogs all over the damn place. 

Exhibit B

What I want to talk about today is four surprising side effects of the yoga practice I had never heard about. 

1. You may gain weight.

Tragically, this is true. Over the last seven months of consistently working out 6-7 times a week I have gained 5 pounds. Say what?! You may say that it's the muscle gain (the version I usually stick with, because self love), or you may say it's the excessive consumption of Chinese pork buns and candy. Nobody knows.
compass pose progress
Compass pose. A hamstring stretch that I had a really hard time with until last week. Yay for a straight leg!


forward fold with puppy
Forward fold (look how tiny Nina is!)

2. You will stupid-grin way more often than you ever thought you would.

Because, progress. There is no better feeling than trying something over and over again, until suddenly - it works.
tittibhasana progress
Firefly pose
king pigeon pose in progress
King pigeon pose


3. You continually run out of space on your phone because there is a bazillion yoga videos and photos on it. 

You may say this is excessive, and you are right of course. But you never know just when you will balance in handstand or do a magic transition, now do you? And as we all know, if it's not documented, it didn't happen.  

8-angle pose into Eka Pada Koundinyasana transition (almost)


splits progress
Splits

4. You will develop major girl crushes. 

Oh yes, you will. My heroes are the strong, accomplished women I follow and admire on Instagram. There are many of them, but I want to highlight just three for now:

Laura is incredible. There are hundreds of unbelievably stunning shots, so I had a really hard time choosing one - that's why you get two. 
@laurasykora
Laura's Instagram
Here is one of her progress pictures:
natarajasana progress
Found here
And here is one of mine (I'm somewhere between the two top pics of hers):
natarajasana progress
Lord of the Dance pose

@kjyoga14 
Cassie is the queen of the press-up handstand. You have to check out a few of her Insta videos, they are so inspiring! I have a serious crush on this beautiful and funny girl. 
@kjyoga14
Found here
@jen_es_care Jen is an accomplished athlete. She does amazing acro yoga, mind-blowing human flags and is the most flexible and strong girl I can imagine. Again, photos do her no justice, so check out her Instagram videos!   
@Jen_es_care
Found here


Whenever I see these girls I'm motivated to get on my mat and practice, practice, practice. The fantastic thing about yoga is that I'm not jealous of other people's progress. I believe 100% that with enough practice I will be able to do these poses too, and I am prepared to work for it and be patient. 

Yoga for life!








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Friday, 25 September 2015

Style: An untold story inside me

Flared pants and clogs
Stories are all around us. We carry our own with us, and get to be keepers of other people's stories. Over the last week alone I have cried over love stories, commiserated with friends over their troubles, and laughed out loud reading Jenny Lawson's extraordinarily funny and important book Furiously Happy.
Why important? Because it's "A funny book about horrible things", i.e. mental illness. It is so, so good. Totally wacky of course, but in the best way possible. Read it. Read it now.

Anyway.
There is a story inside me that I want to share with you. One that I haven't told yet.

It's about a girl. A girl who went through a traumatic period in her life: The period of the tapered pants. Baggy in the waist and thigh, slim below the knee, it's a style that looks good on no-one.
Yet, she thought they looked good because she was young and dumb and didn't know any better. Bless her heart and cluelessness. For years she wore those awful pants, often paired with turtleneck sweaters tucked into the pants for more volume in the belly area.

It was a dark time.

Until finally, in the 14th year of her life, her friend had a genius idea. She made a 5-inch cut along the inside seam on the bottom of her tapered pants, thus creating a make-shift flare.
Instantly the pants looked a hundred times better, balancing the bagginess of the thighs with a somewhat matching flare.
The girl ran home and took the scissors to all her pants, euphoric at this wonderful revelation.

But that was only the beginning.

As if the fashion gods wanted to reward her efforts, boot-cut and flared pants started to appear in the stores. They were the answer to every pear-shaped girl's cry for a flattering piece of clothing.

The girl was happy. For years she wore the slimming and flattering pants, first paired with Doc Martens, later with heels to create the illusion of longer legs.

However, nothing lasts forever.
The girl will never forget her shock and dismay when she was sitting in post-secondary biology class in her 27th year, clad in her beloved boot-cuts, surrounded by mostly younger, and more fashion-forward girls. One of them wore a variation of the dreaded tapered pants! Were they haunting her?

On closer inspection the girl had to admit that they weren't exactly tapered: They were slim throughout, fitting like a second skin. A skin that was, in this instance, quite tight, creating a sausage-like appearance. Exactly what was wrong with this shape!
It didn't look good on anybody but the slimmest of bodies, preferably with no hips and butt, now did it?
She hoped beyond hope that this was just the mistake of one person, and not a fashion movement.

But in her heart she knew the truth: The balanced pants days were over.

The skinny jeans arrived with a vengeance. She tried to ignore them in the beginning, but it was hopeless - they grew on her. She bought her first pair, and liked it. Not only were they much more comfortable than they looked (2% elastane work better than magic), but did they actually - look good? She didn't know if it was clever brainwashing from the media, a trick of her eyes, or reality, but she didn't care. She started to love them.

However, she never forgot about her first true love, the flared jeans. Throughout the skinny years, she kept a few pairs tucked away in her closet, just in case. "Everything in fashion comes back eventually", the eternal optimist inside her told her, and she clung to that.

And then, it happened. After many, many years of keeping them hidden away, they finally get to see the light of day again!

Ladies, hold on to your bell bottoms: The flare is back!!!!

Excited for flared pants!
The basicgirl's autumn uniform

Plaid shirt: Old Navy (old; similar); pants: thrifted (beautiful flared jeansblack flared jeans); shoes: Old Navy (currently out of stock; similar); belt: ancient (similar)

Posing is hard

I will always like skinnies, but flares are my soul mates.
Are you as happy as I am about the return of the flared jeans? 






Linking up with Fashion Should Be FunPassion 4 Fashion and Jaymie Ashcraft 


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Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Fake fur and 70s goodness

We bloggers love fall. In case you didn't know, your blogging card will be revoked if you dare to dislike fall.
Luckily, I have always been a big fan. Not only because of the colour explosion that happens in nature, but also because of the explosion of trends that happens in fall fashion. Today I want to show you a few spectacular accessories that are big this year.

Jewellery

Probably the most noteworthy trend in jewellery for the fall is that brooches, pins and pendants are everywhere. It's a fun way to personalize an outfit by adding unique, individual ornaments, whether they be pinned on, fastened to the ends of long necklaces, or even worn in the hair. This will also work well when cool weather outerwear comes about and you're able to fasten a piece of jewellery on the outside of your coat.

Another big trend in jewellery that's more unique to 2015 is the abundance of fringe and tassel designs in fashion collections. Marie Claire did a write-up all about this development, pointing to examples in earrings, pendants, and other pieces of jewellery, and suggesting that the whole thing facilitates a vaguely '70s-style look. 

May I also point out that I already wore tassel/fringe earrings last December (as proven by this post), cementing my status as fashion trendsetter. (Or, more accurately, my sister's nose for trends, since she is the one who gave them to me. Thanks sis!) 

Handbags




Did you know that backpacks are cool again? My inner teenager is so happy about this. 

Lyst has done a nice job of gathering the bulk of these handbag trends in one place. There you'll find backpacks and bucket bags, patterned leather designs, bags adorned with metal studs, and even those made with faux fur exteriors. All of these are among the most popular options this year, and each has its perks. In particular, the emergence of the bucket bag as an everyday item serves a terrific purpose; these bags are as functional as they are stylish.

Footwear

How amazing are these shoes? Very Game of Thrones, don't you think? Once in a while it's fun to step out of your comfort zone, and this season sports some unusual, fun shoes.

Popsugar outlined the latest shoe trends in this article, including footwear with furry and fuzzy exteriors and shoes designed with several colours in one. A great way to inject some fun and colour into the upcoming grey days!

Miscellaneous Pieces




All girls love scarves, right? They are cozy, warm, and can change up any outfit by adding different pops of colour, texture and patterns. If you want to take it one step further and class up an outfit, you should consider the (fake) fur stole, which appears to be making a comeback this year.

For those not so familiar with these pieces, a stole is basically a heavier, more firmly situated alternative to a scarf. They're ideal for cold weather, but even in moderate conditions they can accent an outfit like just about nothing else can. Plus it gives you a sophisticated Great Gatsby vibe, which is fabulous. 


That's about all there is to the accessory market this fall. As sad as it is having to say goodbye to summer, snatching up a few pieces from these categories and trends is a great way to embrace the new season!






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Monday, 21 September 2015

Netflix is saving my life


I had such high hopes for that Sunday. It was a rainy day, which fit in perfectly with my plans: I was going to clean the house, do some laundry, finish my assignment for work and get some writing done. 
The day started promising: After only half an hour of reading in the bed and two cups of coffee, I got up and exercised. After that, I walked the dogs. In the rain. That's dedication!
By the time I got back it was 1pm, more than enough time to have a shower, eat a nutritious lunch and then get down to work. I was more than a little smug by this point about the kind of accomplished adult I was that day. Look at me! Doing that grown-up thing like its nbd!
That was my first mistake. Being smug is never a good idea. 

The smugness led me to thinking that I deserved a treat, in this case a hot, luxurious bath instead of the much quicker shower. "I still have plenty of time" I assured myself. "I deserve it for being so disciplined this morning. Also, it's raining." A bath it was. To my credit, I did not pour myself a glass of wine like I wanted to - after all, it was only early afternoon. But I did think about it.

After my feet were sufficiently wrinkled, my legs and underarms freshly shaved, hair washed and conditioned, my skin ex-foliated and moisturised within an inch of its life, I was ready to get to work. My lunch had been eaten in the tub (look at me, being such a multi-tasker!), so I sat down on my desk. Rich had left to visit a friend, the laundry was in the washer, and I had nothing but peace, quiet, and time.  

That's when I made my second mistake. 
"It's only 2pm", the devil on my shoulder whispered into my ear. "You have plenty of time. Go on, watch one episode of The Mindy Project. I know you want to. You deserve it.
That sweet-tongued scoundrel. I knew I shouldn't listen to him, because who in the world watches only one single episode of a show on Netflix? Show me that person and I'll pay them a million dollars to teach me their ways. 
I don't have a million dollars, but I'm not worried. Because that person doesn't exist. The whole purpose of Netflix is to binge-watch TV, right? But still, every time I turn it on I'm telling myself that I will watch "only one episode". Hrumph, as if. I'm disgusted at my self-deceit.

Four episodes later, I paused for a moment to regroup. Also, to get a drink and snacks. By that time it was 4pm, which meant I still had most of the afternoon and all evening left. As I was standing in the kitchen, waiting for my toast to be done, I gave myself a little pep talk.
In my sternest voice I told myself that play time was over, and it was time to get some shi*t done. Just one item of my to-do list, it didn't matter which one.

That's when I made my third mistake.
After assembling a beautiful PB&J sandwich, I sat down again in front of the computer. "I'll just turn Netflix back on while I eat, and get to work as soon as I'm done."

Yeah, right.

Hours later I emerged, bleary-eyed and in a daze. At that point I didn't even feel relaxed or refreshed, but cranky and dissatisfied. I was mad at myself for wasting an entire afternoon watching fictitious people live their fictitious lives, instead of living my own.

"But their lives are so much more entertaining than yours" the devil - or was it the angel this time? on my shoulder told me. That was true. It made me feel a bit better.
When you have the choice between cleaning the house (meh) or binge-watching Mindy, there really is no contest.

I guess what I'm trying to say with this post (I lost track about the original reason some time yesterday - this is the slowest I have ever written anything), is that it's nice to escape real life once in a while. Cleaning and paying bills and worrying about real life stuff like should we sell the horses?, or the corgi likes daddy more than me, or what to get my MIL for her birthday, are such a drag. It's nice to take a time-out from it.

Originally I wanted to name this piece "Netflix is ruining my life". Because I felt like such a loser yesterday for not crossing all the things off my list, and I blamed the addictive nature of Netflix for it. But after writing it all down and reflecting on it, I realize that it's actually the opposite: It's helping me to keep my sanity.

We can't always have exciting, blog-worthy lives. Sometimes, all you can do is trying to somehow keep it together, and instead of freaking out, to escape into fantasy land.
     
Which is where I'll be now. Mindy, here I come!





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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Style: Getting ready for fall

We spend a lot of time outside in the summer. What that means is that my house usually gets quite neglected: I don't clean it regularly, and don't care much about how it's decorated. However, with the onset of fall, things are changing. I cleaned the house the other day (so satisfying!), re-arranged some furniture, and started to de-clutter our kitchen cabinets. What I noticed (besides that I had crap in there from 10 years ago, oops!), was that I don't have matching dinnerware. Say whaaat?? 

Here is the truth: My dinnerware collection is made up of old plates left over from Richard's ex (from 13 years ago), some left behind from German acquaintances who lived with us for a while before moving back to Germany (at least 5 years ago), and some black ones that I bought in a panic before a Thanksgiving dinner at least 8 or 9 years ago. They are all miss-matching, and I like none of them.
It's a sad state of affairs.

I decided then and there that now is the time to change this. For the first time in my life, I will have matching plates! As luck would have it, The Pioneer Woman just brought out an entire line of plates, bowls, cups, glasses and more. I love her stuff! It has cheerful colours and great patterns, and looks just the right amount cowboy-chic and farm-y, yet timeless. 

On Tuesday I threw on this outfit, and convinced my hubby to hop across the border with me to buy our new collection (it's not available in Canada). Unfortunately, it seems like I was a bit too eager - a lot of the items I wanted weren't in store yet. The trip wasn't wasted though: I bought this frying pan (it is red and has butterflies on the bottom!), and Rich likes her stuff too, so I will buy my matching set as soon as it becomes available. We had Korean BBQ afterwards, so it was a good day!

Dress: Smart Set (old; similar); scarf and hat: gifts, both are DIY (similar scarf and hat); shoes: Old Navy; tights: Secret Collection

Does anyone else have mismatched plates, or are you all way more sophisticated than I am?





Linking up with Fashion Should Be FunPassion 4 FashionJaymie Ashcraft and A Pocketful of Polka Dots

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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

My 10 best summer moments of 2015

One of the greatest things about blogging is that it makes you pause, reflect, and appreciate life. I believe that a beautiful life is made up of countless little moments, not of the few big ones that are always documented. Graduations, weddings, vacations, birthdays and births are worth celebrating for sure, but they are few and far between. This summer we didn't go away, yet it was one of the best summers we have ever had. Let's take a look back and see what made it so, shall we?

10. Juicing
I bought a juicer back in April on the recommendation of a co-worker. Until then I had never even tried vegetable juice, let alone ever juiced myself. My main reason for giving it a try was that I was fairly sure we didn't eat enough vegetables on a daily basis. 
I can't tell you how happy I am that we started this habit. Rich lost 20 pounds, looks younger every day, and has a ton of energy he didn't have before.
My skin has never looked better. I used to get breakouts regularly, and those are completely gone. Also, it may be my imagination, but does my skin look less wrinkly? I think it does. Anyway, we are devoted juicers now, drinking a big glass every morning. A Beautiful Mess just did a post about beet juice two days ago, their recipe is similar to what I make most days. You can check it out here. For more juicing recipes, you can take a look at my Pinterest juicing board.

9. Donald Duck
We adopted a duckling this summer, because he was so small that we were worried that he wouldn't make it. Hanging out with him is so much fun! He is now fully grown and lives with the other ducks and geese on the pond, but he's still way smaller than normal for his breed. No problem though, he is a resilient little guy and holds his own amongst all the bigger birds. Rich swears he listens to his name ("he turned his head when I called him!"), but I'm not so sure. Either way, it's great having a pet duck around and we are so happy he made it!

8. Road trips
Even though we didn't go on a vacation this summer, we did go on three different road trips. They were all memorable in their own ways: 
In April, we drove 2,500km to pick up a puppy (she gets her own mention in #2 on this list). It was pretty wild, because finding the place where her breeder lived was much more complicated than we expected. But it all turned out great in the end, and we couldn't be happier with her.
For Richard's birthday we went to Oregon to pick up rabbits (we don't go anywhere without bringing a few animals home) and spent the night in Portland. It was a great, quick trip with the most delicious dinner we could have asked for.
The last trip was our Salt Spring Island adventure, which was much better - and much more unusual - than we ever imagined. See also #4 on this list. 

7. Lunch dates
Since Rich is semi-retired and I work mostly in the evenings, we have started to go regularly for lunch dates. Sushi is a favourite, but we have also tried out this tiny, hole-in-the-wall Mexican place that's situated in an industrial area close to our car mechanic. The owner has achieved the seemingly impossible: Brought a little piece of Mexico into an old garage and made it look festive and authentic. The food is delicious, he is colourful, and the place is ghetto in the best possible way. We love it. He doesn't have a website (of course not), but you can take a look at the yelp reviews. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend eating there!

6. Parties
We were lucky to be invited to some special parties this summer: A surprise birthday party for our son-in-law; a casual wedding celebration; and a 20th wedding anniversary last weekend, that was one of those special nights where everything was perfect and you didn't want the night to end.  

5. Walk Off The Earth concert
source
In May we went to my all-time favourite concert to date: Walk off the Earth. Everything about it was brilliant: The location (Vogue Theatre), the balmy pre-summer night, and of course, the band itself. They have so much energy, are so talented, and the show was so good! I loved every minute of it.

4. The dance temple
Sadly, I don't have pictures of the dance temple. But we went to this cafe beforehand, so I'm using this picture. The cafe has a tree inside!
Remember our experience at the dance temple last month? It was epic. Definitely something we will never forget!
( If you haven't yet, read it, click  >> here.)

3. Yoga
No summer recap is complete without mentioning yoga. It has become a big part of my life, and something I was fortunate enough to have been able to do outside nearly every day for the last six months. What also makes it special is that I started my practice during our Hawaii vacation this spring. I will always associate our beautiful trip with my yoga journey!  

2. Nina
This little girl has brought so much joy into our lives. She is extremely affectionate, loves to jump and run, and has a ridiculous amount of energy. She follows Rich everywhere, which makes him love her even more. I never thought the day would come where we have two dogs in the house, and still can't believe it some nights when the four of us all hang out in the living room, watching TV together.

1. This guy
"This moment, with her, having coffee." Johnny Cash famously said this when asked about his definition of paradise.
Spending any day with my man, surrounded by our animals, is paradise for me. He is my number one any day of the year.

What were some of your favourite moments of the summer?





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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Possibilities

Sometimes, you don't find possibilities, they find you. Let's take yesterday as an example. 
Yesterday was a beautiful, yet sluggish day, aka "the day after the party". You know those: Once in a while you get lucky enough to attend a fabulous party where everything is just right: you laugh until your belly hurts, eat delicious food, drink champagne, dance, stay way later than you anticipated,  and have the time of your life. Those parties are the best. They don't happen too often, so when they do, you better soak up every last second of it. 

Soak up we did, which meant that the day after we felt drained. We spent our weekend allotment of energy, laughs and good cheer on Friday night, and had nothing left yesterday. Or so we thought.  

You may know that one of our favourite couple rituals is to dream where we might live next. This is nothing unusual for North Americans, because moving is pretty normal for them;  but it is a big deal for Germans. You see, the typical German builds their house once in their lifetime, and then lives in it until the day they die. They like to root themselves to a spot like a big old oak tree, and oak trees don't like to be uprooted. 
This way of thinking is deeply ingrained in the two of us, clashing with our immigrant's soul of adventure and wanting to experience new things. 

We are very happy where we live - our farm is our happy place. There are so many unique little corners we love: The willow tree by the pond; Richard's flower garden he planted this year; the horse pasture; our front yard where I do most of my yoga in.    

And yet.

We both dream of living more in nature, far enough away from the hustle and bustle of civilization to have the illusion of living in the wilderness, yet close enough to work, shopping, and general humanness (we are not hermits). For years now, we have been keeping our eyes open, in no hurry, but looking just the same. Because one thing we know is this: We only live once. 
And if there should ever come the right place along and we can somehow make it happen, we will. 

Yesterday we had to pick up some salmon we had smoked. Neither of us was really in the mood for it (because of the sluggishness, remember?), but we had already arranged it with the smoke-guy and didn't want to cancel. Grumbling, we piled the two little dogs and ourselves into the car and took off.

It was a gorgeous day, full of sunshine, blue sky, the clear mountains in the distance and that special golden light that only comes out in the fall. We were headed towards Chilliwack, which is about 45 minutes drive away from us. 
My mood had improved greatly - until we turned off the normal road and onto a small, windy one that snaked its way uphill. Serpentines are my nemesis, because they make me feel queasy. Turns out, I'm not the only one: Our Blue Heeler puppy had a hard time as well and puked onto the back seat. Wonderful. 

I was just getting started berating Richard for not warning us about the serpentines (because I would have stayed at home), when the tree cover on both sides opened up. 

OMG.

Up in the mountains, completely hidden away from the eyes of most people, is paradise. A stunning valley with rolling hills, grazing cows, frolicking horses, and mountains all around. It was bathed in the golden light of the setting sun - magic hour

I was mesmerized, struck speechless by the beauty all around us. Queasiness forgotten, I tried to soak it all in: The green meadows, dotted with little ponds here and there; the pony trotting down the hill, so cute with its little steps and mane flying in the wind; the pretty houses nestled perfectly into the landscape. The air was pure and fresh, so delicious that you could get drunk on it. 
Had we found our spot?

The guy who smokes our fish lives in the best location of all: On 8 acres, with a view to die for, bathed in sunlight all day long. You know how he found this enchanted place?


This is the mountain he flies off of. He can now walk up there from his house.

He is a paraglider, and discovered this valley about 15 years ago. When he saw the place from the air where now his house stands, he decided then and there that he would buy that place if it was for sale. 
It was, and he did. 
He is a passionate hiker and flyer, and can do both activities right from home. His demeanour and his place both radiate peace, beauty and contentment. 
It is a special valley. 

I am in love. For now it's a dream, a fantasy, my imaginary happy place. 

But maybe, just maybe, it will become real. And if/when it does, I will take you all along for the ride!

If you open your eyes and heart, the possibilities are endless...




    


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