Best Traditions I Grew Up With

It is storming outside, the fall leaves are dancing in the wind and my coffee warms my hands while I was reminiscing in childhood memories. I realized I had some fun traditions I grew up with and wanted to share today:

1. Die Fete | The Bash

Every Saturday after my dad’s birthday we celebrate “Die Fete”. BUT it is not just a birthday party it just kinda happens to fall close to my dad’s birthday. It originally started out as his party I am sure but it is much more now. Since my dad’s college days he invites his friends and companions to this bash. Every single year! In 2018 it will be the 30th+ time. And since it is such a fixed date most people have it marked and will show up. Everyone makes time for it. And if something comes up they know next year they have another chance. I think my parents have created a really great way of staying in touch with their friends, introducing new people in the mix as they grow older and even having been matchmakers too. And even though I am over 30 now and don’t live at home there is still one guy bringing candy for the kids.

traditions and memories

2. Der Rundbrief | The (Family) Newsletter

And this brings me right to the next tradition. Every year before Christmas a newsletter was sent out. Again mainly my dad writes about what happened the last year in the family and shares his thoughts with his friends. The very end of the letter always ends with the invitation to above mentioned gathering.
I always loved those letters and since they have been written since I am alive I can basically read my life in them. Since I moved out I receive my very own copy.

But I am even more happy that Mr. ♥ and I started to adapt this tradition the year we got married. Now he sits on December 23rd and writes a wonderful letter of all the things happened to us that year. The things we are grateful for, the things we struggled, the people we miss. It is a wonderful way to connect. Unlike my parents we do sent it out via email though.

3. Adventsstündchen | Advent hour

My love for advent and Christmas was ingrained early on. My mom used to sit us down during advent and craft with. We would light the advent wreath, would have a plate of cookies, sometimes listen to some music or play the piano or flute and make little project. Like straw stars, paper stars or lanterns. We would learn poems, sing songs or think about the Christmas play. Make Christmas presents for friends and family or bake cookies. It was always such a magical time and one of my most treasured childhood memories.

4. Weihnachtsspiel | Christmas Play

For many many years of my life I was performing Christmas plays. And I am not talking about the native plays you do in church though I did those too. No we had pretty specific schedule on Christmas Eve and when who got presents. And while we got ours after church and before dinner my parents got theirs after the Christmas play performed by my sisters and I after dinner. It all started during Adventsstündchen where my mom asked if we didn’t wanna sing a song for dad on Christmas. Once we got older we decided to do those little things on our own. We were putting lots of thought into those plays – even though often we only started the day day before Christmas. I remember one time we were doing the play in English (I started having english class only 6 months earlier!), one was a quizz show with a modern and the old Santa and yet another one where we traveled around the world. One of the funniest one was actually a native play we did where my little sister (only 4/5 years then) played every single role but Maria & Joseph. It was hilarious with all her wardrobe changes. Too bad that I cannot remember them all. And no there are no tapes just memories.

5. Dads Stories

You could put down our intensive vacation travels as a tradition too. Mostly twice a year summer and winter we would go exploring the world. And usually not twice to the same place – only exception would be skiing areas. But as much as we loved the vacation we were always specially excited about the newest story my dad would tell us. It was always a story related to the area we would visit or a topic that was relevant. So there would be a story about marmots when hiking in the Alps and one about mosquitos when we were visiting the Mecklenburg Lake District. There was a story about wolfs and foxes and tunnels when I was hiking in Poland (1988) with my dad and only years later I would discover that he actually told me about the political conflict. I so wished I would have wrote down all the great stories. They were so entertain but always had an educational aspect.

Looking back on those traditions it seems like I had no chance than to fall in love with this time of year. Many of them just revolve around the Season. Or maybe even back then my little self absorbed those the most as it was important to me. Who knows.

But I am curious if you have any traditions that have stuck with you. That always keep coming back to you and that hold warm fuzzy memories. Please share, I’d love to read. And if you decide to write a blogpost too make sure to link it.

Happy strolling down memory lane,

Tobia

My Favorite Podcasts to Listen To

I love me some podcasts.

Not so sure when I discovered podcasts but it must have been 2/3 years ago. Today I want to share some favorites of mine.

favorite creative podcasts

1. Elise gets crafty

All time favorite. I personally think there in none better out there or at least I haven’t found it yet. Elise talks about creative endeavors by interviewing solopreneurs. They tell their story and share their process. I like that Elise always asked a set of same questions at the end. I find her very authentic and approachable. It is the only podcast where I have not missed a single broadcast!

Listen to podcast

2. Being Boss

This is a podcast I only recently picked up and was recommended to ( I think it was Tina). I like it a lot. However I have to say that sometimes I find it a bit too much spiritual and woohwoo at times. Also they often run off topic but then it’s the charm. There are some really strong episodes in the beginning with little task to set up a business.

Listen to podcast

3. Magic Lessons

This is actually a promo podcast for Elisabeth Gilbert’s book but it really doesn’t feel that way. I love the concept of the show. She calls a person who has a specific problem like the most boring job, lost creativity over a death, etc. And talks with them why and how. Then gives them little tasks how to get out of there and often calls friends of her who have been in similar situations asking what they recommend. 6 months later she calls them back and sees how they are doing.

Listen to podcast

4. Invisibilia

I really like this one. I find this is a bit more researched and more of a traditional journalistic take than the others I listen to. The topics are always things that you can not see and cannot get a grip on – hence the name: like fear. There Or two into the US who go and talk to different kind of people and come back comparing notes.

Listen to podcast

5. Raise your hand and say yes

This podcast was my second favorite when I started out listening to podcasts.Tiffany is life coach and I really love her style and motivation she gives in her podcasts. Some really good advise and thought process. However I find that processing further into the episodes she becomes more and more salesy and that just bothers me.

Listen to podcast

6. Accidental Creative

Yeah a guy! It’s nice to have a male voice once in a while. Similar concept on how creatives came to be creative and what their story is. But a bit more focused on productivity and

Listen to podcast

7. Sterngeschichten {German}

Currently my only German podcast. Another more scientific one. It explains all the wonders of the universe and astronomy. Definitely something new anytime I listen to it.

Listen to podcast

Now I am more than interested if you have any recommendations for me. So drop a comment I am looking forward discovering new ones.

Happy podcast listening,

Tobia

MerkenMerken

MerkenMerken

Instagram Accounts I Like Scrolling

It’s no secret that Instagram is a great place for inspiration and daydreaming. About a year ago I shared some accounts I really like. I still follow all of them but I came across quite a few new ones that I want to share today.

1. Andie Mayr | regnitzflimmern – I am simply amazed how this is done. Those stamps are tiny. Those patterns are insane. There are so many pages filled in this amazing blue color. The feed is truly inspiring.

2. Monika Kralicek | monikakralicek – another art inspiring account. Monika is a painter inspired by landscapes. I feel like her art is always like there is still some mist in the air. Somehow magical. And I love her color palette.

3. Clare | Hello Hooray – Clare is someone I actually met in real life. She recently started her own Etsy shop and sells her embroidery work. Check our her stitching, it is really fun and cute. She also does logo work if you feel like owning a piece.

4. Carina Eklund | carek74 – Photographer from Sweden. Her images are whimsical and make me dream. They also immediately calm me down. Perfect for scrolling before going to sleep ;-)

Ha en go helg! 💙 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• #visitsweden #ig_eternity #igworldglobal #Sweden #swedenimages #quest_4_magic #instadalarna #magic_marvels #sombrescapes #thecoolmagazine #incredible_shot #superb_photos #main_vision #moodygrams #vzcomood #exceptional_pictures #ournaturedays #earth_shotz #ourmoodydays #igsweden #folkscenery #worldshotz #amazing_fs #allbeauty_addiction #magicpict #earth_deluxe #earthpix #reflectiongram #lost_world_treasures •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

A post shared by Carina Eklund (@carek74) on

5. Poppy Barach | poppybarach – another photographer mainly focusing on flower stills and food but rather dark and moody. I like it as it stands out and is different.

6. Steffanie | steffimarla – another photography account but this time right from my home town Berlin. I personally love that she shows off mostly my neighborhood. I know exactly where most of the shots were taken. Feels kinda cool and the pics are amazing.

7. Julia Nissen | deichdeern_nordfriesland – I met Julia last year at the Blogst conference and follow her ever since. It is nice to have someone so real and down to earth on Instagram. Also I like her behind the scenes of farm life in Germany. And her humor is just awesome. Her stories are to die for!

Do you have favorite accounts I should check out? Leave a comment and let me know.

Happy discovering,

Tobia

Planner Love :: The hunt for the perfect companion

When I was in school I used to have a planner. But it was more than a planner. It was a diary, planner, timer – all in one. I remember that I loved leafing through it in boring classes, that I drew doodles, that I glued quotes into my planner and that I really really didn’t like anyone touching it or going through it. I mean it was personal. But I also remember that everyone wanted to have a look.

I kept all those planners. They are all up on a shelf unter my desk – the one I am currently sitting typing those lines.

Planner Love since 2000

After school I downgraded my planners and for a couple years I used a tiny one from moleskin. I always asked St. Nicholas to bring me one so I had enough time setting everything up.

But then I realized I actually don’t use it anymore and put everything in my phone anyway. So the planners got smaller and they are almost unused.

Last year however I felt like I need one of those diary planners back in my life and bought a “Ein guter Plan” through crowdfunding. I only used it to journal my three happy things that happened and about three sentences about the day. I liked the mindfulness chart for every day and drew up a few more bullet journal inspired charts.

While I liked the planner I feel like it is not quite what I need. First I thought I will start a bullet journal but lets be honest: I probably won’t make it far.

So I am looking for a planner that is my perfect companion. One that has pre-printed most of the things I need but enough space to individualize it.

Planner Love

I am currently looking at the following planners*:

Klarheit – Life Coach and Planner

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: white and black
Price: 34,90 €

What I love:
– Coaching section with 32 pages for reflections, goals, action steps
– unfold-able 12 month timeline to plan out goals – would work hand in hand with the goal setting from the “Unravel your year 2017” book
monthly review to stay on track and reflect on successes
weekly goal setting
– after 6 month there is a section to reflect and regroup
– 40 blank pages
– the company blog shows how to use the pages and gives ideas

What I am missing:
– the book cover looks a bit boring and seems not of as high quality as similar products

What I don’t need:
– I don’t care that I can number/date the weeks on my own. I guess if you only use it in weeks you work the 52 weeks last longer than a year and might be helpful for some people.

Starryday Planner

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: black, mint, pink
Pages: 224
Price: 16,90 €

What I love:
– weeks start with a “dump list” for all tasks
– entire page per day with top 3 tasks to get done, timeline and task manager for ABC prioritizing as well as a section for notes and a habit tracker
– seven extra habit tracker page

What I am missing:
– the planner only has 26 weeks… I am a bit confused by that so I guess you need two to get through the year.
– I am not really impressed with the used font/layout. It’s just not my style and a bit cheesy in my opinion.

Business Planner by weekview

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: white and black
Paper: 90 g/m
Price: 24,90 €

What I love:
– lots of lists for goals, projects, tasks with overview pages
– monthly overview pages for project planning with ABC tasks
– habit tracker per month
– quarter project overview
– ABC prioritizing for the week, timeline, upcoming week preview, note area
– goal setting pages
– lots of sticker, labels etc. available

What I am missing:
– I am not impressed with the layout. It seems bold and uninspiring.

What I don’t need:
– the goal setting pages are set for 2023 – too far for me

Planner / Workbook Pink Edition by Jo & Judy

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: rose/gold
Pages: 256
Paper: 80 g/m
Price: 28,90 €

What I love: 
– the project section for every week
– clean and feminine layout and colors

What I am missing:
– lists, trackers, coaching…

What I don’t need:
– The address book pages – its all in my phone so no need for that.
– The budget page that is next to the project page. I have my finance in order and I usually have a pretty good overview so this wouldn’t help me much.

While the design of Jo & Judy is the most impressive the structure of the planner just doesn’t work for me. The business planner might be a bit too much for what I plan to use it for. And the starryday planner is only half a year (I really can’t wrap my mind around it).

So I guess the Klarheit Planner is my best choice. But I am open for suggestions so please share if you have a better option!

Happy weekend,

Tobia

*Some links in this article are affiliate links. Meaning if you buy through this link I get a small provision. This would help me cover some of the costs for this blog. Thank you, I really appreciate it.

 

My favorite books 2016

This post is unbelievable. Unbelievable? Yes. I always loved reading. I remember a time when I went to the library weekly and left with a  huge stash of books. But then adult life came around and there were years where I didn’t pick up a book at all. Ever since I got my Kindle I started reading more. My reading challenge this year was 6 books. I ended up reading 45 so far. Still don’t know how I managed. But now I can make a pick of my favorite books 2016. And thats unbelievable for me.

I have to admit I only managed to read so many books because there was lots of low involvement and cheesy literature involved but then – I read. And reading is all about winding down, escaping reality and dreaming about life. I hardly ever read stuff that makes me sad or is unsettling. Ingnorant? Maybe. Or just plain self-preservation. There is enough dark, ugly, mean stuff out there why should I choose to spent my me time with it?

my favorite books 2016

Anyhow let’s get my list on my favorite books 2016. I included the links* in case you also want to read.

1. “Dem Horizont so nah” by Jessica Koch

To contradict myself this was a sad book. And some real life stuff. And it still captured me, made me cry and deeply moved me.

The author writes about her boyfriend – a troubled and abused young man. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail. But it talks about the individual struggles, glimpses of a life so different, disease, death and how it grows you as a human. It made me think about all the things in life I take for granted and how easily I do judge people. Definitely a recommendation!

There are two follow up books but I haven’t had the nerve to read yet.

My rating: Dem Horizont so nah ***** eBook; paperback

2. In Times Like These – Time Traveler Series by Nathan Van Coops

Yeah for finding this book between all the free ones on Amazon.

Just awesome. I loved the entire story setting and the development of the backstory of time traveling. What I didn’t know when first reading it is that Nathan actually incorporated some of the physical theories about time travel that scientists discuss and try to prove. (My dad (he studied Physics in college) told me that after I was telling him about the book.) Anyhow Nathan creates a whole new world for me.

The second book didn’t express me too much as I found too many parallels to the hunger games. I also didn’t really like the journey to the “aliens”. However it was still one of the best books I read this year and I would recommend to read it because it is part of the series.

The third book was pretty great again. It is a bit darker than the first two but than it does show what happens to time travelers when messing with time streams. It does get a bit confusing with all the versions of one character but also really fun.

Anyhow I am looking forward to the next one in this series.
If you like science fiction/fantasy this is a book you should really read. It was my first time traveler book and I never though I could get hooked on this genre. I even got Mr. ♥ to read the first one and he only reads crime & thriller.

My rating:
#1 In Times Like These ***** free eBook; paperback;
#2 The Chronothon **** eBook; paperback;
#3 The Day After Never *****  paperback
#1-3 In Times Like These Bundle***** eBooks

3. The Girl In Between – Series by Laekan Zea Kemp

I found myself a new author to follow. I like her style, it is unique and it is refreshing different to all the mainstream stuff out there. Definitely a surprise I didn’t expect from a book I got for free.

Book 1: A unique story setting and I love when there are actually more story within one story.
1. Real life: 17 year old Bryn has KLS and we follow her struggles in everyday life, school, friends, love, parents… but not really teenage drama.
2. Dream story: all fiction… or maybe not… very interesting sometimes maybe a bit jumpy but then who’s thoughts/memories aren’t.
3. Story of her disease and a girl 30 years ago with identical symptoms. This storyline is only teasered though and I am hoping it will be developed in the following books.

Book 2: The story does take an unexpected turn and develops in a different direction than I would have imagined. I like this kind of fantasy/fiction. However I thought the setting (in Cologne, Germany) was a bit absurd because everyone travels there from the U.S. but then it’s a book and everything is possible. I am intrigued what will happen next.

My rating:
# 1 The Girl in Between***** free eBook
# 2 The Boy in My Dreams ***** eBook
# 3 The Children of the Moon eBook
# 4 The Daughter of the Night  eBook

4. Ravensblood – Mystery Detective Series by Shawna Reppert

Well, I do have a thing for fantasy. A pretty big thing.

Here is another story about magic, mages, good and evil. BUT it is not the cheesy romantic unicorn kinda thing. Magic is regulated by law and there is a “police force” and a council of the different people living together. The story is about second chances, love, forgiveness, prejudices and conscience. It is a pretty dark story at times. I liked it as it was a bit different. However towards the end of the series I found it a bit flattening.

My rating:
#1 Ravensblood **** eBook
#2 Raven’s Wing **** eBook
#3 Raven’s Heart *** eBook
#1-3 Ravensblood Boxed Set **** eBooks

reading at the ocean

5. Hidden Academy Series by Jon Rosenberg

Another fantasy with lots of magic, unknown realms of fairies, unicorns and dark demons. And then there is the Hidden Academy an institution to keep order in the world as we know it. What I liked about this series is, that it focuses on different mythology in every book. I think my favorite character was the sidekick elf.

My rating:
#1 The Unicorn Crisis **** eBook
#2 The Digital Wolf *** eBook
#3 Pantheon of the Dead *** eBook
#4 When in Rome *** eBook

6. Winterliebe am Little Lake by Katrin Jäger

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book and I only picked it up because it was playing in Canada. I have to admit the beginning wasn’t strong and annoyed me a bit but then I really enjoyed it. There is a lot of life experience and wisdom weaved into this book and made me think about how serious we take life. I really liked the characters in the book and would have loved to sit with them for a cup of coffee.

My rating:
Winterliebe am Little Lake **** eBook; paperback

7. Stormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego

I usually don’t like reading crime stories. I get easily scared. This one wasn’t too bad. Mainly I was intrigued with the setting of the story. A freelance photographer from Vancouver is paid to spent an entire year in a desolate fisher community. I like how small town life is described, all the advantages and struggles. There might be a bit of a love story included and lots of mysteries. It was an easy and fun read to wind down.

My rating:
Stormy Cove **** eBook; paperback

Now I am interested: Has anyone read one of the books too? Is there a book you would love to read? And can you recommend some books to me? The holiday season is upon us and I plan on reading lots.

Happy book browsing,

Tobia

*If you buy a book through one of the Amazon links I will receive a small  provision. This would help me keep this blog alive and cover a few of the administrative costs. Thank you. Or maybe I just buy a new book, who knows…