I am so glad we can meet again this month. It is such a wonderful way to have a sneak peak in everyones life and meet new people. And I am really grateful Lecy is hosting month after month.
If we had coffee… I’d tell you about my endeavor to blog daily in November. It’s been something I have been doing for a couple of years now – thanks San. It’s always a bit of a stretchy but it gets my creative juices flowing. How often do you blog on a regular basis and did you ever blog daily? And then right with my next breath I would have to admit defeat already on Day 9. Unfortunately I have gotten myself a tennis elbow and now I need to reduce my computer and phone scrolling time to max. 2 hours a day. With work picking up, Christmas presents to be found and all I am scrambling. So the NaBloPo had to fall to the wayside. Unfortunately.
If we had coffee… I’d wanted to know if you remember November 9, 1989. Here in Germany we celebrated the 30 year anniversary of the fall of the wall. Lot’s of people are coming forward to talk about their experience and how that day had been branded in their minds. I have told my story five years ago when the 25 anniversary was celebrated. To this day my body gets a bit queasy and shaky. I am so grateful for everyone back then risking life and livelyhood to demand change.
If we had coffee… I’d tell you that my sister and I will again volunteer for Christmas in a shoebox. We’ll be packing boxes to be sent to children in need and who would otherwise not be able to get a present for the holidays. I look forward and can see this becoming a tradition. I wrote about last years experience. Also I will pack one or two boxes myself. Not quite sure but I need to get it done soon. Do you do any volunteer work? Is it a regular thing?
If we had coffee… I’d wonder if you had any good books to recommend that are Christmas themed. I want to make the most of the holidays. Last year I read my favorite “Christmas Carol” by Dickens but I am sure there are similar ones that I don’t know about. My dad used to read us Christmas stories on Christmas Eve after all presents were unpacked and we were in a food coma. I kinda miss that and picked up the habit to find my own stories and read one Christmas themed one every year.
So much for now. My arm hurts quite bit now and I need to rest with an icepack. Let’s meet up next months and I will be more talkative then – hopefully.
Ever since I read Clare’s post about her Creative Manifesto I knew I had to make my very own version of it. Today I finally do. Probably because I am already stuck on what to write and I can use all the creative mojo. The creative manifesto is something to help spark creative motivation on slow days and remind me on how to get back into the creative flow, stir motivation and preferably get going.
My pick-me-up list for slow days includes:
take a photowalk
go outside and take a walk in the park
participate in a challenge
read a book
scroll through Pinterest a bit
drink Earl Grey with a dash of milk
eat warm chocolate pudding
leave through a magazine
look at art or photography
stroll the hardware store
tidy up the craft lab
doodle a little
dance around a little
have an inspiring conversation
If ever I feel like I am stuck I tend to do one of those things. It’s not always that easy. Because to be honest I often feel very unmotivated to even get my butt off the couch but I know the list above is helping getting out if the slowness.
It’s also helpful to remind myself of the following things:
you don’t need validation
you are enough
enjoy the process
If you are in love with podcasts and they also give your lazy, unmotivated self a kick in the butt you might enjoy those episodes to spark some creativity:
My travel plans can fill many pages of a notebook. I just love seeing everything. However I rarely share my travels here. Not quite sure why. I’ve mentioned that I’ve given Mr. ♡ flight tickets to Venice for his birthday to finally cross of a longtime dream of his. While Venice was somewhere on my travel list it was not very high up. End of September we spent a long weekend in Venice. And let me tell you, I regret not going making it a priority earlier.
When we got off the bus we were granted this view of our first Venice cannel:
I was instantly in love. I’ve heard the water does smell and looks an ugly grey but I can not confirm. All throughout the time we were there the water had a unique shade of turquoise which I was not able to document in the photos.
What to do in Venince
Well you can probably do lots and visit a trillion museums. Honestly, we didn’t do any of it. Instead we just walked around, climbed bridges, sat at plazas and looked at churches and came across interesting nooks and crannies.
We didn’t even go inside St. Marks Basilica. However we quickly planned on coming back. For this trip we were just enjoy walking the city getting a feel for it so next time we could be more intentional on what to look at. I would definitely like to see the Guggenheim museum, also I do want to see the inside of the basilica – I have a thing for churches as you know. Also I’d wanted badly to go to the cemetery but it was already dark and I was scared to be left there over night.
Things I found curious in Venice
You can read all the historical fact and stories in any book or magazine. Today I want to list a few things that came to my attention that I didn’t know or found curious:
Lot’s of Asians seem to do their wedding – or at least their wedding photos – in Venice.
The glass of the street lanterns are pale pink and it looks really cool.
I was not really aware that Venice is a car free city – however very logical. But even more curious I didn’t see a single bike or scooter. Don’t know if they are banned or if it just doesn’t make sense with all the steps and bridges.
There were not as many pigeons as I had feared even on St. Marks square.
Some corners have so many bridges that it almost seems ridiculous. I mean do you really need a bridge 2 meters apart…
Travel & Transportation
We took the plane to Venice and started out rather early (for us) on a Sunday morning. That had us arrive in Venice around noon. I wanted to take one of the boat routes to town but unfortunately I couldn’t figure out which one and what station would be nearest to the hotel. And I really didn’t want to go through while dragging a suitcase. We ended up taking the bus which was really easy, cost 8€ each (could have bought a round ticket for 15€/person) and dropped us off right at the hotel. However if I ever go to Venice again I will get into town by boat. And if I have to get a water buses or one of the private boat rides. It will blow you away approaching Venice by water I am convinced.
Also we had a bit of a tough time figuring out the transportation carriers and services. So here is what I picked up so you might get quicker in understanding.
Vaporetto – it’s what the water buses are called and which are run by ACTV. They mainly operate within the city limits. A single trip costs 7€ but I would not recommend that. Get a day pass or a pass for multiple days. This way it’s easy to hop on and off to your liking.
Alilaguna – is a boat service connecting the outer islands and going further distances. They do not have as many stops within the city but connecting the airport to the city and Murano.
Gondola – I believe you know about the famous gondoliers. When you walk up to one of there stations you will be asked to pay 90+€ for a 30 min trip. Honestly that was not worth it for me. However I looked into it and found this app where you can pre-book a trip for 18€. Unfortunatly you need to print out the ticket so I didn’t go through the hassle getting it done in the hotel. But next time I probably would. Also in the app you can see where the gondola actually goes through. So pick you boarding spot wisely.
We stayed in the AC hotel Venice a outlet of Marriot hotels. It was perfectly located at the travel hub of the city which made transfer to the airport a bliss. Also we managed to get a room with view to the canal. Service was very attentive and helpful. Nice features were the 10€ tapas & snack spread Sunday night including one beverage (usually wine but we were able to substitute to beer and coke). Coffee beverages were complimentary until 4pm. While the room was small it was still enough space. However it was not a room to spent lots of time in but since the common areas were cozy and we were out and about most times it didn’t bother us too much. Would I recommend it: definitely. Would I stay there again: yes.
Have you ever visited Venice or are you planning on doing so? What’s your favorite spot?
Disclaimer: This post contains links to businesses we used. There was compensation involved. I just link for your convenience.
In all my time blogging I have never shared a muffin recipe here. Not because I don’t like them. Not because I don’t bake them. No I didn’t share because I am very protective of my recipes. Some at least. Today I feel like sharing tough. Not any muffin recipe no. Pumpkin Muffins – perfect fall dessert and my all time favorites. I’ve used to make them quite often but it’s been almost 10 years I last made them. Ingredients were hard to come by back then. Nowadays it’s a bit easier though.
I can not even say why those muffins are something special. They are sweet but not too sweet, they are always moist and soft even when days old – in case they last that long. I used to bake them for my host family and it’s actually a recipe from my host mom from back in the day.
But without further ado here are the ingredients to make Pumpkin Muffins:
If you want to make the pumpkin pie filling from scratch: cut up a pumpkin. I have used the regular halloween pumpkin as well as Hokaido. But in oven on low temperature until soft. Thats it. I have not done cooking it because I feared the taste will diffuse in the cooking water.
How to whip up your pumpkin muffins:
In a large bowl beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil until everything is smooth.
Combine flour, baking soda and baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Add to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Fold in chocolate chips
Fill greased muffin pan.
Bake at 200°C/400°F for about 16-20 minutes.
This makes about 12 muffins. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
You can read about saving the planet and living sustainable everywhere and anywhere. And quite frankly I am a bit annoyed by it. It often looks like propaganda. Many companies try to instrumentalize it for their purpose. But still it is something we all should be aware of and not discard so easily.
I always thought we (as in Mr. ♡ and I) are not doing much to keep the planet healthy. However I recently realized I/we do quite a bit without giving ourselves credit for it as it has become habits by now. Following I’ll share a list with you of things we already do and maybe it serves as an inspiration to you as well:
Recycling trash is ingrained so it’s really a no brainer for us. I even walk the extra step to put the paper wrapper from my tea bag in the trash can at the desk. I was quite annoyed when I realised our cleaning lady dumped everything I carefully separated in its separated bins in one when taking out trash. Seriously, why?! It’s such an easy way.
Invest in good appliances
Mr. ♡ and I have always invest a bit more money into our appliances. We’ve often heard that we only wanted themost fancy version of the newest oven or dishwasher, that it needed to look cool. And while we are not prone to those things and they do play a big part in the decision process one of the key elements is always the efficiency. Does it run on the lowest energy and meets the state-of-the-art specs? Does it have latest technology built in and is not outed right away. Because those appliances stay with you a while and in 5-10 years they are energy suckers for sure… Also they often live longer and don’t need repairs.
Switch to LED lights
This is something Mr. ♡ has been investing lots of time to in the last years. And it paid off. For the first time we have gotten money back in our electricity bill because we saved up. Of course those LED lamps are an investment at first but in the long run it will hopefully save money. And time because I can’t remember when I had to switch a light bulb the last time. Also I hate having lights on when I leave a room. Switching of lights and not having “castle lighting” on as I like to call it saves up too.
Use totes & bags for shopping
This is another no brainer but I’ll write it down anyways. No more plastic bags. For the last 3,5 years we have been using fabric totes and shopping bags. I usually cary a bag in my purse so every time I buy something I have something to put it in. We always have a shopping bag in the car. Storing totes in places you might need them is an easy way to reduce using plastic ones. Also I have stopped using those small flimsy plastic bags at the fruit & vegetable stand. I just dump it in my bag as is because why do we need to separate by bags?! Doesn’t really make any sense it’s just a habit. Also I just read that Tansania banned the import, export and selling of plastic backs all together as of June 1. So much for third world countries…
Batteries don’t belong to regular garbage. Most stores offer a little bin where you can drop them off. I have a zip-bag where I collect them and then sooner or later I remember and drop them off. However we try to use rechargeable ones as much as possible. Unfortunately coin cells don’t come as rechargeable and we need those for the kitchen scale and all smoke detectors.
Also I always re-use printed papers that have one blank side. I write my to-do lists on there. Or just last weekend I printed a sewing pattern on there. And still I produce more scrap paper than I can use in a lifetime.
Strawberries in December, pumpkins in April, asperagus in August… While all those things are yummy all year round for sure I am not buying them. They are only staples when in season.
Take trains instead of flights
When traveling for my freelance work I prefer traveling by train rather then plane (right now it’s only within Germany.) This might has to do with being more productive on a train to be quite honest. However it is not always the fastest way. And by taking this route it is defiantly the greener choice. When being out and about in the city I most likely use my bike or if further away public transport. And even on foot I get places.
Of course there is always more to be done. In the course of the last weeks I have observed our behavior and have identified areas I would like to improve:
We do have a lot of laundry and I’d really like to reduce the loads but this will not happen. So I need to find other ways. The packaging the detergent produces really does annoy me. Not to mention the water consumption or dryer. Here I am on the lookout for improvement.
I want to find a little reusable bag for my pastries. I’ll by them weekly for the weekend and every time they come in paper/plastic bags. When I was a child we always went to the bakers with a burlap tote. I think I need to sew one. Also I want to check out one of those stores where goods are displayed in unpackaged units and you come in with your own containers. It’s a bit of effort. A friend of mine started to leave all her packaging in the stores so they realize how much they produce and start thinking about it. This might be a good way to force change. She also told me that she never buys rubber bands but keeps them from asparagus and flowers. How smart.
I need to look into digitalizing even more. Like how does it work to sign a paper on my computer and not print and scan. Stuff like that. I know my devices are capable. I am not – yet. I have made the effort to call my insurance company to stop sending me analog bills. Unfortunately they are not capable. Thats for sheets of paper I am forced to receive and store.
I want to look more into using environmentally friendly products that are free of micro plastic and mean chemicals. I have started to look more closely in what I buy for cosmetics, cleaning products and such. However I am not throwing out all current products but start by slowing easing out of it. If you have any recommendations let me know. Specially for detergent as I am allergic to most smells.
On Instagram I read this interesting quote that said something like even if you do only one thing to save the planet it’s better than not doing anything at all. We are not perfect. We can not ignore what’s going on. And we defiantly can not do it all. So I decided to the things that come easy to this household and someone else probably does the things I struggle with. It’s a start. Now if would share your tips or want to write a post like this please do and leave a link in the comments so we can build a huge list and inspire each other. Wouldn’t that be great?