MY 2019: SEVEN YEARS OF BLOGGING

Who would have thought in 2013 that seven years later I am still here. I am still typing away on this space in the internet and there are (still) a few people finding it’s way to my site. So I will not break the chain and once again reminisce about what has happened in the blogging world in 2019 and in seven years of blogging. (Feel free to hop on to previous years year six, year five, year four, year three, year two, year one).

Blogging

Compared to last year I have been showing up more consistently and I can proudly say there hasn’t been a months I didn’t blog. Yeah me! Overall there were 38 posts published. My personal favorite was the recap of me moving to the U.S. 20 years ago but I also had a lot of fun writing the reading list for 2019. It comes as no surprise that the most time consuming post to wrote was my 101 goals in 1000 days though.
But let’s have a look about your favorites this year:

Your most visited post from this year though was my round-up of my current favorite Instagram accounts and the (almost) monthly coffee dates are also well liked.

Social Media

I spent a lot of time on Instagram this year. And even though my following has not increased I deleted all the spam accounts and lonely soldiers It was great way for me to connect to people and have some lovely conversations. I even got to meet people in real life. I have tried to re-connect with Twitter but somehow have not really been able to. Do you still use twitter? Also I have not been neglecting Pinterest a little and might need to spent more time there next year.

Over all I have found more joy and love in blogging in 2019 than in previous years. I had many more posts to write and drafted but since I had my arm injury I need to slow things down. I am hoping for 2020 I will be able to continue or maybe post a little bit more. If you have something your would like to read about let me know in the comments. If you want to follow along for my journey in year eight add me on Feedly or Bloglovin. Also lots of talk happening over at Instagram of course.

Happy New Year

Tobia

COLLECTION OF WALL CALENDAR FOR 2020 {FREEBIES}

Slowly very very slowly I try to settle into this new year. Into this new decade. My desk is still a mess. My plan to at least have that desk cleared by end of 2019 didn’t quite work out and here I am trying to create a blank slate to start fresh and new. With minimal success. Instead I have searched the web for free printable calendars to make my office space look all ready to go – once it is cleaned. Well, now that I have spent all that time why don’t I share what I have come across.

Boho Calendar by botanical paperworks

I like the natural vibe this one gives off and it is a contender for the one ending up in my room as the colors are so fitting too.

Selflove calendar by mirrorworld

Last year I used Viktorias calendar and again this year I love the floral embellishments and the little quote. Another hot contender for my office.

Typography calendar by vorstadtleben

Another clean and simple calendar with a bit of embellishing font. It also has some space to add information or notes.

Minimalistic calendar by paulsvera

If you like a simple clean calendar this minimalistic design might be right up your alley. Every year I save it but in the end I guess I am a bit more playful.

Floral calendar by papertraildesign

A colorful calendar with floral watercolor images to spruce up the office space and make you smile.

Fun Pattern calendar by gatheringbeauty

This calendar instantly spreads happiness and cheer with its colorful patterns. For some it might be a bit too childlike but I could think of a few you’d like this.

Blush calendar by colorfuldisaster

This is such a cute calendar and I love everything about it. The graphics, the quotes – however I wished they were on the calendar pages to read them throughout the months.

As always you can find a few more on my Pinterest Board. Enjoy picking out your little calendar for next year. And let me know which one you decided to print.
Happy day to you

Tobia

All shown calendars are hand selected by me. When you click the headline you will directly go to the website of the creator. This is not a sponsored post I just like to share my finds and if that is advertising other creatives work so be it.

MY FAVORITE BOOKS 2019

As we are coming close to the end of 2019 it’s time to reflect on all the great books I have read. In total I am at xx currently but I believe a few more make the list. Of course I had a few favorite books in 2019 so let’s dive in.

Oremere Chronicles by Helen Scheuerer | ★★★★★

“In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian, still trying to suppress her magic and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the commander of the king’s army, and summoned to the capital.”


You might think when reading this premises “I’ve read those stories a million times” and while this might be partly true I found the world it is all set in very interesting and different. Also to me the story felt a bit more grown up. Issues of addition were tackled, the ups and downs of friendship and forgiveness. I enjoyed it immensely and might have shed a tear too.

Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews | ★★★★★

“During World War II, the Japanese forced 200,000 young Korean women to be sex slaves or “comfort women” for their soldiers. “Daughters of the Dragon” is one woman’s riveting story of strength, courage and promises kept.”

This was an intense read. The first 20 % are tough to go through and heart shattering. After that it gets a bit easier but nevertheless it is not a “pleasure” read. Still I flew through the book and forgot everything around me. 

I was aspecially impressed how graceful the whole topic was told. While it was often brutal and detailed it was never vulgar or pervers. I also felt the feelings of woman were well captured and that is not always the case with male authors. Chapeau.

I highly recommend reading this book. However be aware that it is no beach read.

“If you do not have courage, you will never blossom into the flower you were meant to be.”

Daughters of the Dragon – William Andrews

Dragon Queen by William Andrews | ★★★★★

“As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, US diplomat Nate Simon is sent to Seoul to gauge the political situation and advise the president. He also needs to find out why someone sent the president an ancient, intricately carved comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon. Though familiar with Korea’s language and culture, Nate knows little of its troubled history. Beautiful and mysterious embassy aide Anna Carlson believes it’s time he learns, starting with the extraordinary story of Korea’s last queen.”

As the first book “Daughter of the Dragon” it was wonderfully written and swept me away into the world of a proud but grief stricken Korea.
I didn’t much care for the present story of Anna and Nate. But the life of the Dragon Queen was so interesting and engaging. It showed compassion and toughness in a male dominated dynasty. It showed humanity and love. All while quietly education about Koreas culture and history.

“You can wear the crown on your head and sit silently on the throne like the stones in the palace walls. Or you can wear the crown on your heart and be like a dragon who rules the forest. If you choose to be a stone, you must make yourself dead. If you choose to be a dragon, you must be alert and quick because many will want to slay you.”

Dragon Queen – William Andrews

Requiem for a Robin by Carter Bowman | ★★★★★

The haunted world of the Chryssians has crept upon the country of Passerine for the past one hundred years. Today, seventeen-year-old Lily Egret stands at a crossroads: spend the remainder of her days in hiding, or risk exposing the secret that will put her life in jeopardy.  
But something dangerous is growing inside of Lily—something that refuses to hide any longer. With no options left, Lily breaks the rules holding her life together and flees into the ruins of Chryssus, where more than specters wait for her in the shadows. Even safety comes with a price, though. With war on the brink, Lily will have to choose between her new allies and the only home she’s ever known. 


This was a pleasant and surprising read. I am glad I picked this one up.
Great world building and different setting from what I came across so far. The main character is not the smooth I-know-it all-heroine but has flaws and struggles that are actually relatable and believable. Looking forward to read more in the Second Soul series.

Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor | ★★★★★

“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundand Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this astonishing and heart-stopping sequel.”


Laien Taylor was a new to me author and I will definitely check out her other books. Her writing is just amazing, so whimsically crafted and the wording had such a nice flow.
I loved all the characters – they were not flat but had personality, good and evil had depths to it. And of course the storyline line was just beautiful, engaging and magical. A whole new world to discover.
if you like fantasy go read!

“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.”

Muse of Nightmare – Laini Taylor

Vergiss kein einziges Wort by Dörthe Binkert | ★★★★⭐︎

Three epochs, three women, three destinies.
It’s the story of Martha, Maria and Magda from small Salesian town Gleiwitz which mirrors the history of the boarder region between Germany, Poland and Chzechia. The life between Christians and Jews, families being formed, families being expelled, families being left and reconnected. This stories takes place between 1920 and 1960 and beautifully portraits area and region and how close joy and sorrow are intertwined.


I immensely enjoyed this read. I struggled a bit to get into the writing style but the story immediately captured me. Even though this book was over 600 pages I would have continued reading to hear more about certain lives.
I especially enjoyed it as my Grandma was born and raised in this region and fled during WWII. It sometimes felt like reading her story.
Also some situations made me wonder about certain parallels to todays politics and situations. It felt very up-todate.
If you enjoy historical fiction this one is for your. Unfortunately it’s only in German but I hear translations are in progress.

The Book Thief by Mark Zusak | ★★★★⭐︎

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.


I’ve heard so much about this book that I really wanted to read it. It is beautifully written and is bordering on poetic. I enjoyed that very much. The story itself could have been a bit stronger for me. Don’t get me wrong it was nicely told and had lots of detail and heartbreak. However I was missing something. Maybe I was just very bothered with the German phrases that were included and always translated – so when you understand German it’s a bit annoying. Until the very end it was a 3 star book for me. But then I cried while reading the last pages and since I can not remember the last book doing that to me I upgraded to 4 stars.

“It was one of those moments of perfect tiredness, of having conquered not only the work at hand, but the night who had blocked the way.”

Mark Zusak

Nachtblau by Simone van de Vlugt | ★★★★⭐︎

“Following the sudden death of her husband, twenty-five-year old Catrin leaves her small village and takes a job as a housekeeper to the successful Van Nulandt merchant family. Amsterdam is a city at the peak of its powers: science and art are flourishing in the Golden Age and Dutch ships bring back exotic riches from the Far East. Madam Van Nulandt passes her time taking expensive painting lessons from a local master, Rembrandt van Rigin, and when Catrin takes up a brush to finish some of her mistress’s work, Rembrandt realizes the maid has genuine talent, and encourages her to continue. 
When a figure from her past threatens her new life, Catrin flees to the smaller city of Delft. There, her gift as a painter earns her a chance to earn a living painting pottery at a local workshop. Slowly, the workshop begins to develop a new type of pottery to rival fancy blue-on-white imported Chinese porcelain—and the graceful and coveted Delft Blue designs she creates help revolutionize the industry. But when tragedy strikes, Catrin must decide whether to defend her newfound independence, or return to the village that she’d fled.”


I really enjoyed this story and the setting in the art scene and characters one might know from art class or museums. Mentioned people and paintings do exist. Of course it’s historical fiction but I liked it and it was a entertaining read.

“Wohin fliegt der Seufzer?, fragt er. “Nirgendwohin. Er bleibt hier. Es war ein Seufzer des Glücks.”

Nachtblau – Simone van de Vlugt

This is my selection of favorite books 2019. I’ve read many more and you can find my reviews on Goodreads. Also let’s be friends there to build our TBR pile.

Happy reading

Tobia

CURRENT TV SHOWS I AM WATCHING – 2019 Edition

Let’s be honest – we are all binge watching too many tv shows on Netflix and Co. But especially this time of year it is great. Now with Apple also starting it’s own service I am sure I will get stuck in the living room even more. We are currently holding out as I don’t like waiting for the next episode to be released. Too much suspense. I will definitely watch SEE asap though.

But for today I give you an update (list from 2015, list of 2018) on current shows as it’s always fun to keep track.

Shine On by Reese

I just started that one but it is really entertaining and informative. Reese reaches out to women in the entertainment industry that try to change things, fight for rights and equality. The whole show is filled with laughter and genuine interest. Very likable. It’s just 20 min per episode.

Casketeers

Ok, now this one is a bit weird. It’s a reality show where we follow a New Zealand couple who owns and runs a funeral home. Why I like it: for one it is always interesting to me how other cultures burial traditions are. Also it’s an industry that is doing so much but you never really have a look at in your life. I really like how it shows that for people working in this industry it also is a job and that there are office fights and things like that while on the other hand being very caring and professional as soon as a client walks in. I am impressed how graceful the show is. You will never see an entire body – sometimes they show body parts though but never a face.

Gilmore Girls

Do I need to say more? I just rewatched the entire show, crossed off #42 and I am still in love. However it’s interesting to see what 10 years ago was ok and how much has changed. I believe in todays world it would not be ok to use that many disposable coffee cups. Also it is funny to see those old mobile phones. Man the world does change fast.

Chefsline

A cooking competition show where four candidates cook against a chefs line of an Australian restaurant. I like that every week it’s another cuisine and its fun to see the national dishes and their interpretation. Only downside is you are quite hungry when done.

Chicago Fire

Loving this one as it allows a peek behind the scenes of how a fire house is run. Of course paired with all the drama and romance and career struggles. Unfortunately I have to wait for the next season to be released. Also it’s a franchise including Chicago Med and Chicago PD. The stories intertwine at certain points between those law enforcement sectors but it’s still stand alone.

Blindspot

An FBI show with a bit of mystery. I do love those kinda shows where in every episode there is a new case to crack. However I have to admit that last season was not too good and season 4 has not quite gripped me yet. We’ll see how that goes.

I used to try keeping track of all my shows by updating this list here. But it wasn’t really efficient. So I am glad Mr. ♡ has found the TV Time App. Here it’s easy to track the shows, get info about new releases and also note your feelings. And the comments are often quite hilarious. And just recently movies have been added to the app. I don’t know how many times I said to Mr. ♡:” let’s watch this movie” and he had to reply: “we already seen that one.” Man, my brain is a sieve…

Do you watch a lot of tv? And do you like to keep track or is it too much waste of time for you? And then what shows can you recommend to watch next?

Happy bing-watching

Tobia

Disclaimer: This post contains links to companies. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. However I was not paid to talk about them.

COLLECTION OF WALL CALENDAR for 2019 {FREEBIES}

As much as I love my digital devices I can not live without a visual calendar by my desk. Last hear I had a wonderful watercolor version with motivational quotes by my desk. This year I am not sure yet. On my hunt for the perfect one I came across quite a few lovely freebies and I would love to share my collection of wall calendars for 2019. What do you think. Ok, lets get started:

Typography calendar by colorfuldisaster.com

Last years watercolour calendar was from the sister from Puerto Rico. This year they have more simplistic black and white typogrpgrahy version. Still lovely.

Minimalist DIY calendar by paulsvera

Here is another minimalist typography calendar you may download for free and add a bit of own colouring if you like.

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(Werbung) Juhu es ist endlich wieder soweit: ein neuer Kalender auf dem Blog und ihr dürft ihn euch kostenlos ausdrucken 👍 Das schöne an dem minimalistischen Design, ihr könnt es nach Belieben noch aufpeppen, z.B. mit den Stiften aus dem riesigen Sortiment von @pilot_pen_deutschland 🙋🏼 Die Filzstifte und Fineliner der Frixion-Serie eignen sich auch hervorragend zum Beschreiben des Kalenders, denn sie sind alle radierbar 😍 einfach der Knüller! Hüpft mal rüber auf den Blog, da zeig ich euch mehr davon und den Kalender könnt ihr euch dann auch gleich Downloaden 😊 #pilotpen #Werbung #kalender2018 #printables #freebie #diyblogger #diyblogger_de #diyhome #handmademodernhome #solebich #germaninteriorbloggers #atmine #papierliebe #stationary #workspace #kleinerfeinerfeed

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Zodiac Calendar by feeistmeinname.de

Fee actually has four different calendar for download but I like this zodiac one this year the best.

Coloring Calendar by Audrey Chanal

If you like colouring this one might be for you.

Watercolor & Mindfulness Calendar by my mirrorworld 

After looking through all options I decided to go with this calendar for my analog version of 2019. I can add “things I look forward to” and a “focus goal” per months. Thinking about how that ties in with my Word of the Year.

Please let me know if you come across any other lovely ones I should know about and share in the comments or leave me a note on Instagram. More inspiration can also be found on my Pinterest Board.
Happy planning,

Tobia