Friday, November 16, 2012

Honorary German

I have a friend who likes to send me things he finds on the internet related to Germany. He has even sent me photos of signs or products in German that he came across in the US. He knows I don't live in Germany anymore but it seems to be a hard habit to break and I really don't mind because as the latest link to come my way phrases it, I do feel like an honorary German. I mean I spent 5 years in 2 cities in 3 apartments living and working in 'Schland so I hope I can carry that title with pride. They won't offer me citizenship but that's a whole differnt issue, I do have a bank account and paid into social services so someday, if the conditions are right, they will offer me a pension of sorts so there's that. Anyway, as a bit of a see you later to my adopted country, I wanted to share the last link that came my way. Writen by a Brit as far as I can tell, these 20 tips to becoming a German are quite accurate, moreso than anything else I have read claiming of a similar topic. Don't forget to go to part 2. As a side note, I don't support hipsters but I do appriciate a good blog post.

I believe one thing is misisng from his list so I would add #21 Vacation is Sacred. One thing I am taking away from German is the importance of using your vacation days and the ability to appriciate that a vacation should not be less than 2 weeks. Although I will never lose the instant frustration that comes with finding out the person you need to answer your phone call/email is on vacation for the next 3 weeks with no one to handle his or her correspondence in this time.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

I'm Official

Yesterday I got the letter in the mail that I can officially use Dr. in front of my name. In other words, I met all the requirements of my Ph.D. and it's time to cross number 10 off my 30 before 30 list. Here's the photographic proof from my dissertation defense. I was so nervous and stressed for months leading up to the end but so happy to celebrate the culmination of the last 4 years surrounded by family and friends. 






I have since finished up my contract at the University and moved out of Germany. which means I also crossed number 3 off my list. If it was not clear before, I guess this post single handedly supports my 2012 tag line. Earning a degree and moving to a new country is big for me. I'm not sure how 2013 can top those two! Hopefully now I will get some time to update the blog more often as I have several travel posts I want to get up. 


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Less Than 2 Weeks

I have less than 2 weeks left in my apartment and only 3 days left at my job if you want to be technical. I still have so much to do and if I am honest, I am not entirely excited to leave. I mean I am so excited for the coming months. I have so much to be excited about, especially living with P again! I don't think I will miss coming home to an empty apartment. An apartment that has been my home for nearly 3 years making it the longest I have lived in one place that is not my parents' home. I'm 29 years old and I spent the first 18 years in the same room in the same house and in the second 11, I have not even made it 3 years (3 months shy) in one place. That is a crazy thing to think about. It also tells me that I am ready to stay put a bit longer. At least  not having to move my stuff would be nice. I am trying not to accumulate things and really purge before this move. It. Is. Hard. Sometimes I don't feel like I have very few possessions and then I look around and wonder when I collected all this stuff. I even have a Christmas box that is overfull and I've never had a real tree (as in not a branch but a full size tree with a stump).

We are moving to a furnished apartment which seems nice until you remember I like furniture and I especially like refinishing wooden chairs and building things. So I guess that's one hobby that will have to be put on hold for a bit. On the plus side, we are able to bring some pieces so my chair projects and hall table don't have to be donated just yet. On the down side, my efforts to sell any of our furniture have all but failed. I keep telling myself I will put in more effort and sell something but finding better ways to use my time (even if watching new fall TV has been counted among those ways). I had a large trash day last week which helped kick start getting rid of furniture and ironically also helped my downstairs neighbor refurnish her apartment. I had hours of entertainment watching her commandeer our computer chair, wooden shelves, and 2 sofas and then replace them with her old sectional. Actually entertaining was watching the trash pile morph over 24 ish hours. I just need to share the play by play. I started putting things out around 18:00 and a friend came to help me with some of the larger pieces an hour later. We got everything on the curb around 20:00 on Tuesday evening for a Thursday morning pick up. I said goodbye to my friend and hello to my neighbor as she went out to walk her dog. As soon as I got back to my apartment I noticed the microwave which has been broken for about 2 months and needed to go out so I walked back downstairs microwave in hand and saw the same neighbor returning her dog from the shortest walk ever. I put my microwave out and she was right behind me asking about the status of the computer chair. I laughed as she offered it a new home and went back to my 3rd floor living room. Upon hearing some noise, I peeked out the window to see her beginning to carry the rest of her treasures in. Oddly enough one of the shelves she picked up had spent about an hour sitting in my hall with a free sign but she lives below me so never saw it. We would have happily delivered everything into her apartment for her and saved ourselves from putting it outside. A few hours later, I looked out and saw her white sofa had replaced my black one and a few additional pieces were gone. I noticed someone picked up P's old stereo but didn't get all the speakers. The microwave was sitting oddly far off to one side and someone even dumped the wire hangers and broken glass out of a small plastic trash can in order to take the trash can - who does that! I went to bed and then looked out in the morning. Overnight the pile was pillaged. Mostly everything was gone except for a piece of deconstructed Ikea furniture, an old rug, a metal TV stand with lots of candle wax on it, a broken picture frame and 3 broken suitcases. Maybe I should also explain that means someone picked up the broken microwave, 2 printers without cables, a computer tower, a cable box, old drapes, the wire hangers, 2 random light fixtures, a paper floor lamp, and the rest of the speakers even though the main unit was already gone. By the time I showered and left for work I noticed there were additions beyond the white couch, someone dropped 2 blue chairs, an orange paper lantern and a few fake flowers. In the 45ish minutes since I woke to walking out my door someone also picked up 1 of the broken suitcases and when I got home, the TV stand, other 2 suitcases and rug were gone. My the time the trash was collected the only things left that I actually put out were the broken picture frame and the disassembled Ikea which was in terrible shape as we broke some of the pieces and could not be rebuilt. I know this is very mundane and not interesting but it was the first time I threw out big trash and was able to watch the evolution from what was planned for pick up and what ended up being picked up. It also made me really happy to know that even though I failed to sell any of our furniture most of it is still staying out of the landfill. I'm happy to know that I didn't create unnecessary trash and clearly made at least my neighbor happy with a new to her sofa that was an unexpected improvement over what she had. I'm actually curious to see how they are arranged in her apartment but I guess I'll never know as 3 years was not enough time to get to know many of my neighbors. I saw that with a bit of disappointment in myself for not being a friendly neighbor but also with a bit of satisfaction that I dodged the bullet of having to get to know the creeper super friendly guy downstairs who asks too many personal questions and over shares.



Did I mention I am sad to leave this city? Because I just am.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

1 Down, 29 to Go

I am back and on the other side. I met goal number 10 on my 30 before 30 list and successfully defended my dissertation to earn that Dr. title! I defended on a Wednesday and immediately went on vacation for the remainder of the week and the next one. It was a whirlwind of stress, overwhelming emotion, family, friends, support, love and everything else. To be honest, it really didn't set in until returning to my office this week. Upon my return yesterday, I have started tying up lose ends, catching up on tasks which sat on the back burner while I worked on my research and handing over my responsibilities.

This is my last month at the University and my last month in Germany. I guess that needs another post but suddenly its all so real. It is one of those OMG (I use this expression in an effort to convey emotion and keep it PG, in my head I am thinking of some more intense words but this is a public forum) moments. I am moving out of one major phase of my life and into a new one.

I have about 5 major projects on my desk at the moment and am not sure how I am going to get them all done before Oct 26th. I also found out I have a few vacation days I didn't know I had so I need to use those in that time too. In an effort to try and get on top of my to do list, I am planning to head to work on the holiday tomorrow. Oct. 3rd is to Germans what the 4th of July is to Americans. As a foreigner, I get the significance but I need to get a presentation finalized and off my desk. Besides, I've already agreed to help a friend with some painting so there's my celebration for the day!

I think I need to add to my list, "learn to savor the moment" as I find myself constantly thinking of what's next. Right now, I am a Doctor and that feels good. In the spirit of savoring I should note this was not an easy process and I learned a lot about myself. I realized my limitations and my abilities quite clear. I learned that I can lean on my support system and I am sure I would not have made it this far if I did not have such great family and friends. So, to no one in specific and to everyone who was there when I needed to vent, asked for proof reading help or just encouraged me to not give up when I was beyond frustrated, Thank you.

Once I get them, I will post photos of my graduation cap so I can officially check the Dr. title off my list.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

30 Before 30

I just celebrated my 29th birthday (for the first time) and decided some tiem ago, I wanted to get on board the 30 before 30 (30b30) train. In case you are unfamiliar, it'S a simple concept, set 30 goals and meet them before turning 30. Mostly I think it is appropriate to do in your 29th year but really, I guss you could amend for any age. I think it will be nice to set out some goals publically then come back and update as I meet them, a bit of extra social pressure if you will. So, here goes my list, in no particular order. I will update this post and highlight the goals as I achieve them.

1. Visit a new continent.

2. Visit a new country (separate from above).

3. Move to Switzerland (in progress I know but still big).

4. Get a career focused job.

5. Lose 5 Kg by Christmas (fail), 5 more by February and 5 more by June to be down 15 kg total by Aug.

6.  Swim twice a week May - August.

7. Apply for 3 jobs that are "reach" positions.

8. Run the MA half marathon (June).

9. Run twice a week for an hour each time.

10. Earn my Dr. title.

11. Learn to make 3 different 3-course dinner menus well.

12. Write and mail one card per month for 6 months.

13. Create an "adult" wardrobe - maintain both fashion and function.

14. Be more assertive in life.

15. Bake a birthday cake for someone else.

16. Sew 4 pillow covers. (I used iron hem tape but I did 24 and most have a hand sewn side so it counts)

17. Upholster the coffee table as an ottoman. - This needs to change as we threw out the coffee table.

18. Finish my second black chair and cover the drum chair.

19. Do something nice for soemone else, even if it is not easy.

20. Start a Kiva account.

21. Update this blog weekly.

22. Get my domain in line - email address functional and decide what to do with the page.

23. Do something nice for my extended family.

24. Spend time with my sister-in-law.

25. Climb a Swiss mountain.

26. Bike tour - somewhere that involves about 2 hours biking each way.

27. Run a 5k.

28. Run a 10k.

29. Hike somewhere wearing my new hiking boots.

30. Celebrate 30 with people I love. (booked Greece with P and Net98! anyone else want to join?!)


So, here I go! I have some personal fitness goals, alturistic goals, life enhancing goals, personal growth and plain enjoyment. Hopefully I can make it through all of them in the next 12 months. Photos to prove achievement will follow.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Imersion

Imersion in my research and writing that is. Sorry for the lack of activity around here lately but I have put my life aside for now. I don't anticipate it getting much better between now and August 8. That means, you most likely won't hear from me very often IRL either. But, when I do come back there are ao many things I need to write about. So I don't forget and am publically committed, here's a list of what is on my post agenda for my return to blogging....


  • Recap past travels to Italy, Philadelphia, as well as a future European trip with my parents.
  • Plan a nice vacation for November...hopefully to a new continent.
  • Talk about my dissertation writing journey, particuarly what I have learned about myself during the process as well as some 20/20 insights.
  • Packing up and making a big move.
  • Applying for jobs...hopefully having multiple offers to contemplate.
  • Spending time with my family and friends in RI (this is a December goal)

An then it will quickly be 2013. I think I will look back on 2012 as the year that flew by and hopefully I will be able to look back on 2012 as the year I finished my Ph.D. Crossed fingers, prayers and positive thoughts welcome as I test my physical and mental abilities in the coming weeks. 

See you all soon,

Jen

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

BFF

I'm a girl of best friends. I mean I try to be a friendly person in general but there are some people who I am very close to and these are the best friendships I have, the ones I know will be there for many years to come but also the ones that require the most work. These are the friends for which I will fly half way across the world when they ask. I choose to live where I am and the lifestyle that comes with it but one thing I don't want to sacrafice are my life long friends. These are the friends who are there to celebrate with me and to listen to me fall apart when things are too big for me to handle alone. I have best friends from various parts of my life, childhood, high school, college, Germany and I value all of them. I guess this all comes to my miond as I justify to myself flying to the US for 5 days 2 weeks before handing in my complete dissertation to attend a best friend's wedding plus rehersal dinner plus bachelor party.  I literally make myself sick thinking of the work that is waiting for me but I know in my heart I truely want to be there for him as he was for me through so many important points in my life. I am, a bit selfishly, also looking forward to seeing several of the other guests. So, I have moved into my office, bringing dinner with me and canceled all other apointments in order to squeeze in as much research as humanly possible. I will try my best to work through the 9 hour plane ride and still be awake for that night's bachelor party. In the end, I have to trust myself to make it through both my dissertation as well as the wedding weekend. I'm already trying to squeeze in some stress reducing retail therapy. But in the end, I could not imagine missing such an important event for a best friend. I've already made 3 trips across the ocean in the name of attending weddings and I imagine this won't be my last since I already booked a hotel for 2013. So now, I just need to work on efficient productivity and "calm, calm, calm."

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

5 Minute Fix

As I folded my clothes, I realized this polo had seen better days. But that is just when they get so soft and cozy. Looking at the size (it is a kids 14-16 don't judge the boys are cut longer than womens sizes) it looked about perfect for my throw pillows. I have 4 throw pillows that have also seen better days and while I have big plans for them in the future they are now acting as floor pillows since their covers are not removable. So long story short...add a large button and about 6 inches if ribbon to serve as the loop. Tuck the shirt in and around the pillow envelope style button the neck pop the collar and 5 minutes later I have a soft, washable pillow cover that matches my duvet cover and is cute and preppy all at the same time.

For reference the pillows are 20 inches square and my shirt is the perfect width to fit without being loose and sloppy so I would recommend a womens M or boys L if you plan to outfit a similar sized pillow. I have 3 more pillows but am not ready to sacrafice any more polos just yet.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Conil de la Frontera, Spain

I remember how much I like blogging just when I think I don't have time to do it. It is a nice way for me to keep track of what I did when and look back on fond memories and/or learn from things. I also like to think I may be halping soemone else who happens to find my blog while preparing to do something similar. So, this is post kind of fits all of those categories.

Over Easter, we decided to take a mini break to Spain.Specifically the southern Atlantic coast of Spain. On our agenda was relaxation, ocean, Gibraltar and maybe Morocco. I loved the idea of touching 3 countries on 2 continents in a span of 4 days but in the end relaxation and the ocean won out over Africa. When this is your balcony, you would choose to spend as much time as possible here too.








We had both been to Spain before on vacation as teenagers and for work more recently. We thought about Barcelona but then decided to go further south and ultimately revisited a hotel P stayed at with his family in the past. It also happened to be the one I found via Google maps when looking for something near to the beach.

There's so much I could tell you about this location that won me over in the end. I think I will start with the photos because even though they can't do justice to the location, they still make me swoon. I should also note that these photos were taken on my red Japanese video camera and have not been edited in any way because I am way to lazy to learn photo shop any time soon.


























More words to follow. + Gibraltar + Easter + Tapas.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Keys


I am just quickly dropping in to show off my latest functional stress reliever. Banging nails. With more than 100 nails in the completed project, I can safely say this entails the most non-load bearing nails of anything I have ever built and I build with nails a lot.





This was a spin off of a the Pinterest challenge I wrote about last month. One of the other challenge participants made a nail and string New Hampshire and it won me over. I had this small board that I bought from the Ikea spare parts section years ago intending to use in a wedding project. It cost 1 EUR and P has yhreatened to throw it out several times but it has the perfect hanging holes in the back so I could not part with it. When I saw 2 packages of "extra" Ikea nails in our bathroom I knew I had the bones of this project and just needed a practical reason to make something out of string. Anyone who knows my husband knows he is famous for asking where his keys and glasses are and sends me on a panic search for either at least once a month. I clearly made this for him. He seemed genuinely impressed by it when I showed him the final project. Now to see if he uses it is another story.

Total cost 5 EUR mostly for the string of which I now have about 100 meters left.


Monday, April 23, 2012

3 Chairs Hooray!

I couldn't resist that title. I finished chairs 2 and 3. There was a bit of a challenge with the upholstery part of these two. First, the home improvement store in the city does not sell foam (or Styrofoam either in case you are wondering) so I had to wait for P to visit and ask him to get me some with his car. Which he did...he also got a piece of wood for another project which is another story all together but exciting none the less.








There was a bit of MacGyvering going on here as I needed to figure out a way to spruse up the cane seats. I was set on upholstery, especially when I found that nice lt. grey polka dot fabric but not really sure how to do it. I thought about removing the caneing. Then I learned these chairs were an iconic style and started searching the inter webs to see how others had remade them. This is the post from Apartment Therapy that caught my eye via Pulse one morning. So, I guess I really need to give some more credit to P for forceing me into a smartphone lifestyle. Specifically, this rainbow confirmed my decision to upholster

Friday, April 20, 2012

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Create a gorgeous, high quality wedding photo album at Shutterfly.com.

Brain Dump

My favorite blogs are ones which post daily and teach me new things. I try to teach things on my blog but I certainly don't post daily. I don't post reguarly. I get it, this would not be my favorite blog for that reason. I won't be promising to post more frequently. In fact, just the opposite. I am in the super stressful end phase of my dissertation and although I just had a very positive research meeting, there is so much to do....research, analysis, writing, editing, and other daily tasks. When I am not in my office, I am at sports, sleeping or (hopefully) doing something creative. Blogging requires sitting at my computer and lately I only do that at home to watch TV. It's just how it is at the moment. So, instead of not posting until I have something with photos here's a brain dump of what'S going on in my life.

I had an amazing Easter weekend in Spain. Eventually, I will post the photos. I will also pick a few favorites to fram and hand in my apartment and actually do it this time. The photos are that impressive and the vacation was that good. I can highly recommend Conil de la Fuentera and if you want more info before I post about it, just ask.

I booked a flight for my next "mini break." Great friends are gettign married 2 weeks before I hand in my dissertation and it will surely be the peak of my stress but it is so important to me that we are there. They flew across the country to celebrate with us and I was happy to have them so I am happy to do the same, remove country, insert Atlantic. I am actually really looking forward to a long weekend in the US. I just need to get myself in line so I can enjoy it with minimal stress.

I am looking forward to breakfast at my fav. cafe with my husband tomorrow morning. I know this is a small thing but sometimes the small things are exciting and should be savored.

I have two pallets on my balcony waiting for my attention. I dread the sanding process but would really like to do something with them so they are 1) off my balcony, 2) useful, and 3) I realized I really enjoy nailing. I also really enjoy painting so I will most likely use this as an excuse to pick up another color. I think I will make the smaller one into a shoe rack as I am constantly running out of places to put my shoes. On the construction front, I also need a board to make my entryway table more useful, maybe I can combine the two somehow. Measuring tape required.

I like to releive my stress via sports. I did 3 sessions of training this week instead of 2 as well as biking to work 4 of 5 days and it is a huge difference in my productivity and attitude. I hope I can work some more running into my routine in the coming weeks as I am running in a team marathon on May 11.

I think I may head out "early" today and ride my bicycle to the Turkish grocery store for olives and wraps. It really is the little things like finally a day of sunshine to ride my bike and the promise of olives that make me excited. There's also a second hand store around the corner which has a nice selection of furniture, maybe I will stop in for inspiration.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lace Candle Jars - Pinterest Winter Challenge

Much to the dismay of my darling husband, I have been collecting glass jars to hold candles since I used them to light the pathway of my 26th birthday BBQ. I recycled most of them when we moved but then started over again. I have even made purchase decisions based on the jar size/shape. Before you put me in the crazy pile, I should point out that I am generally not interested in cleaning gross jars so my collection is not much larger than 10 and, a you will soon see, most are tea light friendly. I love the simplicity of the glass jars for illuminating my balcony in the summer. So, when I saw this pin I knew I had to dress up my jar collection
Mason jars wrapped in lace with a votive candle inside



In the past, I have been overloaded with inspiration after one of Sherry and Katie's Pinterest Challenges. However, I never had a project to add. This time I have two which came together in the right time frame to participate. In this post, I will detail my new candle holders. The other project is the final reveal of my white and grey chairs which will get their own post. If you want to read the rules and check out the hosts and other participants head over to YHL for over 600 links and be prepared to get sucked into the creativity. You have been warned.


Full disclaimer, I have since unregistered myself from Pinterest after reading a couple of articles pertaining to the legal protection of its user agreement. Specifically, the company puts all the risk onto users for any potential copyright infringement. This recent Forbes article links back to a couple of others and explains the situation pretty well, comparing Pinterest to Napster. I don't want to rain on the Pinterest party but I just do not feel comfortable promoting a site I am no loner happy to use. 

So, with the above inspiration photo in mind, I headed out to my local secondhand shop in search of a doily or two to spruce up my jars. In life, this was a spontaneous project that I did not intend to blog so I don't have before photos of jars (think small olive and sauce jars) or the doily I ended up buying (it was yellowed and stained but large enough and with distinctive patterns I could cut out. 

This is a really simple project that can set the mood for a casual evening get together. It also seems to be a popular addition to an outdoor shabby chic styled wedding. Most importantly it is cheap and easy with a capital E. Here are my jars in action:

 

You will need:
Modge Podge (or any brand of decoupage glue) 
paint brush (small but does not need to be fancy as you will ruin it with glue)
glass jars (save these as you use them)
lace

My total cost was 0.50 EUR cents for the doily! I had the glue and brush from prior use and jars are all recycled. 

So, once you have gathered your supplies, set them out so you have a feel for the different sizes and can approximate what bits of the lace pattern you want to use on each one. I started by picking a non-stained section of lace and snipping it out. I found it was super easy to separate the patterns in my lace so that is what I did. You can see my inspiration photo used a more delicate lace and just wrapped it around the jar. If I had bought new lace by the yard, this would have been fine but since I used an antique doily that may have been created by hand, the pattern was larger and more defined and I wanted to really highlight its intricacies. So, I snipped, figured out placement and then brushed a thin layer of glue on the jar. I then stuck the lace on and applied a thicker layer of glue over it. Keep in mind that the glue will make the fabric thicker, feel free to use that to your advantage in designing the jars. In the jar below, you can see, I left a bit of the fabric standing over the top. This bit was fully covered in glue so it would stand on its own like that. For fire safety, I will only use a small tea light in that jar to be sure the flame is no where near the fabric.


My lace doily had three distinct patterns. The parts that looked like flowers, the parts that looked like paisley and then a cross hatch pattern in the middle. You can see a bit of an imperfection in the center of the large flower below. This was the biggest flower and fit perfectly on my largest jar so I decided I was fine with the imperfection. After all this was a recycled project and I was going for an antique look for my cake party anyway.


Here is the finished product acting as a centerpiece on my dining table. I think these little guys will get to stay indoors now. You may notice I mixed in a few non-lace covered candle holders, both types are from IKEA. While the tall candle stick is an orphan since its mate broke a couple of years ago and has since been discontinued, the small tea light holders can still be purchased and are the flip side of the holders used in the first photo with purple candles. They cost less than 1 EUR each and can be used for tapers or tea lights and I love this about them.


And that's it, low effort, high impact. Now that I used these jars, I will recommend only using tea lights inside them. I used small pillars (also from IKEA) in 3 of the bigger jars and by the end of the day noticed the rims were black. In the photo below, those flowers are in a vase but it looks like they are in the largest jar which may be a great alternative use for these. 


Did you also make something for the latest Pinterest challenge? Add a link in the comments...I want to see. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Last Weekend

 Last weekend I had a cake party. More appropriately and in German, I invited some friends over for "Cafe und Kuchen." Cafe und Kuchen is a German thing in my mind and I associate it with Omas (grandmas). It's essentially eating cake and drinking coffee in the afternoon, so I have no complaints about the concept but I think the Oma association comes from the fact that they are the ones who have time for such a thing. To be fair, it is mostly a Sunday afternoon thing for most. Anyway, enough rambling I am no expert, I just like cake...and coffee...and friends. So, I decided to organize a cake party of my own. P was here for the weekend and kindly drove me to a supermarket where we bought lots of ingredients for an afternoon of baking.


I planned to bake 5 cakes in all, 4 using authentic recipes from German Omas and one following a recipe from the internet, Guinness chocolate cake as a nod to the upcoming St. Patrick's Day that Germans do not celebrate. Last summer, for my birthday, my wish list included baking items and family cake recipes and my colleagues really came through. However, this was the first time I was getting around to actually trying to bake these cakes. Unlike the internet, family recipes tend to have less instruction and leave more room for interpretation which was pretty intimidating for me. Also, each cake called for 4 eggs so 30 eggs, 1.5 kg of flower, 300g nuts, Guinness, cream, and lots of sugar later I had everything I needed to spend the day baking. And then this happened...

Luckily that had nothing to do with my baking. I dropped a flower pot that had been holding spare change while moving something in the kitchen. The kitchen which I had so thoroughly vacuumed just hours before. You can also see we have replaced the industrial strength wet/dry vac with a Dyson which is A-mazing. Minor set back but moving on to cakes...


I found the inspiration for this Chocolate Guinness cake online and it did not disappoint. It was rich and moist and even though I made mine in a different pan than suggested, I did not have a problem getting the intended results. I didn't get leftovers either as P took the rest to his office. I will make this again even if it is not near St. Patrick's day.



This is a Fanta cake, make with Fanta orange soda. It kind of looks like a volcano so I just went with it when adding the glaze and let it pool at the base. The cake and glaze both have a slight hit of orange but more in the way that it tastes fresh than in an overwhelming this is an orange flavored cake. It is also very moist and tastes like a classic birthday cake. We got to enjoy the leftovers for breakfast at our department meeting Monday morning.  The only part I would change is the frosting. I think an orange butter cream using either a fresh orange or orange buttermilk would be better than the glaze. I would also try this as a cupcake.




The apple cake and whipped cream. I cannot take credit for this as I was too lazy to peel apples so this only made it onto the menu when P volunteered to do the peel removal. This is a German classic. Unlike an apple pie, this is actually half cake topped with the fruit of 6 apples. It was moist and delicious and there were sadly no leftovers. This was the winner for best cake best on the basis of the small piece of the cake chart remaining (my guests were mostly researchers, and the German term for a pie chart is cake chart, you really have to turn your nerd on for that one).

The last cake is not exactly a cake and I have no idea what to call them in English. I made the dough on Saturday, balled it up and refrigerated overnight. On Sunday I rolled it out and made the egg white and nut filling then cut, filled and rolled like mini croissants before popping them in the oven to bake. I had lots of filling leftover so I tried to make some meringue cookies in my whoopie pie pan which turned out to be an epically delicious fail that got washed down the sink because I didn't grease the pan first. The actual dessert was delicious and approved by the recipe owner.



In addition to baking, I had fun setting up the party. As I mentioned the idea of a cake party makes me thing of grandmas, I went with a bit of a vintage theme. I was super excited to buy an antique tea pot and some matching dishes (top left corner of below photos) for the occasion. P thought they were redic but I love them. I also picked up a lace doily and deconstructed the lace to decorate my jar collection. I think I will write that up in its own post for the current Pinterest Challenge since I got my inspiration for that from the internet.



The final cake I do not have a solo shot of is in the bottom left of the above photo and it was delicious. It is lovingly referred to as Oma Kuchen. It's a dense cake with raisins and chocolate bits. I love it for breakfast and it pairs so well with black coffee. I will be making this again for sure, it is also on my mental list to bake for Christmas in RI. I think nuts would be a great addition and cranberries could substitute nicely for raisins.

All in all, there were zero cake fails which makes me so so happy. We also successfully entertained 15 people in the living room and everyone had a place to sit. This Kuchen party did not turn into a K├╝che party!