Wednesday, July 17, 2013

SUMMER! and Vacation Planning

Here in Switzerland, it's summer vacation. Schools are out, colleagues are away and the city is oddly calm. I realized it was summer when crossing the boarder to Germany last weekend. Where there is typically a line of traffic returning to Switzerland after some tax free shopping in the EU, there were hardly any cars. Moreover, the line of people waiting for their duty free forms to be stamped was non-existent. On Saturdays, I typically laugh at a line of 12+ people sprawled across the boarder office. All of this to say, I am here, in the city, in the office, dreaming of my next vacation.

Which brings me to the point of celebration, we're going to Africa in November!! I can't wait. I have slowly been expanding my travel outside my immediate comfort zone (Europe and US) and have only had great experiences e.g. Little Corn Island. We booked through Emirates and took advantage of the layover in Dubai to spend a day in the UAE before heading to South Africa where we will drive along the Garden route for a week. There should be whales,  penguins, and vineyards. Theoretically, we end in Port Elisabeth and fly to JNB to pick up our tour through Botswana and Zambia including 2 nights of tent camping in the Okavango Delta, and stops at Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls and a rhino sanctuary.  This trip is not yet fully booked but the planning gives me something to look forward to all summer.

Now to enjoy summer in Switzerland and book some hotels.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Guest Post - Grace and Josie - Toddler Prep

My favorite mommy is preparing for a family vacation to coastal ME and looking for some inspiration for her babe as well as some inspiration for her blog  Grace and Josie while she is away. Since I love beach babies, especially the blond ones, I happily volunteered to do some online browsing for little g. In case you have not figured it out by now, little g is the daughter of M, one of my best friends and former college roommates which makes me auntie J. Naturally, I'm going to be the cool aunt who shares those college stories of M locking her keys in the car at the worst time, playing Oozeball and dancing in the living room of our beach house. If she's lucky she'll even get the R rated versions. Unless of course I have kids by this time and don't want the reciprocal treatment form her mommy.

If I were a 1.5 year old beach babe, this is what I would pack for a week in Maine with my parents. I first went to the Lilly Pulitzer site but then realized Lilly is a bit to tropical for Maine. Sorry g, come back when you are going to FL and I will give you the best tropical inspiration. I've tried to include sources for purchase in case M wants to take my advice.

First, a few bathing suits. The ocean will be too cold to swim in my you need to be prepared just in case and I'm sure there will be a baby pool somewhere. Don't forget the swim diapers mom, these suits are too cute to have an accident!

Perfect from Maine, this suit packs the lobsters, from

Every toddler needs a bikini and this plaid one from Ralph Lauren is perfect for a New England baby and comes in a size 2 for little g.

I would round out the collection with this rash guard set from for some addes protection from the sun, sand and wind.

And this starfish and anchor one piece from Old Navy, you can never have enough bathing suits!
Starfish-Print Swimsuits for Baby

Every beach babe needs a cute floppy hat like this bright red one from that goes with all the bathing suits.

I know little g loves Hello Kitty and the girl's got great taste because she was my favorite as a kid too so I would complete the beach gear with this towel available at and pack it all in the matching bag.

Product Image 

Days at the beach in Maine are usually rounded out by cool, crisp evenings and a campfire if you are lucky. So a cozy hoodie or cable knit sweater is a must on this trip.
Big Pony Fleece Hoodie - Infant Girls Tops -  or  Classic Cable-Knit Sweater - Infant Girls Sweaters -

Any of these rompers fro Ralph Lauren would be perfect for a day of playing and they are all on sale. these one piece outfits will make packing easy but may not be the most functional for diaper changes.
Ruffled Cotton Romper - Infant Girls Dresses & Rompers - RalphLauren.comStriped Schiffli Mesh Romper - Infant Girls Dresses & Rompers - Linen-Cotton Summer Romper - Infant Girls Dresses & Rompers -

Dresses are the best part of a summer vacation. These are some of my favorites from Baby Gap. BTW did you know DVF has a baby gap line? These last two are from her collection and I love them.
Striped terry dressDiane von Furstenberg ♥ babyGap printed tank dressDiane von Furstenberg ♥ babyGap wrap dress

After packing the daytime attire, I would add in an evening outfit to go out to dinner with the adults.
This hairbow, simple tank and white skinnies should fit right in, all from baby Gap.
Striped bow headbandRibbed tankWhite skinny jeans

Don't forget the shoes. A pair of jellie sandals for the beach (Old Navy), jelly ballerinas for running around and some gold sandals that go with everything both from baby gap.
Glitter-Jelly Sandals for BabyJelly ballet flatsGlitter sandals
Have fun in Maine!! Take me with you next time and we can play in the surf together with matching beach hats.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

July 3rd - a Retrospective

Last night I realized that it was about to be July 3rd and became nostalgic about Independence Day at home.  Because the 4th (and 3rd) of July are just normal days in Europe. In fact, they aren't even summer days this year. I guess I should elaborate a bit on why I celebrate the 3rd. It's simple really, that is when my city had a hge fireworks display following the annual home game of the AAA baseball team. Literally everyone went to watch the fireworks. Growing up July 3rd always included a cookout with the most extended family possible at my Great Aunt's house from where you could watch the fireworks or walk a few blocks for a front row seat. Sometimes it was the only time of the year I saw my second cousins and it was ALWAYS a really fun day/night party. I hardly ever went to the baseball game because, as the locals know, the view is inhibited by the stadium roof. But the music in the stadium makes the show that much ore magical. By the time my grandma's sister became too old to host the party, I really didn't know what to do with myself, it just wasn't the same but it was not a problem for long because I was in college then I moved to Germany where 3rd of July Fireworks were hard to come by although I did find them once!

Today, as I walked home from my German lesson in the rain without an umbrella, i once again remembered it was the eve of the 4th of July. My thoughts wandered to this day in 2009 when we were in Japan. I looked at my phone to check the time I realized we would have been on our way up Mt. Fuji. That was the wettest, coldest night I have yet to experience in my life. Despite the misery of the overnight climb, getting completely ripped off in a mountain lodge, waking up at 4am to learn we would not even see a sunrise due to fog and then having to put our wet jeans back on to climb back down the mountain, it was a great memory. In 2010, I spent July 3rd at the wedding of a close college friend who I sadly don't talk to as much as I would like anymore but it was also a great day/night/next day. In 2011, I was in Las Vegas, having just split off from a road trip with one of my oldest friends and his now wife. In 2012, I was most likely working but I kind of draw a blank on that one. Now in 2013 I'm having a normal day completely soaked from the not so summery rain. I sit in my apartment in Basel awaiting the arrival of my husband with a dinner plan and realize that every July 3rd won't be amazing but I have some nice memories. I cherish them and hope to make many more.