Turning Into a Stunt Woman For Apple Picking

Friends,

what are your favorite fall traditions? I’m currently experiencing my first American fall and have quickly learned that at least here in New England going apple picking is a MUST and has to be done.

Otherwise you’re not doing fall the right way.

Last weekend we decided to rent a car and headed out to the countryside. We went to Connor’s Farm (find more info about it here), which has been around since 1904. It’s basically a farm version of Disneyland, where kids (and adults alike) can indulge in playing all types of games, stroking baby animals, picking apples, shooting apples at targets (yes, that was a thing), eating lots of hot apple cider donuts and finding your way out of a corn maze (and getting lost lots of times on the way….and kind of getting scared that you’ll never get out AND thinking how all those parents let their kids go in on their own). It’s a pretty fun activity, I have to say.

Also, picking apples at the end of the season will have you pull off dangerous stunts (you didn’t know you were capable of) in order to get those last apples hanging (usually on top of the tree…of course). But hey, you have to work to get those apples.

Now we’re stuck with a mountain of delicious apples and I am researching all types of apple related recipes. If you have one you like, be sure to share it!

Have a great day!

 

Go Crimson! Attending a Harvard Basketball Game

Americans, you definitely know how to put on a show.

We went to see two basketball games over the last 7 days. One at TD Garden (Boston Celtics against the Milwaukee Buicks) and the other one was the Crimson Madness at the newly renovated Lavietes Pavilion. After seeing two baseball games in Fenway Park and a NBA and a College Basketball game it is pretty clear to me (Red Sox fans close your eyes or stop reading) that basketball is just SO SO MUCH more interesting and fun to watch. If you want to know more about our basketball adventures you may read on.

What is Crimson Madness you ask? I didn’t know either, so let’s get that out of the way first. Crimson Madness officially kicks off the 2017-18 Harvard Men’s Basketball season.

And, let me tell you, it was a very entertaining evening.

As images always do a better job at conveying a feeling or atmosphere I’ve included the official little recap that the HarvardAthletics account posted on Youtube a couple of days ago.

So here’s what’s happened as advertised before the game:

  • Special welcome from Coach Tommy Amaker
  • Pregame dunk contest
  • Three-point shootout
  • Intra-squad scrimmage
  • FREE giveaways
  • FREE team photos and rosters
  • Post-game autograph session

It was really impressive seeing how professional the set-up with all the analysts, team assistants, journalists, screens, cheerleaders, dance teams, athletes and trainers looked. I almost don’t wanna say it but seeing the whole thing made me realize that many European professional teams would have a hard time competing with that. Ok that might be a bit exaggerated but still, you get the gist. Harvard Basketball have their s*** together.

Overall, it was an interesting American experience, with the national anthem playing at the beginning, an inspirational address by coach Amaker, new and current players were introduced as if they were super rockstars entering the arena, free shirts were thrown into the audience, cheerleaders and dance teams presented their choreographies, food and snacks and you get the picture. After a short intra-squad game people would even go down to see the players and ask for their autographs.

If any of you are local readers, check out Harvard Athletics schedule here, it’s worth taking your friends and family out to a game as it was great fun!

When Science Meets Cooking

Hi friends,

if this post can do anything, I hope that it’ll make you curious to learn about new things or to at least consider your next cooking session a real science project. Because you know what? Cooking is science (not only of course but you’ll know better what I mean in a second)!

Harvard Science and Cooking Lecture – What it is

What made me think about food and cooking that way? It most definitely was attending the Harvard Science and Cooking Public Lecture. It’s a public and free lecture series organized by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard and it pairs Harvard professors with celebrated food experts and renowned chefs to showcase the science behind different culinary techniques. Cool, right?

It’s already in its seventh year and you’re able to find some old and new footage of recorded lectures online over at the Harvard YouTube channel. If a rainy day comes around again and you are somewhat interested in food and/or science, this is be a fantastic way to spend your time. Let me know what you thought! So if you aren’t a local (full schedule of upcoming lectures and guest to be found here), check out some of the videos below and on YouTube.

The last lecture I attended was by the great local superstar and Harvard graduate Joanne Chang and it was all about the science of sugar. While I wasn’t able to find the video about the talk I attended I managed to find the video of the lecture she did back in 2015. It’s just really cool to learn about sugar in such a new and unexpected way. Have a watch!

Take a course on EDX or just watch them online

Another great way to stay in the know if you’re even more curious is to enroll for a free and self-paced course over at EDX, check here for more information.

Some other interesting talks so far were about the art of fermentation and the science of risotto. Here come the videos, have a great week everyone!

 

America’s Pumpkin Obsession

When do you really know that it’s fall here in America?

It’s not the calendar that tells you (like everywhere else in the world) we’ve entered a new season, it’s Starbucks actually. People went crazy when Starbucks put the Pumpkin Spice Latte back on the menu a couple weeks ago as they do every fall.

People went nuts on Instagram using the infamous #PSL tag, which obviously (!?) means Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Anyways, a trip to any supermarket will confirm the obsession people have here with all things pumpkin related. From invading coffee to Oreos to beer, the P.S.L. (you’re an insider now, you’re welcome) obsession has truly gotten out of control.

There are such things like pumpkin pasta Sauce, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin spice eggnog, pumpkin shower gels, pumpkin spice M&Ms, pumpkin spice Hummus, pumpkin body butter, pumpkin protein, pumpkin spice flavored pringles. I think you get the idea. They’re crazy about pumpkins. It’s also a huge family tradition for lots of people to go pumpkin patches and pick their own pumpkins.

One of the things I definitely understand the obsession with are pumpkin pies. If you fancy doing some baking, there goes a recipe you might want to try (->Bon Appetit recipe). Let me know how it went!

What are your favorite fall traditions?

 

 

My Favorite Netflix Documentaries #FallEdition

Friends!

The weather has been getting colder and you know what that means in my book, right? Watching lots of Netflix documentaries all cozied up on the sofa with a glass of wine and lots of popcorn. So without further ado, here comes my selection of Netflix documentaries I’ve been enjoying lately. Disclaimer: I just realized that they are mostly pretty dramatic and dark (with exception of the beautiful Maya Angelou documentary). Still, they are made so well and you’ll learn so much that they are definitely worth a watch. Let me know what you thought!

#1 Under the Sun

Wow. What a story. What a country. The film follows a year in the life of a family in Pyongyang, as their daughter Zin-mi prepares to join the Korean Children’s Union. However, what you’ll find out soon enough is that the Ministry of Culture pretty much gave the filmmakers a final script. They selected all of the characters, film locations and scenes to be used in the film.  Realizing that the North Korean government intended to make a propaganda film, the director Mansky decided to keep the cameras rolling between shots. What you’ll see will just be so unbelievable you’ll think this isn’t real. And I don’t know if it was only me but there were definitely scenes where I thought I could see people’s sadness in their eyes. Definitely a great documentary, check it out!

#2 Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

What a legend. What an elegant and wise woman. No more words needed. If you want to learn about this huge American culture icon then definitely watch this film. And order some of her beautiful poetry books while you’re at it.

#3 Casting JoBenet

This documentary is just so incredibly well made, you’ll want to watch it until the end even though the story itself is very sad and upsetting. In 1996, Boulder, Colorado a six-year-old pageant queen, JonBenet Ramsey was found dead under mysterious circumstances. 20 years later, director Kitty Green returns to audition local actors, unpacking how each remembers and relates to the Ramsey case. You’ll hear the actor’s points of view on the case and it will really show you how differently everyone perceives a murder case.

#4 Welcome to Leith

It is painful to watch, yet so important as it still seems to be a reality that there is so much hate in this country towards everything and everyone that is different from you. Welcome to Leith tells us the story of an attempted takeover of a small town in North Dakota by notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb. As his behavior becomes more threatening, tensions soar, and the residents desperately look for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. It is stunning how accessible both the residents and white supremacists are and it is incredibly interesting to see how a small community tries to fight against an extremist vision.

#5 The Imposter

This documentary is centered around  a young French guy who convinces a grieving Texas family that he is their 16-year-old son who went missing for 3 years. Yes I know. This sounds absolutely crazy. Even though the film feels slow at times it is just incredible to see how the different parties involved think and feel about this whole situation.

America’s Food Truck Obsession

Hi friends,

A phenomena that I’ve come across here in the US over and over again, no matter where I go, is that food trucks are incredibly popular. Way more than in Europe. They literally are everywhere on university campuses such as Harvard or MIT, actually on any bigger place in downtown in the midst of all the office buildings and spread around the city. Heck, the city of Boston even has an official food truck map and a schedule sorted by neighborhood on their website (check it out here if you’re a local reader and wish to know when you’re favorite food truck will stop nearby you). There are food truck festivals basically every weekend. Yes. We take our food trucks seriously around here.

The popularity of Food Trucks in the US

After the recession the popularity of food truck has gotten a huge boost as many people that got laid off decided to take the risk of running their own business. These mobile restaurants are more affordable than a “real restaurant” and as they run on volume they can reach high sales pretty quickly. What type of food would you serve up in your own food truck if you ever were to open one? (I looooved the Cookie Monstah food truck, AH-MAZING cookies).

LA: Showbiz Vibes, Palm Trees, Traffic

So. I’m doing a really bad job at chronologically recounting our Californian road trip as today’s post will cover our last stop in Los Angeles. But Los Angeles got me really excited so here you go.

And let me tell you one thing. I freakin’ loved it. And I would never have thought that I would.

You know how some people will tell you how big and dispersed the city is, how traffic is terrible at all times of the day and how everyone seems superficial and stuff? While the two first points kiiiiind of might be true I wouldn’t agree to the last one.

What really is amazing about LA is the weather. The sun shined E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y.

Also, there are nice neighborhoods and parts of the city such as Venice Beach, close-by Santa Monica, Silver Lake or Downtown with Little Tokyo and Koreatown. Overall, I just think that Los Angeles is so unique and unlike any other place I’ve ever visited before. I’m talking about those entertainment and showbiz vibes, you can’t miss them. I jokingly said to Philipp that basically every waiter/waitress we had at the nicer restaurants seemed to be either a model or an aspiring actor/actress. So many people just had this creative aura about them that I found HIGHLY intriguing. Also, having worked in advertising before I was particulary suprised to find out that basically all OOH advertising was related to movies, films, new series or any other type of entertainment related topic. I loved those creative vibes. A LOT. It’s difficult to explain. Philipp and I were even talking if LA would be a city we could see ourselves living in. While he clearly said no, I clearly said yes. I could run into some trouble, however, as I HATE driving. And without driving I’d basically be bound to stay at our (imaginary) LA house forever.

You’ve read up until this point (PROPS to you), so let’s get started with the photo show, shall we? Disclaimer: While I seemed to only take photos of food when we were in SF, I barely took any of that nature in LA. I will tell you where we had great food though so don’t you worry.

Venice Beach LOVE

I freakin’ loved Venice Beach. If you ever find yourself in the area, obviously check out the tourist musts like the canals, the beach, the muscle gym (haha), go for a stroll or bike along the Ocean Front Walk. Definitely also check out Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which must me the best and cutest street ever. The stores there are all super pretty. You’ll definitely want to stop at the following places:

Bottom line: You can easily spend all day in Abbot Kinney Boulevard alone. GO

The Beach

Grab a bike for the day and ride all the way to Santa Monica, it’s absolutely worth it!

The Griffith Observatory and the freakin’ Hollywood Sign

Doing the Fern Dell Trail up to the Griffith Observatory is a nice way to “get out” of the city and see some nature. Fuel up before the walk in the cute Trail Café, their homemade lemonades and pastries are great. The views up there are amazing, too. Also, I don’t know about you but similarly to when I see the Eiffel Tower in Paris seeing the Hollywood sign excited me a lot! It is one of those things that you’ve often seen in movies and on photos and seeing it IRL was just so cool.

Downtown LA

Have a lovely rest of your week!

My September Favorites

Long time no Favorites post.

So without further ado, here come the things that made it on my September favorites list. What things have you been loving lately?

#GAGA: FIVE FOOT TWO

Seriously guys, watch this Netflix documentary! I NEVER was a fan of hers, I found all those costumes and wigs to be too much to be honest. BUT. This documentary changed my opinion on her  (my friends can attest that I have been harassing them to watch it over the last couple of days). You’ll get a glimpse into her life, her views on women in the entertainment business and on living with chronic pain. I don’t know if I was already feeling emotional but I definitely had to cry. Let me know what you thought!

#2 Everything lululemon

Buying lululemon work out gear seriously was a gamechanger. The quality is beyond amazing and worth the investment. I’m most willing to spend money on leggings and sports bras because I feel like that’s were the good quality is most important. What do you like investing in when it comes to work out gear?

#3 Everything Meyer’s Clean Day

Can you tell that I’m old? I’m including cleaning products in my favorites. Seriously though, the products by Meyer’s Clean Day are amazing. And that’s something that I really think Americans got down better than us Europeans. There’s so much choice in the cleaning section here. Bonus: They’re not full of nasty chemicals but smell delicious AND get the job done. WIN-WIN!

#4 American Fall Traditions

I’m looking forward to go apple picking, to having hot apple cider and cider donuts, basically everything apple related. Or pumpkin related (more on that to come soon). I hope to be able to go apple picking soon with friends, in case you’re a local and interested in some suggestions on where to go, check out this helpful map.

#5 Breakfast LOVE

I’ve just recently realized that breakfast really is my favorite meal of the day. Especially now the days get to be a little colder again I am all into my porridge with freshly chopped up fruit. A new favorite of ours is to put a liiiiittttleee tiny bit of maple syrup on it. It gives the whole thing a great and delicate little flavor, love it! What’s your favorite meal of the day?

 

San Francisco: The Food Edit

Dear all,

as mentioned in yesterday’s post, we ate quite a lot of food in San Francisco. So if you ever find yourself in beautiful San Francisco you might want to check those places out. Have a great week!

Coffee

My two favorite coffee spots by far were Sightglass and Wrecking Ball.

Sightglass is packed with people working, studying or tourists. If you ever find yourself in SOMA, absolutely give it a try. It’s a cool industrial space with an inhouse roastery. We had a coffee and an iced vanilla coffee, which is one of their specialties. I’m usually a bit skeptical about any flavored coffee drinks. But seriously, this was so delicious. Flavorful without being cloyingly sweet, the vanilla cold brew combines traditional cold brew with vanilla bean paste, a touch of agave, and your choice of almond or whole milk. You can control the sweetness level by adding or skipping additional sugar and people, it was the best pick me up on a hot day. Oh, and their pastries are delicious, too. Aw, bring me back. 

Wrecking Ball, located on the cute Union Street in Cow Hollow, has the most beautiful wallpaper I’ve ever seen that’s for sure. They take their coffee making equally as seriously as their decorating and even though the pastry selection is not super big, the things they have on offer are absolutely delicious. The chocolate cookie and the scone (that I accidentally let fall on the floor, oops) were very delicate and tasted great.

Mexican Food

As I had written in yesterday’s post, we ate lots of Mexican food during this roadtrip and San Francisco was no exception. My absolute favorite was La Taqueria in the Mission district. A really no frills, down to earth place (where you obviously have to wait in line, because we’re in San Francisco remember?). Their vegetarian burrito is super flavorful. I don’t know what it is but let someone who has been eating lots of burritos lately tell you that they are freakin delicious at La Taqueria. I’d recommend a Mexican beer or agua fresca to go along with it and. There goes your satisfying and filling dinner. Other mentions go out to Tacolicious and Gracias Madre. Gracias Madre deserves a special mention as it is a vegan Mexican place. Yes. El Techo is a super popular roof top space in Mission District as well (waiting in line if you haven’t reserved is the normal), where we had a nice dinner with the lovely Alex and Marcus. However, even though the food was fine I’d rather recommend you go there for drinks and snacks but not for dinner as it is quite pricey for what you get.

Light Lunch

Like everywhere in California, healthy food seems to be on offer everywhere so finding a lighter lunch when we know that we’ll be going out in the evening is really an easy endeavor.

Some of our favorite spots for delicious (how many times have I used that word already?) and nutritious meals were:

Seed and Salt, Mixt and Blue Barn Gourmet. Seed and Salt being the vegan and suuuuuuuuper ultra mega healthy option (almost a little too much if you know what I mean). If you’re really serious about your nutrition and want to be able to choose between 10 different types of Kombucha and blackbean tempeh or eggplant bacon, this is your place. However, what I’ll say is that it is quite pricey.

Another great place to grab a quick bite to eat is Mixt. They’re spread all over the city, yet it’s not a boring ‘put-your-own-salad-together’ place  as they really offer creative and different ingredients and dressings. Definitely give it a try. Last but not least, Blue Barn has some nice sandwiches, burgers and rich salads on their menu. We went to their location on Chestnut Street in the Marina, which is definitely a nice spot to sit outside and watch people walking by.

Breakfast Diner style

Philipp will sometimes say that I pay too much attention to what places look like and that I get sucked into all the so called ‘hipster’ places. To proof him wrong we went to a really nice diner place called Louis. It’s basically egg heaven. Every type of omelette, scramble, pancake, waffle, you’ll find it there. Bonus. You can walk your breakfast off afterwards by discovering the ruins of the Sutro Baths just next door.

Best Dinner at Al’s Place

Thanks to my beautiful friend Deana’s recommendation we ended up making a reservation at Al’s Place. It was our first dinner in the city and I was really blown away. The plates are creative and delicate in taste and will leave you feeling very satisfied. Never have I had a smoked apple sauce with fries but…oh HOW delicious.

Sweets and Treats

So this is a tough one. After having had a delicious dinner at Al’s place on our first evening, we wandered off, walking around Mission district and ended up at Mission Park. Right across there’s the famous Bi-Rite creamery. It’s renown and famous for its ice cream. And because it’s that famous you have to….yes, you’ve guessed it, stand in line. I had a lot of convincing to do but we stood in line. However, I think the ice cream really wasn’t worth it (which was obviously not easy to admit after the whole standing in line thing if you know what I mean). I opted for a scoop of the peach Cobbler and the ricanela. The next day we went on a Mission food tour (thanks again to my great friends Lory, Laubine and Christine for giving us such a thoughtful gift) and well, we ended up going to the Bi-Rite creamery again (with no waiting time as we were on the tour, oops). They’re famous for their salted caramel flavour and I’ll say that one was good but still not mind-blowing.

Another very popular place is Tartine Bakery. You’ll recognize it from afar because of the long line in front of the building. My strategy this time was to go in at the end of the day but still, I wasn’t convinced entirely. It got me thinking that every regular bakery in Switzerland will offer the same if not better tasting chocolate croissant or treats. That was a bit of a bummer (#firstworldproblems). Lastly, one of the probably most instagrammed places we went to was Mr. Holmes. We got a peach apple cardamom danish pastry and an apple pie monkey bread. Ok but not more that I’d say.    

Drinks

I applaude you, if you’ve made it up to this point. We’re done soon, I promise.

One place we had to visit was Trick Dog Bar or else our dear friend Simon would not have talked to us anymore (I guess that’s a bit exaggerated but still he is serious about his drinks and wanted us to try them at Trick Dog Bar). They will serve up the most creative and what seems crazy combinations you’ve probably ever seen (or have you ever seen a Peanut Butter Cocktail before?). Definitely worth visiting if you’re into creative drinks.

San Francisco: Karl, Standing in Line and (Too Much) Mexican Food

…not that you could ever have too much Mexican food. It’s the best food ever, am I right?

Yes. Yes.

But in other more important news, hello again dear friends! Hello!

We’re back after three weeks of traveling through California. And I get everyone now who says they love California. It really is a very cool place. The weather is just amazing (E-V-E-R-Y-D-A-Y), people are super nice and it’s just a really diverse and interesting state to travel through. Oh and the beaches, the ocean and the palm trees. Those aren’t too shabby either.

So, what have you been up to this summer? How has September, how has fall been treating you so far? I hope  this finds you feeling well and energized for the last couple months of 2017 (crazy, how fast this year went by).

San Francisco in a nutshell

I’ll start this little series on our Californian roadtrip with what was our first stop. San Francisco. Are you ready?

I’ve come up with a little ritual where I’d ask Philipp to sum up his impression of places we visited using three words. (To be fair, he would tell you that I forced him to do it. But hey, isn’t it interesting to see what everyone says?) My San Francisco summary is the one you see up there in the title. I have been impressed by the willingness of San Franciscans (is that how you call them?) to queue up in front of coffee shops, creameries, restaurants, bakeries, anywhere really. And we’re not talking about 5 minutes, we’re talking 30+ minutes. Of course Philipp thinks no ice cream or croissant in the world is worth waiting for that long but obviously I get sucked into the whole mystery of wanting to know if it really is worth it? Why would they wait for so long? Let me tell you something we stood in line twice and I was a little disappointed (more about that in the San Francisco Food edit post.)

So let’s get to the photos now. Do let me know your three word summary of San Francisco, if you’ve ever visited. I’d love to know!

Meet Karl The Fog

He likes to show up sometimes. He’s even instafamous. You don’t believe me? Check out “his work” here.

The Golden Gate Bridge

(If my game were a four word game, the Golden Gate Bridge DEFINITELY would make it, such an impressive bridge. It also was a great bike ride over to Sausalito and back, highly recommend

Cute Houses, Parks (Lots of Them) And Cool Neighborhoods

Street Art, Mission District

San Francisco Really is a Green City And The Vegetation is So Different From The One in New England

5 Things That Make Me Happy Right Now

Friends,

I haven’t done a Favorites post in what feels like years. Still, I thought I’d share 5 random things that I loved over the last few weeks. Let’s get started, shall we?

#1 Icarus and Jinx

Both the Icarus documentary as well as the Jinx miniseries definitely are NOT the type of thing to make you happy per se but they are so well made that you’ll want to keep watching. The last Jinx episode is just like…..OMG ahhhh…crazy. Thumbs up for those two.

#2 Planning our Californian Honeymoon

People, the level of excitement I’m feeling for this three week long trip, it’s HIGH. VERY HIGH UP THERE. Who else LOVES planning trips (equally as good as going on the actual trip itself, right?, all of my organizing fanatic friends are on my side). Researching restaurants and bakeries, nice hiking routes, cool treehouse hotels just makes me sooo happy. Also, if any of you have tips you want to share about San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, the West Coast in general or Los Angeles, hit me up!

#3 Homebody Heaven

Maybe it’s knowing that I’ll practically be out on the road all of September and moving house soon that really makes me want to stay at home as often as I can. I’ve been loving giving myself pampering sessions, catching up on reading and watching Netflix (see #1). Ahhh I love that cozy, relaxed staying at home feeling. Do you, too?

#4 My Fitness Routine

Does it sound pretentious to call it my ‘fitness routine’? Still, with my agenda in hand, cozied up in bed on a Sunday evening, I’ll look at the week ahead and will plan when I want to workout. That way I’ll make sure to stick to a plan and not miss it. Also, I’ve done the Harvard Stairs again this weekend and was able to finish them at my Personal Best. 

#5 My Skincare Routine

If you’ve read my post about my current skincare staples (see post here) you’ll know that I’ve been loving The Ordinary and Weleda lately. They still prove to be very good and I enjoy my skincare routine a lot right now. Especially when using the Ordinary products I feel like a proper scientist.

What is making you happy right know? Let me know in the comments below!