ONTO BERLIN

Catching afternoon rays at the top of the Berlin Cathedral

Catching afternoon rays at the top of the Berlin Cathedral

The next stop on my  European getaway! In the five days we were in town I really feel we explored almost every neighborhood.  Here are my highlights:

1)  Braving it to the tippity-top of the Berlin Cathedral.  The wrap-around view of the city is unreal, plus we scored on a seriously gorgeous afternoon.  Also, their kid-friendly video guide was hilarious, particularly when it came to sharing Luther's relationship with the church (you know, he was "annoyed").

The Berlin Cathedral

The Berlin Cathedral

2)  Stepping back in time for realzies at the Neues Museum.  Every piece is impossibly old and Nefertiti's bust lives here.  Not to mention these oblong skull shapes got me thinking/questioning/sci-fying everything (if you catch my drift).

Ancient Egyptian profiles at the Neues Museum

Ancient Egyptian profiles at the Neues Museum

3)  Absorbing the work at the East Side Gallery.  I still can't shake it.  A reminder that art is a true catalyst for transformation and healing.

Taking in the East Side Gallery

Taking in the East Side Gallery

4)  Coming to terms with history and loss at the Holocaust Memorial.

Field of Stelae

Field of Stelae

5)  Walking through the city's center garden with my bestie.  The sky was beautiful overhead and we stumbled into little pockets of tranquility.  Can't even imagine how beautiful the Tiergarten must be when spring rolls in.

Walking through the Tiergarten on my last night!

Walking through the Tiergarten on my last night!

ON "FLOW"

If you lined me up with five other people randomly selected from your friend group and rated us on most "chill," I'm more than certain that I wouldn't come out on top. It's not that I'm uptight, just not super zen. The idea of meditation has always been terrifying for me. It seems that there is a right and wrong way to do it. I imagine some yoga teacher in Lululemon pants and a high pony is standing over me telling me that I'm doing it wrong. Lately I've come to the realization that the best way to get my Type A tendencies in check isn't to light some incense and stand on my head, or to picture a drop in a puddle, or to imagine the universe in my belly button. It's simply to get into FLOW. 

What is flow you ask? Flow is a psychological phenomenon in which a person is totally and completely immersed in what they are doing. The mental state of flow is characterized by energized involvement, focus, and total peace. It is being totally absorbed in what you're doing so that you lose your own self-awareness. It is being so zen that you forget the pressures of time, outside stresses, and negative emotions. Psychologists believe that the ideal state of flow comes when you're immersed in something that is challenging, but that you feel you have competence in doing. Passive tasks like watching TV don't get you into a flow state. Additionally, you must be engaged in the activity for intrinsic purposes only, not to receive some type of outside reward or recognition. 

So what get in me in the flow? Writing, if doing it just for myself. Reading something challenging if for no other purpose but to learn. Trying a new recipe in the kitchen. Painting! Knitting! Planting something! Problem solving with Celene on business matters! The options are endless. Flow is my meditation. Is it chill? Maybe not. But really, neither am I. And that's fine. 

LONDON VISIT

Enjoying a rainy walk through Kensington Gardens (and totes love my duck friend to the left).

Enjoying a rainy walk through Kensington Gardens (and totes love my duck friend to the left).

Last November I decided to follow my close friend, Diana, on a trip to Europe.  She was going for an opera competition and I was going for...fun!

Having never been to London before, this first visit is so much fun.  Walking around and taking in the sites I get the sense I could really live here.  I love the balmy skies, old world history, and general posh-ness of everything.  Everyone takes pride in their get-up, the homes are quaint and lovely, and hopping on public transportation makes the adventure endless.

Here are a few quick snapshots of my favorite spots so far!

The famous flower market!

The famous flower market!

Lovely blooms

Lovely blooms

Exploring Notting Hill

Exploring Notting Hill

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral


MEYER LEMON SAGE & GINGER SPRITZER

Funny story about this drink---it was actually inspired by a soap scent that I came across at work. I looked at it and went "mmmm...cocktail!" But when I was faced with the decision of what liquor to put in it, I was a bit perplexed. Vodka seems like the obvious choice but vodka tends to be deeply uninspiring to me. So instead I left this baby totally virgin. It's a tasty mocktail, mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or refreshing drink with dinner. Give it a try! 

Ingredients:

8 fresh sage leaves

1/2 Meyer lemon

1 knob of ginger

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

Sparkling water

Directions:

Boil sugar and water together with ginger to create a simple syrup. Crush sage leaves in the bottom of a glass with a muddler. Add 1/2 meyer lemon and crush with muddler, releasing the juice. Add 3 tablespoons ginger syrup. Fill glass with ice. Top with sparkling mineral water. Enjoy! 

ACURE ORGANICS

Winter skincare woes be-gone! We're currently coveting everything from Acure Organics, a line of natural skin and body care available at natural food stores. Our first experience with Acure was their Brightening Facial Scrub. It's infused with organic sea kelp, clay, and argan stem cells to gently remove dead skin (and it seriously helps with those pesky clogged pores we get on our noses.) It has a pleasant herbal-y hippie smell that we like in natural products. The best part? Everything from Acure is paraben-free, vegan, synthetic fragrance free, silicone-free, & phthalate-free. We can't wait to try more from this brand!