just my luck.

i guess it’s easy to get excited by really fancy restaurants, the ones with 101 course tasting menus and a 1 – 1 waiter  – guest ratio. i am not different. i would have compromised quite a bit of my integrity and my savings for a reservation at el bulli. i will also happily gain a dress size when my dad comes for holidays and we eat our way through the south african equivalents ( – am i allowed to say that? is there a south african equivalent to el bulli?).
sometimes however i don’t want fanciness in my mouth that i can’t even pronounce.
sometimes i want something that comes with less than 20 ingredients when the plate is as big is the size of my palm.
sometimes i want to eat something that is so good it can almost save an otherwise crappy evening. something so good that i will still remember it years to come and because of it i will remember the otherwise crappy evening fondly.
in other words sometimes i want smoked beef fillet with black pepper and truffle café au lait.
in case you have no clue what i am talking about – my friends and i have a reservation at the pot luck club tonight. call me spoiled but with all it is hyped to be it is still a in its way a simple friday night delight. mind you, we had been talking about going to their new location for forever and the other day we finally called for a reservation. we were all so excited that they had tables available in the not too distant future that we booked tables for 2 random dates for 6 random people.  tonight is one of these dates. in order to be fully prepared i asked them to send me their current menu. this is what we shall be eating tonight, yes all of it plus an extra portion of beef fillet only for me.
i do apologize for the slight overuse of exclamation points, but this menu has me THAT excited.
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tree and the gang.

in hindsight it probably wasn’t the best idea to send the one person who has never ever pitched a tent before to go to reforestfest early to pitch all the tents for our group. yes, that person was me. but since someone pitched my tent for me last year and i was the only one who could leave work early, i didn’t want to argue too much. good thing i had convinced my friend warwick to come down for the weekend and managed to bribe him with a lift from the airport in order to be my slave knight in shining armour. so off we went in my little car which was so stuffed i was glad i hadn’t offered anyone else a lift; when carpooling with a 9-people tent there is little wiggle room.
despite our best efforts we got there when the sun was already gone and were faced with the scenario we had tried to avoid: pitching tents in the dark. luckily i am a magical unicorn (warwick calls me that, i would never call myself something that cutsie) and unlike last year i have my own magical pink unicorn headlamp these days. magical properties, headlamps and some amounts of drink were indeed needed. have you ever tried to pitch a 9-people tent? if you don’t really, really have to, i recommend, you don’t. tell the two people who will share the 9-people tent to get a tent appropriate to the number of people who will actually share the tent. since i was supposed to be by myself sleeping in a 4-people tent i couldn’t do that.
in the end we managed somehow and thus i give you highlight no 1:  my first pitched tent ever.
i do apologize for the crappy picture, but in my defence my hand was still shaking with excitement that i just pitched a tent.
many more highlights followed, one of them being that we ended up building homes for 3000 little treelings instead of the originally planned 2000. yes, we were the kind of annoyingly happy tree huggers who preferred to plant another 1000 trees after reaching the planting goal earlier than anticipated instead of kicking it back with a g&t in the shade. i’m usually that much of an overachiever or one to pass up a g&t, but in this case something was different and also i didn’t bring any gin. but in this case i didn’t want to be left out. remember in high school when the cool kids would hang around the corner where no teacher could see them smoke? and you longingly stared at them from afar, wishing for one of them to invite you over so you could be cool too and do silly things. well, at platbos all the cool kids were planting trees. and the more they plant, the cooler they are and since the more people there are, the more trees can be planted unlike high school they will want to invite you over to get down and dirty.
nobody said cool can’t be dirty and we took our dirty faces back into the fairy lights lit forest camp after genie and francois, the forest owner (awesome title!) had planted the 3000th tree. of course the only appropriate thing to do after planting 3000 trees is having pasta dinner and red wine by the camp fire as well as a tiny crush on the musician. and how could i not if he is singing lana del ray with a very raspy voice that made me wonder how he will sound like after a night of women, whiskey and cigarettes? since i look let’s call it, eh, unfortunate after a night in a tent and i had to share my mattress already (thanks, mate, for keeping me warm!) i didn’t explore that option further. instead we instigated a little zambian reunion and hopped around like crazy people danced the night away. i did so on a tree stump which i managed not to fall off of somehow and at this point in the evening i considered that a highlight in itself.
i remember last year i kept on going on and on about yoga in the morning under the old milkwood tree afterwards so i am a bit sheepish to admit that i didn’t manage to get out of the tent in time this year. on sunday however we did manage to be up and about for a forest walk led by francois. francois is a proper tree man and leader of the gang. he is witty and only a bit stern looking, knowledgeable and you know he shares your believe in magic when you hear him talk about trees.  if you are in the area, just do yourself a favour and go to platbos; ask him to give you a tour and explain to you how trees speak to each other and how a golf course makes for an excellent fire repellent. do say hello to our 3000 baby trees and please report back to me if they are happily growing after a first rainy shower today.
if you ever want to play with the cool kids too, check out greenpop’s website for weekly planting activities or join the übercool ones in zambia this july.  

about me.

i recently made the decision that i want to upgrade this blog on a whole lot of levels. but as i mentioned in my last post i am a lazy sock so despite me having a lot of time right now (see, i already did learn to admit – i am not too busy!), not a whole lot has happened yet. add to my general state of mind that i have to pack for a camping trip in desolate wilderness beautiful platbos forest and you will see me in a slight state of panic not conducive to writing or making blog upgrades.
so i decided to do a go-to post for lazy socks bloggers and make a list with random things about myself. under the pretence that it will eventually move into the about mesection,  it will thus qualify as part of the upgrading and not be a complete and utter sign of my laziness.
x things, i didn’t count how many, about me:
apparently i’m a funny and not only by german standards.
i speak english with an american/german/south african accent. my uncle still calls it my bloody yankee accent but he also calls my motorcycle boots cowboy boots so his americanisms are clearly a bit off.
i like to travel and to come home equally much.
compared to mine, modern family is quite old school, most days i’m okay with that. i have A LOT of cousins and sometimes i number them for easy reference but not necessarily in the order or importance.
i like to drink wine and do yoga equally and together on special occasion. therefore i claim the title queen of wine.
i teach bikram and find that any other forms of yoga are stupidjust not for me.
my parents made me take a typing class after school. that was the single most useful thing i ever learned though i hated it at the time and they had to bribe me with mc donald’s lunches.
giraffes are my favourite animals so i tend not to post very many cat pictures. if that is what you came for, sorry.
i have very messy hair. i use de-volumizer and to the demise of most tie my hair up all the time because i end up looking like a baby bear if í don’t.
i was a complete failure in physics. my teacher said i owed him a six-pack for enduring me in his class for a whole semester. i told him this logic could work either way. we called it even and nobody got beer.
i do kiss and tell sometimes. i kiss well and tell good stories too, so just consider yourself flattered if i involve you in either.
as my mind is busy packing for said camping trip i may or may not have forgotten important details about myself. so if you detect something that I missed and you need to know – just ask away, I will answer almost anything. 

Treetime.

These days I am having too many things swirling around in my head that I should/ could do and as a result I am basically getting done not much of anything. I stopped to beat myself up about it last week when I had an upset stomach. It provided me with the best excuse ever for doing absolutely nothing. It lasted for one day only though (lucky me – really I don’t do well on crackers and tea) and so my good excuse of laying low was out of the window in an instant. This weekend I was battling with a cold. Again good excuse there. But quite frankly I am tired of the good excuses, I’d rather get stuff done and stop having the attention span of a fruit fly. Do you know the feeling? Can you imagine how long it took me to write this post?! Well, not the actually writing part, but to get it posted? How many times I checked Twitter. And then Facebook. And then Twitter again, because mind you, something life altering may happen while I write this post and I would miss it. Then what? When people ask me where I was while the life altering thing happened, I would have to admit I wasn’t watching it live online, because I didn’t check Twitter that instance, I was just sitting here writing a little post. Can you imagine?!
 Apparently it is not just me though. I came across a post by Mike Stopforth yesterday (yes, on Twitter and no, the irony is not lost on me), describing how most of us feel like we don’t have enough time in our day to do the things we deem worthwhile. How an easy change on how we should allocate time priorities can make all the difference and it doesn’t mean that we need to learn how to function on 3 hours of sleep (which is my biggest fear whenever someone mentions time management or making more of your day or such). Obviously I have not mastered this art quite yet, after all there is a discussion on Twitter going on about the proper spelling of the name Shioban and wouldn’t I need to know all about it! But he eloquently put a finger on something that got me thinking and I think I need to address in my own life. I realized when reading it, that I do have a problem with time. As a friend and I once discussed – we are lazy socks (German expression, don’t ask!) and I don’t like it. It hit me when my friend sent me a link to help out with a NewKidz project and I wondered if I could spare the time to do it. Just to put it into perspective: we are talking about 3 hours on a Saturday, spent with my friends, helping homeless kids, while my work is off season and I spend about 5 hours at the office tops. And yes, I still thought I might be too busy. Luckily I started to feel a bit ashamed of myself, which made me realize how silly I am with my time, that I have plenty, I just need to find focus and shift some priorities around. So yes, I signed up. A first baby step on the road to have more time to do more things that actually matter.
On the note of things that matter… I think I may have promised that I will never ask you to vote for me when competing for president/ favourite yoga teacher of the year/ bestest giraffe blog ever and I will keep my word. However I will ask you for money.
Please buy me a tree for Greenpop’s Reforestfest!
You can also buy 2.5 as my friend Deniz did last year, but mind you, the trees we planted were still so little, you could count them as half trees. Either way it just means a tree is R 100/ EUR 10/ $8, but you can donate as much or little as you can want to afford. Do it easy peasy here (follow the link, secure credit card transaction or EFT if you are in SA), instant gratification of making the world a better place and if you insist I will dress up as a forest fairy again, pose with your tree  and send you a picture.

Punked.

I had an ex who used to call me Punk. He called his baby nephew punk too so one can argue if it was endearing or insulting. Yesterday it was time for the Met Costume Gala again and they went with the theme .  Punk: From Chaos to Couture. Again one could argue if it was endearing or insulting. Creating a punk themed red carpet fashion event was the antithesis of punk itself as Kristen McMenamy argued. “Punk is not putting it on. Punk is angry. Punk is not pretending. Punk is real. This is like a costume party for punk.” 
At least Debbie Harry admitted “I’m not really a punk, you know. I’m just a schmuck,” though the way she looked, she at least got the memo. A lot of others didn’t  Or did and in the true regard of punk didn’t give a damn how they looked like or whether their looks worked in the parameters of punk-y chaos and couture. There was an overwhelming amount of flowers, which I didn’t get at all, and I am not even having a go at poor Kim K. Let’s just blame it on her pregnancy brain and an overwhelming desire to please her stylist boyfriend. Personally I think Anna Wintour’s flower look was worse. She really had no excuse not to know and do better. 

 

As far as the others were concerned I seem to stand alone with my thoughts on who got it right and who didn’t  That’s fine. I will stand by me when I say that I think Anne Hathaway rocked. And Sarah Jessica Parker is the best dressed queen of punk. And though January Jones looked a bit creepy, she also looked unbelievably cool. And that I have to shamefully admit and usher the words I never thought would pass my fingertips:  I liked how Miley looked. I thought it was cool and appropriate. Please don’t hate me.

 

 

Then there were some who tried and failed, but they can be forgiven and get a little gold spike for at least trying. And so do the ones who ended up spike and mesh free, but pretty enough.

However then there were the ones who played it safe, but ended up looking…how-should-we-delicately-describe-it?…weird! Yes, weird is the nicest word I can find.
Cameron Diaz was one of them.  Mind you, I don’t like her much to begin with; my mother and I both agree that she has a frog face, so I might be a bit prejudiced. But really… if you want to play it safe, don’t you at least want to end up looking gorgeous?
Gwyneth Paltrow also got shy after making too many headlines, at least for her liking, last week with no underwear underneath little fabric. I personally liked her better then. But it could also be that though this dress is a Barbie’s dream-come-true, it is just too pink to be any good in real life.

 

Last but not least my all-time favourite and go to person to hate: Kirsten Stewart. Now I think we can all agree she has a sour puss face doesn’t like to smile much. She usually sports a face a bit angry and devoid of happiness. A face made for punk and dishevelled hair to match. And instead of embracing a perfect opportunity to shine in darkness and embrace her inner Morticia Adams, she wears this:
This leaves only one question. Why?
All pictures from style.com and vogue.co.uk. See my last year’s best and worst here.

To read or not to.

I wanted to write about books. So I wrote and wrote and upon looking for a reference in my stories already posted, I realized that I had basically written and published the whole thing already two years ago. Shit. Does that happen to other bloggers too? You would assume I can remember these things. Or at least check my own blog before starting to write. Anyhow, read it here and know everything is still the same except for the fact that I got a Kindle and love it to bits. Putting corners in pages is overrated.
However I wanted to write about books because I was inspired by my favourite list-lady who asked for lists with your favourite books this week. Since I have just experienced the joy of finishing a book in just a few hours (Gone Girl) again, I feel quite inspired to lay low on the Grey’s and instead read something new. So I liked the idea of exchanging book ideas with others.  But upon looking through some of the lists others had already written I realized that might be a tricky one. I might share a common interest in Harry Potter with someone, but if the rest of the reading list contains of Nicolas Spark and Lauren Conrad, I… rather not comment.
Mind you someone could feel the same about my list. After all I don’t like the Great Gatsby nor Great Expectations.  I thought instead of summarizing the books I’d rather give a short explanation why I like them so much. Know where I’m coming from and then judge away if you must. Hopefully you will rather go and buy some books,  Lauren Conrad or other…
The Travel Book – Lonely Planet.
My best book of all times. It has moved across oceans with me despite its weight. It’s my book for inspiration, for making me feel good, for dreaming about other place, for deciding where I want to go to on vacation, and for looking up capitals of the world if I need to win a bet and want to outsmart Google.
Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class – Bikram Choudhoury
A must for a teacher, but also a really great for an avid Bikram practitioner. It is equal parts posture clinic and a really good read. The man is crazy, but really funny.
Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rawling
An ex-lover gave it to me as a farewell gift when I left for New York. Call me silly sentimental, but I felt very connected with Harry as we were both thrown into new worlds that were a bit scary, but where we ultimately belonged.
The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet – Reif Larsen
I smiled throughout the whole book and I still smile whenever I make corn on the cob. It is just.so.freaking.awesome.
The Brothers Lionheart – Astrid Lindgren
My favourite childhood adventure ever. Dragons, evil rulers,  revolution and cherry blossoms.
Why Do You Kill?: The Untold Story of the Iraqi Resistance – Jürgen Todenhöfer  
& A Mighty Heart – Mariane Pearl
I’d put these two together, because to me they both tragic yet wonderful stories that illustrate human compassion, tolerance and forgiveness as qualities above all else to make the world a better place.
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Made me want to run away and join the circus for real. Ever since I have been bugging her on Twitter to finally write another book – she is brilliant.
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty – Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure
Not sure why Amazon compares it to 50 Shades of Grey in their review, because it was there first and it’s a BDSM novel done right. And yes, it does live on my nightstand.
The Alexandria Quartet – Lawrence Durrell
I have tried and failed many times to get into it. For some reason I think I must try again, because something tells me I’ll love it and it will be a favourite.
For full disclosure and here comes the part you can judge me for: I love all historic novels by Ken Follet and Rebecca Gablé. Tough thanks to the latter I will also kick your butt at pub quiz when the topic of War of the Roses ever comes up.

Collection for a sad girl.

My friend is sad. There was a boy and then the boy was no more and we all know how these things sometimes go so I don’t really need to explain. Now she is sad and she doesn’t want to speak about it, which is fine, we all know that feeling too. I hate the fact though that I cannot sit next to her on the couch, not speaking and just refill her tequila glass in regular intervals. Because I think that’s what friends are for… to not speak, to share silence and to make themselves useful as bartenders, who ask no questions.
This not an option right now thanks to 14787 kilometres between us according to Google Map as well as multiple tolls, some other countries and one ferry.
Some girls when sad might take comfort in puppy pictures and Paulo Coelho quotes and hey, I don’t judge. Frank Sinatra was my non-judgemental hero when he said: “Basically, I am for anything that gets you through the night – be it prayer, tranquillizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” So if it is puppy pictures for you, it’s fine by me. I just don’t think this would work for my friend as we are more the slightly cynical type that agrees Mr Coelho has been a bit over-quoted of late and that giraffes make everything better, not puppies. So I put some other things together for her. I will call it a collection of things to make you feel better when some stupid boy made you sad and I cannot be there to sit next to you on the couch, not speaking and just refilling your tequila glass in regular intervals. Don’t even ask me how some of these things ended up in the collection, it might not all make perfect sense to the outsider. And yes, I am fully aware there are a good few inspirational quotes and baby animals. You can judge away if you must. I just saw them, thought of her and hope that they might just bring the tiniest smile to her in lieu of tequila…

Find the complete collection here.