free printables…all the rage

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i’ll be really honest with you today…i’m not feeling it.  i’m not feeling like blogging, or walking or talking, or doing anything else other than drinking my coffee, reading a book, and occasionally looking outside over the foggy mountains.  i’m going to blame it on dinner……i must still be in food coma from last night.

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i will also blame it on the fact that my brain is tired and wants to check out.  i think i have spent the whole week being consumed with business ideas (to start a photography blog or not?  do i want a home studio?  how can i drive more business?), personal ideas (i want to buy a house.  i want to eat pesto with breakfast.  i don’t feel like working out today.), and logistics (if i stop reading at 4, i can have an extra 30 minutes for pictures before i pick up the hubs.  how are we going to do holidays with fam this year?).  it’s all very boring and exhausting at the same time.

so here is your pin idea for this week and last week (because i skimped out on you), splashed with some of life’s irony.  i started (and will continue) making printables.  they seem to be way popular on Pinterest (just search “free printable”).  these are things that say life related sayings and are for you to print out and frame or post someplace glorious.  i tried selling them and that has been a bust, but they make me happy, so i keep making them.  you can find a few here.  this is the one i made this week for a facebook cover photo:

Be happy |Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell

Be happy |Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell

i went on safari this summer.  it was awesome (hello- i saw baby elephants).  i just finished editing the pictures from it.  now, i want to go back.  really badly.  stay tuned, i’ll let you know when i upload the pictures from it, get out of the funk, start a new book, and hopefully make next week’s posting a lil more…well just more.  yes, next week’s posting will be about doors and elephants, so start holding your breath.

 

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it was no green eggs and ham….

but it was authentic black forest cake and ham!  as a dedicated dessert devourer, i have desperately missed my american sweet treats.  as you can imagine, i  was thrilled to convince the hubs to drive 3 hours just for cake.

Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte / Black Forest gateau

saturday was, for all intensive purposes, the same as every other saturday.  we planned a day trip to someplace awesome.  this saturday was different for me though because it meant we got to go someplace enchanting that also originated culinary staples.  the fat girl inside me was so happy to eat black forest ham and cake from the region it originated.  so, i did what any dedicated fan would do, i researched the cake and ham and found out what makes them legitimately “black forest”, and i liked what i saw.  for the cake to be authentic, it has to be made in the black forest and with the black forest cherry liquor in it.  the european union has a rule that no other ham can claim to be “black forest” unless it is seasoned a certain way and from the black forest region (america doesn’t have the same rule).

so after a drive through ski country and the wine country, we made our arrival to germany’s san francisco and walked immediately to the hotel to grab a slice of cake (because all the restaurants are attached to a hotel of some sort).  after that, we meandered into all the cuckoo clock shops and bought some souvenirs, which included black forest ham (hello…i’ve never been more excited to eat sandwiches in my life).  now that our food was settled and our hands freezing cold, we opted for an afternoon hike through the black forest (and towards a waterfall) to warm ourselves up.

Triberg, Germany | The Black Forest

Triberg, Germany | The Black Forest

it didn’t work.  i think the temps were somewhere around 5 degrees fahrenheit on saturday….  and in the mountains, near the water, even colder.  so once we couldn’t feel our hands, we grabbed a cup of joe and headed to the car.  i know… you are wondering our thoughts on the trip, right?  good for you…. i have opinions:

the cake? eh.  i probably wouldn’t get it again.  the bright side?  the whipped cream was amazing, but the cake itself was no better than a grocery store version.

the falls? lovely, cold, but totally worth it because ace ate it up and fell flat on his butt.  it was hysterical…. and then i almost ate it up too, which was equally funny.  in our household, we don’t discriminate clumsiness.

the ham? amazing.  we bought $14 worth of it to eat.

the shopping?  perfect if you want a cuckoo clock, fruit wine, christmas ornaments, or crap.  the shops had a great selection of all that.

the town? quaint, hilly, plenty of shopping (even in the non tourist season), pretty good food.

THe Black Forest Falls

The Black Forest Falls

my favorite part of the drive? it’s a tie.  found a skate park and a man herding sheep.

There's a lot of action in these woods.

There’s a lot of action in these woods.

we settled in to a night of tv and heat…and then lost the internet for a few days.  bummer, but we survived without facebook and google translate long enough to get addicted to a tv show, start a new book, and harvest a love affair with a block of ham.  ours is a tough life.

wake up in the morning feeling like p diddy….

not really.  i actually wake up to tiny feet stomping around, a crying baby, and the clinging of dishes from the family upstairs.  that’s when i know… it’s the start of a new day.

our average weekday is average to say the least, yet still pretty magnificent.  we rise around 7, get ready, and hoof it to ace’s plant.  the walk is kind of dreamy in spite of the gray skies.  we get all bundled up and walk through our neighborhood, past the breakfast shack (it’s a shed that sells bread, pretzels, and sausage in the mornings), the cheese house, and then go through the field, over the river, and down a trail.

The Allgau Cheese House | It's famous in our region.

The Allgau Cheese House | It’s famous in our region.

the morning saunter normally smells like burning wood and sausage (depending on where you are).  the cold weather is very tolerable, and i still laugh when i find yellow snow. i drop ace off at work, give him a lil goodbye kiss, and head home on the longer, more scenic route (when it’s cleared), which takes me by a barn, up a hill, and past all the older men shoveling their driveways.

i find my way to a hot cup of tea or cappuccino and settle in for a morning of photography related stuff.  then, i try to make myself work out, eat lunch, and either have my skype dates, get started on dinner, walk into town for groceries, or get lost on pinterest.  around 4, i pull myself together for a sunset walk to pick up ace.  i finish off the evening with ace and a great local brew, some type of grilled cheese manifesto, soup, and a couple of cubes from the week’s chocolate bar.

Just another night in

Just another night in

so i may not wake up feeling like rap royalty, but i do feel like i am living a dream…less dangerous than the days of notorious b.i.g, and  i am surrounded by castles.

run dmc and a chocolate cappuccino

that is what I am surrounding myself with right now.  and it’s bliss.  this past week has been kinda crazy for me personally.  i have been up to my ears in photo editing, business plans for Songbird Photography, and webinars about developing my signature style.  when my eyes start to freeze from the computer screen, i’ve been going to town (literally) and shooting my favorite scenes.  i went out the other day and all the older women were grocery shopping.  it was precious.

the unfortunate truth is all the walking (and the slip on ice and eat it up moment i had yesterday) have my knees screaming for rest.  so here i am.  listening to run dmc, drinking cappuccino and trying to turn my brain off from all the “business” stuff that seems to consume it at the moment. all i can think is, “did you remember to change that link on the website?” and “make sure to get inspired today!”

this is inspiring me today:

Bavarian Sunset | Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell

Bavarian Sunset | Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell

i love the beauty of the landscape in germany.  as much as i am enjoying it, i miss photographing people!  i can’t wait to go home and start booking sessions.  until then, i am just photographing the elderly at the grocery (which doesn’t go over so well) and getting inspired by things that are pretty, happy, fresh, and make my heart smile.  i feel like i am putting all my inspiration, excitement and ju-ju in a bank to save for May.  i might explode at this rate.

if you want to stay up to date on all the pictures and perhaps get inspired (or not), you can LIKE the Facebook page.  i am definitely posting more photos there than here (limited space on the blog) so if you really buy magazines just to look at the pictures, the page may be just what you are looking for!

Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell

Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell

happy tuesday from the only german apartment jamming out to “it’s tricky”.

fire and ice

last week was a tuffy for a couple of reasons.  the hubs made me talk about my feelings and the sun didn’t shine.  not my favorite combo.

the land is definitely growing on us.  the food is great.  the towns are easy to navigate to. the people have been super kind.  plus, we got an insider’s list of things to do, which is inspiring to say the least.  overall though, i guess i thought that after a month here, we would have been better adjusted.

by friday night, we were tired of eating soup (that is about all we can make in our baby kitchen), tired of being cold, tired of not being able to go to the bank (it’s miraculously always closed), tired of having a curfew because it was too dangerous to drive at night, and tired of german tv (the simpsons in german is not any better than the simpsons in english).  thankfully, God is good and gave us a light at the end of the tunnel.  a torchlight to be exact.

Our torch fire ice cavern hiking excursion!

Our torch fire ice cavern hiking excursion!

after wiener schnitzel and meat and potatoes for dinner (we also had the best beer and riesling thus far), we grabbed a torch and headed through a winter cavern on an evening hike.  so fun.  seriously.  if you are ever in bavaria, you must do this.  i only almost set someone on fire once.  not too shabby for a friday night.

Breitach Klamm | Seriously...so cool.

Breitach Klamm | Seriously…so cool.

a delta valentine


PickaPin

i don’t think Valentine’s Day is celebrated in germany like it is overwhelmingly inundated in the american culture.  this is fine for me (i’m not so much a valentine’s day maniac).  this does make things a little difficult though for making it lovely for the hubs.  he is in fact 100% lover of corny, sentimental, and sappy gestures.  i mean, he popped his foot at our wedding.

that being said, i went to the store to see what i could find.  he’s not a total chick, so i knew flowers and chocolate wouldn’t be right.  i was standing in the store, full of nothing really valentines-y that i could see and stuck with the quandary….how over the top do i go?  this is our first married valentine’s day, so i don’t want to go too overboard.  at the same time, it’s slim pickins so i know i will have to creative.

i bought some gummy bears (because he loves them) and a card, went home and looked around for some stuff in the house that i could repurpose in a practical, thrifty, and fun way.  better to use what i have, right?

i had the following in my artillery:

-a black pen

-a dead lightbulb

-a Delta toiletry bag

-gummy bears

-a card with roses on it that was blank inside

-ace’s beard cutting scissors

hmm.  not sure what to do here.  so i did what any woman would do.  i went to pinterest and found inspiration.  i sliced up the card into 4 pieces and chose 4 ideas from my Holidays board.  now, he can have 4 days of cutesy fun.  of course, i have to thank Delta again for saving the day, as most of my cutesy items came from there and the word play was inevitable.

Frick Lion 1

happy valentine’s day to you too!  you’re so sweet to keep reading and i am not lion.

i get knocked down, but i get up again

today had all the potential to be a success.  we had sunshine for the first time in 10 days.  the roads were plowed.  we had cash in our pockets and a plan for the day.

Our first sunny day in Immenstadt

Our first sunny day in Immenstadt

Let it sun, let it sun, let it sun!

Let it sun, let it sun, let it sun!

today was supposed to be the day that reminded us of how much we enjoy Bavaria.  a day to help us forget that snow has its downfalls and that we’ve been so cold even our bones hurt.  but today failed us.

Clearly..this is us at the beginning of the day.  See the hope in our eyes?

Clearly..this is us at the beginning of the day. See the hope in our eyes?

View from the drive

View of Bavaria from the drive

we intended to hit the road after breakfast at home and drive to Fussen for a quick look at some castles.  then navigate to and stop at 3 cities on a famous route called Romantic Road.  the road itself is not necessarily romantic, but the cute lil towns it cruises through are intended to foster feelings of tingly love and admiration.  then, we would grab dinner in Kempten, dominate the grocery, and get home all before the roads turned to crazy slush.  that was the plan.

Driving around Bavaria!

Driving around Bavaria!

the problem with plans is the direct inclination to develop an expectation, typically one with a favorable outcome.  sometimes, this is great.  today, this was….unsavory.

the first blimp in the day of reconciliation?  traffic jam.  3 hours to go 6 km (that’s almost 4 miles).

The fun about German traffic?  Folks getting out of their cars to pee in the snow and have snow ball fights.

The fun about German traffic? Folks getting out of their cars to pee in the snow and have snow ball fights.

we finally made it to Fussen 3 hours “behind schedule”.  so we skipped the castles and tried to get right “on” the Romantic Road, except we couldn’t really find it.  so we plan B’ed and took a nice scenic route to one of the towns.  it would have been cute and dreamy…if it weren’t covered in 3 feet of snow.  we lasted about 10 minutes, found a restaurant to grab some doner (which was oh so delicious) and climb back in the car to head to Kempten.

Showstopper

Showstopper

once we got to Kempten, we were going to go to an archaeological park (a museum that highlights these cool old buildings) and then to the town square for dinner.  we arrived at the park and it was closed.  too much snow.  they wont open until february 28th.  great.

Kempten, Germany

Kempten, Germany

by this time, i was a little…..cranky.  nothing really seemed to be working out for us.  the sun had even disappeared and we were swiftly getting blanketed with snow.  the hubs suggested we pit stop and grab “day saving coffee” and truffles.  just when my morale was up, we headed to the grocery to try and make the best of the town.  we were overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the grocery and 10 minutes into the trip the sales clerk comes up and says lots of german things to me.  i look at the hubs and say, “you’re up”.  he listens again and they both look at me saying, “it’s closed”.  awesome.

so now we are walking back to the car with a grocery bag full of defeat, not food.  nothing went as planned.  nothing actually went.  besides traffic and closures and gas. oh.  and the mini snow ball fight we had.  we did find time for one of those.

Ace always finds time for the fun.  You know what they say about payback....

Ace always finds time for the fun. You know what they say about payback….

we piled back into the car with cold toes, red noses, hope lost and the decision that we will come back to germany…just in the spring or fall next time.  this snow business seems to really get in the way of fun.  it is handy for chilling our wine though.  which is what we are doing right now.  to reconcile our day of mishaps, we are settling in for riesling and chocolate.  i sure hope the bottle is a twist-off (we don’t have a wine bottle opener).  otherwise…. another one bites the dust.

Sunset in Bavaria

Sunset in Bavaria

want to check out more pictures from our drive?  see Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell on Facebook!

i should have bought more smart wool

this is what we woke up to this morning.

Our rental… with a nice new blanket of snow.

the snow seriously came up to my knees.  granted, i’m not super tall so my knees aren’t far off from the ground, but this had to be between a foot to a foot and a half of snow… and we had the bright idea to walk to work in it! (i’m sure it was only because we had been trapped in the house for 4 days with ace’s sickness.  now that he’s better, we’re getting radical!)

We're not at the beach anymore.

We’re not at the beach anymore.

an hour and a half later, i returned home (to perfectly cleared/plowed streets mind you) just to lay my clothes over the radiators (the ones in the dryer from days ago still aren’t actually dry), make a hot cup a tea, listen to florence + the machine, and plan my weekend trip to Kempten and the Romantic Road.

the morning vitamin rita’s husband makes me take must have had an extra dose of crazy in it because after 2 hours of thawing, i suited up and headed back out into the snowy mist to walk into town*.

and then i got lost.

This is what “I’ll navigate by memory- no need to look at a map” lost looks like {covered in snow}.

after 3 hours of snow walking, i returned home with cappuccino, chocolate, and cheese (from my new favorite grocery store)….and it was completely worth it.

now, to buckle down and finish the laundry, start making cheesy potato soup, and clean the dishes.  bummer.  i think i would rather be trompsing through the snow.

*i should probably mention that the closest anything really is at least an hour’s walk.  mathlete has a theory that in order for a place to be a village it must have something i have forgotten, and in order for it to be a town, it must have government facilities (firehouse, courthouse). we don’t have either of those things…so i think by the process of elimination, i live in a neighborhood. although we do have a church and a cheese house, so maybe we are a village after all?

i wonder why the sock bun came back

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here’s the truth. i’m living for almost 3 months with no blow dryer. yikes. therefore, i started a beautimous board to get creative solutions for crazy hair.  first completion?  the sock bun. thanks to the  handy blog is a virtue , the sock came back to me and may have saved the day.

Sock bun win

Sock bun win

the steps to do it are listed very clearly through her blog.  i’d like to express gratitude to Delta for their handy care package that included socks.  one of those made a very handy accomplice.  also, props to rita.  your encouragement to bun it made the whole thing worthwhile*.

*while the hair in the bun was cute enough, once released from the bun, not so cute (even though the guest on good morning america said it would make beautiful waves…liar).

home sweet home

ever been away from something or someone and then when you are reunited this explosion of joy happens in your soul and a level of surreal this-feel-like-a-movie bliss and awkward familiarity surrounds you? i had that on saturday.  it was perfect.

the hubs picked me up from munich (you can read more on that in the earlier days’ posts) and it was the first time we had seen each other in almost 3 weeks.  granted, that is far from our relational record, but it still felt like a hole had been filled.

Drive from Munich to Immenstadt

Drive from Munich to Immenstadt

Our town

Our lil town

we are living about 2 hours from munich at the foot of the alps.  seriously.  if i walk out my door and walk 2 blocks, i am going up on the mountain.

Immenstadt-9

Our granny house | We live in the downstairs basement around the right corner of the home

Our view of the Bavarian Alps

Our view of the Bavarian Alps from the interstate to our town

the weather here is crazy.  out my kitchen window, i get to see all sorts of mayhem.  we will go from tolerable temps and melted snow to windy and small hail in an hour, just to round out the night by waking up to 6 inches of snow.

Baby kitchen | 2 eyes for the stovetop, 1 mini fridge, no oven or microwave but 18 tea/coffee cups!

Baby kitchen | 2 eyes for the stovetop, 1 mini fridge, no oven or microwave but 18 tea/coffee cups!

what we are doing:

not a whole lot.  the first day, we took a walk to find the trail that led to ace’s job.  it’s a nice 45 minute walk to the plant!

Start of the work walk

Start of the work walk

we also found the grocery store on day 1.  it was not the best experience.  we failed miserably and left with incomplete ingredients for recipes, chocolate bars, and fruit.  not very substantial.  there just wasn’t too much to choose from at the local LIDL.  after starving for a few days (and investigating other places to shop and eat with no success), we decided to risk the weather and i drove to the grocery to get soup for sick hubs (i know…driving on tiny mountain roads in a foreign country- this must be true love).  this time around was much better.  turns out the tiny grocery very easily gets wiped out by saturday afternoon.  monday evening….that’s the time to go.  that’s when the bread is hot and the food it stocked!

what we are eating:

well… our first dinner (saturday after our grocery fail) was potato chips, cheese (awesome gouda cheese from a sheep’s milk), and this spicy pepper spread i found at marienplatz.  everything is closed on sunday, so we made some tortellini.  monday, we were starving and made it out to the grocery.  meals look to be a lil more promising with lentil soup, sandwiches, sunflower bread with cherry jelly, fruit, and nutella cereal (oh yeah).

what is in store:

  1. a foreign doctor.  taking the hubs in today so hopefully he can make it into work tomorrow.
  2. eating homemade lentil soup straight from my german cookbook.  if its good, i’ll post the recipe.
  3. laundry in a miniature washer and dryer.  i’m not complaining; i am thrilled to have access to these suckers.  it will just take me days i imagine.
  4. undoing my sock bun.  i have no blow dryer so this should be interesting.
  5. editing this fun family’s pictures:
Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell | The top image is from their engagement session a few years ago. The bottom is their recently expanded family!

Songbird Photography by Stephanie Herrell | The top image is from their engagement session a few years ago. The bottom is their recently expanded family!

 

Auf Wiedersehen!