Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Washing Cloth Diapers in Switzerland


After a massive amount of troubleshooting, I have nailed down my method for washing cloth diapers here in Switzerland. The key? Extra water because it's a front-loading washing machine and uses less water than a top loader. The second issue I ran into was finding a suitable detergent. Zurich has somewhat hard water and really different detergents than are available in the US. I've got it all squared away though. Coco's diapers come out clean as can be. Honestly, I'll put my face straight into one and give a good sniff just to be sure there isn't some lingering odor in there somewhere. There isn't!

Having an intricate diaper system would make me switch to disposables, so I keep things simple. I do a dry pail with the Kissaluvs antibacterial liner. I use a watering can to add water to the washing machine. 

Here's my washing method:

  1. Turn the pail liner of diapers inside out into the washer. Set liner aside on top of washer. Run the diapers only on "Mini-Programme" (a quick 30 minute cycle at 30 degrees celsius) adding 10 liters of water as the cycle begins. No detergent. This is just a really thorough rinse.
  2. Put the pail liner in with the diapers and run on "Blancs/Couleurs" at 40 degrees celsius adding 10 liters of water the wash cycle. Use 1/2 packet of Durgol water softener and one 7 gram scoop of Filetti Sensitive powder. Why 7 grams? Because I use the scoop that came with our French Press because we never use it. We just pour a bunch of coffee in there until it seems good. The scoop that came with the French Press is 7 grams, which is just the right amount of detergent for cloth diapers as it turns out! ;)
  3. Dry the diapers on high. Hang dry the pail liner and any covers.
I'm pleased because it's so simple. Do you use cloth diapers? What is your washing routine?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Babies Dressed Like Babies

Omgosh! Doesn't that sweet baby in cozy white woolens make you swoon? I am completely in love! Before Coco was born, my mother remarked that she doesn't like it when people dress babies like grown-ups in miniature jeans and collared shirts. "Babies should dress like babies," she said. Well, I'll admit I've had my fun dressing Coco in jeans and mini adult clothes. Then today when dressing her in something a little less bulky so she'd fit in her bunting for our walk, I got what my mom was saying. 
Just look at how sweet her little body is in those leggings. And the knee-high socks pulled up over the leggings! Oh it's so adorable. Mini adult clothes actually hide that irresistible baby shape, which is criminal to say the least! I vow to only dress Coco like a baby as long as she remains a baby. And that won't last forever. Then she'll be wearing jeans for the rest of her life.

Nøstebarn is a Norwegian company that has woolen baby clothes perfected. As Coco begins to grow out of her current stock (sniff!) and the temperature drops, I am devising a warm, woolly winter wardrobe for her that will be simple and include lots of leggings and knee-high socks. And white. Because don't babies look so beautiful in white? 

{top photo from here}

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sweet Slumber

This morning I put Coco in her bassinet so I could assemble her darling mobile and what did she do? She nodded off all by herself. I know that while my little sweet pea is sleeping it's my golden opportunity to do things I can't do while she's awake, like eat or go to the bathroom or throw in a load of laundry or (gasp!) make the bed, but sometimes I can't pull myself away. I love watching her sleep. Her little nose is so cute and she looks so peaceful. It's overwhelming this mother's love.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Whole New Life


With Thanksgiving approaching, J and I have been thinking a lot about how thankful we are for our life together and marveling at how different it is compared to one year ago. In the space of one year, we are living in a new apartment in the city, J has a new job that makes him genuinely happy and we are parents! Omgosh, that is a serious amount of change in one year. I can safely say I've never had more to be thankful for.

I never intended for Folio Rose to be much about my personal life. Once I was pregnant I even considered starting a second blog, but I don't have the time to write two blogs and I just neglected this one! Now that we've welcomed our beautiful daughter into the world, I want to share about our life with her here. So that is exactly what I'm going to do! 


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Revel in Ruby


Kate Spade's color of the month for September is ruby. I am quite smitten with those Franca ballet flats in red satin and the Supercalifragilipstick cosmetics case. It's quite the coincidence that Kate Spade's color of the month should be red in my birthday month! I spent the last few years of avoiding everything red and recently I've found myself incorporating it back into our home decor and my wardrobe. 

Do you like red? Is it too bold or flashy? Would you wear red satin ballet flats?

{photos from kate spade}



Thursday, September 1, 2011

Love Notes

This week J is in the mountains with his class. They're hiking, taking a torch-lit night walk, having a talent show and movie night and staying in a Swiss chalet with fantastic views. How wonderful!


I was very inspired by this post so before he left, I tucked sweet handwritten love notes into his pack. Everywhere! I tucked them into rolled socks, the inside of his stocking cap, inside shoes and books and, of course, into pockets. Last night when we talked on the phone, he told me how delighted he was to find them throughout the week. Hurrah! 

He gets home tomorrow evening and I can't wait. To celebrate his homecoming, we're having cheeseburgers, fries and salad. Yum! Does your spouse travel a lot for work? How do you cope with the time spent apart?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Two Homes

During my trip home to the US, I was repeatedly surprised at how confused I made myself and others by referring to "home." As in, "It's so good to be home," or "I need to buy some Cream of Mushroom Campbell's soup to take home with me." All I can figure is that I now have two homes. The US will always be my home and right now Zurich is definitely home. Crazy!

It was a bit disappointing to arrive home to rain and 61 degree weather, but there was a huge rainbow to greet me!

This time around, I've had some of the worst jetlag I've ever experienced in my life! I literally slept *all day* today! This evening, after I woke up, J and I took an evening stroll through town, had ice cream cones at Mövenpick and then dinner by the lake. We had the best seat in the place and the mountains were all pink with alpenglow. Swoon!

It's always hard to come back after being at home where everything feels so comfortable and familiar and English is spoken freely. Most of all, I love having time with my family. Coming back this time I even cried going through airport security! :( But now that I'm back it feels good to be home. I definitely missed my darling J and being back with him, everything feels right. 

Do you live far away from "home?" How do you cope with the distance? Will you move back or are you staying for good?


Monday, July 25, 2011

Vacation

Folio Rose has been on vacation for the past week, but I'll get back to posting tomorrow when things slow down a bit. I'm at home in the brilliant USA having the absolute best time being surrounded by friends and family and enjoying dining out at all my favorite restaurants. I needed a good dose of that!
The beautiful Sam at Navarre in NE Portland.
Zells in SE Portland. One of J's and my favorites.
Speaking of the lovely J, he is having the time of his life riding his bike through France along country roads through lavender fields and camping next to moat surrounded castles in Provence. He tells me his French is getting very good!
J's beloved Bleriot. Note the tent on the back.
A tree-lined street in Provence.
We are each having our own respective good times, but we agree that we miss each other terribly.

Darling reader, have you and your other half ever vacationed separately? Did it make for an extra emotional, lovey and meaningful reunion? Or would you never do it again?


Friday, July 15, 2011

Tiny Bathroom

I've been thinking very seriously about shower curtains since reading this post a couple weeks ago. The bathroom in our new apartment is super tiny. This means I need to think fast because I've got the grand opportunity to get a stylish shower curtain (without breaking the bank) while I'm home visiting over the next few weeks. 

Here are my current picks, which I find like, but which may or may not coordinate well with our Pink Dogwood and White Lacoste towels.
Simple and clean from west elm, but I do worry that the white would be too bright and draw attention to the contrasting flooring.

This Marimekko stand out from Crate&Barrel would definitely add some pop and excitement, but the colors might mean hiding the pink towels or buying more white ones?

If J and I were little children, I'd definitely choose this one from Dwell Studio, but we are grown adults so it is much too juvenile. Ultra cute for a modern kids' bath though, don't you think? Speaking of being children, J and I love to think about what fun we would have had together as little kids. We're pretty sure we would have gotten along really well even then.

I'm also fond of this embroidered curtain in the light blue from Pottery Barn. They used to (as in this morning) have an embroidered shower curtain with dots instead of the parallel lines. I preferred that one, but perhaps it sold out today. Either one is clean and crisp, which I love.

As you can see in the picture below, the bathroom truly is miniature. The toilet is to the right of the tub and immediately to the right of that is the wall. Mini, indeed! I want to make sure I choose a shower curtain that will draw attention away from the not-so-attractive tile floor but will still coordinate, lest I should accidentally draw more attention to the floor through accidental clashing. Yikes!
This photo was taken just as the previous tenants had finished clearing out.
It's looking a little grungy, yes, but it's bound to be sparkly clean for us when we move in tomorrow! 
So far I haven't found a shower curtain that I absolutely love and am ready to buy. And I'm thinking that the curve around the tub may mean we need two. This was the case in our last apartment in Portland, but in the end I opted for two overlapping clear liners and just one shower curtain. No matter what, it's very exciting to be moving into and creating a home we will live in for the next three years. Tomorrow I get the mailbox plate engraved! 

Faithful reader, what do you think? How can I add a little drama and intrigue to this boring bathroom? Am I crazy to wish to make it inviting and to look a little bigger? 

{shower curtain photos from here, here, here and here}

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fan Dreams

This sticky humid weather we've been having has me dreaming of fans. Forget air conditioning! Almost nowhere (and I really mean that) is air conditioned in Zurich. At the grocery store, there is a little bit of air conditioning, but when the temperature gauge hits 87 with 96% humidity, it's pretty much miserable and steamy everywhere you go: work, school, shops, train, tram. Not so fun. 

Even still, air conditioning is terribly overused. What the world needs now is fans. Lots of fans! Here are a few of my favorites.

Industrial and sleek from Restoration Hardware. I'd love to have this whirring overhead while I go to sleep at night. 
Don't discount the power of a paper fan. These little cuties are compact folded up in your handbag and incredibly effective at getting the air moving. You can choose solid colors, or one that's airbrushed with a Mt. Fuji-esque motif or this really cracked me up
As for the desk, I could just die over this gorgeous vintage Emerson fan from Vintage Fans. My goodness, talk about combining form and function. I'm definitely swooning over this one!

What's your weather been like these days? How do you beat the heat? 

{photos from here and here and here}

Safe Haven

For centuries Switzerland has been known as a neutral place. It was a good place to be during the first half of the 20th century when Europe was war torn and embroiled in conflict. And for me, it's a good place to be now because it gives me a lot of distance and a chance at protecting my life and my marriage from my some completely toxic and utterly poisonous people. 

They still try though. 

If you have anyone in your life that land, sea and mountains can't block out due to the beauty and wonderful of a little modern invention called Gmail, I've got a trick for you! Go into Mail Settings, then click on Filters. Click on Create a New Filter. Then enter the email address of the person you would like to block. From there, you can check little boxes to create directions for Gmail to follow every single time an email is received from that individual. It's fabulous!

After the rather unpleasant experience of seeing a certain individual's name appear in my inbox this morning, I skipped reading the email and I set up a little filter instead. Any time I receive email from her, Gmail knows to do the following: Skip the Inbox and DELETE! It felt so good I set up an identical filter for another related person. Switzerland may have been the fortress of days gone by, but let's face it, nowadays we need an electronic fortress. 

Darling reader, do you, or have you ever had, a relationship that was so toxic you simply had to cut the person out of your life completely? How did you do it? 

{photo from here}

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Little Bird

Gabriel Rucker, the genius behind Le Pigeon, now has another restaurant open in SW Portland. It's called Little Bird and I can't wait to try it out with my dear friend Anne in just 10 days! How exciting to be homeward bound. All the same, I am actually really sad to be leaving my darling J and my home here in Switzerland for three weeks. Just think, when we arrived here almost exactly one year ago, I was rather nonplussed with the decision and didn't anticipate staying more than one year. Now I'm genuinely happy to be here and I'm feeling really at home and settled, which is a truly lovely outcome.  
Aren't those photos of Little Bird just delicious? Mmmm. You can read about Le Pigeon in this post, which was coincidentally written during the time when J and I were deciding to take the plunge and move to Switzerland. I'm so glad we did. 

When was the last time you took a leap of faith? Did it work out as you had expected? What prompted you to go ahead despite the risks?

{photos from here}

Monday, July 11, 2011

{Swoon} California Bungalow

I cannot stop dreaming of white and pink and mahogany decor in a light-drenched, airy home after reading this post. Doesn't designer Chris Barrett's California bungalow just make you swoon?!


Oooh la la. I'm as smitten as can be. 

{photos from here}

Leather Gift for J

I had the most difficult time not spilling the beans before the fact and completely gushing to J that I got him the Roberu iPhone case he's been dreaming of for our anniversary.
I'm glad I managed to contain myself, because watching him open it and seeing how much he loved it was a real treat!
Next up some photos from our anniversary train journey around Switzerland. 

Chic SPF

After reading this article, I decided to get (even more) serious about sun protection. Naturally, I already use a moisturizer with sunscreen, but a couple of months ago, I added a super sexy Stetson hat to my sun protection routine. I absolutely love it!
It's a men's hat and my head is so unbelievably gigantic, I have to wear a men's LARGE! Strange, but true. I love wearing a hat because I don't get a burn in my part line and it boosts my protection efforts on my face. 

If you're not wearing sunscreen on your face everyday, you really need to cultivate this anti-aging, anti-skin cancer habit. Here are a few suggestions for you.

For foundation-like coverage, use Clinique City Block. It packs a lot of SPF punch with a whopping broad-spectrum protection factor of 40, and it gives moderate to full coverage. 
To look positively luminescent and have flawless invisible coverage, use Lancôme Teint Miracle. It feels like silk on your skin, but it's best for winter use as it only has SPF 15.
For no-tint, anti-aging, use Arbonne RE9 Advanced Restorative Day Crème. It goes on smooth and matte, has an SPF of 20 and is suitable for drier skin types as it's very moisturizing. Added bonus, it will stop those pesky wrinkles in their tracks!
Enjoy your summer - and remember, sun protection and the pale skin that goes with it are ultra-chic!


{photos from here and here and here}

Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the Fence

I'm really embarrassed to say this, but I'm on the fence as to whether or not I want to keep J's anniversary gift to me this year. It's not that I don't like it; I'm just not sure I can pull it off. It seems very fancy and impractical to me, which is hilarious because he chose it because he found it understated and practical. 

It's a very beautiful, very lovely key case from Burberry.

Inside there are four hooks to attach keys and on the exterior is a leather strap with a key ring at the end which can either be folded inside or left hanging out. It also has two inner pockets and one outer pocket which would be great places to stash 20 francs, or a little to-do list or a love note. 
It is a fact that I lose my keys at least once everyday, so it really is a very thoughtful gift on darling J's part. It's so pretty. It seems like something that dirty metal keys would ruin. And now since I haven't scratched it up by forcing my keys onto its perfect hooks and rings, J frowns and says I don't like it. Oh no! I should just go ahead and enjoy my beautiful gift. Honestly, I don't know what is holding me back.

Darling reader, what do you think? Understated yet practical luxury? Am I a fool not to put it to use tout de suite?

{photos from here}

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Clean and Modern Email

Gmail is updating their look at last! It's definitely the best web based email around and now it will look good, too.
Now if I could just clean out all of my old folders and gunk I've got in my archive... How do you keep your email neat and tidy? Are you a deleter? A filer? Or, like J, a 1,208 new messages in the Inbox sort of organizer?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Three Years Ago Today

www.amysinisterra.com
I must admit that the first two years of marriage were rough. But, just like Carrie and Mr. Big, we got through the terrible twos and now we are onto the thrilling threes. I have never been happier. I feel so fortunate to have married my best friend and confidant. He is a true partner to me and gives me so much support, encouragement and love each day. Thanks for being an amazing husband, J! I love you.

Home, Sweet Home!

Last weekend we went to measure our new apartment and afterward, while sitting lakeside, I found myself experiencing immeasurable delight. J said that of course I felt that way because we're moving into what is really going to feel like our first home. And I must confess, I think he is right! We have moved every year (at least once!) since we have known each other. That's eight years of U-Hauls, new apartments, getting settled, dismantling, and doing it again. This time we know we'll be staying put for three years. What a delightful feeling, indeed.
J in the kitchen, which is being updated this week!!
Living room with incredible hardwoods.
Living room from other side. Woodburning stove!
Bedroom with amazing parquet floor.
Second bedroom (and the current tenant finishing up packing!)
I'm really looking forward to the process of getting settled and creating a space we can call home. Next up, some pictures of the adorable neighborhood!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Anniversary Week

This week J and I are celebrating our third marriage anniversary. First, a few pics from our rehearsal.

We are going out for dinner tomorrow night to exchange gifts. This year's gift is leather. We both can't wait to give each other our gift!!

Tomorrow some wedding pics. All photos by Amy Sinisterra Photography


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