Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Shoes

These sweet little shoes are headed my way and I don't intend to take them off for the rest of the summer.
photo from www.birkenstockusa.com
What's your go to summer shoe? What matters more to you when it's hot - style or comfort?

Endspurt

You know that immensely difficult last push through a long and arduous task, like say the school year if you're a teacher? Well, in German they actually have a word for it: Endspurt. It translates very well. In Switzerland, people will wish you a "good endspurt" much like you might wish someone a happy birthday.

I'm taking all the wishes for a good endspurt that I can get. These days, J and I are just SO tired! Really, we are seriously running out of steam.

Luckily when trying to push through an endspurt, there is a breakfast that is fast, easy as pie and gives you lots of energy right through lunchtime. Just the ticket. Thank you, oatmeal, for being so wonderful!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Traffic Jam

I probably have the most beautiful 15-minute-walk "commute" in the world. But like regular commutes, it has its drawbacks. Every once in a while, I'll be a little late to work due to running into these folks. It's okay. They make up for the setback in cuteness.



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Home

We could not be happier about our new apartment in Seefeld. It is definitively the most desirable neighborhood in Zürich and utterly impossible to get into - especially at an affordable price. One evening we were riding the bus to a party at a friend's house and I got to thinking about how I'd like to live in the city. As nice as Adliswil is, it's a suburb and I just don't do suburbs! I'm a city girl, through and through. I looked up at J and said, "You know what will happen? Someone we know will be moving and then we'll take over their apartment and it will just work out that way and we'll get an amazing place."

Less than three weeks later we got an urgent call at 10 pm from some friends. Their neighbor was moving and if we wanted to get this place we had to act fast. We viewed the apartment the following evening and got the application in the mail the following day. Things fell effortlessly into place from there.

I was a little shocked to discover the total non-existence of equal opportunity housing policies here in Switzerland and extremely shocked to see people's reactions. At work and among friends, we got everything from sincere congratulations - you'd think we'd just completed our doctorate - to jealousy and whispering of the not-so-subtle variety. Waiting to hear back about an apartment you really, really want is hard enough, but having to endure remarks like, "An affordable apartment in Seefeld? Do you even have a chance? What makes you think they would they choose you?" is horrible. You might be asking yourself right now, how does one respond to that? I'll tell you. With a confident smile and an enthusiastic "It's not advertised! Our friends recommended us. They've been in the building for six years. Isn't it great?!" Oh, it's fabulous, darling!

I can scarcely count the ways this move is going to be wonderful, but definitely near the top of the list is decor. I have missed the vintage charm of our beautiful apartments in Portland more than I can say and our new place has serious charm: Original parquet floors from 1865, a wood burning stove from the same era, tall old windows with deep window sills, wainscoting! Elements such as those deserve decor that is warm, a tad modern to off-set the historical feel and cozy. Here's what I've got in mind.
photos from ikea.com and pendelton-usa.com
With the exception of the striped wool throw, which J and I saw in Sunset Magazine and immediately became completely obsessed with, all of the furniture and decor come from IKEA. The coveted striped throw is from Oregon's own Pendelton Woolen Mills. And did I mention it's 100% pure Merino? {swoon!}

When brainstorming what's important to us in a living room, we both agreed that cozy is paramount, hence the high pile wool rug, the Pendelton throws and the comfy couch where you can really snuggle up. It's also extremely important to us that our television not be the focus of the room. In fact, we don't even want it to be visible, so the cupboard will keep it tucked away and out of sight when we are not watching a movie rental from iTunes. In order to add a little warmth to the top of the cabinet, I envision the blue pitcher vase on top and a stack of books. I just love an artfully selected stack of books. To keep things from being too drab or plain, the red lamp gives a punch of color! Finally, the sofa table with its gooey golden glow will keep the sofa away from the wall and create depth and dimension in the room without the couch feeling like it's just out in the middle of the room on its own. I think it's going to be delightful!

What are your top priorities when decorating? What does your ideal living room look and feel like? What sort of "living" does your living room cater to?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Capsule Coffee

I'm now the proud owner of a capsule coffee maker and it's my new best friend. They're prohibitively expensive new, but I found this used model from an American relocating back home. She was sad she couldn't take it with her.
That fancy shmancy red orb is the Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee maker and all the boxes are filled with little capsules that you put into the machine and then flip it on and presto! A fresh cappuccino or latte machiatto. Yum! J is such a sweetie and when we got home after picking it up, he automatically made space for it in the shelf above his beloved kettle. Joel is a purist and drinks French Press coffee and lots of tea. I'm not that sophisticated and I tend to run with the trends, so I'm a Dolce Gusto kind of gal. 

Here's a cappuccino in progress. It takes two capsules, first a milk capsule to make the frothed milk almost all the way to the top, then follow up with the espresso capsule to finish it off. Wow. The milk is actually foamy and delicious and this machine is so completely cool. I am in love!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saturday Morning

Saturday morning is my favorite of all mornings. Friday nights we get a lot of sleep and then wake up on our own (no alarm!) and snuggle until we're ready to get out of bed. I'm especially happy this Saturday because it's raining and cloudy and inside feels so cozy and warm with a cup of strong coffee.

Today I tried a new recipe from my America's Test Kitchen Cook Book. I made the Cream Biscuits, which they promised would be fast at only 30 minutes start to finish and light. They were both. If I had taken them about just a few minutes earlier, they would have been a bit moister and chewier, but they were not the least bit dense or heavy. Overall very impressive, especially because I used Schär Gluten Free flour! Because I was on a roll, I also whipped together some pork breakfast sausages that I adapted from this recipe. I prefer the Hot version, but I up the sage and omit the MSG - of course! 


All in all, a pretty perfect morning if you ask me. What do you do on Saturdays? What are your weekend rituals?

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