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Ojai 

There is something about California in October. The Golden State. Golden for a reason.

Driving down the highway leaving Salinas, heading south over Paso and San Louis Obispo. They call it Monterey wine country and it’s pretty fascinating just how many vineyards there are. Miles and miles of grapes until 101 S leaves it’s inland route and you finally see the glittering of the pacific ocean in Pismo Beach.

Lunch-tip: Thomas Hill Organics (1313 Park Street) in Paso Robles, delish! Danny had their smoked salmon sandwich and I had the goats cheese sandwich with a glass of Pinot Grecio. Quick stop, good food and on the way out get a latte from Kreuzberg Coffee Company. If you haven’t been to Berlin and especially if you haven’t been to Berlin-Kreuzberg, this shop is a must. Or if you like coffee as much as I do. It’s on 725 13th Street.

Heading yet further south for a couple more hours through the American riviera, Santa Ynez – Santa Barbara and Montecito.

Lunch-tip: (I’m all about lunch) If you’re looking to grab lunch in Santa Barbara, you must try the Four Seasons right in between Santa Barbara and Montecito. (1260 Channel Dr.) It’s Four Seasons- so- it’s pretty much perfection. Bottoms up, here comes your 5* hospitality service.

There is two ways to get to Ojai, you either stay on 101 until Ventura and then head inland (on 126 to 150) or you take 33 at the Ventura Fairgrounds and head uphill through the backcountry. I prefer the 33 route but it’s pretty windy and if you gotta be in Ojai quick then take 126/150.

Ojai Valley Inn

You know that I work in hospitality for a good reason. And that reason is that I love hotels. I especially love really good hotels. Ojai Valley Inn is one of those.

The service is intentional, the property is stunning and I love spending time there!

Above the fireplace is the gift I gave to Danny it’s a star map of the night him and I met! It’s from The Night Sky.

Danny and I got to share a super-special-unforgettable-kind of Pink Moment this time around and even Dora Lunerkind got to come. Bless her, she’s such a good traveler!

Dinner

Hands-down, one of our favorite dinners was enjoyed at Olavilla the main restaurant at the Inn.

Italian-Californian-Organic. Perfect presentation and really incredible service!

(And their pottery is also very pretty, no I didn’t take any but I wanted to.)

A special mention has to go to the desert, which was the perfect presentation:

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All in all Ojai Valley Inn is the perfect resort for a getaway and especially in autumn. They are really good celebrating the seasons and I gotta appreciate that! The weather was incredible, about 75F in mid-October. Ojai truly has a very special place in my heart! A must visit!

And one more from me and Dora, we took this after dinner in Paso Robles at about 10:30pm. It’s hilarious- look at her paw, so sassy (that’s her real personality).

Thank you so much for traveling with me again! Cheerio!

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What’s in my basket for the Sephora Beauty Insider Sale 

I’ve been a Sephora member on Rouge status for a lot longer than I care to admit. 

I absolutely adore purchasing beauty items. It’s a thing. What’s also a thing is the yearly Sephora Beauty Insider Sale. 20% off for Rouge and 15% off for VIB’s- online and in store, or both. That’s how we roll. 

Here are my top items! 

Let’s go!

1. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26.00)

I absolutely cannot live without. Overnight lip masks have a very special place in my heart, but this one especially. It’s a thick salve thy gives your lips intense moisture and sheen while also healing chapped lips. They have it in 3 colors and I own them all, the original is my favorite however. I use it after I scrub my lips in the morning and I also use it underneath all my lipsticks. I have a tube next to my bed, one on the vanity, one at work, in the car and in my purse. I pretty much am never without it. It’s that good! The Bite Beauty concept is that if it’s not good enough to eat then it shouldn’t be on your lips and rightfully so! 


2. Korres White Tea Shower Gel ($18.50)

I had known Korres well before it even was sold in the US. The Greek pharmacy brand is clean, Parabeln free and the scents are amazing. When we stayed in Palma de Mallorca last year (read about it here) the Hotel Can Cera had Korres in room amenities and Daniel’s favorite shower gel was the white tea one. Since Sephora now carries the while line, this had got to be in my basket! 


3. Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb (from $85.00)

I truly only wear three scents, YSL Black Opium – Jill Sander Sun and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. And Flowerbomb is absolutely a scent that people remember you by. It’s flowery but not overbearing. Soft but incredibly strong. And it’s these items where the sale is just making a nice difference. 


4. Anastasia Beverly Hills Scissors ($22.50) & Brow Wiz ($21.00)

I love myself some Anastasia. And my brows are really where it’s at! I just love her scissors, they are super filigran and sharp. And the Brow Wiz is my absolute favorite of all brow pens that I’ve ever used. It’s just perfect. I go through them quite fast so I usually order 2 or 3 at the sale! My color is taupe (believe it or not, I don’t like my brows to be super bold when my hair is lighter so taupe is perfect for me!) 


5. First Aid Beauty Bouncy Mask ($38.00)

The mask definetly comes true to its name! It’s a gel based mask rich in hyalouronic acid. Hyalouronic acid is a super star ingredient that can bind water times one thousand. Sleeping in that mask just makes me wake up feeling replenished and super hydrated. I get HydraFacials regularly and this mask is like a HydraFacial in a bottle when it comes to the hydration. It’s a must. 


6. Amorepacific Color Correct Compact SPF 50 ($60.00)

An absolute must have for me, you get a dewy coverage and SPF 50. What’s not to love?! The color correct will really take care of any redness or patchiness and it gives me a flawless and dewy complexion that lasts all day. I apply it with a wet beauty blender which I like better than the sponge that comes with it. And it comes with a replacement catrtridge also. 


7. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye ($24.00)

My holy grail of concealers. I can say that I rarely ever leave the house without it. It’s absolute perfection. It’s a thick and full coverage concealer that does not set in fine lines and stays on all day long. I use the tiniest bit. So much so that I just opened the tube I bought last year. They also make a travel size that I keep in my travel make up bag every day. I’ve got crazy dark undereye circles and I would be absolutely lost without this magic potion. 


The sale is beginning November 3rd and lasts until the 6th. Go get your basket! 

Thank you for reading and happy shopping! 

Cheers!

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And who holds you back?

“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”

There is something about fortune cookies that I like. It’s like your own little piece of gypsy wrapped in a carb baked cookie after you ate your body weight in spicy eggplant. Very comforting. 

I’ve always kept my little wisdom, I take them home and keep them in a glass jar. Sometimes I’m excited about it, sometimes I just smirk and sometimes it makes me think.

Like this one, I got today. (Cheat meal obviously, no judging).


The past few months have been about the next step, the next version of oneself. I’ve asked myself if what I was doing on any given day was going to get me closer to who I want to be tomorrow. 

It takes courage! It takes courage to understand that the one person holding you back, is most likely yourself. 

“Close your eyes and imagine the best version of you possible. That’s who you really are, let go of any part of you that doesn’t believe it.” -C. Assaad 

Here are a few things I had to let go so that I can grow:

– Doubting yourself

Never, never good for anyone. Try with all you got, should you fail- you’ll grow from it. If you doubt yourself in the beginning you ain’t going anywhere. Just because something states ‘CLOSED’ don’t doubt that you can’t get there! Roads closed? You hike! Believe me I learned a lot about that, with compliments to the highway 1 closure! 

– Procrastination 

I am still very guilty of this one, it’s a tough habit to break. I’m trying hard. Again, make a decision that is in line with what you believe in – that holds up your standards of integrity – and base it on weather it gets you closer to where you want to be. If it does not work out, you will grow. Be informed about your options but make that decision! 

– Negative Self Talk or Negative Thoughts

Just don’t. Do not ever do that. I made myself run a mile for every negative thought that I caught. Pretty sure I can run a marathon soon. Get something positive out of something negative. Sore hamstrings don’t count! 

– Fear of success 

I learned once that fear translates to ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ and one cannot fear being successful. Or what other people think about ones success. If you work hard and give it your all, you are deserving of the success and no one can take that from you! This is not about luck, this is about working hard and getting what you work hard for! Go for it! 

– People Pleasing

Ugh a tough one. I work in hospitality I do it all the time. I had to learn that unless they are guests, you can’t walk through life pleasing other people. Be kind, help others be their best and be humble but that does not equal the constant need to please other people. 

– Do not take criticism personally

Listen to it, no matter how painful. Acknowledge good points made, disagree without being disrespectful. Remember that anyone who accomplishes great things will have some critics. Remember your own core values, take what you need to grow and be appreciative of it. 

As the one and only Dr. Brene Brown said: You can choose courage or you can choose comfort but you cannot choose both! 

Don’t hold yourself back! Let’s go! Happy October!

Cheerio! 

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Autumn equinox and why I care

“Life starts all over again when it get’s crisp in the fall.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald

Full disclosure that as a child I didn’t particularly care about fall. It only meant shorter, colder days and back to school. I am a June baby so that’s where it’s been for me most of my life – looking forward to the summer.

Today though, I woke up and I was excited for the first day of fall, the crisp air in the mornings and at night, but still warm days. Everything pumpkin. Leaves changing color. Indian summer. Driving to work I realized how much I have enjoyed this season over the past years without giving it the title of ‘favorite of them all’. But fall truly has a place in my heart, October especially. It was the month I met Daniel, the month I got Dora Lunerkind and I get to dress up, change my skincare routine and sleep an hour longer. Sounds really great.

Autumn begins when the planet’s tilt hits the halfway mark between the longest day of the year (that would be the first day of summer) and the shortest day of the year (this would be the first day of winter). The equinox will occur when the sun crosses over the celestial equator — which happens at 4:02 p.m. EDT (2002 GMT) on September 22. Summer said goodbye as the sun passes over the equator marking the first day of autumn. The equinox equals both the beginnings and end of some of the most important times of the year. It’s the time when day and night are exactly of equal length (12 hours), however as the days pass moving towards Winter solstice, the nights will be longer, the days will be shorter.

“In every change- every falling leave- there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.” -Unknown


A few things to do to celebrate the Autumnal equinox:

Meditate:

Begin your day early with a bit of meditation. Only five minutes a day, completely unplugged and away from screens, can center you for the many hours you have ahead.

Intentions:

A “To Do List,” with a spiritual, self-care vibe. Write out how you want to live your life for the next six months. And with many thanks to the Ultrafit program: “self-care” doesn’t always mean laying on the floor eating pumpkin spice ice cream. To me it means sleeping early and getting out of bed early, it means taking care of that summer dehydrated skin and eating enough meals.

Soup it up:

I’ve been making my food at home, with compliments to the Ultrafit challenge and my fall favorite has been the carrot ginger soup. SO good!

1: Chop carrots and ginger and some herbs


2: Let it simmer in a quart of water for about 45-minutes, stir frequently and add some cinnamon and turmeric!

3: Take the soup and put it in a food processor or a vita mix, let it do its thing


4: Voila, a bit of pepper and ready to serve.

Warming, delicious and clean. I batch cook this a lot and freeze the rest in ready to go Glassware containers!


(And nope, sadly the Oktoberfest Beer ain’t mine, but Danny’s.)

Skincare:


Changing seasons always let me re-consider my facial care. For fall I love volcanic based masks. I love the Arcona Black Ice, it leaves my face clear (thank you mandelic acid!) but still super hydrated and luminous!

Smudging:

Truth is that I do not need an equinox to smudge. I love smudging. Clean and fresh energized spaces make me happy! The smell of sage makes me happy! Smudging makes me happy. Smudging is the practice of burning sacred herbs like sage and lavender, is a way to cleanse your space of beetlejuice energy. Before you begin, develop a little mini-mantra to say to yourself. Open all the windows, light your smudge stick and walk slowly around the perimeter of the room. The smoke will carry the bad vibes outside. Trust me, you want to try it!

Bonfire:

Love me some bonfire! In the tradition, Mabon, the autumnal equinox celebration, is a time to respect the coming darkness of winter. Without the darkness, there’s no use for light. Without nighttime, the beauty of day diminishes. You may also write your wishes on a piece of paper and release it into the fire. Powerful!

“Summer’s end, a time of balance, merriment and cider shared. True harvest when herbs hand and grapes turned to wine.  The time where two meet the light of day and the dark of night. When sun a fire and blanket of night embrace.” –Unknown 

Have the happiest of fall! I am excited to see what will be to harvest this season!

Thank you for reading & Cherrio to pumpkin spice and all the things nice!

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(As always: None of my links are affiliate)

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Rising to the occasion

The next level.

Every next level of your life will demand a different you. Every next level of your life will demand growth, change and adapting. And every next level should push you to become the person you always wanted to be. No matter where you are in life currently, find comfort and discomfort in knowing that new challenges and growth are always ahead. Enjoy the beauty of your growing pains and focus on a new fresh level.

“She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transforming from one version of yourself to another.” -Sarah Addison Allen


There is always a push that makes you change your life, sometimes it’s a traumatizing experience,  a yearn for change or a simple wish to be better.

On Tuesday as Mercury finished it’s retrograde (finally!), I realized that it’s time for me to rise to the occasion. In many aspects of my life including health and stress levels, work-out and skincare routines, quality time spent, blogging and (always of course!) work.

So I signed myself up for the Ultrafit challenge to reset. So here is to cheer to the weeks coming that will reveal nothing less of growing pains, comfort and discomfort, beauty and transformation. Both myself and My Tree and Me Blog! Cheerio!

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” -Abraham Maslow

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Mallorca 

“My eyes are filled with wonders, my heart is filled with spirit, like coffee for the soul, gelato for the brain, travel makes me sing, Mallorca and Spain.” – Samantha Richardson

Palma de Mallorca is to Germans what Cancun is to Americans. Miles and miles of beach party on Ballerman 6, beers are to be had at Bierkönig all day and all night and sangria is only served in gallon buckets and extra long straws.

I can assure you that for too many people, Mallorca, equals only Party, alcohol and soccer clubs on relegation win trips. And there is SO much more to this Mediterranean island than the described above. There is Palma, an old Spanish city, with rich history, fabulous shopping and amazing food! There is caves and quiet. Beaches and traditions. And the weather, let’s not forget that either.

On week of summer on the Balearic Island of Mallorca. Let’s go!

We arrived over Duesseldorf from San Francisco choosing Air Berlin as our air carrier, and as so many of our Europe trips we went in June. Due to the time difference, most of those flights arriving to Europe leaving the west coast as red eye but also get to Europe later in the day.
(Air carrier tip if you are arriving from the US: Carriers like Air Berlin are fab as you can choose the X-tra seats and the extra space on those seats makes for a very comfortable experience. Unless you get to travel upper class/business class it’s worth it to spend the extra $ on reserving those seats. Full disclosure: Over the years I’ve become a picky flyer, I’ve been on too many national and international flights that were just plain awful considering service standards. You’ll never hear me making a low cost carrier suggestion, which does not mean that there is anything wrong with those, it’s just not for me. From the US, I fly Lufthansa, Swiss, Air Berlin, Virgin Atlantic and Emirates only. )

During this trip we will travel around the island and stay two nights each, beginning and ending our journey in Palma.

Stop 1: Palma de Mallorca

Where to stay:

I love staying in old town Palma, and I like small luxury hospitality with distinctive service. We picked the boutique Hotel Can Cera on Carrer de Sant Francesc. Can Cera equals what I like about hospitality: perfection and class. It is inside the ancient city walls and located between Plaza de Santa Eulalia and the Plaza de San Francisco. It only has 14 rooms, and they all have a different character. What I love most about Can Cera is that they understood to mix modern with truly Majorcan and combine it with exquisite customer service. I have a big heart for pre-arrival communication, and I was very excited receiving an email from the Can Cera team after I booked as they wanted to make sure that they can match us with the perfect room –  and they did! We stayed in room 4.

*Literally having worked in hotels for this long I could not remember when I used an actual key to open the room doors. Not a key card but an actual key. I was thrilled – it’s the little things!

It brings me so much joy to get up early that first morning after arriving to Europe, head out into town, the heat is still bearable, you take a deep breath and you just know that you are on vacation. Grab that first cup of European coffee. Una taza de Café con leche por favor, or if I want to be extra indulgent and drink my sweets, I will have a Café Bombon.  It is a traditional Spanish style coffee, mixed in exact parts of espresso and condensed milk. Not for everyone, but definitely for me. Yumm.

Daniel likes Café Solo (Small cup of strong, black espresso. He orders this when he knows he will need some energy for lots of sightseeing. I can walk for miles in the mid-day heat.) Or Café Americano (if the intensity of a café solo is a bit much.  This coffee contains the same amount of caffeine as a café solo but with more water, resulting in a milder flavor.)

Coffee tip: Try Café con Hielo (summertime favorite, simply coffee with ice. You will pour it over ice yourself, as you get two glasses from your Barista. Starbucks who?!) Or if you want to splurge, and also great as aperitif after dinner, Carajillo (espresso served with rum, whisky or brandy). So good!

What to do:

Palma is literally a stunner. You can wander in any direction from the awe-inspiring Gothic Catedral (Catedral de Mallorca) at its geographic and historical heart and you’ll find bent medieval streets lined with aristocratic townhouses, looming baroque churches, teeming public squares, vibrant bohemian neighborhoods and markets overflowing with all the bounty of the island. It’s rich in history and beauty.

Seven places you must see-

  1. Catedral de Mallorca – It’s vast, absolutely breathtaking and designed by Antoni Gaudí and renowned contemporary artist Miquel Barceló. You just must see it. Map it here .
  2. Banys Arab – Achient bath house from the time the Moores were in charge. From the 10th-century, the baths are virtually all that remains of the Arab city of Medina Mayurqa, that now is Palma de Mallorca. Its a fun site to see and also has a beautiful garden that has some very nice spots to sit and just be. Map it here.
  3. Sant Francesc – This church and covenant founded in 1281 is absolutely stunning, you must go in. If there is a wait, you must wait and you must go in. Map it here. Also there is a hotel right nearby and I actually had my birthday dinner there on the rooftop sushi bar. Stunning-unforgettable-amazing food-kind of venue. A must! And the hotel is gorgeous as well! You can learn more hereimg_4068
  4. Placa Major – Medieval square, markets, cafe’s and shopping. About centrally located. Map it here. img_0240
  5. La Rambla – Oh La Rambla. Shopping left and right. La Rambla is one of those traditional European streets where you can buy what your heart desires. And when I say what your heart desires, I mean European and International luxury goods. Obviously. Welcome to La Rambla!
  6. Mercat de l’Olivar – Amazing fresh food market, you must have tapas there. Super good! I also always buy my olive oil here and bring it home. Map it here
  7. Museu dels Molins – It’s the windmill museum and yes you must go, it’s close to the port and if you go in the afternoon you can walk along the port and watch the sun setting. At that time you’re back to where the Cathedral is and believe me, this is Instagram worthy and then some. Map it here.

Stop 2: Cuevas del Drach

We are leaving Palma, back to the airport to pick up the rental car (ain’t no-one wants to drive in downtown Palma, not even Daniel) and are headed east onto MAR-15 (think Interstate-ish) towards our next adventure: Cuevas del Drach in Porto Cristo.


I love the Drach caves, and I always have. I remember being younger and going there. It’s touristy but it’s worth it. It an under-earth-labyrinth-water-cave-kind of place. The caves are 25 miles underneath the surface and they literally hide an underwater lake. It’s fascinating.


You’ll go in a group of about 20 people and you walk down stairs for about a mile. The difference in temperature is unbelievable. Bring a sweatshirt. You’ll continue to walk through the cave, by the lake and then you sit down to watch an underwater concert. The acoustics are phenomenal. You’re in the cave for about an hour and a half.

I don’t particularly love Porto Cristo otherwise, so we went straight through to our destination, Formentor where we stayed at the Hotel Formentor– a royal hideaway.

Stop 3: Formentor 

The Majorcans call Formentor the ‘Meeting point’s of the winds’ . We are all the way on the tip of the east side of the island. The streets from Port de Pollenca (which is considered the closest touristy-ish beach town) are windy and tiny. You definitely want to take your time driving, or just drive fast like the locals do – that is up to you and the fact if you can stomach that.

P.S: This is not the kind of blog where I suggest 2000+ bed hotels, build on the beach, one-next-to-the-other. But if you care to check it out, be welcome at Can Picafort and Alcudia. I’ve spent plenty of summer vacations there as a teenager. It’s on the way to Formentor.

We spend two nights here and arrived from the caves in the afternoon. We had a fab dinner in the hotels restaurant, El Pi, that night and enjoyed being by the beach for the first time this trip. I love the beach and I love the sound of the Mediterranean sea, so the next day after a way too indulgent breakky we went to the beach. Now, this is not the kind of water temperature that you’d call warm. It’s refreshing. Actually, it’s so cold I was worried my soul is going to frost over. I like my ocean bathwater temperature, so unless it’s 70 degrees, you ain’t going to see me in that water. That’s just who I am.

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The Formentor peninsula is pretty true to a true Mallorca experience. Leaving the hotel you see locals enjoying the beach with their families and you’re making you way up towards what I call my personal “Majorca Fab Three” Port de Soller, Deia and Valldemossa. If this can be more than a day trip then it should, it wasn’t for us (we wanted to stay two nights in a new hotel called Pure Salt in the El Toro/Port Adriano area) but I absolutely want to return to Deia.

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My Majorca Fab Three:

Port de Soller–  Funny thing with Port de Soller is that you feel like you’re on the Italian Riviera. Literally you might as well be in Portofino. On your way to Port de Soller, which is on Mallorca’s west coast, you drive though olive and lemon farms, the streets are pretty tiny, the weather is hot with a light breeze. Be sure to stop frequently to take in views, hashtag Instagrammworthy. Park right downtown, there is lots of public parking and if you are wanting to explore both, the port and actual Soller, you can ride the tram back and forth. Little port Soller has everything one would wish to see in a Mediterranean town, golden beaches, a lighthouse, great restaurants, ice cream parlors and pottery shops. Perfect. The surprising part is that Port Soller has a art gallery that shows Picasso and Micro. The main shopping street is Carrer de la Marina, if you keep walking until you see Cami des Cringle street on your left and turn you get to see those incredible Majorcan stone build houses. If you keep on walking, in about 10 minutes you’re headed uphill, you cross the bridge and follow the narrow path until you see a small hamlet of stone houses built on the hill. The views are incredible from there and its a nice after lunch walk. You can make it a loop and head right back into Port Soller.


Deia– Oh Deia. To me, Deia is the most beautiful place on Mallorca. It’s a gorgeous medieval town in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains which forms the northern ridge near the coast. You can hike down to Cala Deia which is a beautiful cove beach. It’s west enough that you get to see the sun set and everything sets in beautiful red colored hues.

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Valldemossa– Hands down my favorite village on Mallorca. Think lush country side, quiet and narrow streets mixed with charming cafes, Spanish traditional galleries and ‘Coca de patata’ – which is translated to potato cake. Basically a sweet cake made with potato that form a small and soft bunt like cake. It’s good, it really is, worth all the calories and carbs. Driving into Valldemossa you pass what seems to be thousands of almond and olive farms. The landmark everyone comes to Valldemossa for though is Frederic Chopin’s Cartuja de Valldemossa, a monastery established in the 13th century. There is a beautiful garden not far off the center that is named after Chopin and it offers some step hillside hiking trails that bring you up to the Valldemossa plateau offering gorgeous sea views. You must pay extra attention to the doorways on each house in the center of Valldemossa, many of the feature a symbol of Saint Catalina Thomas, the Mallorca patron saint, it is set to protect their home from harm. Restaurant tip: Head towards Port Valldemossa, there is the seaside restaurant Es Port. It is absolutely fabulous. Fresh line caught fish and you can sit on the terrace overlooking the sea.

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We are headed out again further along the coast towards to El Toro and Port Adriano, which is about 30 minutes from Palma.

Stop 4: The bull (El Toro) and Port Adriano

Truth be told there is not too much to do in Port Adriano, though we had one of the best dinners of our trip there. We choose Port Adriano as our destination for two reasons: 1) Because I really wanted to stay at the newly opened Pure Salt and 2) because it was super close to the airport and we had a really early flight out.

We arrived in El Toro in the evening hours, and knew immediately why we chose the resort, the views. It was definitely the view and maybe the room with ‘swim-up’ pool. You get to see far over the little port and the ocean. And it truly it is worth the dollars spent. The rooms are new, and incredible (Did I mention Hermes in-bath amenities?), the in-room service you may chose for breakky is lush and why would you not want to have a meal by your own swim-up?!

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Now let me tell you about my favorite dinner. It was surely on the last night of the trip, we went out to eat late (like 9pm, we always do), truth be told we did not really know where to go but we went on to the port and Daniel was picking the restaurant, there are plenty of restaurants on the posh port. He chose El faro del Torro and it was definitely rustic from the outside, we went in, and got a table overseeing the marina. Alone that, made my night.We shared a Paella and it was absolutely second to none. Hands down the best Paella I ate on the trip and probably in ever. And the Sangria. Let’s just say that 3am wake-up call the next morning came quick. Perfect night ending a week of summer in the Mediterranean!


¡ Adiós! Majorca y hasta luego!

Thank you so much for reading! Cheerio!  -Franziska XO 

A little glimpse of what I brought home. I like pottery.

*As always, my content is original-all opinions are my own and none of my links are affiliate.

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August Astrology: Power to the people

“But I want you to remember that struggle and strife come before success, even in the dictionary!” -Jessica in Post Grad (the movie)


Sit tight, fasten your seat-belts, August astrology is going to be bumpy, fast and furious. The stars go from simmer to sizzle serving up major moments of change. Leo season, partial Aquarius lunar eclipse, Sun, Mars, Jupiter-Pluto square grand finale and solar eclipse (they call this one life altering, uh-oh) and Mercury going retrograde. We’ll be sure to feel all the feels this month. Let’s break it down and see how we can make it through. Let’s go!

The sun sign: Oh you courageous Leo

Our favorite sun sign is up, the ever-courageous Leo until August 22 and to sweeten the ride, fearless Mars is alongside all month. Ready to roar with a August 21 total solar eclipse in a very rare Leo new moon that can be described as bold, self-expression, and stunning in what it will reveal. Karma calls leadership. Step up or ship out. The sun sign Leo is described as fierce and with that solar eclipse in it’s sign, plus that second new moon (usually only one per sign) you will feel that times a thousand. You’d do good to replace ego-driven-anything with true heroism. Do good for your people.

Hi Aquarius & lunar eclipse

There is lots of good in Aquarius truthful, curious, affectionate, frank and oh-so-imaginative. With all positive there must be not-so-positive also and that can be unpredictable, detachment tendencies and the ‘go off-track’ mindset. Hermit crab?

So in the midst of this, on Monday August 7th Aquarius brings us a partial lunar eclipse. And along with it comes the revealing need to come together around issues that affect you. Eclipses bring inevitable changes and turning points, pushing us off the fence if we’ve been wishy-washy and demanding that we take a stand. Watch out for this one as feelings of resentment will be hard to swallow during this time.


Retrograde #1: Uranus (soften up)

Uranus retrogrades equal a choose your battle scenario. This already happened on August 2nd and occurred in Aries. It’s an annual thing for Uranus and he’s napping until January 2nd. So be it. Uranus usually asks to tone things down, ain’t no edgy behavior getting you anywhere right now. Choose your battles wisely, it may be all too easy be get the ‘rebel without cause stamp’. I’m a Gemini, so rebelling might as well be my damn middle-name. I always have to watch out for this one. I usually choose to roll my eyes instead and put it off. I’m really good at rolling my eyes.

Retrograde #2: MERCURY TA-DA in Virgo

Mercury, the ruler of travel, technology, and communication, also retrogrades from August 12th to September 5th, because we obviously don’t already have enough to deal with. It’s shadow started on July 24th and we’ve been feeling it. Mercury in Virgo that is analytical and critical will ensure that if you choose to dish out some criticism you’ll get it right back. Do yourself a big favor and do it sparingly if you must. Leave it out if you can. Remember what I said up top for Uranus in retrograde, roll your eyes instead, it’ll save yourself a lot this month.

Sun enters Virgo on August 22nd, and that Virgo is also ruled by mercury (and so am I as Gemini), some of the best, strongest, most fearless, kind and loyal people I know are Leo/Virgo cusp’s and it is the sign of ‘taking care of yourself’ so use this retrograde to research a healthy lifestyle. Don’t implement anything crazy though. It won’t last, it just won’t. It’s Mercury in retrograde. You’ll start something new and you’ll have stopped following along by the time it’s mid September. That’s just how it is. Mercury is reflective, watch your spending too, keep that Platinum Amex in your wally.

Digital technology is about as unstable as it will be, as both Uranus and Mercury messing with technology. Strengthen your sensitive data passwords, watch the email ‘reply all’ button because you just know you want to be snarky when you really shouldn’t.

Umm… Jupiter-Pluto Square equals power struggle

August 4th serves up the third and final Jupiter-Pluto square, it’s first one happened back in November 2016, second one on March 30th 2017. The worldly-Jupiter is in relationship-Libra and shadowy-Pluto is in hierarchy-ruler-Capricorn. Perfect and thank you very much.

Sometimes I wish that all I knew about ‘Jupiter’ would be the 1950’s and real-time town in Florida so sweetly described in American Horror Story . Ugh. But there is the planet Jupiter, the fifth planet out from the Sun, two and a half times more massive than all the other planets in the solar system combined. Let’s call Jupiter a force and we’ll capture it’s power about halfway.

So basically we’ll be busy sorting through important dynamics, figuring out how to balance control and compromise. CONTROL AND COMPROMISE, most people only know the one but not the other. We would do good ensuring to brush up on the fact that there is no control without compromise and not the other way around. Investigate for yourself also though, are you giving your power away to be liked or to keep the peace? Again, resentment isn’t good for anybody this month.

Squares have a bad reputation, and so do retrogrades. Because they create conflicts.

But they create conflicts that are designed to help us evolve.

“Do not claim you want to grow and then run away the minute you feel growing pains.” -Bossbabe on Pinterest 

When it takes a crisis situation or severe discomfort  before we snap out of denial and take action. So maybe you need to speak up, or open up and be vulnerable with someone. Stagnant patterns are ready to burst. Balloon + needle = burst. Let’s go!

Reward for what we’ve been through: The Saturn retrograde is over

Controlling and  oh-so-pushy Saturn ends its four-month retrograde in the ever-adventurous Sagittarius on August 25th. This retrograde will help our visionary plans to finally get un-stuck and move ahead. This is the time to see things through to completion! Just do it, ain’t no more Saturn in the way to mess you up!

Remember that through all this, through all the suggestions and thoughts of uh-oh what is going to happen, that your life is made by you. It’s how you let it affect you and what you make of it!

Thank you so much for reading! Cheerio!
*Pictures taken on the one and only, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California – Statebeach. #CaliforniaPicturesque #Blessed 

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Inspiration of the day: “Stronger because you had to be!”

“I’m stronger because I had to be, I’m smarter because of my mistakes, happier because of the sadness I’ve known, and now wiser because I learned.” -Curiano 

It’s ok to be like a glow stick, because sometimes you have to break before you can shine!

From there you can start your comeback. You stop asking why certain doors have been closed, because at that point you are to busy being grateful for the doors that are about to open.

That one day it just clicks, you realize what’s important and what’s not. You learn to care less about what other people think of you and more about what you think of yourself. You realize how far you’ve come- and the places you have ahead. You remember times when you thought things where messy and feared that you could never recover. And you smile. You smile because you are proud of yourself and the person you’ve fought to become. There are some things you can only learn in a storm, and in order to be the best- you learn to handle the worst. You can do it! You can make it happen.


* Pictured above, a squirrel in the early morning hours at the fire pit in Carmel Valley, getting some of the leftover s’mores crackers. Squirrels are a Native American symbol of preparation, trust and thriftiness. Have you seen a squirrel trying to get food from a bird feeder or else? If so, you’ve seen their smart behavior in making it happen. Then they bury their nuts in the ground, a behavior that is called caching. They do find and eat most of their nuts and seeds, but the ones that are not recovered sprout in the spring and grown into plants and trees, thus they assist in forest renewal. And they are obviously adorable. The German word for squirrel is Eichhörnchen– Stop already with the cuteness!

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Inspiration of the day: “Happiness discovered by chance”

“If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose. When you wake up, you can’t just wait to see what kind of day you’ll have. You have to decide what kind of day you’ll have” -Joel  Osteen

Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for it and make the most out of the moment you’re in.  So stop waiting for Friday when it’s Monday. For summer when it’s fall, for someone to love you like you think you deserve and stop waiting for your life to happen. You need to make it happen. 

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Inspiration of the day: “Every end is a new beginning” 

“And suddenly you just know it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings!” Because “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” -Eleanor Roosevelt 


(There is something about new beginnings, they are like fire and ice, like a crisp fall morning. There will be the day when you wake up and know that you have the strength you need to push through the glass ceiling and start a new pattern. Cheer to that, to the power of new beginnings! ) 

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7 Schritte um Gewohnheiten erfolgreich zu ändern 

Erziehe deinen Körper – erster blog Beitrag auf deutsch! Los gehts! 


Gewohnheit hin, Gewohnheit her. Gut oder schlecht. Wer kennt sie nicht?!

Um Gewohnheiten zu ändern muss man zwei Sachen erstmal verstehen:  wie die Gewohnheit entstanden ist und warum man sie im Alltag verfolgt. 

Nur wenn man versteht wo es herkommt und warum man es macht kann man Gewohnheiten ändern und dann entweder eine möglicherweise schlechte Gewohnheiten abschalten oder eine neue Gewohnheit beginnen um anderes Resultat erziehlen. 

“Wenn du immer wieder das tuest, was du immer schon getan hast. Dann wirst du immer wider das bekommen, was du immer schon bekommen hast. Wenn du etwas anderes haben willst, musst du etwas anderes tun!” -Paul Watzlawick

Der Gewohnheiten Kreislauf beginnt immer mit einem Auslöser und einer Handlung, wie zum Beispiel das ich immer erst nach Mitternacht ins Bett gehe weil ich zu spät von der Arbeit komme. Meine Belohnung ist dann das ich bis mindestens um 6:30 schlafe. Und da ich von Dienstag bist Samstag arbeite, ist das meine Routine. 

Auslöser + Handlung + Belohnung = Routine 

Aber ich möchte gerne mehr Sport machen. Wo kann ich das einarbeiten wenn ich doch spät von der Arbeit komme, ins Bett falle, aufstehe und wieder auf Arbeit gehe?! 

“Wenn man eine Veränderung wirklich möchte, wird der Wille eines Tages größer sein als die Angst!” -Unbekannt 

#1: Erkenne die Gewohnheit – Verstehe und analysiere was deine Routine ist. Nur wen man sich bewusst ist was man täglich immer wieder macht, kann man feststellen ob man etwas ändern sollte.

#2: Erkenne Trigger und Reize – Wenn man etwas ändern will muss man rausfinden warum genau man es genau macht. Wenn ich zum Beispiel lange arbeite und nicht regelmäßig esse, komme ich spät abends heim und regelrecht Überfalle den Kühlschrank und Naschereien sind mir dan am liebsten weil sie in diesem Moment ein Wohlgefühl auslösen. Hmm Nudeln schmecken immer besonders gut nach 21 Uhr und eine Kugel Eis als Nachtisch hat noch keinem geschadet! Ha! 

#3: Überlege dir zielführende Verhaltensweisen als neue Gewohnheit – Früher aufstehen und am Morgen eine Stunde Sport machen, dafür muss ich früher ins Bett, früher von der Arbeit und früher Abendessen (oder mal überhaupt das Mittagessen nicht auslassen!)

#4: Übe jeden Tag auf’s neue – Jeder Tag ist ein neuer Tag! Nur weil es gestern nicht funktioniert hat, heißt das nicht das es auch heute nichts wird! Jeder Tag ist eine neue Chance- nutze sie! Rückschläge muss man in Kauf nehmen und überwinden! 

#5: Arbeite an deinem Mindset – Positiv und nichts als positiv. Es geht nur nach vorn und schau bloß nicht zurück! Du gehst ja nicht in diese Richtung! Blicke nach VORN! 

#6: Du musst 30 Tage durchhalten – Konsequent, Konsequent und nochmals Konsequent! Man sagt das nach 30 Tagen eine neue Gewohnheit geschaffen ist! Und arbeite immer nur an einer Gewohnheit zur Zeit. Konsequent und Konzistenz brauchen Ihre Aufmerksamkeit! 

#7: Sei stolz auf deine Gewinne! – Feier deine Gewinne! Bist du 7 Tage lang früh ins Bett und wieder früh aufgestanden?! Yay! Eine weißweinschorle bitte! 

Vielen Dank für’s lesen und vorbeischauen! Und jetzt gehts los- jeder Tag ist ein neuer Tag mit Potential! Macht das beste daraus! 

Eure Franziska 

“Das Wichtigste ist, dass wir niemals aufhören daran zu glauben, dass ein neuer Anfang möglich ist!” -Unbekannt 

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Inspiration of the day: “Sometimes the best thing you can do, you have to learn for yourself”

Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess. Just breathe and have faith that everything  will work out for the best. -Unknown

You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn if for yourself. -The Wizard of Oz 



(Picture of my newly unwrapped Dubai porcelain, dropped and shattered immediately after unpacking. You’ve got it in your own hands. Though in my native Germany, breaking porcelain brings luck. It’s the way you see things, they way you let it effect you that counts. “Scherben bringen Glück!” And that may be the single most important reason I love to travel, it opens your eyes, your heart and your thoughts. It broadens your horizon. One thing may be unfortunate in one country and a blessing in another. You pick!)

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Inspiration of the day: “Travel”

“Travel not to escape life, but so that life does not  escape you!-Unknown 
(Picture taken in a part of Big Sur,California currently only accessible by hike or helicopter ride)  

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Inspiration of the day: “There is no other life but this”

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunity and look towards another island. There is no other land. There is no other life but this!” Henry David Thoreau 

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When bad things happen to good people

In the past I had repeated the above saying freely and frequently. I’ve said it to myself and to others in hopes to make us feel better, and truly I now know that when I referred to bad things, I actually meant unfortunate things. Like a missed opportunity or a business decision that turned out less successful than one thought. 

I hadn’t have to overcome the death of a loved one ever since my beloved great grandmother passed away in late 1997 and my grandfather, her son, followed her in mid 1998. Though my great grandmother had reached an old age, my grandfather passed away a few months before his 60th birthday. He was very ill and because I was young at that time my family tried to keep the pain away from me. I dealt with their deaths the way thirteen year olds deal with death, I cried. But back then, death to me never meant they were gone, it only meant they were not physically here. I believed in that and that gave me comfort, realizing that for my parents or my grandmother, or even friends of my grandfather that was not easily the case. Because they were adults, and as such, your heart knows more and comfort is not as easily found. 

I know that we never get over great losses, we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder creatures.

When I recently lost my father unexpectedly, I missed that comfort that I was able to provide myself as a child. Even though I believe in spirits and angels, with all it’s bells and whistles, I didn’t want my father to be away. I want him to be right here answering the phone in the mornings when I call, I want him to send me hunting pictures over WhatsApp and I want to think about the possible day I get married and how he’d walk me down the aisle. 

When I moved away from home at age 18, I always cringed of the possible nightmare situation. A family emergancy. Accidents. Illness and death. I remember asking myself what I’d do in that very situation when living in Austria, Switzerland or Italy being 12 hours by car away. What if there was a close call, a life threatening situation that I had to be home immediately or as soon as possible. I found comfort in printing out the regular plane schedules. There were hourly flights from Innsbruck, Milan, Zurich or Lausanne to my hometown or close by. I kept those schedules in my bag with me, every day. The World Wide Web was contained to the computer and not as available as today. Those schedules were like gold to me.

Moving to California in 2008, I flew from Berlin over Zurich to San Francisco. I had a complete panic attack in the Zurich airport because I suddenly realized that, over all the excitement to move to the U.S., I had not thought about my safety net yet. How would I get home in case of emergancy? I was going to be 9000 miles away. I stalled on the jetway immediately before boarding the plane and I was about to head back to the gate when I felt a gentle push on my back. It was my dad who was flying with me to California. He knew me, he knew my fear and he softly said that good things happen to good people and that everything will be ok. 

9 years later I found myself on a plane headed to Germany as my dad passed away the day before and the entire flight I thought about how not only good things happen to good people-  but that bad things happen to good people too. All of the time and all over the world. 

I went home to stay with my mom as we started to arrange things, we cried. A lot. We laughed too and we looked at pictures and we celebrated my dad’s life and who he was, what he had accomplished. 

One morning while still back home; I woke up and took my medical-term savvy self to the hospital with the utter need to understand what had happened. The doctor who treated him, saw me and explained how with sudden cardiac death, reanimation is impossible 95% of the time, as it is not just a heart attack where a stent or bypass would help. It is an unfortunate medical incident where your chances of leaving the hospital alive are almost zero. Towards the end of the conversation she said that sometimes bad things happen to good people, as she patted dry a tear on her cheek. 

It was that very moment when I started to realize what grief is, what it feels like and how to process it. I am a somewhat analytical person. I needed to know what exactly happened to start processing. 

“Grief is a game of feeling the weakest you have ever felt, morphing into the strongest person you ever became” – Wingate Lane

Why do bad things happen to good people? How do you make sense of suffering in such situation, in any situation really, where grief is all that is left. 

“Pain is the price we pay for being alive.” 

“Dead cells can’t feel pain; they cannot feel anything. When we understand that, our question will change from,’Why do we have to feel pain?’ to ‘What do we do with our pain so that it becomes meaningful and not just pointless empty suffering?'” – Harold S. Kushner 

Processing grief combined with time and selfcare gives us the opportunity to make breathing easier so we can take a step forward. A little step forward, but a step nonetheless. 

It’s ok to feel heartbreak. And I never truly understood what it meant to go one day at a time. You only know when you have to go one day at a time. Sometimes I only go a half day at a time. And that is ok as well.

Though it is painful to know that those people we love so dearly are not physically here, they are always with us. A friend told me that they may even be closer to our heart as they uplift us. 

They were part in who we were, they live on in who we are and who we yet will be and it’s ok to find comfort in that. 

We can think of them, we can talk to them and we can cherish them. Everyday. In public or in private. Verbally or written. By thoughts or by actions. 

“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky,  but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” -Charlie Brown to Snoopy 

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Inspiration of the day: “Daughter of the forest” 

“You will find the way, Daughter of the forest. Through grief and pain, through many trials, through … loss, your feet will walk a straight path.” – From the Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

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Before 6 am and the reality of changing a lifestyle

I have been a night owl since I can remember. Even when younger, I absolutely loved staying up late, linger around my room and just be. And ‘lingering’ meant getting stuff done, I’d sometimes re-orient the furniture in my room, by myself, at the the age of 12 – all during the late evening hours. I appreciated the quiet when everyone else was sleeping. It was my absolute favorite thing and I was able to pull it off quiet long growing up actually, definitely through high school and university (because who needs sleep anyhow) and even when I started working, I ended up in the late(r) shifts- that no one wanted to work- because they had a different lifestyle.

But times change, people grow and starting to work in management, I learned it is frowned upon to get to work at 10am. It’s reviewed as not being on top of things, or as lollygagging. And that really is too bad. I’m pretty confident to know I can influence change, but I also have enough perspective to know that I won’t be the one changing the face of the hospitality industry anytime soon.  

So the day came, I needed to change this lifestyle up, and I did. Though I am absolutely convinced that the reason I started getting Botox injections in my mid-twenties was because I frowned so much while getting up early that I formed pre-mature wrinkles on my forehead, I disliked it just so much. (#RealTalk)

Only a couple month ago I started to make peace with this change in lifestyle, after realizing that after all those years; that A) I have got to stop frowning so much and B) you have to make the best out of every situation. Let’s go! 


Here is how I did it: 

1. Find your reason why

It’s like with everything else in life, find your why and you’ll find a way! As you may think my why was keeping up my perception of being a good working manager in the hospitality industry it was actually the fact that I wanted to get back in the gym and the only way I could was by making it there, well, before 6am! 

2. Plan ahead and do the legwork 

Bottom line is that if I do not prep my gym bag the night before, I will probably not going to be able to get up just early enough to do it in the morning. You have to take time to plan ahead and do it the night before. If you can remove your make up, you also can pack your gym bag. 

But doing the legwork of changing a lifestyle from night owl to early riser-ish, also means that you need to get to bed earlier. 5:00am comes around the corner real fast if you just fell asleep at 1:30am. If you can’t fall asleep earlier then try some night-time sleep tea (obviously you already know to stay away from over-the-counter-or-otherwise sleep aids; they are really tough to get off of, stick to the naturals), after a few days getting up early you’ll surely be a lot more tired at night naturally. 

3. Do it and stick with it for a week; then review and reconsider 

You want to get up at 5:00am to hit the gym before 6? When that alarm goes off, just get up. I snooze sometimes; I really try not to though. Just get up and do it. Do it for one week and I promise you it’ll be easier day by day. 

And?

After a few days, the amazing things start to happen, like, I really love getting my workout done in the AM. It makes me feel so accomplished. In fact it makes me feel so accomplished that when I get to work at 8:30am my day is so much better already. Checking a task off the list. 

Though, if you’ve done it for a week and you don’t love it, don’t be afraid to cut it back out and file it under ‘been there-done that’. No regrets. That’s what reconsideration is for. 
Thank you so much for reading and stay motivated! 

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Setbacks lead to comebacks

This post has been a long time coming, much longer than this blog exists. Which seems to not be a very strong statement as this blog is a new part of my life.
Though long means longer than my current strep throat infection and the quarter-final loss of my favorite soccer team, Bayern Munich, in the champions league today.

When you’re stuck in a rut to the point where you experience setbacks because you are unable to free yourself from the circle you’re in. That is when you head to Pinterest, get motivated, set goals and go for it. Right?

Sometimes yes, and that has worked for me several times and you may exchange Pinterest for pep talks, crazy morning routines (looking at you bee pollen power smoothie) or audiobook’s freely. 
Pinterest is a no brainer, pep talks (especially the ones I give myself) are more priceless than any of the above options when it’s real talk. And well, audiobooks have had a place in my heart always.
What though if you browsed the internet, pep talked it up and listened to the Roxy Jacenko story back and forth, you make a plan but you’re not strong enough to break through the glass sealing?
The mind is over the matter and the mind is stuck. At a point where years pass you by for instance on reaching this one goal, you know the one. The one you were looking to reach years back, and you just haven’t. If you’re like me this will haunt you until one of two things happen, you either struggle and push until you make it happen or you let it go.

 ” If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. -Maya Angelou”

Letting it go can sometimes take years and just because you led it go once does not mean you forget about it forever. It’s the harder decision to make. Because then you reached a point where you need to ask what to tell yourself when you feel behind in life.
1. Don’t do the “Everyone has their life figured out but me” thing

This one, of them all, is the most dangerous. Because we compeare ourselves to people who are living a different life. We compare to self-made-millionaires, to bloggers and YouTubers, to Instagramm sensations and movie stars. (I mean hello, River the Mini Dachshund on Instagram has 91K followers and I have 365-without-a-k-behind-it. Hashtag Real Talk)
You have to remember, they are in fact not you! It’s glorified and it’s their job. They live a different life with different opportunities, challenges and setbacks than you. They fail, believe me, they do. We all do.
What you need here is reassurance. That when you boil it down, realistically, how many people in your inner social circle are truly ahead?
Hands down, this was the most toughest and excruciating thing I had to do as an adult. There was a huge difference from be being a lot younger, super accomplished and growing consistently; and becoming more established and growing steadily. I worked in hospitality since I was 18, and I hit all the measurements before everyone else. First in this, youngest in that. A+ overall.
And then you stagnate, your output levels are considered consistent but by your own comperasen they are slower to what they were. You get opportunities based on your experience vs. on being the youngest that ever did this and that. Then you look up and next thing you know you’re no longer in your 20’s, you look at all the twenty-something-rockstars on Instagram or YouTube and you find yourself waking up in what I like to call, a devils cycle.
That’s when you need to give yourself a break. You cannot measure and assess your own life’s progress on being on track by how others grow. That includes others that you only know over social media or others that are where you were when you started your career. Times are different now.

“Be gentle with yourself. You deserve to make self care a priority. Whether that means lying in bed all day, eating comfort food, putting of homework, crying, sleeping, rescheduling plans, finding an escape through a good book, watching your favorite tv show, or doing nothing at all – give yourself permission to put your healing first. Quiet the voice telling you to do more, and today, whatever you do, let it be enough. Feel your feelings, breathe and be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge that you’re doing the best you can to cope and survive. Trust that it’s enough!” -Daniell Koepke via Simple Reminders on Pinterest



2. Be honest

Being honest to me, is the most ‘adulting’ trait ever. Remember when we were kids and the honest part was more leisurely interesting. Like the question if we had brushed our teeth before going to bed at night. We may have, though we also enjoyed a late night sweets snack after, so yes overall we brushed them. 
While adulting though, honesty, especially with ourselfs, can take us places.
Sometimes we need to dig and feel what we don’t want to or face what we wish we could avoid. You do not want to tap out when struggle get’s real.
And even though I spent the better half of this post talking about being gentle with oneself, we also have got to be honest.
Be honest and cry after, but be honest! Feel the feeling, experience the setback, and then be gentle to yourself and bounce back. If you haven’t pressed in when a challenge came about that could have shaped your future, and you just float over and sidestep that struggle, it will haunt your future. It has always haunted mine.

“If you always only float, you won’t ever bounce back” 


3. Make your own future 

Decide what you like to see if your future. I’ve been obsessed with the 5:00am wake up call. Like executives all over the world get up, and they excercise, and then they drink all those amazing healthy drinks (remember the bee pollen from above? Yeah I didn’t make this one up myself).
I am not in any definition a morning person. The thought of sleeping in and waking with the daylight gives me SO MUCH JOY. Also the thought of staying up late and doing things when others slept gives me SO MUCH JOY.
I remember when I first moved to California, I worked in a spa and the Director then had me on the closing shift which meant 11:00pm to 7:30pm/5 days a week. I loved that shift. I loved getting up with the sun (ok around 7:00am, whatever), I made coffee (sans Coconut oil and Ghee back then) and I ran for 45-minutes, showered, washed my hair (WHAT?!), phoned my mom, got ready and headed to work. I worked. I got off and then still had so much time to do all sort of things. I was also never running late back in those days.
So when I re-thought my day, I thought ok, insert 5:00am walk up time and GO.
I was not successful. I failed. I failed every morning.
And it cannot be good for anyone to feel failure before starting their day.
Why didn’t it work?  It took me a long time to figure out that what happened was that my life was now different. I did not only work 8 hours, I work 12. Or 14. I was coming home at 8:30pm/9:30pm every day and it took me hours to wind down. Usually falling asleep at 1:00 or 2:00am, trying to walk up at 5:00am. How? I ruined about 2 years of my life silently by feeling infuriated with myself about not being able to get up. Devils cycle.
I had to be honest with myself and stay away from all the 5:00am entrepreneurs on Instagramm to figure out what I wanted and what I needed to do to prepare for the next positive push forward in my life. You make your future!

“The comeback is always stronger than the setback, don’t ever forget that!”


Thank you so much for reading! Stay motivated! 


(Pictures of the one and only, Miraval in Arizona)

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Current favorite evening routine

Truth be told, I have not always been a fan of evening routines. There were times in my life where I may even have skipped one or two nightly facewash’s (honesty has always served me well #RealTalk).

But obviously, once I was headed to esthetics school in Germany all those years back, I’ve learned that not washing your face at night is about as bad as it gets. Big no no-don’t ever do that again-kind of bad. You want to prevent aging, break outs and lackluster skin- you have to wash your face. No way around it.

And recently I even stepped up the nightly wash and started to derma roll. I. AM. ABSOLUTELY. OBSESSED.

Let’s go!

“Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it for the rest of your life!” 

Step 1: Wash the day off 
I start of by getting my Makeup Eraser towel moist with super warm water. Nothing gets me into the ‘this-is-my-time-to-wind-down-and-I-need-to-enjoy-it’ mood better than just soaking up the days worries and makeup/pollution/dirt. I remove the most of my make up with the towel and then cleanse my skin with a small amount of the Lait VIP O2 followed by what I call the holy grail of all the exfoliator lotions, the Lotion P50 V 1970. This lotion (and the word ‘lotion’ is not doing this product justice -think more like liquid goddess that will change your skin and you’re halfway there), which gently exfoliates, purifies and regenerates the epidermis has been a game changer in my routine. Combined with the nightly derma rolling, this has absolutely made a huge difference in how my skin looks and feels.


Step 2: Get rolling

Derma rolling that is. Last spring, I had the professional treatment done by my dermatologist, the Micro Pen Vampire Facial, and I liked it. Doing more research on derma rolling at home, I ordered my Derma roller (mine has 540 needles and is .03) and included it into my routine. The results are amazing. My skin is more clear, my pores are smaller and even my chickenpox scar is getting lighter. I roll every single night for about 5-7 minutes, I always follow up with my serums as derma rolling opens the channels of your pores and product is able to penetrate so much better into the lower layers of your skin. I also derma roll over my lips. Dreamy!


Step 3: Quintessential serums

My nightly serums are applied one after the other, Serum Placenta is a skinrepair serum that revitalizes the skin and I massage it in paying special attention to my under-eye area. I follow up with Serum Erythros, and as the name suggests that helps with calming some redness I have on my cheeks. The combination of both quintessential serums after derma rolling is absolutely fantastic.


Step 4: Lashes and brows for days

I’m all about lashes and brows. (A few of my readers and friends, like Michele From The Pink Shed, are going to agree that I can talk about lashes and brows for days. Literally days.) Next to amazing skin, good lashes and brows are where it’s at for me. A little help never hurts, I have been a big supporter of growth serums. I am using my NeuLASH serum and NeuBROW serum regularly. Ok fine, I am obsessed and I use it every day. I’d be totally fine with Frida Kahlo brows.

Step 5: Nightly masking

Giving your skin an extra goody at night only makes sense, overnight, your skin regenerates itself while you sleep. I’ll do anything I can to help it out. I add a thin layer of Creme Masque Vernix, all over my face and neck. It is rich in antioxidants, peptides and lipids. I also use an eye cream (Creme Contour des Yeux Biosensible) that helps to nourish my dry eye area and helps with my dark circles. And I cannot go to bed without the ‘I-cannot-live-without’ lip mask (Bite Beauty Agave), it helped with my stint of exfoliating cheleitis and I never had better conditioned lips.

Step 6: Brush and shampoo (ish)

I try to not wash my hair more than 2-3 times a week, I have fine hair but lots of it. I work out 6-7 times a week though and if I had a middle name, the name Dry Shampoo would certainly be in the running. I started using Batiste when I traveled to the US from London Heathrow in December of 2009, believe me when I tell you that I was desperate to have my hair blown out, though I did not have enough time. I was activating my Green Card on this very flight and I wanted to look somewhat good for my Green Card picture that would be taken. In the beauty section of the airport Selfridges store I found Batiste Dry Shampoo and my life was forever changed. Anyhow, I spray a bit onto my scalp and let it sit, after a few I brush it out with my one and only Mason Pearson in pink (a gift from Daniel, he’s a keeper) and I bump my hair up in a bun and turn in.

What I love most about a good nightly routine is that I wake up the next morning and my skin looks and feels amazing.  It makes me believe that I accomplished something that helps my skin to be its best.

I do change my routine frequently and depending on the season and I will update the routine as I go along.

Thank you for reading and stay beautiful!

“Aging is a fact of life. Looking your age is not.” -Dr. Howard Murad 

Disclosure: As part of my responsibility as Spa Director I receive product to evaluate. For this post I would like to thank Laura from Biologique Recherche and Angelica from NeuLASH/NeuBROW for their generosity. However, none of my links are affiliate links!

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Capri

I remember first hearing about Capri, It was surely when I worked in the Austrian ski-town of Seefeld in Tirol. A very lovely guest of mine that I saw in the spa regularly, always told me about her Italian dream, Anacapri. The lifestyle, the people, the hospitality, the food, just absolutely everything, she was mesmerized. I was so young then and living in a town that had snow 200 days a year, be assured, I found Thailand or the Caribbean much more appealing as travel destinations but I followed her suggestion anyway and ever since, Capri has a very special place in my heart.

“There is a terrace that overlooks the Bay of Naples, and when the sun sinks slowly into the sea the island of Ischia is silhouetted against a blaze of splendour. It is one of the most lovely sights in the world.” -William Somerset Maugham’s The Lotus Eater

When I think of Capri (KAH-pree), I think of the perfect Italian island. Small yet big enough to be home to two fabulous villages, Capri and Anacapri. It got its fame from rugged landscapes, upscale hotels with the best views of the water, limoncello and handmade leather sandals. Let’s go!

Arrival to Capri is by water, or by helicopter. I’ve only ever arrived by water though. We arrived by hydrofoil from Sorrento after about a 30-minute ride. Capri is located closest in the bay of Naples, its still fairly close to the mainland, so the travel to Capri is easy and the waters are mainly calm. (Not so much the case when you travel to Ischia, another adorable Italian island further north, but that’s a story for another post!)

We stayed in early June at the Caesar Augustus on Via Giuseppe Orlandi. A resort where the view is the most incredible feature, which truly does not mean that the accommodations and the food aren’t incredible also, they are! We can’t forget the infinity pool neither.

Spending time in Capri is enchanting, it has been a retreat for many poets, artists and European royals over the past few centuries in search of solitude and inspiration. My favorite time of the season on Capri is early summer, it’s warm with a soft breeze but the island is still calm and charming. Capri can be run over, especially in the mid of summer, if you can avoid it, I suggest you do. Unless you’re a local, you are unable to take your car to the island due to its size. It’s the charm of the island though so you must enjoy it.

36 hours in Capri:

You should give Capri 3 nights, you have to, it’s too pretty not to! You arrive later in the afternoon and most likely your hotel can arrange for a shuttle. Staying in Anacapri is my favorite! It’s calm, gorgeous and you can get away from the touristy village of Capri.

It’s time to toast with a Limoncello on the terrace overlooking the stunning ocean, take it all in. The sunsets from Anacapri are mesmerizing. Orange-dreamsicle-and-then-some kind of sunsets.

Day 1: Sleep in and take some time for a true Italian breakfast (Colazione), scalding hot espresso, cappuccino or caffe latte (A ‘latte’ will only get you a glass of milk in Italy so be aware), and some amazingly rich sweets: Strudel di mele (my favorite) a brioche-filled goodness that is translated to apple strudel. Having lived in Austria for awhile, if I can eat strudel for breakfast then I will! Also Ciambella, which is a krapfen/bunt cake/doughnut kind of goodness, Crostada Amarena, a sour cherry breakfast tart or go for a Cornetto – the Italian take on croissants, you won’t be sorry with trying either! Colazione is somewhat on the go, Italians can sit for dinner for hours but not too much for breakky.

Head over to Villa San Michele on 34 viale A. Munthe where Swedish physician Axel Munthe built it at the turn of the 20th Century on the grounds of one of Tiberius’s ancient villas. The gardens have stupendous views of the island, the Sorrentine Peninsula and Mount Vesuvius. The villa and its grounds sit on a ledge at the top of the so-called Phoenician Steps (Scala Fenicia), built between Anacapri and Capri. It’s an absolute must and one of my favorite sites in Anacapri. 

For lunch head to Anacapri and in the afternoon take the chairlift to Monte Solaro. The views from up there are far and incredible. You can see the Vesuvio and the bay of Naples. On the way up, about a 15-minute ride, you can see amazing gardens and orchards that are underway in private homes.

For dinner on the first night, head over to La Terrazza di Lucullo, which is the restaurant at the Caesar Augustus. It’s suspended right over the ocean, you can see the Vesuvio and you must take dinner during sunset. This has to be one of the most romantic places for dinner in the world. The food is incredibly fresh, farm-to-table (they do have their own garden) and the catch is superb. Also, the gelato is a must. Naturally.

Day 2: Start with Calazione of your choice, you know what to do. Head to Capri, either by bus or taxi (I truly prefer taxi, I always do). Capri has the word ‘picturesque’ figured out, think whitewashed stone buildings and tiny, car-free streets, it feels more like a film set than real life. A diminutive model of upmarket Mediterranean chic, it’s a pristine mix of luxury hotels, bars, fancy restaurants and designer boutiques (hint!). You must explore the atmospheric and ancient side streets, the crowds – I promise – quickly thin. And the walk west out of town to Villa Jovis can’t be missed.

For lunch head to  Terrazza Brunella on 24 via Tragara for the best insalata Caprese in town: buffalo mozzarella, super-ripe tomatoes and basil and (again) a beautiful view over the south coast of the idyll.

Head back out and get shopping, along via Camerelle and via Sopramonte. Peruse flagship stores for Prada, Pucci (who invented the original Capri pants) and Ferragamo. Don’t forget to pick up an ice-cream or a pastry at Buonocore Gelateria on 35 via Vittorio Emanuele before heading back to the hotel for dinner.

Back in Anacapri, just off Piazza Vittoria is Eureka on 55 via Giuseppe Orlandi, the best and most authentic of Capri’s ceramic shops. And if you know one thing about me, it’s my love for pottery. I wholeheartedly embrace this as one of my Gypsy-isms.

You cannot leave Capri without a pair of quintessential leather sandles, handmade! My favorite shoemaker is Antonio Viva, his larger-than-life personality and a true passion for his trade make L’Arte del Sandalo Caprese the ultimate Capri shoe experience. Antonio tends his shop from the morning until dusk and he will make your personalized sandals in 15-minutes. Any style, any color. He is a genius.

Take dinner in Anacapri and watch that sun set again, preferably with a Bellini in hand.

Day 3: Possibly you ask yourself “why am I leaving”? But not yet, there is Colazione to start your day and truly, we have not yet had time to soak up Capri’s sun and lounge poolside. After all, the Italian La Dolce Vita is a real thing. Ready, set, sun.

Salute! Spero di rivedervi presto, Capri!

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See you again, Capri

 

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Mercury is in Retrograde and whats to learn

You may have heard me or others say “Uh-oh Mercury is in retrograde again”, but what does it mean and what can the effects be?

The first full retrograde this year started its pre-shadow phase on 3/27, from earth sign Taurus and we will start feeling the effects once Mercury is in its station on 4/9 and on May 3rd Mercury will go direct in fire sign Aries.
What is a retrograde even?
 A retrograde simply is a period of time of which planets (not just Mercury, Mars and Venus do it too, all in April for that matter) appear to go backwards against the stars in the sky. This usually occurs 3 or 4 times a year.
Why does it happen?
Mercury’s orbit is closest to the sun, so it completes its orbit is about 88 days, compered to the earth 365 days. As a result of that, we first experience Mercury moving forward as it passes the earth on our side of the sun, and once its gone past – it slows down and begins to move backwards as it races along on the farther side of the sun from our perspective.
 
And the effects?
Mercury makes things not settle. There are plenty of people out there who will tell you not to sign anything during Mercury retrograde, no contracts, no leases, don’t start anything new. Try not to book travel. I am definitely one of those people. Mercury rules communication and travel.
HOWEVER, I am a believer in knowing what to expect will make you be proactive and aware. It’s where you put your intention that will become reality. Best foot forward.
The take away!
Retrograde simply means to take time to review, reconsider, rethink and return for more info!
 “When Mercury is in retrograde, it’s the perfect time to restructure thought and belief patterns that no longer serve you. Ask yourself how you can re-write your story.”
Future Retrograde dates in 2017:
Virgo- August 12. through September 5. 2017
Sagittarius- December 2. through December 23. 2017
Let’s do this!