“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)
“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)
“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
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
“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
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.
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!
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?
” If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. -Maya Angelou”
“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
“If you always only float, you won’t ever bounce back”
“The comeback is always stronger than the setback, don’t ever forget that!”
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.
“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!
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!
“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.”