Song of the Month: Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe by Caterina Valente!

This month’s song is a true “oldie”: Ganz Paris träumt von der Liebe by the Italian 1950s star Caterina Valente. It just reminds me on this special summer feeling that’s already in the air: warm and heavy and wonderful…

Have a wonderful new week and happy listening!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

What Are You Looking Forward To This Summer?

Pic by Franzi.

I asked my pals: “What are you looking forward to this summer?” Surprisingly, their answers turned out quite variable – from gardening, hiking tours, mild nights or going to festivals. What would I answer? Spending time with those wonderful people, of course (and enjoying the brightness of warm lazy summer days). Here are all the inspirational answers I got (this time I also wrote their original German answers as well)…

Events & Actions:

Stephan: “I am looking forward to the summer vacations and all those upcoming concerts.” // “Auf den Sommerurlaub und die ganzen Konzerte.”

Markus: “Open Airs.” // “Open Airs.”

Claudi (my mum): “I am looking forward to the brightness of the days (because one gets more things done), to wearing summer dresses and to ride the bicycle.” // “Ich freue mich über die längere Helligkeit, weil man mehr schaffen kann, über das Tragen von Sommerkleidchen und über das Fahrradfahren.”

Dania: “I am looking forward to Jacobs and Sevs wedding in France amd the accompanying vacations.”// “Auf Jacobs and Sevs Hochzeit und den das Ereignis begleitenden Urlaub.”

Gerald (my dad): “I am looking forward to a reunion and to nice weather. And that hopefully all that I will build or repair will work out in the end.” // “Auf ein Wiedersehen, schönes Wetter und darauf, dass alles was ich baue und repariere danach auch funktioniert.”

Sophie (pregnant): “Mostly I am looking forward to put on my shoes by myself again.” // “Am meisten freue ich mich darauf, meine Schuhe wieder selbst anziehen zu können.”

Jessica (just started a new job): “I am looking forward to finally wear skirts at work. There is no aircon anymore, that will hinder me doing it.” // “Ich freue mich darauf, endlich Röcke bei der Arbeit anziehen zu können. Es gibt keine Klimaanlage mehr, die mich daran hindern kann.”

Meline (student): “Since for me summer means that I have no exams or lectures, I am mostly looking forward to the free time during which I can do spontaneous things with my pals and my boyfriend.” // “Da ich Sommer mit klausuren- und vorlesungsfreier Zeit verbinde, freue ich mich am meisten auf die Zeit, in der ich spontan Dinge mit Freunden und meinem Freund unternehmen kann.”

Steffi: “Sailing.” // “Segeln.”

Vivien: “I am looking forward to not freezing anymore, to warm evenings on the balcony, to BBQs, to staying outside with friends, to Open Airs, to the vacations and the Lollapalooza festival.” // “Darauf, nicht mehr frieren zu müssen, auf warme Abende auf dem Balkon, auf das Grillen, das Draußen sein mit Freunden, auf Open Airs, den Urlaub und das Lollapalooza.”

Sunshine, long days & warm nights:

Claudi Ö.: “I am looking forward to being outside and to enjoy the sun.” // “Auf das Draußensein und darauf, die Sonne zu genießen.”

Conny: “I am looking forward to ice-cream and long evenings.” // “Auf Eiscreme und lange Abende.”

Anna: “I am looking forward to the mild summer nights.” // “Auf die lauen Sommerabende.”

Liesbeth: “Mostly I am looking forward to the long bright days and the relaxed warm evenings with friends and family. Moreover, the tiredness and boredom from the winter will be gone.” // “Am meisten freue ich mich auf die langen hellen Tage, die entspannten warmen Abende mit Freunden und Familie und darauf, dass die Müdigkeit und Langeweile aus dem Winter verschwindet.”

Jacky:  “I am looking forward to nice weather and to spend time with family and friends.” // “Auf gutes Wetter und darauf, Zeit mit Familie und Freunden zu verbringen.”

Janina: “Mostly I am looking forward to mild summer nights (as far as this is possible in Hamburg) and to relaxed sitting and talking with friends in the park.” // “Ich freue mich am meisten auf laue Sommernächte (soweit man in Hamburg davon reden kann) und auf entspanntes Sitzen und Quatschen mit Freunden im Park.”

Birte: “I am looking forward to sitting outside for many hours in the evenings, talking and drinking something with ‘spritz'”. //  “Auf abends lange draußen sitzen, quatschen und irgendwas mit ‘Spritz’ trinken.”

Vacations:

Sabrina: “I am looking forward to my exciting vacations.” // “Auf meinen abwechslungsreichen Urlaub.”

Hartmut: “I am looking forward to the warmth and to water for bathing – like in the Baltic Sea.” // “Ich freue mich auf Wärme und auf Wasser zum Baden – zum Beispiel in der Ostsee.”

Yvonne: “I am looking forward to my vacations/maternity leave.” // “Auf meinen Urlaub/Mutterschutz.”

Eva: “I am looking forward to the summer vacations and the beeeeeach!!!” // “Auf den Sommerurlaub und den Straaaand!!!”

Katrin: “I am looking forward to my favorite spot at the Lake Constance, where I can put my feet into the water and read calmly.” // “Auf meinen Lieblingsplatz am Bodensee, an dem ich meine Füße ins Wasser strecken und in Ruhe lesen kann.”

Marie: “I am looking forward to the beach and the sun.” // “Auf Strand und Sonne.”

Annika: “I am looking forward to our hiking tour in Slovenia.” // “Auf unsere Slowenien-Wandertour.”

Garden Activities:

Simone: “I am looking forward to our raised bed that we are currently building and plan to farm. In a bigger context: To try out more new things like this.” // “Auf unseren Hochgarten, den wir gerade bauen und bewirtschaften wollen. Größer gefasst: Neues in der Art zu probieren.”

Suse: “I am looking forward to BBQs, to evenings on the terrace and to play and dig in the sand with the kids.” // “Auf das Grillen, darauf abends auf der Terrasse zu sitzen und dass wir mit den Kindern draußen buddeln und spielen können.”

Claudi R.: “I am looking forward to romp with the kids in the garden.” // “Darauf mit den Kindern im Garten herumzutoben.”

Jan: “I am looking forward to my new giant garden and to build a terrace there, where I will enjoy cool drinks and sling a hammock.” // “Auf meinen neuen Riesengarten, da eine Terrasse hinzuzimmern, dort kühle Getränke zu zischen und eine Hängematte aufzuhängen.”

Inka: “I am looking forward to sit in the garden, to the sun and to have BBQs together.” // “Darauf im Garten zu sitzen, auf die Sonne und das gemeinsame Grillen.”

I wish you a wonderful June week! Enjoy all the happy moments :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

A Portuguese Crime Novel: Lost in Fuseta by Gil Ribeiro!

Pic by Franzi.

It was more accidentally than planned that I took the crime novel Lost in Fuseta by Gil Ribeiro (aka Holger Karsten Schmidt) with me at the Algarve.

In this first book of a new crime novel series we get to know Leander Lost, a police officer from Hamburg who participates at an exchange program and will stay one year in Portugal – in Fuseta, a small town at the Eastern Algarve. But Leander Lost is not the ordinary kind of police men: He wears only black, stares strangely into the eyes of other people and – most important – cannot lie. Soon after his arrival there is a murder case to investigate and his new Portuguese police partners, sub-inspector Rosado and her colleague Esteves, have to deal with this strange new man in their team.

This book was a positive surprise: It is written in an entertaining (German) voice, I really liked its figures and I learned a lot about the people at the Algarve. A book that is worth reading – not only if you are actually in Portugal.

I wish you a wonderful week! Enjoy the sun :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Crispy Sweet Potato Skins!

Pic by Franzi.

In Portugal we ate tons of fish. Nevertheless, the one dish that impressed me most were crispy sweet potato SKINS! Yes, you read it right: skins. What a genius way to use the whole sweet potato, without creating any waste. Back home in Hamburg, I already prepared them for myself as an easy snack :).

Recipe:

Ingredients:

Thickly peeled sweet potato skins, olive oil, sea salt.

Preparation:

Spread potato skins on a baking tray and sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Bake at app. 225°C for 15 – 20 minutes (until the skins are golden-brown).

Enjoy!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.

Those Beautiful Days in ….Portugal!

All pics by Franzi.

We are back from Portugal. Somehow I made it through the plane flights …and it was totally worth it! The Algarve was a dream: On my birthday we had 30°C (a first in 35 years) and visited the most stunning beaches. The wedding of Isa and André was full of sunshine and love. Lisbon impressed me with its Fado sounds, the steep streets of Alfama, a hilarious tram ride, its elevators to reach the higher parts of the town and its many panoramic views. Here are some photographic impressions of our Portuguese adventures…

I wish you a wonderful fresh week! Let the sun shine in your hearts!

The Algarve:

The beach in Lagos.

I loved the patina of the houses at the Algarve …here in Aljezur.

The Algarve has the most incredible beaches I’ve ever seen … this is the Praia da Arrifana (view from above).

Praia da Arrifana.

The waves were huge! Like here at the Praia do Amado.

I was very impressed by the size of the Aloe plants!

The beach wedding of André & Isa was a dream: wonderful romantic and full of sun!

The light in the cathedral of Silves felt magical.

View from the Castle of Silves. I loved the orange groves!

Lisbon:

We had our apartment in the wonderful lively neighborhood of Alfama, the oldest part of Lisbon.

Sunset above  Lisbon. View from the São Jorge Castle.

The famous Lisbon tram (we made one hilarious trip with it).

On our last day we visited the impressive Bélem tower – one of Lisbon’s landmarks.

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Song of the Month: I Belong To You by Lenny Kravitz!

This month’ song I Belong To You by Lenny Kravitz is one of two wedding songs from Isa and André. So, let’s celebrate the two a bit more and dance through this fresh week.

Happy listening!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Essay: Fear of Flying…

Pic by Franzi. See more on Instagram.

This week is a special one: My two pals Isa and André will marry. Life writes the most incredible, wonderful stories!

Both decided for getting married abroad. To be more precise: In Portugal (Algarve), at the Sea. When Isa asked me and Stephan to join them there, I said yes immediately. No matter if I am afraid of flying or not – I will be there, when those two special friends of mine tie the knot.

While I am writing those lines the two of them are already up in the air. Stephan and me will follow them soon and I am starting to get nervous.

My fear of flying started after a – let’s call it not so nice – flight to Cuba when I was still an adolescent. I never loved flying, but I was not really afraid of it. Then I didn’t fly for some years. It just didn’t happen. When I finally sat in a plane, 18 years old, on my way to Turkey to celebrate the end of school with friends (André was one of them) I only realized I was getting a panic attack when the plane started to move. Unfortunately, at this point it was a bit late to exit. My seatmate was an elderly lady who gave her very best to calm me down until we finally arrived. I don’t know how I get back from Turkey but afterwards I avoided flying – I was too afraid of my own fear.

Nevertheless, I still loved to travel: I went to Rome, Paris, London and Vienna by train. Also to Brussels and Prague and Amsterdam.

Then, 7 years after my last flight, my doctoral supervisor decided I had to fly to Nice for a conference. Luckily my friend and colleague Lars accompanied me. It was a remarkable journey: We lost our luggage and missed our connecting flight in Paris. In between all the chaos, Lars calmed me down by talking and holding my sweaty hands. Somehow we made it to Nice and back. It was totally worth all the drama!

Nice was a turning point: Together with Isa, I booked a flight to Barcelona. She was the perfect travel companion and soon realized, that the way to get me on board (and to cry only a little bit) was to talk to me and distract me. After Barcelona, we also flew to London and back. With every flight, I was slowly getting better in confronting my fear.

But then life went busy and time and money were tight. So, my last flight is already four years ago and my fear returned.

Lately, a friend of mine told me the most remarkable thing:

“I love the take-off. At this point you have no more control about what is happening. You just have to go with the flow and feel free.”

This sentence reminds me on the yogi-way of thinking. I am practicing yoga for years now but I am still not able to give up the control. Still it’s a daring thought and I will have it in mind when the plane will finally start to move on its way to Portugal.

Just in case this will not help, I bought an herbal calmative and Stephan resolved to tell me lots of interesting stories to distract me and to hold my sweaty hands.

Now I cannot await the journey to begin – as well as to be with Isa and André on this very special day.

I wish you a wonderful May week! Dare something :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Those Books I’ve Read!

Pic by Franzi.

During the last four weeks I read one book that was famous in the 1970, one book as a follow-up of one I read the month before, one crime novel that waited a long time on my stack of unread books and finally I listened to an audio book I discovered on the Frankfurt Book Fair last October.

Carmen KornTöchter einer neuen Zeit (Daughters of a new Time)

I saw this book the first time on the Frankfurt Book Fair last October and wanted to read it ever since. It’s the first of three books about a bunch of women living at the beginning of the 20th century in Hamburg. Töchter einer neuen Zeit starts in the year 1919 and ends shortly after WWII. Now I finally listened to the audio book and was fascinated by the descriptions of the life in my hometown Hamburg 100 years ago. The women of the story are all very different from each other, but I liked every one of them and wanted to know what happens next in their lives! Now I can’t wait to read the follow-up Zeiten des Aufbruchs, which is planned to be released in June.

**** (out of five)

Ernest HemingwayA Movable Feast

After reading Paula McLain’s novel The Paris Wife about the first marriage of Ernest Hemingway, narrated by his first wife Hadley, I was curious about his view on this time of his life in the early 1920s in Paris. Luckily, he wrote the memoir A Movable Feast. Written during the last years of his life, the book looks back at his younger self at the beginning of his career as a writer, his life with Hadley in Paris and also at the other famous writers he met in those years – Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, James Joys…. It’s a read full of insights, which showed me once more that I am a big fan of Hemingway’s style. I will definitely read more from him in the future!

****

Val McDermidThe Retribution

The Retribution is a follow-up of Scottish crime writer Val McDermid’s most famous novel The Wire in The Blood. After more that 12 years in prison serial killer Jacko Vance escapes. And he has one big goal: Revenge. On top of his list are Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan and the clinical psychologist and police profiler Tony Hill who once caught him. I couldn’t put down this book – it’s a real gem of a crime novel. If you loved The Wire in The Blood, you have to read The Retribution! Val McDermid at her best :).

****

Erica JongFear of Flying

Fear of Flying is a book that was extremely famous during the 1970s – mostly because of its description of female sexuality.

The main character Isadora Zelda White Stollerman Wing is a 29-year-old poet who accompanies her second husband on a psychology conference in Vienna. There she decides to try out her sexual fantasies with another man, also a psychologist. The story is about a young married woman who is struggling to find her place in the world and defining who she is and how relationships/marriages are influencing this.

I can totally see the point of why this book caused this much controversy back in the 1970s. Nevertheless, it’s a brave book, that dares to question the old ways of living and with it the institution of marriage in itself. I am sure that this book helped a lot of women to understand that they are not alone with their struggles and their desires.

****

I wish you a wonderful week! Have an inspiring one :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me.

Nut Cake!

Pic by Franzi.

Happy Easter, everyone! How do you spend your free days? I am baking a lot of currant bread (…this year with gluten-free flour, which actually worked!) and a nut cake that reminds me on a cake my grandma often made. Have a wonderful time with your friends and family and here comes the cake recipe :)…

Recipe:

Ingredients:

200 g ground hazelnuts, 6 eggs, a dash of salt, 1 package vanilla sugar, 1/2 package baking powder, 250 g sugar, 150 g flour (I used gluten-free flour), 50 g apple jelly, 200 g powdered sugar.

Preparation:

Stir egg yolks, sugar, vanilla sugar and salt until creamy. Add the grounded nuts. Stir gently. Add 4 beaten egg whites, baking powder and flour. Fold in gently. Pour the mixture into a greased cake tin. Bake for app. 60 minutes at 180°C.

Spread warm apple jelly onto the still warm cake and top with glazing (For the glazing stir 2 egg whites with 200 g powdered sugar until creamy). Bake for another 15 minutes at 100 °C in the slightly opened oven.

Enjoy!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.

Look Update: April 2017!

Just a few dresses I tried on… All pics by Franzi.

The last four weeks I was on the hunt for dresses! Honestly, I tried on at least 300 dresses. The reason: The wedding season starts. The first wedding of 2017 in my circle of friends is on Thursday. Obviously, I had nothing to wear for such a special event. It really was not easy to find something in this jungle of different dress styles. And once more I realized that I hate changing cabinets and this awful light. But finally I was successful and found three great dresses!

The three dresses I finally bought.

…And no, I will not reveal which dress I will wear at which wedding. By the way: There are more than ‘only’ three weddings in the line this year :D.

Moreover, I participated at a clothing swap party! Now I have a LOT more space in my wardrobe and got three nice cardigans and a pair of sunglasses! Such a great idea to refresh your spring wardrobe without much money (and eco-friendly) :)!

With regard to my shoes, there are also news: I trashed my old sneakers and bought these new beauties. Since I also ruined my sandals last summer, I also bought two new pairs of sandals:

My new sandals – brown leather by Keen, black leather by ZIGN.

Then, as an after-effect of last month’s look post, I bought a pastel colored blouson (by H&M):

My new blouson.

And I also spotted a new trend: BODYSUITS!

I saw some girls, who have gone really crazy about this distinct piece :)!

Would you wear bodysuits? For me they feel a bit too much 1980s… But on the other hand, they do look quite elegant on some women.

Have a beautiful April week! With lots of sun and dress-compatible weather :)!

Like always: All credits appear after clicking the links. If you are interested in putting ads on My so-called Luck feel free to email me for details.