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On the beauty products I am using.

A question came up recently from one of my readers on what beauty products I use on a daily basis and what’s in my make-up bag all related to me being a minimalist.

Well when it comes to the products I am using I keep it very simple. Usually I do not change my beauty routine too much. First of all I am very lucky with the type of skin I have. (Thanks genes!) Even when I was pregnant with my son I did not have any problematic, hormonal skin or outbreaks. This was I believe mostly due to the fact that I am not using too many products and the way I am eating because this is where it all starts.  So here I share what I am using more or less on a daily basis:

Let’s start with what is currently in my makeup bag if you can even call it as such. It is an old small grey leather bag that I found in one of my mom’s drawers years ago. I do not use too many makeup products at all because I am just not a big fan of it. So my routine in the morning to put makeup on takes about five minutes and is just very simple.

The products I have are mostly organic. For my hair I use Khadi Products. I have been loving these for a while. My hair is very important to me and I have written an entire post on my hair routine. Find it here

The trick is to apply the shampoo on DRY hair and only on the scalp and just a tiny bit. Not that much in the length. Then rinse after five minutes. Done! I wash my hair once a week and it is growing super fast this way. 😀 As far as washing the rest of my body I am using this soap:

I have been trying many soaps before. I even made my own at some point; however, none of them gave me a softer, creamer feeling on my skin than this one.

As far as makeup goes I have been using Dr. Hauschka products. This one for mascara and for an under eye concealer this one.  These are the only non-organic products I am using. They are a little pricey but they last quite a while. I also tested many drugstore mascaras before and they made my eyes tear up all the time and did not stick to my lashes so I looked like a raccoon after a while. Fail!

For my lips I am in love with this Lush product:

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This is it basically believe it or not. I am making my own skin and body cream and will be sharing the recipe on this blog soon. This cream I am also using on my son if needed.  It is all “back to nature” with me. 🙂 I want to put as little chemistry on my body as possible. I am open to try new organic products however.

My signature scent is COCO Mademoiselle by CHANEL. I have been using this perfume forever. Recently, I have been stumbling across Barr-Co. products and I am in love.

Here are my recent purchases:

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The smell is just very soft and powdery. I would also describe it as a fresh and clean smell. My husband likes it! 🙂 According to the labels on the products the smell is a blend of “milk, oatmeal, vanilla and vetiver”. I have been using the perfume every single day. In Canada I purchased the hand cream and am in love as well. It is just not sticky or greasy and lasts for a long time.

So there you have it. Nice and simple. As I try to keep everything in my life.

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Wherever you go, there you are.

Recently a friend of mine responded to my post on “Happiness”. Part of it was that she thinks it is not that easy to just pack up and go. Well let’s put it this way, there is a lot to be said when someone plans a change of scenery or even a move across the world.

Thinking when I made the decision to leave Germany behind almost eleven years ago and start a new life in the U.S. many of my friends said that I am just nuts. To leave a well-paid, secure job and just go into the “unknown” seems crazy. But I simply needed a change – needed a new challenge. And for me the grass is sometimes indeed greener somewhere else (on the other side) but there is just a great amount of truth in wherever you go, there you are. Home is where my heart is. For me back then it was very easy. I was single, no kid, no partner, no responsibilities but taking care of myself so I hopped on the plane and that was that. I was not running away from myself. All I wanted was to experience something new. I just did everything in my power to make this move happen because I really wanted it. It made me really happy.

I believe that if I really want something it will work out. If there are any doubts and there are beliefs that this pattern of ones life is okay the way it is then nothing will change. And this is also good. Whatever makes a person happy. But recently I have been hearing all this whining from friends that they would love to do this and that and try out this but they are not sure/afraid. All I am saying is: “Go for it if you really want it!” I have been down this road before. Many times. Even simple things as changing departments/units where I worked. I tend to get comfortable over time. And change comes not so easy anymore. If something does not make me happy anymore, if something does not fulfill me anymore a change is needed. My dream was always to live in the U.S. (well, I came here when I was 23 years old – Sex and the City anyone?).

America is extraordinary country with many beautiful areas. I was fortunate to live in Manhattan,  literally 15 walking minutes away from Times Square. Wow! But after a while, I wanted  to see the stars again at night looking out of my apartment/cubicle window. I would like to hear nothing but cicadas at night. See a squirrel here and there in my backyard. To enjoy the silence is basically impossible in the city. So guess what? I changed the environment I was living in. Simple as that. Change! Living the way I always had is not enough sometimes. Sometimes just asking myself “Why?” makes all the difference. Why am I not happy? Why do I want a change? This sense of disappointment if nothing changes and things just keep playing out the same way is just not working for me. I am still working on not worrying too much about things (I came a long way from constantly worrying to taking it easier). Even though I have taken this step of moving by myself to the U.S. I was worrying if things will be okay which is normal I think. Worrying about money, you name it. But sometimes I just have to stop. My husband tells me this  all the time. There is just nothing one can do in certain situations and worrying does not help. And most importantly all these moments I have already experienced are the only possession that nobody can take away from me.

Sometimes the answers are not easy to get to; however, they are always there but I have to take my time and examine them in enough detail and with care. Even though this is difficult. I believe making long-term changes that create change in life and that count starts just by digging deep and asking the right questions. And yes, I think it is okay to just pack a suitcase, go to the airport and head towards the sun without worrying about anything else. Even with kids. 🙂 So here you have it. This is how I enjoy my life with my family. In life, everything is temporal. The moments I have experienced are the only things I really own. Nothing else! Those are mine to keep and even more importantly to collect more and more. Adventure awaits.

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Allen Ginsberg and I

“That tree said I don’t like that white car under me, it smells gasoline. That other tree next to it said O you’re always complaining you’re a neurotic you can see by the way you’re bent over.” – Allen Ginsberg 

I woke up this morning and I felt sick. Just this little cold one gets sitting in the car for too long with the air-condition blasting in the face. Not really sick as in stay-in-bed-and take-tons-of Nyquil-sick. Just blah-get-out-of-my-way-sick. (sorry Jean). So I made myself some breakfast that I did not really enjoy because my taste buds are sick as well I believe and I thought about what I can possible make out of a day like this. Sitting miserably in the kitchen my husband walks in and showed me “Allen Ginsberg’s ‘White Shroud” originally signed by Allen Ginsberg with one of these little cartoons he usually put on the cover page. Well I do LOVE Allen Ginsberg. With his poem “Howl” and of course the movie based on said poem I was hooked. I read basically everything by him. Front to back. I watched everything on Allen Ginsberg on Youtube. There is a great documentary on Youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoevVtG-Gh8

My husband knows all this and bought this book for me. Classic. So, Jean walks in with this book and all I did was – I cried. Maybe due to me not feeling well or or or… who cares. But it was just so awesome. I asked him: “Is it mine?” And he said: “Of course my love!” How awesome is this?! I read the book almost instantly. Believe it or not, I have not heard about it nor have I even read any of these poems. Overall I can say that it is a pretty interesting collection of his poems. One particular poem “Love comes” I read out loud to my husband and he said: “Well, it is Ginsberg, he has his own style!” which is true indeed. His politically inflamed passion and his dramatic flair is just well… Ginsberg.

I think that his biggest achievement was “Howl” but “White Shroud” hits a few high marks that come pretty close to this poem. Was it Faulkner who wrote once that the best writers are those who try and dare and take risks and even if they fail they are still better than those who play it safe. In none of his books/poems was he afraid to take risks. He just wrote what he thought. Simple as that. Did this make him look silly? Maybe for some but who cares. Some poems in this book I must say I was scratching my head thinking c’mon Allen, you are not really trying to write something here. He was the first to admit that he got caught up very often in these demands of just being Allen Ginsberg (His poem “I’m a Prisoner of Allen Ginsberg”). I believe this is the reason why he put more talent and effort in some of his poems and just bothered less with others. In his poem “Going to the World of the Dead” for example I thought that he just did not care about what he had written:

Excerpt: …”Your Nuclear Bomb

Ho Ho Ho

Let go your Disaster your Death

Let go Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho Ho

Ho Ho Ho Ho

Ho Ho Millionaires of Mexico

Ho Ho Ho Millionaires of Nicaragua Let go Let go.”

I think this collection offers a good cross-section of his range. My favorites include “White Shroud”, “Industrial Waves”, “I am a Prisoner of Allen Ginsberg”, “Those two”, “In my kitchen in New York”. So overall I believe it is worth reading if one is a fan of Ginsberg’s work. My mom would hate it hahahaha! It is a good look into the mind of a radical who is trying to come to terms with getting older and leftover success and baggage.

And thank you again my love. For making this day special even though I do not feel well. ❤

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Is this all enough?

This question I had on my mind since I got out of the car today after we were driving around all afternoon. How do I start this post? Maybe that first of all I already do know the answer to this question above. It is enough the way it is. I have my husband and my baby and I love them. It is all clear. We just all sat in the living room today and I looked at my son – like really looked at him, eyes, face, hair, body, the whole picture and this is really all I need. His happiness when he looks into my eyes and I can show him “I am here. You are safe”  and I tell him without words and he feels and understands. I know this is all I need. However, then there is this little extra beat of my heart that makes me think of another baby.

I never ever wanted to have kids in the first place  so this is all weird for me to actually write about. All I always wanted was career,  travel the world, school, finish another BA, MA whatever. But I finally met the man who for the first time in my life  I could imagine having kids with. I just knew it would all work out – it would be all fine – I am okay and safe. Then I got pregnant and this pregnancy was a piece of cake. I was so fortunate. Nine months of just getting bigger, but no complaints otherwise. Then the birth – via c-section also okay. And I welcomed this beautiful baby boy into this world. (And I did not stop traveling – in fact it has gotten better. We just take the baby everywhere we go. Simple as that.)

Throughout the last year with all these changes in my family’s life I was dreaming about homeschooling (this won’t happen – just no way), about having my own garden to grow my food (this will definitely happen soon) and just live an awesome family life. So we had this one child and I saw how that went. It was easy. It was okay. I grew into loving being a mom, loving what I can teach this little soul on a daily basis. And then he grew and grew. My son is almost two years old now and I have loved every single second with him. I was so fortunate that I could raise him on my own and with my parents help because this is where I lived since my son was five weeks old. (My husband is on a mission with the United Nations in Congo).

I am feeling these days that more and more of his baby-ness is falling away. I am just wondering what is next. Another baby? Yes! I am open for it. I would love to have another one. I am wondering if I have any holes in my heart that yearn to be filled with another baby. Or if I want to grow our family one more time.  I am sure the answer is yes and if it will happen it will happen. No stress involved. I always asked myself when it is the right time to have a baby. When will I slow down enough to have one and say it is okay to have a baby  now. Well, there is no right time. Life never slows down enough so I would say, okay, NOW I want a baby because NOW the time is right.

I have promised myself that if we get the chance to get pregnant again that I will enjoy this beautiful season of my life. I will be in the now which will be so important and this is exactly where I want to be and where I need to be. We will see what happens next for this little family of mine but I am open for changes all the time. I have this little voice inside of me saying:
“If it happens it will be an awesome experience all over again!”

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So I sit and I think.

It is Thursday, or Friday? I don’t know. I have been traveling with my family for the past four weeks and lost track of date and time. I am sitting here in our kitchen back home after another awesome day spent at the beach, with good food and lots of reading and books. Our son is sleeping – totally exhausted of running around at the bookstore and beach. Next to me is a big glass of water and I am enjoying the silence that goes with this beautiful moment and evening. Cicadas playing their little song in the backyard – quietness otherwise. This is my favorite time of the day. Reflecting on the day, me-time, reading, writing and simply enjoying that there is no hustle.

So what comes to my mind first? Happiness. How fortunate I am to live this life – right here – right  now. The previous three weeks spent in Martinique were one thing that I scratched off my bucket list just now. Also swimming with turtles in the ocean which literally made me cry. Jean and I had a long talk the other night about what makes us/you really happy and that this kind of life we are living makes us feel alive. This craziness, the traveling, sometimes uncertainties, the exploring and of course when life throws you a curveball to figure out how to solve the situation without freaking out – all those things.

When I look at our son I know what makes him really happy. He wants to run outside, explore, play. So we just do it; it is just that simple. And looking at my own life this way is actually what I try to do. Sometimes it is awesome to just get up and play. Well I have not always been this way. Many times in my life I simply chose to be around things and people or do things that did not make me happy or did not add anything positive to the bigger picture. I would do the same thing over and over (expecting a different result) and asking myself why this is not working. Now I ask myself what would make me happy and then I do it or figure out a way to get there. Simple as that. For me this happiness thing has been a long hard struggle. Many times I “thought” I was happy but isn’t it more about wholeness than being happy? Does what I am doing right here right now add to my wholeness? Does it add to the bigger picture of my experiences or my life?

What makes me feel alive? Definitely my family. Always has been – always will be. Being with them and traveling, sharing new experiences and this first excitement of exploring something new like this recent vacation to Martinique  is just what I live for. This pleasant feeling of waking up next to my husband, and feeling safe, knowing my son sleeps safe and sound in the next room – this is happiness. Of course the sound of the waves ten meters away from the bedroom was awesome as well. Or as simple as sitting in the kitchen together and just being in my husbands accepting, magical presence while he tries to solve some weird medal- ring- puzzle- something. Add a good book (currently I am reading Joan Didion’s “The year of magical thinking” and the “Journals of Sylvia Plath” by Sylvia Plath). Add a good meal: wine and some cheese and of course writing.

The other day I was complaining about something – not sure what but it was something silly. My husband tells me I should just spend that energy working to change the situation instead of keep complaining about it. I thought about my life and that I really needed this advice many times before. And if I look at my life – just the way it is now – there is no reason for me to complain about anything. Life is not simple – this is clear. Life is magical. I make the best out of it because I only have this one shot.  Sometimes when I just take a step back I can see everything clearer. Today I worked on my wholeness. Little steps, and this is where I begin.

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Space Oddity

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”  -Jack Kerouac

So I am sitting here listening to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” thinking that life is awesome. It just is. Let me start by this morning. I “know” that my husband writes me a little good morning message every single morning but today he did not. I was not worried until he still had not responded to my messages until around noon. I thought that maybe something happened to him – simply because I am so used to this routine of him saying “Bonjour mom amour” every single morning. I believe in souls – and that we all do have one.

For my husband and I it feels that our lives and souls have been intertwined for quite some time now – almost four years and we have already accomplished so much. Time seriously flies. We were set out on a grand adventure from the beginning and I do not want to miss one single day of our past. It was perfect in its own little way. From restaurants where we sat until they closed and threw us out, to New York subway tunnels to discover something new and to eventually explore New York City in its entirety. Museums, Broadway shows, French restaurants or just sitting in a park doing nothing but reading which was my favorite thing by far. Street art and great music, all these long nights out to discover us. And then the baby we created.  😀 Perfection!

Through all the magnificent and sometimes also hard times we found strength in each other and we grew. Grew together. Sometimes I cannot fathom how much we have done so far in these couple of years and how much we have actually grown.

I am looking forward to the future and all that we were, all that we are and all that we are becoming. Always and forever mon amour. It is still hard for me to realize that I have found such a kindred spirit to walk beside. Awesomeness! Life with you is truly magic.

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A jar of jam

Usually whenever I am traveling and leaving my parents’ place my mom makes sure I take a jar of jam with me. I believe to most people this would be weird – a jar of jam, or two – but to me it is always so much more. To just get a little idea about this jam-thing is to understand her way of saying that she loves me.  I see my mom picking all the berries from the bushes or trees when it is time to harvest – then proudly going to the kitchen and cooking the best jam ever is amazing. The way she washes the berries first, weighing and measuring all the ingredients will always be familiar; as the smell that flows through the house when the jam cooks is. And of course we always tried the jam with a slice of bread when it was still too hot to eat. 🙂

Then she gives me the nicest jar to take on my flight to wherever. How it is always important for her to make sure my family and I have always fresh sheets, towels, simply fresh everything when we come to stay. With me currently living here of course nothing has changed. Sometimes the feeling is just me reverting back to being 12-years-old when I am here. Of course I am grown up and the situation with me living at my parents place for so long now is definitely not normal but we arranged for the time being let’s say. I know I am their grown daughter and a wife and adult with a child and that this living situation will not be forever. But just the thought that they offered to help me and make me more comfortable I will never ever forget. And I have been telling them that I am very grateful for what they did for me and petit Joel so far; also for my husband when he visited.

It is also nice to see that every time my younger brother is here my dad makes sure his car is all checked before he leaves again. Tapes and fixes it, and fills some oil in here and there. All sparkle and shine. It is the cutting out of any “Sudoku” from the newspaper for him because he loves to solve them.  And the coffee that my mom always makes fresh whenever he wakes up.

Also when my younger sister comes home to visit they take care of her as well. And if it is just by taking her two kids for a couple of hours so she can relax and have a drink outside on the terrace with me at night. 🙂 Also how they let all of us know whenever they see, hear, or read anything that could be of interest to us; call with traffic updates or when they always say “call when you get home and be careful driving”.

These are my parents.  They show us that they love us verbally but also through actions. I have never realized this too much when I grew up because it seemed just “normal” but now since I moved away, came back, all grown up as a mother I can see and understand all this even better. I have been thinking today that becoming a parents after I have been parented all my life is pretty weird. When I grew up I had all these guidelines, models of what to do and what not to do or even more how to figure out how to solve something and what being a good parents looks like. All this knowledge I gained I have to apply to myself and my son now if I wish to do so.  Maybe just some of it – whatever I like best.

I have been thinking about the parent I want to be and the parent I currently am. I thought of my son and how he is growing up – and how  he at some point might look back at me as his mom and at the way I love him and did things for him. And most importantly I want for him to look back at his childhood and just feel happiness. Just remembering the smell of this glass of jam. All of these little things in our daily life like I have his banana in the morning sliced up, his apple juice mixed with water ready when he is having breakfast. All these routines that make him happy. Read to him every night and make sure he has his teddy when he curl up in bed – big love, little actions. 😀

A glass of jam, this all so familiar smell in the kitchen when my mom cooks it – I am looking forward to all these  things I can show my son and this will roll into the larger story of this unconditional love I have for him.

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On self-acceptance

“We have a tendency to want the other person to be a finished product while we give ourselves the grace to evolve.” – T.D. Jakes

These days I feel writing comes to me very easily. It is just fun to share my thoughts and grow throughout this experience. Writing for me is fun and exciting. Exploring new territories. I have been thinking about time and its passing a lot recently. I think I am just prone to feeling sad sometimes thinking that time is slipping through my fingers and I cannot stop it. I love documenting thoughts, changes and special moments in my life and focusing on the here and now rather than feeling sad about the past. When I spend time with my family for example and we enjoy a beautiful day together I used to get sad that this day is over soon. This will end. This special feeling of this particular day will last as long as I want it to be though. I have these memories in my heart and they stay there ready to be taken out once in a while to make me feel happy. 😀

These days I am slowly learning more and more about myself. I am opening up.  I am learning to realize who I am or at least who I might become if I am open for it. More important it is for me that I am beginning to truly accept myself. Me and Her – my soul. (Diving deep)

I am feeling good about myself – about the choices I make and who I am. Without having to say I am sorry for anything. I am changing. Maybe this is what it is all about. These changes I am going through when I am looking at successful or failed friendships, the way my life has moved on and changed me into a better version of myself, my insecurities I exhibit – like life ebbed and flowed. Slowly and steady.

I stand in the middle of a field full of flowers looking at myself – like a twin. It feels good to be here, to view myself clearly and actually like who and what I see. Sometimes I am trying to see myself through my husband’s or my son’s eyes.  What a gift both of my men have given me – both have taught me that it is important to see myself not through fear or self-doubt but through unconditional love. I am very grateful for that.

So, I know I am the architect of my own reality. I and only I create the rules. And to be able to do that I have to love myself. I had a great talk tonight with some friends about living life. How people choose to do this and that and are okay with it. Some love to have their little house somewhere close to their parents’ house and this is okay too. It is important to allow others to be exactly who they want to be and to do whatever makes them happy. I know that nobody is perfect. I have to realize that when someone is doing something oh so different from what I am doing (clothing, make-up, life choices you name it) all I should think is “GOOD FOR YOU!” It does not really concern me. If you are happy – great!

I get the feeling recently that the more positive I become the more it lifts people up. I am working on seeing the good in everyone. (Okay, this is tough sometimes but life is tough and I give it a try regardless). I want to forgive and move on and strive to be a little light out there maybe to help others? Maybe to give others some food for thought? To just accept that all people are different and to meet new people, things (Hello, Martinique and new life ahead) and ideas with curiosity rather than judgement. (Jean will love this)

As I wrote before, life is not easy. To accomplish all this takes time. We are all judgmental at times. The whole point here is that I am trying to get better at this. To just try to understand and stop gossiping about stuff and have other mean thoughts. In the end it gets me nowhere but makes myself miserable. And in a way, why do I gossip? The answer: Because I am feeling unsure and insecure about my own self so I try to point out the mistakes, flaws and “weird things” I see in others so my own mistakes and flaws are not too heavy or obvious. 😀

I think we are all constantly moving or evolving and are trying to grown and change a tiny bit closer to the best version of what we envision for ourself. Whatever that might be. If I listen deep within I know the answers are already there.

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Home

“Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.”  – Tad Williams

With my life being different than a regular life ( I am not using “normal here because what is normal?) I have been doing quite some thinking recently about home. I believe it is not only because I am on the verge of leaving to go to Martinique to meet my love and his family and spend some quality time there but it is the whole concept of “leaving something behind.” These last couple of months here where just a new perspective – on being back at my parents’ house. I have always always loved it here in Coburg. This is my base; this is where I grew up. This is where I always feel safe. When I was in New York I always felt a desire to be back home. Throughout my entire life I had a hard time saying goodbye to my family for example. Now, I have learned to just let go. I know the people I love the most are in my heart. No matter where I go. Goodbyes are part of my life.

This past year and a half has been the most interesting time and learning experience for me I have had in a while. I believe if we are not changing and growing we are stuck in the same place. I constantly ask myself how I can be better. Kind of like moving forward from where I am and growing from mistakes I have made. And yes, I made a lot. 😀

As I am typing this the world is moving. It seems it is moving faster and faster but sometimes I wish it could just stop at points or go a little slower. Make the walk in the woods with my son last forever. Enjoy ever single second I spent with my husband whenever we see each other. I just want to enjoy these seconds, minutes, days as they flutter by and find beauty in the simple things. Intentionally and slowly.

Now I feel I have to move on and empty my mind and adapt to something new. See  and do something different and new. Give this “kitchen office” back to my parents. I feel that I have grown out of it – I am able to see it clearly now. I am at a point in my life where I am not wishing away my tomorrows or todays. I know I want my family together rooted securely somewhere solid. The best part about this all is that wherever we are – just being together it feels like home. Wherever we are together it feels right.