Aug 1, 2014

SBQL #9 - Song|Book|Quote|Look

I love easy-going (read: no need for ironing) light fabrics for summer and I also love dark shades when it comes to summer dresses. ProFreshStyle´s Christina rocks that look complete with that bold clutch and accessories as well as subtle make-up. It´s love :)

I am loving a lot of different artists right now but in the end I chose Mary Lambert´s fierce song SECRETS. It´s raw, honest and the lyric video is quite hilarious. Watch here!

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan has been on my must read list for quite a while. If you think you´ve heard about her but don´t quite remember where: Marina was the aspiring writer and Yale-grad who tragically died in a car crash before her time. Her essays went viral shortly after and are truly amazing. Definitely a must read!

If you don´t fit in, then you´re probably doing the right thing. How amazing and how true, don´t you think? I have always struggled with fitting the mold or so to speak but since I am in my thirties, I finally realized that I don´t have to. Like my girl Nina would say, "I put my big girl panties on" and have now developed a no-bullshit-policy that fits me an my life quite well :)

Now jump over to read Nina´s picks and tell us, what is your SBQL this month? 

// SBQL is an original blog series by Jenna Antonelli. We gather here monthly to keep the SBQL spirit alive. //

Jul 31, 2014

The Water Challenge

How much water do you drink every day? Do you even know? I really don´t, I just know not enough. Usually I make sure to get a pitcher of fresh water every morning and place it within eyesight on my desk. Still, throughout the day, I just forget about it and only have a quick sip here and there.

It´s really bad and I don´t find myself to feel actually thirsty, which is even worse. Friends suggested Waterlogged, a handy app for the phone to remind me when to drink again or to put a post-it on my pitcher and actually count the glasses of water I am drinking. That´s all way to much effort, guys.

That´s when I came across this Daily Mail article about Sarah Smith, a woman who challenged herself to drink three litres (almost a gallon) of water every day for a month to improve her health.

Her approach was a little different. Sarah didn´t sip that amount of water throughout a day, no, she made sure to drink almost one litre in the morning right after she woke up, one at night and one third in the middle of the day - or when she was running errands, she made sure to have a water bottle on hand. All in all she tried to come as close to those three litres as possible. See here diary here.

Not only did her migraines disappear and her digestion improved over those four weeks, she also looks several years younger. Her skin looks dewy and well rested and her eyes look fresh and alert. It´s incredible!

Today I decided to try Sarah´s approach and so far I am doing well. It can be a bit much to drink a litre at once but I don´t force myself and drink as much as I can. According to Sarah it will become second nature and easier over time.

Why I am doing this? Like Sarah, I get really bad migraine attacks, usually on weekends and I feel like my skin got really bad over the last year which might also be due to my thyroid health.

I am definitely as curious as you if and how this challenge will improve my health. I made sure to snap a photo this morning and will continue to do so over the course of the challenge. I let you know if anything changed concerning my health after four weeks.

Since challenges are way more fun if you´re not alone in this, who wants to join and be my guzzle buddy?

Let me know!

(Image via FoodEnthusiast)

Jul 30, 2014

What makes you happy?

Since Happy Week was already six months ago, I was wondering what makes you genuinely happy these days? Is it the same person, the same situation over and over again or is it the little things, like that incredible cute piglet above, ha?!

To me it´s definitely the little things, like a song on the radio I haven´t heard forever, or a great quote I am reading, a joke from a coworker.... Sometimes also a heartfelt Thank you, if I was able to help a client. And coffee, of course :)

What was your happy moment today, or this week so far?

(Photo via Raisons d´Être)

Jul 29, 2014

Best Popsicle to Brave the Heat

My coworkers and I were melting at the office today. Around 90 % humidity inside is no fun. We got to a really whiny point, it was cruel you guys, until one of us said, "I wish I could cool myself from the inside out".

I googled the exact same words and came across a bunch of popsicle recipes. A quick peek in the fridge and we realized our fruit and veggie leftovers from our salad lunches would suffice. We threw in a few wilting basil leaves from my colleague´s tiny basil plant and mixed up this super-zingy and refreshing Cucumber Basil Lemon Popsicle. The whining stopped immediately and we went for another batch and added watermelon cubes and leftover cantaloupe. The afternoon was a breeze! :)

How do you brave the heat at work?

(Photos courtesy of Henry Happened)

Jul 28, 2014

Monday Madness

What´s your first thought waking up on a Monday morning? Really, think about it! Last night I caught a glimpse of a documentary that basically explained how the stress-level of a working person increases throughout the week and that a single task at the start of the work week could dramatically change that number. Interesting, huh?

My first thought today was coffee. No surprise here, but as suggested, I didn´t stress this morning. Not one bit. I took my time waking up, I stretched for a couple of minutes, I opened the windows and enjoyed the somewhat brisk morning air knowing that it will be humid again later today. And instead of focusing on all my to-do´s, I just tried to come up with my three favorite moments of this past weekend, my well-done´s if you will.

1. Getting to know my new camera and being proud of myself that I am not as clumsy as I sometimes believe.
2. No tv, besides those 15 minutes last night. Does that count?
3. Walking a lot outside even though I would have preferred the couch in this humidity.

Now you, what are your well-done´s? Please share!

And now links to start this week the right way:

• John Leguziamo on what it takes to be a New Yorker: "We stand up for shit, and we can stand alone." Love it!

Blackberries. ´Nuff said.

• So, Blake Lively launched a lifestyle website. You might want to read this and this on that subject, too.

• This Tree grows 40 Kinds of Fruit. Say what?!

• From Tokyo to San Francisco in 84 seconds. Stunning.

Courage, dear heart. Sigh.

• The HONY effect. Must read!

• 10 lovely Shelves for Tiny Homes (German).

Even a Loudmouth goes silent once in a while. That hit home!

• These Blue and Gold picks make me swoon. Thumbs up.

Uhm, can I move in?! Please!

Free printables to organize your spices! Yes!

• And Lemon Zucchini Risotto with Scallops. Yum.

>> Don´t dig up in doubt what you planted in faith. <<
-Elisabeth Elliot

(Photo courtesy of Spunkyrella)

Jul 27, 2014

A Walk Through Vienna

Yesterday it was warm but not humid and there was no rain, finally. So I felt confident enough to take my new camera out. I wandered around the Inner City - outside of the National Library, Heldenplatz and Burggarten - and slowly put my new DSLR knowledge into practice.

Around professional cameras I was always acting like other people do around newborns - terrified they will slip and crash to the floor! Even the thought makes me cringe, oh my.

Lately though, I got frustrated when it comes to photos and blogging. I always link the photos I use properly, but finding the right ones that go with my blog posts turned out to be quite a hassle. So why not take the plunge and get myself into photography?!
At the same time my friend Sara got herself a new camera and after lots and lots of emails and research online, I finally caved and invested in a Canon EOS 700D also known as Canon EOS Rebel T5i I believe (what´s with all the different names, Canon?).

I am not gonna lie, I am quite pleased with the results from yesterdays photo walk and can´t wait to fully immerse myself into photography. Frankly, it gives me such pleasure!

I would love to take photos of people too, any volunteers?

If you have any tips and tricks for a DSLR beginner, keep them coming! Meanwhile I am working on a post to help out total newbies when it comes to pick the right camera and lenses and the whole enchilada :) Thank you.

(Proud to say: Photos courtesy of Spunkyrella :)

Jul 17, 2014

The Quick Fix: Shakshuka

Welcome to The Quick Fix! For the first installment of this new series, I want to introduce you to Shakshuka. You never heard of it? If you love savory egg dishes, this is your new favorite meal :)

My favorite thing about Shakshuka is the fact that I always have the needed ingredients at home. Eggs, tomato paste, peppers, onion is frankly all that´s needed... but let´s not get ahead of ourselves.

Neni´s am Naschmarkt is the one place that serves the best Shakshuka in town. So if you are in Vienna or planning to visit, make sure to check it out. The owner Haya Molcho also put the original recipe in her cookbook, which inspired me to come up with my very own version at home.

Spunkyrella Shakshuka
(serves two or one very hungry reader)

  • 2 tbsp ghee/butter/olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 medium sized pepper, color of your choice - I prefer red
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 can of pureed tomatoes
  • 1 dash of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • sea salt, freshly ground pepper and garlic powder to taste plus a dash of dried chili

Cut and peel the pepper and onion. Heat the ghee in a small frying pan over low heat and add the onion and pepper. Toss them a little bit until they start to sizzle but make sure they won´t burn. Then add the tomato paste and the spices and bring the sauce to a simmer. After around 5 minutes, when your ingredients blend into a nice sauce, add the tomato purree and the vinegar right after (apple cider vinegar gets sweet when heated and is therefore balancing out the zingy tomato sauce). Cook it on low heat for another 10 minutes.
Then make two dips in the middle of your pan, break the eggs and slowly put each in its place. Use a fork or small spoon and swirl the egg whites into the tomato sauce. Do so carefully and don´t touch the yolk! Simmer for another 3 minutes or until the Shakshuka get´s thicker. I like to add another tbsp of ghee at the end for extra creaminess. Voilà! Have some pita bread and dig in right from the pan :)

This morning lil sis and I enjoyed Neni´s version once again and had homemade iced tea with it. To die for!

Would you try it?

P.S. I got myself a new camera, can you tell?!

(All images courtesy of Spunkyrella)

Jul 15, 2014

Picture Perfect Maldives

Years ago, one of my coworkers showed me photos from her trip to the Maldives. I made a mental note on my Places I need to see list in that right moment. I never made it there thus far, but it´s still one of my dream destinations.

When I came across the images above I was stunned to find out that these are not photos, these are paintings! Whoaaa, right?

Zaria Forman is the artist behind those photo-realistic paintings and I must admit I have never seen anything quite like it. Those shades of blue, the wet beach sand, I can almost taste the salty air and hear the waves, don´t you?

(Photos courtesy of Zaria Forman via The Modern Met)

Jul 14, 2014

Monday Madness

how is life treating you these days? My MacBook is finally back from the doc with a shiny new screen and I am happy to be back with you guys. Frankly, I put the last couple of days to good use by watching the World Cup and vegging out on the couch and such, ha. The weather didn´t really allow for anything else to happen as it was either pouring like crazy or tropically humid. Summertime, gotta love it :)

This week I want to share my latest challenge with you (maybe you wanna join?) and talk about a few changes as I am thinking about starting vlogging (would you be interested?).

Also I am in the midst of getting myself a new camera. I am set on getting a Canon, but can´t really decide if a S120 would suffice or if I should take the plunge and go with an EOS 600 D? Help and tips are very welcome and needed!

And now, links:

The Vault Coffeeshop re-invents the whole chain system. What do you think?

If you´re waiting for a sign, this is it! ´Nuff said.

• Wanna move into Jessica Alba´s stylish abode, like I do?

• A day with a surfer. Meet Julia!

• Wallpaper that´s smart and pretty. Love it!

Strawberry Basil Sangria and Cocoa Beetroot Brownies. Yum.

• Most popular baby names of 2014 thus far. Hello, Asher!

The Mindy Project-inspired outfits. Too cute.

• And last but not least: What does Urban Dictionary say about your name? It´s hilarious :)

>> I am very much down to earth. Just not this earth. <<
- Karl Lagerfeld (who else :)

(Photo by Stephanie Sterjovski)

Jul 2, 2014

Let´s talk deodorants...

Have you found your perfect match when it comes to deodorant or are you still on the hunt? I happen to like a lot of different ones or maybe I should clarify: I used to like... because a month ago I got a major rash under my arm and I stopped using deodorant altogether for a couple of days which also made me uncomfortable during the recent heat wave.

In the past, I used different ones and honestly I didn´t pay a lot of attention to the ingredients. In Austria Nivea products are very popular and I like their signature scent. So I used the 24h Fresh Natural for quite some time. No aluminum and silicone-free but it does contain alcohol.

When wearing white, I loved Nivea´s Invisible deodorant - the men version is not as sweet or fruity as the women´s products normally are.  Then the rash happened and I felt a little bit lost.

My coworker ikes to use baby powder to keep her armpits dry but that didn´t do anything for me despite getting a messy sink and little clumps in my tee. Eew.

That´s when I came across Soapwalla and their all-natural deodorant cream. No alcohol, silicones, aluminum. Practically nasty-free but no where to be found in Vienna. I contacted Rachel, Soapwalla´s chef, via Etsy and found out that one of my favorite shops in town started to carry a few of the products - that very same day - including the deodorant cream (if you happen to live in Vienna, check out Staudigl).

The cream contains lavender, which I absolutely love, and clay as main ingredients. I like the creamy texture and the fact that it absorbs pretty quickly. Not only did my rash disappear while using it, there is no weird smell anymore - you know a lot of all-natural deodorants tend to develop a funny smell at the end of the day, right? That´s history.

After using it for a month now, the only thing I regret is that I didn´t try to get my hands on this deodorant cream sooner :)

Do you have a favorite? Please share.

P.S. This is not a sponsored post, I just really love the product!


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