15 Things to do in Spring – Spring Bucket List

Hey everyone,

today I have a rather unusual post for this blog. Ever since I started going to a school with a quarter system, I started thinking more about my goals for that quarter and the corresponding season. So today I wanted to share some of my goals and ideas with you. Happy Spring!

  1. Go camping: It’s finally getting warmer and I am excited for plenty of outdoor activites. I am not the biggest camping pro out there but I do get excited about short weekend camping trips. I actually have two of those planned in the near future.
  2. Read in the park: I love reading and I set a quite ambitious reading goal for this year (see my reading list), so I am hoping to get some outside reading time in this spring. I also always have to read a bunch for school/ work and that is always a lot more fun if it can be done outside.
  3. Bike tour and ice cream: My bike is fixed and I have a long list of ice cream places I want to try in Santa Cruz and surrounding towns. Combining bike tours with some rewarding ice cream afterwards is one of my favorite combinations from my childhood.
  4. Picnic on the beach: I already had one picnic on the beach this year. On the dog beach, to be specific. Picnics are cheap, fun, and can involve an almost unlimited amount of people.

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Photo Walk: A Weekend in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park - El Capitan Meadow

Hi everyone,

to stick with the theme of celebration the 100th birthday of the National Park Services, I’d like to share some photos from my three-day trip to Yosemite with you. It has been a while that I was last there and I can’t wait to go back and see more of the park. While I went through my photos, I tried to remember the names of all the places, hikes, and vista points and failed horribly. I managed to research some of them, however, this is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do in Yosemite National Park. I just figured I’d share some impressions with you.

Tunnel View - Yosemite Valley - Yosemite National Park
Tunnel View – Yosemite National Park
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Reading Challenge: 10 books to read this year

10 books to read in 2017
Hi everyone,
I am addicted to goodreads.com and I am a big fan of making my list of books I want to read longer and longer. However, grad school usually gets the better of me and I rarely ever finish a book. So this year I decided to participate in the goodreads reading challenge and read a book every month. I am already hopelessly behind but I just started taking advantage of the offers on amazon where you can add the audiobook for a couple dollars to your ebook purchase. That way I managed to sneak in a lot more reading time in my daily routine. To keep me motivated, I picked 10 books from my long reading list that I want to tackle this year. I feel like it is a good mix of young adult, non-fiction, new and classic books. I’m sure there is something on the list for everyone. Enjoy!

My books for 2017:

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Review: My year in travel 2016

Hey everyone,
I am finally back to writing after a few stressful months of getting settled into a new city and a new grad school. Like last year, I’d like to revisit my travels and the memories I have collected during the year of 2016.

New Years in Portugal

In short, we went to a small town close to Porto to visit some old friends for New Years and of course we all explored Porto together.  I really fell in love with this city and could totally imagine living and studying there. I kind of wish I had found out about Porto before my undergrad was over so I could have considered a study abroad period in Portugal. After a few days in the northern region of Portugal, plenty of delicious homecooked food, and some port wine tastings, my travel buddy and I took the train down South to Lisbon to explore the capital for a few days. Lisbon reminded me of San Francisco in so many ways and even though the weather in January was rather mediocre I had a great time and many adventures in this city.
Porto
Porto
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Recipe for German Cinnamon Cookies (Zimtsterne)

[featured photo – Zimtsterne byLiliana FuchsCreative Commons 2.0]

Hi everyone,

I am, unfortunately, a little bit late to the party but here is my part for the holiday recipe week for Anna’s blog parade: I decided to share my mom’s recipe for German cinnamon cookies, called Zimtsterne (literal: cinnamon stars) with you. They can be found in bakeries and at Christmas markets all over Germany and for me Christmas is not really happening without them. So I made an effort to bake at least a small batch this year as I am not going home for Christmas. In Germany, we like to bake using weights not cup measurements, so I tried my best to convert them but the recipe will probably still work out better if you use a kitchen scale and weigh all the ingredients.

Enjoy!

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5 Easy Christmas Card DIYs

[featured photo – Yvonne Heine]

Hi everyone,

this is kind of a different blog post than usually. I am participating in a pre-holiday blog train started by Anna from whenanna.com. We are five bloggers from different niches working together to publish five posts a week related to a certain holiday topic (see schedule at the end). This week’s theme are holiday DIYs.

I just recently moved from Germany to the US, meaning I left my whole family behind and during the holiday season I usually miss them the most. So I decided I would make my own Christmas cards this year and send them to my family. However, grad school keeps me more than busy, so I searched Pinterest for simple and easy ideas. I thought I’d share my favorites with you:

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Review: Yuzen Subscription Box – Sending you a little zen

Hi everyone,

After researching all about natural beauty products and the zero waste movement in the last couple of weeks and months, I decided to get my toes wet in the world of natural beauty products. And what better way to do that than with a subscription box? They bring a selection of carefully curated products right to your doorstep. So I stumbled upon the eco-friendly Yuzen box and decided to test it out. The mission of the Yuzen box is to bring natural and healthy products to you, that allow you to find your little piece of zen in your everyday life. All the items are carefully picked by Jen and Ted, who got their inspiration for this box on their travels through Asia.

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Top 8 Budget Restaurants in London

Top 8 Restaurants in London

[featured photo by Roberto Trombetta – Creative Commons]

Hi everyone,

I am currently a bit busy with my move to Santa Cruz, CA and starting grad school. I didn’t want to skip a week posting here, though. So I asked Kiran from theswindian.com for a little help and her recommendations on budget restaurants in London. Kiran is one of my favourite food bloggers who I met on Twitter (something I didn’t know was possible until recently). She lives in London and blogs about all things food related. Check out her blog 🙂

Now with no further ado, let’s get started with

The Swindian’s 8 favourite budget restaurants in London

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Expat Life: I am moving to the US in five days

Hi everyone,
today I have something slightly different for you. I usually don’t post a lot about my private life (other than my travels). However, since I am slowly but surely transitioning into an expat life for graduate school, I decided I would give personal blogging a try. In case, you have missed the update, I am moving to the US! I wanted to share with you guys, what is happening in my life in rather short simple posts. So I guess this is the start of a new series and a new category on this blog.

As the title already revealed, I have only five days left until I am hopping on a plane and moving to the San Francisco Bay Area for four + years.

What is already organized:

– I have canceled my apartment and found a new tenant.
– I have found and rented a room in Santa Cruz.
– I arranged all the flights and the transportation to and from the airports.
– I have already said goodbye to my family about a week ago when I had to go back to Berlin.
– The majority of things for school are organized as well.

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The US National Parks – a bucket list

Hi everyone,

some of my favorite things about the US is the huge number of National Parks. In my opinion, they are taken care of so well, they always make for a good road trip, and the variety of ecosystems and landscapes in the parks never ceases to amaze me. As the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th birthday this year (this week to be exact), I thought it was only appropriate that I told you about the National Parks that are on my bucket list. Well, to be honest, after I got an annual pass for all National Parks for my birthday (greatest gift ever!!), I pretty much put all 58 parks on my list (see infographic below). Talking about all of them in detail would probably be way too much for one blog post. Therefore I proudly present you my top 10 US National Parks:

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