10.26.2014

cheesecake challenge: mini pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes with a cookie crumble

One of my four fall goals was to make a pumpkin inspired cheesecake for my cheesecake challenge. So I went out, bought a pumpkin, some other delicious ingredients, started mixing, and then it looked as if my pumpkin dreams were falling into pieces..

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cupcakes with a Cookie Crumble

All you bakers out there know, sometimes things don't go as planned, right? I myself have had a baking experiment or two come out of the oven and straight into the trash bag. This weekend, when I finally planned to bake my pumpkin cheesecake, that was also almost the case. Almost! I had bought my pumpkin, all my other ingredients, struggled my way through carving and peeling that thing in order to make pumpkin puree (pumpkin-related injuries were sustained). Finally, I had everything ready: the cookie crumble, the pumpkin puree, the cheesecake mixture, the only thing i needed was my baking pan. Aaahh, the baking pan. My brand new, only used once, one and only (that I brought with me to Munich) 4.5 inch tiny baking pan with a removable bottom. I tried just once to put it together, pulled the lid, and the whole thing fell apart. Devastation. Anger. What now? Throw everything out? Go out and buy a new pan? Just eat it as it is?

No. When things are looking down, injustice has been done, anger has come what, what do you do?! Make tiny cupcakes.

10.22.2014

a beginner's guide to interning

It's always difficult to start a new job - especially as an intern, starting out can be tough. In many cases, you're doing something completely new, putting your knowledge to the test and not really knowing what your place is in a new work environment. So far I survived the first month and a half of my internship, and I wanted to share some easy tips and beginner's advice on how to be a good an intern as possible!

How to be a good intern

It always takes a little time to get used to a new workplace. Don't think you're going to do it all right from day one - all those new faces, new names, new rules and tasks, who can blame you? I have to admit, I'm a little bit of a wreck whenever I start a job or an internship. As the perfectionist that I am, I always want to make a good impression and do it all right from the get go, leaving me more frustrated than actually succeeding and reaching my goals. After a while, you'll get the hang of things, find your place in the organization and feel more relaxed with what you're doing. Next to that, never forget: you're there to learn. If they wanted someone who did everything independently and correct from the get-go, they should've hired an actual employee! Over the past few weeks, I have learned a thing or two you can do from the start in order to make a good impression as an intern, little things such as:

Start working before you're working. And by no means am I saying that you have to sit behind your desk at six a.m. Before you start your internship, get and keep in contact with your supervisor, and ask if there's anything you can do in advance. Whether it is reading certain literature or creating a project plan, always come prepared.

Always be on time, or perhaps even a bit early. Show your colleagues you're eager to work at their organization, even if you're not really feeling it at nine in the morning. Being on time shows you're reliable, professional, and in case you start your days with team meetings of some kind, it tells you respect other people and the importance of their time as well.

Put down the Social Media. Put your phone away during office hours. Having your iPhone glued to your hand during work doesn't give the impression of an enthusiastic, committed intern - quite the opposite. Leave the social media for your breaks and personal time.

Notes notes notes. Always make notes when you're discussing (new) tasks with your supervisor or colleagues. Show them that you're willing and eager to learn! Also - this way you actually won't forget to do, which is always a good thing.

Ask good questions. Someone once said 'there are no stupid questions'. Well, to be honest, there are. Don't go running to your supervisor for every little, simple thing. Be explorative and try to figure out how the printer works on your own or how to find that document on your new computer. Do, however, ask questions that show your interest, your dedication to whatever may be the subject of your internship, and that you're trying to think on the same level your colleagues are. Of course, when you're completely stuck, always ask for help - remember, you're there to learn!

Be respectful, but take initiative as well. As an intern, you will get assignments that don't seem very exciting. Believe me, I've made countless and countless copies of documents that weren't even for me to read. When you get one of those rather unrewarding tasks, be respectful and take it with grace. Everyone has do to some things he or she rather wouldn't, and in the end, you're the intern - and interns sometimes copy a lot. But! Don't let people walk all over you. If you feel like someone is taking advantage of your position as an intern, say something about it. Also, after you have gracefully accepted you're copying-job, also show initiative! Don't limit yourself to the task description, see if you can step it up a notch and go even further (though always in the right direction). Show them what you are capable of!

Don't be afraid to say 'no'. This is probably the curse of being an intern: you want to make a good impression, take on every thing that comes across your desk and do it exceedingly well. Until you're completely stressed out because you have too much on your plate and you see no way out of it (Been there, done that, probably gonna happen again). I know it's not easy to do, but you cannot juggle seventeen different things at a time. If you're feeling overwhelmed, discuss it with your supervisor. Do present a solution to your problem, and show them you've thought about what needs to be done in order to solve it. Instead of dropping a big 'I can't finish this now, I don't know what to do', explain that you're very busy right now, but you'll have it finished by then and then! This way you can also show off your new-found skill of good time-management!


What are your internship or new job experiences? Any advice to share?

10.19.2014

tourists in munich

A while back, boyfriend finally came over to Munich! After not seeing him for more than a month, we pretty much just wanted to lay low and spend time together. However, since I had been working pretty much non-stop that first month, not having any time to really get out in the y city, I wouldn't be me if I didn't squeeze in some touristy activities in there!

IMGTourists in Munich_1819

Boyfriend planned his trip pretty strategical, because he came here during the last week of Oktoberfest, the world's largest funfair! It's basically a two-and-a-half week party of drinking beer, wearing dirndl's and lederhosen, and eating typical German and Bavarian food. Before I went, I wasn't even a beer-drinker, but now I've converted. I was very surprised at what the atmosphere was like, especially in the beer tents - everybody is so into it, which makes it so fun to partake. We went there early in the morning, since I was craving some crepes for breakfast! Fun fact: the festival was first held already back in 1810, when festivities were held out on the Wiesn (the local name for the Theresienwiese, where Oktoberfest is held) in honor of the marriage of crown prince Ludwig I. and his Therese!

10.17.2014

four fall goals

hello fall!

I'm a total goal-setter - always thinking about what to do, what to accomplish. Many new years have started out with excessive, endless lists of what my plans for that year were. Looking back though, I don't think I ever realized many of those goals. They always kind of backfired: by the time February came around, I was already frustrated and brought down by the fact that I hadn't lost those five pounds yet, read those ten books on my to-read list, or picked up that habit of running and was awesome at it. I bet I'm not the only one disappointed in herself in February, right? Starting out as a way to 'become happier', this obsession with to-do lists and long-term goals seems to be rather self-destructive in a way. Because, what is more toxic to the soul than the feeling of failure and disappointment in ourselves?

I don't propose to throw goal-setting out of the window completely - its good to have a general direction in life. And as a big lover of lists, I just couldn't scratch that from my life. However, when it comes to my personal goals they tend to be all about the future, not about the now. And that's were I want to be: right here, enjoying the right now, be more mindful about it. I once came across this Four Simple Goals project over at A Beautiful Mess, which is about choosing four simple goals that will make your life richer and happier on a daily basis; activity based, not focusing on a result - which sounded absolutely perfect to me! This year, I'm committed to fulfill four simple fall goals before the beginning of December:

1. Bake a fall-inspired cheesecake. My cheesecake challenge is still in motion, and it's time for another one! I've been wanting to try something out with pumpkin, like this marble pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cheesecake muffins or perhaps some pumpkin cheesecake tarts.
2. Write more. During high school, I loved writing just for my own pleasure. Many stories about fictive characters in the oddest situations were typed out on my little old computer. Somewhere along the way, when I started college and wrote paper after paper, writing stories got pushed back a bit. In November, I want to get back into writing, and start a writing challenge like this one or this one right here.
3. Start a scrapbook / art journal. I've been coming across so many amazing scrapbooks on the internet, and it seems such a fun way to get your creative juices flowing. I do think I need some help to get started, and plan on throwing in some extra self-love as well and get started on Gala Darling's Radical Self Love Bible.
4. Get out and discover Munich during the fall. I love fall, but more in the kind of indoors way, you know? The idea of a lovely fall day, leaves are falling down, perhaps some rain drizzling down and I'll be inside, curled up on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea and a crackling fireplace in the background, or roaming through a beautiful forest on a sunny fall day. But basically my fall-experience is pretty limited to me heading out to work in the morning and back home in the evening through the pouring rain, while mud-splatters ruin my shoes and I'm trying to balance my umbrella and cup of coffee to stay dry and warm, whilst the wind is blowing my hair in every direction. But deep down, I know fall has it's charm. I want to head out during the weekend as much as possible, and discover Munich in all its fall-beauty.

What are your goals for this season? Happy fall everyone!

10.12.2014

all of life's riddles are answered in the movies.

As I mentioned before, a movie can do the soul some good. They make you feel a little less desolate when you're feeling lonely, can give insights, motivate reflection upon your own life, or just make sure you'll have a good laugh - it can be whatever you want it to be. I've always been a big fan of the movies. Learning new things, getting a little peek into someone else's (fictional) life, loosing yourself completely in romantic storyline, saying goodbye to the real world for a few hours.. During this first month on my own, movies were definitely there for me and made those nights alone a little easier. Here are a few of my favorites from these past few weeks!


♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ / 5 Take This Waltz tells the story of Margot, who falls in love with her neighbor Daniel across the street. Her infatuation starts to get to her, and she no longer knows if she's happier in her marriage or in the fantasy she has created around her relationship with Daniel. The movie sets forth in a slow pace, but is hauntingly real and beautifully made.

10.04.2014

instadiary september

The month September always feels like a new start. The new college year has begun, the seasons are changing, pumpkin spice has taken over the world.. I must admit, this September was a crazy busy one!

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1. September was all about my new internship abroad! On the 7th of September, I moved to Munich and started working as a curatorial intern in one of Munich's great museums.
2.Hey Pablo! Munich has many, many, many museums, it's crazy! I saw this beauty of an early Picasso at the Pinakothek der Moderne.
3. So happy that there were still some few sunny days left, I got the most delicious ice cream after getting off of work early. Chocolate, Greek yoghurt with honey, and torrone with nuts, delicious!

4. A new city meant searching for a new running route! Luckily, Munich has some amazing spots, such as the English Garden. Pretty, right?
5. I got into the habit of reading a book during my lunch break. Bossypants by Tina Fey is absolutely a-ma-zing. Laughing out loud amazing, I promise!
6.I'm so excited that my new place has an oven! The first bananabread has made its appearance, and I think it might be time for a new cheesecake as well.

7.To make my new place feel more like a home, I've been on a flower-buying spree. These dalia's were my favorite!
8.I've also been trying to get back into a healthy dinner routine. I bought a spiralizer a while ago, and was amazed (!!) at how my zucchini spaghetti / zucchetti came out.
9. A Munich must: Oktoberfest has begun!


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9.28.2014

moving abroad, all by yourself

I've been living in Munich for three weeks now. Whereas it is an exciting, big, sparkly adventure on the one hand, moving to a foreign country all by yourself can be pretty though and confronting as well. For everyone who is on the verge of setting foot in a new country for a job, internship or studies, or perhaps even just moving to a new city in your own homeland, but doing this all on your own, this is what the past three weeks have taught me about making home, all by myself.

flowers make a new home

Make it feel like a home
After a long train ride, plane flight or being dropped off by a loved one, that moment when you are in your new place, all alone, kinda stings. Nothing makes you feel more alone like those bare walls, a single, unmade bed, empty closets and a desolate desk. Feeling at home in my new place became much more easier when I hung up some cards and letters from my best friend and filled out the open closet space with my books and pictures. I also bought myself a bunch of flowers, a little plant, spread out candles all throughout the room and bought myself a big cosy comforter. Make it your new favorite place to come home to after work or class.

Get back into your regular routine
Though those first few days are pretty hectic, running around, organizing things and buying even more. But getting back into the little routines you had before you moved might help feeling more at ease. For me, these are working out and cooking healthy and regularly, the two things that make me feel good about myself, but also tend to be pushed back first when times get busy. So if you ran three times a week, baked cookies every Sunday or worked on a scrapbook Monday evenings, keep doing that!

Actively meet new people
Personally, I find it really hard meeting and connecting with new people; I'm always a bit more introverted and concerned about the impression I make. However, moving to a new city does force you to actively go out and meet people, if this doesn't happen naturally in your work place, university or building (though also in these cases, one needs to put an effort into actually meeting these people around you). I knew there weren't going to be many interns at the museum, nor is my current housing a very sociable place. If it were up to me, I'd be good with curled up on my bed with a good book, but five months of solitary reclusiveness isn't going to make a person happy. A big help in this case was Facebook. I joined a group for girls and women of all ages who were new to Munich, either foreigners coming here to work, intern or study, but also Germans from cities all over the country, who had made the switch to Munich. One the one hand, it's a very accessible tool: post a message, people respond, and off you go! However, for some (me) it still might be scary, meeting up with a bunch of people you've never met before, other than an enthusiastic comment on a Facebook-page. However, you must realize: they are in the same situation as well. By no means do I support random meetups with people from the internet (always be safe and know what you're doing, where you're going and make sure it is in a public space), but so far it has worked out really well. The get-togethers have always been very casual, relaxed and without any further obligations - so if you didn't enjoy it, you're off the hook as well! I've met many nice people over drinks and dinner, making me feel a little less alone and a little more at home.

Plan some fun activities by yourself
Meeting new people is always good, but you should also be able to enjoy you're own company. Though many people might not enjoy going out by themselves, I love wandering through the city by myself, discovering new shops, cafes, parks or museums, and getting a feel for the city's structure. Being able to find your way in your new hometown will start making it actually feel yours.

Get comfort food!
A while back I read an article's title which said that comfort food doesn't exist (refused to read the article instantly). Let's just forget that, okay? You don't need to stuff yourself with every pack of candy that you find on your way or all the french fries your fryer can take. But cut yourself some slack and let yourself indulge a bit. We all have certain foods that make us just feel a bit more happy, right?

Watch as many movies and shows as you like
I still hear my parents shouting, 'don't watch too much TV!' But during those moments when you feel alone, and don't see any chance of getting out or calling home, movies and TV-shows can be the perfect company. Many have pulled me through some long and lonely nights, curled up in bed. Stick around for some of my favorites next week!

Give yourself some time
Maybe the most important one: give yourself some time to feel at home. All these new impressions, new faces, new places, they can be quite overwhelming. Maybe you wont get it all together within the first few days - lords knows I haven't. I've been beating myself up for not being in an optimal work-state or the social butterfly I'd like to be. But it takes some time. So be nice to yourself, give yourself some time to relax, to accommodate, and it will all be fine in the end!