Friday, July 21, 2017

Unconventionally retro

… movie-inspired style

 


“Have no fear, Miss Meadows is here!” A line of a rather unconventional black indie comedy, I’ve absorbed as edgy, fine-tuned and a little uncomfortable, but fun to watch. Katie Holmes plays an elementary school teacher with an old-fashioned, unpredictable, yet kind attitude. Which obviously annoys the adult world around her, but soothes the spirits of her first-graders with love, devotion and understanding. Aside from displaying an odd mix of style patterns, including tap shoes with a girly, retro(ish) touch, she insists on minding good manners in every situation. She even holds on to her social graces, while pulling out a gun of her cute little purse, to shoot the characters who threaten either herself, or the “good people” around her. Freezing cold. Determined to create a safer and more beautiful environment, by whacking the villains out of the way. She falls in love with the sheriff, of all people (James Badge Dale), who sees the fragile beauty in her, in spite of becoming more and more suspicious.
Considering the complexity of the main character, Miss Meadows could have been even more thrilling, if brought to further heights. The plots’ potential was, in my opinion, not fully realized, but watching it was certainly no waste of time. Holmes did a fabulous job, mirroring the layers of the protagonists' nature. Even more the scenery and costumes of this movie, made me want to try a vintage version of a homicidal Mary Poppins- look myself.


The offbeat retro style was a first for me to try, and I must admit that I enjoyed every minute of it.
Combining a skirt, blouse and a little less matching cardigan with gloves and white socks, made me feel surprisingly comfortable. Instead of tap shoes, I wore regular black ones, which fortunately held me back from even trying a tap dance under the eyes of strangers in the street.
Was I embarrassed, walking through a small town with my hands covered with gloves, holding a book and my head up high? Hell no!
I expected my little style experiment to be so out of line, that I’d wish a crack would emerge in the pavement in which I could disappear. But the fact that some people looked at me either astonished or with the uttermost disapproval, didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.

And I wondered: When has it become so common to accept the norm without questioning, even when it too often means bad taste, sometimes appalling uniformity, and instinctively degrading the different to an oddball? What the heck does NORMAL even mean?
For some people, it means a totally different way of life than for others. “Normal is an illusion. What’s normal for the spider, is chaos for the fly”. Another movie line- of The Adams Family- that crossed my mind while walking around in my comfy outfit. I wouldn't have thought that socks in shoes, worn like this, could be so very snugly!

When I felt that my smile froze here and there, being confronted with too much staring, I used to yell at the person in my mind: “YES, I am different! YES, I like it!… YES, my purse is gun-free” and
“I wouldn’t stare at you for wearing an ensemble that seems hideous in my eyes!”
And I truly wouldn’t! Because I accept that we are all different in some way and need to express ourselves exactly the way we please. Even though some people apparently work for a secret style police, that sends its troops out to invade our personal space with looks and stares. But these folks don’t aim at certain celebrities that walk around as if they dressed themselves without any light in the room- or not at all.
No, the style police is looking for you and me! Concealing their own insecurities by pointing their fingers at the one person around, that had the nerve to cross the line of a societies’ self-imposed dress code, that oozes the charm of a grey wallpaper. And although I’m going back to my usual, more adult style, I will keep this experiment in the back of my mind. As an inspirational twist I may want go give a future outfit now and then.



What's Miss Meadows hiding in her purse?


Very little to almost no makeup, but bold lashes and a slightly messy but neat hairstyle, complete the appearance.

One mustn’t do much to attract the looks with a style experiment. Just the details are often enough to make others brood about it.
Perhaps, that is already the first step to make people think of how freeing it could be, to stop excluding the odd, the free spirits, or simply the Misses and Mister Meadows-types, that sure won’t do no harm to anyone in real life, but want to live in peace and diverse harmony. With a trippy smile.
Toodaloo!



Monday, July 17, 2017

African inspired retro style


Long before humans were rushing into coffee shops while fumbling with their phones, a giant continent named Pangaea existed, that was the first to be reconstructed by geologists. Pangaea came to an end as a super continent, when it broke up and its parts began to form- over millions of years- the look of our global map as we know it today. Africa is now the second largest continent. Over 1.500 languages are spoken in Africa. And the world’s largest desert, the Sahara, is almost as big as the United States of America!
It doesn’t take much to feel inspired by the cultural diversity and breathtaking landscapes, to create one’s very own style. Although it is of course impossible, to include all aspects of the many cultures and traditional looks of Africa, one can still dream of the continent while embracing a look and feel, that reminds us just a little, of an and warm region, giant animals and the sunset over red soils.
as part of my Youtube video-series "World makeup & style", this was the fifth episode of an ongoing journey through the cultures and signature basics of clothes and colors of the world. 
I’ve chosen a vintage dress with sleeves of a light cotton, with lovely details that resembles a 1950s cut. This combines my African topic with the classic retro style I love to create.
A head scarf, bold jewellery and flat animal print sandals, complete the look.
The makeup is entirely based on warm and more warm color palettes. The eye shadows sparkle in red, brown and gold. A soft bronzer contours the face without any further thick layered products. And a bold strawberry colored lipstick is combined with a nougat tone as a lipliner.
It’s different that the usual safari looks many people think of when it comes to this kind of style. But to me, this is the perfect symbiosis of traditional aspects, retro chic and fun with mixing vintage style directions.   






Saturday, July 15, 2017

Oven-roasted vegetables with rosemary and sesame



If there is a simple recipe for a side dish that compliments almost any meal, its oven veggies. Even the most unmotivated cook will find this one extremely easy.
My version of this well-known recipe is a personal favorite, which includes crispy potatoes, soft tomatoes, zucchini and sweet pepper that is firm to the bite.
In order to get the potatoes right, I peel, cut them in pieces and cook them to the point of being not entirely done. After I’ve drained them, I let them vaporize a moment while adding a bit of coconut oil. (Shake the pot a bit, to make sure its all mixed well.)
The next step is to simply put baking paper on a sheet and place the potato slices on it.
The zucchini is parted and the center removed with a spoon, before being put on the sheet as well.
Tomatoes are parted and the sweet pepper cut in the preferred size.
Salt and pepper on top… and some sesame put on the zucchini.
Now the veggies can bake about 20 minutes at mid-height in the oven at 200°, while I’m checking if the potatoes and zucchini get light golden brown. Only within the last 10 minutes, I add the rosemary and a few splashes of olive oil.
When the veggies are served, I like to add some quark as an extra dip. Which makes the dish feel snack-like and light.
Although I often like to make this as a side dish for wild salmon, it is just as well a perfect meal to enjoy solely. As the different flavors and the aroma of rosemary, make it an easy-to-create-taste adventure.

 The soft aromatic coconut oil helps our potatoes to become crispy and golden.


Sesame on the zucchini slices adds a nutty charm to the bitter flavors of the garden veggies.

For the last few minutes in the oven, the rosemary and olive oil is added.

To compliment the lightness of the dish, I've chosen a soft, crisp German Riesling.































As the health benefits of essential oils are undoubtedly even more of a reason to add them to a meal. Rosemary stimulates the taste buds with a softly bitter, woody aroma, and a sharp fragrant that leaves a resinous scent over the vegetables. Just sharp enough to spice up the soft flavor of baked potatoes and the sweetness of red pepper. Bon App├ętit!

Monday, July 10, 2017

A nostalgic Sunday

… visiting places of my childhood.

 



I remember when my best friend Sabrina and I played our favorite game of all: Being our movie heroes while climbing up trees, exploring abandoned houses and sometimes carrying away bruises and scratches from being a little too enthusiastic.
As a child, the world not only looks different from a younger perspective, but we can see things that make it more colorful, magic and vivid. A ruin turns into an exiting castle. A lake into the ocean. And above all, it is for free. None of the games we loved the most, were bought or asked for. We turned our little world into our own playground and ignored the outside, dull grown-up cosmos.
Living with a feeling of nostalgia doesn’t mean to me, that the past in history is what I romantically hold on to. Next to the styles of certain eras, it means much more my very own past. The days I spent wandering, creating my memories that I cherish to this day.
No matter how a childhood is experienced, many of us know the feeling of freedom when the outside world was about to be conquered by ourselves. No one told us which street to take or grass to lay in.
Sometimes I wonder how different these years would have been, if cellphones and internet had been already part of a kids’ life. I would have likely spent a lot more time in a room, letting gadgets direct my thoughts and actions.
When a rainstorm made it impossible for me to go outside, I here and there wished to have my own TV, which too wasn’t all too usual back then.
I even begged my parents to make my life less of a boring existence on those days, by allowing me one. But unfortunately my tears weren’t as effective as I hoped and my mother shockingly suggested that I read book.
Back outside the exploring was about to start as soon as my friends and I spotted another wood or field to play in. One afternoon, I trudged through a cornfield, playing hide and seek with a school mate, when I heard an odd sound in front of me. Being unable to see anything through the maize, I parted the plants with both arms an stared right at the face of a deer. The animal turned away from me so fast, that I wasn’t even able to blink, and I don’t think that my state of shock would have allowed me to do so.
I can proudly say, that I did not wet my pants, but no one knows what another 2 seconds of this encounter would have lead to.
This story was my Indiana Jones-moment in school and at least for this summer, I felt a bit more grown up having faced fear so closely. In retrospect, it was likely the deer who was even more afraid of this pale small creature.
Other times, the parks and lovely green fields were the places of our exiting adventures far from school.
This Sunday, I revisited some of the places of my childhood, in the town of Malente, Northern Germany. Also called Bad (spa) Malente, which means that it is a health spa and aside from that, was a fabulous playground for us children.
It sure sounds lame when one simply quotes the endless memes flooding the internet with sentences like “I am glad that I did this when growing up, and not this”, comparing generations. But frankly, I too am one of the people who honestly embraces the thought of having had a childhood before smartphones. Today’s kids may have other advantages they will be happy one day to call part of their past. But as romantic and glorified some of my memories may sound, the strong I want to hold on to them. Since these recollections are treasures, hidden in the back of our mind, calming us or making us smile when the fog of reality might become too intense at times.
The feelings of freedom; that there is so much ahead of one. Laughter, tears and bruises. I carry these memories in my heart, keeping them for a rainy day so they‘ll make me smile.

An old mill I used to pretend to be an enchanted castle of a sad princess. (I was the princess)



  Summer outfit with vintage cotton skirt, ballerinas, cardigan and a sun hat.


Locks for the loving

Lake view




Thursday, July 6, 2017

Living sugar-free

…or the importance of being earnest

 


Sugar is sweet. It even sounds cute! It’s innocence is questioned regularly though.
I always knew that since my mom explained to me that refined sugar is not a salutary crystal, and my body not it‘s den. But when it came down to loyalty, I was always there for sugar. How could I ignore a brownie right next to my cup of coffee! Why would I turn down a perfect looking piece of cake at a friend’s birthday party?! It would have been abnormal. Ignorant. Here I was, privileged enough to enjoy the food I love and all I was supposed to do was rejecting the perfect moment of satisfaction and thrill? No way, baby!
Until I came across a few reports here and there. About the impact of sugar on the body. The ugly truth that I managed to swallow down with every piece of chocolate all my life. I started reading about sugar addiction- which I didn’t even know was a thing-  and experiences of people who finally got off the hook.
And as with every seed of truth that is planted, it took me a while to let the understanding grow.
Until my brain couldn’t deny anymore, what my heart already knew: I had to break up with sugar.
Yes, sugar was in my life for such a long time, that I couldn’t even remember why! The thrill was gone after many years. What put me in a state of pure joy as a child, now only lasted for a few seconds until a bad conscience destroyed the bliss.
For someone who deals with severe skin problems like psoriasis since early childhood, facing the sugar addiction came shamefully late in my life. All these years, I was looking for treatments and relief for my skin. Tried every possible method to reduce the red spots and itchiness that reminded me every day of having this problem. And yet, my diet was not even in the focus. Not in mine and not a priority in all the talks I had with doctors. Reducing the intake of milk, avoiding alcohol, or drinking disgusting looking mixtures of herbal drinks were part of trying to force an improvement. Aside from countless ointments and cremes that didn't help.
But I cannot recall that the word SUGAR even came up once. Maybe because there are worse things to keep an eye on when it comes to health issues. Or maybe it is still not enough in our conscience that this pure looking monster is basically everywhere, when that alone should arouse our concern. But the fact is, that my very own experience of reducing the intake of sugar, has taught me to listen to my body before anything else.
What it told me, was clear and logical. Within the first few months of a strict sugar-free diet, my skin started clearing up as if I had found a new balm that finally did it’s job well. But I hadn’t used a different product. I'm far from being cured, but in a much better place than before.
My insomnia was almost gone. As the lightest sleeper the world had ever seen, I could sleep next to a marching band now and wouldn’t even blink. The dark circles under my eyes that used to make me look like a sad panda at times, lightened up. 
The weight loss I’ve experienced wasn’t turning me into a skinny model, but I lost a few pounds with a surprising lightness and ease. Without any extreme diets, workouts or other distressing methods.
It was like magic. Only that I know it was actually common sense that brought me there.
Sugar contains no essential nutrients like vitamins or proteins. It is- as we all know- bad for our teeth, so how could we expect it to not have a negative impact on the rest of your body?

Homemade pastries sweetened with coconut sugar, date sugar, xylotol, or other natural substitutes, have become one of my favorite treats.


Too much sugar overwhelms our liver and can cause an insulin resistance. It can affect hormones and the brain, and is highly addictive. What shocked me most of all, is that it apparently feeds cancer cells which lets the disease thrive on.
All of this information is publicly available and difficult to avoid in times of the internet and many credible sources. So it sure is not my opinion that should worry you, but my shared personal experience that is hopefully an incentive to inform yourself as well.
After almost one year of a sugar-free diet, I am living on a 'reduced-sugar plan'. Once in a while I have a piece of chocolate, some ice cream in summer, or a cookie. The occasional cake at a birthday party is still enjoyed. But the carefree and endless intake of refined sugar daily, is a thing of the past. A piece of fruit tastes sweeter and one piece of chocolate is to me now, what an entire box was before.
I’ve come to peace with sugar. We’re cool now. And one has to be honest; it isn’t possible to avoid it completely. There are sugars everywhere. They look different, they have different names. But they’re there.
Carbohydrates for example. Fructose. The occasional glass of wine...

The bottom line is, to enjoy things moderately. As with everything that can be taken to extremes, we can choose the other way. The intake of sugar can be regulated and the risks reduced. No fancy food trends or diets have to be guidelines to a better understanding of what we all should know: Our body knows best.
'There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy.'  - Friedrich Nietzsche




















As a regular treat, I enjoy a bowl of Greek yogurt, either with blue berries, or pomegranate seeds. As a sweetener, I take coconut sugar, or occasionally honey.
Fruit in moderation is the best alternative to me, when the munchies kick in.
























blueberries contain fructose and glucose as well as fiber. It is often said that they have one of the highest antioxidant capacities among fruits. A perfect dessert. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Culturally inspired makeup and style

When you can’t go on a journey to explore other countries every week, which would be my personal ideal, you may tend to find other ways to travel in mind. You can either read a book, listen to foreign music, cook a respective meal, or play with style options the world provides.
Once I started researching the diverse and colorful essentials that lead to the distinctive ethnic styles, I’ve decided to start a video-series about it. We all quickly picture certain looks when thinking of particular parts of the world. But it gets truly exciting when we turn the tables in fashion and enjoy a creative journey through the world of culturally-rooted compositions.
So far, I’ve been traveling style-wise through the Baltic, American, Irish and Latin-inspired spectrum of makeup, hair and fashion. Furthermore, a retro- touch is included in the tutorial series. Many countries in the 1940s, 1950s and 60s, shared similar fashion trends. So it’s often the little things, the details, that tell us about the differences among the style rules of cultures of past decades.


My American retro style was inspired by the Hitchcock movies of the 1950s and 1960s. Although the master himself was British, his heroines represented perfectly, the clean chic of that era.




The Baltic states inspire with a rich culture and enchanting nature too. Folkloric music as well as  garments, are take us on a journey through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.







































An Irish- inspired style isn’t imaginable without the color green. As a contrast to that, I wanted to show the clean cuts of the late 1950s, that were just as much worn in Ireland as in many other parts of the world.





The Latina style is of course warm, colorful and exciting. With hair flowers and the right cuttings of skirt and top, I felt like walking through a warm, exotic country for one day. It’s not only the perfect retro summer outfit, but adds some spice to the everyday wardrobe.




More culturally inspired styles are about to be experienced, and so I am already dreaming of the next stop in another country.  My world makeup and style series on Youtube

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The obscure charm of flea markets


A shopping bag ruggedly pushes me aside, while I’m trying hard to focus on the table in front of me, looking for treasures to be taken to a new home. Voices next to me rise in volume, as the haggling goes on, ending either with a sunny goodbye, or a snidely wave of the hand.
Every time I decide to get out of bed painfully early on a weekend (as if that alone isn’t terrifying enough) and go to a flea market, the situation is clear: I will not make it through this organized turmoil without raising my eyebrows, or even using the F- word once. Silently. Of course.
Then again, I could say the same thing about going to a grocery store on a Saturday morning.
In the thick of the fry, a flea market visit can become a little overwhelming. At least when the weather is nice, the amount of people itself can lead to one or two stressing conditions. There is an invisible course I seem to run down while scanning the booths with one, and possible obstacles with the other eye. Someone’s burning cigarette too close to my dress, a buggy, or stepping on a small child‘s foot, could rapidly lead to unpleasant discussions. So can a pile-up at a stand that promises polished, fancy goods.
I’ve heard of people claiming, that a visit to the flea market is a fun and nostalgic experience. My theory on that is, that it’s either an urban myth; or those sales are in Brooklyn New York, Paris, or Copenhagen. Stylish people selling cool stuff while drinking lattes and debating the retro-chic.
A beautiful vision.

Flea market find: Leather magazine rack

MY realty though, has been often much darker and primitive.
Like cavemen, some people would argue about items as if an alien invasion was just around the corner. And only a cracked vase could ensure one‘s survival. Several booths appeared as if the regular shop was simply placed outdoors instead of selling at it’s usual address. (When the tags are all on the blouses, they likely don’t sell grandma’s wardrobe) And at a low point, I even bought a shockingly hideous sweater from a tough dealer, because I was simply too afraid to say no!
The school girl had intense eyes, you know.
When my car started smelling on the way home, I quickly realized that the shirt would end up in the trash can.  I wonder if her mom knows that the girl is a pothead.
On a different occasion, I bought a pair of leather shoes that were likely designed by a feet-hating shoe maker. I wore them one time for one whole hour. And a framed drawing of fruit has never found it’s way onto a wall in my home. The dealer was so kind and sweet that I must have overlooked the disturbing compilation of muddy colors. My guess is, that this picture will move around with us for years, like a bad penny, buried in attics and basements.
Please don’t get me wrong. It is not my intention, to scare anyone off from exploring the world of treasure hunting. In fact, I love it! I just need to remind myself of that once in a while. Just recently, I made some wonderful experiences, including human friendliness and truly nice bargains. All I’m saying is: Anything can happen when fashion, Tiffany lamps and low prices are involved.
I’ve seen things happening from either side of the booth. One summer, I would sell some of my stuff with the brightest smile. Although it wasn’t enthusiasm that made me grin, but the sheer fact that the summer morning felt like early winter as the temperatures refused to climb. Sometimes I went a little nervous, when a prospective customer wanted to ‘go show the ring to his girlfriend’, who was nowhere near. Or a lady with interest in a dress thought it was a great idea to try it on- Over her coat of course.
The experience was not bad though. And I felt that folks actually liked buying my things, pleased that I made fair offers. I was proud of myself and this win-win situation, and it could have been perfect. If only I had been just as successful as a buyer.

 
Sometimes, I come across some nice vinyl-treasures

Once I was just settling on a way too high price for a pair of earrings that I could not resist, when the lady behind the booth suddenly frowned as she watched my face lighting up in happiness. She said that she might have gone too low and reluctantly took the money. A few weeks later, one of the earrings fell apart. This is very important: Don’t get too overexcited over the treasure you’ve just found! It could cost you more money. On the other hand, I also thought to have learned my lesson, when I once bought a beautiful pearl necklace from an elderly lady. As I paid for it, I still didn’t move a muscle in my face. Keeping it straight. Like a pro. The lady then said with watery eyes, that it was a heirloom, smiling gently. My poker face melted like a Popsicle in Arizona.

I felt so bad that I babbled something about cherishing and honoring it, like a rather unstable person, jumping from unfeelingness to exuberance. I even thought about giving her some extra money, but I just bought another item; not bothering to negotiate.
At the end of the day, it’s an adventure, every time you enter the games. And it can be fun to spend the afternoon looking around, watching the colorful swarming. Then relish the moment of triumph when a beautiful item changes owners. Just like they've traded for centuries.
A sale in New York City may be cool, but the small town’s flea markets on our continents are not less interesting. Most of the time. Many of my favorite vintage bargains crossed my way on a sunny Sunday afternoon, when I wandered through the small pedestrian areas in little villages. Thinking: “I’m just going to take a look around. No pressure. No smelly shirts.”