Friday, December 31, 2010

All the best.

I got a card today from my zio and zia in Calgary.  They quoted Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Ring out, Wild Bells".  It gave me such a nice feeling and I found it so appropriate that I thought I should share with all of you.  We all strive to be happy, or happier, or to maintain our happiness, but I think that cannot be achieved without being true to oneself.  This excerpt reminded me of that at a perfect time.

"... Ring out the old, ring in the new,
      Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
     The year is going, let him go;
     Ring out the false, ring in the true..."
                                                                        - A. Lord Tennyson

I sincerely wish you all a wonderful and continuously truer 2011. 


Thursday, December 23, 2010

end = begin

It's been a while...

Today was my last day at a job I really disliked.  I think I have been feeling sour because of it.  This is probably why you haven't heard from in a while.  How did this happen, you wonder?

Well, we moved to Frankfurt at the end of September, we settled in, my mom came to visit, we got married and all the while I was anxious about finding a job.  I had no clue what I would do here in this new city, but because there was so much commotion I knew that October and November were not going to be months where I would be working.  That was part of the plan already.  But like clock work, by December 1st, I had started a new job.  Initially I was very excited and super proud of myself.  I was going to be working at cafe at the airport.  Nothing crazy but I applied for the job and had an interview - all in German.  I was excited to be working in a busy place and get to really practice my German - with clients, but especially with co-workers.  Learning German is very important to me and I felt this was going to help me a lot.

I quit a week in!

In my first week, which consisted of 4 shifts, I realized certain things.  I realized that behind the scenes, the cafe was super old and in actual fact, nobody cared about it.  I mean, no was was going to invest any more money into it and hadn't for some time now.  It was a dying place.  The food quality was not as good as it looked, they didn't even have take away bags for clients - we were told to wrap stuff in tin foil if they want to take it away.  For me, professionalism and care were lacking.  I also learned that the company that ran this cafe also had some kind of agreement with the Mc Donalds in the terminal, and apparently we HAD to eat there.  We weren't allowed food from anywhere else.  I almost lost it.  I told a co-worker that I would not eat at McDonalds and that forcing us to is like physical abuse.  I told her I would bring my own lunch.  She warned me not to let anyone see it.  So obviously, my apprehension kept growing. The next thing I learned pushed me over the edge.  They make the schedule there a month in advance.  So December 1st, I had my schedule for the month.  During that first week, my schedule changed like three times.  Understandable, life is unpredictable - except that nobody called me to ask me if I could work those other days or even just to tell me!  Another co-worker told me this was a regular occurrence and that I should get used to it.  That was it.  No way!  I found that so disrespectful.  The next day I called and quit.  I told them I would finish my shifts for December.

So today I had my last shift.

I also realized I'd forgotten about a vow I made to myself when I left Canada.  It was that I would do my best not to have to work in another restaurant again.  I already have a nearly 10 year "career" in the service industry.  It really is the best job as a student.  You can make good cash in a short amount of time.  And since I love being a student - waitressing and bartending have always well supported that.  But at the end I was a bitter, bitter waitress.  I hated feeling like that.  Although, I have to give myself credit for always being professional with my clients even though I would go home and hate myself for it.  Oh, how many nights I would replay a scenario and think, "I should have said this ... or, I should have spilled the drink in his lap ... or, I should have just slapped her across the face!"  But no, smile and keep smiling and the customer is always right.  Ughh!  I hate it and I promised myself I would avoid the industry at all costs.  And there I was right back into it, whoring my emotions around once again.  I think I forgot about this promise because I was too curious to see how I would do in a German speaking environment.  Well, it wasn't so hard.  And once that became clear, the rest just came cascading down and it all fell apart.  I'm glad I got to do this little experiment, but at the same time I can't help but feel like I wasted some time.

I think this place was making me miserable.  I haven't been in the mood for much and I've been feeling overwhelmed for no reason.  But  tonight, I felt like I flew home from work.  Like suddenly I had wings and I was just soaring and carefree.  Man.  Hating your job is a very depressing.  I don't want to experience that again. Although, I have said that before.

So what now...?  I have a couple of ideas.  I'll let you know how the job situation is going in the new year.  But I can say one thing ... I'm going to be self employed.

'till later,

Monday, December 6, 2010

insp-i-love weekly

Hi guys!

Unfortunately, I haven't been all that inspired this week.  I'm kind of blah these days.  Yet, there are still a few things that I'd like to share.

1.  First, I can't help but think about Christmas recently.  Every store vitrine is screaming Christmas, the roofs are all still wearing a thin layer of white and the town Christmas lights are twinkling brightly every evening.  Almost every blog I read has a post about the holidays.  I found this great picture on Vosges Paris of an alternative Christmas tree.  It's especially great for someone like me, who's not all that into special-occasion decorating (at least not as of yet; who knows what the future holds, eh?).  If my walls were any other colour than white, I would definitely try this alternative Christmas tree idea.

2.  Now this article is interesting! Read it.  Would you take an age reversing drug?  I know we've all dreamed about it, wished for it ... but it seems it could really make an appearance sooner than we think, and suddenly I feel scared a bit - mixed with curiosity and excitement.  I look forward to more of their research.

3. And finally a fun little read about "Eat Pray Love" - even though I haven't even seen it, heehee.

How was your week?

I'm looking forward to a better one.

Xx. Holly

ps. here's another picture of a bicycle I took in Berlin in November. Some of you might not know this yet, but I just  love taking photos of bicycles.  I even love the word, especially in French: bicyclette.  I feel something special for bicycles.  In my heart, bikes are alive ... or something weird like that.  They belong to someone and that person depends on it.  And the bikes, they just sit there waiting patiently, loyally for their human friend to return.  Sometimes they can wait for days.  Sadly, some are abandoned or sometimes they get kidnapped.  Anyways ... here's the picture - don't think you've seen it yet.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

insp-i-love weekly

This week we got our first snowfall, along with many other places around the globe that get snow it seems...

Here are some things I'm liking this week:

1. An artist creates little mice worlds. They are super sweet. Check them out on  MousesHouses.

2. Beaudoin is a french photographer who specializes in colour portraits.  I spent a lot of time on his website this week.

3.  After finding Beaudoin, it reminded me that I hadn't checked Helt Enkelt in a while.  I love this blog because Anna Malin, author of the blog and photographer,  is consistently putting up pictures I adore.  Cool colours usually dominate her photographs, yet I am always amazed at how warm they feel.

4.  I read an article about the drinking mechanism of cats.  I love cats, and this is yet another reason why cats are cooler than dogs: "Cat's Tongues Employ Tricky Physics" by Gisela Telis.

5. Finally, if you are feeling like a good read (in the blog world), do drop by these blogs: Bag Lady and Mr. London Street.  These bloggers are both from the UK and I like their writing styles.

What have you been liking this week?

Ciao ciao!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Ruedesheim is a town right on the Rhein river, famous for its abundant wine making. I went there with my mom and Pauli's mom for a little exploration and wine drinking.  It's really a beautiful place. I can see why tourists like it so much. Lots of hotels, shops, restaurants and vineyards galore! The weather was great. We were there during the Tages des Federweissen festival. Federweisser, or Musto as we Italians know it, is basically slightly alcoholic grape juice, you know - just before it turns into wine. It's super sweet and super delicious and is only around at that time of the year.  We also took the gondola up over the vineyards.  It was really splendid.

Christmas Markets are on!

I don't know if we have an equivalent in Montreal. But Germany has some amazing Christmas markets and they have begun this week! Last year we went to the ones in Berlin, Bremen and Hanover. I was amazed. I've never seen anything like it.

Usually held in a Platz and some pedestrian areas leading up to it, these markets are glorious and make you feel like a kid again and that Christmas time is truly here. Vendors set up festive and joyfully lit booths selling their handmade crafts, and you can eat and drink yourself silly. Gluehwein, Feuerzangenbowle, candied fruits, cotton candy, pretzels, bratwurst, cheese fondue, Nutella crepes, freshly roasted chestnuts ... all while enjoying the scene ... people meeting up, laughing, eating, drinking, buying all sorts of treats they will probably be giving as presents this year, click, click, click of photos being snapped, Christmas carols in the distance, children shrieking with enjoyment from the carousel, the Ferris wheel, the train ride. It's so much fun to be there. Pauli and I were at the one in Frankfurt today. It was the opening day.

Christmas is fast approaching and for some reason I'm excited, even though I will be far from my family and friends once again this year. Thank goodness for those Christmas markets then.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010


In late October my mom and I visited Wiesbaden, which along with Frankfurt am Main and Mainz, make up the Frankfurt Rhein/Main region.  Wiesbaden literally means "meadow baths" and is historically known as one of the oldest spa towns in Europe.  Use of the thermal springs found in Wiesbaden was first documented by the Romans.  Wiesbaden is now also the capital of the federal state of Hesse, which is where I live.  My mom and I mainly walked about the Alt Stadt (old city).  We shopped (so many cute boutiques), we had coffee and dessert. We also got the best Tai massage ever!

Here are some shots from our day:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Frau A.

Frau A. lives in my building.  We met one evening in the dungeon that is our building's laundry room.  I wasn't sure how to work the machine.  She helped me.  Turns out she speaks English and lived in Canada for a significant potion of her life.  We've been friends ever since.

She bakes an excellent apple cake and she knows a lot about everything.  Some days ago there was an unexpected ring at my door.  It was Frau A.  She brought me these blue flowers.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

insp-i-love weekly

Ok.  I'm finally doing this.  5 things I found this week that inspired me or that I loved and that I wish to share:

2. Remember why Autumn is awesome by clicking here.  Sometimes we forget about the wonderful joys of Autumn as we watch the mercury in the thermostat drop.  Soon Autumn will be just a memory.

3. Maybe some of you don't know this, but I'm a bit obsessed with all things French.  I follow a couple of blogs that satisfy my French cravings.  Look at this blog post by Paris Through My Lens. The photo is amazing, I just want to jump through my screen and knock on that door.

4.  I love Dexter.  Great show.  Great set.  Check out this post found at about the Dexter set design.

5. Jack.  My cat.  My pride and joy.  He makes me happy everyday.  Today we woke up to one of his nasty, juicy hairballs right outside our bedroom door.  And even still, he can't lose my deep affection, no matter what he does.  Here he is observing me at my computer, probably thinking, "stupid human, always at her computer when instead she could be doing the greatest thing of all ... napping."  Love him.

'till next week's insp-i-love,

featuring: a Montreal loft!!

I was really excited to share an amazing Canadian home in my last post.  Now I am even more excited to share an amazing loft not only situated in my home country but my home city, wonderful Montreal. featured this penthouse apartment in downtown Montreal.  It was designed by Rene Desjardins.  Here are a few pics:

Photo credit: André Doyon
Hope you are having a fun day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

featuring: a Canadian loft

I browse through about a hundred design blog posts per day.  It is part of my education as a future interior designer.  I buy the occasional magazine ... but I find blogs and websites and online magazines are the way to go nowadays.

Today, on Design Milk, I came across a super sick loft, and guess what? It's in Canada!  My home country.  I'm so proud to show you guys.  Most of the time when I tag featured living spaces as "sick apartment/home", they are usually from somewhere like Sweden, Amsterdam, Sydney, Singapore, Brazil, California or Japan.  But not today!  Today we've got some serious eye candy from Vancouver, Canada.

It used to be an after-hours party loft!  Now the Crosstown Loft by Campos Leckie Studio is an amazing two-story residential loft.  

I want to live here.


Monday, November 15, 2010

the point is to learn

In my opinion, one of the most important things in life is to keep learning.  This way you are always current, up to date.  Continuous learning keeps you humble.  That's how you learn from your mistakes and essentially, that's how you grow.  And one of the most difficult things to do, is to learn from those that are different from you, those you may believe are wrong.  But I believe even they have something valuable to pass along.  So I must listen, I must observe, I must question ... I must learn.

Here is a Ted talk about how non-for profit organizations can learn from the "big, bad" corporations to achieve success in attaining their goals.  This is a good example that shows how important it is that we keep on adapting,  keep on learning, especially from each other, no matter how different we are.



A Very Special Day

On November 1st, Pauli and I got married.

It was a perfect day.  We wore jeans and nice, black blazers.  We carried each others' rings in our pockets until the moment came to exchange them. The very gentle and soft spoken, Frau Franz performed the ceremony.  Good, jolly Ralf was the translator.  Only our mothers attended and also served as our witnesses.  It was all smiles during this 20 minute ceremony, maybe some moist eyes but no tears were shed. 

For us, being married means we have chosen to become a family.  We wish to continue with all our plans and dreams as an official team; husband & wife.  Nothing changes, we should continue treating each other as we have been, because so far ... it's working.  Really, I've felt married to Pauli for a long time, but now November 1st became the day of our official union. 


Saturday, November 13, 2010

busy November...

Dear Blog,

Sorry for neglecting you so.
November has been a busy months so far.
Will return soon.


Monday, November 1, 2010


I'm getting married today!!  Yay!!

Sorry I haven't kept my promise about my insp-i-loved weekly, but this week turned out to be busier than I planned.  Our moms are here and we've visited a number of small cities in the Rhein-Main area.  Pretty cool.  Will make for some good blog posts, I think.  So anyways, I'll try for next week.

But right now ... I'm off to say "I Do!"  (actually, "Ich will", in German!)  update: turns out all I had to say was "Ja".  lol.!



Saturday, October 23, 2010

This week I loved ...

Hi all.

I was just reading a post on one of my favourite blogs, BODIE and FOU.  It seems that on Fridays she does this series "Happy thoughts for the weekend..." and the post always ends with, "This week, I loved..." followed by a list of things (with links) she came across during that week that she absolutely loved and wants to share with her readers.  Actually I really look forward to this Friday post and I think I am inspired to do something similar.  It's a good way to keep track of and categorize all those things you come across while surfing the net.  I have a file on my desktop titled "love!" where I have collected a zillion pictures, images and articles.  Now I can put them to good use and, I get to share them with you. 

So here's the deal.  Every Saturday I will post a list of things I found during the week that inspired me and that I loved... it will be called... insp-i-loved weekly.  Yeah?  Maybe, we'll see.  This week I will start collecting the things that inspire me and that I love and I will begin to share them with you next week.

Until then, here are some pictures I took of bicycles in Berlin... oh, and a couple of scooters.

I love taking pictures of bicycles.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Frankfurt Am Main, First Walkabout...

The other day, I went exploring the city.  I started at Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and ended up at the Roemer.  Here's what I saw along the way.  Get ready, there are lots of pictures!!

City Walk:


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Virgin Atlantic ... is bringing sexy back.

Pauli's gonna be a pilot! My interest in planes and airlines is steadily increasing. Remember during aviation's "glamour days", pilots and flight attendants were hot and delicious? Lately that stereotype has faded.  But I came across this ad and had to share. To me, this is Virgin Atlantic bringing sexy back. Good for them. I like it.

I can't wait to see Pauli in his uniform ... yum!!


p.s. What do you think of my new blog look? I changed the title too - very unoriginal but it works... Unfortunately, I can't change the address without changing the location of my blog. I'll look into it some more. I'll just keep the old one for now I guess.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Holly in Frankfurt...

So guys ... obviously I didn't think very far into the future when I named my blog. As most of you know, Pauli and I have moved to Frankfurt. Actually, technically, we live in Kelsterbach, but Frankfurt is a hop away and it's a big city that most people can place in their minds. Easier to visualize.

I haven't posted anything here about our plans because we wanted to make sure all our family and friends knew what was going on before they read about it on a blog. So what's happened recently? Pauli got into pilot school! We moved to Frankfurt because that's where he is studying. And...we're getting married!...on November 1st! Yay! Many exciting things happening. Life feels good =)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How Sweet xoxo

The other day coming out of my apartment, I turn the corner from Kleine Alexanderstrasse onto Hirtenstrasse and this is what I am faced with:

Here's another sweet thing I saw:

Just wanted to share some little sweet things found in the city...

Have a good day xoxo

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Ripple Effect Tea Table - Design with a Meaning.

I like that a common piece of furniture has been designed to remind you that everything you do has consequences - all by setting down your tea cup!

" 'ripple effect tea table' is a graduation project for IM masters design academy eindhoven by korean industrial designer jeonghwa seo in partnership with hanna chung.
There is a belief by Asian people that small changes in an individual's life can have an impact and have a certain effect to the whole community, which in a psychological term is called a "ripple effect"." from 2Modern Design Talk - Modern Furniture & Design Blog

Friday, August 27, 2010

Street Tango With A Interesting Twist

Above are pictures of a very interesting street performance I saw the other day. A cute lady dancing tango on a bridge, in Kreuzberg, for money. My friend (a serious Tango dancer) and I walked up excitedly to check it out. As we approach, we notice something looks off about the man dancing with her. Turns out, it's because he was a human sized puppet! A puppet attached to her feet, toe to toe - his arm permanently wrapped behind her back. Amazing! We were captivated. I found it so creative and so charming. Here is a video:


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wondering if I can walk tomorrow ... ?

I started my day off with my usual Sunday morning yoga class. The teacher's goal today was to do everything slowly. Good, nice and slow on Sunday. Yeah right! Doing yoga in slow motion is harder than you think it would be! I was sweating my a#* off! Plus, we also worked on perfecting our "warrior" poses. For those of you who know a little yoga, you will know that these poses are killer for your legs. Anyways - I survived and felt really good about it.

When I got home, I suggested to Pauli that we check out Tegeler See since it was turning out to be a really nice sunny day. It's a big lake in a forest by the airport and it's supposed to have a nice big sandy beach. We checked how we could get there by bike. Google Maps told us that it would be a 15km ride there. Not so bad. So we go. On pretty much empty stomachs ... but surely there's a snack stand at the beach so no need to worry ... Well! Of course we got lost. We stopped to check my iPhone like a million times and we couldn't find this friggin' lake. It's a huge lake! What's up with that. Are we stupid or what?! We keep biking, back and forth sometimes, I almost crashed or fell off my bike like three times and got a nice blood blister on my thigh from pinching my skin in my bike. Don't ask. And for some reason my finger was bleeding. Disaster! Finally we come across a small beach on the lake. We decide to stop and take a rest. So we are sitting there thinking, "This can't be it!" I mean, it was nice and all but it was not what had been described to us. So we resort back to the iPhone and finally think we found the way. Tired, hungry, and with major tension in the air, we get back on our bikes. We get to the beach! Yes! Nice beach and not so many people. Perfect. We lock up our bikes and walk over to the snack stand. I ask if they have anything to eat. The guy tells me that they don't have anything and continues on a fast rant in German that I just don't understand. I call Pauli over. Turns out, the beach is actually closed (well not the actual beach but all the facilities on it) for an undetermined amount of time and he is not allowed to sell anything to eat! Some political thing... That explains the quiet beach on a sunny Sunday afternoon. We wanted to stay at the beach but we were so dizzy and cranky from low blood sugar and frustration from being lost and me almost dying that we decided to just go back towards home and stop somewhere on the way for a snack.

We finally got home and showered after a nice 40km (at least) bike ride! We plopped down on the bed and laughed like idiots about what a crap day that was! I'm not sure I'll be able to walk tomorrow.

On a nice note, here is a little video of the baby duck I saw at the small lake.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Kseniya Simonova

Another inspirational artist. It moves me to see people use their artistic talents while sending a message or telling a story.

"Kseniya Simonova is a 24 years old Ukranian artist. She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII. She won Ukraine's Got Talent 2009, watched by over 13 million people."


Hope you are having a quiet Monday =)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Kate Jablonski

Anna had me listen to a song by Jorane. After a little "YouTube-ing" my activities lead me to some dance videos choreorgraphed by Kate Jablonski:

Don't know if you appreciate it as much as me ... but I could just watch these over and over...


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Melting disappointment

Sometimes you come across the remains of a situation in some way or other and just can't help but feel like you know what happened:

Sad but true... at Alexanderplatz.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


It's 38 degrees today and it feels like the desert. It's amazing. I'm loving drinking water and eating fruit. I feel so alive yet comfortably slow. We went to the Badeschiff (bathing ship) today for some cooling off. It's basically a pool in the river with some docks that lead to it where people lounge about. It was pretty crowded, obviously, due to the weather and the fact that it's Sunday. What else are Berliners to do?

As everywhere in Berlin it seems, the crowd was well balanced. Old, young, ugly, pretty, hipsters,buff gym go-ers, church go-ers, families, clothed, naked, strings, shorts, reds, blues and everything in between. The pre and post pool showers were super cold. The pool was 23 degrees. Pauli and I found a spot after some effort and took turns getting soaked, drying off, lounging and doing it all over again. We lasted about 2 and a half hours. We biked home and stopped for ice cream on the way. Zitrone and Waldfruechte. Now we are chilling on our balcony, drinking cold coffees.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Magnesium White" at Wansee Beach

Strandbad Wansee

Today I went to Wansee beach with the kids I take care of. It was super fun and to add to that, it was a gorgeous day. I packed all my beach paraphanalia this morning, sunglasses, snacks, change of clothes and of course ... the bathing suit. I put it in my bag trying to ignore the anxious knot in my stomach caused by its presence. I used to hate wearing a bathing suit (and even skirts for that matter) because I hated my legs. I used to think they were not straight enough. Now I don't mind them so much anymore, but I have another issue. My skin. Yes, I have very fair skin. Porcelain skin, some have said. Overall, I like it. I like my white skin - except when I have to wear a bathing suit. It's not so much my face or shoulder or back or arm skin that bothers me, but my abdominal and leg skin is a problem. Because those areas don't get much exposure, they are super white. Really white. Pasty white. Practically green. Almost glowing! I'm so conscious of it, I feel like I'll blind people with it. And there's not much to do about it. I'm to lazy for regular spray tans. Maybe once in a while, here and there, but I know I'll never maintain it. Plus, it's fake. Turns me off a bit. And as it fades away, it can get blotchy. Maintaining it is too much work, whether professionally or DIY-ing it from an aerosol can. I'm also not a big fan of tanning booths or prolonged baking sessions in the sun due to the skin damage these cause. That means I'm doomed to accept my intensely white skin until a better fake tan technology comes about. Or I could live somewhere really sunny and let nature take its course. Even then, I would always be white ... but at least after a couple of years I'd be acceptably white.

Anyways ... I wore the bathing suit, a yellow and brown flower patterned two piece, and I paraded across the beach in my glow suit. I don't think I caused any severe cases of blindness today, but who knows. The main thing is that I had a fun day and got to lounge a bit in those charming beach baskets.

And then, this evening, I was reading my book, and came across this sentence: "The girl was pretty and nervous, the boy was large and pale, almost magnesium white in the morning sun." MAGNESIUM WHITE! Amazing. I've tried to describe my pale skin in many ways. Some ways insult it, some ways praise it ... but describing it as magnesium white is bad ass! I think from now on I will think of my skin as magnesium white and describe it as such.

Here are some facts about magnesium:

- Magnesium is the 11th most abundant element by mass in the human body; its ions are essential to all living cells.
- Magnesium is a fairly strong, silvery-white, light-weight metal. It tarnishes slightly when exposed to air, although unlike the alkali metals, storage in an oxygen-free environment is unnecessary because magnesium is protected by a thin layer of oxide which is fairly impermeable and hard to remove.
- Magnesium is a highly flammable metal, and once ignited, difficult to extinguish.
- Spices, nuts, cereals, coffee, cocoa, tea, and green leafy vegetables are rich sources of magnesium.
- Aluminum-Magnesium alloys are praised for their lightness and strength.
- The bright white light produced by burning magnesium contains ultraviolet light that can permanently damage the retinas of the eyes.

So yes, my skin is magnesium white. Somehow, that's funny, fitting, and empowering.