Friday, November 17, 2017

A walk in the woods and why I quit running

A girlfriend recently told me that she doesn’t like to go for walks, because it doesn’t seem to make as much sense as using the time for sports. Like Yoga, or runs.
At least- as she said- there should be some action. Some muscle training, sweat and exhaustion. Otherwise you’re just shuffling around with no serious ambition.
I beg to differ. One thing I love about this fresh season, is to calm down on a walk through the woods and inhale all the beauty that fall delivers on a golden platter.
While jogging, I used to focus on a thousand other things instead of just letting my mind wander.
The correct cycle of breathing, the speed- to avoid stitches. The ground, to avoid a broken ankle.
I know how people who run frequently, praise the benefits of jogging. But I never truly felt that it was the right thing for me. Sometimes it was impossible to place my foots exactly right, so I wouldn’t suffer from pain either in my knees, or shins. (The latter is a real joy, once it’s permanent.)

Walking, on the other hand, is beneficial in several ways to me:
My breathing cycle completely is in line with my movements. The mind wanders, the eye catches the details surrounding me. And the walk becomes a meditative journey.
Even scientists have recently found out, that walking might be actually healthier and can improve your longevity, more that intense jogging and overly exhausting exercise can.
To me, that was almost a no-brainer, since I don’t believe that a too extreme workout regimen is good for the heart either. Researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that a regularly too intense activity increases levels of certain inflammatory proteins that can allow viruses to thrive.
That explained to me why I might have been catching a cold very easily and more often during long periods of prolonged exercises.
Also the common belief that increased weight loss is a safe result due to intense sports, seems to be outdated as well.
You could work the heck out of your body while sticking to a bad diet, and not much would happen. 

For the record: I would never say that running in general is bad. For some people, it‘s the best workout and they feel perfectly fine and healthy.
Exercise are vital for a healthy life and there is no way around it, if you really want to keep up a healthy lifestyle.
Generally though, I guess there is no such thing as a perfect workout for everyone.
We sometimes have to adjust our methods, and exercise the way our body thrives on the movements. Not punish ourselves for that one cookie too much.
A healthy way of exercising means to me, a healthy way of thinking too. Be gentle with your body, so you can still enjoy sports without the ultimate exhaustion, that sure isn‘t always a sign for the healthiest way.
I will do some Yoga this week, since rain is expected for a few days. And when the sun visits us again, I‘m out for the next walk. Wandering towards a happy place, physically and mentally.

Entire outfit: True vintage 1950s-1960s

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Why not dress like adults?

Once upon a time (don‘t you just love that phrase), there were women in costumes with matching purses, gloves and pumps; just pretty enough for the touch of elegance, yet comfortable during the day. Men dressed in suits, topped off by stylish hats and coats. Or enjoyed wearing the occasional Hawaiian shirt. And there were the children. Distinguishably dressed in neat children’s clothes and sometimes the cute weekend-dresses.
Fast forward to 2017.
The question of whether or not someone should dress ‘age-appropriate’ does not only seem to vanish. The sheer thought of perhaps looking too old in an ensemble, almost solely influences the choice of style.
Not that women and men haven’t ask themselves, or others these questions before.
“Honey, do I look bigger in this skirt”, or “Darling, the brown suit makes me look like my own father”, was sure occasionally brought to the table.
But there is very little to no evidence, that people tried to emulate the looks of children to the degree it happens now. Every decade, changes occur. Sometimes trends emerge from protesting a societal guideline, sometimes they seem to pop up like another coffee shop. And at one point, becoming child-like has started a style evolution that raised to a disturbing level.
We all know that the beauty industry never gets tired of explaining to us, why a few more wrinkles could mean the end of the world. It’s obvious; it’s an old hat. We try to resist and yet treat ourselves with overpriced creams.
But what about the fashion industry that is apparently not on the boat with women and men who don’t see aging as their worst nightmare?
I recently stumbled into a shop and went through a pile of pants that appeared to be made for twelve year olds, when a salesgirl suddenly told me I’d look much younger with a shorter dress, instead of the pencil skirt I was wearing.
The big question I’d like to ask anybody who carries the burden of telling other people without warning, how they could look younger (less makeup, different hair etc.) is: Why am I supposed to CARE if I look older?!

Because I don’t. Seriously. I want to look colourful, or fun. Interesting, elegant or ladylike. Competent or neat. But the desire to look many years younger than my age, seems like such a waste of time and energy.
The struggle of trying to squeeze another year of youth out of squeezing myself into skinny jeans and nude makeup, can be tiring and is ultimately not worth pursuing.
Because not getting older means no progress. No liberation. No journey.
It means to follow a group of people that you’ve already passed. It means you’re telling younger folks constantly, that getting older is a negative development and the cure for that is to dress like a toddler. Put on fun things like bobble caps, windcheaters that look too tight, and accumulate a collection of t-shirts with hollow slogans on them. If you want to round up the picture, just talk like someone who hasn’t yet been in the third grade yet and you may come across a bit stupid, but definitely younger.
Items that look cute on a sixteen year old, doesn’t necessarily have the same effect on a woman of forty. It’s like putting on a too small blouse in order to look thinner.
It doesn’t work.
One crucial element gets lost in these playground- looks: The pride in getting older. You made another year and another one. A privilege, even in this time and age. Denied to too many. And a treasure to cherish.
I am not a little girl anymore and I am happy about that. When I see young children, I hope they’re happy at this time in their lives. And I hope they’ll one day know, that aging may be a challenge, but there is no shame in it. Dress like a grown-up and enjoy the ride.

Winterstyle with 1960s jacket and skirt

Monday, November 6, 2017

My favorite blogs

I’ve recently started combing through the jungle of blogs out there- as I am usually more familiar with youtubers- and thought it was about time to post some inspirational work in written word: Today I’d like to share a small but sure growing list of my favorites. The ladies are absolutely inspiring, beautiful and full of passion and knowledge. I am sure- if you don’t already know them- you will just a quickly get hooked on these lovely blogs:

Inspiring blogs I love

Sunday, October 29, 2017

My vintage afternoon tea and homemade snacks

A vintage tea time is likely the most elegant and calming act on a cozy afternoon. Especially fall is the season of long walks in the cooler air, books and tea.
How we experience a tea culture is defined by the many ways tea is prepared and consumed in different parts of the world. And this is also what allows us to interact in a refined manner, that can often build a bridge between cultures over a hot, aromatic beverage.
The diverse traditions are also accompanied by either savoury, or sweet goods. Which can mean English scones and cucumber sandwiches over a cup of Earl Grey, or a Masala Chai with spicey lentil fritters in India.
No matter where the tea time is held though, people all over the world not only cherish this tradition because of simply consuming nutrients. It is even more than a breakfast or dinner after a long, stressful day. It’s quality time. It cheers you up on a grey, depressing day. It provides the frame for a welcoming atmosphere for your friends and is a silent party that lets the mind wander.

Handmade vintage teapot made in Lübeck, Germany

To me, the process of making tea is almost meditative. To find the right tea and perfect flavour, can take a long time. But once the choice is made, the scent of the leaves and spices is already a joy. And I am sure, even for the reluctant tea-naysayer, there is a brew out there that will make you fall in love with it.
My favorites are Chinese green tea in the morning (since I reduced my coffee intake enormously) and often masala chai or mate in the afternoon. Yerba mate is the national drink of some countries in South America. Argentina for example.
Russians often serve Zavarka, a strong tea prepared in a separate tea pot and enjoyed in often several rounds.
Also fennel / anis / caraway and sometimes black tea, are on my list every week.
I also rarely use tea bags. What I prefer is loose-green that I simply put in the teapot without any filter and then just use a strainer to pour it into a cup.
Green tea is widely considered one of the healthiest options and is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. It contains bioactive compounds that can have various beneficial effects on health.
Black is -according to several sources- the most processed tea. Although I still enjoy a cup once in a while, I have learned that green has a better impact on my energy level and mental well-being.
Another interesting variation is Mint tea, often enjoyed in Morocco. The hot beverage is such a strong part of the Moroccan culture, that a day without it seems unlikely.
To find my very own favourites of snacks to enjoy with my tea, I came across so many nice variations of baked goods and spicy bits to nosh on, that I couldn’t press them all into a simple post. But in this vintage tea time- variation, I mostly rely on very simple, easy-to-make- recipes.
Since it is autumn in my hemisphere, the apples in my neighbours' garden were perfect for my cinnamon curd rolls with apple pieces. Since I don’t eat much sugar, I let the fruit, cinnamon and vanilla unfold the sweetness, while cutting the amount of refined sugar.
The recipe is one of my favourites and I hope you enjoy them just as much as my loved ones and I.
Bottoms up!

Friday, October 27, 2017

A retro outfit in autumn colors

Although Northern Germany is not exactly known for its ‘Indian Summer’, there is no reason to avoid the colors of one of the- in my personal opinion- most beautiful seasons.
I see the black and grey jackets in the city. The used-look-jeans and sling bags, worn slantwise, as if everyone is wearing seat belts.
There is of course nothing wrong with all that, only that its simply a mishmash of dull, dark colors, when nature actually calls for some warm and shiny notes!
This means, spicy, soft and mellow tones. All in warm shades that seem to gleam at the same time.
Warmer purples, soft and olive greens, rusty reds and powdery blues.
For example, I recently enjoyed wearing a vintage swing skirt in all the beautiful fall shades, that I combines with a blouse in a warm, spicy yellow and a cardigan for the chilly afternoon.
On a sunny, almost still warm October day, it made me feel like it’s late summer again. A vintage leather purse and shoes in a matching color, completed the outfit.
The jewelry too was a mix of new and old. I wore 1950s earrings in gold and purple. The necklace in a leaf-design was a find in a costume jewelry store in New York City and one of my dearest travel souvenirs.
Even if I already can feel the harsh winter lurking just around the corner, I enjoy every fall day that allows me to beat the greyish ambiance.

Similar skirts: High waist swing skirt at Topvintage
Woodland leaves swing skirt at Collectif

Simlar tops: Indonesian style blouses on Etsy

Similar cardigan: H&M fine knit cotton cardigan

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Rich Simplicity of Oils for Beautiful Skin

For many years, I used to rely on creams, lotions and fluids of all kinds and in all price ranges. Due to my skin disease, Psoriasis, I threw away half of the products over time, after noticing a change for the worse. The other half was as well stripped-down to a minimum of a moisturizer and occasionally a vitamin E capsule.
Oils were usually something that was either included in on of these products, or simply not the very first on my list of required ingredients. Since I‘ve learned early on, that oils cover the face like a blanket, make it incapable to ‚breathe‘, and cause breakouts. Now, I am one of the people who only has to look at a jar of skin cream and my epidermis seems to get highly emotional.
The use of foundation has been an interesting journey as well- to put it mildly- so I had to learn the hard way, that I‘ve learned a lot about skin, but not much about my own.
And that is where the illumination begins.
We don’t just all have different skin types, like dry, oily and so on. We all have different genes, lives, levels of stress to deal with, diets, health issues and live in different climates.
Yet, every week there is a new skin product globally hyped as the new holy grail of ointments, that allegedly frees us from the ongoing cycle of breakouts, patches and other unwanted skin attractions. I sure can understand these trends with clothes and other items. But when it comes to the individuality of our skin, it is simply counterproductive to believe or even claim that one solution applies to all. We don’t even stumble over this issue early, because there are enough waymarkers on the products that guide us to the lifting, boosting, filling, tightening, cleaning results we desire. And please don’t get me wrong, some of them are really good. They do their job perfectly on many people and I did come across a few products myself, that I would buy again any time. But the jungle of skin care products has become too difficult to cut across, without a little more knowledge about ones very own skin.
So I’ve decided to temporarily forget about everything I’ve ever heard about oils as a breakout-guarantor, and first gave coconut oil a try. My face wasn’t as delighted as the rest of my body. The moisturizing effects were better than expected, but my face area still tended to show a few impurities. For others, it works beautifully on the face too. (See, individuality)
As a body oil- including neck and chest- it worked wonders. It was soothed from the very first week I applied it on the red, sore psoriasis patches, kept me from scratching and made my skin finally feel soft again.
I blame the alcohol in some of the body lotions I had used previously, for the always tender and way too dry skin. That problem is now a thing of the past.
After weeks of research, I’ve decided to give pure, sweet almond oil a try and used it generously on my face at night. After I’ve cleaned my face with a cleansing milk, warm water and- attention- coconut oil(!) with a washcloth, I massage it into the still dampish skin and the result is amazing until this day.
My skin looks tighter, the impurities seem to have gotten tired of turning my face into a dance floor, plus my pores are smaller. Which gives altogether the impression of a much better skin than I’ve ever had. Since I had my oil-epiphany, I as well use the almond oil in the morning, after cleaning my face with water. I let it set for the time I have breakfast and then apply my makeup.
On top of all that, it is a good feeling to know that there is no animal testing or usage of animal products involved. Which is to me personally, a very nice aspect.
The simplicity of this beauty regimen is mind-boggling to me, since I always thought it takes a ton of (pricey) products to keep my skin from flipping out. But even when I am an advocate of glamour- in this case, less is truly more.
Preparing my skin for the harsh winter makes me feel more secure when I’m going on my usual long walks on the beach. Knowing, that my skin is protected by the oils.
During winter, I like to add a drop of wheat germ oil at night with the almond oil, for that extra vitamin treat.
As one of the many people with a beauty- Youtube-channel, I am extremely cautious about suggesting products to my viewers. Simply because I don’t know if it could work for others too. (The one-solution-may-not-be-for-all-scenario)
But, what I hope is, that everyone who struggles to find their right products for several skin issues, might open their mind for simplicity and tries, that may not stand in every beauty book. As long as it is pure and natural, like oils, and even organic, it might be worth trying it. Even if it's just for a while, to give the skin a break from dealing with too much product.
Brands are of course different in many countries, but it is sure no problem to find oil, without any
My personal favorites are the Bergland Mandelöl, the Kneipp Mandelblüten Hautzart, the native vegan Kokosöl DM (drugstore) and the Wheatgerm Lipigran Weizenkeimöl by Dr. Grandel.

Organic Coconut Oil
- contains fatty acids (medium chain triglycerides)
- firm texture that melts at 24 °C (76 °F) and quickly in the hand.
- easily seeps into the skin pores.
- takes a little while to be absorbed. Leaves a soft and very reserved scent of coconut.
- is a great makeup remover
- is allegedly a mild sunscreen, which has not been verified in studies as far as I know.

Organic Sweet Almond Oil
- liquid oil texture
- is rich of vitamin E, zinc, fatty acids, proteins and minerals
- is a mild hypoallergenic oil
- easily penetrates deeply into the skin
- helps with blackheads
- may help with acne
- helps with dark under eye circles
- brings relief with eczema / proriasis

Wheat Germ Oil
- liquid oil texture, yellow color
- effective moisturizer
- contains vitamin A, vitamin D, B vitamins and antioxidants

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A rainy day sixties style

This autumn starts quite stormy in Germany, which requires the vintage gal to be prepared for a few more days (and months) of rougher walks through the parks. To me, jeans are never an option, so I grab my Bexleys trousers and make the black and white theme complete, with a turtle neck, a pearl necklace and pearl earrings. The 1960s inspired style also gets me to enjoy my beloved Cloony jacket, that is not too warm for these days, yet works as a rain coat for me too. I like the simplicity of the look, that is wearable with flats, as I wear here, but just as well with heels.
My hair is gathered in a bun that shall keep the hair out of my face while walking goal-driven against the wind. Thinking: Autumn, here I come!