DIY: The Pollock Bag

With summer being everywhere, it just seems right to spend as much time outside as possible…so why not use some of that time for awesome DIY projects that are super easy, fast and show great results? Exactly- no excuses!

This one I got from the Pilot Episode of the TV show Carrie Diaries (not sure they stopped that show but it was supposed to be a prequel to Sex and the City), so it’s not exactly my own idea but I’m sure that you love it so here it goes!

The original bag

For this one, you will need:

– a small purse. Preferably a leather (fake or real) one, since it will make the nail polish stick best. A friend of mine used a lacquer bag and sadly realized after a few weeks that the paint started to come of.
– nail polish. Whichever colors you want and as many as you wish. Make sure not to use the most expensive brands you have since it can easily use up a quarter of the bottle.
– newspaper to cover the surface you’re working on

Time Frame: – 10-15 mins

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So, put the bag onto the newspaper and…just start dripping the color. You can do circles, splashes, dots and squares, whatever you want. There are no rules, just own imagination, preference and chance. At first, my friend and I tried to splash the color onto the bag using the brush but realized quite soon that it wouldn’t splash enough color for cool effects. Just use the bottle.

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And the final result might look something like this:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the bag my mom made today. When I tried it first, I left space on my bag and wrote something on it with nailpolish. Use lots of color for that to make the written part stand out clearly. My bag looks like that:

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So, like I said- it’s up to your own imagination, it will look great and unique either way. A great way to recognize a fellow Carrie fan and an even better way to stand out for the rest of the world.

Aight guys, get splashin!

Cheers,

Ari

If the sky is your limit, build yourself a rocket

Today, I went to Berlin and had a great time. It’s an awesome city full of stories and today I was lucky enough to hear one:

I had split from my family to have time to myself for all the important capital errands (aka Breakfast at Dunkins’, lunch at Starbucks and dinner at Vapiano cause we don’t have any of those where I live) and, since it was an extraordinary hot day, I sat down on a park bench to rest for a while. After five minutes or so, a man sure over 70 sat down next to me and we both pretended not to notice each other (German style, chit-chat is just not the way to go here).
Suddenly though, the old man turned around, looked at me and asked: “If someone promised you that you couldn’t fail, what would you do?” That was easy enough for me to answer, I had often thought about questions like that. “Move to the States.”, I said. He nodded thoughtfully and we went back to ignoring each other….for a minute.
“Why don’t you?”, he asked further.
“Erm…well…it’s not that easy. I mean..there are visas and money and relatives here and…I mean…it’s not like I could just…go.”
“Why not?”
“Erm…because?”, I started to get a little annoyed. Who did this guy think he was?!
There was silence for a bit. Then he said: “When I was young, I wanted to do things but couldn’t. My family needed me and times were bad after the war and I was scared to jump, so I started working instead. By the time I could have done all these things, I didn’t want to anymore ’cause I had grown comfortable. Now, I’m old, it’s ok to admit that, and old people always look for young people to teach them a lesson, so here is my lesson to you: I regret not having jumped back then. How old are you?”
“21.”
“Ok. I’m promising you hereby that you can’t fail. So go!”
I laughed and he starred at me. “Why are you laughing, it’s true. You can’t fail, I promised you.”
“Yeah but…I’m sorry but I don’t know you and you know nothing about me. If you promised me I wouldn’t die if I jumped off a bridge, I wouldn’t do it either, right?”
“I’m not telling you to be stupid! I’m telling you to go after your dream.”, he snouched.
I had enough. “It’s not like I’m not trying!”, I said more angrily than I had intended but I somehow felt like I had to justify myself. “I’m working on it but it’s a pretty big dream and I don’t wanna get my hopes up.”
He looked a little happier. “Well, it’s good you’re working on it. Just always keep in mind that you can’t fail. And even if you think you have, it might just be a detour, that’s all I’m saying. I wish someone had told me that when I was 21 but now I’m telling you and that’s it.” and he got up and left.

I don’t know if I had looked particularly lost but I definitely needed that. An old man who might not be able to give me warranty on life but who did remind me of one my all-time-favorite quotes:

Always remember- Not to try is the greatest failure!

And because I found this encounter so beautiful, I thought I’d share it with you guys 🙂

Cheers,

Ari

Just Breathe

You may have noticed, especially in our more recent posts, that my co-author is somewhat more comfortable sharing personal stories than I am. I shy away from it not because my personal life is boring, but rather because I’ve had trouble putting myself “out there” with anything, unless I am talking to people I deeply care for and trust.

Since there aren’t so many people I have this very close and safe-feeling relationship with, these poor selected few tend to get long messages in crisis times, usually prefaced by something like “Sorry, I know you have a lot on your plate and I don’t want to bother you, but…”. If they’re close by I’ll generally just hope that they can tell something is wrong and ask about it. I then usually say that I don’t really want to talk about it, then end up talking about it for over an hour, while my poor friend is trying to say something that is different from the other fifteen times I’ve had a crisis about the exact same thing.

The problem with these mini-crises is that they tend to be about something utterly minor that builds up to a huge and scary construct in my head. It’s one of those days today. A small thing happened and my imagination has blown it out of proportion. (While I’m writing the word “small”, the panicky voice inside my head yells that it’s not that small at all… see what I mean?).

Sometimes when this happens, I get panic attacks – not severe ones, but strong enough to cause a physical reaction. I can feel my heartbeat picking up, I have trouble breathing steadily, I’m on the verge of crying (and sometimes I do cry), and more often than not, I’ll get tension headaches and shoulder or neck pains eventually. The physical reaction scares me, even though it’s nothing serious, but just the fact that something which happens purely in my mind can make my body react this way.

My usual reaction at this point is to curl up on my bed, pull the covers over my head and stay like this until my racing mind slows down. I tend to be a mess for the rest of the day, blow up at the slightest provocation or start crying uncontrollably when I drop a spoon hours later.

I don’t know what it is that I am so scared of.

Actually, that last sentence was a lie. I know exactly what I’m scared of, and why there are specific situations that trigger this panic. But like I said before, I’m hesitant about putting myself out there and I feel that this post is going out on enough of a limb without adding in my childhood stories. Suffice it to say, certain situations trigger my overactive imagination, situations which naturally occur in the life of a twenty-something with an uncertain future, a long-distance relationship, and career plans that are vague at best. These situations mostly revolve around uncertainty, and they aren’t quickly resolved, they need time – you can’t just create a career on a Wednesday night.

Right now is a bad time for a panic attack. I’m alone.

Having someone there to calm me down is incredibly helpful and often makes the worrying stop before it has time to become an actual panic. Having just me is a panic-amplifier. I’m a very analytical person, but the rational side of my brain has no chance if it doesn’t get outside support. So what else is there to do?

I’m sure I’m not the only person on the planet who gets scared sometimes. I’m sure that most of you who read this have had a freak-out over a minor issue at some point in your life. Part of the reason I decided to write this was because I’m sure it will resonate with some of you.

The other part was that I was hoping by the end of it, I’d be less scared. It didn’t work this time. But over the course of the last few months, I’ve found some things that help me. Writing is one of them. Another is hot showers. Really long, hot showers are possibly one of the best methods of releasing stress (and I know, I feel bad about long showers, too, but I don’t do this all the time, just when I really need it). And last but not least… breathe. Long, slow, deep breaths. And remember, this too shall pass.

Kitchen Adventures: Throw Some Fruit in a Blender…

I haven’t forgotten that I promised you guys a strawberry recipe or three… yet somehow most of the strawberries I bought yesterday were gone by this morning, so this recipe only contains a handful (I say that still counts).

Either way, you can basically vary this smoothie however you want, and if the ingredients below look a bit randomly assembled to you, that’s because they were – I just took what leftovers I found in the kitchen.

The important thing for smoothies to remember is to mix ingredients in a way that will get the consistency right. You usually need a base of some kind. Here’s what I used:

  • ca. 100 ml low-fat milk
  • ca. 150 ml water – I’d have used milk instead of water for the whole thing, but, you guessed it, I ran out of milk. It turned out just fine so if you’re looking to save calories or something, water works. Juice is also an alternative, though not for calorie-savers 😉
  • ca. 90 g lemon sorbet (low-fat fruit-flavoured ice cream or frozen yogurt are good alternatives, just nothing too heavy/creamy)

Then, of course, you need some fruit to go with your base, because so far, your smoothie is going to have a bit of a lemony taste but not much else to it. I used the following:

  • 2 handfuls of melon, cubed, frozen (I used Galia, but I’m sure Honey Dew or Cantaloupe would also be delicious)
  • 1/2 large banana (leftover from my coffee-banana-smoothie)
  • ca. 10 small strawberries (I’d have used more if we’d had more!)

If you use these quantities, you’ll end up with about half a liter of smoothie, maybe even a bit more… You can vary the fruit as you wish, but to get the consistency right, it’s important that you add some frozen fruit – otherwise you’ll have to add in ice cubes instead of water or vary the amounts of sorbet and milk. Just experiment with it a bit, and enjoy!

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PS: If you’ve read my previous kitchen adventures post on poaching eggs… I’d like to reiterate the statement that it takes practice. I screwed mine up completely this morning – I was too hungry, so I didn’t wait for the water to be the right temperature. You’d think I’d remember how crucial that is after writing an entire blog entry about it… apparently not! Well, it’s a learning curve.

 

Long-Distance Friendship

They say when you’re in a place of great confusion, frustration or stress, you should remind yourself of all the things that are good in your life. So, while still trying to figure out what to do about the grad school debacle, I’ll do just that. This one is to my friends.

I have great doubts in long-distance relationships, having come out of one that didn’t end well a little while ago. So, yeah, I’m biased, mind you. I had just realized that people are under so many influences day by day that it’s really tough to make sure that, although both you and your partner grow and change, you change together and in the same direction. Assure that you’re growing together and not apart. On top of that, I had always trusted in Facebook to be a reliable medium of staying in contact with old friends. While it definitely simplifies things, it can also easily paint a completely different picture of your live. I’ve had several old high school friends assuming I had turned into an uptight, career-oriented person, based on pictures of me in a business attire or sitting in front of a(fairly earned) Macbook that showed up on Facebook at some point in my life. Of course you might say that, if friends are that biased, they aren’t worth your time but it’s always difficult to let go of people that have been in your life for a very, very long time. Incidents like that contributed to me thinking that long-distance of whatever kind is doomed to failure and it didn’t make graduating from college any easier.

I have, however, underestimated my college friends (sorry guys). When I got those really bad news on Monday, I didn’t really have anyone but my parents nearby since my friends are all scattered across the globe. But for them, that was not an excuse not to be helpful, each in their own way. One was late for work because she immediately skyped me to rationally help me assess my options. My long-distance roommate (hmm, who might that be…) stayed online and talked me through my trains of thoughts forbidding me to give up even though I just wanted to say “Screw this sh**”. Another friend, who is soon going to Manchester, gave me motivational speeches and information on studying in the UK. An old high school friend called me and gave me a breakdown of her expenses during her exchange semester in London. And, at the end of the day, I got this really awesome Cheer-up-Board from them, which made me cry and laugh and restore faith in humanity. Definitely check out the board, it might just also make your day brighter 🙂

I’m not saying all of that to show off my friends (although you are so worth showing off guys!) but just to remind you that friendships are important. Don’t take them for granted and try to give back what you receive. Open up because only when others know your greatest struggles and dreams, they’ll be able to support you. And heck, this whole process of growing up and getting where you want to get requires a LOT of support. So,  I want to revoke my original statement about long-distance relationships: It’s all a matter of effort on both sides, I think. And I know I’m willing to go through a lot of effort (or cheer-up videos, pinterest boards and facebook messages because we are too broke to fly to each other in case of emergencies) to keep those friends in my life.

So yeah, reminding you of the good things in your life and actually writing it down really helps, try it if you feel a little down, check out the pinterest board, then get strawberries and sit in the sun with a book. Oh yeah, and hug your friends if you can 🙂

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Cheers,

Ari

Summer Strawberry Happiness

Summertime!

31°C and sunshine in Bavaria. I’m loving it.

Also, I might have just gone a bit crazy in the supermarket and bought a bit over a kilo of strawberries… and then I might have just eaten about a third of those in ten minutes…

Just saying, strawberries are the best thing about summer!

strawberries summer happiness

I should actually check out some strawberry recipes for you guys, now that I think about it. Stay tuned, I’m on it!

– J.