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Monday, October 31, 2016


October's theme is "water", now how will I be able to limit myself to only five pictures?

What a versatile prompt! Just like people, water comes in all shapes and sizes.

Let me take you on my trip. I was traveling with my family when the topic was revealed, so it was perfect!

I'll start with a "no name location" compared to the ones that are going to follow, but it was so breathtakingly beautiful, I just have to share it with you! I stumbled upon the Cowboy Grill Restaurant at the Red Cliff Lodge as I was googling for a dinner place in Moab, UT. It was a half an hour's drive from the town, and a gorgeous one at that, totally worth it!

This is a place I could imagine myself spending a couple of days relaxing, blogging, enjoying the view...

They even have their own winery - enough said!

PS: in case you're wondering... this is the Colorado River. We went to the Grand Canyon later, but since you can't actually see any water in those pictures, I didn't include one in this post!

Now unfortunately Ruby's Inn at Brye Canyon is way past this peaceful, cozy getaway atmosphere. It has become a mass-processing business. As we were in a long line for a pretty horrible dinner, hubby told me to run outside for "a nice view". Ohmigod, a double rainbow!!! That was a nice view indeed!!! No filter, just a phone picture, by the way! The next day we were hit by some thick fog which is a form of water, too. I'll spare you, though...

The water level at Hoover Dam is low, and some lakes that were visible on our car navigation system's map are dried-out. I am not a tree hugger, but this worries me.

When I read this month's prompt I new exactly that I was going to snap a picture of the water show at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I wasn't a fan of the music this time but you can't hear it anyway. Just imagine something nice, like Andrea Bocelli.

I consider La Jolla Cove in the San Diego area my power place. What's not to love, right? The seals are having a blast. Again, don't mind the smell - just enjoy at the picture ;-) Can you hear the crashing of the waves? How about the squeaky barking sounds of my friends?

Bonus picture.... What's a trip through the South West of the United States without a visit to San Francisco? Personally I think the best location to catch an absolutely stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge is at Conzelman Road, Sausalito, CA. Parking is limited, so you'll have to circle like a hyena, but it's totally worth it!
We were playing with the panorama feature of the iPhone camera. Not bad, right?

For more pictures and stories about our road trip go here.

I hope you are having as much fun with this post as I am! Please check out the other posts here! 

Happy Halloween, friends! I'm glad I wrote and scheduled this post way in advance cause today I'm gonna be busy preparing for our party!

See you next month!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Top Ten Thursday - Happy Halloween

Welcome to Top Ten Thursday!

Today we're talking about Halloween, one of my very favourite holidays, and I go to great lengths to organize a fun party for our friends. Needless to say I love just about everything about it: decorating, food, trick or treating...

Let me share my top ten Halloween DIY ideas. Most are not my own ideas; the Internet, Pinterest especially, are full of tutorials, so this is just a collection of tried and tested projects that I loved:

Ghost Lights, my favourite. The original craft I found on the internet a couple of years ago asked for milk jugs, you know, a gallon? Fat chance in Switzerland... What you can do instead (gotta start early in the year though OR grab them from your local recycling center...) collect empty laundry detergent and distilled water containers.  Using alcohol or nail polish remover, take off the label, google your template and use it to trace the shape with a black marker, then get to work and fill your shape! As a light I use all sorts of things, depending on the with of the spout: glow sticks, electric tea lights or little flashlights.

Bowling Pins (or just use them as decoration)
Using some sturdy cardboard tablecloth roll that I had cut, I wrapped them with adhesive orange foil and drew on my Jack'O'Lantern faces.
You could also make smaller ones using TP rolls.

Mummy, Frankenstein, Ghost, Witch? Head over to my blogger friend Michèle's detailed tutorial on how to make those cute Halloween Characters out of simple wood sticks.

If you're patient enough for paper cutting, why don't you try and make your own Haunted House? Purchase the largest thick black craft paper you can find and cut your house and lots of door and window silhouettes, leaving the doors and windows attached so you can open and close them as you please, like an advent calendar.
Use the paper leftovers to cut out your objects like cats, ghosts and spiders that you'll glue on the tissue paper that comes to the back of your craft.
I pinned my houses to the wall - bonus points for you if you manage to arrange them around a source of light!

Now I don't know about you guys, but I don't exist on love and crafts alone, so let's move on to the food, shall we?

Do you prepare snack boxes for your Kindergarten or Elementary School kids? Upgrade them with some Halloween themed Lunchbox Printables. Google finds tons of them. My favourite is "what is an old hag at the beach? A Sandwitch!"

For our party, why don't we start with something really healthy because we all know there will be enough candy later. Shredded carrots, served in transparent plastic cups on which you go crazy with a sharpie. A piece of broccoli on top, and you're done! Jack'O'Lantern Salad! (I added the dressing after taking my picture)

Here's another simple one: Upgrade your regular pumpkin soup by cutting out a ghost of your sliced cheese, if you have a black food color pencil, draw a face -Boo! Ghost soup!

Jack'O'Lantern Sandwich If you're into baking your own bread, add some orange food coloring to your dough, use your pumpkin cookie cutter for those cute shapes. I put some ham and cheese in the middle and toasted them, of course they are tasty as is, too. The green thingies are cucumber pieces.

What else? Kids always love their Mac'n'Cheese. Here's a healthier version of your usual calorie-loaded dish.

If that was "too vegetarian" for you, here are some Mummy Dogs! Google is full of recipes and tutorials should you need one.

Number 11, dessert as a bonus... 

With all those easy to make dishes there had to be catch, right? Well, only if you insist on making those Gingerbread Skeletons. (Video) If you go for candy, that's totally OK! I know I won't repeat this project because I was not happy with my royal icing piping skills. Well, I tried!

I hope I was able to inspire you, and you can't wait to prepare for your big night! If you are trying any of those things, please let me know how they turned out!

This post was featured in the fall edition of THIS LIFE (pages 10 and 11)

If you're a blogger and want to contribute to this post, please link up below!

Would you like to join us for next week's Top Ten Challenge? The theme is gonna be Top Ten Clothing Items (that you own or wish you had), and it posts Nov 3rd, sign up here.

The week after that  - Nov 10 - we're going to talk about the Top Ten Scents, things we like to smell, think freshly brewed coffee, or cinnamon rolls, right out of the oven,... Here's the event to sign up.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top Ten Thursday - Uncomfortable Situations

Welcome to Top Ten Thursday!

Today we're talking about top ten uncomfortable situations

I have to admit that I love my comfort zone, and that I get uncomfortable pretty easily. 

Riding an elevator with people who smell of sweat or cigarette smoke - uncomfortable. Noticing that somebody watches me eating - uncomfortable. 

Having to use a dirty public restroom - uncomfortable.

This is not what this post is about, though. We probably all think a visit to the dentist's or gynaecologist's office is not a walk in the park. Especially when you accidentally have a seat on his chair like I did that one time...

However, today we're talking BIG TIME uncomfortable like couldn't sleep all night or made my skin crawl. Here goes:

  1. When I was in my mid-20s I worked for a job agency, and I had a meticulous reputation to uphold. I only suggested candidates for a job whom I had interviewed and screened personally, and who I thought were an excellent match. Until the day our intern handed me a resume that was looking mighty good on paper. Gotta trust your coworkers, right? The candidate was currently working at his first real job, so I couldn't call for a reference check without outing him to be job hunting, so I only did so after my client offered him the job, and he gave notice at his current one. Ohmigod, what his boss had to say was unpleasant. That guy only got hired because his Dad was some big shot at the company. Everybody assumed he had a drug problem. He was late, he was unreliable, he tried to cover up his countless mistakes... They were glad he was leaving. Sh**!!! My contact person at the client's firm was on leave so I had to talk to his boss who wasn't very fond of job agencies to begin with. I was upfront and explained that I had to withdraw this candidate, and yes, I was aware that they already sent him a contract. I was gonna take care of it. I invited that young guy, and the minute he entered the office I knew I was doing the right thing. Had I interviewed him in the first place I would have told him there was nothing I could do for him. Now I had to tell him he didn't have a job, not the old one, not the new one.
  2. A couple of years later I had a job offer myself. I had been looking to switch sides for a while, and back then my pride prevented me from applying within my client companies. Anyway, the day I got the OK we had a team meeting, and to make matters worse, the CEO took part. I liked and respected him a lot, and I like to think it was mutual. We were discussing upcoming activities that were beyond my notice period, and I felt I had to play along for the duration of that meeting. I was so nervous that I was actually sick to my stomach. As soon as it was over I told them I quit. 
  3. When I was working for Starbucks the entire management spent two days in the Vienna, Austria market every month and visited existing stores and potential future locations, met with vendors and in my case job candidates. One interview took place in the store just next to the Austrian Support Center, and as we wrapped up the conversation, there was just enough time for a last cup of coffee before heading to the airport. As I was fumbling in my purse I couldn't find my wallet. I dumped the whole entire content of my purse on the table. Everything was there - except the wallet. F***! Not only was it a nice wallet, and was my cash gone - so were all of my credit and bank cards, and more importantly, my ID! How was I gonna board a plane to go back to Zurich, Switzerland? I just realized, I blogged about this before, so head over here if you want to find out if I made it.
  4. In a previous post I also told the story of my ex-boyfriend and I almost running out of gas at the Death Valley. The anxiety grew bigger when - against the info on the national park map - there was no gas station at the lodge. 
  5. On a different trip we ended up without a reservation and therefore without a hotel room one night in Tampa, FL - who knew that some college basketball finals would cause the city and the greater area to be fully booked?
  6. One day my husband and I inexplicably showed up at Newark instead of JFK airport for our flight back home. Imagine how our poor little hearts were pounding when we found out! Of course when it rains, it pours, and back then you needed cash for a taxi ride across town, and we had spent all of our dollars on our last day, and if you need an ATM you run through the whole entire airport, and there's a long line for the cabs, and there's rush hour...
  7. In this "last day tales" post there is also a mention of the incident about my not considering enough time (90 minutes) to change planes when booking flights with two different airlines, and we had to get our bags from a domestic terminal and check them in at the international terminal ourselves. At JFK.
  8. These were a lot of travel fails. Here's a completely different uncomfortable situation, it happened many years ago (I was probably 20) at Zurich Bahnhofstrasse (think 5th Avenue) when a stranger tried to touch me in broad daylight. I had no idea I had it in me, but I stopped half an inch before I punched him in the face, and I yelled at him "Don't EVER do that again! I HATE that! Understand? DON'T!" I was running on pure adrenaline, I could probably have given him a broken nose or something. After he ducked and ran off, I wasn't sure what would have happened if I had the same reaction in a dark alley, and the guy had a weapon? On the other hand it was good to know that I wouldn't freeze.
  9. 3 weeks before our departure for this latest trip I found out that we made a terrible mistake when booking our flights. Usually around here fall break starts the last week of September, and we were convinced that this was what the school's website said when we checked before booking. We were wrong, in 2016 the first day of fall break was Oct 3rd. We had booked non-refundable tickets for Sept 25. Damn!!! I went to see Colin's teacher, and it was our first meeting as he had only just started 3rd grade. While she was very understanding and supportive, she said it was not up to her to allow for him to miss a full week of class, we needed to ask for an exceptional leave in writing, and we should do so asap because school board meetings take place twice a month, and she was not sure when the next was going to happen. I had read about families in other cities leaving early or returning late without permission, and they got fined by the school. Amounts vary from several hundred to several thousand... Damn! Luckily it didn't take long and we got the green light.
  10. This one is the most recent one. During our trip I purchased a Darth Vader costume for Halloween. It didn't come with a light sword which is essential, as Colin explained. He bought it from is own money. USD 15 plus tax. As a joke I told him "you know you may get part of your money back if you dress up and hang out on the strip." We had witnessed grown-ups on Las Vegas Boulevard, dressed up as Olaf or Star Wars characters, who took your money if you wanted to have your picture taken with them. It sounded like a brilliant plan until a minute into his gig the light sword's switch broke. The next day we had to go back to the store to return it and get a new one. "Don't touch it till Halloween" hubby instructed him. I carefully packed it between layers of clothes for our flight back. Can you believe airport security inspected my checked bag and removed the toy? Apparently it qualified as hazardous material. I had to tell C who was heartbroken. "Those f****** took away my second sword!" he cried. Now we were going to replace it in Switzerland. For CHF 40.85 which is more or less the same amount in USD. Daylight robbery! Good thing I finished unpacking before leaving for the mall. The light sword appeared in the other bag! Phew...

So from the safety of your cozy living room this may have sounded pretty entertaining, right?  Your turn now - share an uncomfortable situation you got yourself into below in the comment section! If you're a blogger, please use the link-tool to submit your own post.

Better yet, join us for next week's Top Ten Challenge for our Halloween edition! Top Ten Things you (dis) like about Halloween, due Oct 27. Sign up for this event on Facebook!

The theme for the other week is gonna be Top Ten Clothing Items, (former, actual or on your wish list, accessories,...) and it posts November 3rd, sign up here

Friday, October 14, 2016

Use Your Words - Brick or Treat!

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 

Ugly cry ~ series of unfortunate events ~ spider web ~ magic ~ cat ~ hope

They were submitted by Climaxed - thanks, Jenniy

As you may know we were on a road trip earlier this month. We actually started out late in September in Denver where we explored the gorgeous downtown area. Note to self: must come back!

Can you believe the blue sky? When I was packing, word just got to me that there was some sudden snow coming down in Colorado, so this fantastic warm day was a pleasant surprise.

More than halfway on our way to Vail, CO I noticed that I must have left my credit card at one of the Starbucks stores on our way. 

This was one of a series of unfortunate events during our trip. The number of the Starbucks turned out to be a fax number, and in order to reach the correct person with my credit card company, I had to make a bunch of international phone calls. They were able to cancel it in time, though. Fortunately this girl has two credit cards. 

Jet-lagged we barely managed to stay awake during dinner in Vail, which is a pity because it's such a lovely village also during the off-season. 

Speaking of seasons, we had the most gorgeous day at Arches N.P. It definitely felt more like summer. Especially after a 45 minutes' hike up to Delicate Arch.

Bryce Canyon welcomed us with this gorgeous rainbow!

The next day somebody must have turned the switch over on us. We were lucky to see something at the first two vista points. 

After that? the thickest of fog! 

To add insult to injury, our car slowed down out of the blue and told us that it was time for an oil change. We were somewhere in the middle of nowhere. No clue, no phone reception.

A couple of miles later the "low tire pressure" symbol flashed up as well. What kind of rental company leaves a poorly maintained car to unsuspecting tourists? This is how I spent an hour in a forsaken muffler shop in Page, AZ.

A couple of days later, when I was just checking in at the hotel lobby in Tusayan (Grand Canyon Village), 

I heard an ugly cry, and as a Mom you know when it's your own child, so I dropped everything and raced toward the entrance where Colin came running in, screaming. He was holding his right hand in his left and wouldn't let me see. 

"I pinched my flip finger in the car door" he explained after a while, still wailing. 

Fortunately two days later he was able to bend it again. We'll see if the nail manages to stay on. It has become black.

As we were moving on toward Las Vegas we were driving on the I-40 which reminded me of the Disney Cars movie of which Colin was a huge fan when he was younger. We stopped in Seligman, AZ which is famous for being the birthplace of the historic Route 66. 

How cool! A Tow Mater knock-off, and a Sheriff, too! I was more excited than C. He seemed to have entered a pre-teenage phase and thought all those national parks and the Route 66 were boring.

Oh, and check out the other side of the road! The famous black cat cafe! Never heard of it, but guys, if it says it is famous, it is, right?

I had in mind that a small town called Peach Springs, AZ had been used as an inspiration for the fictional village "Radiator Springs" in the movie, so we made the little detour. Just as we arrived it began to rain. Also there was absolutely nothing to see. As I went back to the article I had read years ago, it turned out, that the only thing Peach Springs had in common with Radiator Springs was the distance between the Route 66 and the I-40. Duh.

Then Colin had to join us for yet another boring nature hike! Horseshoe Bay! isn't it gorgeous?

All was forgiven and forgotten when we arrived in fabulous Las Vegas, of course playing Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas" at full blast! 

It had to be at full blast because there was competition! Pat Benator was playing at an outdoor concert.

Colin LOVED Las Vegas! "Next time" he announced "we may skip the road trip and fly to Vegas directly!"

Moving on we let him decide whether to visit Disneyland or Legoland. I was very happy with his choice. It wasn't too crowded, and they did a nice job decorating. So in-between the rides (which I was sitting out cause I am not a Magic Mountain person), 

I enjoyed the Halloween decoration. Spider webs and skeletons, boo! And the witch with the black cat!

My personal favourite was the miniland, though! LEGO replicas of the great American landmarks. So, so cute!

Lombard Street fits onto a picture much better in its LEGO version!

Of course I insisted on driving all the way down to San Diego. My second home did not disappoint. We managed to squeeze in some shopping (someone came prepared and brought a book...)

Spent some quality time at Shelter Island,

and of course La Jolla Cove.

A trip through Southern California wouldn't be complete without visiting sports stadiums. According to Colin, that is. #99 Wayne, the great one, Gretzky AND Magic Johnson at the same time? Major win! Even though, to me, Wayne belong to Edmonton. But that's gonna be for another trip...

After this we drove up all the way to San Francisco where the Weather Gods were gracious enough not to hide the Golden Gate Bridge in the fog as they have done before! Thank you!

I hope you've enjoyed traveling with me! 

This is what I look like after doing laundry. Twice. Cause somebody not only spilled maple syrup on their pants, they also sat on bird poo. After almost running out of gas and sitting in traffic jam due to a ballgame we knew nothing about, hubby's clam chowder bread bowl that he ordered, never arrived. Until on the check. Gotta drink to that day!

Now go find out what my friends' words were, and what they did with them:                                                                                                  

Baking In A Tornado