Outfits: Style the Bump #3 (EN)

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Yes it’s style the bump #3 with mommy-to-be #3 on our blog!
Let me be honest… so far I am not really impressed with the maternity collections of the major brands like H&M, x, y and z. Even in a City like NYC the selection is very very small and poor.
What I have been doing over the last weeks was simply trying to wear what my standard wardrobe has to offer and I have been on the hunt for affordable loose and stretchy dresses or pants.

Long shirt: COS (available in stores) // Pants: H&M (available in stores)// Sneakers: Acne Studios (here) // Shades: Oliver Peoples

Dress: Zara (here) // Shoes: Steve Madden // Bag: Chloe Marcie (size: small) // Shades: Ray Ban Aviator

Dress: DvF (wrap dress) // Shoes: Tory Burch (similar: here) // Shades: MiuMiu

Dress: Topshop (here) // Shoes: Manol0 Blahnik // Bag: Mansur Gavriel Bucket Bag (size: mini mini) // Shades: Oliver Peoples

Dress: H&M (available in stores) // Shoes: Tory Burch (similar: here) // Shades: Oliver Peoples

Posted by Meng

 

DIY: Kids’ Movie Night NY Style (EN)

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This week for most pre-schools and schools in the US the school year has officially ended and the summer break of 10-12 weeks has started.

To celebrate the end of the school year and to kick off the summer we have been invited by friends to join for a kids’ movie night. And yes people here love to celebrate and there are many occasions to do so!

It was a spontaneous invitation which turned out to be genius!!! The “little” cute backyard (spacious and generally rare for Manhattan) of our friends’ town house was turned into a relaxing chill out zone for the parents on the one side and the other side of the backyard was the movie zone for the kids. Since the gender ratio was not quite balanced this evening (6 boys vs 1 girl) the movie “CARS” was picked out and I was happy that I didn’t have to watch “Frozen”.

To warm up the kids for the movie they could paint their own “cars” made out of cardboards. To be honest this was the best idea of the evening. So simple but extremely effective! All kids were highly motivated to paint and to decorate their car(dboard)s. They were allowed to take blankets, pillows and of course “drinks” with popcorn into their OWN car(dboard)s. So there was not one single fight about mine or yours or running around!

Once the movie started we all had our glass of wine (orange juice for me) in our hand and peace of mind with 7 happy kids!

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Posted by Meng

 

Green Glam – Favorite Non-Toxic Beauty Brands (EN)

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Like most people I find products appealing when they are described with the words: “organic”, “all natural”, “healthy” or “infused with natural essences”. However, when it comes to beauty products I have been disappointed so many times either because the ingredients don’t live up to its promise or the ingredients are indeed very natural but the product itself was not appealing or simply not performing….
I don’t just want green but green glam!
Having said that below are my current three favorite organic beauty brands (green heros) which I truly adore. These products are not only organic but do also perform. All three lines are absolutely contemporary and mirror the philosophy of the founders who wanted to create something non-toxic but with no compromises on performance or design.

RMS Beauty: The first time I heard about this brand was because of their cult product “living luminizer”. A beautiful sheer and glowing highlighter with a satin-pearl finish. The best about it that it only contains five ingredients: castor seed oil, coconut oil, beeswax, rosemary extract, and mica. For me the whole product/color range is beautiful and elegant as created by a professional makeup artist Rose-Marie Swift.
http://www.rmsbeauty.com

Kjaer Weis: another very luxury organic makeup brand that was created by a professional makeup artist. All products are encased in a high-end metal packaging which are designed to be refillable. The color selection is stunning and I do especially like the cheek colors/cream blushes and the lip tints from this line.
https://kjaerweis.com

ILIA Beauty:  started their business back in 2011 with a collection of 6 tinted lip conditioners ILIA Beauty is my absolute favorite organic beauty brand because of its gorgeous lip products, color selection and great performance.  I truly like everything in this line. You simply need to try!
https://iliabeauty.com

Since I have been talking about beauty brands, I thought I also put a nail polish brand into this round.
Zoya: I guess a nail polish can not be entirely natural but the nail polishes from Zoya won’t contain toxic ingredients as toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin and dibutyl phthalate. For me Zoya polishes definitely perform as good as other mainstream brands and the color selection is amazing.
http://www.zoya.com

 

 

Products shown on the pictures (RMS/Lip Shine “sacred”,Kjaer Weis/Highlighter, ILIA/Multi-stick “Tenderly”)

posted by Meng

 

Vacation in the Wild Wild West (EN)

My husband has been claiming that he could stand on skis before he could walk as he grew up in the German Alps where skiing is probably in the DNA. Me? Let me put it this way: I am a beach person but I don’t mind skiing.

As such, every winter season he is drawn to go back to the mountains and to go skiing. This winter both of us were thrilled about our ski vacation as it was a first in many ways: skiing in the US, signing up Philipp for ski school, taking a plane for a ski vacation with a toddler. All the “firsts” made me actually nervous! Well, the only “first” that made me really nervous was to put Philipp into ski school. I had all these questions in my mind: will he stay in the school without us (and if not, one of us cannot go skiing), will he get hurt, are the instructors nice, will he like skiing, is he too young to start skiing?? However  I was pretty alone with my questions. My husband was confident that Philipp will love skiing because it is in his genes… What else!

The direct flight to Jackson Hole, Wyoming takes approx. 5hours and there is a time difference of 2 hours to NYC. Packing for a ski vacation requires discipline if you take the plane. There are helmets and ski boots you cannot just throw in the back of a car. On top we had our special bag filled with books, toys and a lot of snacks to keep Philipp happy on the plane. The flight went really smooth until we experienced a quite rough landing with a full braking. While we were concerned about the lack of skills of the pilot the stewardess apologized for the landing with the fact that the runway is extremely short. Thanks to the short runway and the physique of a toddler stomach Philipp threw up at the baggage claim…Mental note: short runway = less snacks for Philipp.

Now to Jackson Hole, also known as “The Big One”. Frequently ranked as the best ski spot in the US by major ski magazines. After spending couple of days let me tell you why this place became near and dear to our heart:

Landscape/Scenery: Jackson Hole as a part of the Grand Teton National Park is the valley floor between the Teton Mountain and the Snake River.  A national ELK refuge (home to 10k – 15k elks every winter) and the Yellowstone National Park is only a couple of miles away. A spectacular scenery that I only knew from the Western movies and it impressed me from the first second after landing. On our way from the airport to our hotel in Teton village we could spot an elk herd which made us forget all the hassle with traveling. Another highlight apart from skiing would be the Western town of Jackson. This is the perfect spot to experience the wild wild west.

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Skiing: the mountain ski resort is known for its beyond-expert terrain. You could do backcountry skiing, heli skiing, cat skiing or free riding and much more. A paradise for professionals and experts. However, the rest of the resort is well rounded but definitely with more terrains for intermediate-experts than for beginners.
Trail map: http://www.jacksonhole.com/maps/mountain-winter.html

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People/Hospitality: people here are friendly and extremely family-friendly. It doesn’t matter where you are, on the ski lift, gondola, restaurant, store or in the bus. Locals and tourists we met all the way were nice, supportive, curious and chatty. They are curious about how your day was, where you are from, if you like skiing here… the daily chit chat. As Germans we are not good in chit chats but after 1-2 days we went with the flow and we would learn: the names of the mountains, that Jackson Hole is even more busy in the summer season, all the activities to do in the summer, the best places to spot wildlife. Or you might just chat in the bus with the guy who serves the waffles on the peak and who told us that he never locks the door when he leaves home… because it is just that safe!

Kids Ski school/Daycare: 3 years old and completely potty trained Philipp was qualified to join the ski school (full day: 9.15am to 3pm)! Dropping him off on the first day was a bit like his first day at daycare/pre school. We were more nervous than he was. It felt overwhelming with all the other kids and their parents getting ready for the snow at 9.15am sharp. But very soon we noticed that everything is perfectly organized and the instructors are top notch! One of our best experience in Jackson Hole. For parents with kids under 3 years the ski school offers daycare starting from the age of 6 months.

Logistics: We stayed as most people in Teton village and this village is perfectly set up to take your skis in the morning, drop off the kids in ski school and go to the tram/gondola/ski lifts to ski. Everything is within walking distance 5/10mins (with ski boots). Along the way you will find all kind of ski clothing/rental stores and also a grocery store in case you need more supply. And to make sure you can share your epic ski pictures with the outside world there is free wifi everywhere. Perfection!

Mountain hosts: The concept of mountain hosts was totally new to us and we loved it! You will meet them literally everywhere. In the morning on your way to the gondola, in the gondola sitting next to you, on the slopes or at the ski school. Wearing their red ski jackets they are easy to spot (Baywatch in the mountains). Their job: being friendly, give you guidance in case needed, help you with the skis or just some chit chat. In our case doing their job included to carry Philipp the way to the ski school when he refused to walk while I was fully packed with ski equipment. Lifesaver!

It was definitely one of our best vacation experience EVER and we will come back … even it is only because of the mountain hosts.

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Places to EAT:

Corbet’s cabin (Teton Village/Top of the tram): A spectacular place to serve waffles and only waffles but a classic if you are not scared of the heights.
http://www.jacksonhole.com/waffles.html

The Alpenhof (Teton Village): if you are craving for German/Austrian food in the mountains this is the place to go. They will serve all the classics from raclette to sauerbraten.
http://www.alpenhoflodge.com

The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar (Jackson): a landmark in Jackson and the perfect place to experience the wild west atmosphere where you can play pool and have a good steak.
http://www.milliondollarcowboybar.com

The Kitchen (Jackson): Jackson Hole was more to offer than Western style. The Kitchen serves top notch modern cuisine surrounded by clean and modern interior.
http://www.thekitchenjacksonhole.com

Posted by Meng

Outfit: Favorite All Season Dress

An outfit with one of mine absolute favorite dresses. It’s the most versatile dress I currently own. It can be easily dressed up or down depending on your need. It can be worn basically all season with flats, heels, booties or overknee boots. Below is one option with belt and overknee boots.

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Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetCoat: Massimo Dutti //Dress: Diane von Furstenberg // Overknee boots: Stuart Weizman // Hat: Biltmore

Posted by Meng

“Frozen”…Winter Skincare (EN)

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While Jule is experiencing her first “winter” (and she is lucky because this one is so mild … except for blizzard Jonas) in NYC for me it’s the second. My first winter here was brutal! I was literally shock frozen mentally and physically by how extremely cold and windy it can get. It was a torture for the skin! Dry patches on my face, cracked lips and chapped hands…I guess like most of us when the weather conditions are harsh.

Anyway…below are some of my favorite winter skincare products.

Face:
I don’t have many specific face creams that I would only use in the winter. Most of the time I would simply add two products into my routine.  A base before my moisturizer and a face oil when I feel that my moisturizer becomes to lightweight in the colder months (you can do the same with body creams by adding oil).

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel: My base. I love this clean and simple product with it’s key ingredient hyaluronic acid which helps to bind moisture to the skin. In addition, this product is enriched with vitamin B5 which suppose to maximize the benefit of the daily moisturizer. My skin feels heavenly hydrated after the application. However, this product does not replace a moisturizer!!
http://www.skinceuticals.com

Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil: Face oils. I truly think that everyone should have one! You just have to find the right one depending on your skin type. My current favorite is the Seaberry face oil. It’s super lightweight and a pure blend of some very good antioxidant-rich oils. It absorbs quickly into the skin without feeling greasy. I use this alone in the night or mixed it in to a moisturizer (1-2 drops) in the morning. Seaberry in the name refers to sea buckthorn oil which has been knowing for its healing property e.g. in the Chinese medicine for a long time.
https://www.fresh.com/US/serum/seaberry-moisturizing-face-oil/h00002664.html/H00002664.html

General advise: Try to use a gentler cleanser that is more hydrating (e.g cleansing milk or oil) rather than using cleanser with a foam formulation.

Hands:
Dr. Hauschka Hydrating Hand Cream:
 I haven’t quite found the ultimate perfect hand cream for very harsh winter conditions which is very nourishing but not greasy and only contains good ingredients (no silicones, no parabens or paraffin based). However, this one from Dr. Hauschka is a great one. It has a nice rich texture without being too thick and absorbs quickly into the skin. The scent is very herbal which might not be everyone’s cup of tea.
https://www.dr.hauschka.com/en_US/natural-skin-care-products/hydrating-hand-cream/

Lips:
Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm: Definitely one of my favorite lip balms especially for the colder months. When you tend to have dry and cracked lips try this one. It contains a lot of great ingredients e.g. shea butter, almond oil, honey derivates. The texture is thick but not sticky. The lips will feel hydrated and nourished right after the application. The finish is surprisingly more matt and not glossy. One cons: not a fan of the jar packaging.
https://us.nuxe.com/

Weleda Cold Cream:  This cream was my life saver during my last winter. I would use it for face and hands when I didn’t had time to fuss around. It can be used alone or on the top of your moisturizer depending on your needs. An allround product which is ideal if you don’t want to add x, y and z products to your daily routine.
Conventional moisturizers usually combine waxes with water and oils. The wax would help to seal moisture in the skin. This cold cream is enriched with almond oil to nourish the skin and it contains beeswax to seal the moisture. I love the natural ingredients (free of petroleum). An all time favorite.
http://usa.weleda.com/our-products/shop/cold-cream.aspx

I also want to quickly add Jule’s and Bo’s favorite product for outdoor in the colder months:
Weleda Wind und Wetterbalsam: the prove that if something is good for baby skin it can not be wrong for mommy’s skin as well. A product that is well know in Germany but unfortunately not available in the US.
http://www.weleda.de/produkt/c/calendula-wind-und-wetterbalsam

Please let me know if you have any winter skincare holy grails!

posted by Meng

 

 

 

 

 

 

Never too Cold for the Beach – Rhode Island (EN)

This is our first blog post after a very long Christmas break and we hope that everyone had a great start into 2016!

My little family and me had a very smooth and relaxing start into the new year as we spent the last couple of days of 2015 at the ocean side on Rhode Island.  Rhode Island, a beautiful part of New England with (650 km) 400 miles of coastline and fully packed with historical landmarks.

This whole trip was not planned and was based on a very spontaneous decision after spending Christmas Eve at 21c (70F) in The City. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with 21c (70F) and personally I do prefer hot weather over cold weather. But it just felt very strange to see people wearing T-shirts doing their last minute Christmas shopping.

We came up with Rhode Island because it has been on our “place to go” list but we never made it there in the summer because the Hamptons are closer and were too tempting with its white sand beaches. So why not go there in the winter and experience an off-season vacation…

After only 2.5 hours car drive we arrived at our oceanfront hotel. The first thing we did: a long beach walk. Well equipped with warm clothes and heavy coats and we were amazed by the beauty of the sandy shores and the charm of New England even though it was cold and chilly.  The saying “it’s not too cold, you are just wearing the wrong clothing” couldn’t be more true.

 

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However, when the temperatures are between 2~7c (36-45F), the time we could spend at the beach were limited. But there are plenty different things to do and see as Rhode Island is rich in history and has quite a few colonial towns to visit.

For the next 4 days we basically had the same routine:

  • Breakfast with an ocean view
  • Beach walk
  • Visiting one of the colonial towns
  • Lots of seafood for dinner

Our conclusion after these couple of very relaxing days… Rhode Island we hope to see you again in 2016.

(Side note: one thing that made me especially happy when I was packing for our trip…no more diapers and endless wipes for my son who finished potty training couple weeks ago… what a milestone.)

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Our Highlights:

Newport:  a seaside city with a beautiful old town. Known for its history and mansions (e.g. The Breakers – the summer “cottage” of the Vanderbilt family) with great shopping and dinning options.

Mystic: smaller and more cozy than Newport. The large maritime Museum is worth to visit (Philipp was very impressed by the historical sailing ships).

Mystic Aquarium: during our short trip we had one day with rain. Perfect day to go to the aquarium.

 

Places to Eat:

Ocean House (Watch Hill)
http://www.oceanhouseri.com

Red Parrot (Newport)
http://www.redparrotrestaurant.com

The Mooring (Newport)
http://www.mooringrestaurant.com

Oysterclub (Mystic)
http://www.oysterclubct.com

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posted by Meng