Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Typical Tuesday

So in between medieval castle visits, nude beach picnics, and beer garden sit ins life is pretty normal Monday thru Friday here in Munich, Germany.  On MainlyMaren I talk mostly about the glamorous exciting side of international living but there is also a normal side that involves the majority of my week.

A Day In the Life of Maren:

-Every morning I wake up at 5:30 a.m.to get ready for my commute into work.  This trip involves a subway filled with charcoal suits and chic sharp dressers making my brightly colored casual wear stand out like a Floridian in a Boston airport.  Much different than my past commute driving by the soccer fields and THE country club.  

-Somethings do not change...On special occasions I stop for a cappuccino from the local bakery stand although nowadays it is not a Starbucks from my high school days.  

-I then spend the next 8 hours not teaching improper fractions but rather math concepts a few steps back, like say, what a number 7 looks like.  

-The highlight of Tuesdays is always after work when my friend and I grab a drink.  Usually in winter it involves a coffee shop but with the warmer weather the drinks are now a bit more tropical (and adult like). It is great to have girl time.
 -When we finish, I spend the next hour engaging in my latest read on the commuter train back home. For the record, this is the most I have ever read in my life.  Sometimes I can't wait to get on the train just so I can get back into my book. (Nerd alert...)  

-Husband usually spoils me with a hot dinner when I arrive at home. Poor guy...at least I'm still baking.
-Then I spend the next few hours talking to Husband, playing with the dog, watching old school American T.V, or pinning an unhealthy amount of pictures online.
-10:30 is bedtime but my mind doesn't stop running until around midnight after I have realized 8 hours of sleep is not a reality. Thus causing a special occasion cappuccino in the morning.

So this is a bit of the truth about living abroad.  Somethings stay the same on either side of the ocean and others provide new experiences.  It is now 9:45 p.m. Tuesday and I hear a bubble bath calling my name.

Happy Tuna Tuesday,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Wow.  As of today, Husband and I have made it through our very first year living abroad.  What a ride it has been!  Living in Germany has been quite a learning experience.  Some parts we are not ready to talk about... other stories have made our friends and family laugh... but all together these experiences, both bad and good, have been a part of a chance of a lifetime. We dreamed a crazy idea, took a chance, and had a leap of faith into a new adventure.  

Looking Back:
 We checked 5 suitcases moving to Munich.  
At DFW Airport the black and yellow bag was over 80 pounds.
 At the counter we had to pull out Husband's white t-shirts and leave them behind.
At the Munich airport, we accidentally walked out of baggage claim leaving our suitcases in the secure area.

We found Stubb's BBQ in Munich, Germany!
At nearly 10 Euros a bottle...we can get a taste of home.

The Alps are less than an hour from Munich.
Here we hiked to the top of the Olympic Ski Jump in Garmisch.

We lived 1 month in a furnished rental house.
Then we moved into our own apartment.
There we went 2 months living with only an air mattress, patio furniture, and the summer contents of 5 suitcases.
It took 3 months for our crate to FINALLY arrive from the U.S.A.

Day Trip to Innsbruck, Austria
It's truly amazing how many places are within a few hours of Munich.

Day Trip to Salzburg, Austria
The start of the magical Christmas Markets!
This originally was our Christmas card photo until our computer got sick.

We were able to fly home and spend two weeks with our friends and family.
Then we hoarded 80 pounds of chocolate chips and nyquil back to Germany.

Our first trip to Italy for my 29th Birthday!
Standing on top of Roman ruins with Verona in the background.

We took an Easter break trip to Venice, Italy.
There was no escaping the cold Munich weather, it snowed in Venice!

Shelby loves going to the lake and on long walks here in Munich.
She also likes the yummy sausages.
Shelby is still seeking a German BFF since leaving Lila Dog.

We got to play tour guide to some of our best friends.
The worst part about moving is leaving behind the people who know you best...
Hopefully they will come again!

Weekend Trip to Rothenburg, Germany for Husband's 29th!
One of our NEW favorite places in Germany.
THIS IS A MUST SEE for anyone who plans to visit.
A blog post with details coming soon!

Seeing the renaissance parade in Landshut, Germany that happens only every 4 years.
 The camera strap says it all...
There is so much more for us to see!

*A special thanks to my husband who worked so hard to get our dream to become a reality.  It took us nearly 9 months of researching, punching numbers, debating, and planning to make our move to Munich, Germany. All in the midst of wedding planning as well! I do NOT recommend the combo...to any couple out there.  You and me. Me and you.

ALSO...Thank YOU for taking interest in our journey.  It has been a pleasure sharing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Balcony Beauty

I am a patio girl. I will pick a restaurant not based on the food but the outdoor space. In fact, a couple of years ago Husband got frustrated when I insisted on a certain Mexican restaurant even after he had told me the food was awful. We ended up not going, but I was so disappointed in a beautiful patio space wasted. 
Great...now I'm craving Fuzzy's Tacos!

Going from a backyard in Texas to just a balcony in Germany was a challenge for me. Most people don't downgrade on the brink of 30. Sitting outside (in the shade!) is extremely is relaxing to me like a good glass of wine or a warm bubble bath. It is no surprise that here in Munich we owned a patio table and chairs BEFORE a couch, media stand, coffee table, dining table, or bathroom cabinets. Someday we will laugh at the memory of using a giant international moving box as a coffee table.... Don't worry, the box is gone now.
It was like playing Tetris trying to get into a chair...

Well in April, Husband convinced me our patio table and chairs were not right for our balcony.  At first, I was torn with the idea of getting rid of our table because we enjoy hosting dinner parties.  After moving the table and chairs around for a 10th awkward time, with Husband smirking at me from inside, I knew I had been defeated.  The set WAS too bulky for our outdoor space. After comparing six different lounge sets, each from a different store, we finally agreed on a smaller scale love seat, armchairs, and coffee table .
The BEST room in the whole house is outside! 

Looking back now I can't believe I was hesitant on getting a lounge set.  We absolutely love it!  Most evenings we sit outside to eat our dinner, share a dessert, or read our books by the candlelight. The best part is that the entire patio has been put together on a budget!!!
Rug-14 Euros (from the supermarket)
Purple Chrysanthemums- 2 Euros
Place mat- 1 Euro
Pillow- 5 Euros

Ikea Flower Pot- 2 Euros
Candles- .50 to 1 Euro
Petunias- 1 Euro on CLEARANCE!
Rosebush- 7 Euros on CLEARANCE, Regularly 18 Euros....

Torches- 1 Euro a piece!
Palm Tree- 5 Euros at a moving sale...

I originally wanted to decorate with a nautical theme but when I found the aqua flower pillow I changed my mind right there on the spot!  Just looking around our apartment I found a matching lime green pillow bought from Kohl's, also on Clearance, back in college.  It is truly amazing what random things will make it across the ocean in an international move...a pillow from college?! Wow.  I love how the lime green and aqua colors give our balcony a tropical feel.  It is a nice contrast living so close to the mountains!

The Patio Calls,

Monday, July 15, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up!

Husband and I enjoyed a lovely weekend here in Munich. Friday night we attended a BBQ with Husband's colleagues. Out of 20 or so people, only about 5 spoke English. I got a lot of Deutsch practice in that night, so much that I used it all up! Saturday Husband and I went to lunch and my brain would only give out English words to a very  confused German waiter.

The rest of Saturday looked like an episode of Leave it to the Beaver. I was a true June Cleaver in my A-line plaid dress, underneath a ruffled floral apron, serving Husband fresh squeezed lemonade. (Don't let that fool you, Husband has cooked just about every dinner over the past month.) I guess I was a bit over due for some kitchen time because I went a bit crazy in that apron.

First, I turned our browned bananas into ice cream. I wasn't sure of this idea when I saw it online but as Husband said "This is awesome." All I had to do was puree frozen bananas in my food processor. I added a tiny bit of honey for sweetness. You could also add peanut butter, Nutella, or strawberries. Next time I will add a dash of milk for a creamier texture.
Banana Ice Cream

Next, I turned some of our basil leaves into fresh pesto. We used it on our shrimp tortellini. I mixed 2 cups of basil, 1/4 cup of olive oil, a bit of Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in the food processor.  I don't think we will ever spend money on the jarred stuff again. This was way too easy! *Kicking myself for not doing this sooner...
Pesto is the Besto!

The last splurge was a summertime treat, Key lime Cupcakes. Again, I found a recipe online and wanted to test it out before serving them at a party. Remember what happened with the jello cookies? Luckily, this recipe was the real deal and delicious. I highly recommend you whip up a batch of these babies asap. Mmm...
Key Lime Cupcakes!

Sunday, Husband and I drove an hour to another Bavarian town called Landshut. Every four years the entire town participates in a renaissance parade. It originally started as a celebration of the King's marriage and is still a top tradition to this modern day. The entire parade lasts for nearly two hours and people line the streets hours beforehand to get the perfect spot. We loved the costumes, old age instruments, acrobats, horses, knights, singing, and crowd participation yelling "HALLOoooo!"

We are loving the summertime and are hard at work making the most of it. Are you out creating new memories?  I would love to hear!

It's Been Real Swell,

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Munich in Four Days

Last month two of my best friends and their husbands came to visit us in Munich, Germany.  We had a wonderful visit and it went by way too quickly!  

Unfortunately, our friends came right in the middle of an unusually long, cold and rainy springtime.  There has been so much rain in fact that there have been floodings, declared state of emergencies, and story coverage in international news. So the original "Munich in Four Days" plan was thrown out the window and a new "Munich in Four Rainy Days" plan was enacted.  

Yes, we did go to the most popular tourist spots in Munich but with only four days and a group of first timers, I thought these places were crucial to see.  It is not easy for Americans to make their way to Europe and so sometimes getting off the beaten path is not the best option.  There is a reason why certain places are packed with tourists and on the top of the Must See lists.  Here is what we packed into our four day tour of Munich:

So there ya have it.  Our jam packed, rainy, crash course of what is Munich, Germany. There are many hidden jewels to this city and surrounding areas that we did not get a chance to see, but hey, there is always 2014! Right guys, riiiiight?

Your Munich Travel Agent,
P.S. Husband and I regret to inform any potentially new visitors that the two of us will sit out on another tour of the Residenz.  Two times in two years is enough for us.  We will however, gladly wait for you in a biergarten as you tour the once Bavarian royal palace.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer Lovin'

The rain has finally stopped after what felt like months and summer might officially be here in Munich. Although, come to think of it, I haven't checked the 5 day forecast...  This weekend was the most beautiful two days the year has seen.  It felt like California and I have loved it!

With the gorgeous weather I was feeling inspired by summertime.  I decided to create a neon wreath since bright colors seem to be everywhere right now.  Are you embracing this trend? I myself, just bought bright orange pants and a couple of new colorful shirts.

Any-who-da-loo, here is my lastest "Summer Lovin' " Wreath:

And in celebration of July 4th, a summer patriotic piece:

Overdue, didn't blog for a month, springtime wreath:

With the start of July it is already time to start thinking about Christmas Markets.  I'm hoping to participate in one or two this upcoming season.  I will keep you posted on any news!

Here is a picture from my very first Christmas market last year:

Tis' the Season,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 4th in Europe

July 4th, America's Independence Day, has always been one of my favorite holidays.  My family has many special memories spending the day at the lake each year right in the heart of Central Texas.  There my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and family get together  to swim, bar-b-que, shoot off fireworks, and... put out the occasional Hill County grass fire.  
NO fires this year, right guys?! 
We also have a great tradition of a Homemade Ice Cream Contest.  The competition is pretty fierce and the smack talking starts around Christmastime.  Anyone from Grandpa to second cousins can enter the contest. It doesn't matter if you use a 100 year old hand crank or a modern Cuisinart just as long the ice cream is made by you.  
There are usually around 10 different flavors to try.  Some flavors are traditional like vanilla, an all time favorite like peach, or a flavor as off the wall as rose petal ice cream.  
2011 Winning Flavor

Each year one winner is chosen.  The winner is passed on the vintage ice cream scoop trophy and their name is added underneath the base.  There is a ceremony to present the trophy to the winner that gives the Academy Awards a run for their money.  It's a BIG. DEAL.
Winners 2011!
Living in Germany and celebrating July 4th is going to be very different for Husband and I.  The day will be treated like any other day here; we both will go to work and not too many commuters will even give the American Independence Day a thought in their mind.  I, of course, will still dress for the occasion in the patriotic red, white, and blue.  

All this week my international school has been preparing for July 4th.  Just today I got to hear my British and German colleagues singing and yes, tearing up, over the Star Spangled Banner. How cool is that?!  It has been a really nice experience celebrating other cultures and holidays throughout the school year. Now it is my turn to teach others about my background.

Oh and family, we will be back someday and you better believe that trophy is coming home with me.

Happy Birthday America,