Goodbyes and Hellos.

Farewell my friend - I'll miss you!
Well - this is it. I leave in the morning and begin my long drawn out journey home. Several of you have if I will continue to blog once I get back to the states. The answer is YES. The excitement doesn't end in Germany, and if anything life will be even MORE interesting when I get home. Here are some hints: travel (duh), celebrities (what?), 50's Glamour (now I'm baffled) and of course random and awkward moments. Those are the best ones -right? 

The farewell of Fifi has officially occurred. Here is the story (complete with visual aids):

Meet Ms. Ann. This is where I went into her office pharmacy,  and was telling her that I have a blog and write stories about a bike named Fifi. She's nodding her head in this photo and thinking to herself - "Why is she telling me all of this? The girl is kuh-razy. But hey, I'm obviously not in trouble".

I ask her if she would like to be FIFI's new owner. She accepts after I explain  there are no rules with Fifi (she was afraid that she would have to set-up and maintain a blog). We set up a 'MEET and GREET' for the next day. 

The next day Ann tells me she read my blog and read the several stories about Fifi and her antics. She couldn't get over how big of a deal this is and is very EXCITED to take her. 

Ms. Ann gathers up the POSSE and they head outside for the big introduction.

The initial meet and greet. "Look at all of her stickers!" she exclaims. I point out the special ones sent by readers and give her the low-down on Fifi's behavioral problems (bent basket, crooked kick stand, creaking noises). Yes - there is a crock pot in Fifi's basket. It was a packaged deal......

On she goes - and it's a perfect match. Try to ignore the Bio-Hazard sign in the background.

Not missing a photo op, all of the girls joined in the fun  and Ms. Ann exclaimed she would email me photos so I can share her stories with my readers later on. See.........this hand off works out perfectly for everyone. Ms. Ann gets a bike, I don't feel guilty, Fifi gets to stay in Europe and the readers will still get the occasional update. Perfect!

Thank you Ann!! Please be kind to my faux friend, we've had an adventure of a lifetime and I will miss her.

Fifi and I had our LAST ADVENTURE yesterday and exchanged out goodbyes. As luck would have it I just  ripped the cord right out of my media card reader and now can not upload any photos. Wow. This will be my 6th card reader is 6 months. So even though I've shared the farewell posting with you (only because I had these pics uploaded) - my last adventure with Fifi will be posted next week. Out of sequence obviously, but still a good post. 

More friends I had to say goodbye to.....
And as sad as it is to say GOODBYE, there are also HELLO'S waiting for me on the other end. Mr. C, friends and family are anxiously awaiting my arrival - and just in time for the holidays.

Farewell Germany, you've been good to me.


POSTCARDS! Such amazing friends

3 new postcards showed up in the mail:

The lovely Ms. K from Love, Lipstick and Pearls sent this postcard to me from Imperial Valley, Niland California. This mountain is actually 'painted'. Could you imagine how much work that would be? There are also caves and gardens made from clay - so it gives off a very Alice in Wonderland feeling. I want to visit!!! Thanks Ms. K - you're are one of my original followers and initial giveaway winner. Thank you for your lovely comments, support and blog love.
Ms. Luan from Green Tea and Cupcakes surprised me with this cheery Kangaroo and Koala postcard from Australia. Ms Luan is also one of my original followers (maybe even my 2nd.....) and has been a truly wonderful blogging friend. Thank you so much for this postcard -  it made my day. PLUS, MR. C and I have an inside joke about koala bears, so this was perfect.

My new friend Marie sent me this gorgeous postcard all the way from Cape Town South Africa. After reading her blog and seeing her photos, I would LOVE to visit this gorgeous city. Waterfalls, French flair and gorgeous beaches put this amazing city on my list! Timing couldn't have been more perfect. Her postcard arrived at work yesterday, any later and I never would have received it. Thanks Marie for letting me carry a postcard home from work instead of nothing - receiving mail here has always been so important. Confession: Marie! I'm having a blonde moment and can not find your blog. Will you please post the current blog address in the comments?

As I'm packing up my things, I can't help but notice how many postcards I am taking down. 68 to be exact! 68!!

I was thinking my time here in Germany has flown by, but reading the cards left me realizing just HOW LONG I've actually been here. Between 12-hour work days and extensive travel, the deployment has become one big BLUR. I'm so grateful for the photos I've taken and the blog stories I've written, otherwise all of the of the details would have become lost and jumbled.

Thank you everyone for the lovely postcards you sent my way, as well as the stickers for Fifi, note cards and well wishes. I'm down to DAY 3, let's see what trouble adventures I can find before I leave.


Adventures with Fifi - the last daysFarewell Fifi - you're on your own.
Creepy and Spooky Germany - just in time for Halloween 
Farewell Germany, you've been good to me

Puppet Party. Bad Krueznach - Day 2.

What??? A Puppet Party? I'm sure you're wondering what I could possibly be referring to. Here's the story:

While visiting Bad Krueznach, I decided to do something beyond my traditional shopping expedition at H&M. What could compete with H&M?

Well..... since I loved the town so much, I wanted to learn more about it. I bought a museum pass and visited all 3 museums! SHOCKER - I know. I trekked through the most gorgeous parks to get there and these are the 3 museums I visited:

1. A gorgeous MANSION from the 1800's, complete with family photos and household items. YAWN.

2. ROMAN RUINS excavated from the nearby town and exhibited in a gorgeous building. BORING.

3. The Puppet Museum. AWESOME!!! I couldn't get over how much fun this museum was, and it was absolutely fascinating to see how much work was involved with creating the various styles of puppets. It was very interactive, so I jumped right in and played along with the kids.

As always - the trip in photos:

I couldn't resist........
This was so much fun!! I'm sparing you too........I really have 6 different photos with these masks.

Remember these types of puppet shows?

Here is a peak at the backside. Simple stuff, right?

The creation process of a puppet head. Styrofoam - check. Cardboard - check. Newspaper and glue - check.

Add some artistic flair - and you can end up with this. Pretty creative, right?

Cool puppets from Morocco. I wonder what their show would be about? Snake charming and magic carpets?

These ones kill you while you're sleeping.

Remember Punch and Judy? These were made from the same artist.

Casual outfit for day 2 in Bad Krueznach. Doesn't my hand holding the camera look GIANT? Hat, bag, gloves, tank and scarf - H&M. Ratty black zip-up:North Face. Green lesbian-esque hiker pants:North Face. I make fun of these pants, but I love them. They are lightweight, convert to capris for warm weather, dry in 5 minutes and are wrinkle free. Not the cutest - but oh so practical and perfect for traveling.
See this water bottle? It has been a lifesaver in Germany. Mr C. sent this to me from the States and it has a built-in water filter. Perfect for filling up in the restroom sinks. Water here is EXPENSIVE and hard to find. More often than not, it's carbonated (which is great with a meal) - but it doesn't quench your thirst if parched. Not to mention you feel like a bloated cow after drinking it. If you're a water drinker and traveling in Europe - this bottle is a MUST HAVE. (Brita) 

So not to mislead you........I did still go to H&M (I couldn't's European H&M - I HAVE to go). Lucky me, all of their pretty undergarments were on sale. Whoo-hoo!! Now if I could only figure how to shove all of this stuff in my suitcase. Oh well, I guess I'll have to buy another trunk.......

5 days left!!!!


Hello Kittens!The countdown has officially started. I have 6 days left in Germany. 6!!! So where have I been for the last 2 days?? I slipped away to visit Bad Krueznach again (the Roman Spa town).

I didn't take FIFI this time due to our pending break-up the cold weather and the walking-friendly nature of the city. Remember Zohan the Turkish hairstylist that owns a Paul Mitchell salon? He did such a great job with my hair that I travelled again just so I would have good hair for Mr. C next week.

As always.... here is a VISUAL TOUR of Bad Krueznach, Hot Pink Combat Boot's style: (read: thoughtful and witty dictations):

FUH-REEZING at the train station. See my 'To-Go' cup? It screams, "Hi, I'm an AMERICAN". German's sit and drink their hot beverages (along with 10 cigarettes). I couldn't help it - it was soooooo cold. Stupid train was 25 minutes late. See the CREEPER in the back? His smelly cigartette kept wafting in my direction. Pew.

I checked into my hotel and they had these great FALL displays all over the lobby and restaurant. Glass cylinders full of squash, branches, chestnuts and random mish-mash. Loved it - such a simple display of the season.
I had my hair bleach by Zohan, but he did such a MASSIVE blow-out, that I looked like a SOCCER MOM with short-BIG-hair. Thus the hat. Actually, I noticed my hair is BREAKING OFF, so it's now a HAT WEEKEND until I can get home and put deep conditioner on it. 

See what a difference a faux-fur stole does to the jacket? It's like - voila: instant GLAM! I am now off to explore new parts of the city. (stole, scarf, jacket, tank top, gloves, hat: H&M - told you I have an H&M shopping problem.....)

I went for a stroll and saw this beautiful park. Aren't the colors gorgeous? The leaves were falling as I walked under the trees.

For those in the know, I"m OBSESSED with chalkboard art and signs. I love the artwork on the windows too. Isn't this a cool restaurant? I've been practicing my chalkboard skills thanks to my IPAD app. When I get home to the States I have BIG PLANS to use this type of art on many different surfaces.
So here is the BIG STORY: meet Gisella (sp?)

I was starving and went to a random hotel restaurant for lunch. The one staff member did not speak English and my charades were not getting my anywhere. I hear a voice behind me and Gisella says......"I speak English, what do you need?" When I explained I wanted to sit and eat lunch, she said "Would you like to sit with me?"  and I said "yes, of course - thank you so much". ( I suppose that basic part of the conversation was unecessary to add - but it was so nice to hear that I'm adding it anyways).

She then translated the menu and ordered for me since 'Mr. Wolfgang-Waiter' had ZERO English skills.  We continued on with a fantastic conversation, and had the BEST TIME. She too was visiting and doing the famous Radon-Therapy treatments (google it - it's pretty cool) that are only available in Bad Krueznach.

Come to find out....... her daughter Julia is an architect and lives in SEATTLE. Seriously?!! What are the odds of that? Gisella graciously gave me her daughters phone number so I could call her when I get to the states (which I will do for sure). Such a small world.....Traveling alone is a mixed blessing. On the plus side, it's nice to be able to do what you want, but it can be lonely- especially when it comes to meal time. It was such a small gesture to invite me to her table, but I appreciated it so much. It truly made my entire trip memorable!

This is just DAY 1 of 2. Crazy, right? I have the best luck with my get-away trips.

Bad Krueznach - day 2
Farewell to FIFI - the hand off
I have so much CRAP. Seriously.
Farewell Germany. You've been good to me.


The Elusive Caramel Apple. Have you seen it?

Truth be told, one of my FAVORITE fall treats is a delicious caramel apple. (BONUS: rolled in toasted nuts). This is my classic October treat, and I've been known to throw back quite a few in a 1-month period. Lucky for me, Washington is known for their delicious apples and finding a good caramel one is not very difficult.

Do you know what other country is known for Apples? Yep - you guessed it, GERMANY! From products like apple wine, schnapps or apple struedel, you can find a perfectly crisp apple anywhere.
German Apples
DILEMMA: There are ZERO caramel apples in Germany. I mean, I'm sure there's one 'somewhere' - but they're not easy to find and one has most certainly not crossed my path. Trust me, I've looked. I've scoured festivals, grocery stores, shops, street vendors and special events. Sure, there's the occasional chocolate covered one, but where's the caramel hiding?

I might need to find a substitute for my traditional 'heaven on a stick' treat, and right now it's beginning to look like Apfel Struedel Apple Strudel (which is so much fattening....). So tell me - what is your favorite fall treat? Hot Apple cider? Baked acorn squash? Homemade soup? Do tell......

I found a young Airman named Anne. She just arrived here from California and wants a bicycle.........but can't really afford to buy one. PERFECT!

She doesn't know I'm giving Fifi to her, so I'll surprise her next week at my going away party (I'm having 3 of them!). Don't worry, there will be photos of the hand-off. I'm excited for her to be the new owner, and think this will be perfect for everyone. Thank you blogging friends for all of the condolences, you are all so SWEET and SUPPORTIVE!


Sad News.....poor FIFI

Over the last 10 months, my blog has been a blend of many things - but mostly about traveling, fashion trends, and a teeny bit about my H&M shopping problem. It's hard to believe my time is coming to an end. On one hand I am excited to return home, but on the other it's a bit nerve wracking since it marks the beginning of change. AGAIN.

Over the last 5 years, I have experienced a MAJOR life change every 6 months or so. Between friendships, travel, relationships, career moves (both sucesses and failures in every category) - my life has been anything but routine. So here I am again, RIGHT ON TIME for my next 6 month life change.

On one hand you WANT to know what lays ahead of you, but on the other hand that is the beauty of life. The surprises, the unexpected and the gifts of the unknown............ isn't that what keeps us moving forward?


Being silly at the fountain
(Backdrop story for new readers.....) When I first arrived in Germany I bought a bike and named her Fifi. I decorated her with travel stickers, and her and I traveled Europe via the rail system. She was my beacon of independence and fun, and occassionallyy I would write stories of her antics and crap behavior. Even fellow bloggers joined in on the fun and sent Fifi stickers.

So......I'm sad to say that I don't have room for Fifi, so she will be staying behind in Germany. Granted we had our ups and downs (read: temper tantrums and hissy fits), but we came to an agreement and she has been on her best behavior the last 2 months. It's almost as if she knew our days were drawing to an end.....

I don't feel right about selling her, so I've been on the scout for a new owner that I could GIVE her to. Any suggestions or ideas? Any readers in Germany interested in taking care of her?

Hanging out with Beaten Betty's boy bike in the basement. Hey...maybe that's why she started acting better. So typical.

Patiently waiting as I finish my brew. See how naked she looks without her stickers?

Rain or shine - we went to H&M!
In retrospect, I could have written an entire blog dedicated to Fifi. The challenge is that the postings are 'creative writing', and if you're not feeling creative.... well, you're kind of stuck. Fifi is not my alter-ego, instead she was/is more of the quiet friend I wished I had. When you're constantly surrounded by people and living in a dorm room, you really need to 'get away' to keep your sanity. Fifi was that escape, and I will miss her when I go.

OMG - I'm tearing up over a bicycle - this is so lame. Signing off.



What could be better than a European Flea Market? A 2-day flea market in a non-touristy town like Ghent Belgium! This was the ultimate shopping experience, but I couldn't help but have feelings of anxiety as I couldn't canvas all of the tables fast enough. It's hard to linger at one table when you're worried about someone else buying your next favorite item two tables up. It's a competitive and well-timed shopping adventure.  

To increase my odds of getting the good stuff, I've come up with a strategy for efficient flea market shopping:

Upon arrival I do a QUICK SKIM of each table and purchase items that catch my eye right away. Once at the end, I turn around and go back through more thoroughly. Coffee or a sugary drink is needed midway to avoid getting the 'BLANK STARE'. You know you have this problem when you're staring at a table and someone behind you buys an incredible object for 1e. It was right in front of you the whole time, but you were unable to focus in on it. That is the dreaded 'blank stare' and it is a flea market killer.

SOME OF THE ITEMS I SAW (didn't purchase)

Great retro tv stand. This would also be great for holding accessories.

People just lay out their 'junk' and if you find an item you like, you simply ask how much. Most sellers will negotiate with you. See the awesome chandalier just laying on the ground? I only had a small bag with wheels to carry my all of my goodies in - so no bulky purchases on this trip.

Faux and real fur was EVERWHERE. Too bulky for my bag - moving on. 

Unique artwork and vintage luggage was also popular at this market. A random animal head right? Must have been brought in from South Africa. Actually there was a lot of African items, so they must be in demand for it in Northern Europe. Not my style - so I move on to the next table. 

Ok, now on the the items I purchased! Please ignore the bathroom backdrop (itwas the best lighting....). All of these items have already been packed up and are ready to ship back to Washington tomorrow:

Gorgeous French side table. The top is pearl, black and gold. The best part is that the legs come off easily - so it fit easily into my bag! The legs are bronzey brown, so I will paint them black.

Here is a closeup. Isn't it glamorous? 15e

Cool velvet tapestry table toppers. There is a term for this type of textile, but I can't think of it. Is it brocade? Anyways, at 1e each I bought these to resell. Except for that little butterscotch one, I'll find a place for that in my home since it matches my dining room curtains.

Incredible German Stein, Vintage Water Pitcher and two Dutch tea bag holders in pewter.

Vintage French Champagne buckets. All three were only 2euro (total)! The one on the right is high quality copper.

Vintage coal chucker (with coal remnants left on the bottom to dirty up everything in my bag -  yay for that big mess). This will look great filled with branches and twigs on my porch. Unique, right?

Vintage hardware to include a brass door knocker, classic wine key and french ashtray. All of these pieces combined with the coal chucker was only 10e. I couldn't have been more excited. This stuff was practically FREE!!!!

Vintage English bugle - for decoration purposes. 1e.

What do you think? Can you understand now why I fell in love with this city? Some pretty great deals, right? I don't think garage saling in the states will ever be the same again. Nothing beats a good-old-fashioned European flea market.

Do any of the larger American cities have a flea market? Do tell if you know of good one......I'll have to plan a trip!