Merry Münster

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetThe Christmas markets are here! This is easily one of my favorite times in Germany. They make the cold, dark weather more bearable– dare I say fun, even. I walked around a few different markets yesterday with my fellow students, sipping Glühwein (hot mauled wine) and eating no small amount of unhealthy treats. Below are a few photos. Hope your Christmas celebrations are off to a great start!Processed with VSCO with g3 presetI love the little old grannies in the right corner. They always dress so classy here. Inspiration.Processed with VSCO with a6 presetA beautiful tree in front of Lamberti church. Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThese wreathes hanging from shop archways are probably my favorite decorations in town. Germany does it right, folks.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetSo many adorable trinkets, so little money! What’s a girl to do? ;pProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetThe main street in town. How gorgeous?!Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThis stuff is addictive, let me tell you. I will be sad when Christmas is over…might have to look up a recipe so I can drink it in January! Also, why am I the only one wearing gloves?!!!!Processed with VSCO with a4 presetPlease note I am wearing two pairs of pants and two hats…yes, I am a wuss when it comes to cold.Processed with VSCO with m5 presetI always find myself wearing all black in winter. How very European of me.IMG_1242

A little Christmas film

I am the family member who is constantly carrying around a camera, getting in people’s faces and generally slowing everything down. But hey, once they see this little Christmas film I made, I think they will agree it was well worth it! There’s nothing quite like a video to capture moments that photos simply can’t do justice. In fact, I took way more video footage than photos this break. My little cousins are so adorable, I am glad I can go back and watch their tiny faces whenever I want now, no matter how old they get. Christmas 2016 lives on in perpetuity! Enjoy friends.

Merry Christmas

Cabin.jpgMerry Christmas friends! Do you know one of the stories behind the date of Christmas? Many historians agree that one reason we celebrate Christmas then is because that’s when the ancient pagans celebrated the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice is the shortest, darkest, coldest day of the year. And on this day the people would light a candle to remind themselves that Spring is coming, and that there is joy and warmth to be found amidst the darkness.

I celebrate Christmas mainly as Christ’s birth, but I also find this story to be particularly poignant this Christmas season. 2016 has been an intense time. It’s been a difficult year for many in a myriad of ways. Our world has endured unthinkable violence, cut throat elections, unending wars, natural disasters and so much more over the course of the last twelve months. Personally, this year has been difficult for me in certain regards, and I’ve had my fair share of dark days. But it has also been a year of positive growth and change.

So although Christmas is typically thought of as a happy-go-lucky, light hearted time, it can still be hard to muster those feelings. It’s okay, even healthy to reflect on those times in their reality. But the pagans still understood one key truth: they knew that no matter how hard things may get in life, you can always find hope, whether it be in a single flickering candle’s flame or a raging fire.

I am sending Christmas joy and perseverance your way today friends. It’s been a long year, but we made it. Next year will have its ups and downs, but never forget you can find a tiny glimmer of light if you only look. Now I’m off to see what Santa brought me…;p

hey Fort Worth, you’re a lot colder than I remember

unnamed-2Oh hey Fort Worth, you’re a lot colder than I remember! Last time I visited was in November when it felt like SoCal weather, but this trip is a different story. Still, I love the feelings winter brings, that sense of encouraged hibernation and coziness. I’ve had such a relaxing few days already, and it’s just the start of break. Below are a few photos from around town if you’d like to see!img_2328img_2303img_2268img_2266img_2253img_2252unnamedimg_2364img_2346img_2323img_2270img_2457img_2456img_2447img_2428img_2433img_2434img_2390

The Last Bookstore

img_2096Yesterday my friend Jessica and I spent some time exploring Downtown L.A. Honestly, I don’t think people give this city enough credit– it has its moments! Sometimes I find myself wishing I lived in a bigger, more traditionally structured city like New York or Berlin, but then L.A. pleasantly surprises me with something cool. We spent a large portion of the afternoon in The Last Bookstore, an incredible bookstore in the heart of DTLA where you can buy and sell books. There is a coffee shop inside, couches and chairs to relax, and even a few art vendors. I bought “This Side of Paradise” by F. Scott Fitzgerald to read over Christmas break. Below are a few photos if you’d like to see!img_2099img_2100img_2106img_2107^I feel lucky to have made even one friend like Jessica in this lifetime. I can’t express how much she means to me!img_2108img_2110img_2112img_2114img_2115img_2117img_2122img_2123img_2125img_2126img_2129img_2130img_2131img_2132img_2136img_2138^Christmas is in full swing inside the store!img_2140img_2145img_2146^”The Catcher in the Rye” is one of my all time favorites.img_2148img_2150img_2152img_2154img_2155img_2164^Trying to look intellectual…is it working?img_2165img_2166img_2167img_2168^A tunnel of books…casualimg_2170img_2174img_2177^I’ve been listening to Vince Guaraldi’s Christmas album non-stop, particularly the songs from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”img_2185img_2188img_2197After this we headed to The Grove, an outdoor shopping area with lots of lights and festivity. What are your plans for the upcoming break? Be sure to get out an explore your own city one of these days friends!

Five Things

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset1. I attended a Christmas party last night with my sweet friends Meredith and Chloe (pictured above) that was thrown by the Dean of our university. I love a good excuse to get dressed up once in a while and eat your weight in finger foods, don’t you?
2. Tomorrow I have plans to spend the afternoon and evening at The Grove, a beautiful outdoor shopping center in LA with a dear friend. What could be better?
3. Three finals stand in between me and Christmas break, that’s all. I fly home to Texas on Wednesday. I can’t wait, it’s been a long time coming!
4. I snapped the picture below on a drive through a nearby canyon today. Southern California can do Fall right once in a while!
5. This video interview of Barack and Michelle Obama was incredibly inspiring. They talk about the last eight years living in the White House and their experience raising two girls while in office. I miss them already!Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

A Christmas Quiz

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Happy “Christmas Eve” Eve! How are things friends? I am writing this from my couch at home while watching a movie marathon. Life is good. One of my favorite blogs Unlocking Kiki posted a little “Christmas Quiz” to give her readers a better idea of how she celebrates the season. I loved hearing about her thoughts and traditions in more detail, so I thought I’d do the same for you! Enjoy:

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper is my preferred medium for gift concealment. I just love ripping it open layer by layer- the suspense adds to the surprise!

2. Real tree or artificial?
Real tree all the way baby. My family has never had an artificial tree, because no matter how practical they are, they just don’t smell the same!

3. When do you put up the tree?
Usually the week after Thanksgiving. I wasn’t able to help put it up this year because I was away at school 😦

4. When do you take the tree down?
Usually the day after Christmas! If we leave it up longer, it just reminds me that it’s not Christmas time anymore.

5. Favorite gift received as a child?
A Barbie dream house when I was eight or nine! I can still remember playing with it for hours on Christmas afternoon.

6. Hardest person to shop for?
My dad. I want his gift to be personal but also useful!

7. Easiest person to shop for?
My little brother. We have many several interests, so it’s not hard to think of something he’d enjoy.

8. Favorite Christmas film?
Elf. Always. Favorite quote: “I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR.”

9. Favorite Christmas food?
Potato pancakes, or Latkes. We eat them for breakfast on Christmas morning, and they are pure cheesy, fluffy goodness.

10. Colored or clear lights on the tree?
This year colored, last year clear. Just depends on our mood when we decorate!

11. Favorite Christmas song?
“Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Never gets old.

12. Travel at Christmas time or stay home?
Both are great, but I actually love to travel somewhere cold and snowy at Christmas time. Some years we go to Iowa or Nebraska to visit my dad’s extended family, and I always enjoy the cold weather!

13. Favorite Christmas cookie?
Peanut butter blossoms– peanut butter balls covered in sugar with a Hershey’s kiss stuck in the middle. They are holy, I tell you.

14. Favorite Christmas tradition?
Decorating the house, especially setting up the miniature Christmas village!

15. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Morning, for sure.

16. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The crazy traffic in the area. I live near the airport, which makes it ten times worse.

17. What do you want for Christmas this year?
A polaroid camera!

Well friends, I hope you learned a little more about me and my Christmas traditions. What are a few of your Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear, and have a happy “Christmas Eve” Eve.

P.s. Photo from here.