2.26.2015

a snow day at schloss neuschwanstein

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

The first time I drove to Munich, I was amazed by the absolute beauty of Bavaria. It is full of little hidden gems - and Schloss Neuschwanstein definitely is one of its jewels. King Ludwig II's 19th-century Romanesque castle is probably one of the most well-known tourist-attractions in the country, even inspiring Walt Disney's castle for Sleeping Beauty! During my last weekend before heading back to the Netherlands, my mom and I drove down from Munich on a snowy Sunday for a tour of the castle and its surroundings.

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen


We could haven't asked for a more perfect day; the forrest, castle and cute german houses covered in snow looked picture perfect! Once we picked up out tickets, we walked up the hill through the forrest, re-energizing with dampfnudeln, quarkbaellchen and glühwein on the way. We joined a tour of the castle, which sadly wasn't that spectacular. The castle has such a rich history, which hardly was touched upon during the tour, and running through such a beautiful building with fifty people within twenty minutes just isn't my thing. However, it isn't accessible outside of the tour, and as a big King Ludwig II fan, it was still amazing to see how his fantastical vision was brought to life.

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

Afterwards, we headed to the little nearby town of Füssen. It was as quiet as can be since it was a Sunday. The majority of shops were closed, but luckily a little bakery selling snowball pastries was open - get the milk chocolate and marzipan-filling one! We took a stroll trough the city center filled with cute colorful houses, buildings and beautifully decorated churches, enjoying the sun and snow. A perfect day to end my stay in Bavaria!

schloss neuschwanstein + fussenschloss neuschwanstein + fussen

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen_2782

schloss neuschwanstein + fussen

2.22.2015

how do you 'live life intentionally'?

living life intentionally

Almost two months ago, I told the world (wide web) that my mission for 2015 would be to live life intentionally! I told everyone I know as a way to motivate myself to actually go through with it. Friends and family smiled and took my big words in, until my boyfriend stopped me in my tracks, asking 'You say you want to live life intentionally - but what does that actually mean? What do you want to do then?'

And admittedly, I wasn't really sure.

Defining an intentional life can mean something different for everyone. After years of being trapped in a circle of working and studying, days flying by and pushing aside my personal life, the one thing I was certain about at the beginning of this year was that an intentional life for me should focus on happiness. During my last four weeks in Munich, this wasn't hard to keep up with that intention: only working from 9 to 5 and a long list of things to do and see before I leave kept me busy and happy. However, once I returned to Utrecht, I got sucked back into the stress and hassle of daily life, days passing by without me actually being aware of what I was doing. Actually, I was hardly doing anything. So the last few days I've been trying to figure out for myself what it means to live an intentional life. I came across a few great quotes that stuck with me:

'Intentional living is about knowing why you do what you do and why you don't do what you don't do. It is about doing the things that are important to you, even when they are not easy - defining your values and making choices that reflect those values.'

'Intentional living is about doing the things that are important to you' got me thinking. Seeing it written down makes it sound so logical. Of course should you do the things that are important to you! But I think, in our age, it is really easy to be distracted by things that seem very important, but aren't in the end. Priorities had to be shifted. What things are important to me, make me happy, add value to my life?


2.08.2015

vanilla-lemon cake with lemon icing and almonds

After five months of guidance, hard work, many laughs and tiny freak-outs, a last day at work just needs a cake, don't you think? I wanted to bring something sweet but simple, and combined with my total craving for lemon cake that week (I have no idea where that came from. Who craves lemon?), I came up with this little thing. The original recipe comes from Dooreten, and if you're looking for something sweet and soft with touch of zest, this is the cake for you - make it for a birthday, afternoon tea, and even breakfast (Tried it, two days after making the cake, it made me very happy at six n the morning on moving day)!

vanilla-lemon cake w. almonds

Vanilla-lemon cake with lemon-icing and almonds
260 gr flour
200 gr sugar
250 gr very soft butter
170 gr crème fraîche
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanille extract
1 lemon
125 gr icing/powdered sugar
20 gr crushed almonds

vanilla-lemon cake w. almonds

First, the preparations. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease your cake tin with a bit of butter.

Mix together the flower, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the soft butter and sugar together until they it's nice and foamy. One by one, add the eggs and whisk until they are added into a smooth mixture.

Add the vanilla, flour and crème fraîche to your sugar, butter and egg, and mix together until smooth. After this, add the finely grated lemon zest of one lemon and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to your dough. Spoon it together, and transfer to the cake tin. Put the cake in the oven for about 50 to 60 minutes, until a skewer or toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool down in the tin on a rack for 30 minutes - don't take it out to fast, it can stick! I controlled myself, so can you. After 30 minutes, remove the tin and let the cake cool down completely.

So now that you have a freshly baked cake tempting you, try to stay busy and prepare the icing. In a pan, lightly brown the almonds without any butter or oil. While they cool down, make the icing by adding one to two tablespoons of lemon juice and some water to your icing sugar. Add the fluids bit by bit, you don't want your icing to be too thin. Take a spoon, coat you cake with the icing and add the almonds.

Then, eat lots. And let me know if you liked it! Enjoy!

2.04.2015

life lately, according to my iphone

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January marked my last month in wonderful Munich. In those few free days I had left, I ran through the city and its beautiful surroundings to catch every last adventure possible - but that first month of the year always seems to fly by, don't you think?

1. I started the year discovering one of my new favorite breakfast recipes: oven-baked overnight oats. 2. Munich is filled with beautiful pastel-colored architecture (you just have to look up!). 3. I had a long list of shops I wanted yo visit before I left, and this amazing magazine shop was one of my favorite discoveries. Their tagline? 'Curious publications for curious people'.

4. I took a day trip to Herren- and Fraueninsel in the Chiemsee and was followed by this little gut for a while. 5. One Saturday morning, I got up early and headed out to Trachtenvogl for a delicious breakfast and an amazing hot chocolate. 6. Munich turned into a winter wonderland once more.

7. For my last day at work, I made a vanilla-lemon cake with lemon-icing and roasted almonds - even made a perfect breakfast two days later. Recipe will follow soon! 8. During my last weekend in Munich, my mom came over and I gave her a tour through Munich's beautiful churches and monuments. 9. A little highlight: Schloss Neuschwanstein - a beautiful castle built by King Ludwig II, of which I have some more photos to share with you guys soon!

1.28.2015

bedside table books

In spirit of my word for the year, 'intentional', I want to focus more on the things that I thoroughly enjoy - that add something to my life. One of these things is reading more. As a child I read book after book after book, I never was without a story. By the time I entered college and academic texts and exams took over my life, reading for fun got pushed aside. After pages and pages of mandatory reading, more words were the last thing I was looking forward to at the end of the night. But if there is one thing I can do with full intention, it's reading: starting a new book, completely taken by a story and not being able to put it down, looking forward to that one free moment of the day when I can loose myself in the story once again - that's an intentional habit I want to get back into!

bedside table books


As I mentioned before, by the end of this winter I want to have finished three books. I'm going for twelve throughout the whole year! So what's on my bedside table until March?

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. A collection of writings by Marina Keegan, a twenty-one year old who tragically dies in a car accident just five days after her graduation from Yale. Her words capture the hopes, uncertainties and possibilities of a young generation, describing he universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be.
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. A dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years, the reader is introduced to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: a starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist, amongst others. Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of life while clinging to their improbable dreams.
I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame by Brené Brown. A revealing examination of the painful effects of shame - through potent personal narratives and examples from real women, Brown identifies and explains four key elements that allow women to transform their shame into courage, compassion and connection. As a fan of one of her other books, The Gifts of Imperfection, a book I just can't wait to read.

I'm very excited to get started! What have you been reading lately?

1.25.2015

wanderings of the mind of an almost college graduate

When I was approached by The Ladders to spread some wisdom for a new generation of career-driven professionals, I got exited. For the past few years as an under-graduate and graduate student, my mind has been racing non-stop about the fact that after this, it’s time for the ‘real world’. But then it hit me that 2015 marks the year that I will graduate, get out there and will have to start looking for a job... And to be honest, I have no idea where to start!

Ladders Article - Hello Real World

When I started college, eighteen years old and fresh out of high school, I had no idea what I was signing up for. I didn’t have a particular life plan or a specific career in mind. I felt somewhat lost, but choose art history as my major because I absolutely loved it as a subject, and could envision myself doing ‘something’ with it for the rest of my life. A decision made purely out of passion. But after a while, the thought of graduating started to haunt me. Three years, and then what? What will I, my bachelor’s degree in art history and 80 of my fellow students with the same piece of paper do? Apply for that one job at a renowned museum or hip gallery? My whole life became preoccupied with studying and figuring out/worrying about ‘what I want to be when I grow up’. It became all about how to be successful and make money, that I actually forgot to enjoy the life I had right now. Everything I did became a way to enhance my future, something that would ‘help me later’ instead of actually enjoying the experiences I was going though right now. Friendships, hobbies and family were pushed aside and I hopped from lecture to lecture, job to job, all with just one thing in mind: finding out what I want to do after university. Because once you graduate, you have to have your life figured out, right?

After I received my bachelor’s degree, I felt in no way ready to call myself an art historian and step out into the real world, so the decision to pursue a master’s degree was quickly made. At that point, I was really set on continuing in the academic world, and I applied and got accepted in a research program, of which I am currently in my last semester. And it took me till now, after five and a half years of studying, to realize that I had my priorities all wrong. During those years of studying, working and stressing, along the way I forgot what I actually enjoyed doing, what I found important in life, and lost my passion for art history along the way - all because it became such a nerve-racking factor in my life, since I was so set on having it all figured out by the time I graduate.

And to be honest, even after all those years of working on my future, I still feel somewhat lost. I went from writing reviews to project-management in a museum to working in an art gallery to not knowing what I really want to do, career-wise. And I realized that that’s okay too - and it doesn't mean you failed. As I am currently living abroad for an internship, being alone in a new country has provided me with time to do some soul searching. By leaving work at work – something I find really difficult to do – and not putting so much pressure on myself, I slowly rediscovered my passion for art history and the things I cherish in life: friends, family, travelling, writing, being creative, learning new things and baking lots. Whereas I was so focused on finding happiness in a job t first, I now realize that there is more to life than just work. My definition of a successful life changed.

And that’s the attitude with which I’m stepping into the real world in six month, and a little wisdom I’d like to share. From kindergarten to graduate school, for almost twenty years there was someone standing next to me, ready to catch me when I fall. Now, just a few more steps and I’m out of the door, all on my own. And that’s a scary thought. But if those six years of college taught me anything, it would be that things change – dreams change, and that sometimes you should just go with the flow of life instead of trying to figure everything out into the last detail. I haven’t figured things out, but who does at 24 (honestly, who has life figured out at all)? Who has time to figure everything out when there’s so much studying to do? Now is the time to go on that adventure: take those languages courses or writing workshops you always wanted to do, but never fit in your curriculum. Go and travel through Europe for a month and discover new cultures. Apply for that master’s program or internship abroad – take the time to develop further. If we were done learning by the time we’re out of college, life would become rather dull. Take the time to pursue different jobs, find the one you can be passionate about, and don't forget to enjoy every single minute of where life takes you.

1.21.2015

a day trip to herren- and fraueninsel, germany

prien, chiemsee

Many travels await 2015, and a little day trip to the Herren- and Fraueninsel in the Chiemsee was the first. I love day trips, taking off to discover a new city or village, but bundling up in my own bed at night. The great thing about Munich is that there are so many places to go within a train trip of an hour or two. I had been wanting to go to the Chiemsee for a while to visit the 'Fairytale' King Ludwig II's castle, and finally travelled there last Sunday. From afar, the two small islands seemed ghostly, almost desolate due to the winter weather. Still covered in snow, both islands were perfect for a day of wandering through nature, visiting churches, reading books while eating apfelstrudel with whipped cream for lunch, touring the King's castle - which is a smaller and incomplete version of Versailles - and visiting an old monastery and modern art museum in one. All while hardly encountering anyone, other than the occasional begging duck.*

prien, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

fraueninsel, chiemsee

herreninsel, chiemsee

herreninsel, chiemsee

herreninsel, chiemsee

herreninsel, chiemsee


*Side note: never send a message saying 'I was being followed' to your boyfriend, accompanied by a photo of a duck, then having your phone die and the photo never coming through. That might lead to your boyfriend calling your parents, your parents calling the police, the police searching on two islands and in two cities, and coming home to a million voicemails, text messages, red police notices sticking on your front door, a frantic mother on the phone and the officer laughing at you. Maybe. Just saying.