Life & Style

Jami and her charming letterpress printing shop

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I MET JAMI WHILE SEARCHING FOR A PRINTER who specialized in unique papers and printing methods. I had gotten the tip from one of my favorite hot spots, the Olympia Coffee Roasting Co., where I was admiring their beautifully crafted coffee etiquettes.

Jami owns The Sherwood Press, a cozy old-school letterpress printing shop founded in 1940 by Jocelyn Dohm. After finishing her studies in Olympia, WA, Jami was keen on leaving the area for something bigger. By coincidence, Jami met Jocelyn and started helping out at the letterpress shop, discovering something very much worth staying in Olympia for. Jami took over the one-woman business in 2003 when Jocelyn passed away.

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Bike season kick-off on a [hilly] 21 mile ride

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NOW THAT SUMMER IS HERE, going on longer bike rides will be part of my regular schedule. Yesterday was my first real ride with my new bike Fitz (short for Fitzgerald).

It started out as a casual I’m heading up to Woodard Bay-ride but quickly turned into a longer affair. I rode out at 8 am, trying to get ahead of the forecasted sweltering 88 degrees Fahrenheit. The scenery started out as lush vegetation and ponds, turning into farmlands and horse ranches. I even sighted a young deer crossing the street.

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I HEADED UP TO BOSTON HARBOR in search of a scenic view and a nice cup of coffee. I was rewarded at the Boston Harbor Marina with a great Batdorf & Bronson drip and a view of the Olympic Mountain Range. The marina was just waking from its sleep, with fishermen bustling about the docks. (more…)

Going wheat-free in May

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STAYING HEALTHY IS CHALLENGING in today’s society. With hormones, insecticides and other health hazards in today’s foods, the quick trip to the grocery store has become an hour-long venture, reading labels carefully and quickly googling unknown terms on my smartphone.

TIME FOR A DRASTIC CHANGE. I have a theory that hormones are everywhere, even in our local organic breads. I have the comparison: In Germany, I enjoyed croissants and occasional wheat products without any body implications. I already eliminated the variable that milk poses.

So for the month of May, on top of my usual diet of healthy foods like tofu and vegetables, I will be going 100% wheat-free to find out how wheat affects my digestive system but also if it improves my well-being.

The only question that remains:
Will I be starved for my morning english muffins…?

 

April [work]essentials

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The past month has been all about establishing my business and running around town with Gary (remember my sidekick Ford Escort?). And these essentials have been with me every day.

+ My North Face messenger bag is a God-sent here. Thanks to its water-resistant material, my stuff stays dry through any Washingtonian down pour.

+ Thank you Moleskine for making all those wonderful, simple notebooks and calendar. Couldn’t do it without them! I have 4 in total with different uses. Two thumbs up!

+ RayBan sunnies. A must for the chilled look.

+ Gotta do some reading from time to time. Inc Magazine is great to zone into start-up tips and business perspectives.

+ Naturally, can’t do it without my Macbook Pro.

+ My Nexus7 helps me out when bringing presentations to a client: modern and compact.

Obsessed with succulents

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In my past homes, plants have not been part of my interior decor. But coming to Washington, I have had a strange longing for some green-leafed friends in my new pad.

Easy to care for and absolutely gorgeous, these succulents caught my eye immediately. Since I tend to forget watering my plants (*ahem*), they are very forgiving house mates. And they give any room a polished but eclectic feel.

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MY BALCONY IS ALSO greening up with these little dudes.

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CHECK OUT my Pinterest moodboard for more inspiration.

I’m a trunk-loader now

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Driving in Germany, I always put my groceries and purchases either on the passenger seat or the back seat of my car. No one used the trunk of the car except for bigger Ikea purchases, and only if those didn’t fit on the back seat.

Now being an American driver (whoop whoop!), I have adapted the very common custom of only using the trunk of my car. In the first few weeks, I still hung on to my old habit and relationship with the back seat. But I have changed quickly. Now, even one-bag-errands find their way to the trunk of my car.

Ok, having an trunk-open-thee-button on my car key does help a little…

But it’s fascinating how different cultures have different customs, even when it comes down to using your car and storage.

Another interesting anecdote is the use of the car horn. Americans sparsely use this little, harassing instrument. In the 4 weeks I have been driving here, I have not been honked at once. And I frequently drive slower to make a curb or such (being new to the area).

Now Germans use it in overdose. If you take 5 seconds too long to start driving when the light hits green, you’ll get a harassing reminder to use your right foot from the car behind you. That can be pretty annoying, not to mention pressuring.

On the other hand, Americans do not seem to know how to overtake slower vehicles on the freeway in a quick manner. When the slower vehicles drives at 65 mph, the overtaking vehicle will drive at 68 mph, so as to stay in the speed limit (presumably). This results in the cars driving more or less parallel for a few miles. For me, that is very strange indeed and defeating the purpose of an overtake altogether. Germans, they floor it when overtaking.

So many more interesting anecdotes are uncovered every day. And I will enjoy sharing them with you. So stay tuned!

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Green tea and lemon

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Since completely switching my diet and health routine last month, I have changed many of my habits.

Drinking coffee is one of the habits I kicked. I used to drink a cup or two while blogging in the mornings. It was a very relaxing ritual, which I had described here. I replaced the morning coffee with lemon water, one of the healthiest things you can do. It actually gives me the same boost in the mornings and even kick-starts my digestion.

Lemon water is also
* great for your immune system
* a good source of potassium
* cleansing to your whole system because it flushes out body toxins
* great for your skin
* and helps you lose weight.

I also started drinking “loose” teas. Fresh, what does that mean? It’s basically not using tea bags. The tea leaves in tea bags are more often than not bad quality anyway. I read recently that even the organic teas in tea bags are being checked for toxins. How scary is that?!

So I resort to making my tea with loose tea leaves. I am lucky because my mom sends me chinese teas like rose, chrisanthenum and green tea, which are really the best! Chinese tea tastes so much better than our tea. Can’t explain it, but it’s true.

Green tea is not only tasty, but also very healthy:
* helps you lose/keep your weight
* scientists say it also helps reduce the risk of esophogeal cancer and heart disease
* helps keep your blood pressure down
* is beneficial to general mouth hygene
* and is tranquilizing and relaxing.

I still enjoy an espresso from time to time when meeting friends, but I am no longer dependant on the coffee-kick to get things rolling. And drinking green tea is really relaxing.

And last but not least, it’s so much more chicer to drink out of a delicate tea cup and go against the coffee-mainstream ;)

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Everything but black

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Black has been THE talked about (non-)color for the past ten years. And I’ve also been a strong believer in it. Two-thirds of my wardrobe is black, which I only now realized to this extent because I’ve been sorting out big time. My mantra was “add a hint of color or accessory to tune it up”.

Not until a very open and honest boutique sales woman exclaimed a few weeks back while I was asking for the usual “do you have this in black?“: “Black?! Honey, black drains you.”

You can imagine my facial expression. Startled is the least of it. I then decided to see if she was right.

A few days later, I wore my usual black men’s tshirt and looked in the mirror. I looked drained. Ok, it’s winter and that has to be taken into account. But I immediately recognized that she was right. How could I have missed it all these years? Or was it just the cotton texture that looked harsher?

Decision made for 2014 and the future: grab blues, whites and geys/greiges/beiges!

So this composition is really an ode to not wearing black. Pants and shoes are excluded obviously. Can never give up the black boot. But who knows what the future will bring ;)

And while the rest of the style world will keep swearing on black, I will return to natural hues and my love for burgundy, marine and grey.

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