Sunday, October 25, 2015

{ life without a fridge }

Dear Friends & Family,

This may sound like no big deal, but John and I finally have a refrigerator! And it only took two weeks for it to arrive only to have a huge dent on its side, so another two days for it to arrive and settle in its new home. We probably could have timed it better to have had the fridge right when we moved in, but it took me some time to research and find the right one for us.

Not having a fridge means no cooking. Nowhere to put the leftovers! So we took advantage of ordering delivery or going out to eat. Our only two options for delivery is pizza or Thai food, but really good pizza and Thai food! It's been fun checking out the restaurants in our area too. We're close to Torrance where there are a lot of Japanese restaurants. We've had ramen, Izakaya, and we've shopped at Mitsuwa for non-refrigerated groceries, and by groceries I mean instant ramen.

I am so happy to have a refrigerator. Our place felt very incomplete without it. I was also getting tired of eating peanut butter sandwiches and drinking room temperature water. The first time I used our stove was to make instant ramen. I felt like a sad poor college freshman. But not anymore! Yesterday John made us eggs with chorizo for breakfast. Nothing too crazy, but we're slowly building our kitchen back to where it needs to be. Our fridge is very empty, but we've got the important things like, eggs, butter, cheese, beer, wine, and fudge mint Oreos in the freezer. It'll be hard to fill the fridge considering our last fridge was practically a mini fridge with a milk crate sized freezer. 

It'll take me some time to get used to cooking in a new kitchen. I'm still trying to figure out where I want to store our things. Once we're more settled in and get a dining table, we can have guests over for fancy dinner! By fancy I just mean I will cook and there will be wine.

The Prindles

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

{ making an apartment into a home }

Dear Friends & Family,

When John and I moved to Berlin we had five suitcases between the both of us, two of them were the extra large ones, and all of them were filled with clothes and shoes with the exception of some books and framed photos. 

When we moved back to California we were able to sell what little furniture we had accumulated to John's coworker, so we were able to come back with the same five suitcases filled with pretty much the same stuff. 

The day we moved to San Pedro, there wasn't much to pack, but there was plenty to move! All of our things were in storage while we were in Berlin. I didn't remember what was in there except a bed...I knew we had that. I also thought we had a bed frame, but John reminded me we threw it away when we moved out of our apartment in Venice Beach to live with the Prindles six months before we moved to Berlin. Everything else in storage were boxes labeled with things like books (what kind of books??), photos (which photos?!), and appliances. I was confident I remembered which appliances I had. But three years to keep things stored makes for Christmas morning when opening them again. Or so I thought. I made a video for Amalie and Wendy in Berlin of me opening one of the boxes labeled kitchen, and it ended up being boring. Except I did get excited when I found a wok I did not know we had! 

During the first few days of unpacking John and I had to open all our boxes and filter out what we wanted to keep. Some things were easy to unpack like the kitchen and the office. Everything else is stored in the spare bedroom until we get more organized everywhere else. 

This morning John and I were taking photos of our apartment because the lighting is really great early in the day, and I took this photo as a test shot. As I uploaded this photo, I thought two things; 1.We need actual wine glasses, and 2. I HAVE WINE GLASSES! I just remembered there was a box in the spare room with two wine glasses that were given to us at my bridal shower. 

I was really happy to rediscover all the photos we have that we didn't take with us to Berlin. Right now they are off to the side until we get more furniture, and then we can decide where on the wall we want them to go. 

On the day we moved in, I grabbed this frame from my car and placed it against the wall out of the way of everything else we were bringing in. Now John and I can't picture it going anywhere else in the apartment. Not on the ground though...we'll eventually hang it up. 

I love having this built-in. All the mugs we collected during our travels are all displayed along with our travel books behind. The rest are our fiction books and cookbooks. I also want to use this area as a bar, but for now it's where we'll store our record player until we can find the cords and the speakers...

Another thing I look forward to is furnishing the dining area. It's connected to the kitchen, and I want it to be a space our friends & family can hang out and be comfortable. 

I love that we have a coffee corner. Although our kitchen was the first thing I cleaned and unpacked, it's not finished. We still do not have a refrigerator, and the only things I have in our cupboard are peanut butter, bread, and some seasonings. I feel so incomplete that our kitchen isn't filled. One of the things I look forward to is cooking, but I can't do that yet. YET. 

It feels good to have found a place we can slowly make our home, and I'm looking forward to writing more about our new neighborhood and being closer to friends & family. 
The Prindles.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

{ winos in napa }

Dear Friends & Family,

John and I have just returned from Northern California spending the weekend with his family. We had been looking forward to this trip for quite some time when John's uncle, Woody, and his fiancée, Lynda, announced they were going to get married in Napa. Last May we were with the Prindle family in the South of France for cousin Shannon & Guillaume's wedding, so another wine filled wedding weekend was something to look forward to!

Our plan was to drive up Thursday to have dinner with my family in San Jose, and leave Friday to Vacaville after lunch. John's family had arrived Thursday night. We stayed in a beautiful two home rental with his parents, his brother, his grandparents, and his great-aunt who had arrived in Sacramento Friday night from Memphis. 

This was our view from the deck.

Just off to the side 

Alpacas on the property.

What I love about family weddings, especially if everyone has to travel to the destination, is turning a one day event into a few days of quality family time. John's grandparents live in Florida, so we see them about once a year. This was my first time meeting Aunt Susie, John's great-aunt.

Before John and his dad went to the airport to pick up Aunt Susie Friday night, there was a pizza party rehearsal dinner at Lynda's aunt's house, also a Wendy because two isn't enough. Her house would be the venue for the wedding the next day. When we arrived we could see they were still doing some finishing touches to the yard and the deck, but we knew it was going to be a beautiful setting for a wedding.

We had such a great time. It was an intimate wedding with family and a few of their close friends. There were plenty of wine & booze, and delicious food, the ceremony was short, but very sweet, and the evening ended perfectly with delicious cake and strangers becoming friends over great music (and more wine!).

So congratulations to Uncle Woody & Aunt Lynda! Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your special day!

The Prindles.
silly, but blurry, photo of the happy couple

"I am thankful for a family that drinks."

Duck rillette & baguette. Pretty sure I was the only one eating the rillette.

This is Tracker.

And this is Jake.

John & Scott

Before the guests.

Papa Prindle & his two boys.

High fives before the ceremony.

I had my fill of delicious foods & lots of wine!

Three Wendies. 

End of the night. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

{ back in the USA }

Dear Friends & Family,

It's been over a month since we left our home in Berlin, and right now our lives are still in transition. We are staying with John's parents while we save money, and we still have NO IDEA where we want to live...or where we can live. EVERYTHING IS SO EXPENSIVE!!

Seriously, $9 for a beer?! Oh Berlin, I miss your cheap prices. It's funny to think that in Berlin John would rather walk around the corner to Edeka (our grocery store) to get beer for €0.89 instead of paying €1.25 at the Späti (think liquor store) across the street. I'd pay 1.25 for a beer any day!

So imagine how much rent cost in Los Angeles. I'm really missing our Altbau in Schöneberg with its high ceilings, crown molding, and hardwood floors. 800 sq ft for less than €700!

We are happy to be back in the Los Angeles area though. I've missed Happy Hour, and that's what we treat ourselves to once a week. The other nights we cook at home, and I have been trying out new recipes from cookbooks I've checked out at the library (one of the first things I did was get a library card when we moved back).

John started his new job, and he's very happy with the projects he's working on. I'm going to get back into writing about food because I can pretty much talk about food all day, and it really makes me happy!

Here are some random food pics since we've been back! I will try to be better about taking more photos and writing more posts in the future.

The Prindles.
Always being inspired by new recipes.

First time baking with the help and direction of Annie.

Coffee/Flower Shop in our old Venice neighborhood

Beautiful Commissary in K-Town
Wine tasting in Santa Ynez
$5 beer for happy hour

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

{ two weeks with annie }

Dear Friends & Family,

First of all, John and I will be back in LA in two weeks...TWO WEEKS!!
*takes deep breath*
I'm having a hard time writing about it because I haven't been able to handle the emotions that comes with leaving Berlin and our friends. 

So I'm just going to go ahead and start writing about our time with John's cousin, Annie. She came to visit for two weeks; her first half spending it in Berlin and the second in Paris with cousin Shannon. 

I was happy to have Annie here to get to know her better, and with six weeks left in Berlin, it was a perfect opportunity for me & John to see the touristy things again for the last time. 

The two and a half years John and I have lived in Berlin, we have never visited the concentration camp that is just outside of Berlin. Annie was really interested in the history of Berlin and wanted to go, so we went to Sachsenhausen the first Sunday of Annie's visit. I had already taken Annie to Checkpoint Charlie, the outdoor portion of Topography of Terror, and on Saturday John joined us walking along the East Side Gallery all the way to Museum Island. We did a LOT of walking while Annie was here. I took her through the neighborhoods John and I like to go to and walked around while John was at work. We also took Annie to some of our favorite places to eat in Berlin. 

The day Annie and I left to Paris, Charlie came to Berlin after parting ways with John in Barcelona to travel around Italy. He spent the weekend with John while Annie and I were going to Paris to spend time with Shannon and her husband, Guillaume. 

This was Annie's first time to Paris, and I was excited to explore it with her. John and I visited Shannon back in 2013 after living in Berlin for three months. Not a lot has changed, but Shannon and Guillaume are expecting their first son in September. They are still living in the same apartment John and I stayed in but have sold it, and they are moving out the same day John and I leave Berlin. 

With Shannon's pregnancy, her friend offered his apartment for a few nights while he and his girlfriend were in Nice. They also lived in the 11th arrondissement; only a 20 minute walk from Shannon and G.  Again, a lot of walking was done in Paris, and I loved every minute of it!

Here are just some of the photos from our trip:
*again, I've been having issues with the quality and size of the photos, so it's best to view on a computer/laptop and to click on the photo as a slideshow...

The Prindles

Monday, May 11, 2015

{ lucifer turns 11 }

Dear Friends & Family,

Some of you have heard of Lucifer. Some of you have met Lucifer. And no, I am not talking about the devil...

Lucifer is the most loved dog in Berlin. You think you love your dog? Well, of course you do. But do you throw your dog a birthday party with all his/her human friends, and are there presents to open and a burger to devour? Because that is what Lucifer's birthday is like every year!

He literally opens his gifts. When Amalie sent out the invite to her friends for us to join her in celebrating her dog's birthday, we all thought nothing out of the ordinary and asked what we could bring. And as I wrapped his gift, I wondered to myself if I was placing too many tapes to wrap it. I obviously underestimated Lucifer's gift unwrapping skillz.

So another year older, another successful birthday. He had his fill of presents, treats, and a burger, and we all got fed delicious burgers with all the fixings from our meat cooking vegetarian friend.

The Prindles.
{ photo taken by Flora Amalie }

{ all tuckered out from opening his gift }

{ john being a bad influence? }

{ burger time! }

{ photo taken by Jessica }