Friday, August 29, 2014

What I would buy for Fall 2014

Since you like shopping so much (the shopping post shot to the top of this weeks posts overnight) and since I haven't posted anything about clothes in forever, let's shop some more. 

Fall everything

Zara asymmetrical top, €53 / Zara top, €45 / Zara duffle coat, €210 / Zara jacket, €98 / AG Adriano Goldschmied slim fit jeans, €235 / Steve Madden steve-madden shoes, €60 / J Crew bracelet, €7,21 / J Crew belt, €30 / Women's Bags & Accessories | J.Crew Factory - Accessories & Bags / TRIPLE STRAP HEELED BOOTIE | Express, €53

For some reason I want to wrap myself up in giant sweater coats and real coats and wear blank skinny pants.  Last week I was freezing in the mornings and overheating later in the day.  I don't know what is up with that.  Usually I love color but not this Fall.  This year I keep gravitating towards things that are not a color.  I think Pinterest is to blame for my rapidly acquired desire for tiny gold earrings.   I thought long and hard and decided if I buy anything this Fall/Winter it will only be three things: black skinny pants, a magic unicorn scarf, and super comfortable black ankle boots.

I had a plan to look for a scarf at Zara today.  I was just going to look because I am a frugal responsible soon to be graduate student who had to be in the city for something else anyway.  The whole thing fell apart when traffic on the loop decided to stop forever and never ever move again.  That forced me to exit the autobahn and drive through the city, possibly the worst thing to do on a Friday during rush hour.  I was so late! The scarf I had my eye on was perfect in every way but it wasn't the right shade.  It washed me out, a big no-no for something I was planning on wearing by my face all winter. Sadly I put it back and in my stress/ disappointment I totally forgot the entire reason I had planned this the way I had was to visit the big TK Maxx.  FAIL!  My shopping game was way better in Hamburg when I sat down with friends, drank Starbucks and they reminded me to go to TK Maxx.  

The end.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's Fall, let's shop Zara

Zara Fall 2014

Zara pants, €45 / Zara cargo pants, €45 / Scarve / BOUCLE BLAZER WITH ZIPS / COATED SLIM - FIT JEANS - Trousers - WOMAN | ZARA Germany / FABRIC SCARF / SOFT SCARF / LARGE JACQUARD SCARF

I didn't really write about going to the US this year.  The thing was bitter sweet.  I was so sad to leave my family, my friends, my home.  I still don't want to talk about it. 

Before I went I had promised myself that I was going to be very careful and only buy a few things.  That didn't happen.  I bought ALL the things instead.  Sigh.  I keep going through events in my head trying to figure out how my careful shopping plan derailed so disastrously.  I ended up with several new pairs of jeans, more dresses, a handbag, sandals, tanks and ts and hoodies and leggings and a ton of sweaters, etc, etc.  The answer is that walking into a Banana Republic to 'just look' when they are having a 50% off sale is stupid. I shouldn't order things online.  I shouldn't start to get carried away with 'it's only $25! That's like €17!' logic.  

I upped my game this year and only shopped at proper adult stores for people in their 30s.  That was easy, I haven't bought anything at Forever 21 in forever.  Shopping with girls half my age in the juniors department?  No thanks.  

After all that spending I promised my husband I wouldn't buy anything else for about two years.  (If you know me feel free to laugh uncontrollably at that last sentence).  And I sort of truly mean it.  Things that I do not ever need to buy again in Germany:

1. Jeans- I have boot cut, skinny, cropped, high rise, low rise, mid rise in every wash and every size I will ever be.  

2. Sweaters- I have a million and one sweaters in a million and one styles and cuts.

3. Button downs- I am still looking for the magic unicorn* slouchy white button down but I don't need any of the regular ones. 

4. Ts, tanks, tops- I am covered for at least two years.

5. Dresses- I'm pretty sure unless it's a magic unicorn dress I can live without it.

6. Leggings, lounge and work out- I cleaned out the VS sale so I'm good for years to come. 

That covers a huge swathe of things I would normally be tempted to look at.  BUT there are a couple of things that caught my eye at while browsing around on Zara's website.  

I would love a mid weight neutral gray scarf for Fall.  My scarf game is pretty bad right now and I really want something that will go with everything.

Really super comfortable ankle boots.

Black or gray pants.  I have my eye on the gray coated jeans at Zara.  I missed getting a pair of coated jeans years ago and regretted it.

A blazer.  Black is more practical but I love that textured white one so much.  

On a totally unrelated note, I was disturbed to see I can buy flare knit pants, flannel shirts and stirrup leggings.  What is going on Zara?  These hideous what the hell shoes look like they jumped right out of my closet in 1998.


Your financially frugal and responsible friend,

 *magical unicorn clothes are clothes I rarely find which are so prefect and wonderful that I absolutely have to buy them even if it makes no sense or is expensive.  I always end up loving these things forever and forever.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How to do graduate school in Germany

I'm so happy all the confusion surrounding applying to a German university has dissipated enough for me to write about it.  I went into this business with zero knowledge.  I have always wanted to get my masters but I met someone and predictably chose love over staying in the US and continuing my education.  You can tell I learned the lessons well from American romantic comedies.  I thought I could go back to school in Germany but the universities in Kiel and Hamburg only offered International relations completely in English at the time we lived there.  I felt very meh about getting a masters in international relations.  I'm sure it's interesting but it's not my passion.  I gave up hope and figured if I ever went back to school it would be in the US, hefty student loans be damned.  

I had given up hope but my husband had not.  After we knew we'd be going to Berlin he found my program.  Lots of super awesome husband points scored with that one!  I was so surprised and really thankful he'd thought of it.  Since I missed the application deadline I couldn't apply that year but I emailed the department and they told me to apply next year.  A super boring six months of waiting and mulling over the decision followed.

I think the hardest part about going to school in Germany is finding a program you want that is taught in English.  If you are like me and came here without knowing any German it can take a huge investment to get language up to the required level to attend university.  Even then most people can expect to spend a lot of time looking up words then don't know and translating texts.  That's wasn't really something I wanted to take on for various reasons.  People who speak German need to produce a certificated from an approved school or test that says their German is the right level and then they can apply for any program. 

The university had an open house for my program.  I registered to attend and was very happy I did.  I fell in love with pretty much everything.  They had us attend a seminar that was really interesting to me.  I knew I was in the right place.  

I poured over the university website reading everything about the program and application.  Since I got my degree outside of Germany I had to apply through Uni-assist.  Uni-assist verifies all foriegn documents for universities in Germany.  If I was sending a copy and not the original document I had to go to our town Burgermeister offices and get official copies.  In order to get an official copy I had to have an official translation.  Thankfully I already had official translations of my BA and high school diploma.  I didn't have to have original documents that were already in English translated so I was able to request my transcripts be sent to me in Germany.  I attended both community college and a regular university so I had two transcripts. 

I sent all these documents off to Uni-assist and waited a long, long time.  Finally they sent me an email letting me know that they had verified my documents, calculated my final grade from the two universities, checked that my credits equated with the number of standard European credits needed for the program.  I was now approved to apply for the grad program.  Uni-assist would forward my application to the university who would then decide if I was accepted.  Six more weeks for fun, fun waiting followed. 

I got my acceptance letter.  The letter stressed now I had to enroll within three weeks or my acceptance to the program would be revoked.  I was a little confused about the enrollment requirements since they were general for all students and not just for grad students.  I was scared I might have to send another complete application but I called the university and they said no, I didn't need to send all the documents a second time.  Anytime I had a question that couldn't be answered by the information on the university website I contacted the university and found them super nice and helpful.  They also spoke English.  That was great since my German vocabulary is specific to familiar situations.

I sent off my enrollment application and waited some more.  Waiting is really not my favorite thing.  Anyway, at long last I got my confirmation letter, student identification and papers explaining how to register for classes.  I found all the program information on the website and now I know what classes I need, how to register and starting in October I'm officially a full time student. 


My advice to anyone who wants to apply for a school in Germany:

1. Read everything regarding the program you want.
2. Apply early.
3. Go to the open house if they have one.
4. Don't be afraid to call or email if you have a question.
5. Use Google translate for long documents in German or have a native speaker help you.
6. Make sure you follow the specifications to the letter.
7. Accept a certain amount of not knowing/ waiting/ confusion.
8. Don't give up hope.

I hope someone finds this helpful!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Kindergarten clothes

Back to school toddler

3/4-Sleeve Print Dress Carter's, €12 / Sateen Fox Print Dress Carter's, €14 / Sateen Print Skirt Carter's, €9,85 / Bottoms Pants, €8,06 / Sparkle Star Tights Carter's, €8,21 / Sweater Knit Cardigan Carter's, €16 / Toddler Girl Dresses |, €11 / Toddler Girl Tops & T-Shirts |, €11 / Toddler Girl Shoes & Slippers |, €17

Sadly Sophie aged out of Zara's cute baby clothes.  Their children's section is a lot darker/more serious/ more grown up than the baby clothes.  I'm not ready to but my 'baby' in a 90s inspired maroon flower print dress quite yet.  Plus Sophie doesn't understand why she can't stay in her pajamas all day.  Occasionally she flat out refuses to get dressed in the morning.  She's going to Kindergarten in the Fall and I want to have as few morning power struggles as possible.  I was so happy and excited to see Carter's has really cute animal print dresses and clothes for Fall.  Coaxing Sophie into a cat print top or skirt is way easier than flowers or stripes.  She adores animals and I think she'll be thrilled to get a couple animal things to wear to Kindergarten.  

What do you think?  Do you dress a toddler like a mini adult or stick with more childish things like these colorful animal prints?