In: Nicola's Blog
December 22, 2019
For this authentic German cake, I borrowed from three different recipes:
- This recipe from The Stay at Home Chef for the most amazing, moist chocolate cake. I always use this tried and true recipe for any chocolate base.
- For the cherry filling I used this recipe from Also the Crumbs Please.
- And to stabilize the whipped cream, this recipe from Sweet Chatter came in handy. I had bad experience with whipped cream melting away before, so I wanted to make sure this one stays.
December 21, 2019
For this cake I followed this recipe pretty closely, just modifying a few things:
- Reduce sugar to 1.5 cups instead of 2 cups. I prefer my cakes not super sweet.
- Use 1 pack of pectin (the kind for jam with no added sugar) for the jam. My jam would not set at all and I found it hard to assemble the cake without a more gelled jam. With the pectin though it worked like charm and the layers had better hold.
- Use a little more lavender. I can’t say how much exactly, but I probably used about twice as much as the recipe asked for. The first time I made the recipe I couldn’t taste the lavender at all. For better flavor dispersion I also crushed the dried lavender with mortar and pestle.
December 21, 2019
Another year has passed. I mean, there are 10 days left, but really, where did time go? After a crazy hockey winter, we had a super lazy summer this year, before another hectic school and hockey season started. The main goal this year was to say no to overscheduling, reduce optional activities, and focus on quality time with friends and family instead. It’s very liberating and we definitely intend to keep this going.
With the unbusying of our lives, there was also some time to revive old hobbies and try new things. I’ve always had a sweet tooth and while I try to limit my sugar intake, when I do eat desserts, they better be amazing. So, this year I started baking cakes. Mainly for the flavor because all the traditional standard flavors you usually get it in store-bought or restaurant desserts are soooo boring. I mean a chocolate or vanilla cake can be really good, but also not very exciting. When I eat the sugar, I want to make it an experience! Who is with me?(more…)
January 29, 2019
It’s the same procedure every year: The new year is impending, it sounds like a good idea to make it a productive one, so I set a number of goals. A high number. Then I don’t look at the list for a whole year. At the end of the year I remember the list and somehow managed to accomplish some of the goals to some extent. Others not so much.
Obviously, I am not very serious about these goals. I guess you could better describe them as intentions or loose ideas of where I want to go. But by setting them mindfully, I seem to prime my brain just enough to subconsciously work towards some of the goals. At the same time I am flexible enough to change directions if half way through something doesn’t work for me anymore.(more…)
January 18, 2016
The majority of people around me have pretty straight hair. Maybe with a slight bend in them. Straight, sleek hair is desirable and all hair products try to help with that. And that’s why most of the curly humans amongst us only know the straight way to treat hair. Just like I did up until last year.
You have to brush it is what you learn as a kid. You have to straighten the waves first, and then curl them properly, that’s what hair stylists have been telling me. But go figure, that’s just not how curly hair works.
This is a short story about how the Internet helped me convert my scraggly waves into healthy curls and I am planning on spreading the word. Everybody needs to know this – straight haired mom’s of curly girls, traditional hair stylists who want their curly clients to come back. If you know a curly person, you have to get your friend to try it. Not because how you look is everything that matters, but feeling good about yourself does make a difference. And many curly people do not feel good about their frizzy pouf, but instead fry or brush their hair straight every day.
I’m gonna try to boil this curly recipe down to the basics because there are plenty of other detailed resources online that are all linked to this wiki. Here it goes – Three basic principles of treating wavy, curly, or coily hair better:
- Moisturize the crap out of your hair.
- Shape those ringlets.
- Preserve that shape.
- Use sulfate-free shampoos. Sulfates dry out the hair a lot and remove all natural oils, causing the scalp to produce even more oils. It takes a few weeks for the scalp to regulate, but afterwards you will get at least an additional day out of your hair without it getting greasy.
- Some curly people even just scrub their scalp with a light conditioner instead of shampoo. It’s called co-washing. Personally, I alternate sulfate free shampoo and co-washing.
- Because sulfate-free shampoos can’t fully remove silicones from the hair, now you’ll also have to find all silicone free hair products for conditioning and styling that rely more on natural oils.
- Use lots of conditioner on the length of the hair. Like tons. So much that your hair feels like slippery wet seaweed before you rinse it out.
- Don’t use a terry cloth towel to dry the hair because it removes too much water. Instead, just blotting it for a minute with a microfiber towel or your husband’s old T-shirt works well. It should still be pretty wet for styling.
- After washing and conditioning, the moisture needs to be locked into the hair. This is where every hair has different needs and you’ll have to find out by experimenting what combination of product works for you. I add leave-in conditioner, and then lots of strong hold gel, because my hair is super porous and otherwise gets very frizzy quickly.
Shape. A.k.a don’t brush!
- Curly hair should never ever be brushed. Especially not when wet or before styling. Wet hair breaks too easily and dry brushed curly hair looks messy, frizzy, and big:
- Curly hair naturally clumps together in strands, don’t try to fight it. Even the artificially curled hair that everybody wants looks like that. See:
- So, don’t try to separate the clumps. There is absolutely no reason to do so. Instead, detangle your hair while you wash it and it’s smothered in conditioner. At that point it doesn’t take more than gentle finger-combing to get any tangles out.
- In order to form the clumps, just gently scrunch your completely wet hair with a cotton T-shirt after the shower. Don’t dry it too much. As long as there is still moisture, hair naturally clumps together in strands.
- Again, don’t separate those strands. Apply styling products only by smoothing over the hair and gently scrunching in. No raking or combing in.
Keep the Shape
- Now, to set the curls, I like to wrap my hair in a plop while I’m getting dressed and make my face presentable.
- Afterwards, air drying is usually best.
- When it’s too cold to air dry, you can use a hairdryer with a diffuser to avoid head freeze. The diffuser slows down the air stream to keep the curls in shape and you can apply the warm air directly to the roots to give them extra lift.
- After the hair is 100% dry and depending on what product you used, the hair might be stiff and crunchy from the gel. It looks weird, feels weird, and is weird:
- But that’s how gel works. It forms a cast around the strands to seal the moisture in while it slowly dries without getting frizzy. Then you just scrunch the crunch out and the results are shiny and soft curls.
- Now, the only downside of nice curly hair is that you try to avoid anything that could mess it up. Like wearing hats, or laying down for naps. But sleeping is inevitable and what works great for longer hair is to put it in a pineapple above your head over night:
- Happy second day hair, happy husband, happy new year:
February 7, 2013
Being a mom in the US and having had to deal with an inferior governmental support system to raise my kids, a current debate in Germany has caught my attention. What can the government do to turn the declining birth rate around that is threatening to lead to a collapse of the social system and lack of qualified workers in the future?
- They are not allowed to work 6 weeks before estimated due date until 8 weeks after birth.
- During that time they are being compensated for their income loss at 100% of their net-salary.
- They have the right to leave their job for up to 3 years with the guarantee to be able to go back to the same job afterwards.
- They have the right to be able to work part time during the first three years of their child.
- Pregnant women are forbidden from working jobs that could harm the baby or mother and the employer has to give them a different task for the duration of pregnancy. During this time they also cannot be laid off or fired.
Beyond that, the so-called “Parent Money” is paid to parents for up to 14 months after the birth of a child as a compensation for lost income if one parent is staying home and caring for the child. It is generally 65% of your net-income. Then there is also the “Children Money”: In Germany every family gets 184 Euro ($246) per child per month until the child starts to have an income or turns 25. No conditions or income limitations tied to it.
May 28, 2010
Auch das zweite Trimester der Schwangerschaft ist nun erfolgreich überstanden. Langsam werde ich echt gut darin, schwanger zu sein. Das fleissige Studieren zahlt sich aus. All die Veränderungen im Körper und in der Babyentwicklung sind so spannend, dass ich kaum aufhören kann darüber zu lesen. Ich will immer ganz genau wissen, was gerade da drinnen abgeht und hab sogar eine Application auf meinem Iphone dafür. Die vergleicht die aktuelle Größe meines Babies jede Woche mit einem Gemüse und erzählt mir davon, wie er mich jetzt hören kann, immer neue Gehirnwindungen formt und warum ich trotz Noch-Minibaby 10 Kilo zugenommen habe. (more…)