Aug 29, 2010

Hobbies, Interests & Passions, Part 5: Mountain biking by Chris Hafner

I was asked by Linda if I could do a blogpost on biking. Of course I can and I am happy to share my experiences of one of the best sports you can do. 

Mountain biking has to do with concentration, action, technique and endurance and the best thing about it is that when you are doing it you are out in nature relaxing your mind. 

When you ride, especially downhill, there is nothing to think about! You cannot think you gotta focus otherwise you crash.... It happened to me too. 

The fascinating thing about Mountainbiking is the connection between endurance or cardio workout and skills when riding downhill on the trails and steps. It combines fun with a hard workout and that is the main reason why I love biking. Besides that, it helps to recharge the batteries and to balance the life. 

I bought my first bike when I was 16 years old. At 17 years I started cross country racing. This continued until I was 19. This was fun but also hard, especially because one of my best friends was always faster than I was:-) and because you have to eat good food and be careful that you sleep enough. Since that time up to now, biking has been a part of my free time.

One of the best things I did was the bikecamp in Valle Maira (Piemont, Italy) in 2009. If you ever have the chance to bike in the Piemont GO!! Try to get a good guide and enjoy the stunning and beautiful nature and the amazing trails of this valley. When you meet somebody it is a shepherd...nobody else. Besides the Mountain biking, you can enjoy fantastic food and good wine of the region, which is also a plus when going on holidays. 

Last year I bought my first full suspension bike. It is a lot of fun to ride! Not as fast as a hardtail (uphill) but.....who wants to be fast all the time? The world is turning fast enough so when riding I just want to have fun and enjoy. At least it is really fast when riding downhill :-).

If anybody of you ever wants to join for a bike ride....let me know. Mountain biking is also a great way to meet people. 

Thanks for reading and enjoy the ride! 


Home sweet home

Good morning world!
Am still in bed, feeling ridiculously lazy and reading other blogs. I am always so positively amazed by some other peoples creativity, choices of words, layouts etc. and always find inspiration by doing so.

I recently came back home to Switzerland again after another trip to Sweden......just 4 days in between. This time for work, but decided to stay with my lovely friend Aryan over the weekend. I also managed to see my hilarious and lovely friends Tanja & Therese again and meet up with some other really awesome people. 
Here is a short update:

Currently, I'm
Happy about: Being back home again (in Switzerland)......and even more importantly, feeling at home! .....oh and my new shoes!!
Disappointed about: The cancellation/postponement of the Joshua Radin concert I was soooo sooo looking forward to go to in October.
Thinking about: ...if it can be considered a good balance (as a kind of default) when you gain and loose at the same time? Like right now, I'm thinking "Wow! My wardrobe is really full" and at the same time I'm thinking "Wow! My wallet is not......"! Just a thought....
Listening to: These three songs, on repeat =))
Worrying about: Work.....or actually not work itself, but the lack of time vs the number of things to do. Not a pretty equation at the moment.
Hoping: That there will be enough people who wants to play soccer tomorrow eve as I'm really looking forward =))
Laughing about: My little "incident" at the gym last evening. You see, I had the whole gym to myself! It was fantastic!! So fantastic that my good mood made me sing along loudly to my mp3 player and a few minutes later, I saw the cleaner in the corner of my eye........ At least it was a very good song!! 
Looking forward to: A late and long breakfast!! Freshly baked Butterzopf (made by Chris!) =p and a HUGE cup of Swedish coffee....
Wondering: If anyone is going to use my new app! An anonymous question area..... you can ask me anything without having to sign up for an account. 
You can either click here or you can also use the box on the top right hand side of my blog! Looking forward to some fun Q&A ;)
Planning: To go for a coffee later with lovely Anja....and maybe also to the gym (...but this time I will try to leave the music sounds inside the headphones!).
Feeling: Drained on energy but must say I had a really fun time getting to that state of drained ;)
Inspired by: The thought of fall with all it's colours and freshness in the air! 
Thankful for: Too many people/things to mention!!
Wishing: That we will have a fantastic weekend hiking in the mountains, Crans Montana to be exact, next weekend. Am so excited!!!!
Wanting: To have a few more Sundays left before this weekend is not feeling done with being lazy yet!

That's all for now....... Please tune in again soon for the next guest blogger post by Chris Hafner.


Aug 24, 2010

Hobbies, Interests & Passions, Part 4: Logos by Patricia Shea

I love type and I love illustration so what better way to combine the two than in full colour illustrated logos.

When I first got out of school I took a year off and decided to work in a commercial art studio before heading off to art college. I spent almost the whole year laying out Letraset and learning about the spacing, leading and kerning of many different typefaces and thus my love for type began.

Pictured here are four logos I was commissioned to create by different businesses and a sketch of the first draft of one of those logos. As you can see “Ambiance” started off quite differently than it ended but the seed of the idea remained, the typeface, the concept was embellished with English Ivy and a more formal, decorative flourish.

My most recent logo for "The Sugar Shack Cupcakery" in Brooklyn, New York was commissioned after the owner, Jill London, saw a design I had created for my own use on apparel and other items in my Café Press store. I baked, iced and photographed the cupcake in order to create a precise illustration of such, which in this instance was executed using colour pencils.

The "Harmony" logo was designed for a company in California who wanted to depict a combination of the Monarch butterfly and the California Poppy, both of which are indigenous to that companies geographic area, along with the name of the store "Harmony" in an elegantly flowing script.
“Panache” was designed for a store in the wine region of California.

“Created by Mother Nature” isn’t a logo per se but has the feel of one. I had so much fun with the type on this one, changing fonts and fading the colour from top to bottom. I added the type about 5 years after I had created the central motif and was pleased with the results.

All of my logos are created with watercolour paints or colour pencils and my beloved Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes on watercolour blocks by Aquarelle. The type is hand drawn with design flourishes added to create a uniquely decorative word. The only time I use a computer is to scan the image in, change any small imperfections and resize the logos to their fit their end need.

I am looking forward to doing more logos in the future and am hope I am lucky enough to be commissioned to do more delicious ones for bakeries, chefs and food writers. I love the look of desserts and enjoy making them too.

Thanks so much for taking a look and thank you Linda for being so kind as to feature my work on your wonderful blog!!

Aug 22, 2010

Late summer holiday in Sweden

Back again in the city closest to my heart, Stockholm. This time for work purposes, but decided to come a little earlier to spend the weekend my beloved friend Aryan. I was just at home for 5 days in between and didn't even manage to completely unpack before it was time to pack again ;))

So the time we've spent in Sweden recently has been amazing to say the least!! It started with the baptism of my little niece Cindy (it was the first time I met her in person and it was such an incredible feeling!!) and seeing my family and ended up with 6 amazing days in the Archipelago. We found such a gem of a place there and will for sure go back again next year. Sweden in summer is truly remarkable and in my opinion, completely unbeatable!

I have wanted to do this post for quite some days now but am realizing it is simply impossible to write about this holiday! Too much to share and too many emotions to describe.....this is why I will instead do this with the help of some photos.

I hope you have all been enjoying your summers!! 

Aug 19, 2010

Happy (Belated) Blog Birthday!

Here I am, thinking I am getting quite used to this thing called blogging and almost missed one of the most common posts that bloggers do.......namely: Celebrate the birthday of ones blog!!!

To align to tradition, here is a reflection of my first year as a blogger.....the past year in review if you will:

Blog Birthday: August 7th 2009
Number of posts: 156
The first post:
The most revealing post:
My favourite post (simply because it describes the feeling of really being "Lost in Switzerland")

Since I started this blog, I have
Managed to settle down in Switzerland (all though still feeling pretty lost from time to time ;))
Privately travelled to Sweden (many times), Tuscany, Venice, Como (twice), Cannes, Poland, London, Birmingham, Brussels, Germany (diffrent locations), Paris (a few times), Amsterdam, Rotterdam etc.....
Met Paulo Coelho for dinner after this post:
Had 2 photos chosen for an online travel-guide:
Got "accidentally" promoted at work
Cried in the office 
Started a Facebook fan page for this blog and now have 155 fans

On top of all these things related to my blog, I went from having almost constant back pain, to finally getting the right diagnosis, got a lot  better and am now playing soccer again for the first time in 10 years! I've also tried ice skating again and jumped off a bridge into the Rhein =))
I became an auntie and a Godmother!!!! 
I have met some really nice people! I have laughed, cried, screamed, jumped and danced! I have learned so much about myself, about other people and most importantly, about life. I have been happy, sad, confused, heartbroken, lonely, in love, overwhelmed and disappointed.......and sometimes all at the same time!

....and last but certainly not least, I have Found Love 

In other words, it has been an amazing year!!
Thanks to all of you who have been following and reading my blog! It's been a pleasure!


Aug 15, 2010

Hobbies, Interests & Passions, Part 3: Vegan Cooking & Baking by Wendy

Hello, I'm Wendy. 

I'm 19 and just trying to make the world a better place by being the best me I can be, and by making food!

 I just recently discovered my passion for vegan cooking and baking after becoming vegan again after a few years of straying from my veg roots. 

As a kid I just wanted to try things like cheese and chocolate and all sorts of food that is not so great for you, and once I started eating what "normal" people ate I found that as a result my health started failing, I gained weight and I just felt crummy (also my conscience kicked back in).

 After being brought up to know all sorts of nutritious information and knowing about all the suffering animals go through to produce all these food items people take for granted, one day I just woke up and couldn't even think of eating animal products any more. If people only knew what sort of cruel unthinkable things they help happen by going to the supermarket and buying meat/dairy/eggs and supporting these big companies that farm these thousands of animals in such deplorable conditions, I think we would all think twice about what we put into our cart or on our plate. 

Becoming vegan isn't some scary or boring task you have to drag yourself into, it's just a new way of thinking about food and tasting so many new things you probably wouldn't otherwise. It's easy and you get to be so creative. You might discover you have hidden talent in the kitchen :) Plus you get to feel great about your health, the animals, and the planet. Doesn't that sound so much better? I sure think so. 

There are tons of food options out there to go discover and even if you can't bring yourself to give up dairy or eggs, you can check the internet and find a farm/store near you that produces local small farm eggs or dairy. 

Cooking and baking vegan food is so fun and tasty and I love doing it, it relaxes me and it's a great creative outlet. And that is why I started my blog. I wanted to show people through photographs that vegan food rocks :) 
And even if you're not ready to go all out, you should take my challenge and try going vegan for a week. There are so many great new things to try, like Diya vegan cheese or Gardine vegan meats that make vegan cooks like me almost euphoric with delight. 

Well I could go on, but you could just go check out my blog and then think about spending more time with your hobbies and maybe even start a blog of your own :)


Aug 4, 2010

Hobbies, Interests & Passions, Part 2: Thrifting by Lina

hello guys & gals!

my name is lina & i live on the west coast of the states & run the blog from lina.

i am so excited that i get to do this guest post for linda. she asked me to do a post about one of my (many!) hobbies.

i have decided to talk about & give some tips about one of my favorite hobbies – thrifting!

i find all sorts of neat treasures at thrift stores. one time i found a polaroid camera full of film for about $3. another time, i discovered some old black & white photos.
thrift stores can be the perfect place to find vintage clothes, designer clothes (i have found quite a few marc jacobs items!), & clothes (or other items) that can be altered for fun. for example, i bought a tote bag for $0.50 that had a design on one side & ended up covering the design with flying bird fabric for a pocket (see photo).

thrift stores can be your craft stores, as you can find all kinds of crafting & art project supplies.

many thrift stores have bags of ribbon, zippers, yarn, & knitting needles sold for cheap.

old sweaters bought while thrifting, washed & dried on the hottest cycles, will turn into felt for sewing projects.

there are always old children’s books & nature books that can be used for collages.

my friend, petunia, always finds old sheets & pillow cases that she uses for fabric for her sewing projects.

vintage & mismatched jewelry can be used to make pins & broaches.
whenever i go thrifting, i always check the book section for anything that looks interesting. about 85% of the books on my bookshelf come from the thrift store. usually, books are around $1. i have found brand new books (like twilight & the time traveler’s wife) & old classics (like the catcher in the rye & the great gatsby). i also stumble upon many cookbooks as well, full of all sorts of good recipes.

as you can see, thrifting is quite an adventure & you can never know what you will find. i hope these tips help you on your next thrifting trip!
thanks for reading : )