My New Year Resolutions for 2021

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Happy New Year lovelies! I wish you all a great, healthy and fulfilled 2021. With every new year come new resolutions and goals that we want to achieve. Many people tend to eagerly work for these goals as soon as the new year begins and often fail within the first few months. That is often due to wrong goal-setting, something I had done a million times before and will most likely do again in the future. Yet, I believe being aware of these mistakes is the first step forward and thus I have made my resolutions around goals that are both achievable and in parts, necessary.

Here are my New Yer Resolutions for 2021 (in no particular order or priority)

  1. Invest in further education
    This year is all about further educating myself in topics that I deal with regularly and want to become more professional in. For me, this will most likely entail a new course going deeper into the subjects of what I work with (in finance) and I have already started looking at what courses work best for me and from what I can benefit from (professionally) in the future.
  2. Post consistently on my blog
    I have had my ups and downs with this blog and have decided that I want to work more consistently on this blog. My goal is to post weekly and for you to be able to read something new every Sunday. The next post topics area already planned and I will strategically work on creating content in advance for me to reach my goal. In addition, I want to focus more on the business & career side of life and share tips and tricks with you to make life easier in certain situations.
  3. Less is more; Decluttering my home
    The title says it all. I have already cleaned out a fair bit over the past months but there is still so much stuff around that I really have not used and most likely will not use. This year I want to work towards being more minimalistic (to the extend possible with the love of shopping and decorating), buying less and investing into quality pieces. Decluttering, however, is the first step!
  4. Invest in high quality fashion pieces
    I already mentioned that I want to invest more into quality pieces. This not only concerns pieces for my home but mostly for my wardrobe. I love fast fashion and I love trends – however, mostly I love watching these on other people. Over the years I have realised that I am slowly finding my style, feeling comfortable in certain colours and fits and that good quality really does look better, feel better and last much longer!
  5. Work on my sleeping schedule
    This past week I woke up at 5.30/6am – to my surprise, and even without an alarm. The days started with a walk outside with the dogs and my fiancé, doing a mini workout, showering and getting ready. By 8am I was done and sitting at my desk. It was P E R F E C T. But lets be realistic, and look back at the Christmas holidays. Most days I slept until 10am (unbelievably long for me!), took naps during the day and went to bed around 1am or 2am in the morning. It was my vacation and totally fine; in the end, I really needed to catch up on sleep. Yet, I want to work on my sleeping schedule and try to be in bed by 11/11.30pm daily and wake up no later than 6am (or maybe 6.30am).
  6. Become more comfortable in my own skin & body
    Yes, you read that right! I too have my days where I feel wonderful about myself and the way I look, only to feel sh!t about it the next day. Now, I think it’s normal to not always love what you see in the mirror and especially we women tend to critisize ourselves more often than we should. Likewise, I think most people have the same issue as I do, yet it seems no one ever talks about it. There are two main things that I want to work on to feel better:
    a) less comparing, more caring – social media has its pros and cons and as much as I love Instagram, Pinterest & co., most influencers I tend to follow seemingly look perfect and live perfect lives. They look absolutely model-like, stunning, out of this world. That is far from reality in many cases, and if it is the case – bless, I wish I would have a similar body. But we need to remember that we all have different shapes & sizes and one particular size does not define health or happiness! I want to concentrate more on my health and feeling fulfilled (aka being happy) this year and comparing myself less to others.
    b) concentrate on how I feed my body and how different foods make me feel – I have noticed that as much as I love all types of sweets and most salty treats, I tend to feel bloated afterwards, heavy and not good at all. in fact, that ‘high’ feeling usually only lasts whilst actually snacking and is gone the second you finish your last bite. This is something I want to slowly change – I have noticed and written down what I feel does my body well and what doesn’t, now its about putting these goals into reality. Of course that does not mean one should deprive themselves of feel-good-food or treats once in a while, but I really want to become more aware of how and with what I fuel my body.

Last but not least, I also made a small list of things I want to do this year.

Also, in 2021 I want to…
– try watercoloring again (perhaps work on my own postcards to send to family & friends)
– try pottery
– take a flower arrangement course
– work on my photography skills
– travel to at least one new city / country (given it works with COVID19)

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‘Vanillekipferl’ aka the best Christmas Cookies

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Happy almost Christmas! Time is running these days and the countdown to Christmas is almost finished. One thing that is never missing at home around the festive season are some good ol’Christmas cookies! I’ll be honest, the first batch I tried failed miserably – I used too much butter (well margarine) and read the recipe wrong.. my mistake! The second time around, however, turned out perfectly – not to my surprise, since it is our family recipe from my mom’s black book of recipes she’s been keeping forever.

So here is what you need:

200g soft butter (or margarine, which is what I used)
150g of sugar (white)
2 vanilla pods
2 egg yolk
200g all purpose flour
100g food starch
150g ground almonds
powder sugar (to sprinkle on top)

and because it is so easy, here is all you need to do:

Mix everything together until you have a nice modelling clay texture, wrap it in plastic film and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or longer (I left it in the fridge overnight -24h).

Now pre-heat the oven to 180°C and start preparing your cookies. You will want to take part of the dough and roll in into a ball in your hands with an approximate diameter of 2cm. Now roll the ball out into a thick worm-like looking string and place it on the baking sheet in a half-moon shape (see above photo if it does not make sense, hehe). Bake the cookies for around 6-10 minutes (depending on the size) until the edges get golden and take them out too cool. Once cooled, sprinkle them with powdered sugar and enjoy! The cookie batch makes around 45-60 cookies depending on the size.

The Do’s & Don’ts at Virtual Meetings

Hey lovelies! Today I want to speak to you about the Do’s and Don’ts at virtual meetings. Nowadays with Corona almost everything has turned digital and even our meetings, networking and important sessions, coachings or speeches are held mostly virtual. The good thing is, there is no need to wear a mask when at home or far enough away from other people in your close surroundings should you be at an office (depending on the Covid-19 guidelines and regulations in your country). As I work mostly from home and do all important meetings virtually, I have become a pro in regards to what etiquette is important on video.

DO dress up and freshen up before you turn on your camera – I have seen so many people loosen up about what they wear or how they look. Working in finance, I am used to seeing people suited up, looking polished and ready to go for a luxurious lunch or dinner straight after the meeting. I have seen some of these people with beards grown out (men, of course), wearing baggy pyjama look-a-like shirts, not groomed whatsoever and rather looking as if they just jumped out of bed. I appreciate that the finance industry is letting go of ties and the fully and sometimes overly dressed up looks, but going from one extreme to another and looking far from fresh is an absolute no-no. Dress for the occassion and the audience as you would otherwise (even if only from your hip upwards) – people will appreciate it.

DON’T drink soda straight from the bottle – I have seen some people drink diet coke or coca-cola straight from the bottle, even orange juice or energy drinks. Trust me when I tell you, it is not appreciated by all and many people do judge you if you like it or not. I always recommend: whatever you drink, drink it out of a neutral cup that does not show what’s inside. Be it water, diet coke or even that whisky on the rocks ;)

DO have a clean background and good lighting – whether you have a digital, plain or branded background or simply your at-home background I believe is up to you (unless your company says otherwise). Yet, the background should be rather clean since you want your audience looking at you and not staring at a half open pizza box from last night or personal objects that are for your eyes only. Likewise, make sure to not sit in the dark, we are working from home, yet are no cave-(wo)men!

DO mute yourself if you are not speaking – background noise can be terrible irritating and even worse, if someone walks into your room or your phone goes on (make sure its on silence beforehand) it will be considered rude if you interrupt another speaker.

DON’T invite others or pets into the picture unless asked for it – friends, family, your hubby, children or even your pets should not be on screen when it comes to professional virtual meetings. It can of course always happen that someone runs through the room and into your background and if your cat comes and says hi or your children run up to you most people will understand. If you are able to close the door beforehand, though, do it. My dogs for example are always in another room when I have important virtual meetings or conferences to attend. I do, however, think it is absolutely fine to share some private life when either asked for it or you are speaking to a longterm relationship colleague / partner of yours and believe it is ok. Sometimes, sharing some of your private life can work wonders for deepening a relationship and spark new topics to speak about.

DON’T multitask – no one wants to feel ignored and, trust me, people will notice when you play an online game in the background, do online-shopping or doodle on a paper. There should be enough hours in a day to schedule any other task to before or after the virtual meeting. If you are taking notes on the side and people may not see it, give them a heads-up so they know why you are looking down or moving your hand around.

DO invest in proper technology – if you have and will be working from home most of the time, make sure you invest into proper technology. No one wants to see that you are still using your old phone camera for virtual meetings since the beginnig of the year (Corona start). Make sure to have a proper webcam if your other set-up is not at it’s best, do invest into a proper microphone (it makes a world of a difference!) and even think about investing into a new lamp if need be! If you haven’t done that yet, why not add it to your Christmas wishlist!

Do you have any other Do’s or Don’ts you consider important when it comes to virtual meetings? I’d love to hear your thoughts or hear about the experiences you’ve had!

Christmas Countdown 2020

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… everywhere you look… well, almost! I’ve started decorating here and there a little bit at home, but the real decorations (aka the tree) will be set up this weekend!

Just in time for the first of advent (is that thing everywhere?), we put on our first candle this past Sunday (November 29th). In Germany and Switzerland its become a tradition to light up one candle every Sunday starting four weeks before Christmas Eve – that way, on Christmas Eve, we have all 4 candles lit.

The advent wreath with fake snow (all out of plastic, but looking pretty real!), the small jingle balls, small gold pinecones and gold candles were all bought at Depot. Except for the candles, which I will need to re-buy, I can now use this wreath every year – love it! Are you also setting up an advent wreath and counting down to Christmas? I love this festive season and cannot wait for all the decorations, the cookie baking, all the good food and spending time at home with my loved ones (of course in a small circle due to Covid-19 this year – safety first)!

Exploring Switzerland: Isenthal

Happy Tuesday! Almost humpday and almost half way through with the week already, again! It’s crazy how fast time flies these days. Two weekends ago we went up to Isenthal for some hiking and stayed at a small cute little chalet (house) up in the mountains. There was basically no network and 4G on the phone was nowhere to be seen – I loved it! Sam’s father rented out the house for a week and we went up and visited him and his girlfriend for a night.

The nature up there is breathtaking and something I can recommend to everyone: especially not being reachable is what I loved – no internet, no problems, haha :) I also enjoyed some me-time with the camera outside; practice makes perfect they say (though I am far from it!).

All photos were shot with the Canon EOS R; RF 15-35MM f2.8L IS USM lens.