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What a year it has been!

I was going to call this blog post “life in the fast lane” and then I realized I have been picking the slow lane on the highways as drivers in Silicon Valley are insane and I better get out of their way… I am digressing already without having started the post really… Oops…

So, yeah, 2013. What a year!

Walking in the mud at bottom of Box Hill

Walking in the mud at bottom of Box Hill

The year started off great with a job offer in sunny California and as I prepared to leave London I broke my foot. What an irony. But life just works out one way or another, so with an unplanned rest I arrived in California ready to start a new chapter in my life.

Maybe the not able to run thing worked out for the best. I had to start slow. I easily adapted to my new job, the new company, the new work colleagues. I used meetup.com to get out and explore and make new friends. And then finally in May I was allowed to start running again, so I joined Team in Training again and made fabulous new friends.

20130921-170012.jpgI loved “learning” how to run again in 2013. There was no way I was able to aim for a PR. I wanted to let my foot heal and strengthen, so I took it easy. That is until I found trail racing… I wouldn’t call these “taking things easy”… Those hills are beasts! 🙂 I love those trail races. They happen in the mountains around the South Bay Area and usually come with great views from the mountains which – you may have guessed – you have to run up first. I found a partner in crime when it comes to running crazy races, my new BRF Lauren (you should check out her adventures training for a triathlon right now). Overall through Team in Training I found a whole new bunch of running buddies and friends who I am so grateful for.

I ran 4 races in 2013:

There are a few things that I slacked on last year. One of them was healthy eating and despite all the training in the second half of the year I put on weight again. California isn’t quite as healthy as its reputation. Something to tackle in 2014.

IMG_8646I also got to travel quite a bit for work: New York City, Seattle, Lake Tahoe, Brussels, Berlin, London. These trips were quite intense, but with most of them I also got to meet up with friends. I met an old university friend in Seattle by chance. Met a great friend in New York City, my family in Germany and my London friends in London. Though I did lose a bit of sleep traveling, it was worth it.

20130706-192911.jpgI had a few friends that came and visited or that I ended up meeting somewhere close by. These were always great opportunities to explore more, like Big Sur (which I have come to love) and the beaches. My brother came also for a visit. Sunny California does have its perks.

What I learned in 2013

  • Dare to dream! Your dreams may come true!
  • Ice bath with my awesome team mates from Team in Training

    Ice bath with my awesome team mates from Team in Training

    Team in Training participants are awesome wherever they are!

  • Listen to your Physical Therapist!
  • California really is sunny!
  • Silicon Valley driver’s are crazy!
  • California isn’t quite as zen as expected!
  • Business Class is the way to fly!
  • How to sleep on a long flight!
  • Sleep is good! Get it when you can!
  • Chocolate is still best in Belgium!

It’s been a great year! I really can’t complain (I try sometimes, but I really shouldn’t). I am trying to take a slower lane in 2014 not just on the highway, but cutting down on a few personal projects, so that I can enjoy my time in California even more.

Looking forward to continue chatting to you all.

Happy New Year!

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In London

I spent the last couple of weeks in London for work which felt like traveling back in time (like 9 months). The weather was cold when I left in February and I was wearing the same winter coat. But I must have hit the most beautiful fall weeks though, the weather was cold, but awesome with lots of sunshine.

My walk to our office was along the river Thames and the reason why I felt like traveling back in time was that our office is in Richmond which is where I lived before I moved to sunny California. This was the view on my walk in the morning:

You can see I made a new friend. LOL.

My room in the hotel (the Petersham Hotel – I can highly recommend it!) was pretty nice too and since Kate Winslet stayed here before, I like to think of my room as the one she stayed in. The view from the balcony was great too.

It felt pretty special being back in one of my old home towns seeing my local friends. I loved the visit, but can’t say that I miss London too much. But I do miss the conversations with my friends, so I can’t wait for teleportation to happen. 🙂 And until then, I remember the bratwurst, mulled wine and dancing at the Winter Wonderland with my dear friend.

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Travel Theme: Walls #2

I really like the Walls travel theme, so I am on to post number two. As I was cleaning out another photo folder yesterday, I saw these pictures I took earlier this month in Camden and thought, they fit the theme perfectly.

I was walking around Camden High Street and Camden market with my brother earlier this month and took a number of photos of art objects hanging on house walls across Camden High Street.

The cat is my favorite, what’s yours?


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Travel Theme: Walls

I have missed a couple of Ailsa’s travel themes recently, but this week I am back. I love this theme: Walls.

In December I took another walk around London’s Brick Lane. You should most certainly add Brick Lane to your agenda of any of your trips to London. It’s a beautiful area that has transformed tremendously in the past years. Don’t just go there for the weekend market, go during the week and enjoy the small local shops, boutiques and galleries. And of course don’t forget your camera to take photos of the amazing street art that you can find pretty much on any wall in this area.

Here is a small selection of the street art I found on walls in and around Brick Lane:


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London Ice-Sculpting Festival

Friends and I went yesterday to check out the London Ice-Sculpting Festival in Canary Wharf. The weather was finally cold enough so that the artists didn’t have to worry too much about the ice melting while they were chiseling away. Actually it was REALLY cold, swear-word size cold. But since this post will already show boobs, I can’t also use swear-words… LOL.

This was my favorite sculpture (or maybe just the one I took the best photo of):

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As we walked through the ice-sculpture garden, I noticed how many naked ladies had been sculptured and commented on this… A guy next to me pointed out that most sculpturers are male. Go figure…

This sculpture I liked for how it captured the light:

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It was really fun walking around and seeing the different types of ice-sculptures. Only some were dripping away… Since it has been pretty cold overnight, hopefully they all survived the night. There are ice-sculpting classes available. So if you have nothing to do on this beautiful cold London day today, go and check it out. The festival will run until late tonight. An international  food festival is also part of this event.

Here are some more pictures. Enjoy!


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Running into a movie premiere – Django

After my post yesterday – travel theme – multiples – I REALLY wanted to go to the M&M store and sneak my camera in to take some fun pictures. My brother came to London for a surprise visit, so we decided after some other sightseeing to head over and have a look. We didn’t get far…

M&M store in Leicester Square, London

M&M store in Leicester Square, London

We walked right into a movie premiere at Leicester Square and there was no chance to get into the M&M store, so we decided to check which movie premiere was happening…

UK movie premiere - Django

UK movie premiere – Django

I got TOTALLY excited when I saw it was Django as I kind of like Leonardo DiCaprio (don’t judge!). I haven’t been out at Leicester Square during a movie premiere in a long time. It’s a pretty excited atmosphere. The announcer told us the stars would me coming “very shortly”. Just so you know, “very shortly” in movie star speak is about an hour… It was chilly. But we stayed. And waited… and waited…

Eventually the action started and Leo was not on the list. Bummer. So out came Quentin Tarantino. This is what I saw:

UK movie premiere - Django

UK movie premiere – Django

I did catch a glimpse of Quentin Tarantino, Jamie Foxx and Samuel L Jackson. My brother got the better pictures.

My brother also caught Hugo from Made in Chelsea (who is not in the movie as far as I know, but probably thought this was a great opportunity to get his photo taken – I guess he was right.. LOL).

The amount of bodyguards and security was amazing. You’d think with all these action heroes, they know how to get out of tricky situations and who would want to mess with Quentin Tarantino or Samuel L Jackson anyway? 😉

Yeah, we never made it into the M&M store and I am going to have to give this another try another time, so I can keep my promise to Ailsa from at Where’s my backpack?


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A visit to Winter Wonderland

That sounds just a little more promising than it really is. LOL.

Every year, London hosts a huge German-style Christmas Market in Hyde Park, called Winter Wonderland. It is a great place to visit if you want to experience an authentic German Christmas Market (that is not in Germany) including the full experience of  getting run over by thousands of people and spilling your mulled wine on them (or have it spilled on you…). Despite the market being so busy I venture out every year more than once to catch up with friends, to get some mulled wine and some “proper” Bratwurst.

You could be fooled into thinking you are indeed in Germany… Though I have never seen such a colorful Alpen-Hotel, but the Currywurst and Bratwurst are being delivered from Germany (so I have been told…).

Only one thing makes me wonder… Polar bears??

But make up your own mind.

Of course I’ll be back out there again this weekend for more mulled wine and maybe some pretzels. 🙂

Happy Holidays!