learning to calm down

lately I have been feeling stressed out a lot and had to figure out some simple things to calm down a little and since I know that I am far from alone with this, since there’s always work to do, exams to study for, money to earn, but mostly just a lot of pressure coming from peoples surroundings, I thought I’d share some of things that have been helping me get along, for you to try out eventually…

One, taking a hot bath. I know, this might sound a bit strange, but it really does wonders for me. Mind that by hot I mean just a little over your usual bathing temperature. One where it takes you a little longer to get fully into the water, you know what I mean? It makes me calmer than anything. I feel relaxed after getting out of the tub and it works even better if you take a little nap afterwards (but only about max. twenty minutes or you will feel really tired when waking up after napping for longer, promise, i know what I’m talking about).

Two, slow classical music. I didn’t used to be into classical music at all until a few weeks back, but around that time, I had to start writing really long essays for my major literature class at home within just a few days under the week and so I had to come up with an idea how to get through that and discovered classical music. It’s lyric-less character didn’t distract me from the words I had to write and at the same time calmed me, because silence really killed me while writing them.

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Three, good nights sleep. I’m a really easily-distracted sleeper when I am stressed, so what I discovered for me this past week feels like a wonder. No matter what temperature my room has, when I sleep, I am hot, which causes me to sleep pretty badly, waking up tired and exhausted. So I just put a mattress with some pillows and sheets directly by the window, opened it a little and went to sleep. I woke up feeling better than I had in ages, not at all hot and sweaty, and now it’s most likely I’m never going to sleep in my real bed ever again, huh, but whatever. I guess that’s a different story.

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Four, reading a few pages of a classic before going to sleep. Yes, there isn’t anything that sounds more boring that that in our century, but just try it out. It’s calm and mostly descriptive writing style will soothe you and calm you down, when at the same time getting your thoughts away from everything that is personally bothering you, like emptying your mind to prevent the Dark Lord from entering it (Potter thing that just had go in here, I’m sorry).

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Five, shut off phone at least half two hours a day for a break. With my social media (Bookstagram and Blogging) activity my phone can have a really distracting and most days even stressing effect on me. So it just helps me a lot to turn it off completely for a while each day, to either take some time to relax or to study more concentrated, without getting distracted by incoming messages. Some days it is enough for me to just put it into another room and walk away, so you don’t necessarily have to turn it off, if you don’t want to, the point is to not have it with you for a while a day.

I am hoping some of these can help you the way they help me. Don’t ever fail to message me if you want to talk. I have an open ear for all of you and I promise, I will answer. It might just take me a little time, but I will, and always remember- keep your head up. You’re getting through today and tomorrow and this week and this month and next month and the following one. You do. You can and you will, even if you might not think so right now. Take it day by day, in small bits. You are strong, I know it, and that’s why you can get through whatever you are struggling with. And even if today was exceptionally hard, or this week, or month. Don’t give up on yourself. Not today, not tomorrow and not ever. You deserve better. You deserve to be believed in. Especially by yourself. It will take time, surely, but you can learn, and before everything else, start learning that one thing. Start learning to believe in yourself.

yours, anna xx

The Blueberry Muffin

Welcome to this brand new row of blogs. I have always loved baking, since it soothes me, but I’m not that much of  a talent. Anyways, my creations do come out enjoyable and in ‘anna’s simplicity bakery’ I am going to share some of my favorites, that I’ve already been showing off around my social medias. They are all really simple to make and I hope you will end up liking them as much as I do. Here comes the first receipt… The Blueberry Muffin.

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… look at these, fresh from the oven …

Ingredients (modifiable):

150ml cup                          of plain Greek yogurt

250ml                                  of plain milk

150ml                                  of olive oil

500ml cup                          of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons                       of baking powder

250ml cup                         of sugar

some                                   grated vanilla

one                                      large egg

one cup                             of blueberries

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Then add together all the ‘wet’ ingredients, meaning yogurt, milk, olive-oil and the egg.

After that, add the dry ones one by one. First the flour, then baking powder, sugar and vanilla.

For the dough, add the blueberries at last, folding them in carefully.

Now grab a muffin tray and lay it out with muffin forms, add in the batter until almost full.

Bake for five minutes at 425F and then go down with the heat to 375F and leave in the oven for another 20 minutes.

Take them out & leave it in the tray for some more minutes to cool a bit, then get ’em out and enjoy them while they’re still warm.

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… freshly cracked up, prettily bleeding …

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… and remember, homemade looking pastry is on trend again …

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… can’t get any prettier zooming in, right?

…and there you have them already. Beautiful and easily made little muffins that usually come in twelve when I make them and can be eaten over several days without getting bad, or just as well eating ’em all just freshly out of the oven. Made another tray just this morning and can’t wait to get back to them tomorrow morning for breakfast (they are an ideal breakfast too, by the way). Hope you enjoyed this first receipt in a row of more coming in the future. Make sure to tell me if you try this out, spam me with shots of them over on my other social medias and talk to me about your new ideas for this little receipt of mine. I’m pumped for your opinions.

yours, anna xx

editing my photography

Many people recently requested me to explain how I edit my photos on Instagram, so I decided to explain with some supportive photos over here and give you some main tips on photography as well.

Let’s jump right in. To begin with the actual photo… I take my photos with the Nikon D3100 from my parents. Sometimes, but really rarely, with my phone (an iPhone 5c). The only app I use for editing my photos is VSCO. I just picked my recent shot from Instagram to show you the progress of editing…

Here is just the plain unedited photo to begin with…

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I’m currently using the A6 filter with a strength of about 8.4, so that you can see an affect but it doesn’t look too unnatural, edited.

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The next things I do almost always depend on the photo itself. But with mostly every photo I increase the temperature a little bit, about from +0 and +1.1.

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The next things I do, as I told you, depend on the photo itself. With this one I increased the contrast a bit to highlight the beautiful contrast between sunshine and shadows.

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Another thing I did with this was taking the exposure a little upwards.

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And voilà. Here we have the finished post. Simple, wasn’t it? and it still looks really natural, but manages to support my brownish, black and white theme, which I like a lot.

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The last thing to give you on your way for editing your photos are some main tips on photography I can give you itself. Because, well, you can only start editing you photos when you have some good quality photos at hand. Some most important things to achieve that are following…

The most important thing is the lightning. Always take photos in natural lightning to prevent from getting grainy, low-quality photos. We all know the scene. You take nice photos, you really like and such and then the quality isn’t really a bummer, which makes you feel really miserable and we don’t want that, do we?

The next tip is referring to lighting as well. With time I started to accept that some days, or better most days, there’s not that perfect ‘not too bright nor dark’ lightning. It is something like the photographers dream, that perfect lightning. So start working with what you have. It’s super sunny? Strange shadows seem to ruin your photos? So what? Make an achievement out of them. Like ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. Like I did with this photo. The shadows and sunshine give the photo a pretty special atmosphere, in my opinion. You can also experiment with various objects and the different shadows they throw. It can create incredibly unique shots.

The last two tips I have sound pretty simple, but might actually be quite hard to achieve. Be yourself, but also keep trying new things, experimenting. Try to find out what message, what story, you want to send out through your photography. Get out there. Watch the work of others. Look at photos on Pinterest similar to the kind of photos you want to take. Try to re-create the ones you like and when you get bored with that, start thinking of new things. Go out again. Keep your eyes open and use everything around you to get inspired. Photography is a lot about feeling and seeing, what isn’t visible at first sight. Remember that and then wander new places, get to know new people and almost take your camera, if possible. That’s how you get inspired, how you get the photos and then you edit them, always staying true to yourself.

yours, anna xx

a good Sunday out

For uns introverted people the image of a calm Sunday in is balm for our hearts. Spending all day in bed, listening to vinyls, reading, leaving the pjs on, Sunday coffee, blogging, all that kind of stuff that I normally do on Sundays. Last Sunday was different though. I was reminded again, that going out actually can be fun {but only in the morning without the tons of other humans crowding the streets}. I had the pleasure to head out to brunch with Ophelia on a sunny, silent Sunday. It was the time of my life and Morgaine, my baby witch, definitely finally should join in on us again, since she preferred getting drunk the previous night and had to sober up instead of going out with us two early risers. But it’s okay Mo, just don’t forget you’re one of us, please, the introverts. You still part of that group of people, right? {if you can’t tell, I’m joking, okay? I like to mock my baby witch a little. I love you, Mo, you know that, right?} …buuut to get back to Ophelia and my Sunday morning…

I got up at around seven am {yes, I already told you so, early riser, that wouldn’t be a problem though if I would go to bed early too. Well, that doesn’t happen too often, so I get kind of really little sleep, but ah, what can I do. I usually just fall asleep sometime within the day, so don’t worry, if my body doesn’t have enough sleep, it just takes it. The proof, I regularly fall asleep on the floor of my room while doing whatever I’m doing. I’m fine. Okay, I’m drifting off…} So, I got up and showered and but on some clothes and packed my camera, a few books and headed out to get the train. I arrived at the station just having missed the recent one, but I knew it was okay {actually it was not, since I’m like always on time, so I was hyperventilating a bit, but let’s pretend I’m normal}. I took the next train and arrived at Alexanderplatz a few minutes after nine.

When I arrived at Coffee Fellows {one of the best Cafés in Berlin that I yet know of, The Berlin Book Squad is still constantly getting to know other good ones, so one never knows, but it is for now} Ophelia was already there and had grabbed us one of those nice tables by the window {this was the first time I came late to one of our meetings, please don’t get me wrong, I’m usually there before everyone else and it’s important for me}. We studied the menu for a second and decided for Cappuccinos and Bagels. Coffee Fellows definitely has the best Bagels in Berlin, I’m committed to it and like on every other Coffee Fellow visit, the food was simply too good to be real again.

While getting through our food we discussed it all- the books we are currently reading or had recently read or not read. I pretty much forced Ophelia into reading A List of Cages and The Hidden Memory of Objects. When I see her again in about a week, I’ll lend her one of them and Moraine the other one. They just have to read them, god, I can’t. We talked about school and basically again how much it sucked. We talked about how my family is getting a puppy girl called Ava in like a week, how much we miss Mo, much reading slumps sucked, how badly she and Mo have to start watching Grand Hotel and how we have to plan on doing a sleepover on which we will marathon the first season. How badly I need to get Netflix to be able to watch 13 Reasons Why, which I then forced Ophelia into picking up as well, and Stranger Things. How messed up Ophelia was by post Cassandra Clare posted and in which order it would be best to read her series. How we definitely need to get the season two of HTGAWM and how a certain spoiler we saw on Instagram will totally mess us up emotionally… …and so on and on. When we see each other we can barely even stop talking for a second. We just seem to switch smoothly from one to another and then another topic, just like when our Squad meets. We three have been knowing each other for barely a year and people, it’s like I know these two gils my whole life. Like, we finish each others sentences. While talking, Ophelia kept taking photos of our coffee and me and my outfit and The Hidden Memory of Objects, because she seemed to be feeling like it and because she liked my outfit, I guess {smiles}.

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…I told you Ophelia kept taking shots of me.

After a bit over and hour we got our stuff together and headed over to the Museum Island, the pretty much most aesthetically pleasing place we have in Berlin. Every good Berlin Blogger goes there to take there photos, so we were lucky that it was early and half the city was someplace else to watch the Berlin Half Marathon. We were almost completely alone so it was an even better atmosphere to take photos, since it’s still kind of awkward to pose with books in public, but when we’re together it always feels mostly fine. It took us some time but eventually idea after idea started to hit us. The inspiration, people, the inspiration. When Ophelia, Morgaine and I meet the inspiration is flowing. I can tell you. We take hundreds of photo within about an hour. While we shooted, we kept on chatting about this and that.

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…in motion

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…and I am moving again

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…fiddling with my hair

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the strong young women I know, showing her strength through this pose

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…3 …2 …1 …jump

Ophelia also helped me take a few rep shot of one of my favorite items from The Bookish Box March Box, a candle called Java Jones by Cherry Pit Crafts. Luckily she had her very aesthetic copy of City of Glass with her so that was a match made in heaven.

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probably the most beautiful rep shots I will be able to produce in my whole life

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a shot that does justice to the beauty of this candle

After a little over another hour and a little whiny call from Ophelia’s little brother about being all alone and hungry at home, and my urge to get home to revise for upcoming exams, we walked to the next train station and hugged tight. At the end of each meeting with my two girls my heart breaks a little, but it is mended again when I see them the next time and their awesomeness makes up for all the pain of having to let them go every time. It’s too unfair that we live at so different ends of the city. But that only makes me more happy when I can finally see them again. I’m happy to announce that our next Berlin Book Squad {you can find us on Instagram & Pinterest} meeting is coming up again. Moraine, Ophelia and me will be reunited after three whole months and we will hopefully be doing the live stream you have all been awaiting so badly, make sure to send us all your questions via our social medias, we’re still collecting. Want to know even more about Ophelia’s and my Sunday out? Go keep and eye out on our Instagram and head over and read about the day from Ophelia’s point of view right here

love, anna xx

Playlist for a New Start

“[…] and now we welcome the new year, full of things that have not ever been.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

In the honor of this one and only chance of a change I have put together a new playlist with mostly fast and motivational songs, which will hopefully help you bring out the best in you on each day of this happy new year.

  1. Back to the beginning again by Switchfoot
  2. Crazy = Genius by Panic! At the disco
  3. Hallelujah by Panic! At the disco
  4. I lived by OneRepublic
  5. Impossible Year by Panic! At the disco
  6. The Judge by twenty one pilots
  7. LA Devotee by Panic! At the disco
  8. Let it out by Switchfoot
  9. Ride by twenty one pilots
  10. Something I need by OneRepublic
  11. Tear in my heart by twenty one pilots
  12. We don’t believe what’s on tv by twenty one pilots
  13. The world you want by Switchfoot
  14. All alright by Fun.
  15. Great big storm by Nate Ruess
  16. Some nights by Fun.

Don’t let anything get you down this year. Wear that trousers you love, which you heard someone else say looked like shit on you. Wear them because they make you feel beautiful. Be bold. Don’t content yourself with everything all the time. Start telling people how you feel about them making decisions for you. Learn to cook. Write a book. You name it. Be an artist. Or an author. A musician, an athletic- anything. It’s not about officially becoming that, as in doing it as a job. It’s about being it. No matter how old you are, how tall or small, where you are from and how well educated you are. This is a new start. You can do whatever you want whenever you want it, because you all have a choice. There are consequences that you have to live with for like quitting your job or skipping school, but you have a choice and your choice matters. You go or you don’t go. You do it or you don’t. Make this year yours. Be who you are, who you want to be. If you want it you can  do it. You can’t win if you do not try. So try. Try a thousand times and then one more and another time an hour later. Learn to eat healthy, work out, go outside more often, watch the rain fall. Look around. Look and see, with your eyes wide open and you will realize that there are so many possibilities. Some that have never been there before and you should take them because who knows? Next year you might not have the chance to be a barista at that café you have always loved. You might never see that person on the train from last Thursday again. There are so many What Ifs. Don’t make yourself regret the ones you you left aside. Take them. Today, because, and I don’t want to sound pessimistic at that but, there is always the slightest chance that there will be no tomorrow. Take the risk or lose the chance. It’s that simple.