31 Days // a writing challenge

Have you heard of 31 Days - the online writing challenge brought to life by blogger Myquillyn Smith from nesting place in 2009 when she did the challenge all by herself. It has grown ever since becoming bigger and developing into a community of like-minded bloggers helping each other get over a writer's block and inspiring one another to write on a daily basis, even if it's just for a few minutes, and to share it all in one place where they all can come together and read what other's have to say.

This year I decided to join this blogging challenge in hopes of finding more inspiration for this blog of mine since I have been caught between the devil and the deep blue sea - the more I want to write, the less I have to say and vice versa. I am confident that this will help me relight the fire of writing more on a daily basis again. Besides - it is so much fun watching everyone get stoked about the starting of this challenge tomorrow, October 1st, and reading about all the different topics and all the different ways every writer is approaching this challenge. 

As you can tell from the button above I chose to write about inspiration because this year has been all about inspiration, faith and strength for me - this will be a great way to try and give inspiration to others and share my experiences. Are you joining? Simply click the image below and it will take you to the homepage of 31 Days where you can read all about it and sign up! Happy Writing!

 photo 31-days_zpsd94c99de.png

Hugs xxx


MacroMonday // S(n)ailing away

It's time for another round of MacroMonday over at glasklar & kunterbunt. Today I've got a cute little snail for you that paid me a visit on my patio table while I was enjoying a cup of coffee.

I hope your week was off to a fabulous start - Happy Monday!
Hugs xxx


Link Love // a little inspiration for your week

31 Days - a writing challenge: every October, every year. Are you joining? I cannot wait!
Speed painting - how awesome is this!
It's French, I know, but it looks so divine!
Great parenting tips about strengthening your relationship with your child.
How cute is this Blog planner!
And this one, just because. Enjoy!

Happy Sunday.
Hugs xx


Snail Mail // Wanna become P E N P A L S ?

Well, do you?!?!  

I posted this to my INSTAGRAM the other day and got some very sweet replies! So many of you want to become pen pals and I am very, very excited about that! I figured I'd just give this a try since I love getting snail mail so much, rather than just emptying invoices and that kind of stuff out from our mailbox. So, when I received my most recent card from a special friend who lives about 1 000 000 miles away, I decided to start writing letters and post cards again! 

In case you'd love to get some mail from me - coming to you all the way from southern Germany - leave a comment or send your addy to my email at <chrissyzangatgmaildotcom>.

Yay - cannot wait!
Hugs and have a wonderful weekend xxx


W O R D S // because they matter

- Once you choose H O P E, anything is possible. - Christopher Reeve
- There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind. - C. S. Lewis
- Throw kindness around like C O N F E T T I. - unknown
- Be silly. Be honest. Be kind. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
- If you ever find yourself in the wrong story. L E A V E. - Mo Willems
- Let that S H I T go. - unknown
- s e r e n d i p i t y = finding something G O O D without looking for it. - unknown
- Perhaps this is the M O M E N T for which you have been created. - Esther 4:14
- See the light in others and treat them as if that is A L L you see. - Dr. Wayne Dyer
- N E V E R stop doing your best just because someone doesn't give you credit. - unknown
- I can either choose to be happy or miserable - I choose to be H A P P Y. - Keith Stevens
- No matter how you f e e l. Get up. Dress up. Show up. And N E V E R give up. - unknown

Happy Thursday, friends.


20 Wishes // Progress Link up and Giveaway

I am participating in the "Twenty Wishes for 2014" which has been brought into being by the two fabulous ladies Kassi and Kayli from Truly Lovely. You can find my last progress post over here and I will write about my progress a bit later this week - so sit tight.

But, today is not about me and my progress, it's about sharing, caring and giving. If you haven't signed up for the "Twenty Wishes for 2014" link up so far but would really love to, just post your 20 wishes on your blog and link up at the bottom of this post. You can join this link up any time during the year, so no worries. If you want to you can place this cute little button on your blog to show you are part of this link up and to serve as a little reminder to work on marking those wishes off.

Truly Lovely

Just remember that the link up will take place on the last Wednesday of every month and that each month one or two of our ten hostesses will offer something fun as a giveaway for everyone of you linking up. But first let me introduce the ten hostesses of 2014 to you:

Kassi & Kayli @ Truly Lovely
Nay @ Coffee-N-Ink
Chrissy @ The brave Wanderer
Bethani @ The Texan Pantry 
Kristine @ The Foley Fam 
Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

For this month’s giveaway you have the chance to win an AD SPACE FROM KATIE at VIEW FROM THE FRIDGE!!!
We aren’t requiring you to follow anyone, the only mandatory entry is linking up to this party with your list of 20 wishes or your 20 wishes progress . BUT the more you do the more entries you’ll receive and I can personally promise you if you do follow, like, etc and of these awesome ladies you WILL NOT be disappointed!
So, link your wishes and enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter form below! The giveaway will end at midnight on October 15th. Can’t wait to see what you lovelies wish for!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hugs and good luck!


Family // Life as a parent

Life with kids can be a challenge. You always try to provide the best of everything for your children. You try to make sure they have everything they need and more. Giving them all the love you have and more. Keeping all the bad from them, even though you know that it's not possible and someone will cross their way one day to hurt them. And then you will try your best to pick them back up, making sure they know that they are wonderful and lovable and no one can ever bring them down. 

Being a mom is the best thing that ever happened to me. Having a child shows you the meaning of true and unconditional love. There is nothing that can top that feeling, even though on some days they sure can drive you crazy. Especially now that my girl, Leonie, is on the best way to becoming a teenager, there are tons of struggles we're facing daily. She is on the journey of finding out who she is and where she is headed in life and boy can that be tough. A changing body, hormones and all the feelings at the same time. 

Now that she is in middle school things are a whole lot different. She's not a small girl anymore. Gosh, sometimes I miss those days. I find myself thinking back to when she was 4-5 years old - she was such a sweet girl. I loved that age so much. So eager to figure out the world and so willing to learn things. Soaking up her surroundings, learning to socialize and diving into this great big world of  colors and letters and numbers. Kindergarten was awesome. Not only did she learn all of that, but she also learned a new language during our time in the US. What a great time. And what a wonderful adventure. I am so grateful we got to make that experience.

If anyone ever figures out how to turn back time, please let me know! I would love to go back to that time and start all over.

Happy Wednesday and happy F A L L!


MacroMonday // Nature's Call

This is not a most recent shot - it's from last year, I hope this still counts. But it is definitely one of my  favorites. Don't you just love the popping colors and that little fellow on the hunt for pollen and nectar? Wishing you all a fabulous week - hope it was off to a good start!

Linking up with glasklar & kunterbunt.



Recap of the week // School, Life and Netflix

// Austria September 2014 - courtesy of my husband on his company trip //
(he insisted on me letting you know that it's officially his photo, ha)

It's been a few days since I last blogged - this past week has been a busy one around here. School started on Tuesday - a new year starting at a new school, getting back used to rising in the wee hours of the morning while it's still dark outside has been a bit of a rough adjustment for our girl. I guess it's the normal routine all of us parents go through after these long weeks of summer vacation where our kids could do what their hearts desire.

It's good to be back on a "normal" schedule again, it's always a bit of a struggle for us working moms to make sure our kids are taken care of during vacation while we have to go to work. But things went smoothly this summer as I was able to take off 3 weeks and the rest of the time (summer vacation here in Germany is a 6 week period) Leonie had sleep overs at either one of her friends or her grandparents. 

Work-wise this past week has been rather stressful as one of my co-workers is still on vacation and the other one, we're an office of 3, had to call in sick, which left me doing the work of 3 in the time frame of one person. Exhaustion would be an understatement. So we spent this weekend sleeping in, chilling and relaxing without doing anything special. One thing which is very special though, we finally have Netflix here in Germany! F I N A L L Y!! Woohoo! So awesome! We have been binge watching Breaking Bad and others awesome stuff all weekend long and will most likely cancel our cable subscription as we are no longer in need of that over-priced service!

So, what has been going on in your neck of the woods these past few days? Are you in back-to-school mode and what do you love watching on Netflix?

Happy Sunday!


Taking Stock // no. 1

// Chicago 2009 //

making: lots and lots of friendship bracelets
drinking: Hugo - the cocktail, we Europeans love it
reading: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
wanting: another vacation
looking: forward to enjoying all fall has to offer
playing: ping-pong with my girl
wasting: too much time worrying about everything
wishing: I could turn back time
enjoying: the changing colors outside
waiting: for a change (don't know what exactly, but I can feel it coming)
liking: Maroon 5's new album "V" - "It was always you" - ❤
wandering: if it ever gets easier
loving: licorice
hoping: everything will fall into place eventually
marveling: this!
needing: more me-time
smelling: fresh cut grass
wearing: cardigans in all colors
following: a few new to me blogs I admire
noticing: Germans are grumpy people, always in a hurry and always want to be the first
knowing: everything will be ok
thinking: about school starting tomorrow, I think I might be more excited than my 5th grader
feeling: all the feelings at the same time today
bookmarking: tons of knitting patterns, gotta get those needles a-clicking
opening: my home to new friends
giggling: how cute are these

What about you - taken stock lately?
Happy Monday.


Lately // Just Life

Life lately has been a bit of a blur. I cannot even put my finger on it and explain it in a way that would make any sense and I don't want to keep repeating myself, but it's been odd. I am trying to think positive and see the good in everything, but sometimes it just won't work. Period. 

For the first 6 months of this year and a good portion of the last 2 months of 2013 I was busy working towards our goal of moving back to the US. And after the mister had left to start his new job in South Carolina and go house-hunting for our family, I remained alone here in Germany to take care of our 11-year-old, our pup and kitty, keep up my part-time job and manage everything home-related on my own. And that was tough. Really tough. Sure, my parents helped me out where they could, but still I had a home to look after and I was responsible for our family here. For everything. Be it school related, house-selling related, taking the pup to the vet because of a stomach virus, gardening in our huge backyard, paying our bills etc. The list is never-ending. Sometimes it wasn't before 9 pm that I finally had some time to myself. When all I wanted was to go to bed and sleep. It was exhausting. I was lonely. I cried a lot. I felt so left alone. 

But I always tried to see the bigger picture. I was doing all of this to achieve my goal. Our goal. Our dream was about to come true. We would be able to move back to America and I hoped so badly that this time it would be for good. The thought of that kept me going. Nothing could bring me down. I knew at some point it would all be over and I would have time to recuperate. I was so looking forward to that. I so needed that and I could see the finish line not far away. 

Or so I thought. Things went a little different. Or a whole lotta different. Long story short, we're staying in Germany. Bummer. Huge B U M M E R. A series of things that happened lead to this point. Work-wise, family-wise etc. I really don't want to go into this any deeper - it's very personal - but it was the best decision to make at this point. Even though it broke my heart. I still feel so lost. Everything I had worked for, everything I had to go through along the way was for nothing. All the blood sweat and tears - they were wasted. I feel like floating around lost in space just like Sandra Bullock in "Gravitiy" and I can't seem to find my way back to a "normal" life. I am trying really hard and I avoid showing my feelings to others, especially to my daughter, but on my very inside I am broken and it will take a lot of work on my side to fix myself again.

I really want this place to be a happy and positive place to come to, but sometimes life is so hard and weighs you down in ways you never thought possible. Shouldn't we be able to share the bad just like the good? I hope no one feels offended by my openness - that would be the last thing on my mind when typing out my inner thoughts. These are the feelings controlling my life at the moment and I feel a bit better when I said them out loud wrote them all down.

None the less - I hope you are enjoying a fabulous weekend. I am off to take a hot shower before prepping a nice meal for my loved ones. 



What's your favorite season? // Mine is FALL

Changing colors as far as the eye can see, crisp air and leaves rustling beneath my feet on our daily walks. The morning dew and the mist ascending from the valley we live in are so pretty to look at on my drive to work. Pumpkins everything and the scent of fresh baked apple pie coming out from the little bakery I walk by when running errands in the city. Yes, fall is definitely my favorite time of the year. It's not that hot and humid anymore, but on the contrary not too cold to go outside. Breathing in the fresh air and smelling the fresh cut grass from the fields surrounding our home makes my heart happy. It is a beautiful place we live in and all these things help me see the good in everything making it easier for me to accept what is. What is your favorite season?

Happy Tuesday, pumpkins (see what I did there haha),


MacroMonday // blooming cactus

Look at Leonie's beautiful cactus - it's the perfect plant/ flower for her as she does not remember to water her plants on a regular basis, this cactus is very frugal and rewards her with the most gorgeous blossoms every other week.

Linking up with Steffi from glasklar & kunterbunt for her weekly MacroMonday feature.
Happy Monday,


Sunday Thoughts // On being accepted and making new friends

Why is it that when we have so much to say we sometimes can't seem to find the write words? It's all there in our heads, ready to be said or written down, but there is something holding us back. Is it because once we've said it, we are unable to take it back? Are we afraid of the reactions? Maybe we want to protect our vulnerability and equally don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. People tend to be so quick at judging others and we don't want to be judged. All we ask for is a little understanding from others to make us feel better and less alone in this matter that is troubling us. We want to feel appreciated and accepted. Not looked down on. It is so hard to get acceptance in today's society. Before someone really takes the time to get to know you, they are prejudiced because of some little thing they might have heard about you or they don't like your looks and that's that to connecting and the chance of making a new friend.

A friend - it's so hard to make new friends when you get older. And isn't it always in our biggest crisis that we learn who our real friends are. Most people run as fast as they can when things get complicated or miserable. Like most of my friends are unavailable during a "downswing" in my life. But on the contrary they expect me to be there for them with advice when they are at odds with something or someone in their lives. I have somehow come to terms with that. I have learned to deal with a crisis mostly on my own. I have always been a bit of a loner, of course my family is always there for me and I can rely on them no matter what, but when things don't go the way I had planned them out to go, I make myself scarce to have time to think and regroup. Although I am an outgoing person with no fear to approach others unprejudiced, I need these time-outs to see the bigger picture. Do you take a time-out for yourself sometimes?

Things sometimes seem so complicated, when mostly we are the ones making them that way. I am trying to see things in a more positive way no matter how negative they seem at the time. This is not easy and is really giving me a hard time, but I am getting there one step at a time. I simply have to accept what is and everything else will probably just fall into place. Right?!

Happy Sunday, everyone.


#20facts about myself // Instagram style

{I created this image using the fabulous Rhonna Designs App}

I posted this on my Instagram last night after reading several #20facts post in my feed. So I decided to do one of my own following the lead of Alycia from Habitual Homebody. I thought it was a fun way of getting to know a few things about one another and so I decided to re-post this here for those of you that don't follow me on Instagram (although you totally should, haha). Did you post #20facts about yourself, too? Leave a link in the comments, I would love to read it. 

1. I hate wearing socks. 
2. I can't stand the sound of silverware scratching on the plate. 
3. There might be swearing involved when the car in front of me is too slow. 
4. A life without pets is unimaginable to me. 
5. The yarn aisle is like heaven. 
6. I am a firm believer of "things happen for a reason". 
7. Music makes everything better. 
8. Walking my pup clears my mind. 
9. I love going to the movies. 
10. Loud people are annoying. No need to yell... 
11. Nosy people are even more annoying - mind your own business. 
12. I want a tattoo! 
13. Horses are amazing creatures. 
14. I loathe when people stare at me and let me tell you, Germans tend to stare! 
15. I love doing the laundry and the scent of fresh sheets. 
16. I actually enjoy cleaning our home. 
17. I don't like going grocery shopping. 
18. The older I get the easier it is for me to forgive. 
19. I am a sucker for a good quote. 
20. My husband's snoring is aggravating in the middle of the night!

Have a wonderful weekend, friends, only a few more hours to go.


Awkward & Awesome // a weekly feature

This used to be a weekly feature on my "old" blog Whimsical Poppysmic which retired when I started The Brave Wanderer. And I think it was brought up by Sydney from The Daybook and spread all over the blog world in no time. I haven't done one of these posts in forever and thought it would be nice to pick it back up. So, here goes:


- It's weird but no matter where I go people always speak to me. Like yesterday at the drugstore I was standing in front of a shelf looking for tea and this older lady walks up to me asking if I knew where she could find "those little drink pouches with straws attached" because they used to be in the shelf right in front of us but now they weren't. I asked her if she meant Capri Sun and pointed to the lower section of said shelf where they were right in front of us and she patted my arm half-hug-wise and thanked me at least 3 times for helping her. It was kind of cute.

- The other day I drove up to the grocery store singing loudly to the song on the radio while parking the car and as I turn my head to the car next to me I see the lady inside singing the exact same song, looking over me, laughing out loud and giving me a thumbs up. That was hilarious. We couldn't stop laughing every time we ran into each other in the store.

- Do you know that feeling when others constantly pour out all their emotions to you and ask for advice, but when you are in need of someone nobody seems to be around or has time for you. Like they don't even care. I feel that way a lot - maybe I have the wrong friends and should try and find some "real" friends. It's so draining and frustrating. 


- Fall is here and I am super giddy about it. I just love fall and everything that comes with it. This season is so comforting in so many ways. It's the season I find the most inner peace and can be myself more than any other time of the year.

- This is also the time of year where I am more crafty and creative than during summer. I always get the urge to grab out my yarn and start knitting. I went to the craft store yesterday to get some inspiration for a new knitting project, but I am not sure what it will be, yet. I am guessing that it will be something I knit for myself rather than for someone else. Selfish-knitting - I should do more of that.

- Normally I am one of those last-minute Christmas present buyers, but this time around I want to get a head start. I started making a list of the gifts I already know I want to get/ make and have some great ideas for some of our family already. Did you start buying/ making Christmas presents already?

Happy Thursday!


Fall Faves // Plaid is back

Fall Faves

Rails navy blue button down shirt, €140 / Vero Moda blue jacket, €30 / Rebecca taylor pants, €125 / Mango leather cut out booties, €115 / Michael Kors stainless steel jewelry, €290 / Vince Camuto wide sunglasses, €53 / Nars cosmetic, €15

Fall is by far my favorite season. The transition from hot humid days to crispy air, changing colors, falling leaves, rainy days to cuddle up on the sofa with a book or a knitting project. And because of the temps we are able to wear more clothes here in the south of Germany. I love that! Layering is my favorite. Cardigans, a denim jacket and some cute cut out ankle boots. I absolutely love that plaid is back. I remember when it was huge, everyone and their mother would wear plaid. But, just like every trend, it sadly disappeared. We'll be going back-to-school and "back-to-fall" clothes shopping this coming weekend and I am definitely going to go shopping for some plaid shirts. Do you do plaid? Are you liking them as much as I do? 



Tuesday Loves

1. I've been on a friendship bracelet making frenzy these past few days. I used to make these in elementary school all the time, well not those more difficult patterns but the "normal" pattern. Our arms used to be full of bracelets which our friends had made for us and there was always a safety pin attached to my jeans - oh, those were the days. The other day I was looking for a different craft, something fun with quick results and lots of color. A little searching on Pinterest and there it was - the friendship bracelet - BAM. I dug out my thread box and off I went. I started with a simple arrow pattern and after making a few bracelets I wanted to try something a bit more challenging and ended up doing this pattern today. Really fun - see for yourself.

2. I really want a chalkboard wall in our home - not just because it looks neat, but also because I love writing out encouraging quotes for everyone for motivation. It would also be very helpful in coordinating all our schedules and other fun things. I am not sure if I want it in our hallway where everything sorta always comes together - as in this is where we leave but also come back home, or if I'd rather place it in our kitchen. Do you have a chalkboard wall or are you considering getting one? Here are some very useful tips if you are planning on painting a wall in your home.

3. I am shopping for a car right now and this one kind of caught my eye, a Nissan Juke - what do you think? Yay or nay? The size would be perfect since it would be our second car next to our "big" family car. It would be mine. Eek! So, I need some opinions please!
So, what are your Tuesday loves this week?


MacroMonday // stinky feet & a break through

I love taking pics "up close and personal" which is why this lens is way on top of my Christmas wish list this year (hoping the mister is reading this one - haha). Today I took this photo of my pup's stinky feet - I just love them - during our walk.

And I had to shoot this little dandelion breaking through the new pavement - amazing how strong this tiny plant is. 

I am linking up with glasklar & kunterbunt a German blog I recently discovered and highly recommend! Happy Monday, friends!


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