Category Archives: Uncategorized

back to blogging!

into the new

A few months ago, I merged my portfolio and blog into one site at Head over to read about my return to blogging, what I’m reading, resolutions for the new year, exploring Oregon, delicious work projects, weekend links, recipes, and more. And yes, there are baby pictures.

Thank you so much for joining me on small sight for so many years, I look forward to sharing the adventure to come with you!

weekend links

organic tomatoes

Here in Portland, we have a sunny, three-day weekend stretching before us. I haven’t been sleeping well lately, so we have kept our plans quite simple: dinner with my sister and her family, prenatal yoga, testing new recipes, and perhaps a drive to the beach. And, of course, a new book from the library that I plan to curl up with on the couch. Enjoy your weekend and these links!

1. A guide to organics shows which produce is most affected by pesticides
2. Wondering if it’s safe to eat fish with radiation from Fukishima spreading across the Pacific Ocean
3. Looking forward to an exhibition of Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis’ collaboration for the Wildwood books and The Decemberists
4. Enjoying Commissary Cafe, the latest addition to NW Portland
5. How to create a more productive working environment
6. Beautiful unconventional shelving
7. Great tips on public speaking
8. A guided meditation app for expectant mothers that helps with sleeplessness
9. Which city should you actually live in? (My result: Paris)
10. Share the experience of reading with A Book for Two (pictured below)

Book for Two 1

Book for Two 2

From 2013 to 2014

2013 in review

What a year! 2013 took us from Amsterdam to Portland, past our first wedding anniversary, to Mexico and Canada and all across the Pacific Northwest, and on the path to parenthood. I learned a lot, grew as a person, and was challenged to go beyond my comfort zone. There were missteps and tears, but also new opportunities, the chance to see things differently, and room for love to grow.

As we stand at the beginning of 2014, I can’t wait to see what this year holds and am so thankful it won’t involve an international move. I set goals for myself on a regular basis, so making New Year’s resolutions is a familiar task. This year, I aim to expand my freelance work, explore new areas in Oregon, and do my best to prepare my mind, body, and relationship for the arrival of our baby in June. What are your goals for 2014?

We had a fantastic beginning, ringing in the New Year with our friends Tom and Candy in Bend, a small town in Central Oregon. The day started with a beautiful morning, a delicious breakfast of sweet potato and wild salmon hash, then a short hike along the Deschutes River to Steelhead Falls (pictured below). On the drive back to Portland, Marcus and I talked about our personal, professional, and financial goals for the year and answered the first question in this journal for two. It was a perfect start to the year. Happy New Year!

Steelhead Falls

plus one makes three


I am sharing our Christmas cards before most people have received them, but we couldn’t keep the news quiet any longer. A baby is on the way! We are so excited about this big (little) change that will arrive in June. This past year has held so much transition as we left our life in Amsterdam, moved across the world, and began to make a home in Portland. It has been a whirlwind of a year and the changes keep coming, but we couldn’t be more thrilled.

When you announce you’re pregnant, a barrage of questions usually follows. Here are some of the most frequent ones:

When are you due?
June 23! It seems like a lifetime away, but good things take time. Right? It also happens to be right during the 2014 World Cup, so we’re looking forward to having an extra cheerleader for the Deutsche Mannschaft.

How are you feeling so far?
The first half of the first trimester was amazing. I almost didn’t even feel pregnant, which was perfect for our trip to Mexico. Since the beginning of November, the evenings have been tough with nausea and exhaustion. At times it pretty intense, but overall I was relatively lucky. Now, I am almost at week 14 (one-third of the way there) and soon I should be able to stay awake past 9pm.

Were you planning to get pregnant?
Ehm, well. We were starting to think about it and then it suddenly happened. Very quickly. Marcus and I thought maybe sometime next year and definitely after allergy season because there is no way I thought I could survive without medicine. Well, I guess I’m going to have to.

Did you always want children?
No. I know many women who always knew they wanted to be a mom, but I wasn’t one of them. In fact, for most of my life if you put a young child in the same room with me, I would gravitate to the opposite side. My mother always said, “You’ll love your own”, but I didn’t think it was for me. Then my older sister had her first daughter seven years ago and her second four years ago and things changed. Becoming an aunt to my two sweet nieces, getting to watch my sister grow into motherhood, and watching friends enter motherhood with grace has been a joy. About one year after my first niece was born, I met Marcus. He was amazing, sweet, and was excited to be a father someday. As our relationship grew, I realized that being a mother was something I couldn’t picture for myself alone, but us, together as parents, didn’t sound so bad. And now, I can’t even describe how much I already love the little baby growing inside me. Nine months seems like an eternity.

Where are you giving birth?
Home births with a midwife are quite standard in Europe, but just starting to pick back up in the US. I definitely do not want to give birth at home, but will have a midwife deliver our baby. Marcus and I were both born with midwives and we both prefer a process that anticipates minimal medical intervention.

You’re a vegetarian, do you think you’ll eat meat?
Actually, I eat fish, eggs, and cheese (lacto-ovo pescatarian), I just don’t eat meat. I have heard that some vegetarians suddenly crave meat when pregnant. So far, the smell of cooking meat generally has me rushing out of the room. In fact, writing about it even takes a strong stomach. I have been trying to find more protein-rich recipes and I would love all recommendations.

baby clothes

Only 186 more days (or so) to go!

weekend links

The Garden Edit

The holiday festivities are in full swing and I’m looking forward to a weekend filled with friends and celebrations that will take us to Seattle and Silverton. What are your plans for the weekend?

1. The Garden Edit is a collection of products for, and inspired by, the garden.
2. The New York Times story Invisible Child looks at child homelessness through the eyes of a young girl in Fort Greene. Highly recommended.
3. This guide to winter cycling will keep you biking through the winter months.
4. The mulled cider at Crema in Portland is my favorite thing to sip these days.
5. Season 2 of House of Cards looks intense.
6. Celebrate the holidays in Oregon State Parks.
7. Listen to the sounds of the Roaring Twenties in New York (via Open Culture)
8. Portland photographer Kevin Russ talks about his images of the landscape and wildlife in the west (pictured below, via The Quiet Farm)

Kevin Russ

Kevin Russ 2

Kevin Russ 1

sunrise in Baja

Our two-week holiday in Mexico at the beginning of November didn’t turn out quite like we planned. When people ask about our time south of the border, inevitably the focus shifts to Marcus’ windsurfing accident, booking an early flight home, and the tale of a two-week holiday cut in half.

But I choose to remember the sunrises.

I am an early riser. I enjoy waking up with the maximum amount of the day stretched out before me. However, that doesn’t mean I am a morning person. I get up early so that I can take my time preparing for the day, to be quiet before facing the noise of the world. Rushing outside a few minutes after opening my eyes is not part of that routine.

The sunrises in Baja Sur changed that, at least for a week. I would wake and see a golden glow leaking through the edges of the curtains that I couldn’t simply ignore. When I pulled back the curtain, I was met with the most glorious sunrise. I would nudge Marcus and then bolt out the door, camera in hand. Wild-eyed and half-dressed, completely inappropriate to the world outside, but I didn’t care.

We had seven days to catch the sunrise. Some were more breathtaking than others. And someday, we’ll get more when we return to climb the Sierra de la Laguna and witness the sunrise from the top of a mountain.

sunrise in mexico_5

Palmas de Cortez

infinity pool

boats on the water at sunrise

a weekend of thanks

Mt. Hood WIlderness

frozen creek

For the last eight years, I have celebrated Thanksgiving abroad. Some years this meant preparing a full dinner for friends who were just learning about the holiday and other years it entailed a last-minute search for a restaurant that served apple pie. Not only did this Thanksgiving bring traditional food, family, and a four-day weekend, but Marcus’ longtime friend Florian flew in on Wednesday and we spent the long weekend showing him the best of Oregon.

Thursday took us to my parents’ house in the heart of the Willamette Valley. The sun was shining, the food was abundant, and we gathered around the table with 25 friends and family members. Early the next morning, we headed to Mt. Hood for a hike around Trillium Lake. Just a few miles past the ski resorts, Trillium Lake offers a fantastic view of the mountain. The lake was frozen enough to walk along the edge, but other than a few patches of ice here and there, the ground was clear. The walk around the lake was easy and parts of the trail even had a wooden walkway. A level of difficult well suited to the day after Thanksgiving.

After Trillium Lake, we headed to Timberline Lodge for lunch. The restaurant was busy and the food was less wonderful than usual, but the atmosphere more than made up for it. We gave Florian a quick history of how the lodge came to be built during the Great Depression, then we headed up the mountain for a walk in the snow. The next days took us to the beach and then the sights in Portland.

The weekend was the perfect occasion to be thankful for this beautiful state and our easy access to its natural wonder. After a long period of settling, it’s starting to feel like home again. But even more than that, I am thankful for the friendship of these two. They met in Berlin and both moved to Amsterdam around the same time. Music was the initial bond that brought them together and the reason that my flatmate invited Florian to bring his band to one of our house parties in 2007. Their friendship created another relationship, and for that, my heart is thankful.

Florian and Marcus

hiking Trillium lake


weekend links


A collection of links for you to enjoy over the weekend! I’ll spend my time testing a few cranberry recipes in preparation for the Thanksgiving festivities on Thursday, hanging out with two dear friends visiting from Seattle, and celebrating my mother’s birthday. What will you do this weekend?

Things I’ve enjoyed lately:
1. Revisiting the fascinating collection of images on Everyday Africa
2. Ordering a new bike bell (pictured above, via Iva Jean)
3. Bookmarking this baked apple recipe
4. Anticipating my first trip to Cottonwood Canyon to explore the +8,000 acres of the newest state park in Oregon
5. Listening to an a cappella group sing Beyoncé’s top hits (so good!)
6. Reading The NSA Files: Decoded on The Guardian
7. Experimenting with more grains and finding inspiration from this article The Complex World of Grains, Made Simple
8. Adding Sarah Copeland’s new cookbook Feast: Generous Vegetarian Recipes for Any Eater and Every Appetite to the top of my wish list (pictured below)
9. Gettin’ happy! (via simonvano)
10. Tasting the delicious spiced cider sorbet at Salt & Straw
11. Booking tickets to see The Christmas Revels: Christmas in Old Europe
12. Celebrating Marcus’ 32nd birthday with a tasty dinner at Le Pigeon


the things of autumn

autumn in Oregon

Yes, it’s really a new post! I can barely believe it myself. The last two months have flown by with many good intentions to write in this cherished space, but all my writing energy ended up going towards other projects. But here I am, is anyone still out there?

We’re now in the midst of November and on the brink of the holiday season. The weather in Portland was incredible all October, endless sunshine and warmth with a hint of chill in the air. All this led to extra crunchy leaves, pleasant bike rides, hiking every weekend, and lots of gatherings with friends.

At the end of the month, we flew to Mexico for the wedding of two friends from Amsterdam. It was a perfect dose of sunshine, sea, lounging by the pool, and reuniting with friends from the Netherlands. After the wedding, we headed north on the Baja Peninsula to spend the second week of our holiday in La Ventana, La Paz, and finally hiking in the Sierra de la Laguna. Unfortunately, the trip was cut short when Marcus sprained his knee windsurfing and we had to head home early. Bummer! But we’re happy for the time we had and to be home again.

Anticipating: My first Thanksgiving with my family since 2004! Marcus’ best friend from Berlin will be visiting us over the long weekend. He actually lives in New York now. And lived in Amsterdam while we were there. They like to follow each other around the world, I think.

Studying: I’m currently taking the NovoEd course from the Stanford School of Business The Finance of Retirement and Pension. It’s completely outside my normal area of interests, but it has been really interesting to learn about life annuities, coupon bonds, and how to make smart choices to ensure a financial future. Important stuff!

Reading: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The first book of a trilogy that was quite popular in 2006. I’m a little late to the party, but am enjoying it so far.

Watching: You guys. This documentary about ducks is so great. Not only because they call it a DUCKumentary, but also because it takes a unique look at one of nature’s most familiar creatures.

What have you enjoyed this autumn? Any reading tips for the coming winter? It’s good to be back, friends.

Images from my Instagram (clockwise): leaves covering Director Park, banana pancakes for breakfast, pappardelle with chanterelle mushrooms foraged in the Willamette Valley, a waterfall found while hiking in the Tillamook State Forest.

six months

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way again.”
– Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Six months ago, I said farewell to Amsterdam, my home for nearly seven years and a city that I came to know as my own. It’s amazing to receive something so unexpected. The Netherlands. Who knew that I would end up feeling at home in that little country in Northern Europe.

I miss it and I miss who I was there, Carly in Amsterdam. Much has changed, but that’s what life does. I am thankful for the experience and the fact that Marcus boarded that one-way flight to Portland with me. If I could bundle up my favorite things about Amsterdam, I’d happily pay an extra baggage fee for these:

The people. My friends, colleagues at World Press Photo, the friendly waitress at our favorite restaurant, the neighbors who safeguarded my packages while I was at work, the Turkish grocer and his family, the Dutch in general. Pragmatic and refreshingly, brutally real.

The lifestyle. Biking everywhere. Coffee with a cookie on the side. Customer service without frills. The rhythm, routine, and slow(er) pace of life. The ease with which you could find yourself in Cologne, Brussels, or Paris. Waking up every Saturday morning to a delivery from De Krat. The Kinderboederij.

The social system. I would happily pay much higher taxes to live in a society that takes care of its people and infrastructure. Where people see themselves as a community rather than isolated individuals that need freedom above all else.

The ongoing sense of wonder. Amsterdam is so beautiful and not a week went by where I didn’t stop to appreciate it. The canals, the architecture, the history. As I would ride along, sometimes I just couldn’t believe that such a place exists and that I knew all the small alleys and bumps in the road.

There could just as well be a list of things I gladly left behind. Or a list of things in Portland I wouldn’t want to give up again. But at this six-month milestone, I’m happy to reflect on what it was and why it meant so much.

Norquay Co.


A brand dedicated to camping vibes is a brand after my own heart. Norquay brings a love for the outdoors together with great design in their collection of canoe paddles. The Montreal-based company selects the 100% cherry wood paddles from Teal Paddles in New Liskeard, Northern Ontario, which are then hand finished, marked with a cow brander, and topped off with a leather harness. I can see their paddles fitting in perfectly on the lakes of Oregon or simply mounted on a wall, a reminder of summer when winter has descended.



Norquay paddle

in August

basket of peaches

In May, I set a few goals at the beginning of the month. Having small goals is something that helps me take incremental steps towards something bigger. So, with the goal of enjoying the month of August to the fullest, here are three things I plan to do in the last month of summer.

1. Indulge in summer fruit
Undoubtedly, my favorite thing about summer is the abundance of fresh fruit. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Peaches, plums, and cherries. I can’t get enough. But, for as much as I love baking, I rarely make desserts with summer fruit. This might be due to the fact that it’s too delicious not to eat immediately. Another aspect is my hesitation to turn on the oven and make the apartment even warmer. I have been eyeing recipes for a summer peach tart and a cherry clafoutis and think it’s time to branch out. Do you have any favorite summer fruit desserts?

2. Visit Crater Lake
The past months have been focused on making the most of the warm weather with trips to the coast, gorge, and forest. Our sights are now set on Crater Lake and a camping trip in the Umpqua National Forest. Crater Lake, created when the volcanic mountain collapsed, is one of Oregon’s most beautiful attractions.

3. Find a doctor
This might seem like a silly goal, but while living in the Netherlands, I struggled to find a primary care doctor that I felt cared about my long-term health. This could be attributed to the requirement that you had to register with a doctor in your neighborhood. Having moved three times, I also changed doctors as often. Now, I am determined to find a caring physician in Portland. Recommendations are welcome.

What will you do in the month of August?

Photo by Hannah

Suttle Lake

  SuttleLake1At the end of May, Marcus and I drove to Central Oregon to spend my birthday weekend at The Lodge at Suttle Lake. The resort has a beautiful main lodge and boathouse restaurant, with private cabins scattered around the premises. We rented a small cabin a short walk from the lake and dined the first evening at the restaurant. Due to a mixup, our reservation was lost, so the manager opened the second floor and gave us a private meal with a view over the lake. The ambiance was amazing, complemented by delicious food and a bottle of wine. After our meal, we headed back to sit around the fire and roast birthday s’mores.

The next day, my parents joined us for a hike around the lake, although the water was too cold for a swim. In the evening, we cooked a meal of chili, cheese sandwiches, and roasted kale over the fire. With s’mores for dessert, of course. On Sunday, we headed to the nearby town of Sisters, an Old West style town with a mountain range for a backdrop. We visited a few antique shops, enjoyed lunch on a sunny terrace, and grabbed coffee at the legendary Sisters Coffee Company. And then, we headed over the mountain and back to Portland.


on the lake







weekend links

ned ludd

Life has been a whirlwind lately! I’m three weeks into an exciting project, two weeks into another, and have been meeting up with new and old friends all across the city. We spent the last two weekends at the beach and plan to head in the opposite direction this weekend to explore the Columbia Gorge.
What will you be doing this weekend?

1. New-to-me Portland places that I’ve loved: Canteen, Produce Row, and Ned Ludd (pictured above)
2. The three-part Nature series Bears of the Last Frontier is worth watching
3. This recipe for garlic scape pesto is just delicious
4. National Geographic has a Tumblr for unpublished work in its archive
5. If you ever find yourself near Newport, Oregon, I recommend taking this kayak tour through the Beaver Creek wetlands
6. All hail the arrival of cherry season
7. Cinema 21 is still showing Joss Whedon’s fantastic Much Ado About Nothing
8. My ears are perked to the music of Kate Boy (below)

kate boy

the things of summer

William Lamson solarium © Storm King Art Center

Admiring: Solarium by William Lamson, a greenhouse with 162 windowpanes made with carmelized sugar on a hilltop in Mountainville, New York. Love.

Reading: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. ‘A reflection on time, aging, memory, and remorse’. I’m taking full advantage of my library card and the wonderful Multnomah County Library app, which allows me to reserve books endlessly with the touch of a finger.

Baking: Granola with dried apricots and blueberries, strawberry shortcake cake, and bread with zucchini fresh from my sister’s garden. It feels great to be in the kitchen again, mixing and measuring while NPR plays in the background.

Anticipating: A long weekend at the beach, time to enjoy family, reading, and exploring. And also a chance to stare at the waves and think about how I’d like the next months to unfold. Sneak peeks on instagram.

Solarium © Storm King Art Center

Photos: Storm King Art Center

only adventure awaits

Gearhart Beach

It was a Saturday afternoon, sunny and the warm air thick with pollen. We had rented a car for the weekend and were preparing to head to my sister’s house for a dinner party. Marcus turned to me and upended our plans to drive to the beach early the next morning with a question: “Shall we go tonight instead?” Suddenly preparations to pack our sleeping bags, park on the beach, and sleep in the back of the car began to take shape. And, why not? Didn’t we uproot our cozy life in Amsterdam to be closer to nature and adventure in Oregon?

We began the drive from Portland to the beach well after 9pm. Headed west, we witnessed the sun setting behind the Coastal Mountain Range and then were pitched into darkness on the winding roads. As Marcus drove, I studied a map to decide where we should set up camp. For long stretches, we would lose mobile phone reception completely, nearly unheard of in Western Europe.

As we entered the small town of Gearhart, there were self-reprimands that we should have planned the trip better. After several failed attempts, we came upon a beach access point for cars and drove out onto the sand. There were small groups of people up and down the beach, gathered around bonfires as the tide drew near. We crawled into our sleeping bags, rolled the window slightly to avoid asphyxiation, and settled back to the sound of the waves.

Pacific Way Bakery

The early morning light woke us at 5:30am and we staved off our hunger until the Pacific Way Bakery opened. After rounds of coffee and pastries, we returned to the beach for a gloriously sunny day. As the tide went out, we came across a multitude of sand dollars still intact. A sight I’d never seen before.

The move across the world hasn’t been easy and the last months have surfaced doubts, worries, and fears that I didn’t anticipate. The transition will take time and we’re trying to fully embrace life in America without sacrificing the European values we hold close. I have learned to trust Marcus in ways I never had to before and I know that as long as I say yes, only adventure awaits.

weekend links

This weekend I’m looking forward to more sunshine in the forecast, a Friday night rooftop dinner, and a hiking trip on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend and these links from the week!

1. Planning on exploring Portland’s numerous farmers markets (pictured above)
2. Listening to this interview about the high cost of fast fashion and seeing images from Amir Abdullah that document the dangers of the garment manufacturing industry in Bangladesh
3. Listening to new tracks from CocoRosie and Florence and the Machine
4. And the entire soundtrack from The Great Gatsby on NPR
5. Celebrating the opening of the Digital Public Library of America
6. Anticipating the opening of a hard cider taproom in Portland
7. Wanting to go foraging for miner’s lettuce
8. Reading Yvette van Boven’s Home Made Summer (pictured below)

What are your plans this weekend?

Photos: top left, top right, bottom 1, bottom 2.

the first of May

in bloom

The first of May is here and I feel all the anticipation for my favorite month ahead. Not only is the weather forecast for the next week pure sunshine and warmth, but the month concludes with my 30th birthday.

After nearly two months of building up a new life in Portland, things are finally starting to take shape. Slowly, but surely. In an attempt to focus less on how life-turned-upside-down this all has been and more on everything that lies ahead, I am making a monthly list of three things to help the settling in process move ahead and make each month a little sweeter. Plus, I love lists.

1. Furnish our apartment
On May 15, Marcus and I will move into our new apartment! We are beyond excited and can only hope that our shipment from Amsterdam will have finally arrived by that point. After living in half-furnished apartments for the last eight years, we finally get to start investing in our own items. First up: a bed, dining room table, and comfy chairs for the living room.

2. Sign up for a library card
Libraries are magical places. The libraries in Amsterdam had a small selection of English-language books, but nothing worthy of a membership. I’ve either purchased or borrowed from friends all the books I’ve read since 2005. I can’t wait to go to the library again.

3. Join a yoga studio
I have been practicing yoga independently for years. It started out during the wintertime in my high-rise apartment in Seoul when I came across a great video series. I’m looking forward to trying out a few studios and hopefully finding a good one in my neighborhood.

What do you hope the month of May brings?

the season for rhubarb

Rhubarb is slowly becoming one of my favorite fresh ingredients. The rich, red stalks that taper off into a light pink hue adds a splash of color to any recipe. It is a great source of vitamin K and C, and has a tartness that combines so well with sweeter fruits to create a textured flavor.

Until last year, my experience with rhubarb was limited. I had eaten a slice or two of rhubarb pie as a child, but it wasn’t until I received a few stalks in our CSA in Amsterdam that I decided to try making a rhubarb pie myself. The taste was so incredible, I made the pie at least five more times throughout the spring and summer months.

In Oregon, rhubarb season is just beginning and I’m anticipating the opportunity to experiment with a few more recipes, including rhubarb and strawberry lemonade, strawberry rhubarb crème fraîche crumble pierhubarb pie with this crust, rhubarb mojito, and rhubarb compote.

Have you ever had rhubarb? What are your favorite recipes?

Rhubarb stalks photo by Georgia Glynn Smith.

one year

This weekend, Marcus and I celebrated our first anniversary! One year ago, we exchanged our vows surrounded by friends and family, full of love in beautiful Amsterdam. We thought our first-year celebration in Portland should be at least half as momentous. There were drinks at Departure (thanks Vanessa!), an amazing dinner at Bamboo Sushi, live music at Brasserie Montmartre, morning coffee at Stumptown, breakfast at Clyde Common, and a trip through the snow to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. And lots of anticipation for the years to come.

On the eve of our anniversary, I received a sweet note from our wedding photographer Chris Spira with a re-edit of one of our favorite shots, (pictured above). I thought it would be a good time to (finally) show some of the small details of our wedding.

Below: Invitations made by Follow Studio, cakes made by my fearless family, the ceremony room at Huize Frankendael, the table setting and my bouquet, the bicycle Marcus rode to the ceremony, vases of flowers and pots of Dutch honey.

All photos by Chris Spira.